The Bestiary 3’s write-up on zuishin has a nice economy to it, so I’ll let it speak for itself: “Known also as shrine kami, zuishin take as their wards gates, doorways, religious places, and the spiritual archways known as torii, ensuring that the gates are respected.”
So you know those gorgeous arches you find at Shinto shrines? Imagine a bow-wielding warrior suddenly manifesting out of one of them, respectfully but firmly barring your character’s path. Alternately, imagine being afflicted by a curse, disease, or poison nearing the end of its progression. Suddenly the torii becomes a kind of goalpost your PC must race to, hoping to beg aid of the zuishin whose ward it is.
With gates and doorways in their bailiwick, zuishin are also one of the kami most easily adaptable to non-Asian inspired adventures. One could easily imaging a kami guarding the gates of Heaven, a crumbling Gothic arch, a sandstone arch in a fantasy Utah, or (to jump game systems for a moment) one of the countless doorways in (A)D&D’s Sigil. Got a campaign inspired by Imperial Rome? Give your zuishin two faces and call them the januai or limen keepers. And elves! It’s already to imagine kami and the Fair Folk having a close relationship, and that goes double for Golarion’s gate-happy elves, especially given zuishin’s proficiency with the bow. Whether your campaign takes its inspiration from the Land of the Rising Sun, the Ottoman Empire, or never sticks its nose outside Middle-earth, zuishin have a place in your campaign.
Adventurers must pass under a sacred arch to visit the temple grounds, but a zuishin manifests to bar their way. The half-ghostly warrior detects the taint of an oni upon them—specifically, a spirit oni that has secreted itself away in their treasure haul to spy on them.
An embattled zuishin guards a magical gate from an incursion of divs. While the kami slew the horde’s pairaka master, he can't hold off the waves of maw-faced aghashes forever. If adventurers come to his aid he will fall back and heal them with his arrows while they turn the tide.
In a fit of rashness, an elf left the otherworldly homeland of the elves, the First Green Glade—forever branding himself one of the Forsaken. Having learned of a threat that could destroy even the First Green Glade itself, he swears to bring a warning to his home even if it means killing one of the zuishin that mind the hidden portals.
To decide succession, twin princes and their entourages must race across the length of the empire—a journey that spans much of a continent. The first to reach the shrine at Tyoma and defeat the zuishin there in honorable single combat (bringing her to 10 hp or less without killing her) will ascend to the throne.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 165
I like the zuishin so much I wrote a bonus adventure seed!
And I like you so much I finished finally the Sepid entry and wrote the Slimy Demodand and Spirit Oni entries as well.
I’ve gotten bad about reader mail lately, and several of you I owe more complete responses. Casey Fett (whom assume is Mandalorian) points out another wereboar from myth. Several readers, including Lester and eswynn, had advice for my formatting woes. The creaturechonicle is way too nice to me and underscorex gets all my references.
It’s a radio show! I think I (mostly) improved on last week’s level issues. And we took a look at a lot of great acts coming to the D.C. area in the next few weeks, including Kishi Bashi, tUnE-yArDs, and double shots of Patty Griffin, Eels, and Lydia Loveless. Plus some 7bit Hero and even some We The Kings, because it's summer and why not? Download it.
(If the feed skips, Save As an mp3. Link good till Friday, 6/6, at midnight.)