Kappa

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The Kappa is a river-dwelling monster originating from Japanese mythology. Hugely popular in its native mythos, it is, understandably, an equally popular figure to feature as a monster (or perhaps even a playable race) in Oriental Adventures settings.

Kappas are strange creatures, described as resembling either a cross between a goblin (or a monkey) and a turtle, a sort of turtle-frog hybrid humanoid, an aquatic goblin, or a humanoid turtle. About the only consistent aspect of their depiction is the presence of a "bowl/dish-shaped depression" on the top of the head, which can be stylized as everything from an actual hollow divot in the skull to a bald pate surrounded by stiff hair. Kappas need to keep this depression constantly damp, or else they grow too weak to move; a traditional way of defeating them involves bowing to them, playing on their politeness and rendering them helpless when they return the gesture.

Incredibly fast swimmers, kappas are also known for being superhumanly strong despite their small size, and are often said to have invented the arts of wrestling. That said, they're also very smart; the medical arts, particularly herbalism and bone-setting, are often said to have been gifts to humanity from friendly kappas. Fickle creatures, they can be helpful, mischievous pests, or deadly predators depending on the whim. They have a weird obsession with butts; mischievous kappa like to loudly fart in public or grope women's asses, whilst predatory ones drown humans in pursuit of the shirikodma, a mystical ball of flesh located deep inside of the anus. Fortunately, the only thing they love more than raw entrails is cucumbers, so people will traditionally carve their names into cucumbers and throw them into kappa-inhabited springs to play upon their generosity and entice them to leave them alone in gratitude.

Such is the kappa's popularity that there are many regional variants of it in Japanese mythology:

  • The Kenmun is a hairy kappa-relative from the Amami Islands, which alternates its time between living in trees and living in the water. They are much less aggressive than kappas, love snails instead of cucumbers, drool oil, and are terrified of clams and octopuses.
  • The Kawa Akago is a red-skinned, diminutive kappa that mimics the sound of a crying baby to lure people close to rivers so it can trip them into the water and then swim off, laughing at them for getting wet.
  • The Suiko is a larger, stronger, more malicious kappa that feeds on blood.
  • The Garappa is a shyer, more lankily built kappa from Kyushu. They are said to move in migratory circles between the mountains and the rivers, and some stories claim they physically transform from Garappas when living in rivers to hairy, mono-eyed monsters called Yamawaro when living in the mountains.
  • The Hyosube is a malicious, nasty-tempered goblin-like yokai said to be related to the kappa. It's most known for its filthy body, its love of sneaking into bathhouses and leaving them full of disgusting muck from bathing there, its ability to cause disease, and its voracious appetite for eggplants.

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

The kappa first entered the ranks of Dungeons & Dragons monsters with the Oriental Adventures sourcebook for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1e, being presented as both the standard kappa and with a "vampiric kappa" subtype. Dragon Magazine #151 would feature an Ecology of the Kappa article that expanded upon this original version of the kappa.

Both these kappas would later return in AD&D 2e, when a Monstrous Compendium Appendix was published for Kara-Tur, the "not!Asian" region of the Forgotten Realms. This also introduced a new subrace, the Kappa-Ti.

The AD&D kappa is presented as a potbellied, amphibious humanoid turtle with a concave depression on the top of their head used to store water. Described as a dim-witted, self-centered, Chaotic Evil bully, the kappa is a deceptively dangerous foe; despite their small size, they have incredible (18/00) strength, are practiced martial artists (specialized in grapples and holds), and regenerate 1 HP per round so long as their bowl is filled. Immune to Wu Jen spells of the Water school, 10% of all kappa are themselves Wu Jen of level equal to their Hit Dice, typically Water school spells. Additionally, 5% of all kappa can utter a Death Curse when slain, affecting up to 4 victims with a permanent -4 penalty to their attack rolls and saving throws - so potent is this curse that anyone within a 30ft radius of a Death Cursed character also suffers a -2 penalty to their attack rolls and saving throws so long as they are in that area. Only a shukenja of 10th level or higher can remove a Kappa Death Curse through a Remove Curse spell.

Standard AD&D kappa live in family groups of 2d6 adult males with an equal number of females, with a number of children equal to the number of adults; mating is initiated by the females. Selfish and stupid as they are, kappa families are anarchic ffairs whose members show little concern or compassion even for their own kin.

The Kappa-ti is a larger, faster, stronger (Str 19) softshelled version of the kappa, and their common cousins find them repulsive. They are much more reclusive than common kappa, living either alone or in mated pairs. They have a natural camouflage that gives them a 75% chance to hide in their native environments.

The Vampiric Kappa isn't a "real" vampire, but an unusually smart breed of kappa that feeds on blood, often carrying a wasting disease with its bite. They can drink blood from victims and drain Strength just like vampires. Like Kappa-ti, Vampiric Kappas are loners and are shunned by other kappas, as they will readily feed on them.

A 3rd edition update for the kappa appeared in the 3e Oriental Adventures sourcebook.

Soburin Kappa[edit]

In the setting Mists of Akuma, kappa are a race of highly spiritual and traditionalistic humanoid turtles (with a dash of frog). Unlike most depictions of kappas, they have no head deformities; the whole "bowl on the head" comes from them literally balancing bowls atop their head as a traditional expression of their spirtuality. Unlike a normal turtle, a kappa's skin is a relatively thin, slimy membrane, obligating them to stay moist in order to stay healthy. These reptilian humanoids can live in excess of five centuries, and practice gerontocracy; the eldest kappa is always the leader of a clan, with the collective clan leaders coming together to form a ruling council for a kappabuchi (village).

Although small, they are perhaps the most stubborn of Soburin’s peoples and can be as unmoving as a boulder in a stream. There is a common saying among soburi that throwing a kappa off-balance can be a sign of good fortune, though the few foolish enough to try it almost always come to regret making an enemy for life. are not entirely inflexible but once they have made up their mind it is nearly impossible to influence them—they are firm in their footing, be it argumentative or literal—and they look through a large prism that encompasses a much longer worldview than most other races know.

Of all the soburi races, they have arguably the greatest hatred for the gaijin peoples of Ceremia and Ropaeo, since their combination of an intensely traditionalist culture and natural longevity means that there is a vast population of often-bitter veterans who were there for all two hundred years of the ocupation of Soburin.

Most kappa still live in traditional stone villages built on and in coves and shorelines, but the changed culture of Soburin has resulted in an increasing population of urbanized kappa dwelling amongst other races.

Mechanically, Soburin kappa have the following PC stats for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition:

Ability Score Increase: +2 Constitution
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 Feet, Swim 20 feet
Amphibious: You can breathe both air and water.
Creature of Nature: You are Proficient in both Nature and Survival.
Kappa Shell: Your base armor class increases by +1, but standing up from prone requires an action and your entire movement allotment for the turn.
Steady Feet: You have Advantage on checks made to avoid the Prone condition.
Vulnerability: Lightning

Pathfinder[edit]

The Pathfinder version appears in the 3rd Bestiary, where it is described as a Small humanoid turtle with a literal depression on its head used to store water. It is slow on land (20ft speed), but lightning-quick in the water (Swim 40ft). They re described as puckish pranksters, who love to make mischief but are normally non-hostile - angry or evil kappas, however, can be deadly, and they have been known to eat human flesh. They are readily bribed with cucumbers and horse meat, and have a supernatural weakness in their head bowl. They are easily cowed by pointing out their impoliteness, and those willing to refill their head-bowls will earn a kappa's gratitude. They are considered to be Monstrous Humanoids with the Aquatic type.

Weirdly, despite the mythical kappa being an expert grappler and known for its superhuman strength, the Pathfinder Kappa is depicted as only having a Strength of 12.

Monstergirls[edit]

LamiaMonstergirl.pngThis article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.
One depiction of what a cute kappa-girl might look like.

As one of the most popular yokai in their homeland, it should be no surprise that kappa monstergirls are readily seen, even if they are not as common as, say, kitsune or catgirls. Kappa MGs often have a turtle and/or frog basis for their appearance; green skin, webbed fingers and toes, a shell on their back, etc. They rarely have actual depressions in their skulls, and are more likelyt o have either long hair or bald patches on their head. They are usually puckish pranksters, adore cucumbers and horse meat, and are expert swimmers, as well as tending to be far stronger than their size suggests.

With how butt-obsessed many kappa tales portray them as, it's not uncommon for a kappa monstergirl to have either a particularly round and perky ass, a particular taste for anal sex, or both.

In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, kappas are a relatively friendly river-dwelling species of turtle-frog girls with bald patches on their heads. Young kappas like to play with human boys, honing their sumo skills and looking for the boy that they will eventually seek to marry when they both come of age. They are extremely strong, and get stronger when wet, but drying their head makes them super-sensitive to stimulation; gently petting a kappa's head will basically leave her paralyzed with orgasms and incapable of resisting. They're also absolutely crazy for cucumbers.

See Also[edit]