The best-laid plans still go awry, sometimes ending in absolute catastrophe. Kijin are the living legacy of one man’s total failure. This man, known today only as He-Who-Betrayed, sought power in an ancient elven empire by binding demons and dark spirits to himself. With many oni at his command, he began to replace key officials and nobles with the shapeshifting spirits, commanding them to subtly spread his influence.
Things were going pretty well, right up until the first kijin started being born and exposed his agents.
He-Who-Betrayed plunged the empire into civil war, hoping to rule the ashes of its greatness if nothing else. He was not anticipating that the half-breeds he had inadvertently created would not only be out of his control, but not able to be bound in the way he had bound the oni. In exchange for amnesty and acceptance, the kijin turned against their oni parents and He-Who-Betrayed, driving evil from the empire and preserving it.
The empire later fell, as empires do, but the kijin remain. Every few generations, kijin are born to elves—the result of sorcerous taint in the line. Every now and again an oni and an elf have a child, usually as the result of some plot on the oni’s part, and kijin result from these unions as well. Both are accepted warily by the elves who remember the heroism of the original kijin while at the same time distrusting the darkness they can see within their shapeshifting cousins.
Kijin are somewhat larger and stockier than elves, with a blade-like shape to their ears and deep, dark skin color. Kijin lack the angular look of elves, with blunt features that call ogre heritage to mind rather than fey grace. The broader stature of kijin means that their armor and tools often more closely resemble those designed for humans or dwarves than those for elves, though they tend to retain a certain grace and loving attention to detail found in elven craft. Kijin have an innate fondness for silver and hand-forged iron (metals useful in hunting evil outsiders) and often own weapons made of one or even both of those metals.
Kijin are often very frustrated people; raised in a society that publicly honors their heritage while at the same time striving to keep them from any real power or achievement, kijin deal with feeling unwanted for most of their childhood and eventually leave home to find somewhere that wants them around. While not precisely driven to goodness, kijin have an affinity for hunting and harming evil beings and punishing sinners that makes trying to join most evil organizations a poor fit for them, and most end up resorting to shapeshifting to blend into societies that have not heard of them. Deception and dissimilation become second nature, leaving the kijin with abiding trust issues and the keen knowledge that they themselves are the problem.
Kijin are charming, self-confident, persuasive and driven people. They are also attracted to evil, with an almost primal need to “punish” sinners and evildoers that goes well past justice and into a sort of racial sadism. Some indulge, justifying their actions by pointing to the heinousness of their victims. Others restrain themselves, understanding that doing evil unto evil is not morally justified. Both kinds of kijin tend to be goal-oriented people with a talent for bigger-picture thinking. Unfortunately, kijin miss out on small details a lot and their plans can be undone by things they considered irrelevant. This lack of attentiveness is partially an inborn arrogance, but mostly it is the result of living their lives restraining the alien urges from their oni blood, an affair that is distracting at best and all-consuming at worst. This is, in large part, why many kijin cannot stay in one place for too long—when they get outed as shapeshifters their friends cease trusting them, forcing the kijin to move on
The birth of a kijin to an elven family is, theoretically, a great honor. Socially it is treated as anything but, and dark suspicion falls upon the parents of a kijin, and eventually the kijin themselves. Everyone is polite to kijin while at the same time trying to bar them from true achievement, and the result is that the vast majority of kijin run away from home, and are not really looked for afterwards.
Where a kijin goes from there determines the kind of person they become. The vast majority attempt to be accepted amongst other races, which, admittedly, sometimes works—a kijin with a mentor such as a wizard, or who finds a particularly open-minded race can thrive without shapeshifting. Most hone their innate magic until they can successfully pass themselves off as another humanoid race and hide their heritage for all their lives are worth. Inevitably the kijin’s lies catch up with them and they are forced to move on, leaving them bitter and lonely.
Battle comes naturally to kijin, who have a deep-rooted killer instinct and a knack for sensing evil. That same eagerness to hurt and harm alienates them from goodaligned beings, who instinctively shy away from the killer amongst them. Sadly, many kijin give up on acceptance and wander the world for whatever they can get out of it, becoming bitter mercenaries and assassins-for-hire so they can get their fix.
Kijin adventure for many reasons, but the most common one is that adventuring parties are a place to belong where they neither have to justify themselves nor hide who they are. Adventurers are strange by definition, and a part-fiend amongst mercenaries sounds more like a useful skill set than an abomination most of the time. Kijin often become magi, inquisitors and sorcerers, with martial classes taking a close second. Most kijin are not especially faithful—a legacy of their oni blood—and do not make good clerics or druids, and while they are talented oracles kijin rarely choose that path. As shapeshifters, kijin have the opportunity to get to know other races as members of that race, and as a result rarely hold racial prejudices for long.
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Kijin are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Other Racial Traits
Speed: Kijin have a base speed of 30 feet.
Innate Sorcery (Sp): Kijin have magic from their oni blood; they gain the following as spell-like abilities usable once per day each: alter self, darkness, and detect evil, cast as a sorcerer of their character level.
Retribution (Ex) Once per encounter, the kijin may make an attack of opportunity against a creature that damages them in melee. They gain an additional use per encounter of this ability every 5 character levels.
Sin Harvest (Su) The kijin gains 2 temporary hit points whenever it deals damage to a non-good creature, which increases to temporary hit points equal to its character level (minimum 2) if that creature is evil. These temporary hit points last for up to 1 minute and do not stack with themselves.
Darkvision (Ex) Kijin can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Low-light Vision (Ex) Kijin can see twice as far as humans in dim light.
Languages: Kijin begin play speaking Common, Elven and Giant. Kijin with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Celestial, Dwarven, Gnome, or Halfling.
Alternate Racial Traits
Arcane Heritage (Ex) Some kijin retain the arcane aptitude of the elf. They get a +2 racial bonus to caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance. In addition, they receive a +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft checks made to identify the properties of magical items. This replaces darkvision.
Evil’s Bane (Su) Some kijin are so vindictive towards evil that their malice affects their physical tools. The kijin increases his weapon’s enhancement bonus by +1 when attacking evil-aligned creatures, and deals an additional 2 damage with weapon attacks against such creatures. This replaces sin harvest.
Invisibility (Sp): Some kijin are blessed with subtlety rather than sorcerous might; they cast invisibility as a spell-like ability once per day, as a sorcerer of their character level. This replaces innate sorcery.
Sin Soaked (Su) Some kijin can project their taint outward into powerful magical constructs. Such kijin gain the ability to shape any one veil with the evil descriptor. This veil does not count against their normal limits on veils shaped. This replaces retribution.
Favored Class Options
Aegis: Add +1/4 to the aegis’ customization points.
Guru (Sineater): Add +1/3 to the amount of essence burn restored by your Devour Sin ability.
Inquisitor: Add +1/4 uses per day of the judgement class feature.
Oracle: Gain 1/6 of a new revelation.
Stalker: Gain +1/6 of a new stalker art.
Warlord: Add +1/5 bonus to the warlord’s battle prowess.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens