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Oni, Ja Noi

This hunchbacked, fiery-skinned humanoid possesses black eyes beneath the bony ridges of its brow, wears elaborate heavy armor, and wields an ornate metal club.

Ja Noi CR 5

Source Pathfinder #52: Forest of Spirits pg. 90
XP 1,600
LE Medium outsider (goblinoid, native, oni, shapechanger)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10


AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+2 armor, +2 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 57 (6d10+24); regeneration 3 (acid or fire)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +3


Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk tetsubo +11/+6 (1d10+6/x4)
Ranged longbow +8/+3 (1d8/3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +8)
3/day—command (DC 13), doom (DC 13), fly, magic weapon
1/day—bull’s strength


Str 19, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 22
Feats Cleave, Outflank, Power Attack
Skills Bluff +11, Disguise +11, Fly +11, Intimidate +11, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +11
Languages Common, Goblin
SQ change shape (Small or Medium humanoid, alter self ), serene fighter


Environment temperate or warm hills
Organization solitary, patrol (2–4), warband (5–7 plus 8–15 hobgoblins), or company (8–12 plus 20–50 hobgoblins, 1–2 lieutenants of 4th–5th level, and 1 general of 7th– 10th level)
Treasure standard (masterwork leather armor, masterwork tetsubo, longbow with 20 arrows, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Serene Fighter (Su) A ja noi is extremely disciplined and maintains its focus even in the midst of combat. Once per day as an immediate action, a ja noi may reroll a Will save.


A ja noi is an oni spirit that takes the form of a hobgoblin, and differs physically from the hobgoblins in a variety of ways, most notably its unearthly strength and distorted appearance. A ja noi’s skin blazes a fiery red rather than a drab gray, and the oni bears prominent ridges on its brow and forehead.

Ja noi live to fight. While not as physically powerful as most oni, ja noi nonetheless have an insatiable thirst for combat that drives them to pursue the trials of battle and bloodshed. The sensation of hot blood splattering on a ja noi’s skin provokes an adrenaline rush that only fuels its lust for the kill. Its broad, tightly muscled physique and prowess in combat inspire awe within typical hobgoblins, who see the ja noi as a leader who ensures victory in their conquests.

Towering over the hobgoblins it resembles, a ja noi stands a little over 6 feet tall and weighs about 220 pounds.


All oni believe the Material Plane’s inhabitants fail to take advantage of the wealth of sensations they have at their disposal. While most of these evil spirits inhabit shells and rise to power by working behind the scenes— manipulating others into doing most of their foul deeds for them—ja noi take a more direct approach, conquering and slaughtering any who would stand against them and their armies. Ja noi embrace the carnal joys of slaughter, and no situation is more pleasant to a ja noi than the heat of combat upon a war-ravaged battlef ield. These hardened oni often recognize the inevitable outcome of their warlike tendencies, knowing that death could always be just around the corner; this knowledge, however, only further stimulates their greed for sensation, inspiring them to embrace every f ight, as they know it could be their last. A ja noi silences its mind and ignores everything else while on the battlef ield, reveling in the current moment and the sensations of combat: the crunch of bones beneath a worn club, the spray of dying foes’ blood, and the scattered guts and heads of fallen brawlers.

Like other oni, ja noi possess the ability to change shape, and often use this ability to confuse enemies in the midst of battle, altering their appearances to look like allies, only to bash in an unsuspecting foe’s head before the victim knows what’s happened. This brutish trickery is usually the extent of a ja noi’s guile, however, as the hobgoblin oni are hardly known for their cunning. Even in regard to tactics, ja noi usually implement only the basest plans of action, simply relying on their weaker minions to take the brunt of an opposing army’s blow while they target the commanders, always seeking the most worthy challenger and forever striving for that feeling that comes just as one is f ighting for one’s life. The most powerful ja noi are exceptions to this rule, however, and tales tell of expert ja noi leaders who excel in both physical prowess and tactical wit. These commanders quickly reach the status of generals, and work alongside other oni to manipulate vast armies of soldiers, both humanoid and goblinoid.

Once they take physical form, ja noi rarely last more than a couple years on the Material Plane, their deadly lifestyle often a limiting factor in this regard. They either die in battle or at the hands of mutinous troops or allies, minions who realize that they are merely pawns in the game of war that the ja noi is constantly playing. Thus, most of these oni practice their battle skills constantly against one another, their strongest hobgoblin followers, and their adroit adversaries, always fighting and becoming more powerful. While they care little for the arcane, ja noi hone some magical abilities in order to inflict maximum damage on the battlefield, and a few even seek out magical items to bolster their strength.

Habitat & Society

Whereas many oni prefer to act alone and in secret, ja noi recognize the concept of strength in numbers, and understand that banding together is often a surer way to glorious victories than lone pursuits. The rare lone ja noi may seek out renowned heroes and martial senseis to challenge in one-on-one combat, but most of these creatures know the best way to demonstrate their prowess is in the midst of the chaotic battlefield in front of other oni, especially fellow ja noi. Often, when ja noi work together to bring carnage to the field of war, they keep track of each other’s kills, ranking one another in terms of strength and skill. An individual who shows cowardice repeatedly or does not prove a useful ally swiftly meets the blade of a supposed comrade, as ja noi have little patience for weak accomplices.

Ja noi are seen as lowly and primal by other oni, but they possess immense amounts of authority among the lesser hobgoblins around them, and so they surround themselves with these minions, viewing them as useful fodder for the battles to come. During the fight, a ja noi’s amateur hobgoblin warriors combat the masses of the opposing army, allowing the prideful oni to engage the commanders. Having found what they consider an ideal militaristic race, ja noi prefer to use hobgoblins for their war campaigns if possible, though they settle for other soldiers if doing so clearly benefits the oni and they have the mortals’ unquestioning loyalty. More often, a ja noi will employ non-hobgoblin minions to serve as slaves or some other form of chattel, putting them to work crafting armor and weapons or cleaning up during the aftermath of a successful battle.

In rare cases, more powerful oni ask ja noi to lead armies against particularly stubborn groups of opponents. Ja noi rarely refuse such requests, knowing that much blood will be shed in the ventures—and that denying the requests of stronger oni is a sure path to a quick death. Like all oni, ja noi despise and seek out kami, reveling in the destruction of minor spirits and hunting the more powerful individuals for the sheer challenge of it. Because of the strictures of the Laws of Golden Perfection, ja noi cannot directly slay kami, and so they work to direct their vicious hobgoblin armies to complete the task instead.

In extremely rare cases, when they have no campaigns to wage and no humanoid enemies to battle, ja noi simply disappear into the wilderness to fight the mightiest creatures they can find. Laying waste to big game such as bulettes and owlbears can distract a ja noi between large-scale battles, but it doesn’t take long before the natural warrior quickly feels the lust for battle surge within it once again. Given too much time between skirmishes, a ja noi might turn its violent attention toward its followers, slaughtering entire hobgoblin tribes out of frustration and madness. Canny hobgoblins in service to a bloodthirsty ja noi are wise to find opposing groups for the oni to battle, that the resulting conflict might temporarily sate the ja noi’s incessant desire for war.

Creatures in "Oni" Category

Earth Yai13
Fire Yai15
Ice Yai14
Ja Noi5
Ogre Mage8
Spirit Oni2
Void Yai20
Water Yai18
Wind Yai16
Yamabushi Tengu5


Source Bestiary 3 pg. 205
Oni are a race of evil spirits, native to the Material Plane, that manifest physical bodies based upon the shapes and desires of humanoid mortals. In pure spirit form, an oni is nothing but a disembodied evil longing for the sins of the flesh. In this form, oni are harmless and invisible. The majority of these bodiless oni were once kami who failed their wards, or more often, who deliberately abandoned them. As punishment, they were stripped of their ability to form a physical body and then cast into the void. Rarely, a mortal creature's soul can become a disembodied oni upon death, or in even rarer cases, after a truly evil individual has undergone a particularly vile ritual that ends in suicide. These oni are more often destined for positions of great power and strength than most.

Eventually, an oni's spirit manifests a physical body on the Material Plane. The methods by which this may occur vary, but the process generally takes place in areas already despoiled by sin, tragedy, or cruelty. The type of oni a spirit transforms into is influenced by a wide variety of variables, ranging from the nature of what the oni spirit was before to the location where it is reborn into the realm of flesh and blood. Once an oni manifests its physical body, that body becomes its true form for the rest of its life—all oni are shapechangers, but this original form is the form in which they are born and the form they revert to upon death.

An oni's true form is always similar to that of a specific type of humanoid, save that it is always deformed and monstrous to look upon. Tusks, additional eyes, or strangely colored skin are common physical attributes. Yet while they have hideous forms, all oni are capable of changing their shape to assume forms more pleasant to the civilized eye. The type of shapes an oni can assume depend upon its species, but all can transform into some form of humanoid. Oni use this ability to infiltrate humanoid societies, either to prey upon the weak or to rule them in disguise.

In order to understand oni, it is important to consider that most of these beings were once spirits tasked with protecting a material realm they now believe is undeserving of such care and concern—indeed, the physical world is to be dominated and consumed. They arrive in physical form starved for sensory experience, and never fully sate their desire to gorge on such experiences. Most oni seek to attain positions of leadership and power, often in the guise of a normal humanoid, in order to secure a never-ending supply of sensory experiences. It is also important to understand that oni's immoderation is also motivated by their corrupted and evil natures—that is, no pleasure is more enjoyable than one that deprives or wounds another.

Oni retain their hatred of the kami upon reentering the Material Plane as physical creatures, and often their depredations and violations of the world can be directly tied to their efforts to destroy kami or the kami's works. Oni tend not to congregate with others of their kind, being most comfortable in positions of leadership over enslaved or oppressed societies populated by humanoids they can masquerade as. Yet, at times, particularly powerful oni abandon this mindset and instead gather to their side entire legions of oni drawn from all types. The oni known collectively as the yai—oni with an affinity for true giants—are most often responsible for such actions, and when a yai builds such an army of oni, the humanoid lands shake with terror.

Theoretically, as many types of oni exist as there are types of humanoids, although in reality, certain types of oni are much more populous than others. The ogre mage, an oni associated with ogres, is the best-known and most commonly encountered type of oni, for reasons that still send scholars of oni lore into spiraling arguments with seemingly no end. Beyond the oni detailed on the following pages, the atamahuta (ettins), ja noi (hobgoblins), nogitsune (kitsune), and wind yai (cloud giants) are relatively well known. Oni with associations to bugbears, great cyclopes, stone giants, trolls, troglodytes, and other races exist as well. And above even the mighty void yai there exist the oni demigods—entities of nearly incomprehensible power known as the oni daimyo.

Known Oni Daimyo

Countless oni stalk the world, slaking their greed and bloodlust to the misery of humanoids. The great leaders among the oni, beings known as daimyo, are as numerous as the nations of the world, and all oni seek to climb the rungs of power to become such powerful entities. The following list includes oni daimyo that have power in ways that make them known and feared outside their own domains. Most of these nefarious oni command armies or control points through which other oni can enter the world.
  • Akuma, the Horned King (ogre mage)
  • Chimon, Hunter of Blood (ogre mage)
  • Guyuku, the Sea Devil (water oni)
  • Inma, Empress of the World (void oni)
  • Muronna, the Dark Mother (ogre mage)
  • Nataka, the Red King (fire oni)
  • Onmyuza, Dancer in Flesh (ogre mage)
  • Ushitora, Keeper of the Oni Gate (void oni)
  • Uzumae, Daimyo of the North (kuwa oni)
  • Yabu, Lord of the Kazan Caldera (fire oni)