Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Iblis

Iblis or ʾIblīs is the name of the Devil is Islamic texts such as the Koran/Quran.  He is a very powerful being, though he has no power over good men and women.

And oddly enough I had never heard of him.  Well. Let me rephrase that.  Never heard of him as a devil mind you.  There was this old Battlestar Galactica (1979 flavor) episode that dealt with a devil like creature.  A Count (or was it duke?) Iblis.  It became obvious he was a bad guy and Apollo associates him with other names like Satan, Lucifer and Mephistopheles.  Now that is exactly the time I was reading a lot of D&D and lot of religious texts and I had never heard of Iblis before.  So I had to go and find him.  In 1979/1980 that meant going to the library.  Of course I had no idea how Iblis was even spelled since it was pronounced "IB-blee".  When I saw the name written I pronounced it "EH-bliss".  Took me a bit.

Iblis interestingly enough is missing from the 1st Ed AD&D rules Monster Manuals.  Satan is missing too, but that is another day.  Iblis though could be something very special.  He is described as a ruler of the Jinn, or least one that did not bow down to humans.  D&D (and many other games) have D'jinn/Jinn in them, so adding him is not a big stretch.  If Islam can have good, neutral and evil Jinn then so can I!

Shayṭān are corrupt, evil spirits of elemental forces.  They are similar in many ways to the D'jinn/Jinn and Efreet/Ifrit. In fact most scholars believe they are the same as Jinn and Ifrit save that they follow Iblis.  All are evil.
There are five basic types of Shayṭān; air, water, earth, fire and dust.  Iblis rules them all.


NAME: Iblis
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Movement: 120'
Armor Class: -4
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 180 hp (22 HD)
Attacks: claws (2), or by sword or by spell
Damage: 1d10/1d10 or 2d10+5
Special: Fear gaze, spells, summon shayṭān, +3 or better weapon to hit, immunity to fire, electricity and poison, regeneration (4 hp/round), see in darkness, magic resistance (75%), telepathy 200 ft.
Save: F22
XP: 12,000

ʾIblīs (Iblis) appears as large man or Iftit as his mood takes him. His form changes and he never appears the same way twice. He is jovial, but quick to anger and prone to violence.  For this reason he is often classified as part of the Rage Demons or even the Baalseraph or Eodemons.  He claims no kinship to any group and maintains that he alone is the source of evil in the world (a dubious claim at best). Iblis can command 1-3 shayṭān at will and summon 2-12 elementals to do his will.  He can also command any Djinn or Ifrit in the area, but he can't summon them to him.
Iblis is very knowledgeable about magic and there is no wizard spell that he does not know or have access to. He does not learn clerical magic and loathes witches. Wizards often seek him out to learn secret lore, but the summoning of Iblis is a secret itself and to do so incorrectly invites his wrath.

White Dwarf Wednesday will be posted later today.


Jeremy [Retro] said...

very cool... interesting!

Keith Sloan said...

I have a lesser god named Iblis in my campaign world. He's somewhat similar to what you have, though I really played up the BSG version and made him a tempter rather than a killer.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

You can't go wrong with the BSG version to be honest.

I have a lot of tempters, I also need someone of wealth, taste and extreme violence. Like the Keyser Soze of devils.

moondustwriter said...

sounds like one powerful dude

Inspired by Emily Dickinson today!

Clare said...

I've never heard of Iblis before - though I will certainly be reading up about him after this. It's cool that he has power over the Jinn.

ckp said...

Do you take requests? Any chance L could be for Lamia? There's a cool Clark Ashton Smith story about one "Morthylla" (found here: and there's a great version in the Teratic Tome too.

Alister Davison said...

That BSG character is a real blast from the past - played by Patrick Macnee if I remember rightly.

Lisa Southard said...

I have not much of a clue about any gaming beyond playing Backgammon! But am loving the history angle here, and I had not heard of Iblis either. Thank you very much Mr Brannan, interesting and educating :-)

Unknown said...

Wow, this takes me back. I was a D&Der in the 70s. I loved it! It's amazing to think it's still being played.
Cool post! :-)

Suzy, The Grey Brunette said...

This is fascinating stuff! Have you used Iblis in any of your books?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I have not used him yet. He is going to be in my next book though.