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Fire Yai Oni

(native, oni, shapechanger)

Oni are a race of evil outsiders. Unlike demons and devils, oni are native to the Material Plane, not the Outer Sphere. Oni clothe themselves in humanoid flesh, taking on the aspect of various mortal races, though all oni share the common traits of regeneration and shapeshifting. The most common type of oni is the ogre mage, but many others exist as well.1


Oni originated in Minkai in Tian Xia, where they are still most prevalent. Oni begin existence as kami, nature spirits bound by strict divine rules, the Laws of Golden Perfection. When a kami fails to live up to these laws, it is stripped of its powers and becomes a formless spirit. Most former kami simply fade away, but some are so overtaken with rage and despair that they will themselves into a physical form that mimic humanoids, becoming oni. Oni become obsessed with their new-found corporeality and revel in physical pleasures such as food, sex, and violence. Because of their origin, oni despise kami as cowards and weaklings.2

In Minkai, spirit world creatures such as oni are collectively known as Yokai.34


All oni have a form based on a specific humanoid race, such as the human-derived kuwa or the giant-derived yai. Once an oni manifests on the Material Plane, it remains in that form for all time. Their continued connection to the spirit world grants them the power to regenerate wounded flesh, while their supernatural nature makes them wily shapeshifters. Because of their former incorporeal nature, oni are starved for physical sensation and revel in hedonism; individual oni often obsess over one sensation, such as the feeling of pain or a specific taste.5


Oni believe that mortals do not sufficiently appreciate the pleasures of the physical world and so "punish" them for this failure. Oni "philosophy" is built on three pillars: maekaga (dominance), kaedakaga (punishing the undeserving), and tezukaga (hedonism); these are the guiding principles of all oni, with tezukaga taking precedence. Rather than forming their own societies, oni prefer to dominate mortals who match their aspect, such as ogre mages lording over ogres. However, the powerful yai oni often subjugate their kin.

Despite their fallen state, oni are still bound by the Laws of Golden Perfection. The most important of these strictures are a ban on open war between oni and kami and forbiddance of direct intervention in mortal affairs. However, oni may still work around these laws by employing non-oni agents.6

Oni daimyo

The leaders of the oni are called oni daimyo and have ascended to demigod status.7


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 221. Paizo Inc., 2009
  2. Mike Shel. “Ecology of the Oni” in The Brinewall Legacy, 69. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. Colin McComb & Tim Hitchcock. “The Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Primer, 3. Paizo Inc., 2012
  4. Colin McComb & Tim Hitchcock. “Archetypes” in Dragon Empires Primer, 23. Paizo Inc., 2012
  5. Mike Shel. “Ecology of the Oni” in The Brinewall Legacy, 70. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Mike Shel. “Ecology of the Oni” in The Brinewall Legacy, 70–1. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 205. Paizo Inc., 2011