Attention Safari users: Currently Blogger is not showing the last several days’ posts, and the side navigation bar has migrated to the bottom of the screen. If you’re having trouble seeing the proper kappa, kech, keketar, or kelpie posts, try viewing in Firefox or another browser (or head on over to Tumblr). Which brings me to my next announcement…
So, for my Blogger readers, my current formatting war* just gets worse and worse.** I’m going to explore composing or cutting-and-pasting in programs besides MS Word***. I’m also going to cut way back on the hyperlinking, particularly the linking of monster names and creature types—it’s just getting unsustainable, particularly when I keep having to reënter entire posts just to fix a typo. (This won’t change much of anything for my Tumblr readers, who have always gotten fewer links, though I’m also going to cut back on linking book titles.) Please bear with me as I keep fiddling…I just want to spend more time writing adventure seeds, less time fighting with formats.****
* Stupid editing issues/mysterious arrows.
** Now it’s not even showing those weird arrowed posts on Safari. But everything is fine on Firefox. WTF!
*** Nope, that didn’t work; Times reads tiny when I do that.
**** This is supposed to be my lunch break after all, not my breaking point… ;-)
On to the monster of the day…
Kirin have been in the game a particularly long time for a non-Western monster (way back in Eldritch Wizardry, according to this list). As with most goodly creatures, they’re more likely to be steeds or benefactors of the party than antagonists (though pride and other misunderstandings can always get in the way).
Still, I like kirin for being creatures of air that aren’t birds or obviously made of air. (The Plane of Fire is even worse about this—efreet are pretty much the only things there not actively aflame.) They also make great steeds for mid- to high-level NPCs of exotic nations—think high and tower elves, gnomes, samsarans, sylphs, sulis, and tengus in particular.
And the fact that kirin and emperor kirin are sorcerers—and can cast spells off the cleric list—make them endlessly customizable. Kirin in your campaign might even be known by their magical specialties the way alchemists are in Fullmetal Alchemist: the Kirin of Storms, the Kirin of Resplendent Rainbows, the Gale Kirin, etc.
The battle for souls is not a metaphorical one in Mayar. A nation of samsarans that borders the hag-ruled Ebon Witchery, battles in Mayar feature kirin-riding samsarans battling nightmare-riding night hags amid lightning-wracked storms that straddle the Material, Ethereal, and Aerial Planes at once.
In Orollan, the schools of magic hold little importance. Instead, kirin are the guardians of magic, each minding a narrow bailiwick: the Kirin of Ice, the Kirin of Zephyrs and Arrows, the Kirin of Soothing Balms, the Kirin of the Manifested Serpent, the Kirin of the Sealed Crypt, etc. While a sorcerer or wizard does not need to apprentice directly with one of these magical beasts, most spells are considered to belong to one kirin or another, and custom dictates that spellcasters at least honor them in their thoughts. These kirin do not actively persecute practitioners of evil magic, but they do occasionally send mortals to contain truly odious spellcasters who break the laws of magic itself, in particular liches, maso and blood magi, abusers of the clone and time stop spells, and so forth.
Even kirin have their prejudices. When a party in service to a cold and forbidding shaitan attempts to contact an emperor kirin whose feet have never touched solid ground, he spurns them as being tools of the Underworld. His sylph maidservant may be more persuadable, as she once loved an oread shepherd who was slain by perytons.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 168
The kirin’s high-water mark was probably appearing on the cover of the Forgotten Realms City of Splendors box set. Apparently they also have a deity, Koriel. (You know, I don’t know if I ever even saw Monster Mythology on the shelves, because if I had I probably would have bought it, AD&D label be damned. But there are some used copies floating around for cheap online. Hmmm…)