The obake-yashiki, or “Twisted Mansion,” is a mystery to all reputable scholars, be they Japanese or foreign. Found on lonely mountain paths, or just slightly off of pilgrim trails and disused trade routes, the obake-yashiki takes the form of a building such as a peasant’s hut, a shrine, a hot spring bathhouse or some other place that might be inviting to weary travellers. From a distance it appears completely normal, its only unusual or distinguishing feature being its placement, which is inevitably in wilderness or uninhabited settings rarely visited by anyone but the hardiest of wayfarers.

No one knows whether the obake-yashiki survives by consuming the souls or the bodies of its victims, and it is unclear whether the absence of corpses around its location arises from a supernatural capacity to erase the remains of its victims, or a supernatural ability to transport to a new remote location after its grisly deed has been done. But all scholars agree that the obake-yashiki is a deadly hunter, that sets traps for exclusively human prey to lure them to their death. Usually these traps take the form of some inviting sound, smell or sight such as befits the disguise the monster has taken: drifting clouds of fragrant incense from a shrine; the sound of pretty ladies giggling in a garden; the silhouette of people bathing in an outdoor hotspring; or the delicious smells of an evening meal from a peasant’s hut. This lure first acts in a completely natural fashion, but if the passing wayfarer does not respond to it with sufficient curiousity, the obake-yashiki exerts its supernatural influence, and attempts to charm its victims closer. Those who are successfully charmed in this way enter the building directly, and are lost forever unless prompt action is taken to rescue them.

If unenchanted victims come within the immediate vicinity of the building, the obake-yashiki attacks them. The form of the attack varies depending on the structure of the building: an onsen may lash out with gouts of steamy hot water; a shrine’s fox guardians may come to life and attack; the tools from the peasant’s hut may animate and strike. However, this is only the first line of attack. Should the beast’s outer guardians disable or distract defenders, the shrine will lash out with some form of appendage – again, reminiscent of the building’s form, though sometimes a more naked representation of the dark magic that animates the building – to ensnare a victim and drag them through its portal. Once inside, the victim is likely beyond help, or will be destroyed permanently and completely unless their companions immediately rush to destroy the main building. The shrine’s outer guardians can also be disabled permanently by attacking the building itself, though they will fight hard to defend it. Of course the building is both resilient and possessed of great strength, but there are two forms of attack against which all obake-yashiki are weak: fire, and earthquakes. Magical attacks that inflict either such effect on the building will destroy it quickly, or cause it to eject any recently-consumed victims and disappear.

Obake-yashiki can be driven away from an area by a suitably-skilled priest, and are vulnerable to exorcism or abjuration magic. They are impervious to slashing weapons, and take damage only slowly from bludgeoning weapons. It is said that foxes and tanuki hate them, and obake-yashiki rarely visit areas that are known to be in the territory of an enchanted fox or tanuki. To permanently destroy an obake-yashiki, so that it is rendered down to the form of a mere ruined building, requires the intervention of a priest, who will chant sutras that hold the building in place while it is destroyed with fire. Once this is done, adventurers can search the remains of the building and often will find a rich treasure gathered together from the remains of the building’s previous victims.

It is said that evil magics exist that give priests and wizards power over these buildings, and that sometimes undead or evil wizards live within them, and move around with the building. Whether this is true or not has never been confirmed, because few people survive encounters with the obake-yashiki. It is also rumoured that obake-yashiki are created from the evil deeds of past occupants, or from their unresolved rage at some past injustice. In this case, it may be possible through some quest of redemption or vengeance to quell the obake-yashiki without the aid of a priest. If this quest is successful the obake-yashiki will simply become a normal building, in whatever place it was last situated, and the person who quietened it will be forever honoured in local folklore.

However, the numbers of those honoured for such deeds is far, far smaller than the numbers of those who have died  at the hands of these vicious and deceptive beasts.

Note: obake-yashiki means “haunted house” in official Japanese, but I got the idea for this monster from the earthquake. Yesterday my colleague told me that our workplace seems like “obake-yashiki” because the earthquake alarms were going off randomly, and the halls are dark and cold (not to mention quivering in aftershocks). In Japanese, obake means “transformed” or “metamorphosed,” and thus was the idea born. I haven’t given statistics for this monster, but I think the idea is good for a random encounter or adventure trigger, and in my imagination these beasts can be as weak or as strong as the building they are formed from. The beast could also have a place in a modern manga-style Japanese campaign, set in a world like that of Witch Hunter Robin, in which case even a portaloo or an ATM hall could be an obake-yashiki. I suspect a particularly powerful and terrifying modern incarnation of this beast would be a pachinko parlour…

Note for my English readers: I’m now using this blog for communication with my Japanese players, just as I did for my English ones, so there will be occasional Japanese posts. In some cases I will also put English with them, in some cases not. My apologies if this causes your browser to render the site very very ugly.

ノームは小さいですから、普通の武器は大きいダメージができない。自分の強ささえ攻撃すれば効かないから、ダメージを強化するために,機械的な武器をよく使っています。さらに、普通の機会工学が足りないから、ノーム工学者は、機械工学と召還術を組み合わせて、いろいろな異能武器が使える。

この「蒸気散弾銃」は、ノームローグかソーサラー向けの機械的な遠隔武器である。散弾銃のなかには、幽閉された小さいスチームメプィットがある。弾薬は壊された石である。幽閉されたメプィットはこの石をつぶる。この弾薬は、使う前に壊さないといけないか、ノーム武器屋で買える。弾薬ケースの交代は1ラウンドをかかるが、ノームローグはフリアクションで交代ができる。

この散弾銃はもう1つの使い方がある。自由に、標準アクションとして、全ての弾薬を一発で打てる。この時に、円錐形攻撃をして、円錐形の中の相手は怯えさせる。このアクションは全ての弾薬を使うから、早速新しいケースを入れないといけない。

蒸気散弾銃は少し危ない。攻撃ロールは1の場合に、散弾銃が壊れるおそれがある。壊れる事件は:

  • スチームメプィットがのがれて、使用者を攻撃する
  • 散弾銃が使用者の変に爆発して、使用者は3d4ダメージを受ける
  • 散弾銃が爆発して、使用者の周りの10フィート以内の人が皆1d4ダメージを受ける

この散弾銃を使うために、特殊武器習熟が必要である。特殊武器習熟を習うように、ノーム先生を見つけて、適当な値段を払わないといけない。

詳しくは:

  • 価格:250gp
  • ダメージ(S):1d6+1
  • クリテェカル:19-20/x3
  • 射程単位:30′
  • 重量:5ポイント
  • タイプ:殴打
  • 弾薬:20発
  • 特別な攻撃:30‘x10’円錐形、中の相手は3d4ダメージを受ける(反応セーヴで半分)、反応セーヴが足りなかったら、怯え状態になる。セーヴ難易度は使用者の攻撃ロールである。

以下は英語版である。

Because Gnomes are small, their normal weapons are unable to do significant damage. Because their own strength cannot be depended upon to achieve a good effect, they use mechanical weapons to increase the damage they do. But even normal mechanical advantage can be insufficient, so they often combine mundane engineering with conjuring to produce devices that can be used for various strange weapon effects.

This Gnome Steam Rifle is an example of a type of ranged weapon ideally suited to Gnome sorcerers and rogues. A small steam mephit is trapped inside the rifle, which uses a block of pre-fragmented stone or ceramic as its ammunition. The Steam Mephit hurls pieces of this pre-fragmented cartridge from the gun. Before using the gun, the ammunition needs to be pre-fragmented and shaped, which is easy for gnomes to do with their advanced stone-working skills; but it can also be bought from gnome weapons dealers. Reloading an ammunition case takes 1 round, but gnome rogues who use this weapon are automatically able to load the ammunition case as a free action.

The rifle also has a secondary effect. At any time, the user can choose as a standard action to fire all the remaining ammunition in a single cone-shaped burst. Everyone within the area of effect of the burst takes significant damage and is at risk of becoming shaken. This action uses all remaining ammunition.

The rifle also comes with a risk of backfiring. Anytime a 1 is rolled on an attack, one of the following may occur:

  • The Steam Mephit escapes and attacks the user
  • The gun explodes back on the user, dealing 3d4 damage (no save)
  • The gun explodes outward, causing 1d4 damage on all within 10′ of the gun

In order to use this gun, an exotic weapon proficiency is required. To learn the proficiency, one must seek out and pay an appropriate fee to a Gnome trainer.

Stats:

  • Price: 250gp
  • Damage: 1d6+1
  • Critical: 19-20/x3
  • Range: 30′
  • Encumbrance: 5 points
  • Type: Crushing
  • Ammunition: 20 shots
  • Special attack: 30’x 10′ cone. Those within the cone take 3d4 damage (reflex save for half). Those who fail a reflex save are also shaken. Save DC is determined by the user’s attack roll.

Picture: The picture is the Sonification Rifle by Vladislaus Dantes.