Weekly Design Blog #21: We All Have a Beast Within Us, But For Some Its More Literal

Hello All,

For the past few weeks I've been discussing the various core races that can be found in, on, and around Rosuto-Shima for the Steampunk Musha setting, like the kappa, clockwork ronin, and the native humans. A few weeks ago as well, I talked about how one race needed to be more than just "tieflings with the serial number filed off" and so I present to you today the Jinteki-Oni!


The jinteki-oni are born of both human and oni ancestry. In spite of their demon ancestry, the monsterous jinteki-oni seek to live in solitude and harmony. Despite their friendly and peaceful outlook, they are as often shunned by the humans of Rosuto-Shima due to their frightening appearance and their heritage. The origin of the jinteki-oni is, in fact, often left out of history books in an effort to avoid the spread of prejudice against these gentle creatures. But a calm exterior is more than just a show, as all jinteki-oni can feel a caged oni-spirit within them raging to be set free. Doing so grants the jinteki-oni a powerful boon, but it can come at the grand cost of their own self. The Jinteki-Oni come in a wide variety. Some have claws, lots of horns, prehensile tails, a third-eye, armored skin, etc. Despite this, most jinteki-oni can trace their lineage back to one of six major clans: Clan Dark Father, Clan Man's Shadow, Clan Fire Skin, Clan Three Horns, Clan Shadow Skin, and Clan Big Bones.

In an effort to try to make the Jinteki-oni really "different" from other such 'native outsider' races, we've added a really specific, and while powerful, also dangerous to use, trait -- the Beast Within...

Jinteki-Oni Racial Traits

+2 Strength, +2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma: Jinteki-oni are strong, wise, and are shunned by Rosuto-Shimans.

Native Outsider: Jinteki-oni are outsiders (native).

Medium: Jinteki-oni are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Normal Speed: Jinteki-oni have a base speed of 30 feet.

Darkvision: Jinteki-oni can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Beast Within: Jinteki-oni all can feel the power of their oni ancestor within them, but calling on this power invites the opportunity for the jinteki-oni to lose itself, becoming an oni forever. As a full-round action, a jinteki-oni can release their inner demon, which affects them as if they cast giant form 1 on themselves, using their character level as their caster level, except that it channels as specific oni by clan. See each clan description for what additional powers are gained while channeling their beast in this form. At the end of the duration or when voluntarily dispelled, the jinteki-oni may attempt to “cage” the beast back within themselves. Doing so requires a Will save (DC = 10 + character level + 1 per minute spent in this form). Success reverts the jinteki-oni to their normal form but leaves them exhausted for as many minutes as they spent in their beast form, and fatigued for 1 hour per minute they spent in their beast form. Failure of the Will save allows the channeled oni to rule the jinteki-oni’s body in this form for 24 hours. At the end of this time, the jinteki-oni gets one last attempt at a Will save (DC = 20 + character level). Success reverts the jinteki-oni to their normal form but leaves them exhausted for 1 day per hour they spent in their beast form. Failure of this second Will save means the jinteki-oni’s mind has been caged by the oni, and are lost as they have become an oni. This fatigue and exhaustion cannot be removed or reduced by any means except by waiting the appropriate amount of time. Those jinteki-oni that have gained immunity to fatigue or exhaustion have caged their beast, and it prevents this kind of of transformation.

Clan Trait: Jinteki-oni all gain a special trait determined by which of Clan they descend from. See each clan description for more.

Maw or Claw: Jinteki-oni take on the more bestial aspects of their oni ancestors. The Jinteki-oni can choose a bite attack that deals 1d6 points of damage or two claws that each deal 1d4 points of damage. These attacks are primary natural attacks.

Frightful Visage: Jinteki-oni have the horrors of their mixed ancestry clearly marking their bodies. This grants them a +4 racial bonus to Intimidation checks, but also gives them a -5 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks and ability checks, unless the target is used to dealing with jinteki-oni.

Languages: Jinteki-oni begin play speaking Common and Giantl. Jinteki-oni with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Goblin, Imperial, Infernal, and (+3 languages)

When I first was reading about the jinteki-oni, I kept coming across these pieces written about them being these peaceful and meditative people, more likely to be monks than say raging barbarians. For an entire race to want to make a certain choice (to be reserved and calm, etc.) I preferred the idea that they have a mechanical reason for seeking harmony and tranquility, and thus the idea of the Beast Within was born. It might still need a few tweaks, and to make this write up fully playable you need at least one Clan example, so here's Clan Dark Father.

 Clan Dark Father

Members of the Dark Father Clan resemble their oni parentage more than any other Jinteki-oni. This clan quickly takes the role of mystics, warriors, and scholars. Both protecting the Jinteki-oni from physical dangers as well as plotting their destiny.

Clan Dark Father Racial Trait

Oni Shapeshift: Members of the Dark Father Clan can assume the appearance of a normal, native human of Rosuto-shima. Clan Dark Father jinteki-oni gain the shapechanger subtype. The form is static and cannot be changed, instead looking the same each time it takes this form. The jinkteki-oni gains a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear as a normal human. Changing its shape is a standard action. A Clan Dark Father jinteki-oni can maintain this appearance indefinitely while it remains conscious, but reverts to his normal form if knocked unconscious or put to sleep. In its human form, the Clan Dark Father jinteki-oni loses access to racial traits based on its appearance or original body, like its bite, claw, or frightful visage racial traits. This trait otherwise functions as alter self, save that the Jinteki-oni does not adjust their ability scores. 

Beast Within: Clan Dark Father jinkteki-oni channel kuwa oni, gaining regeneration 5 (acid and fire) and a rend attack (2d6 damage) while in beast form. This form typically reflects the kuwa oni, with golden skin, wicked claws, horns, and bulging eyes.


Of the Jinteki-oni, the Dark Father Clan are the most well socialized and similar to the rest of Rosuto-shima, both in terms of knowledge and lifestyle. Dark Father members prize martial prowess and academic discipline, and so a their daily life revolves around training, study, and community responsibility.

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!)xxx

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