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Kami

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 159
Kami are ancient, mystical, and otherworldly spirits created eons ago by the gods. Originally intended as guardians of those parts of nature that could not protect themselves, kami have proven remarkably adaptive. As the nature of reality changes, so do the kami.

There are countless species of kami—in theory, every type of animal, plant, object, and location could be served by its own type of kami. These are collectively called “wards” by kami, who often think of them similar to how a human might think of a young child placed into his or her care. In practice, there are far more wards in creation than there are kami. As such, all kami seek to reproduce and thus expand their influence—the more kami, the more wards what benefit from their protection. Accordingly, kami influence is usually regional in nature—the kami simply aren't numerous enough yet to protect all of creation.

Further complicating attempts to catalog and categorize kami is the fact that there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what sorts of wards get specific types of kami. The jinushigami, for example, are a race of kami that associate with all manner of regions, while the kodama concern themselves narrowly with the protection of specific trees. To the kami, these apparently arbitrary classifications make perfect sense, and their attempts to explain the reasoning to others generally result in confused listeners and frustrated kami. One thing that does remain constant, though, is the relationship between a kami's size and the import of its ward. A kami associated with a knife, frog, or single pebble in a stream would generally be quite small and unimposing, while a kami associated with a mountain, redwood tree, or elephant would be proportionally larger and more powerful. Of course, even here there seem to be exceptions, and frustrated scholars often wonder only half-jokingly whether the gods themselves vary these rules only to cause scholastic arguments and frustration.

Kami come into existence either as a spontaneously manifesting spirit or as the reincarnation of a particularly noble soul. Souls of creatures who died to protect an element of nature are particularly prone to returning to life as a kami. In this latter way, many kami arise from the souls of dedicated rangers or druids who perished while defending their homelands, or monks who spent a lifetime meditating on the serenity of nature. Once reincarnated, however, few kami remember any of their former lives, and their forms never resemble their former bodies. The rare kami who do recall their prior lives are the kami most likely to become more than mere guardians—these kami often take class levels and grow quite powerful.

Kami exist as ever-morphing spirits rather than souls trapped in concrete forms. Most exist to watch over a single tree, stone, or bend of a stream, and can have no more influence on the world than a single insect. A kami spends the majority of its existence merged with its ward—in this shape, it has no ability to interact with the world at all, but it can observe its surroundings with ease. There is no reliable way to determine whether an object, plant, animal, or location is protected by a kami, so those who travel or live in regions where kami are common generally assume that everything has a kami guardian. The kami do little to dissuade this, since the belief that kami are present is often just as potent a protection as having a kami in the first place.

All kami can assume physical form. Most somewhat resemble their ward, but again, in apparent eagerness to baffle and frustrate scholars, this is not always the case. When a kami assumes physical form, it always initially appears adjacent to its ward, manifesting suddenly as if teleporting. It is considered impolite by kami to pop into view, though—most prefer to manifest bodies while hiding, such as behind a tree, then step out of hiding to reveal themselves to those they wish to speak to.

Kami are generally a peaceable race, cohabitating with friendly fey and other magical beings that reside in natural environments. Dryads and treants alike find the company of kami to be quite favorable, as these noble spirits are willing to defend their lands to the death. Being more destructive, troublesome fey find themselves unwelcome in lands overseen by kami, who use the power of nature itself to obliterate intruders who make a nuisance of themselves. Kami's peaceful nature never vanishes more quickly than when they face oni, however, for no other creature is as hated by the kami as these. Kami view oni as defilers of the natural world and monsters whose goals and actions are in direct conflict with those of the nature spirits. When oni are spotted in areas guarded by kami, all kami alert each other to this intrusion, and band together to root out the dark presence. The fact that when a kami falls from grace it runs the risk of becoming an oni has much to do with this hatred—essentially, kami see oni as physical proof of their race's capacity for failure and shame.

While kami are rarely evil, they place the protection of their wards above all else. Often, this puts them at odds with other creatures, and as a result, many tend to view kami as troublemakers at best and outright monsters at worst. The kami have little care for how they are viewed by non-kami, of course—what matters to them is the safety of their wards.

The most powerful kami are known as kami lords. These mysterious and unique creatures are fantastically powerful, often on par with demigods or greater entities.

Creatures in "Kami" Category

NameCR
Dosojin7
Dunagh4
Fukujin3
Jinushigami20
Kaminari17
Kodama5
Shikigami2
Suijin14
Toshigami15
Zuishin10

Kami, Jinushigami

This enormous amalgamation of stone and plant matter takes the shape of an old man leaning on an equally huge staff.

Jinushigami CR 20

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 160
XP 307,200
N Gargantuan outsider (earth, kami, native)
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., true seeing; Perception +38

Defense

AC 34, touch 14, flat-footed 26 (+7 Dex, +1 dodge, +20 natural, –4 size)
hp 348 (24d10+216); fast healing 20
Fort +25, Ref +17, Will +23
DR 15/cold iron and bludgeoning; Immune bleed, mind-affecting effects, petrification, polymorph; Resist acid 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 31

Offense

Speed 50 ft., burrow 40 ft.; earth glide
Melee +5 quarterstaff +32/+27/+22/+17 (3d6+14), +5 quarterstaff +32 (3d6+9) or 2 slams +29 (2d10+9)
Space 20 ft., Reach 20 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +30)
Constant—true seeing, speak with animals, speak with plants, stone tell
At will—detect thoughts (DC 22), greater teleport (self only, only within the boundaries of its ward), stone shape, wood shape
3/day—control plants (DC 28), earthquake (DC 28), heal, repel metal or stone, summon nature’s ally IX
1/day—true resurrection

Statistics

Str 28, Dex 25, Con 28, Int 23, Wis 24, Cha 31
Base Atk +24; CMB +37 (+39 bull rush and overrun); CMD 55 (57 vs. bull rush and overrun)
Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Acrobatics +31 (+39 when jumping), Bluff +37, Diplomacy +34, Heal +34, Intimidate +34, Knowledge (geography) +33, Knowledge (nature) +33, Perception +38, Sense Motive +38, Spellcraft +33, Stealth +22, Survival +31
Languages Common, Terran; speak with animals, speak with plants, stone tell, telepathy 300 ft.
SQ infused quarterstaff, manipulate terrain, merge with ward, ward (region)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure triple

Special Abilities

Infused Quarterstaff (Su) Any quarterstaff a jinushigami wields functions as a +5 quarterstaff (unless the quarterstaff already has a greater enhancement bonus). If a jinushigami is within its regional ward, it can create a Gargantuan quarterstaff out of the surrounding terrain as a standard action.

Manipulate Terrain (Su) A jinushigami can help any number of creatures travel within its territory. Creatures aided in this way receive a +10 bonus on Survival checks and do not suffer reductions to overland movement from terrain or lack of a highway or other roadway, regardless of the presence of roads or the type of terrain they actually travel through. Alternatively, a jinushigami can make terrain more difficult for any number of creatures to travel through, imparting a –10 penalty on all Survival checks and causing overland movement to be reduced to one-tenth its normal speed. A jinushigami can affect as many creatures as it wishes with this ability, selecting whether it aids or impedes travel for each, as long as it can notice the creature and the creature is within its regional ward. A jinushigami may use this ability while merged with its ward.

Ward (Su) A jinushigami treats an entire region as its ward. This region can be a single forest, swamp, mountain, lake, or any other natural feature, with a maximum radius of 5 miles. Most jinushigami have smaller regional wards, since not all regions are large enough to fill this area, but no region with a radius smaller than 1 mile radius can support (or deserves) a jinushigami. As long as it is within its territory (either merged with it or in its physical form), a jinushigami can observe the world from any point within its regional ward as if it were at that point. While merged with its ward, it can observe all points simultaneously in this way. As a standard action, it can convey information about a creature within its ward (effectively imparting a description and exact location) to all kami within its regional ward.

Description

Guardians of significant natural wonders like mountains, large lakes, forests, and so on, jinushigami (known also as land kami) are the most powerful and revered of all kami, commanding the very forces of nature itself to ensure the safety and security of their wards. These potent spirits garner the most respect among other kami, wielding great influence over both them and the native creatures that dwell within their territories. Jinushigami tend to stay hidden amongst their land, however, knowing that their intimate tie with the environment makes them highly desirable targets among those who would seek to do harm to nature.

Strangers to lands protected by jinushigami are well-advised to take the utmost care to not offend the powerful spirit creatures. When displeased, jinushigami can eradicate trails and warp the contours of their terrain, forcing travelers to endure unreasonable hardship in travel. These goliaths have little patience for those who would defile their efforts, and offenders who fail to listen to a jinushigami’s initial hints quickly discover how devastating the kami’s powers can be as they are forced from the land either by the lesser kami who serve their superior or by the towering jinushigami itself. Of course, those who respect and honor the jinushigami see the kami’s other side, as the kami eases their travel by lessening undergrowth, shifting rivers, and otherwise providing subtle but incredible aid to travelers.

Jinushigami are ancient and wise, and while they are no fools, they prefer to give visitors to their domains the benefit of the doubt. Only when an individual makes known his disruptive intentions toward the structure and cohesion of nature does a jinushigami react with violence. Of course, those who align themselves with naturally opposing forces of the kami, such as the oni, do not receive this friendly grace period, and a jinushigami can perceive most treacherous thoughts, sensing a suspicious visitor through its connection with the land, then tracking it down to stealthily observe it more closely.

A jinushigami is 38 feet tall and weighs over 30,000 pounds. When they manifest physical bodies, they appear as lumbering humanoid forms made of earth and stone and plant matter, sometimes with strange humanoid affectations like hats or jewelry.

Elder Jinushigami

Of all the kami, land kami are the most ancient and powerful, yet even among these immense outsiders there are variations in that power. Newly formed jinushigami have statistics as presented above, but a jinushigami grows more powerful as the legend and fame of the site it guards grows. For example, a jinushigami of part of a mountain range is impressive, but a jinushigami whose region includes the range’s tallest mountain is even more so.

When a jinushigami becomes this powerful, it is known as an elder jinushigami. An elder jinushigami is generally a Colossal creature, and rarely has fewer than 28 Hit Dice—most are between CR 22 and CR 25, although exact details vary. An elder jinushigami’s ward can cover a much larger area than that of a typical jinushigami, usually with a radius of 1 mile per CR possessed by the elder jinushigami. An elder jinushigami also gains additional spell-like abilities to more closely reflect its role in the world. Listed below are several examples.

Glacier Kami: An elder jinushigami associated with a vast glacier, be it one that carves mountains or runs along a polar coastline, appears as a humanoid made of blocks of ice. These kami have the cold subtype instead of the earth subtype (and thus gain immunity to cold and vulnerability to fire), and can use cone of cold and wall of ice as spell-like abilities three times per day each.

Great Reef Kami: An elder jinushigami whose domain contains a sizable coral reef of considerable age appears as a humanoid constructed of living coral draped with seaweed. Great reef kami have the water subtype instead of the earth subtype, gain the aquatic subtype (and the amphibious special quality), gain a swim speed of 60 ft., and gain the ability to use tsunami once per day as a spell-like ability.

Mountain Kami: When an elder jinushigami’s ward includes the tallest peak in a range or region, it gains the use of flesh to stone and wall of stone three times per day each.

Volcano Kami: An elder jinushigami that includes in its ward an active volcano appears as a humanoid made of equal parts molten rock and solid stone. A volcano kami has the fire subtype instead of the earth subtype (and thus gains immunity to fire and vulnerability to cold), can use fireball three times per day as a spell-like ability, and can use wall of lava once per day as a spell-like ability.