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Oni (pronounced: /nioh-nee[5]) were violent spirit creatures with great strength and inherent magical abilities,[2][3] prevalent in the eastern lands of Kara-Tur.[3][4]


Besides great strength, many oni had regenerative abilities similar to trolls, and all oni had multiple magical abilities, including the ability to fly without wings, change their own shape, and turn themselves invisible.[2]


There were many varieties of oni. The most common were:

Common oni 
The most common and weakest variety.[3] The "ogre mage" of the west was in fact a blue-skinned variety of the common oni.[2][4]
Go-zu oni 
This was a bull-headed variety of oni.[2][3]
Me-zu oni 
These oni had heads like those of shaggy horses.[2][3]


Oni enjoyed both dancing and music. They particularly enjoyed the music of flutes. It was considered unwise to interrupt an oni dancing celebration![3]

Among animals, oni preferred black-colored ones.[3]

Oni also were very fond of treasures of all varieties. Some oni would swallow their treasures to protect them, regurgitating them later.[3]


Oni often lived in desolate areas,[4] or they might make homes along highways or within cities, living in disguise. In rare cases, they might even rule over small human villages.[3]

A band of oni might contain a hundred members, in obedience to the largest and wisest oni, whether male or female. They might be found allied with bakemono, gaki, goblin rats, or varieties of evil humanoids.[3]


Oni had their own language, but spoke other languages as well.[3]


Oni were carnivorous and had massive appetites. They ate both wild game and domesticated animals, and would eat humanoids as well.[3]

Males and females were equally powerful.[3]


The origin of oni remained a mystery to scholars. Many believed that they were the corrupted spirits of evil humans, but others thought them to have been created specifically by the Celestial Bureaucracy to test humans and establish a balance between good and evil.[3] Still others saw many similarities between the oni of the east and the ogres of the west and argued that they were in fact related races,[6][7][8][9][10] or that oni were related to trolls.[9] Other sages told the tale that oni were descended from the god Vaprak's three sons, Anori, Hakuni, and Muaj.[9]

Rumors & Legends

It was said that an island populated almost exclusively by oni was said to exist somewhere in the Celestial Sea, but if true, no human explorer had ever found the island and returned. Strangely, the island was said to be guarded by thousands of one-foot tall black oni with powers as great as larger oni.[3]

It was rumored that amethysts could repel oni.[11]


See Also


Dungeon #8: "The Flowers of Flame"Dungeon #15: "The Dragon's Gift"Dungeon #33: "Mad Gyoji"Storm King's Thunder
Video Games
Sword Coast LegendsNeverwinter (Sharandar)
Referenced only
Baldur's Gate III
Card Games
AD&D Trading Cards


  1. Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 200–201. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 179–180. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 Rick Swan (July 1990). Monstrous Compendium Kara-Tur Appendix. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-88038-851-X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 126. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  5. James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 251. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
  6. David "Zeb" Cook, et al. (1989). Monstrous Compendium Volume Two. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8753-X.
  7. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 200. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  8. Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, David Eckelberry, Rich Redman (February 2003). Savage Species. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 189–190. ISBN 0-7869-2648-1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Tim Hitchcock (November 2006). “The Ecology of the Ogre Mage”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #349 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 68–72.
  10. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 239. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  11. Larian Studios (October 2020). Designed by Swen Vincke, et al. Baldur's Gate III. Larian Studios.


Common oni (Oni mageOni night haunter) • Go-zu oniMe-zu oni
Related Race

True Giants
Cloud EttinFire (Fire titan )FogFrostHill (Earth titanMouth of Grolantor)MountainStoneStorm (Storm titan)Titan

True Giant Offshoots
Cyclops (Cyclopskin)FirbolgFomorianOgre (Oni)VerbeegVoadkyn
Zakharan Giants
DesertIslandJungleOgre giantReef

Other Giants