Strengths:Calligramancy -- Although they are weak to the effects of Calligramancy, they are extremely adept at casting it. (Effects last longer/are easier to cast.) Can remake their Kagami form with the use of a mirror. Have the power of "forgetting", the ability to make a person forget an event which has happened within the last day -- like seeing/meeting a Yokai. They may only use this once on each different person during a moon cycle, and the Yokai must know details about the event they want the person to forget. Yokai are immune to possession. (They have two souls. Stuffing a third in there is impossible.)
Weaknesses: They are weak to the magic of Calligramancy. Magic is weaker in Kagami form, extremely superstitious. Often are a bit culturally shell-shocked when they leave Japan for the first time.
Lifespan:Once were immortal. Now, not so immortal. Yokai lived 1000 years and reincarnated. Since the silver cord was severed, they no longer reincarnate. It is believed they enter the Pale Realm upon death, though with only one of their souls.
Susceptible to D13: No
Part of the Consortium: Yes
Race Leaders: Local leaders are called Daimyo. The representative to the Consortium is a wizened Kappa named Hibiki. He recently announced the formation of the Tsuihō Kyōgi-kai, or Exile Council, which will lead the exiled Yokai as a whole with the agenda of retaking their homeland. It is formed from the eldest and most respected members of the Yokai community.
Stance on Rogues: Hinansho Han allows for yokai to request to join another group. Such rogue yokai must abide by a signed oath to keep stating they will not betray their people’s trust, which is to say keep secret the identities of fellow Yokai, not lead hostile people to the han, and not tell racial secrets. These sanctioned rogues are allowed to come to the village so long as they abide by their agreement, though they are excluded from events such as the Night Parade. Those who do not undergo this step are considered unsanctioned rogues. These rogues find they cannot locate the han anymore as the memory barrier blocks them. Village defenses see them as outsiders and react as such.
It is said that there are eight million types of Yokai. True or not, there are, at least, certainly a great many of them. And, for the most part, until recently, they existed only in Japan.
This is not an accident. When the kami Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto came together to create Japan, they were not just rising islands from the sea, but pulling them up from another realm altogether. This Realm, though its name has been forgotten, is a Realm where intense sentient magic is fused with every object, every creature, every phenomenon that exists. Japan was special among all the lands of Earth - something that almost everybody who has visited since then can agree.
(Scholars do argue however, about how true it is that this Realm's name has been forgotten. Some say that the Sylvani, half a world away were brought forth through a similar process by the Greek gods, and that the Greek and Japanese deities hail from the same realm, but decided to claim opposite sides of the globe simply to be as far away as possible from one another after an intense falling out. True, there are some similarities between the Greek gods and the Japanese kami...in their capacity for both great good, and great evil, wisdom and folly. Who knows if we will ever know the truth. Other scholars say that the kami fled Avalon, and the cruel reign of Queen Mab's father, King Ailill. Most scholars who say this, however, are Fae or Underkin.)
No matter how it came to be, related to other races or not, the sentient magic within every object, every sense, every phenomenon, every being, began to rise up. The Earthly Realm did not have any restrictions, any rules... Nothing held the magic in place. There was utter chaos! The kami were worried that the land, air, and sea would be destroyed.
So, after much thought, several female kami gathered up all of the wild, sentient magic, and braided the thread of those magics with two strands of their hair. Each strand of hair contained a soul, and together, fused with the magic, gave it structure, sentience, and order....as well as a link to Japanese soil. This is also known as "the silver cord".
Thus were the first Yokai brought into the world, each with two souls.
Or so the story goes.
New yokai do crop up on occasion. They tend to be brought into existence, or awareness, on the first Full Moon of Spring, which is one of their largest holidays, Mangetsu Matsuri. In fact, the moons figure very highly into the life of the Yokai. Their two souls are governed by them.
The first of the Yokai souls is known as the "Jihi" soul, or Soul of Mercy. This soul was imparted by the hair of the goddess Kannon, goddess of mercy. The Jihi soul is the source of the 'helpful' aspects of the Yokai, those who help people in need, or assist them when properly appeased, or simply care for the realm. The second of the Yokai souls is .known as the "Itazura" soul, or Soul of Mischief. None of the deities of Japan want to claim responsibility for that one. The Itazura soul is the source of not just mischief and pranks, but can grow as dark as torment and horror...sometimes in vengeance, or sometimes simply due to maliciousness.
The souls of the Yokai are pulled and swayed, like tides, by the moon. Some Yokai have stronger Jihi souls. Some have stronger Itazura souls. But all Yokai have both somewhere within them. On the night of the Full Moon, the Jihi soul is the strongest. On this night, Yokai often perform acts of kindness and helpfulness, especially to those who have appeased them, but sometimes just out of the goodness of their hearts. On the night of the New Moon, however, the Itazura soul is the strongest.
On some New Moons, though it is unknown which, the Yokai dress in their best finery and gather in the forest to perform the Night Parade. The parade itself is simply the movement of the Yokai to a meeting place. And at that meeting place, they discuss which mortals should be punished, and how. 'Mortals' being a loose term encompassing all non-Yokai beings, including some supernatural ones. Unless the vote is unanimous, the punishments must take place and finish before the next New Moon. Though when the vote is unanimous, punishments may last...a very long time indeed.
For a long time, Yokai simply lived in their natural and true forms. However, during the Heian period, Imperial mages known as Onmyoji began to use high level Calligramancy to entrap the Yokai using artistic paper manikins called "Shikigami". These Yokai were yoked to their masters for a specific period of time or until a certain task had been fulfilled. It is said that the Onmyoji 'Abe no Seimei' had 1000 Yokai bound into paper cranes. And that their wish, the wish to be free, is the source of the tale regarding the senbazuru, or Thousand Paper Cranes. Being none too fond of such entrapment, the Yokai began to hide themselves. Some simply found ways to not be seen by mortal eyes by slipping between realms. These Yokai, known as Hidden Ones, often lost touch with the mortal realm, and with the society of other Yokai. And usually, in time, they lost touch with themselves as well. They became unhinged things, locked in their own minds, trapped in patterns of the past.
Other Yokai became the Mirror Yokai. Using a mirror or reflective surface the way a woman putting on cosmetics might, they manipulated one of their two souls as a casing, or shell, to appear mortal. This casing is known as the Kagami. Whilst in the Kagami state, the power of the Yokai is greatly reduced, since one of their souls is completely focused on appearing human. ((Note, all PC Yokai in our game will be Mirror Yokai.)) Mirror magic can be used to enchant a mirror to show the true nature of a Yokai in the reflection. Those with Scrying can also perceive the true nature of a Yokai by casting a spell whilst viewing its reflection in a mirrored surface.
Yokai are not immortal. They will reincarnate indefinitely as long as the silver cord is not cut. Unfortunately, the Dark's incursion into Japan in late 2023 cut the silver cord of many of the Yokai. Some Yokai, unwilling to abandon Japan, have sacrificed themselves in an attempt to combat the Dark, and have in turn, become Dark Yokai. Others, upon finding the silver cord severed, have struck out to lands beyond the sea in the hopes that they might make allies and find a way to defeat the Dark. Although they are now mortal, having two souls, Yokai are still more hardy than most humans. A mortal wound will often simply cause whichever form was struck to go dormant for a time, and that soul's energy to become dedicated to healing. If mortally wounded in true form, then they will be trapped in their Kagami form until the next New or Full moon. If mortally wounded in Kagami form, then they will be trapped in their True form until the next New or Full moon. A second mortal wound, this time to their remaining form, could kill them completely. Upon death, they enter the Pale Lands.
Some Yokai are very ancient and traditional and xenophobic, and some are relatively modern and curious. Some live in the city, and some in the country. However, over the years, various areas converged under a single Yokai leader. Because the Yokai like to mimic humans as a form of trickery, they called each area a "han", meaning "domain". Each Han is led by a Daimyo. Current Yokai, those leaving Japan to flee the Dark, or to find ways to protect their homeland from the Dark, are often clever enough to have learned a bit of English and to blend in with their Kagami forms... Though some may not have had the time to do so.
Humanity is also important to the Yokai, in that, like Shifters, Yokai can not reproduce with other Yokai due to a curse leveled on them by the Bureau of Onmyō in ancient times. Their children must be that of a Yokai and a human. It's for this reason that there are so many tales of children becoming Yokai in Japan. Yokai are not born with their Kagami's forms or knowing how to create a Kagami form. However, through the use of calligramancy, it is easy to temporarily "force" a Kagami form to "cocoon" around a baby Yokai. Basically, the Yokai parent can cause the young Yokai to look human in this manner until they are old enough to learn how to create their own Kagami form. If the Yokai parent does not, they will be born looking Yokai and, quite often (at least in olden times), would be taken to the woods and left there for the Yokai to find and adopt. Other permutations are possible, but these are the most common things.
NOTE 1: Yokai are a very secretive people due to their long history of avoiding those who would enslave them. Onmyoji still exist into the present day, they just no longer enjoy imperial backing. It is wise to keep this in mind when interacting with others. Note also that persistent relations with mages if learned of by your fellow Yokai may land you in a *LOT* of trouble IC.
NOTE 2: Prior to the return of Tokyo every Yokai was bound to Japan. They could not leave it as their personal silver thread would recall their souls, forcing a reincarnation. Those exceptionally rare few who did manage to leave Japan did so due to some outside force severing their personal silver cord, rendering them free to travel but also mortal.
NOTE 3: All Yokai have two forms. A True Form (Yokai Form), and a Human Form (Kagami Form). The True/Yokai form must be visibly supernatural in appearance and roughly the size of a human or larger (up to the limit allowed on our sim). They may also represent intermediate stages between these forms (such as just fox ears, or just a tail), which is considered "slipping back the Kagami Form slightly".
Animal-type Yokai have an additional form. They have a "human" form, and a supernatural "Yokai" form, and a mundane animal form. Those Yokai types are as follows: Fox for Kitsune, cat for Bakeneko, dog for Inugami, turtle/salamander for Kappa. When in their animal form, they can use no magical powers and are as weak as an animal of that nature would tend to be. They can only speak in this form, in whatever languages they know, but doing so in the city without the Speak With Animals Extra or Naturalism breaks the law of magic use, as it outs them as a magical being.
NOTE 4: In 2024, information came to light about potentially re-establishing the Silver Cord. This information is tied in with the re-discovery of an important part of the Yokai's history and purpose -- The Spirit Realm. Information about the Spirit Realm can be found here.
NOTE 5:For those yokai who wish use the traditional nengō (Era Name) dateing system Lore has been added for this:The Japanese emperor Heisei dies on February 7, 2020, Leaving his eldest son crown prince Naruhito as the next Emperor. The Heisei Era ended then and the new emperor's posthumous name 天道 (Tendō - Divine Guidance) is used, making it the Tendō era. This means it is currently Tendō 5.
Kitsune: These fox-like Yokai are said to be imbued with inner wisdom. With each century that passes, they grow another tail, up to nine. When the ninth tail comes in, they often change colors, usually white or gold, but there have been reports of black and silver nine-tailed kitsune as well. The kitsune were the first race to figure out how to construct a Kagami form, and are often credited with being the ones who found the best ways to trick the Onmyoji into releasing trapped and imprisoned Yokai. Kitsune are clever, regal, and witty. However, their vicious wit and penchant for playing tricks often gets the better of them. It has left almost all Kitsune with some sort of curse that can not be removed, placed upon them by those who have become vindictive regarding the tricks played upon them. (Kitsune must list their curse upon creation. Because they are best with using the Kagami form, they can perfectly mimic another sentient person they have personally met, including their scent, voice, clothing, build, aura, blood, taste and mannerisms. They will, of course, not have their magics. The form they mimic must be a human form. Kitsune may only hold this form until the next sunset.)
Bakeneko: It is said that when the silver cords for the Bakeneko were being braided, theirs came slightly unraveled. This unraveling is evident in the fact that most of them have two tails. Cat-like in nature, the bakeneko are said to represent a link to the world beyond, the mysterious Things Unseen in this world. When pleased, they purr, and when angered, their claws are sharp. They are often highly skilled in the occult but...also are known to be, most unfortunately, habitual kleptomaniacs. They generally will return items that are stolen, but only if asked directly to do so by the person they stole it from. Often, as a romantic token, they begin presenting their desired mate with the items they stole. The more valuable the object, the more esteem the Bakeneko holds for them. (Bakeneko may see and hear the Pale Realm, and those in the Pale Realm can easily see and interact with them. Bakeneko can sometimes see other adjacent realms. They can additionally see auras as well as, like mages, the flow and kind of magic around a person or object.)
Inugami: A dog is typically a faithful, trusted friend. Inugami can be just that, a loyal and faithful friend, a protector and companion. Often Inugami could be found in the households of noble mortal families, where they took on the role of bodyguard or watch dog, in return for creature comforts and the dedication and kindness of a good companion. But living with a single family from generation to generation can turn bad. There's invariably someone who feels they can mistreat or take advantage of the Inugami's faithful nature. They often find themselves the targets of an Inugami's wrath, to the point where the eradication of several noble families were attributed to the Inugami. Wild Inugami are rare, and even after losing a family, Inugami rarely stay wild for long. To do so means they might become like the Hidden Yokai, too lost in madness to be of use to anyone. (The loyalty of an Inugami is such that they may pick up to three people to be bonded to, their 'family'. They know the emotional state and location of these three people at all times. However, if these people are injured, the Inugami will also feel their pain. Inugami get Biokinesis level 1 for free, in addition to their starting magics, and may always insta-cast level 1 Biokinesis. If they take Biokinesis as their starting magic, they may start at level 2.)
Kirin: Kirin, mythical dragon-like horses with horns or antlers, are some of the most peaceful creatures in existence. They come in a number of colors and shapes, but generally all have horns, often have feathers or scales instead of fur, and appear much like a horse in their true form. The problem with Kirin is that they were hunted by the servants of the Onmyoji almost to extinction. Now, there are only a few Kirin left. Every part of the Kirin is useful in magic. It's horns, scales, feathers, hooves, skin, blood, all is powerful reagents. It is believed that only a few Kirin remain. All Kirin are vegetarians, as eating meat will cause them to become ill, and most Kirin are pacifists. When the Itazura soul of a Kirin manifests, their true form often turns black, and their words can be so cruel in exposing a person's flaws that some targets of those words have been known to take their own lives. (Kirin may not start with any combat abilities (melee, hand-to-hand, throwing, archery, torture), nor may they learn them throughout the course of the game. They can not use their magics to willfully damage a person. However, they also exude an intense aura of peace in their true form, and almost no sentient being can muster the willpower to directly attack them with harmful intent. Only the Onmyoji ever figured out how to bypass this defense - knowledge that has been lost to time. In their Kagami form, this aura is weakened slightly, but it still takes intense willpower to attack them and is nigh impossible. Creatures of the Dark are immune to this aura, and a person must be within range of sight of the Kirin for the aura to work, which means that magic CAN work on them, from afar.) (Kirin are a restricted subrace, and a player who has played for at least 2 months must pre-apply to play one by submitting an ST ticket.)
Kappa: Whilst the Mer are creatures of the sea, Kappa are freshwater creatures. They range in color from yellow, to green, to blue, and often are depicted as having the features of salamanders or turtles in their true form. They are strict adherents to etiquette and are intensely polite. However, when rudeness crops up, or oaths are not fulfilled, Kappa can and will turn violent, and their usual form of violence tends to involve drowning their target. They are often depicted holding cups of water, or having a hole in the top of their head to contain water, though they do not actually have such a hole. They simply tend to carry a measure of water because they must drink a great deal of it to keep their skin from drying out. Because of their politeness, Kappa are often chosen to be negotiators among the Yokai, and indeed, one of the two Yokai ambassadors to the Consortium is a Kappa known as Old Man Hibiki. (Kappa can not drown. If they start with the first level of Elemental Water magic, they may insta-cast it for non-combat purposes, though the second level or casting for combat purposes takes the normal amount of time. If they take Elemental Water magic, they may start at level 2.)
Oni: If the Inugami are the protectors among the Yokai, then the Oni are the attackers. The goon squad. The people you send to do the dirty work. Often equated to trolls or ogres by westerners, Oni are often intensely strong. In true form they appear as red, black, or blue, with short horns and often yellow eyes, and highly muscular. They carry thick clubs rather than blades, because their attacks often lack precision despite the strength and thus -- they are prone to breaking swords. They are sometimes a bit crude and foul mouthed and for this reason, they often are at odds with the Kappa. In modern times, Oni have often taken to the inner cities, becoming members or leaders of gangs. This has brought them into the sights of Gojira, and more than one Oni has been mistaken for a strange mutant. As buff and crude as they nonetheless are, Oni have a soft spot for the truly weak and helpless, and will often begrudgingly come to their aid when in distress. (Oni have enhanced strength on par with an average shifter. If wielding their clubs, they can not be disarmed, nor can the club be made to break or become damaged. They are not immune to fire, but they are resistant to it.)
Tengu: Birdlike creatures of the remote mountains, Tengu are often associated with asceticism, and often ascetic Buddhism. In the early days, they were mistaken for the spirits of deceased monks or ronin samurai living in the mountains. And true, they share many qualities with these sorts of people. Tengu often have beaks or feathers, and birdlike feet in their true form, and can fly short distances. Many comparisons have been drawn between Tengu and Harpies, though where Harpies are more often female, Tengu are more often male. Though, one of the most famous Tengu is Ayumi-san, a talented female warrior who disguised herself as a samurai. They tend to be strict adherents to law and rules, but will deviate from these things should honor require it. Unlike samurai, who traditionally carried a katana and wakizashi, Tengu tend to carry only one or the other. (Tengu can draw on the calmness of the mountains to help resist magics that manipulate emotions, as long as they are not in combat at the time. They may also meditate, out of combat and away from others, to accelerate their healing of wounds.)
Jorogumo: Also known derogatively as "Spider Whores" due to a rather sucsessful Onmyoji smear campaign, the Jorogumo can be male or female, and usually have intense beauty in their upper body, though their lower body is often that of a spider. Though their form and seduction often is used to lead people to their doom, they also are often champions and defenders of abused women and children, often willingly agreeing to get vengeance for them if they agree to give the Jorogumo "a thing of beauty". They can not turn into tiny spiders, but they often have a handful of loyal spider pets that will do their bidding, including biting their target on their behalf. There's about a 50% chance this bite will go completely unnoticed (Stealth roll vs. target's Perception). (The venom of the Jorogumo (and their spiders) interacts with pheromones they release to make them highly appealing to their victim, and their words are given heavy weight and sway. This can be sexual in nature, but if the sexual orientation is wrong, can just mean the person becomes fascinated with the Jorogumo in some other way. This venom can last for up to two hours. Jorogumo can spin silk, which is extraordinarily tough, and which they can bind people with or suspend themselves from heights with, though they can't do popular-comicbookwebslinger trick of shooting it out of their wrists to swing from building to building.)
Spiritfolk: Legends abound in Japan of humans “spirited away” by the Yokai; the Spiritfolk are these people. Yokai who become attached to a human may elect to steal them away to their local Han with permission of their Daimyo. Thereafter so long as they and their children continue to live within a Yokai han they will be Spiritfolk. Such humans are treated quite well instead of disparaged as ‘mortals’ once they prove themselves to the community at large. This is particularly true in the current era when they are increasingly relied on by the yokai as they die off - many Yokai wraiths share a body with a Spiritfolk who willingly offers themselves up. A Yokai can make an unwilling human into a Spiritfolk by attaching a particular Calligramancy charm to their back (though the charm can be made for the Yokai by another). The charm fuses to them, and can only be removed by the one who placed it, but must be re-charged every month or it dies. It makes the human unable to willingly leave the Han. Every time they try, they find themselves turning around and coming right back, and if they are forcibly removed, they will be unable to sleep until they manage to return. This is often meted out as a Night Parade punishment for foolish and meddlesome humans. Willing Spiritfolk who wish to no longer be such may choose to leave the Han permanently. (Willing Spiritfolk can enter and leave the actual village without loss of their powers.) They may also be forcibly ejected from the han by the daimyo. (Living within close proximity to so many Yokai grants them immunity to the Yokai memory barrier, slows the aging of an adult human to 1/5th normal and grants them a single power from the Non-physical Mutations list on the mutants page (sans “Extended Lifespan”). The hair and eyes of Spiritfolk grow pale in color over time and they have a soft auric glow that all yokai can see. Those Spiritfolk cast out of Yokai society, typically through a Ritual 'banishment' performed at a Night Parade, or through a warding effect, will lose their powers in days and within a month age to their true age. Spiritfolk are ONLY humans. When applying for a Spiritfolk, use "Human" as the race and put "Spiritfolk" in the Special Requests box. Make sure to list your chosen ability.) Suggested by Kairixian Moonshadow.
Other Yokai: Players may app for a special Yokai race if they have played for at least two months. We do not always approve these, as they must be extremely well written, the powers must be balanced, and they must fit within the lore. However, those which are approved may get added for others to play down the line. To app, send in an ST ticket on the Enjin account you have a character older than two months on, and we'll look into the possibility of approving them for you.