Shirokinukatsukami,[note 1] (pronounced: /ʃiroʊˈkinuːˈkɑːtsuːˈkɑːmi/ shee-roh-KEE-noo-KAH-tsoo-KAH-mee) or "Eaters of Dreams", were strange but kind celestial beings who drove away evil spirits that were the cause of terrible nightmares.
Shirokinukatsukami had one of the most bizarre appearances of any spirit creature, looking like a mixture of parts from all manner of animals. A shirokinukatsukami stood upon the hind legs of a tiger, which supported a large horse-like body covered in golden and brown striped fur with a cow's tail. A shirokinukatsukami's arms were like those of apes but ended in purple-colored, sharp talons. The head of a shirokinukatsukami was like that of a thick-maned lion, but it had human-like eyes and an elephantine trunk and tusks. They stood about 8 feet (240 centimeters) tall.
Shirokinukatsukami were immune to poisons and air-based attacks and resistant to fire and magical spells and could only be harmed by the most powerful of magical weapons. Their bodies healed very quickly.
Shirokinukatsukami moved more quickly than many other creatures of their size. While wingless, a shirokinukatsukami could also magically fly.
Shirokinukatsukami had many inherent magical powers, only some of which are listed here. They could always read minds and detect evil creatures and shapeshifters. They had the ability to heal the wounded and even raise the dead once a day. They could dispel evil and dominate monsters. They could create a magical cloud that could transport them. Whenever they desired, they could project themselves into the Astral Plane, cause another to dream, enter a person's dreams, or enter the spirit world while dreaming themselves. At will, they could also take a gaseous form, turn invisible, or teleport wherever they desired on a given plane.
In battle, a shirokinukatsukami was both skilled and honorable, never beginning a fight without first politely offering the enemy a chance to stand down. If the offer was refused, the shirokinukatsukami would fight fearlessly and mercilessly.
The main purpose of shirokinukatsukami was to drive away evil spirits who tormented humans. Humans of Kara-Tur sometimes directly requested such aid when suffering from nightmares by laying out a gift of flowers on the window sill or praying during the full moon. Other times, a shirokinukatsukami was sent by the Celestial Emperor.
When a shirokinukatsukami arrived on the Material Plane to protect a dreamer, it would come in through an open window at night and enter the bedroom of the sleeper. From the head of the bed, it would enter the sleeper's dreams and fight off any evil spirits. At first light, the shirokinukatsukami would depart.
Shirokinukatsukami enjoyed such recreational activities as dancing and gardening. They loved to laugh, and it was hard for them to converse without doing so. The sound was like that of a cawing crow.
Rumors & Legends
Scholars suspected that there were only four shirokinukatsukami in existence.
Shirokinukatsukami were only active at night and were never seen during daylight hours.
Shirokinukatsukami gained sustenance from the dreams of humans, which was why they were called Eaters of Dreams. This "eating" caused no harm at all to the visited human.
These creatures had no permanent homes but instead roamed both the material and Celestial world in search of evil spirits. They also were very rarely encountered by travelers in the Astral plane.
- The intended translation of shirokinukatsukami is elusive. It appears to be a poor attempt at a Japanese phrase. Shiro, kinu, and kami mean "white", "silk", and perhaps "hair" or "spirit", respectively. Why this name was chosen for this monster is not at all clear, but perhaps "white silk" refers to the linens of one's bed. The shirokinukatsukami's description makes it clear that it was inspired by the baku of Japanese mythology. Perhaps a new name for this creature was sought because a baku already existed in the 1st-edition Monster Manual II that deviated substantially from the nightmare-eating spirit from mythology.
- James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- Rick Swan (July 1990). Monstrous Compendium Kara-Tur Appendix. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-88038-851-X.
- James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 251. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), p. 191. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
- Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 65. ISBN 0880383992.
(any good alignment)
Arcadian avenger • Asura • Bariaur • Couatl • Einheriar • Foo creature (Foo dog • Foo lion) • Hollyphant • Ki-rin • Lillend • Moon dog • Pegasus • Shirokinukatsukami • Sliver • Unicorn (Celestial charger)
Aasimar (Deva) • Celestial creature • Half-celestial