Below is a collection of Chinese mythical lifeforms representing Bad Omens or associated with the onset of disasters. The author wishes to re-emphasise that that this is basically a translation and compiling exercise, not a creative one.

Each life from entry below would contain the following sections:

Physical Description

Special Properties: traits from which interactions with PCs could arise (optional depending on whether the original source details them or not)

Lore: Mythical origins/how they are incorporated into Chinese culture (optional depending on whether the original source details them or not)

Translation Quirks (optional): alternative ways of translating/interpreting particular sections and other things I want to provide notes about including particular Chinese terms, other bits about Chinese culture and potential translation inaccuracies (feel free to skip this section if uninterested).

Zhu Yan

Physical Description:

An ape-like creature but with a head that is white and red feet

Lore:

Its spotting is associated with the onset of large scale wars


Two Headed Snakes (aka Split Head Snakes/Snake of the Lord of Yue/Bowstring Snake)

Physical Description:

A snake with an additional head growing out of the tail end of a normal snake. It has black scales and white patterns on its body with the patterns on its two heads being identical. However, it is said that the scales on one of its eyes grow in the reverse direction to the rest of its body.

Lore:

Seeing a two headed snake is seen as a big omen, some even say that it results in the death of whoever sees it. There is a story in circulation that in the Spring and Autumn period, someone had killed a two headed snake and buried it upon seeing it himself, so that others after him would not have the same misfortune. This was praised as a major deed of charity and the person did not die himself.

In the Yue area, it was said that this type of snake evolved from the bowstring of the crossbow possessed by the Lord of Yue. This is where its name of Bowstring Snake comes from.


Fei

Physical Description:

A cow-like creature with the tail of a snake and the skin of its head being completely white. In addition, it only has one eye.

Lore:

It is the harbinger of a pandemic. Moreover, it will dry up all water sources in its vicinity as well causing plants to wither.


Bi Yi Birds (aka Jian Jian or Man Man)

Physical Description:

A black and red (or indigo and red) bird akin to wild ducks but each bird only has one eye and one wing. Therefore, to be able to fly, a male and female of the species has to cooperate with each other.

Lore:

These birds are spotted immediately before a flood. In the modern era, it is more common for these birds to symbolise a couple with deep love for each other.

Translation Quirks:

The modern Chinese character for the colour indigo can actually refer to the colour of black in ancient Chinese texts


Qi Zhong

Physical Description:

An owl-like bird that has only one foot and has a tail like that of a pig's.

Lore:

Spotting of such birds are associated with the onset of a large scale plague


Suan Yu

Physical Description:

A bird with a serpentine head and body as well as two pair of wings, six years and three legs.

Lore:

Its call sounds like it is calling itself by name. It is a herald of horrific events.


Yong He

Physical Description:

An ape covered in yellow fur with red eyes and a red mouth

Lore:

Its sighting is associated with natural disasters.


Nine Headed Bird (aka Ghost Car or Ghost Bird)

Physical Description:

A bird originally with ten heads but now has nine left, one supposedly bitten off by a dog

Lore:

It was said that its neck still drips blood and that if its blood touches the land on which one's house is built, it will bring bad luck. It was said that it is afraid of dogs' barking.

Originally a totem worshipped by residents of the Chu Kingdom during the Warring Kingdoms period in China (see the Nine Headed Bird entry in Good Omen Chinese Mythical Lifeforms">Good Omen Chinese Mythical Lifeforms, it was said that the Nine Headed Bird was subsequently monsterised by the dominant Zhou culture (Zhou is probably another kingdom in China's long history of internal strife)


Fei Yi

Physical Description:

A snake with one head but two bodies. Alternatively, it is a snake with two pairs of wings and six legs.

Lore:

Its sighting is associated with a large drought.


Zhu Bird

Physical Description:

An eagle with human visage and feet that end in a pair of human hands.

Lore:

Whenever this type of birds appears, capable and virtuous people will be exiled.

It was said that the Zhu Bird is what Dan Zhu, the son of Emperor of Yao, became after his death. When the Emperor Yao abdicated the throne to Emperor Shun, Dan Zhu rebelled but the uprising was quickly crashed. In shame, Dan Zhu drowned himself in the South Sea. It was further said that the descendants of Dan Zhu had built a kingdom called the Kingdom of Dan Zhu in South Sea and that its residents all have human visages but bird wings.


Fu Zhu

Physical Description:

Like a white deer but have four antlers instead of two.

Lore:

It is a herald of floods.


Bi Fang

Physical Description:

Like a crane but its body is indigo with red stripes, its feet are red while its beak is white. It has only one foot (or some say only one wing).

Lore:

It is a herald of fires. It often holds balls of flame in its beak.

Its name comes from the sound made when timber or bamboo are burning. It is said to be the God of both Fire and Wood, who lives amongst trees. In the legends, Bi Fang waits on Huang Ti besides his chariot when he calls a gathering of all deities and beings from the nether realm at Mount Tai.


Ju Ru

Physical Description:

Like a field mouse but with white ears and a white beak.

Lore:

It is a herald of war


Hua Snake (where Hua means 'to become')

Physical Description:

A creature that has human visage, the body of a jackal, a pair of bird wings and moves like snakes. The sound it makes is akin to humans shouting.

Lore:

Its appearance will cause flooding in the surrounding area


Mountain Hui

Physical Description:

A dog with a human visage

Lore:

It will laugh when it sees humans. It moves like the wind and is a herald of cyclones and disasters related to winds.


Huo Dou

Physical Description:

A black dog-like creature

Lore:

These creatures consume feces from dogs (some also say they can consume fire) and can spit out fire, making them a danger. They are considered bad omens.

The physical description of Huo Dou came from a folklore story- the White Conch Fairy. The story goes as follows: once upon a time, there was an orphan named Wu Kan who came upon a white conch. After bringing it home, the conch turned into a beautiful woman who became his wife. The local Lord of town wanted to take Wu Kan's wife and had asked of him a quite impossible task- to get some toad hairs and the arm of a ghost. With the help of his wife, Wu Kan got those two items and gave them to the local Lord. But then the local Lord asked again of him to get Huo Dou for him. This time his wife brought a black dog-like beast out. It was said that the Huo Dou had burned down the local Lord's house and that Wu Kan and his wife had never been seen again.

Alternatively, it is said that these are fire-consuming beasts local to a foreign country whose residents can eat charcoal.


Chang You

Physical Description:

An ape-like creature with four ears.

Lore:

The sound it makes is like humans moaning. Its sighting is accompanied with floods at the province level.


Hua Huai

Physical Description:

Vaguely humanoid but covered throughout with pig-like hair.

Lore:

The sound it makes is like wood being split. Its sighting is accompanied with forced labour conscriptions at the place it is sighted.


Zhuan Fish

Physical Description:

Looks like the Crucian carp except it's covered with pig-like hair

Lore:

The sound it makes is like that of pigs. Its sighting is a herald of widespread drought.


You You

Physical Description:

A horse-like creature with goats' eyes, four horns and a cow-like tail.

Lore:

The sound it makes is like that of dogs barking. Wherever it appears, there will be a flux of cunning politicians.


Bi Bi

Physical Description:

A fox-like creature with wings.

Lore:

The sound it makes is like that of the swan goose. Wherever it appears, there will be a drought.


Jie Gou

Physical Description:

A bird that looks like wild ducks except with a mice-like tail.

Special Properties:

It is good at climbing trees.

Lore:

Wherever it appears, there will be a pandemic.


Ling Ling

Physical Description:

A cow-like creature patterned like a tiger.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like a human moan.

Lore:

Wherever it appears, there will be a flood.


Ji Yu

Physical Description:

A rabbit-like creature with a beak, eagles' eyes and a snake-like tail.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like its name. It pretends to be sleeping whenever humans are nearby.

Lore:

Its appearance is always accompanied by large quantities of locusts and other insects that create famines.


Bo Fish

Physical Description:

Looks like a type of fish called bonito except that it has only one eye.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like vomiting.

Lore:

Its appearance heralds a severe drought.


Yong

Physical Description:

An owl-like bird with a human's face, four eyes and ears.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like its name.

Lore:

Its appearance heralds a widespread and severe drought.


Fu Xi

Physical Description:

Looks like a cock with a human visage, with a sharp look in its eyes like it's always prepared for a fight.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like its name.

Lore:

Its appearance heralds a war.


Sheng Yu

Physical Description:

A pheasant-like bird except that it is red all over.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like that of deers.

Lore:

Its sighting is accompanied by a kingdom-level flood.


Hun

Physical Description:

A pheasant-like bird except that it is red all over.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like that of deers.

Lore:

Its sighting is accompanied by a kingdom-level flood.


Jun Bird

Physical Description:

A bird that looks like the sparrow hawk except for red feet, a straight beak, yellow patterned feathers and a white head.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like that of swans.

Lore:

Legends have it that Gu (or Drum), son to the God of Mt. Zhong, who has a human's head but a dragon's body, slay the God Bo Jiang alongside Qing Pi. For this crime, both Gu and Qing Pi were executed by the Heavenly King. Among these two, Gu's spirit turned into the Jun Bird.

Wherever it is sighted, that township would suffer a severe drought.


E

Physical Description:

A bird that looks like an eagle/vulture but with black patterns on its body and a white head, a red beak and tiger-like claws.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like that of swans.

Lore:

This is what the other slayer of Bo Jiang, Qing Pi, turned into after being slain by creed of the Heavenly King.

Wherever it is sighted, there will be a war.


Zi Mouse

Physical Description:

A chicken-like bird with a mice-like tail.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a drought.


Tiao Rong

Physical Description:

Looks like a yellow snake with fins.

Special Properties:

Wherever it surfaces or dives into water, it will be accompanied by lights.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, there will be a drought.


He Yu

Physical Description:

A pig-like creature with a human visage, a yellow body and a red tail.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like babies crying. This beast eats humans as well as insects and snakes.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, there will be a flood.


Ying Fish

Physical Description:

A winged fish.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like Yuan Ying, a water bird that only appears in pairs.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a flood.


Sao Fish

Physical Description:

Looks like the Kaluga fish, which is a large predatory fish.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a war.


Peng Snake

Physical Description:

Has a white head and a red body.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like that of cows.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a drought.


Human-faced Owl

Physical Description:

An owl-like bird, with a human visage, a yellow-black body like that of long-tailed monkeys and a dog-like tail.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like its name, which is lost to the ages.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a drought.


Zhu Ru

Physical Description:

A fox-like creature with fins. 

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like its name.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, panic will occur.


Hua Fish

Physical Description:

A winged fish.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is like Yuan Ying, a water bird that only appears in pairs. Its diving in and out of water is accompanied by flashing lights.

Lore:

Its appearance heralds a drought.


Ming Snake

Physical Description:

A snake with two pairs of wings.

Special Properties:

The sound it makes is as loud as bell tolls.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a drought.


Shi Wolf

Physical Description:

A fox-like creature with a white tail and long ears.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that kingdom will face a war.


Li

Physical Description:

Looks like a red porcupine.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that kingdom will have a plague.


Yi Ji

Physical Description:

Membrane-sized, has a red beak, red eyes and a white tail.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that province will have a fire.


Liang Qu

Physical Description:

Like a racoon dog except with a white head and tiger-like claws.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, that kingdom will face war.


Wen Lin

Physical Description:

A pig-like creature with a white head, white tail and a yellow body.

Lore:

Wherever it is sighted, there will be widespread cyclones.


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