Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It’s been a while since we had one of the kami—the benevolent nature spirits that straddle the line between fey and outsider in Eastern-inspired campaigns.  Shikigami are Tiny figures (likely bearing certain hallmarks of the objects they guard) that protect “the minor works of civilization—things like milestones, waymarkers, tiny garden statues, and other relatively mundane works of art,” according to the Bestiary 3.  PCs who attack one are going to have a time of it—they are stealthy, able to turn invisible, and handy with whatever weapon might be at hand.  Ideally, though, PCs will befriend the kami, finding them useful sources of information as they are quite literally the eyes and ears on (or at least very close to) the ground.

The Chō Road is famous for its eponymous waymarkers, carved to look like fat owls or goblins and placed every 120 yards.  Particularly notable and beloved waymarkers are often guarded by a shikigami (sometime perched in statue form atop their stony wards themselves).  The shikigami also keep piles of stones, litter, and other debris handy to hurl at robbers and scoundrels in general and those who would deface the waymarkers in particular.

A demon taint (including a spate of tiefling births) spurs a gang of shikigami to abandon their home village.  On the road they hide invisibly from mortal travelers, but as a party of adventurers goes by two of them panic and freeze in statue form instead.  If the adventurers notice the tiny statues and make off with them (likely assuming them to be treasure of some kind), the rest of the gang will torment them till their friends are freed.

A shikigami looks after a vegetable cart lovingly carved and painted by its owner, an arabber in the city of Ternwheel.  The unusual spirit likes the she gets to travel more than her kin, and her purify spells keep the arabber’s vegetables fresh far longer than his compatriots.  However, the man is no saint, often acting as a fence and informer for various shady characters.  If accosted by adventurers, the shikigami will pelt them with rotten vegetables and otherwise try to shame them into leaving the carter alone.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 163

I've gone with the Paizo description of shikigami, but anime fans (especially lovers of Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle) can also use these stats to replicate the paper manikins and various house spirits of those movies.

Being from Baltimore, I love me some arabbers.

I’m on the air tonight!  Playing songs I usually don’t get to play!  10-midnight U.S. Eastern!  Tune in!

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