Showing posts with label demon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demon. Show all posts

Thursday, February 25, 2021

One Man's God: Nehwon Mythos

Closing on one of the last of the named mythos for One Man's God.  I go to one that has a lot of importance for the creation of the D&D, the Nehwon Mythos of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series.

Nehwon Myths

You can now get Lankhmar RPG products for both 1st and 2nd AD&D as well as for Savage Worlds and Dungeon Crawl Classics.  To say it has left its mark on our hobby is a bit of an understatement.  Yet I find I really know very little about the stories.  I remember reading one of the books. It was either in late high school or my early college days, in either case, it was the mid-late 80s.  I recall reading the book and not really caring for the characters all that much.  I have been planning to reread them someday, but they keep getting pushed lower and lower on my to-be-read pile.

For this reason I had considered not doing these for One Man's God.  But the more I thought about it the more I realized it was a perfect chance to "level-set" what I am doing here.  Seeing if another culture's god can be redefined as AD&D Monster Manual Demon. 

Now I am certain that others with far more knowledge than me will have opinions one way or the other and that is fine.  They are welcome to share them.  A key factor of "One Man's God" is just that, one man's opinion on the gods. And that one man is me.  

So strap on a long sword and dirk and let's head to the City of Lankhmar.

Nehwon and Lankhmar in particular seems to have a lot of Gods.  I kind of lank this to be honest.  But how many of them are "Demons?"

We know there are demons here.  Demons and witches are described as living in the wastes. The wizard Sheelba of the Eyeless Face is said to be so horrible that even demons run from it.

Astral Wolves

These guys are great! Love the idea, but they feel more like undead to me.

Gods of Trouble

Ok, these guys start to fit the bill.  They are semi-unique, chaotic-evil, and have 366 hp. But they also have a lot of powers that demons just don't have.  They have worshipers, but no indication that any spells (for clerics) or powers (for warlocks) are granted.   They just seem to be powerful assholes.

Leviathan

There is a demon Leviathan and this guy looks a lot like him.  But this one is neutral and does not have any other powers except for being huge.

Nehwon Earth God

This guy appears to be an actual god, even if evil and non-human. 

Rat God

AH! Now we are getting someplace. Non-human, cult-like worshipers, described as the manifestation of men's fears, and chaotic evil.  I see no reason why the Rat God here could not be a type of demon with a larger power base.  At 222 hp he is actually pretty close to Demongorgon's hp.

The Rat God has some personal relevance for me.  I was riding the bus home in high school one day and there was a group of kids that were playing D&D. I listened in and guess in their game if you wanted to make boots that aided in your ability to move silently they had to be made from the pelt of the Rat God!  I always wondered what their other games must be like.

rat demon
Rat Demon (Prince of Rats)

FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 18'
HIT DICE: 222 hit points
% IN LAIR: 50%
TREASURE TYPE: P, S, T
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4-40
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 20%
INTELLIGENCE: Supra genius (18)
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (10' tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY: I

The Demon Prince of Rats is nearly powerful as other demon princes but he saves his interests and attention only for his rat and wererat followers.  He desires to overrun the Prime Material Plane with his children and feed on the bodies of all the living.

Spider God 

Same is true for this one.  I mean if rats are a manifestation of human fears then spiders are as well. This creature is also CE and at 249 hp that makes it more powerful than Lolth at 66!

Tyaa

Could be a demon, but had more goddess about her.  Again though, Lolth is both Goddess and Demon.  We will later get a demoness of birds in D&D during the 3e days in the form of Decarabia.  Tyaa requires her cult to sacrifice a body part, Decarabia cut off her own legs so she would never touch the ground again.

Bird Goddesses and Demons
Bird Goddesses and Demoness, separated at birth?

Obviously there a lot more here that could be done with these and the monsters/gods/demons that were not featured in the D&DG.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I'm Going To Hell!

Well.  Not actually, but I am considering completely redoing all the Outer Planes in my D&D-like games, and the lower planes in particular.

My goal here is to restructure it is such a way that it works better for me and what I am doing in my games, and yet still be compatible enough with other iterations of the game, de that original game, OSR, or other OGL sources, that I can grab something off the shelf and make it work.  

Devil

Over the years I have talked about Hell, the Abyss, and other places such as XibalbaTartarus, and Tehom.  Pathfinder has added some of these realms into OGC, or rather have made SRD connections to Public Domain names (like Abaddon). 

I would also like to work in places like Sheol as well and homes for all the demon species I have been working on. 

Hell

Hell of the D&D universe is much more akin to the ideas of Hell from Greek myths, Dante, and Milton than it is from Judeo-Christian sources.  There are some ideas here from other myths as well.  

According to Dante, the main named devil in Hell is Lucifer/Satan.  He also mentions Geryon and names 12 individual Malebranche devils ("evil-claws") on Hell's eighth level, called here Malbolge.

According to Milton, the main devils are Beelzebub, Belial, Mammon, Moloch, and Satan. But on his way to Hell, possibly when he passes through Night and Chaos, are Orcus, Demogorgon, and Hades.

One of the first things I need to do is at least come up with some names for the Nine Circles / Nine Layers of Hell.  At least most people agree on nine.

Layer Name (D&D) Name (Pathfinder) Name (Dante)* Deadly Sin (Dante)
1 Avernus Avernus Limbo Virtuous Pagans
2 Dis Dis
Lust
3 Minauros Erebus
Gluttony
4 Phlegethos Phlegethon
Greed
5 Stygia Stygia City of Dis Wrath
6 Malebolge Malebolge
Heresy
7 Maladomini Cocytus
Violence
8 Caina Caina Malebolge Fraud
9 Nessus Nessus Pandæmonium* Treachery

I can't use the "D&D Column" with an OGL/OGC book, but the "Pathfinder" one is fine.  Well. It is fine, but lacks something for me. For now though I am going to use these.

*City of Pandæmonium

From Milton (Not Dante). This is the great city in the lowest circle of Hell. I am certainly going to use this.

Once I get my layers worked out I'll need to figure out who rules them.  The current (and some former) rulers are here.  Using D&D layer names.

Layer Name Archdevil Deadly Sin (Mine)
1 Avernus Druaga/Tiamat/Bel/Zariel
2 Dis Dispater Envy
3 Minauros Mammon Greed
4 Phlegethos Belial/Fierna Sloth
5 Stygia Geryon/Levistus Wrath
6 Malbolge Beherit/Moloch/Malagard/Glasya Lust
7 Maladomini Baalzebul/Beelzebub Gluttony
8 Cainia Mephistopheles Pride
9 Nessus Asmodeus *

I do like the idea of aligning Lord/Layer with a Deadly Sin. 

Now, not all of these Archdevils are OGC, and frankly I would rather use one of the Ars Goetia demons as the rulers.  In other cases, I am making changes.  Tiamat is a Chaotic Evil "Eodemon" in my games. Geryon is also now a "rage demon."  Druaga, or maybe now just Druj, will also be something else. 

At the moment I have about 650 demons and devils detailed for my Basic Bestiary II but none are sorted or detailed beyond basic descriptions. I need to start figuring out who "lives" where.

Links

Monday, February 15, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Buer, The Great President of Hell

Today is President's Day. Since we just got rid of the President from Hell, let's talk about a President of Hell. One of the things that I always found interesting reading demonology texts was the term President of Hell. One, in particular, is the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, The False Monarchy of Demons.  

One of the first Presidents mentioned was Buer.  Here is what is said about him.

Buer is a great president, and is seene in this signe [*]; he absolutelie teacheth philosophie morall and naturall, and also logicke, and the vertue of herbes: he giveth the best familiars, he can heale all diseases, speciallie of men, and reigneth over fiftie legions.

Kind of cool really. In this case, a President is someone that runs a government. The Pseudomonarchia Daemonum lists 14 such Presidents. How they fit into the Gygaxian vision of the Nine Hells and the Archdukes remains to be figured out; likely two presidents per layer of hell. 

Buer also appears as a President in the Ars Goetia of The Lesser Key of Solomon.  

Buer then would be classified as a devil in the Gygaxian taxonomy. 

Buer

Buer a Great President of Hell
President of Hell
Large Fiend (Diabolic)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Lawful Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Centuar: 180' (60') [18"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 15d8***+45 (113 hp)
  HD (Large): 15d10***+45 (128 hp)
Attacks: trample, bite, spells
Damage: 1d6+2 x5, 1d8+2
Special: Devil abilities, spell casting
Size: Large
Save: Monster 16
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XXI [B] x3
XP: 4,200 (OSE) 4,350 (LL)

Buer is a great President of Hell. He controls fifty legions of demons (a legion is 6,000 demons).  He will appear to mortals as a great red centaur. His true form is that of a lion's head with five goat legs radiating from this central head.  His whole body is aflame.  

Buer can cast spells as if he was a 13th level magic-user.  He can cast any spell dealing with fire (produce flame, fireball, etc) twice per day with additional memorization needed. 

He is a great patron of witches and warlocks, in particular warlocks.  The familiars he grants can heal their warlocks once per day for 1d6+ hp of damage and cure disease once per week. 

The Great Seal of Buer

Buer is summoned by demonologists and malefic witches for his knowledge on logic, moral philosophy, and the sciences, of which he is particularly knowledgeable on.  He can grant a familiar to those that summon him.  These will be imps but can appear as a natural animal.  These familiars will work to bring their master to greater and great acts of evil.  If the magic-user (or witch or warlock) dies while they have this familiar their souls will be sent to Hell where the familiar becomes the new Master and tortures the former magic-user for eternity

--

So a few things I have to consider.  Buer is a President, one of 14. I need to figure out which ones go where.  I am still thinking two per levels 2 to 8, with none for the 1st and 9th levels.  I also want to come up with new names for the levels and the rulers, more or less.

Now I know that Buer was featured in Dragon Magazine's famous "The Nine Hells Revisited, Part 1 and 2" and there is some written about him there. While it is all good stuff, I want to reorganize these as I like. 

I am certainly going to do a lot more with thses.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

One Man's God: Chinese Mythos

Chinese mythos from Deities & Demigods
I stated in my post about the Yaoguai that I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on Chinese mythology.  But even I know there is no way for the Deities & Demigods to cover all the mythological figures, gods, demigods, heroes, and monsters of Chinese myth.  The editors of the D&DG agree.

Instead what we have here are a few select gods and monsters for D&D fare.  I am quite certain that anyone that knows more about this than I do will notice some glaring issue, but for the moment let's look at it for what it is rather than what we wish it to be.  This is good because "what it is" is a fascinating, if sometimes problematic, read.

There are a few gods and creatures here that not only would make for great demons (in the Demon category of the Monster Manual) they are creatures that made many appearances in my games. Again this is taking them "as is", not "as they should be" but I will detail that in a bit.

An issue I should address is spelling.  Translating between Chinese and English is often half linguistics and half art.  Even when the spelling is agreed on it can change later, "D" and "T" are notorious.  What does that mean to us?  Well, it makes the research a bit harder on some creatures.  To get into the myths and stories behind these creatures would take a lot longer than this post and outside of the scope of One Man's God, but as always I will try to pull in the research when I can. 

One of the better sources for these myths is  E. T. C. Werner's "The Myths and Legends of China" whose earliest publication date appears to be in 1940.  The book is in the public domain and would have been available to the authors of the D&DG.  While there are other books, I am going to go to this one for confirmation on what is here. Now Werner could have a bunch of issues all on his own. I am not qualified to judge those either.  

Finally, I want to give credit to the artist of this section of myths, Darlene.  I don't think she gets the credit she deserves half the time (outside of her FANTASTIC map of Greyhawk).  Her art really captures the feel of these myths for me. 

Chih-Chiang Fyu-Ya

This guy typifies the problem I speak of.  A search for him online reveals only sources that were obviously taken from the D&DG.  The only other mentions are people asking where he is from.  Now I have no issue with making something up whole cloth for a game (I do it every day) but does that make him a part of Chinese myth?  In any case, Chih-Chiang Fyu-Ya looks and acts more like a Monster Manual devil than he does a demon.  My feeling is this guy was made up for the D&DG.

He does not appear in Werner's book.

Ma Yuan

Ma Yuan
So Chih-Chiang Fyu-Ya is the punisher of the gods, that is someone the gods send out to punish, much like Erinyes. Ma Yuan is the Killer of the Gods. He kills the gods.  He is also a unique beast and fits our definition of a demon well. He is Chaotic Evil, 70's tall, and has 300 hp.  He could mop the floor with Demogorgon! Well...maybe not mop.  Ma Yuan also appeared in many of my games back in the day as a giant monster of destruction (and ignoring his "High" intelligence rating), his sword is one of just a few fabled weapons in my world that can kill a god. 

In Gods, Demigods, and Heroes for 0e he is called Ma Yuan Shuai. This is very interesting since Tian Du Yuan Shuai is a figure of Taoist myth (though he could have been a real person) and he is associated with Okinawan Gojū-ryū karate. This was interesting to me because I studied Isshin-ryū karate in college and grad school, they are similar in many of their katas. But going done that rabbit hole was a dead end despite how interesting I found it. 

"Yuan Shuai" is also a rank in the Chinese military rank that is equivalent to Marshall in other militaries.  Ma Yuan Shuai could mean something like "Horse Marshall."

Going with this name I head back to Werner's book, I find this:

Ma Yüan-shuai is a three-eyed monster condemned by Ju Lai to reincarnation for excessive cruelty in the extermination of evil spirits. In order to obey this command he entered the womb of Ma Chin-mu in the form of five globes of fire. Being a precocious youth, he could fight when only three days old, and killed the Dragon-king of the Eastern Sea. From his instructor he received a spiritual work dealing with wind, thunder, snakes, etc., and a triangular piece of stone which he could at will change into anything he liked. By order of Yü Ti he subdued the Spirits of the Wind and Fire, the Blue Dragon, the King of the Five Dragons, and the Spirit of the Five Hundred Fire Ducks, all without injury to himself. For these and many other enterprises he was rewarded by Yü Ti with various magic articles and with the title of Generalissimo of the West, and is regarded as so successful an interceder with Yü Ti that he is prayed to for all sorts of benefits.

Doing research on this guy reveals that I was not the only one taken with this character (not a surprise really). Here Spes Magna Games updated his stats to 5e D&D.  

Ma Yuan though is a great being. I would say that he is a great sleeping demon (though his "in lair 10%" seems to preclude this) that is only roused when needed.  Werner's description seems to favor demon really.

Lu Yueh

Some success?  Lu Yueh appears as a figure using a magic umbrella to spreading plague in a 1922 painting by an unknown artist. 

He also appears in Werner's The Myths and Legends of China.  Called Lü Yüeh here he seems to be more of a hermit than a demonic god. Also, he only has one head.  He still causes plagues though. 

Tou Mu

Yikes. 

I am prone to be forgiving in cases like Chih-Chian Fyu-Ya; creatures made up to serve a purpose or a niche for a game.  Or even Lu Yueh and Ma Yuan; myths extended and/or changed to fit into D&D a little better. But what they did to Tou Mu?  No. This is just terrible research at this point.  I have avoided being too critical of the D&DG because I know the authors did not have the same access to materials I have now and, not to be a dick about it, but I have been trained to do Ph.D. level research. I have had 30+ years of professional research to draw on. They did not.  But this case really goes to the critics of the D&DG.  

Background.  Tou Mu was something of a celebrity back in Junior High among the people I played D&D with.  First she looks way freaking cool, secondly, she had a Charisma of 5! She had a ton of great and unique magic items and some DMs even gave her the dancing sword of lightning (as if she didn't already have enough).  She was an Endgame Boss.  

In actual Taoist mythology, she is Dǒumǔ (斗母) the 'Mother of the Great Chariot' or the Big Dipper.  she would not be a "Chaotic Evil Lesser Goddess" but most likely be a Lawful Good Greater Goddess, though a Lesser (but powerful) Goddess would also be acceptable.  Though I am not sure what I find worse, the evil alignment, the 5 Charisma or the 3 in Wisdom.

Here is how she looks in the D&DG,

Tou Mu from D&DG

versus how she is depicted in the real world, 

Dǒumǔ (斗母)Dǒumǔ (斗母) fan art

Seriously, how could they have messed this one up so bad? Turn a beloved goddess into a monster?

Again, let's see what Werner has to say about her:

Goddess of the North Star
Tou Mu, the Bushel Mother, or Goddess of the North Star, worshipped by both Buddhists and Taoists, is the Indian Maritchi, and was made a stellar divinity by the Taoists. She is said to have been the mother of the nine Jên Huang or Human Sovereigns of fabulous antiquity, who succeeded the lines of Celestial and Terrestrial Sovereigns. She occupies in the Taoist religion the same relative position as Kuan Yin, who may be said to be the heart of Buddhism. Having attained to a profound knowledge of celestial mysteries, she shone with heavenly light, could cross the seas, and pass from the sun to the moon. She also had a kind heart for the sufferings of humanity. The King of Chou Yü, in the north, married her on hearing of her many virtues. They had nine sons. Yüan-shih T’ien-tsun came to earth to invite her, her husband, and nine sons to enjoy the delights of Heaven. He placed her in the palace Tou Shu, the Pivot of the Pole, because all the other stars revolve round it, and gave her the title of Queen of the Doctrine of Primitive Heaven. Her nine sons have their palaces in the neighbouring stars.

Well, in many ways I supposed that is what OMG is kinda based on; One Man's God is another man's demon.  Still, it doesn't feel right to turn Dǒumǔ into Tou Mou.  I also suppose this also is part of the criticism landed at TSR/WotC's feet back in July of 2020 about the Oriental Adventures book. which, by the way, despite what all the Chicken Littles were saying back then you CAN still buy it in it's unedited form. 

I said at the outset I know far less about Chinese myths than I like and far less than I do about other mythologies.  What I do know there are SO MANY great stories about gods, demigods, monsters, and human heroes that doing this one right would fantastic.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Yaoguai

Well, January was used up and Monday, February 1st was also taken, so that makes today the first free Monday in 2021 for Monstrous Mondays!  Let's get to it.

First I want to talk a little bit about my two monster books, the Basic Bestiaries.  I am far behind my original and revised, release dates.  Not that this is a big deal really save that I wanted to something more done. I mentioned a while back that I began with one book and I am now splitting it up into two books, one for witch and witchcraft associated monsters and another for various demons and devils.  Work has continued on both books, but I might get to a point where I need to split them up yet again.  No big details yet, but I have an overabundance of the undead, in particular, vampires.  Still, my choice is two books and I am extremely happy with my Fuseli and Goya covers.

This brings me to today's post.  The Yaoguai and Chinese demons.  


My demons are now over 500 individual monsters and I am just getting started. I have talked a lot about demons here. 

What I know about Chinese Mythology could fill a book.  A very small, poorly edited book.
Here is what I have learned over the last few months. 

Yaoguai are a class of mostly evil (but not always so) spirits.  The name is used for the collection of all such spirits and for a group of specific animal spirits.  The name comes from the characters 妖怪 which translate into "strange ghost." They are related to yaomo (妖魔 yāomó, lit. "strange devil") or yaojing (妖精 yāojīng, lit. "sprite" or "seductive") all start with the same character 妖. This (typically) refers to an awakened spirit.

And as expected it also far more complicated than that.  Though as I have mentioned before, I can't serve two masters, in this case, Chinese mythology and good Game Design.

Yaoguai

Lesser Yaoguai are all animal spirits that were normally benign but have sought out immortality by becoming demons. While they can generally be described as evil, they are often more selfish and amoral.  The ones most encountered are evil since they tend to work against mortals.

All lesser yaoguai can be recognized by their glowing eyes, preternatural strength, and enlarged teeth and claws. All yaoguai can speak common and any other local languages.

As a spirit creature, a lesser yaoguai can be "Turned" by a cleric as if they were undead.  They do need to know their proper name.  So "begone rat demon" will not work, but "begone shǔ yaoguai" will.  A result of "T" will cause the creature to run away. A "D" result will force the spirit out of the animal in question, often killing the host animal. 

Lesser Yaoguai also all have the following powers.

  • Spirit. The natural form of the Yaoguai is a spirit. It will inhabit the body, living or dead, of the animal of their type.
  • Command Animals. Lesser Yaoguai can command animals of the same type. Niú Yaoguai can command oxen and other cattle for example.
  • Hybrid form. Yaoguai can shift between animal form and a humanoid form like a lycanthrope.
  • Immune to poison, gas, polymorph, and petrify effects. Immune to normal weapons.
  • Half damage from cold, fire, and electricity effects.  Half damage from silver weapons.
  • Full damage from magical weapons.
  • Double damage from a blessed weapon. These weapons specifically blessed by a priest to fight a particular type of Yaoguai spirit.

Shǔ Yaoguai  
Rat demon spirit
Medium Fiend (Demonic, Yaoguai)

Frequency: Uncommon
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment:  Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Hybrid: 120' (40') [12"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]

Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 5d8***+5 (28hp)
Attacks: claw/claw, bite
Damage: 2d4+1 x2, 1d6+1
Special: disease (demon fever), summon animals
Size: Medium
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 8 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 750 (OSE) 860 (LL)

Shǔ Yaoguai, or Rat demon spirit, is the most common of the lesser yaoguai encountered.  They appear as large rats with glowing eyes and human intelligence. In fact, they are often smarter than humans.  They can be found wherever large groups of rats are found.  They are often mistaken for wererats or dire rats of a, particularly evil mien.

Shǔ Yaoguai can attack with claw and bite and it is by these means that they deliver their curse of Demon Fever.  On a successful critical hit with a bite (a natural 20 rolled), they transmit Demon Fever.

The subject is allowed a saving throw vs poison.  A fail means death, a successful save means the victim has contracted a slower version of the fever. They will not be able to do anything but require complete bed rest. They will lose one Constitution point per day unless a Cure Disease is cast on them.  If they reach o Constitution they will die.

These demons can summon 10-100 normal rats, 2-40 dire rats, or 1-6 wererats in rat form.

Rat demons exist to cause chaos and suffering only. While they are intelligent their plans typically do not exist beyond this.

Niú Yaoguai
Ox demon spirit
Medium Fiend (Demonic, Yaoguai)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Hybrid: 120' (40') [12"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 7d8**+21 (53hp)
Attacks: I headbutt
Damage: 2d8+3
Special: Trample (4d8+3)
Size: Medium
Save: Monster  7
Morale: 10 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XV [H]
XP: 1,250 (OSE) 1,200 (LL)

Niú Yaoguai, or Ox demon spirit, are among the least intelligent of the yaoguai.  They are also among the strongest and the greediest.  In their animal form, they appear as a black and red ox with fiery eyes. Their hybrid human form appears as a minotaur.

The main attack of the ox demon is a running headbutt. On any critical hit (a natural 20) they also knock their opponent prone and trample them as an automatic attack.  The prone victim needs 1 combat round to get back on their feet.  The ox demon is not very dexterous and needs a full round to turn around if they wish to attack the same victim twice.  

These demons are slow, dumb, and very materialistic.  They can also be bribed with treasure; at least double or triple what their current treasure hoard is worth (discounting magic items which they have value for).  If this offer is made even the chaotic ox demon will not attack.

Hǔ Yaoguai
Tiger demon spirit
Medium Fiend (Demonic, Yaoguai)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Hybrid: 120' (40') [12"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 6[13]
Hit Dice: 9d8**+9 (50hp)
Attacks: claw/claw, bite
Damage: 1d6+2 x2, 2d8+1
Special: rake (back legs for 1d8+2 x2)
Size: Medium
Save: Monster 9
Morale: 10 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XXII [A]
XP: 2,350 (OSE) 2,400 (LL)

Hǔ Yaoguai or Tiger demon spirit are among the most violent of all the yaoguai. They appear as tigers with glowing eyes. Their hybrid form reminds one of a weretiger or even a type of Rakshasa; a comparison that both types of fiends abhor.

The tiger demon gleefully attacks with its claws and bite.  A critical hit on a bite attack (natural 20) will result in a pin and the demon can then attack with its hind legs for a rake. A hǔ yaoguai in hybrid form cannot rake.

This demon delights in sowing fear.  Its preferred attack is to seek out remote villages and begin to kill lone travelers.  It will leave the bodies where they can be found to raise the fear levels.  Its ultimate goal is to not just kill as many mortals as it can, but also to get the inhabitants of a village or local so scarred that normal life stops.  Fields are not attended, work ceases in other parts of the village, and so on.  Killing a handful of villagers with claw and bite is satisfying. Killing dozens because there are now not enough crops to feed them is a greater evil. 

Despite their propensity to violence they are a clever demon and will work towards the maximum fear they can.

Shé Yaoguai
Serpent demon spirit
Medium Fiend (Demonic, Yaoguai)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 150' (50') [15"]
  Hybrid: 120' (40') [12"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 8d8***+16 (52hp)
Attacks: bite + poison
Damage: 1d6, save vs. poison
Special: Poison, summon normal animals
Size: Medium
Save: Monster 8
Morale: 10 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XX [C]
XP: 2,300 (OSE) 2,440 (LL)

Of all the lesser yaoguai the Shé Yaoguai, or Serpent demon spirit, is the most clever. Second only to the Hóu Yaoguai; but never mention that to these evil creatures.  They spend the most time in their animal form as a large constrictor snake with glowing eyes, large fangs, and strange markings on their skin.  They are never confused with normal snakes.  Their hybrid form is that of a large snake with a humanoid torso and arms with a snake's head.

This yaoguai prefers to attack with its bite only.  A critical hit (natural 20) means they have injected a paralytic poison into their victim. The victim needs to save vs. poison or die.  A successful save still infects the victim and they lose 1 point of Dexterity per round. This will affect any attack or armor class of the victim. When they reach 0 Dexterity they are paralyzed permanently unless a Remove or Neutralize Poison spell is cast. If all their victims are defeated then the serpent demon will feast on the corpses and the paralyzed.

Shé yaogaui demons can also summon 10-100 normal snakes, 1-10 poisonous vipers, and 1-10 constrictor snakes.

Among the most evil of these types of demons the Serpent Yaoguai attempt to tempt humans into hedonistic lifestyles where only their own pleasures matter.  To this end, they work through others to provide decadent parties, banquets, and houses of pleasure.

Hóu Yaoguai
Monkey demon spirit
Medium Fiend (Demonic, Yaoguai)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Hybrid: 120' (40') [12"]
  Spirit: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 10d8***+10 (55hp)
Attacks: claw/claw, bite
Damage: 1d4+1 x2, 1d6+1
Special: Yaoguai abilities
Size: Medium
Save: Monster 10
Morale: 10 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XXI [B]
XP: 3,000 (OSE) 3,100 (LL)

Hóu Yaoguai, or Monkey demon spirit, are among the most powerful, smartest, and evil of the lesser Yaoguai.  Their animal form is that of a particularly evil-looking monkey looking like a macaque combined with a chimpanzee.  In their hybrid form, they can pass for a hairy human. Given the proper clothing, they can be 90% indistinguishable.

Like all yaoguai, these creatures prefer to attack with their natural weapons. In this case two claws and a bite. Unlike others, there is no special attack by this demon. 

These demons are more subtle than their kindred.  There are no summonings of creatures or deadly diseases. What they can do is summon 2-20 thralls; mercenary humans they have brought over to their causes.  This suits the Hóu Yaoguai well in its chosen area of interest.  The breakup of human-run governments. 

The Hóu Yaoguai will insert itself into a government as a low-level official and work its way up to power where it can influence governors, princes, or even the Emporer.  Its goal is always the same bring as much chaos as it can.  The ultimate goal for any Monkey demon is civil war.

--

Not too bad for a start.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Ghost Spiders

I have been working on a set of game boards to depict Lolth's lair in the Abyss.  They are not done yet and hope to show them off soon.   I have been taking my family through the Classic Greyhawk Campaign starting with T1 (AND B1) and working all the way to Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. 

While running I have added other material to the campaign to flesh it out more. This includes such classics as Bone Hill, Ravenloft, and Castle Amber but other details like a Stone Giant fortress Cloud Giant castle in the sky (for G4 and G5 respectively) as well as more details for the Drow City of Erelhei-Cinlu and a revamp of Lolth's lair.

While it is too late in the game for me to use it, Joesph Bloch, the Greyhawk Grognard, has released his own D4 to expand the Drown of Erelhei-Cinlu.  You can find it on his blog. 

It looks fantastic really, and let's be honest, Bloch knows his Greyhawk.  So I am certain that it would have been a nice addition to my campaign.  Plus it ties the GDQ series a little closer to the Temple of Elemental Evil, which is the ultimate goal of my campaign as well.  I understand he is doing a Q2 or something akin to that.  I have also wanted a good Q2. Though I am adapting the Monte cook adventure "Queen of Lies" for it.


But until then, I have a few more "spiderweb" monsters I need to weed out the uninspired choices in Q1. 

Here is one of them.

Ghost Spider

Huge Undead (Incorporeal)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
   Webs: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 5d8+10** (33 hp)
  Alternate HP: 5d12+10** (43 hp) (Huge)
Attacks: Bite
Damage: 2d8
Special: Ethereal, fear aura, harmed only by magic, incorporeal, undead, webs
Size: Huge
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 12
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 3,500 (B/X, OSE) 3,600 (LL)

Ghost Spiders appear as semi-transparent, glowing ghosts of huge spiders.  They are not spiders, nor are they exactly undead, but rather they are the demonic projections of fears powered by necromantic forces.

A ghost spider is found anywhere where the influence of demons is strong and where mortal creatures can interact.  The fears of spiders are magnified till a ghost spider is created.  As such it radiates a fear aura that mimics the spell Cause Fear.  Anyone under 5 HD/Levels must make a saving throw vs Spells or fall under the influence of the spell-like effect.  Creatures higher than 5HD/Levels gain a +2 to their save. Creatures 9HD/levels or higher are immune to these fear effects.  Those affected will be frozen in fear and unable to move, run, or attack. The ghost spider will then attack with webs (as per a giant spider) to immobilize other potential victims.  Then will then use their bite to kill others.  Ghost Spiders are not living and therefore do not require to feed on victims. They instead feed on the fear they cause and the pain from deaths. 

Ghost spiders are treated as undead and can be turned as a 5HD creature or as a Spectre.  Like all undead they are immune to charm, hold and sleep spells. They can only be struck by magical weapons. Once destroyed the ghost spider will not reform, but other ghost spiders may be created in their place at a future date.  The only way to destroy them forever is to remove the demonic forces that create them.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Season of the Witch (All)

ITS HALLOWEEN!  It's a Saturday. We get an extra hour after midnight and the moon is full.  

Again, today I am going to end with some movies around the same theme; or more accurately movies with the same title.

Oh no, must be the season of the witch!

Season of the Witch (1972 or 1973)

Ok, this is a repeat from 2012, but the topic and time period was just too perfect to ignore. While this month has largely been about European Horror prior to The Exorcist, this one from Horror Master George Romero could not be ignored.  

Besides, bored housewife turns to witchcraft? Yeah, that is great stuff, to be honest.  There is still a lot of fun in this movie. A nice slice of Occult Americana. Neat little bits on Rosemary's Baby, Voodoo, ritual tools, and Tarot Cards. Even an honest to Goddess coven and ritual initiation.  If anything this movie is better with another watch. The movie even has enough sense to know when to take itself seriously and when to not.  

The new special edition Blu-Ray art makes Joan look a little scarier than she is but hey, that is fine really. 

A wonderful example of the Swinging 70s and horror prior to The Exorcist. 

New View: No
Witches: Yes
Features the Donovan Song: Yes

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Now I remember seeing this one in the theaters. I loved the poster and thought it was really cool.  But for the life of me when rewatching it I could remember any of it.  This movie is best watched as disconnected from the rest of the Halloween/Michael Meyers franchise.  It fits in with the original vision of the franchise as separate, unrelated movies in an anthology.  Much like "Creepshow" and "American Horror Story."

The story is. Well it's dreadful, to be honest. It wasn't well liked then and it has not aged well either.  I do like the idea of the masks being haunted/possessed/curse or whatever it was they were.  Though seriously, trying to get a chip from the megaliths at Stonehenge? Yeah, not likely.  Though I would totally use a bunch of cursed masks in a game.

I think I remember why I don't recall this one as well. It's kinda dull and I might have spaced out a lot while it was on.  

New View: I am going to say No, even though I can't remember much of it.
Witches: None, but it does have Dick Warlock in it. So that is something.
Features the Donovan Song: No


Season of the Witch (2009, 2014)

Did Halloween III leave such a bad taste in everyone's mouth that this title had to wait nearly 30 years to be reused? I guess. 

My first "first time view" today and one of my last (!) new movies of the season.  Make no mistake, this one is not good. It is a little indie film from England. The actors are mostly unknowns.  Mary Blackwell travels back to her hometown of Maiden Hollow to clear out her recently deceased father's house. There is a priest who becomes obsessed with Alice (Beth Kingston) who looks like his dead wife.

Or that's what I think. There are times when the music soundtrack overwhelms the voice track. Calling this a "slow burn" is charitable. Calling it boring might be closer. 

Which is too bad, because I had hoped for some English folk horror.  The "village justice" scene at the end is the closest we ever get to that.  Actually, I felt the whole scene was overdone to be honest. 

The movie was finished in 2009 but not released till 2014.

The tag line is "Don't look behind" which makes no sense. Given how times the question is asked the tag line should be "Did You Have Breakfast?"

New View: Yes
Witches: Not really
Features the Donovan Song: No

Season of the Witch (2011)

This one is pure horror-action cheese.  I saw it when it came out but I am a little surprised in never made it into my Horror Movie Challenge till now. 

So this one has a lot of good going for it on paper. Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman star as Teutonic Knights.  There is a girl, Anna, played by Claire Foy in her first movie role, being accused of witchcraft and they need to take her to a monastery. 

It goes about as you would suspect. Knights take the witch in a cage. She protests she isn't a witch. Crazy shit happens on the way.

It's a fun romp and Cage never fails to amuse and Ron Perlman is always fun.  The demon effects are also really good. After spend so much time in the 1970's horror it is nice to see a really scary looking monster.

In some ways this movie could be considered part of a series along with Vin Diesel's "The Last Witchhunter." There is a similar vibe to them both.

New View: No
Witches: Yes
Features the Donovan Song: Sort of. It's on the soundtrack, but it is a symphonic instrumental. 

Judgment: If your "Season of the Witch" movie does not feature the song by Donovan, then your movie is going to suck.


I started early while waiting for Trick or Treaters.  I might be able to get in one more tonight!  The new Craft movie is out now!

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  The "Season of the Witch" is a potent concept for me. 

I used it for the name of my Willow & Tara series (essentially "Buffy, Season 8") and it is coming around again in relation to my War of the Witch Queens

Watched: 59
New: 40


Thursday, October 29, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Demon Witch Child (1975)

Demon Witch Child (1975)
Demon Witch Child (1975)

Another one that has been on my list for a while now.  I had it on tap for 2018, but for some reason, I never got around to it.  I think I just forgot about it. Actually, it is perfect for this year and right now.

Before I get into the plot, such that it is, I want to talk about what this movie represents.  All month long I have been focused on the time period in Europe, and mostly Italian and Spanish cinema, just right before the Exorcist hit.  The sweet spot for me has been 1971 to 1973.  Now maybe someday I'll do a post Exorcist run of movies, but until then this is the film that I will hold up as Exhibit A as to the effect the Exorcist had on filmmaking. 

Demon Witch Child, aka The Possessed and La Endemoniada, has a pedigree of sorts.  Marián Salgado who plays Susan, the titular "Demon Witch Child," was the Spanish voice actress for Linda Blair's Regan in the Exorcist.  So she was handpicked by director Amando de Ossorio for his Exorcist rip-off, er, homage.   The fact that she also bears some similar facial features to the old witch played by Tota Alba helps.

The Exorcist influences are all over this movie.  Susan crawls around, her body (not just head) spins around 180 degrees. She swears, she makes rude sexual comments all the time, she speaks in different languages (though we never hear them).  And it is all a little weird. I honestly got the feeling that the movie was written one way, but when the Exorcist hit more was added. 

An old witch desecrates a church and is arrested.  She is suspected of kidnapping a baby, but instead of talking she throws herself out of a window.  Her daughter (played by Kali Hansa who also spent some of time working with Jess Franco, including one of his hardcore outings, Weiße Haut und schwarze Schenkel, 1976) witnesses this and decides to curse the daughter of a local politician, Susan. 

Susan it seems is now possessed by the spirit of the dead old witch. The make-up effects are pretty good and do a good job of making Marián Salgado look like Tota Alba.  

Sadly the movie goes nowhere really.  Susan sacrifices babies, eats them,  gets people killed, murders a reporter, and comments on how well hung he is before castrating him. But there is also a surprising lack of gore or nudity for the time.  There is a subplot with a priest, our would-be exorcist, how before he became a priest he was engaged.  It is all very random in places. 

This is not the only movie I have seen from the time that suffers a lot from comparisons to The Exorcist, but this one of the most glaring ones. 

Watched: 52
New: 36

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Possession is always fun in a game. Unless you happen to be the one possessed.  While this movie was obviously about demonic possession they can be other types.  Based on similar tales, I posted about the Eretica Vampire a few years back.  I even used a still from this movie.

Eretica (Vampire)
Eretica (Vampire)
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 6
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 7
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Mind control, Strong and Fast, Witch spells, blood drain.
XP VALUE: 750 

Eretica are the spirits of dead witches who possess the living, turning them into a sort of living vampire.

Unlike the typical Vampire, these creatures cannot Polymorph and cannot create new vampires.  In their host form, they can also move about during the day and are immune to holy items.  In their "possessed" form they have all the standard weaknesses of vampires. 
They can witch spells at the 4th level of experience.



Monday, October 26, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Alraune

Another one I have been playing around with for a bit.  The final product was not what I was going for originally, but I like what I came up with.  Doing research on the demonic offspring of witches. I played around with Aludemons, Alrunes, even Agrat Bat Mahlat.  

My research will come up with something closer to what I was looking for, but until then here is a nice low-level monster for you to use.

witch woman in forest
Art by Karen Nadine
Alraune
Medium Humanoid (Demonic)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment:
Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8+3* (64 hp)
Attacks: NA
Damage: NA, or by spell
Special: Charm x3, Witch spells (3rd level), damaged by holy weapons
Size: Medium
Save: Witch 3
Morale: 8 
Treasure Hoard Class:
None
XP: 75

The Alraune is born of the unnatural union of a witch and a specially procured and enchanted mandrake root. 

The witch must find the place where a murderer was hung to death.  It is believed that the "final power" of the hanged man would fall to the ground below him.  The witch must come by night and there dig up up the mandrake root that has grown from this final power.  If she can do this by the new moon then all the better.

The witch then takes the mandrake and applying certain alchemical elements and demonic rituals, he will make a lover for herself in the shape of the dead man.  The man/mandrake will then impregnate her his demonic seed. The mandrake creature is mindless and serves only one purpose.  By the light of the morning sun, he will wither and die.

What is born then after the normal amount of time is the Alraune.  The child, who is always a girl, will grow quickly (three days) into young adulthood.  The witch will then set her new demonic daughter loose to wreck chaos.  

The Alraune is always beautiful and smells of sweet flowers. She has a natural charm ability that she can use 3 times per day as if she were a witch of the 3rd level. The creature has no soul, nor any sense of morality.  She will seduce faithful husbands to destroy their marriages, disrupt any village she is left in, inspire envy and jealousy in all that see her.  She will avoid anyone she perceives as stronger or more powerful than herself. If the tide of the village goes against her she will attempt to escape. Most often they end up sharing the fates of their mothers; on the stake and pyre.

The Alraune does not attack with physical attacks or weapons. She will instead rely on her natural charm ability. If pressed she can use witch spells as a 3rd level witch of the Mara or Demonic traditions. Alraunes take double damage from holy or blessed items. Holy water does 1d4 hp of damage to them and burns like acid on their skin.

Alraunes, by custom, are often named after flowers.

Special: Once in a great while a witch will birth two alraunes at once, twin girls.  When this occurs one will be exceptionally evil and the other, while not good exactly, is not dedicated to evil. The witch will not know which is which until they become older.  It is believed that if the evil twin is killed the "good" twin will be free and even gain a soul. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Satanic Sunday

We are in the last week of October. I am sad to see it go.  But we still have the whole week and I am going to watch as much as I can.  I had some movies still on BluRay so I thought I'd make a theme weekend of it. 

Inquisition (1976)

Another Mondo Macabro purchase.  This is Paul Naschy's first directorial effort. The Blu Ray is quite nice, you could almost believe it was originally filmed in HD. The transfer is very good. Naschy is his best leering self and chews up scenery like no one's business. 

It's the 16th century and witches, warlocks and the devil is everywhere.  At least that is what Benard de Fossey thinks.  One by one all the beautiful women in the village are accused of witchcraft and find themselves at the mercy of de Fossey. 

It is largely an excuse to have a bunch of naked women getting tortured. Even so a lot of effort went into this one. There is the witchhunter's manual that is as nicely illustrated as any Monster Manual.  I'd love to get some art like that for a monster book. 

There is a witch, of sorts, and she recruits our star, Catherine (Daniela Giordano).  The scenes of the witches' sabbat are trippy and Naschy pulls double duty as Satan.  Triple duty really since he also plays the Grim Reaper. 

The ending is not entirely unexpected but still, there is a nice twist ar the end. 


The Demons (1973)

Jess Franco is as notorious as Paul Naschy.  But in some ways I like Franco better. It's nothing I can put my finger on, I have just seemed to like his movies a little more. This movie though is a touch sleazier than his others.  This one also reunites Britt Nichols and Anne Libert with Jess Franco. Their last outing together was La fille de Dracula in 1972. Though this time Brit Nichols and Anne Libert play sisters and not cousins. 

This one begins with the trial and burning of a suspected witch.  She curses all who are there, by saying her daughters will avenge her. 

We switch to a convent where two orphans have been raise. One Margaret (Carmen Yazalde appearing as Britt Nichols) is good and pure, but Kathleen (Anne Libert) daydreams (a sure sign of sin) and moans and writhes in her sleep at night.  So she is obviously possessed by the devil.  Sure enough, these two girls are the daughters of the witch.  We are treated with not one, but two scenes of Katheleen being "seduced" by the devil.  

Lady de Winter (Karin Field), an eyewitness to the execution of the witch arrives at the convent. We discover that Kathleen, unlike her good sister, is no longer a virgin.   She is taken, strung up on a wrack, and tortured.  Lady De Winter seems to get off on the torture. While Lord De Winter pities the poor girl.  She is found guilty of witchcraft, of course, and sentenced to be burned.  But Lord De Winter sets her free in the night.  She finds the home of a painter where she stays. 

While that is happening Margaret is back at the coven praying when she is visited by the ghost of her mother and then by a servant of Satan to "initiate" her.  And no Margaret, putting your cross between your legs won't help.  Now a full bride of Satan Margaret starts in on the convent. First by seducing another nun and then getting her to commit suicide.  She soon finds Kiru "Satan's Favorite Wife."

Kathleen is recaptured, but her captor falls in love with her and wants to escape to England with her. But she manages to escape again and is recaptured.

Margaret finds her way to Lady De Winter's home where she seduces her.  But now she has the cool power of being able to kill anyone she has sex with.  I guess we see that again in American Horror Story Coven. 


Margaret and Kathleen escape, but when Margaret uses her sex magic on Kathleen's lover (who had hunted their mother) she turns Margaret in.

On the pyre, Margret requests a last kiss from the Lord Justice and she kills him.  She laughs while she burns.  In the end, Kathleen finds Kiru.

Not a bad flick, but a little all over the place. The BluRay has a couple of nice features, but not a lot. 

Britt Nichols and Anne Lipert would also later go on to be in A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973), another Franco movie.  Between 1972 and 1973 they would appear in six movies together. They stopped filming with Franco also at the same time that Lina Romay started.  I am going to try not to read too much into that.


Mark of the Devil (1970)

Also known as "Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält", or "Witches Tortured till They Bleed."

Bleed is appropriate here since this movie is overflowing with blood.   

This features a young Udo Kier as a magistrate over the European Witch Trials in Austria. Naturally, he falls in love with a woman accused of witchcraft.   There is some goings on with the local witch-finder and his gang and church appointed witchfinder.  But honestly, it is just an excuse to make a torture-porn movie. 

The torture is vivid and done well with the effects of the time, but after an hour or so it gets routine.  Starting off the movie with the rape of some nuns sets the desensitizing dial pretty high, everything after is just more brutality.  Or maybe since this is the third movie of roughly the same subject I am getting burned out.

I guess the film was fairly notorious back in the day. I have seen copies of this go for really ridiculous amounts. Not as much "sexploitation" in this as "tortureploitation" as some of the other movies about this time. 

The highlight of this one is Udo Kier, who even then, showed a great talent for acting. 

I looked for "Mark of the Devil Part II" since it featured Erika Blanc, but all I found was a really terrible copy on YouTube.

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  A few notes.

A tortured innocent will say many names, but a real witch will never reveal who her sisters are. 
I also need more prophetic dreams for my witches.

Lady De Winter looks like she could be part of the Winters family of witches. She enjoys the torture of the other witches a little too much. But the deviousness with the blonde hair and blue eyes almost makes her a family member by defualt.

Margaret's death by sex is a cool Occult power (for one of my Old-School witches) but it has limited utility in a game.

Nuns and witch covens have a lot in common. 

I also need more witch hunts in my games.  Something for my witches to act against. Especially skeezy ones like from Mark of the Devil.

Watched: 48
New: 32



Saturday, October 24, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Search Continues, Part 2

Another attempt to find this mysterious movie that haunts my memory.  Last week I did three, this week? Well, I have a whole list of potential candidates but my expectations are pretty low.

I think for this one I am going to come up with my NIGHT SHIFT content while I watch them.  I just got into the first and need something to keep my focus.

Asylum of Satan (1972)

I think I may have seen this one. Not sure. A woman, Lucina Martin (Carla Borelli) is brought to an asylum/hospital and she has no idea or memory why.  And....that's about it really. The asylum is a front so Dr. Spector can sacrifice people to Satan. Crappy acting all around, crappy script.  

I am glad I stuck through it if no other reason that to see the shittiest Satan/Devil I have EVER seen.    There was a part about an hour in which I thought I had found my movie, but thankfully it was not.  I am not sure I was ready for the movie I have been searching for for so long to be this steaming turd. 

I am never getting "Red Light Lady" out of my head.

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: Hell no

NIGHT SHIFT Content. Not a lot here that hasn't been done better by so many others.

Something Evil (1972)

This one was also my list but in the "not likely" category.  A couple of things though made decide to watch it.  First, the main actor is none other than Darren McGavin, Kolchak himself. That's a plus. And the Director is Steven Spielberg. THE Steven Spielberg. So I figured, what the hell. 

It also features such 70s fixtures as Johnny Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy, David Knapp,  and Sandy Dennis.  The movie is rather cheap. IT is a made for TV deal after all.  

One nitpick, the six-pointed barn hex sign is called a "pentacle".  It's slow, but the acting is good and everyone gives it their best, so they make the best of a small budget. 

In a decade Spielberg would go on to do Poltergiest. Some of seeds for that movie can be seen here, to be honest. 

Viewed: New
The movie I was looking for?: No, but I was pretty sure of that when I started

NIGHT SHIFT Content:  Haunted houses are always fun.  Watching this is like a Proto-Poltergiest in the country.   

Watched: 44
New: 29


Friday, October 23, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Anime Demon Cities

An "Attack of opportunity" tonight of sorts. I had installed the Tubi channel on my Roku recently and I was paging through all the horror movies to see what they had. One came up that I had seen before (so I thought) and figured, why not, it had not seen it since the 90s. So I loaded it up.

Well...it was not the movie I thought it was.

Wicked City (1987)

Ok, so this one seemed familiar at first. And then it turned soft-core hentai. The premise is that the human world and the "black world" or the demon world have been fighting for years and a new peace treaty is about to be signed. An agent for the Black Guard, Renzaburō Taki, has been called in to protect a mystic, Giuseppe Mayart. He is partnered with a woman from the Black World, named Makie. She is a demon and can grow long claws.

Anyway Giuseppe Mayart might be a few hundred years old, but he is a big old pervert. Constantly grabbing at Makie, reading adult magazines and finally sneaking off so he can visit a brothel. Taki and Makie follow him but get separated. Makie is found by her ex-lover, a demon, so he proceeds to sexually assault her for a bit. Till Taki kills it. Mayart is wounded and needs to be taken to a hospital, they are chased by demons but Makie sacrifices herself to protect them. Something that has a huge effect on Taki. While at the hospital the demon lord lets Taki and Mayart (and most of Tokyo I think) know he (and the spider demon Taki had sex with in the opening) has Makie and she is currently being gang-raped by three demons. Taki of course takes the bait and saves her.

In no amount of logic, Taki and Makie have sex in a church. The big bad demon shows up to kill them and a perfectly healed Mayart shows up to kick the demon's ass. Turns out that Mayart was actually here to protect Taki and Makie so they could conceive a child, the first Demon-Human child to be born and be the one to bring peace to both worlds.

It's an interesting premise with some cool ideas.

Demon City Shinjuku (1990)

Ok, THIS is the movie I thought I was watching. It is a lot less violent and a lot less tentacle rape. This one takes place 10 years after a huge earthquake caused by a demon, Rebi Ra, happens. The entire Shinjuku area of Tokyo has been destroyed and overrun with demons.

We meet up with Kyoya Izayoi, a martial artist in "Nem Po" training who wields a wooden sword. He is the son of the man who failed to kill Rebi Ra in the opener. He is sent by floating mystic, Aguni Rai to protect the World's President's daughter Sayaka. Though she has gone to Shinjuku to find Rebi Ra.

Rebi Ra has been spending the last 10 years opening a portal to let in more demons. Of course our hero now only has 3 days.

Kyoya jumps at any combat, whether he can win or not, and is soon captured by Rebi Ra. Then there is a bit where Sayaka tries to free some ghosts from a park. This wakes up Kyoya. They are recaptured by Rebi Ra and Sayaka is chosen for the sacrifice. Kyoya finds his father's wooden sword (filled with his Chi/Qi power) and he kills Rebi Ra.

Oh, and there is this strange dude named Mesphito and a kid who helps named Chibi who for reasons unknown to god, man or demon has the worst Mexican accent I have ever heard. Mesphito seems like he could be demon, but certain on his own side.

The movie is a bit slow and the dubbing in some places doesn't make a bit of sense.

It is easy to see Demon City as a sequel of sorts to Wicked City, with Kyoya acting as the son of Renzaburō Taki and Makie. Aguni Rai could even double as Giuseppe Mayart.

Watched: 41
New: 27

NIGHT SHIFT content: Demon City Tokyo: 2055
A new experimental Quantum Nuclear Reactor has gone critical but instead of blowing up Tokyo a rift has appeared opening the city up to the depths of hell. Now 20 years later the children of the people trapped in the Demon City deal with demon excursions, the walking dead, and the police of the DCO (Demonic Control Operation).   High tech meets old magic. Demonically possessed humans and the undead fight cyber-enhanced martial artists.  It is all happening in Demon City Tokyo!



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blood Orgy of the Queens of Evil (1972)

One Occult/Hippie/Witchcraft movie leads to another and another and another.  This time though we might have some fruit.  

Queens of Evil (1972)

A lone biker/wanderer David (again) stops to help an older man with a flat tire.  For his effort, the older man punctures David's motorcycle tire with a nail.  David gets his bike fixed and tries to chase down the old man.  The old man panics and crashes his car into a tree and dies.  David, wanting no part of this speeds away.

He comes up to a shack and since it has been dark this whole time he decides to spend the night.  When he wakes up a young woman, Liv, who tells him he needs to leave now before her family sees him.  David is expecting parents but instead is found by her two sisters Samantha and Bibiana.  They invite him to stay for breakfast and ends up staying for much longer.  The three women live in the BEST witch house I have seen in a while and really is making me rethink what needs to go into a witches' house. The wall-size pictures of each of the three women are going to go into something to be sure.

Everything is very psychedelic.  The first hour of so is slow, but the last 20 minutes really kicks in and gets really going.  David begins to see what sort of trouble he is in. Not before he has sex with Liv at any rate; which actually might have been the final thing that does him in really. 

The women kill him and bury him in the yard. All the guests from the party are there, already in black. The rich older man from the first scene is also there. Turns out he is the Devil! Pretty cool ending really. The witches mention that to corupt him was very difficult and that the Devil will no longer be needed.  All the guests at party are "conjurers" and are designed to keep sin alive and well.

Pretty cool.

Blood Orgy of the She Devils (1972)

This one starts off with some trippy special effects and a witch ritual that at least reads right. It's the early 70s so we are also are going to get some scantily clad dancing girls and a vaguely Satanic looking sacrifice.    I been wanting to see this one since the witch (Witch Queen maybe) Mara. 

At one point Mara channels her "Indian guide" with some of the most painful dialogue I have heard outside a racist cartoon. It is quite painful really.  So our witch Mara kills a UN Ambassador and the ones that paid her try to kill her, but I guess she can't be killed. 

This movie though is so 70s it treats magic as a foregone conclusion; it exists but not everyone has mastered it yet. 

There is a lot of neat sympathetic magic here, but not really a lot of blood nor orgies though really.

The movie ends with a group of "good guys" killing all the women. 

Watched: 38
New: 26

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
A few random ideas.
  • Witches need to have really cool, or at least really unique, homes.  
  • I need to expand some psychic powers for witches.
  • I should develop some rules for reincarnation for witch characters.
  • More wizard vs. witch battles.