Friday, December 6, 2013


The blossom kami!  How sweet.  But wait, this is a flower spirit from Japanese mythology—so it can’t be that simple, right?

Of course not.  The toshigami is also a spirit of time (and the New Year, according to Wikipedia).  Which means this is no simple shikigami or kodama, but a CR 15 hasted, finger of death-casting tree spirit that can age you with a touch. 

Now aren’t you glad it’s neutral good? 

As creatures of time, these kami necessarily take a longer view of existence than most PCs, but their willingness to dwell (and even find love) among humans makes them surprisingly urban for such powerful spirits.  If there’s a city park of surpassing beauty in your campaign, you can bet it is protected by a toshigami—good to know, if you need healing away from the local temple’s watchful eye; more problematic if you’re the type of PC that throws fire spells around too freely.

The city of Eshu has grown around the Blushing Glade, the once wild hillside now a small park of cherry trees surrounded by cobbled streets.  But a planned thoroughfare threatens to uproot the glade entirely.  The park’s toshigami marshals a defense, and while her kami and fey allies are few in number, their ability to charm or distract workers has slowed progress on the road.  At the toshigami’s side is the samsaran whom she has loved through three lifetimes.  Opposing her is the provincial governor, secretly a kuwa, who wants to see every pink petal burned.

The temple mount of the ruined elven city of Kyver may be one of the most beautiful sights in the world, with cherry trees poking up through the cracked floors of the ruined houses of worship.  It is also an exceedingly dangerous place to visit.  The mount is home to several banshees who hate each other as much as they hate mortal visitors, as well as a suspicious toshigami.  The banshees avoid her petal-strewn lair, and her ability to cast restoration and cure moderate wounds can be a godsend to travelers.  But if her trees are harmed or she suspects visitors of siding with one of the banshees—all of whom guard sites of divine power—she will attack without mercy.

A bythos finds calm in its lair, a Möbius strip realm that moves the traveler through all four seasons in a matter of hours.  The aeon’s majordomo is a toshigami who directs her medusa oracle servants in repelling (or petrifying) intruders.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 164

Reader and medieval/art historian jenna-darknight doubledand tripled down on yesterday’s saga suggestions:

Egilssaga is pretty good for a more political campaign if you’re looking for Norse flavor too.  The Volsung cycle is better if you want something more traditionally epic, and the Gylfaginning and Skáldskaparmál are good grounding in the mythology.  The Æsir got an entry in 3.0’s Deities and Demigods too, so they even have portfolios and shit for you to use.

On a more game-related, dig-through-the-archives level, I’ll also plug Ian Malcomson’s article “Dark Ages” from Dragon #257 as a must-read, as well as (once again) Ken Rolston’s GAZ7 The Northern Reaches.  I’m also kicking myself for leaving two copies of the 2e AD&D Viking Campaign Sourcebook on the shelf at my local game store, only to have them both(!) gone when I returned.

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