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Basic Information

The gashadokuro is a Japanese mythical creature in the form of a giant skeleton, up to fifteen times the height of a man (or occasionally a mob of regular sized skeletons). Reputedly, in the style of many undead, it prowls the roads at night, looking for travellers on whom it sneaks up, seizes and devours.

According to legend, the gashadokuro is a composite of a great many hungry ghosts - the unburied and neglected dead - banded together to exercise their hunger against the living. Presumably the bones of the skeleton are some kind of spiritual manifestation, but might be the fused bones of the individual members.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • This could be what happens when you get your (already self perpetuating) hungry ghost population get out of hand - they start swarming and forming huge gestalt entities that need more than a few bowls of sticky rice and a good miko to get rid of.
  • A genocide of an ancestor venerating culture might bring on something like this, spawning a host of untended, angry ghosts. Plagues, famines or major wars could have similar effects. Even just one BBEG fly tipping enough of his victims.
  • For those who like a storytelling style game with alternatives to combat, imagine a Buddhist style priest facing down one of these things with a concept like tidal love - rather than engage it in combat he goes out and kneels in its path and weeps for it, laying out a basket of funeral offerings and giving the component ghosts the grieving they were denied on death … slowly the skeleton shrinks, perhaps over several nights when the priest intercepts it and entices it into a mourning ritual. Eventually, the gashadokuro is weakened enough that it disperses and becomes a mundane hungry ghost infestation.
  • Conversely a majutsui might stir up resentment amongst the local ghost population, whipping them up into an angry mob that will form one of these…
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