A doll floats before you in a dream, beautiful as a perfect child, but her eyes brim with tears. “Oh please,” she whispers, “come play with me! I can give you anything you like! The old man who made me locked me away, but I will tell you where he keeps the key and the safe path into his house….”
A hin’nagami, or doll spirit, is a doll possessed by a spirit of mixed desires: longing, regret, greed, and unfulfilled dreams. In a word: wishes. A hin’nagami exists to grant them with a playful childlike exuberance but little knowledge of the ways the adult world truly works.
Child of Fifty Thousand Regrets
To create a hin’nagami, a witch or wizard requires earth suffused with regrets and so gathers it from the best source: graveyards, specifically the freshly-dug grave dirt trampled by mourners at a recent funeral. Moreover, this dirt must be gathered from seven different graveyards in seven different villages every night for three years, a task requiring dedication and either magic or an extremely reliable network of helpers. This earth is mixed with human blood and fired to make a clay doll. A hin’nagami is usually made to look like a sweet young girl but may be made in the form of a little boy or even a tiny version of a goddess or god. The doll is then dressed in doll clothes cut from the clothes of the dead, then buried at a crossroads in a special box with secret rites and rituals. After the doll’s grave has been trampled by a thousand travelers, it becomes a hin’nagami and its spirit visits its creator in his dreams, telling him it is alive and waiting to be dug up.
Much is told of wicked or mischievous wish granters twisting or perverting the wording of a wish. A hin’nagami does none of this, except for one trouble: hin’nagamis do not know when to stop. A wish for something to eat would produce a lavish banquet for a hundred. A wish to be taller would make you a giant, and a tall one at that. Why resurrect one person when a hin’nagami can bring back a dozen? Even an explicitly worded wish with limits, such as for just one single riding horse, would give you the finest horse in all the land, the envy of all who saw it, especially greedy nobles and warlords. A hin’nagami grants a wish from a child’s perspective, so excess and ostentation are the rule, and if too many limits are put in place, the hin’nagami pouts and declares the wisher “No fun” or worse “Boring.”
The Price of Foolishness
There is a cost to a hin’nagami’s wishes, paid by the wisher, for with each wish granted, the wisher grows progressively more foolish. This is a good thing from a hin’nagami’s perspective, for the more foolish someone is, the more childish they act, the more interesting their wishes are, and the less resistant they are to her suggestions to make another wish.
So, What’s Next?
A hin’nagami loves to play and hates being bored, so as long as a wish is entertaining, she enjoys it as much as the wisher That said, the novelty tends to wear off in a day, or far less in the case of a dull explicitly worded wish, leading to the hin’nagami asking the wisher, “So, what’s next?” requesting, in the sweetest and most charming childlike voice, that they make another wish. If resisted, the hin’nagami throws a tantrum for the day, demanding “What’s next!? What’s next!?” until their owner either makes a wish or locks her in her box so the owner can get some rest. A hin’nagami can attempt a sweet and charming, “So, what’s next?” the next day if the owner lets her out of her box but throws another tantrum if a wish isn’t made.
A hin’nagami’s spirit is formed from the fifty thousand unfulfilled wishes stamped into the earth that forms her body. If locked in her box for more than a day without a wish being made, she drifts off to sleep, and in her sleep visit the person who next most contributed to her creation, typically a frequent traveler at the crossroads where she was buried or a frequent mourner at the graveyards her earth was gathered from. That person is told where the hin’nagami is now, what is the quickest and safest path there, and the easiest way to bypass any troubles or hazards along the way. Until she is rescued, or the owner makes another wish, the hin’nagami visits each person down the list in their dreams, until one of the fifty thousand comes for her.
Hin’nagami love to play and particularly adore children, which they believe themselves to be. If there is a child staying in a house where a hin’nagami is kept, she visits the child in their dreams rather than an adult who contributed to their form, for a child is more likely to rescue her from boredom and also more likely to make entertaining wishes.
A hin’nagami likes to keep her magic secret, at least once she has an amusing playmate, and pretends to be an ordinary doll when around anyone else who does not know her secret, neither moving nor talking. Indeed, part of a hin’nagami’s magic is that her magic is secret, so most cursory divinations do not detect it as magic, for a hin’nagami is not a magic item but a doll possessed by a wishing spirit. A hin’nagami’s owner is likewise protective of them and does all in their power to hide the fact that they have a hin’nagami.
A hin’nagami knows the regrets, dreams, and desires that formed her, and mentions those in dreams when she appears to those whose footsteps made her. Moreover, a hin’nagami can see a person’s fondest dreams merely by looking at them and suggests what they might like to wish for if they are hesitant.
A hin’nagami is tough, but not unbreakable. If broken, she visits her owner or others in their dreams, begging them not just to rescue her but repair her. If a hin’nagami’s form is pulverized or otherwise broken beyond repair, her spirit drifts about until she finds a suitable doll to inhabit, ideally a very old well-loved plaything in a house with children.
I Wish You’d Go Away
Sometimes the creator or other owner of a hin’nagami comes to regret this and wishes to be rid of the doll. This wish frees them of the hin’nagami and simultaneously transports her to someone else whose desires formed her.
A Living Doll
Occasionally a hin’nagami comes into the possession of the perfect owner—a lonely childless couple or only child, who wishes not just for a child or a brother or sister, but that the hin’nagami would be that individual. This wish, once granted, ends the hin’nagami’s existence as a spirit and begins it as a mortal child with a lifetime of possibilities before them.
The Hell of Nagging Regrets
If the owner of a hin’nagami dies, both they and the hin’nagami go to the Hell of Regrets, where the owner regrets their life while the hin’nagami nags them both about the stupid wishes they made and all of the better wishes they could have made.
5e D&D Stat Block:
Hin’nagami, Japanese doll spirit
Tiny construct, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d4 + 18)
Speed 20 ft
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
6(-2) 12(+1) 16(+3) 9(-1) 15(+2) 17(+3)
Skills Deception +5, Insight +6, Persuasion +5
Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses Passive Perception 12
Languages Common, Telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2
Innate Spellcasting. The hin’nagami’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At-will: arcanist’s magic aura, charm person, clairvoyance, detect thoughts
3/day each: dream, find the path, modify memory, scry
Sense Desire. As an action, the hin’nagami can attempt to discern the fondest memories of a creature within 30 feet of it that it can see. If the target fails a DC 13 Charisma saving throw, the hin’nagami knows the creature’s fondest memory, as well as a wish that person might strongly desire to make. On a success, the hin’nagami only gets a vague sense of the kind of thing that the creature might want.
Wishes granted, for a price. Once per day, the hin’nagami can cast the wish spell, but only to grant the wish of another person. When the hin’nagami decides to grant a creature’s wish, however, it alters the target’s wish in two ways. First, the hin’nagami attempts to magnify the wished-for result, hoping to increase the target’s happiness even further. This misguided attempt to help the target usually causes problems for the target of the wish. Second, the hin’nagami also wishes that the target be better able to appreciate the result of its wish, a request that permanently lowers the target’s Wisdom score by 1 point. The point of Wisdom can only be restored by another wish spell cast by someone other than the hin’nagami.
Punch. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) bludgeoning damage.
The Hin’nagami, or doll spirit, is one of the many yokai spirits from Japanese folklore. Originally from the Toyama Prefecture, we’ve adapted her lore to appear in any fantasy world. The kochobbo is either another name for the hin’nagami, or a similar related spirit we may adapt after more research.
Creative Director: Kevin Andrew Murphy
Lore: Kevin Andrew Murphy
Statblock: Eugene Marshall
Ink: Bien Flores
Colors: Carly Sorge
Sensitivity Editor: Mari Murdock
Art Director: Aaron Acevedo
This creature is from the upcoming Book of Beasts. Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new monster as part of our Monster of the Week series!