You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Monday, December 3, 2012

SOME MONSTERS (9): GAKI, The Hungry Ghosts

Gaki are a form of undead created when a person, having lived a life of selfishness or dishonor dies and is cursed to an existance in Gaki-do, the realm of the hungry dead. Also called hungry ghosts, they are spirits in agony from a constant need which they seek to satisfy--though they never can. The hunger drives them mad.

Their forms are ephemeral and ghost like. Moonlight makes them glow softly. There are many specific kinds of gaki which had been categorized, though quite often unique gaki are encountered. Exposed to the taint of Jigoku (the Japanese Hell) due to the proximity of the two realms, many gaki suffer horrible mutations often resulting in strange insectoid characteristics. The Gaki have no true forms in their own realm, so they borrow their forms from the closest Spirit Realm, Chikushudo, taking these insectoid aspect. 

The gaki are vampires who prey on the sleeping bodies of the living. They easily move through solid objects, and only are affected by jade and crystal weapons, or Spirit Ward Magic. Dogs, horses, cats, Nezumi, and Sodan-senzo can aIways see the gaki.

(Adapted from the Legend of the Five Rings Wiki. Searching Gaki in Google Books turns up an excellent discussion by Lafcadiio Hearn, which cannot be copied and pasted.

(Follow the monster label to encounter other monsters.)
A typically unpleasant day in Jigoku

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