"Treat the Kami with respect, puny fool!"
Red-faced, pot-bellied and ugly, one could be easily forgiven for thinking of the Oni as mindless demonic thugs, but such would be a grave error, for the Oni are anything but mindless. The demons of Japan, the Oni are devout followers of Shinto, and believe that Kami (spirits) inhabit all things. Shinto is the only 'true' religion, and many an upstart Buddhist has found himself the target of Oni trickery. In this they have much in common with their fellow mountain dwellers; the Tengu, and indeed, relations between the two are strong.
Regarded as somewhat barbaric, it is true that the Oni favour skins for apparel and a club for defence, but such choices are indicators of their high regard for natural life, and Oni are powerful sorcerors in reality. Despite the rise of the modern world, and growth of cities in Japan, the Oni have been the most reluctant to leave their mountain habitat and as such they remain elusive and rare. While many mixed their bloodlines with isolated hermits, mountain villagers and Shinto priests, this is the full extent of their interaction with the human world. Change is not something the Oni relish and slowly but surely they are dying out. Fewer than a dozen now exist, and they have become ever more reclusive. In years to come the only 'Oni' left will be the masked tricksters of the kabuki, and the Dreaming will die that little bit more . . .
They have an affinity with the Nature realm.
Appearance and LifestylesEdit
Oni are ugly and demonic in mien. Red-faced, large and often muscular, they all possess 3 eyes, 3 horns and 3 claws on each foot. They inevitably have thick black hair, and their teeth are fang-like and yellowed. In keeping with their primitive lifestyle, they favour simple and rugged clothing, such as coarse robes, villager's apparel, or uncured furs and hide. Wild, and dirty, even the Hannya (female Oni) care nothing for the niceties of civilised life.
Kodomo Oni are often called Bakemono (goblins), and are all but non-existent. The liveliest of their kind, they delight in playing in the wilds, and still maintain the old Oni love of trickery. In appearance they resemble chubby, demonic imps, with a wild appearance and even wilder grin.
Sozoshii Oni are the most likely to maintain any ties to Man, though these are broken off as the Oni ages. Much more serious than the Bakemono, Sozoshii is little more than a stepping stone to Toshi-ue no.
Toshi-ue no Oni usually retire to a wild hermit's existence, and disdain any but the briefest contact with others. In the rare cases they do appear, they are highly respected for their wisdom.
Oni live life as mountain villagers or isolated Shinto priests, some even residing in temples and shrines as sages and oracles. The majority become isolated as they age, and often retire to the life of a wild hermit.
Birthrights and FrailtiesEdit
As with any Kith, Oni have a few traits exclusive to them.
Strong in Maho: The Oni are justly renowned for their aptitude with Maho, gaining an extra success with any Majinai they cast. In addition, they never botch any Majinai rolls. This birthright doesn't grant them an automatic success, but increases those they already have.
Strong in Arm: The Oni are supernaturally strong, adding + 1 dot to their Strength (even above 5).
Test of Faith: Oni must make a successful Willpower roll (diff. 7) whenever they encounter a religious leader of any faith except Shinto, to avoid 'testing' them with pranks and trickery.
Demonic Mask: Oni are ugly, and many find their demonic appearance terrifying. They have an Appearance of 0.
Views on Other KithEdit
Even the Eshu have had little contact with the Oni.
Hengeyokai: Where have the Tanuki and Kitsune gone? They have left the purity of the mountains to live among Man. They always were capricious fools, but at least they continue to deflate the egos of the pompous around them.
Kappa: The reptiles are brutish and repugnant. Truly insignificant bullies, who cannot comprehend anything beyond violence. Civility is no replacement for humility.
Tengu: Our closest cousins alone understand the part they play in life, but they meddle too much in the affairs of Man. They should concentrate on the testing of faith.