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Kami

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:49 pm
by Kylun
For 3E, did they ever stat the Kami, or describe what they look like?

Or is it one of those things where Kami are just "there" and never meant to actually be encountered?

Re: Kami

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:47 pm
by Ashtagon
Kylun wrote:For 3E, did they ever stat the Kami, or describe what they look like?

Or is it one of those things where Kami are just "there" and never meant to actually be encountered?
I think it was always intended that there is no such thing as "the kami of $sphere_of_influence". Unlike western concepts of pantheism, the Kara-Tur setting assumed numerous kami, each responsible for a very localised and/or specialised concept. As such, character who rely on the kami for their spells would typically call upon dozens of them to aid them in memorising their spells, often different kami for the same spell as they travel cross-country.

In the setting, it makes no sense to try to "defeat" them, since a mere mortal can't ascend to kami-hood in the same way that a character in certain quasi-European settings might aspire to godhood. And destroying one kami would not meaningfully affect the spells that a caster living there might be able to acquire, since the kami are so common. If you were to try, or even succeed, all you'd really achieve at a campaign level is to make all kami angry at you.

That said, the following Oriental Adventures critters can be used to stat out a kami where needed:

nature spirit
shirokinukatsukami
spirit centipede
doc cu'o'c
lung dragons

Re: Kami

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:10 pm
by ripvanwormer
The Pathfinder Bestiary 3 has a pretty good take on kami.

Re: Kami

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:18 pm
by Big Mac
Where are the rules for Kami in Kara-Tur? I don't think I've heard of this before.

Re: Kami

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:24 pm
by willpell
Since it sounds like the presentation of Kami here is pretty close to that used in the Kamigawa setting for Magic the Gathering, I'll bring that up as a counterpoint to the idea that there isn't a reason for fighting against the spirit world. Kamigawa's story revolves around an Emperor who kidnaps a particular spirit, the "child" of the "leader" of Kami-kind, in order to use the trapped spirit's energies to become immortal. Outraged by this violation of their long-standing balance with the material world, the Kami begin to manifest as monsters and attack the mortal races. You could definitely use a plot point like this in a D&D game, and you can justify using any monster that exists with no further explanation than "this is the form which a Kami has chosen to manifest in when doing battle".

Re: Kami

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:49 am
by Big Mac
willpell wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:24 pm
Since it sounds like the presentation of Kami here is pretty close to that used in the Kamigawa setting for Magic the Gathering, I'll bring that up as a counterpoint to the idea that there isn't a reason for fighting against the spirit world. Kamigawa's story revolves around an Emperor who kidnaps a particular spirit, the "child" of the "leader" of Kami-kind, in order to use the trapped spirit's energies to become immortal. Outraged by this violation of their long-standing balance with the material world, the Kami begin to manifest as monsters and attack the mortal races. You could definitely use a plot point like this in a D&D game, and you can justify using any monster that exists with no further explanation than "this is the form which a Kami has chosen to manifest in when doing battle".
There is a Kami page on Magic: The Gathering Wiki, but I'm not sure how similar the Kara-Tur kami should be.

I did find two Kami on Forgotten Realms Wiki:
  • Harooga - The greater spirit of the island of Akari and the most powerful spirit of all the Prioto islands.
  • Onoye - A lesser nature spirit, an earthbound minor deity more goddess than human, of the Wood Spirit people.
There is also a Category: Kami page, but it's broken (it's unfinished) and does not link to any other kami. So I'm not sure if any other named kamis exist, but we do have two to compare to the M:tG kami.

Re: Kami

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:08 pm
by willpell
The info in those wiki pages is too incomplete for me to really weigh in on. Kamigawa's presentation was very specific and very "Magic-y"; it doesn't translate 100% by any means, and I only brought it up to draw a parallel to the way the Kami can be used in a story, not necessarily to their actual nature as monsters or anything. I would probably never create a D&D setting where Kami take physical form in the way they did for Kamigawa; rather than having them turn into monsters and physically attack the human world, I would rather portray a human-Kami war as the Kami casting a lot of spells and curses on the humans, while priests and wizards work furiously to try and negate the effects of these hostile magics. The result doesn't work very well in D&D rules, so it'd be a very roleplay-heavy game rather than a dice-fest, but it's more akin to the way I believe godlike spirit-beings ought to be portrayed in any game setting which is meant to be taken at all seriously. I've always had a distaste for the idea that a god is just a powerful Outsider that you can kill for XP if you're in the high epic levels; I prefer them as immanent, intangible presences, with a barely-human-comprehensible mindset, where it takes years of studying philosophy and theology before you can even answer a question as basic as "what does the Kami want?", based on your observations of the magical phenomena that appear to have *possibly* been caused by that kami's direct intervention in the world. Subtle, indirect, enigmatic, frustratingly unclear and ambiguous...if a God doesn't fit these descriptors, it doesn't feel like a God IMO.