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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, Kaminari

This enormous humanoid possesses vibrant green skin and equally loud hair, and is surrounded by a ring of huge drums and storm clouds.

Kaminari CR 17

Source Pathfinder #52: Forest of Spirits pg. 86
XP 102,400
CN Huge outsider (air, kami, native)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +29

Defense

AC 32, touch 13, flat-footed 27 (+5 Dex, +19 natural, –2 size)
hp 264 (23d10+138); fast healing 15
Fort +19, Ref +12, Will +18
DR 15/cold iron; Immune bleed, electricity, mind-affecting effects, petrification, polymorph, sonic; Resist acid 10, fire 10; SR 28
Weaknesses vulnerable to silence

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 slams +30 (2d8+9 plus cacophonous blow)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks trample (2d8+13 plus cacophonous blow, DC 30)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +27)
At will—invisibility (self only), shatter (DC 19), sound burst (DC 19)
3/day—control weather, deafening song bolt, discordant blast, greater dispel magic, mass cacophonous call (DC 22)
1/day—empowered chain lightning (DC 23), greater shout (DC 25), storm of vengeance (DC 26)

Statistics

Str 28, Dex 21, Con 22, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 25
Base Atk +23; CMB +34; CMD 49
Feats Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Empower Spell-Like Ability (chain lightning), Great Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Iron Will, Power Attack, Stand Still, Trample, Vital Strike
Skills Bluff +33, Diplomacy +33, Fly +35, Intimidate +33, Knowledge (nature) +29, Knowledge (planes) +29, Perception +29, Perform (percussion) +30, Sense Motive +29
Languages Auran, Common; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ merge with ward, storm ward

Ecology

Environment temperate skies, hills, and mountains
Organization solitary, duet, or symphony (3–5)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Cacophonous Blow (Su) Whenever a kaminari deals damage with a slam or trample attack, it also deals 11d6 points of sonic damage. In addition, a creature struck with this ability is rendered permanently deaf. A creature that makes a successful DC 27 Reflex save takes half damage and avoids the deafening effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Storm Ward (Su) A kaminari treats a specific mass of transient storm clouds as its ward. This storm is about 1 mile in diameter, and a kaminari can observe the world from any point within its storm ward, whether merged with it or in its physical form. A kaminari can only control the movement of its ward to a minimal extent, willing it to remain in one place or move in a cardinal direction for up to 2d4 hours every day. After this time, the ward continues on its natural course for 24 hours, after which the kaminari may will it to remain stationary again. When a kaminari is in its physical form and within its ward or within 120 feet of its ward’s boundaries, it gains the power to call down bolts of lightning. The kaminari can call up to a total of 15 bolts of lightning each day, each of which deals 5d10 points of electricity damage. This ability is otherwise identical to call lightning storm.

Vulnerable to Silence (Su) A kaminari constantly surrounds itself with sound and music, and can’t stand any form of silence. Whenever a kaminari is affected by a silence spell or effect or is rendered deaf by any means, it loses its cacophonous blow ability and its fast healing for the duration of the effect. But because a kaminari possesses incredible resilience to such effects, any silence or deafening effect lasts only 2d4 rounds or as long as the effect’s duration states, whichever is shorter.

Description

Kaminaris are robust spirits of enormous size that watch over the balance of weather, taking the form of violent storms wherever they go. More monstrous-looking and boisterous than most kami, kaminaris are often mistaken for oni upon first glance, their unpredictable natures furthering the confusion. Kaminaris care little for most mortals, primarily concerning themselves with the maintenance and protection of their wards— enormous storm clouds that represent the awesome power of thunder and lightning. In addition to their duties guarding their storm wards and the balance of weather, kaminaris are endlessly fascinated with musical instruments, particularly drums.

Kaminaris have vibrant skin and equally colorful features; the specific hues vary from kaminari to kaminari. A kaminari stands roughly 25 feet tall and weighs about 10 tons.

Ecology

Though a kaminari commands the awe-inspiring powers of lightning and thunder as though they were simply extensions of itself, the kami of storms have limited power over their wards. As dictated by the obscure and convoluted Laws of Golden Perfection, a kaminari has only limited ability to will its ward to travel in any particular direction or halt its movement for a modest amount of time per day. Thus it is often merely a passenger upon the clouds of a storm. Though most storms collect and dissipate with some frequency, a kami-inhabited storm is more permanent than most weather patterns, and as long as both the kami and its ward are neither destroyed nor corrupted, the storm could exist for a potentially infinite amount of time.

Kaminaris despise the use of magic to alter weather patterns, and attempts to disrupt their storm clouds often result in the enormous kami’s unabashed and wrathful ire. A kaminari is as volatile as the storm it protects, and the powerful spirit is quick to exterminate any creature—mortal or otherwise—it deems a threat to the natural balance of weather. Whether an evil sorcerer is trying to bring devastation to a seaside town by calling forth powerful hurricanes or a benevolent wizard is summoning rain to save a desert city in the midst of a natural drought, if such manipulation comes to the attention of the watchful and wandering kaminaris, they find little forgiveness. This is not to suggest that the kami of storms are evil—their threshold for nuisances is simply lower than most kami, and their punishments more destructive.

Habitat & Society

Floating thousands of feet above most civilizations, kaminaris are usually isolated from other creatures, and this suits the reclusive kami just fine. A kaminari does not interfere with the matters of mortals beyond the natural destruction caused by its storm clouds, and only aides such diminutive creatures when the task would be required of it because of some stricture of the Laws of Golden Perfection. Once a kaminari has fulfilled its required duty, it is only too happy to continue on its way, where it can remain uninterrupted as it creates its music and fills the air around it with thunder and lightning.

A kaminari is as devoted to its ward as it is to the practice of music, and the intensity of the storm it sits upon usually corresponds to the amount of aggression with which it plays its instrument. While it rarely cares to interact with mortals, tending first and foremost to its ward, a kaminari may entertain the idea of interacting with a fellow virtuoso. Kaminaris thus have a great affection for bards who practice an instrument, and will occasionally interrupt their diligent guardianship of their storm if doing so allows them the opportunity to play with a skillful accompanist. Amateurs need not apply, as the immortal kaminaris are often among the best players of their instruments, commanding powers of music so stirring that even the most talented bard might have trouble keeping up.

A kaminari goes to great lengths to surround itself with booming noise, and is rarely seen without its instrument of choice. While most kaminaris prefer to use drums and other percussion instruments to fill the air around them with sound, rare individuals also adhere to the use of keyboard, string, and wind instruments. The powers of these kaminaris do not greatly differ, but their choice of instrument is usually a fair indicator of their temperament as well as the kind of storm they travel upon—those who play keyboards are usually found amid desert-quenching storms that wander arid environments, bringing with them the power of tornadoes and dust storms; players of string instruments tend toward oceanic environs, residing within the hearts of devastating hurricanes of incredible magnitude far out at sea; and kaminaris who use wind instruments occupy blizzards, commanding the powers of the ice and snow that constantly whip about them.