Lore Bite: Yokai

Division 6 Dossier: Yokai, Common Knowledge, Summary

The word yokai, in the Empire, refers generally to any supernatural being or creature that spends most of its time physically manifested in the prime material realm. The term is capitalized to Yokai when referring to sentient non-Human species such as Kappa, Oni, etc., beings who may or may not coexist with Humans as members of modern society. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between yokai and kami - the spiritual manifestation of things and ideas - and the definition blurs at the edges. Oni, for example, are thought to have been born into existence originally as the manifestation of nio, or guardians, a mythological concept that could as easily have led to their evolution as kami instead of physical beings. 

There are almost as many yokai as there are kami, manifested by the myths, fears, hopes, and dreams of society over the past millennia. All yokai are a product of that key tenet of the NewEdo game world - that belief defines reality - suggesting that every supernatural creature that exists was at some point imagined into reality. Sentient yokai have imaginations too, and the tenet holds as well for them as anyone, so the forms that yokai take can be wildly diverse, not restricted by the limits of Human creativity. When the monsters begin dreaming of monsters, things can get weird. 

Their metaphysical genesis often leads to the very pragmatic question of whether yokai can replicate or procreate. The short answer is yes; yokai can procreate. The longer answer, getting into the biology and genetics thereof, lays far, far, beyond the desire of Salty Games to write. There are children Saru and Kitsune, etc., and there are rules for a being from one Lineage having the culture of another Lineage - that may indicate the viability of cross breeding, or it may just suggest a loving tradition of inter-species adoption in the Empire. Whatever you choose to assume is none of my business. 

As a final point, the Yokai recognized in the core rulebook are not the only sentient Lineages in the game world, past or present. Yokai who held prominence in the past have been eradicated and forgotten, intentionally (like the Waru), or by the vagaries of Fate. Other sentient supernatural beings have taken stock of Imperial society and decided not to join that particular journey on the Wheel. Outside the neon glow of urban NewEdo, high on the slopes of Kuroyama, deep into the wastes of Tamashinda, and past where the paved roads of Saito end at the edge of the verdant Matsubayashi, the Empire is populated by a variety of intelligent monsters and myths who have a whole different set of priorities. Some of them may even be friendly.

Back to blog