Oni: The Ogre Mage

Lock the door, blow out the light;
The hungry Oni haunts the night.
Hide and tremble, little one;
The Oni wants to have some fun.

Hear it scratching on the door;
See its shadow cross the floor.
The sun won’t rise for quite a while;
Till then, beware the Oni’s smile.

Children’s rhyme

Well. That’s… one way to start. It’s okay, I didn’t need to sleep tonight anyway!

Lore: Trust No One

Sang of in nursery songs to frighten both children and adults alike, oni are the bogeymen of the D&D world. They go around devouring humans, especially babies, so long as they look delicious.

During the day, an oni hides its true form using magic, changing its form to resemble the humanoids in the local area. While in this hidden form, it works to gain the trust of those it seeks to devour. Come night time, it works to carry out its sinister designs.

Oni are often called ogre mages. While they are only distantly related to ogres, they share certain qualities with them, such as their willingness to work with other evil creatures. Often, an oni can be bought using magical items as trade, so they are frequently seen in service to dark wizards or even hags.

This lore could make for some really fun stories! If you want an extra-powerful goon for your BBEG, this could work. Or it could be its own big bad for a smaller story. Maybe you could do an Among Us style murder mystery story with an oni as the killer! It ain’t BBEG material, but it’s still good for some fun sessions!

Design: Big Blue Bastard

Oh, what lovely… uh… eyes you have, sir.

This isn’t an exceptionally interesting design. It’s a big blue dude with a scary face and big muscles. We’ve seen dozens like it over the years.

But I do like how spooky its face is. And the tattered cloak is a nice aestetic.

I’m grasping at straws here, so let’s just move on.

Stats: Shapeshifter of Death

Don’t sleep on the oni. As a low to mid-level boss, it’s actually pretty tough!

Its defences are nothing to sneeze at. It boasts a near 20 AC and a triple-digit HP pool. However, there’s nothing particularly special about it. No unique resistances or weaknesses. It’s just hard to hit and hard to kill.

Especially thanks to its two special abilities. With Magic Weapons, all of its attacks do magic damage, making them harder to resist. More dangerous is Regeneration; with this, the oni regains 10 HP at the start of its turn, so long as it has at least 1 HP to begin with. So long as it’s breathing, it’s healing itself.

As you might expect from the ‘ogre mage’, it also has a small list of magic spells to play with. These are:

  • At will: darkness, invisibility
  • 1/day each: charm person, cone of cold, gaseous form, sleep

While only one of those spells actually does damage, every single one of them is a threat to the players. They all turn the oni from a deadly enemy to a dangerous trickster.

On top of that, it also has the Change Shape ability. With this, it can polymorph into medium-sized humanoids, a Large giant, or into its true form. Depending on the form, its melee weapon stats change. Luckily, this requires an action; otherwise, you could end up fighting three different beasts in one round.

The rest is all pretty simple. In its oni form, it has claws. In other forms, it has a glaive. The latter is pretty dangerous, but the former is pretty pitiful. If it weren’t for Multiattack, they wouldn’t be a threat at all.

Overall, the oni can make for an incredible battle. How do the players deal with its shapeshifting? Its magic spells? What creative tactics will they use to help them endure long enough to kill it? It’s a solid battle through and through.


This is a fairly decent entry. Its lore is prime for some fun, albeit short, stories, and its stats can make for a really fun fight. I just wish the design had a bit more going for it.

With all that in mind, we’re going to put the Oni at #42 on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em)
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Lamia
  18. Bronze Dragons
  19. Brass Dragons
  20. Copper Dragons
  21. Gold Dragons
  22. Chuul
  23. Kuo-Toa
  24. Gibbering Mouther
  25. Kraken
  26. Intellect Devourer
  27. Chimera
  28. Death Knight
  29. Fomorian
  30. Bone Devil
  31. Dracolich
  32. Faerie Dragon
  33. Lich
  34. Magmin
  35. Kobold
  36. Kenku
  37. Hobgoblins
  38. Night Hag
  39. Green Hag
  40. Ankheg
  41. Hook Horror
  42. Oni <————–
  43. Storm Giant
  44. Hill Giant
  45. Empyrean
  46. Efreeti
  47. Grimlock
  48. Minotaur
  49. Dao
  50. Cloud Giant
  51. Manticore
  52. Drow (all four of ’em)
  53. Shadow Demon
  54. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  55. Marilith
  56. Drider
  57. Aarackockra
  58. Azer
  59. Demilich
  60. Spectator
  61. Hydra
  62. Marid
  63. Harpy
  64. Werejackal
  65. Half-Dragon
  66. Cambion
  67. Fire Giant
  68. Nothic
  69. Animated Armor
  70. Banshee
  71. Basilisk
  72. Yochlol
  73. Bulette
  74. Cloaker
  75. Darkmantle
  76. Doppelganger
  77. Ghoul and Ghast
  78. Ettin
  79. Medusa
  80. Pit Fiend
  81. Erinyes
  82. Chain Devil
  83. Bearded Devil
  84. Barbed Devil
  85. Spined Devil
  86. Ice Devil
  87. Mimic
  88. Djinni
  89. Merrow
  90. Nalfeshnee
  91. Glabrezu
  92. Chasme
  93. Grell
  94. Barlgura
  95. Horned Devil
  96. Balor
  97. Shadow Dragon
  98. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  99. Werebear
  100. Lizardfolk
  101. Vrock
  102. Dretch
  103. Gnolls (all three)
  104. Goristro
  105. Hezrou
  106. Manes
  107. Frost Giant
  108. Weretiger
  109. Werewolf
  110. Duergar
  111. Quasit
  112. Dryad
  113. Flumph
  114. Goblin
  115. Nightmare
  116. Wereboar
  117. Wererat
  118. Githyanki
  119. Planetar
  120. Imp
  121. Ogres/Half-ogres
  122. Clay Golem
  123. Flameskull
  124. Displacer Beast
  125. Carrion Crawler
  126. Githzerai
  127. Grick
  128. Invisible Stalker
  129. Rug of Smothering
  130. Bugbear Chief
  131. Bugbear
  132. Flesh Golem
  133. Vine Blight
  134. Twig Blight
  135. Needle Blight
  136. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  137. Bullywug
  138. Hellhound
  139. Ettercap
  140. Gas Spore
  141. Cockatrice
  142. Lemure
  143. Homonculus
  144. Merfolk
  145. Solar
  146. Deva
  147. Gorgon
  148. Hippogriff
  149. Griffon
  150. Cyclops
  151. Centaur
  152. Ghost
  153. Fire Elemental
  154. Water Elemental
  155. Air Elemental
  156. Stone Giant
  157. Deep Gnome
  158. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  159. Iron Golem
  160. Stone Golem
  161. Earth Elemental
  162. Galeb Duhr
  163. Helmed Horror
  164. Flying Sword
  165. Crawling Claw
  166. Violet Fungus
  167. Shrieker
  168. Gargoyle

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