Monday, October 22, 2012

Monstrous Monday: Gaki, the Hungry Ghost



Image from the scroll of the hungry ghost
His belly is huge, his mouth is small, and his hunger is endless.

The Gaki is a kind of ghoul, a spirit returned to the world with unnatural hungers that can never be satisfied.  A quick image search online will turn up "the scroll of the hungry ghost", which shows images of various Gaki in lamentable poses of suffering.  The scenes are reminiscent of the accursed in Dante's inferno; the endless hunger of the Gaki echose the mythological torment of Tantalus.

Gaki are formed from the souls of greedy or selfish individuals who are not able to pass on to a proper reward in the afterlife; there's a Buddhist belief their poor karma has cursed them to return and feed on corpses.

The Gaki
AC as Leather, HD 3, Attacks 2 claws, 1 bite, Damage 1-4/1-4/1-8, MV 6, AL Chaotic.

A Gaki uses a form of polymorph self to live on the outskirts of a human settlement, assuming it's true form to dig up and feed on fresh corpses.  The folklore implies the Gaki can enter enclosed spaces, perhaps using its polymorph ability to change into something small enough to infiltrate a locked room.  A Gaki can be laid to rest by a powerful priest or an upright member of the Gaki's family performing proper ancestor services and offerings.

Dreamblade's Hungry Ghost
The Gaki is an interesting campaign creature; not so much a dungeon encounter as a type of non-combat challenge afflicting towns in the countryside.  The Gaki makes for a lamentable creature that can't control it's urges, a nuisance monster for characters to either drive off or lay to rest.