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

Monday, August 28, 2023

#RPGaDay2023 SCARIEST game you've played

 Scares do not come easy to me anymore. I consume horror movies like most people watch sitcoms (and laugh as much), nearly all my non-D&D games are horror and a fair amount of my D&D ones are as well.  So for a game to REALLY scare me, it has to be special. And it is usually NOT due to the rules being used.

Case in point. My online games from 2006 to 2009 that I called "Vacation in Vancouver."  I played it starting with WitchCraft and then moved over to True20 (a game not known for its horror).

True20True20 Adepts Handbook

The hook was that members of Vancouver's supernatural community were going missing.  Long story short, there was this entire underground where vampyres, demons, and witches were getting together and engaging in all sorts of lewd sexual acts in exchange for essence.  After a while, even open acts of magic were considered acceptable.

The game, though was not really about sex or even depravity (there was a lot of sexual slavery going on and it was hard to know who was using who), but about addiction and losing yourself.

A couple of characters had to be literally pulled back from the edge.

As a role-playing experience, it was intense.  There was not much combat, to be honest.  Part of that was out of choice (the characters were investigators, not thugs) and part out of necessity (combats online can be dull, even in Unisystem).

The game ended like many others, not with a big finale but gradually dying off.

The mystery of where all the supernaturals were going was solved, but not the one of the demonic sex trafficking. The demons never actually killed anyone. In fact, they seemed to be concerned for the welfare of the Gifted and Lesser Gifted in their "care".  And there were plenty of volunteers for the demons, too, since the exchange of Essence was pleasurable for both (but only humans can 'regenerate' Essence).

There were some very interesting games, though, that came from all of that.  It was one of those rare RPG moments where the bad guys might have won, and there was nothing the PCs/Cast could do about it.  While the game was fun and provided some of the best pure Horror roleplaying I have run in a long time, I am just not sure how it could even be revisited.


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 23

Going back to Room 19 and taking the last passageway again leads the party up and out of the water.

This room is large and circular, with a high ceiling. The walls are made of rough, black stone. The floor is covered in a thin layer of water.  On the ceiling of this room is a glowing green portal where occasionally a frog will drop down and land in the pool below.

Room 23

There is a 25% chance that a Hydrodæmon will fall per 10 mins of entering this room. 

Like many of the portals here, this one is one-way. Demons come in, but can't get back out. 

One of the lanterns is the trigger for a secret door.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Monstrous Monday: The Demon Prince Akelarre

 Akelarre is a demon that has kinda always been with me in one form or another. He has had a variety of names over the years, but in all cases, he has been a large goat-headed demon whose main reason for being is to corrupt witches.  He is based on the various Demon-Goat creatures, mostly featured in the witch sabbat paintings of Francisco Goya.



Akelarre is the Basque word (where Goya is from) for a Witches' Sabbath.  The name of both of these paintings from Goya is "Akelarre."

I wanted a new demon lord, one associated with evil witches. The role in my games in the past has largely been filled by Graz'zt and others. But I wanted someone I had more creative control over. I also wanted someone that was also like Éliphas Lévi's Baphomet.  He will serve as the witches' "Dark Man" as mentioned in many witchcraft trials. In Europe that was always considered to be the Devil or a at the very least a high-level demon.  

Demon Lord Akelarre
My print of Alelarre with Larina for scale

Akelarre, Demon Prince
Huge Demon (Evil, demon)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Fly 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Hit Dice: 20d8+80******** (170 hp)
 Huge: 20d12+80******** (210 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+13)
Attacks: 1 bite (1d6+3), 2 claws (1d6+3 x2), or by weapon or breath weapon or by spell
Special: Breath weapons, capsize, digestive acid, swallow whole, dominate and summon water-borne creatures,+3 or better weapon to hit, immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), telepathy 100 ft.
Saves:  D2 W2 P2 B3 S4 SS3 (20)
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: W, Y, Z
XP: 16,003 (OSE) 11,450 (LL) 6,800 (S&W)

Str: 18 (+3) Dex: 16 (+2) Con:  22 (+4) Int: 20 (+4) Wis: 15 (+1) Cha: 20 (+4)

Akelarre appears as a large goat-headed humanoid. On his brow is a burning crown. His heavily muscled form is covered in dark gray fur. His hands end in vicious-looking claws, and his feet are cloven hooves made of gold. He smells of animals and brimstone. His voice is high but melodious and comforting.

This demon avoids interactions with other demons and instead focuses on growing his cult on the Material Plane. He is known as the Demon of the Witches' Sabbat and he eitehr attends himself or via proxy when he can. Here, once per year, he gathers his witches for revels of feasting, sacrifices, and all sorts of debaucheries. He flies to these via magic once the sun has set. It is claimed that it is impossible to know if it is genuinely Akelarre at a sabbat, a high priest, or even a goat he has possessed for the night, save for when the sun rises. The true Akelarre will flee before the sun, a possessed man or goat will revert in the morning light. 

Akelarre can fight, though he prefers not to do so. He can attack with bite and claw or a weapon. Most often, he prefers to cast spells. He can cast any Magic-User spell and has the casting ability of an 18th-level caster. He can also breathe fire 3 times per night, doing 6d8 hp of damage, save vs. Breath Weapons for half.  He has a Charm gaze that can Charm Person at will, save vs. spells to negate. He can also use this power to charm animals with no save granted. Magic is needed to hit Akelarre, whether by spell or by weapons. A +2 weapon is needed. Like many demons, he is immune to mundane fire and mind-affecting magic. He takes half damage from magic or dragon fire, cold, electricity, or gas-based attacks. 

As the Demon Prince of Witches, Akelarre teaches witches of the demonic traditions of their craft. He sends out demon familiars in the form of normal but evil and lascivious in nature.  Offspring of these familiars and normal animals tend to be more wild and prone to attacking humans. His court comprises satyrs of the more feral natures, succubi, warlocks, and witches. He has no dealings with the undead.

Akelarre is a highly charismatic demon, and his honeyed words sound like the voice of a friend or lover promising you everything you desire and more.  There is a great rivalry between the demon Akelarre and the devil Abraxas.  Each seeks to find more magical tomes than the other, and they instruct their respective warlocks to do the same.  

Akelarre as a Patron: Akelarre believes that the pleasures of the world are the best reward and the pleasures of the flesh most of all. He typically grants his witches and warlocks the ability to summon demonic spirits for their pleasures, the ability to conjure up feasts as needed, and of course, grants them gold on signing their pact. Witches and Warlocks of Akelarre gain a Charm Person and Glamour-like powers they can use once per day. 

The Demon Prince Akelarre

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 21

 Going back to Room 19 and then to the central passageway takes the party up to a room similar to Room 20.

Room 21

Inside this wet room is what appears to be a gargantuan frog. Its evil eyes though, betray its true origins.

Dæmon, Hydrodæmon

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9+36**** (76 hp)
Attacks: 2 fore claws (1d8 x2), 2 hind claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d10)
Special: Spittle, spells, only harmed by silver weapons, immunity to acid and poison, magic resistance (35%), telepathy 100 ft.
THAC0: 11 [+8]
Movement: 30' (10')
  Swim: 240' (80')
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 7 (9)
Morale: 10
Alignment: Neutral evil
XP: 3,607 (OSE) 2,300 (S&W) 3,800 (LL)
Number Appearing: 1d3 (1d6)
Treasure Type: I, Y

Hydrodæmon are frog-like daemons that swim the River Styx. They are the only known creatures in existence that can touch the waters of the Styx without suffering any ill effects.

Hydrodæmon are 10 feet tall and weight about 4,000 pounds. Large flaps of skin under their arms allow them to glide when leaping. The flesh of a hydrodæmon is warty and green. Its eyes are a sickly yellow in color.

Up to five times per day a hydrodæmon can expel a 20-foot long line of sputum that causes those hit to save vs. sleep (as the spell) for 6 rounds. Hydrodaemons can, at will, cast cause fear, darkness, detect magic, and dimension door. Once per day, they can summon an 8 HD water elemental.

They can communicate telepathically but have low intelligence. 


This hydrodæmon is awkward on land, and there is not enough room for it to glide.  It has been trapped here since the necromancers controlled this place, and it is pissed off. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 17

 Beyond the secret door in room 14 takes the party to room 17.  A small passage leads to a large open chamber. A loud droning sound can be heard from all over.

Room 17

Inside this room are two large Fly Demons.

Fly Demon

Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 8+8**** (44 hp)
Attacks: 4 claws (1d4+1x2), 1 bite (1d8) + disease
Special: Diseased bite, demonic abilities, fear, detect invisible, darkness, drone
THAC0: 12 [+7]
Movement: 90' (30')
  Fly: 240' (80')
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 8 (8)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Chaotic evil
XP: 2,608 (OSE) 2,000 (S&W) 3,040 (LL)
Number Appearing: 1d3 (1d6)
Treasure Type: B

Fly demons are known by a variety of names, and they may all be different species or sub-species of demons, but they all have similar characteristics if different overall appearances. All fly demons appear to be a horrid combination of humanoid and fly.  Some smaller species are only 4' long, while larger ones are up to 7'. They have large insect-like wings, humanoid heads, and faces, with large multi-faceted eyes. Their bodies are like that of an insect with six limbs. Each limb ends in a horrid-looking claw.

These demons attack with their four forelimbs. Their back limbs are often used as humanoid legs. Each claw can do 1d4+1 hp of damage. Their bite, though, causes 1d8 points of damage and transmits a horrible wasting disease where the wound continues to eat away at the body converting it to dead flesh. A saving throw vs. Paralysis must be made. If successful, the victim takes an additional 1d8 of acid damage. On a fail, the disease progresses and does 1d8 hp of damage per hour until removed by a Cure Disease or Heal spell. When is victim reaches 0 hp, they will be eaten by any fly demon remaining. 

Fly demons also have the following powers, usable once per day. They can cast an aura of fear in a 30' radius, detect invisible, and cast a sphere of darkness 10' radius. Their favorite tactic is to cast their fear aura and, when a victim gets closer, invoke their sphere of darkness.  The fly demon can also cast the Drone spell three times per day.  These demons take only half damage from electricity, cold, fire, and poison gas. Holy water will do 1d8 hp of damage to them.

All fly demons, regardless of their origin, sub-species, or even alignment, are controlled by the devil Beelzebub, the "Lord of the Flies."  They will instantly obey his summons and will carry his orders even unto their own deaths. When Beelzebub is present, their morale is effectively 12. 

Fly demons can speak telepathically but also do so with their insect-like mouths. Their voices drone and buzz like that of an insect. Warlocks of Beelzebub are often visited by flies of all sorts, including fly demons. The demons are instructed not to harm the warlocks in Beelzebub's pact, but they see all humanoids as nothing more than potential meat.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Leviathan, updated

I thought today's post would be an excellent follow-up to this morning's RPGaDay post and last week's Gargantua post. 

Leviathan, ready to consume a world.

I have been thinking a lot about demons and how I want to use them in my various old-school games, which at the moment are OSE-B/X and NIGHT SHIFT.  So naturally, I was going to get to one of my biggest big bads, Leviathan, since he has a history in my D&D games and my modern supernatural horror games. 

It began really around 1986-1987 when my high school DM and I were gearing up for our world ending campaign we were calling "The War of Dragons" and sometimes just "The Dragon Wars."  For this I did a lot of research, or what I could do in the various books on mythology at our local library, on the end of the world myths. So I read a lot about Ragnarök, Revelations, and other myths. Many had a common theme or thread of a great monster coming to Earth to destroy it only to be stopped by the forces of good. I also thought this was a good thing to do with our game. Tiamat was the obvious choice, so in my youthful hubris, I rejected that. 

Later on, as things in the real world changed (most obviously, I could still get some games in over college breaks), we expanded some ideas.  My "big bad" became more demonic/hellish as I began to "incorporate" (aka steal) ideas from the Hellraiser movies. This is where Leviathan enters into the picture. While up to this point, the big bad was only known as "the Beast of the Apocalypse," Leviathan gave me a name.

Years later, I would revisit the Dragon Wars and make it a bit of history for my WitchCraft/Buffy RPG epic "The Dragon and the Phoenix."  One of my AD&D characters, Raven Ebonflame (named for Raven Swordmistress of Chaos, whose books I had not read yet.) Raven (my Raven) was, for practical purposes, a Vampire Slayer. I would make here one in name for my Buffy RPG and have her final battle with Yoln (the Hand of Leviathan) and Leviathan, the catalyst for this new game. 

It worked wonderfully

While I was more than happy to let Raven and Yoln rest. Leviathan kept coming back to me. Demanding something be done.  I re-introduced him as an Eodemon and later put up some stats for him that I was never 100% happy with.  Today is my day to revisit these.

Gargantuan Dragon (Evil, Eodemon)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Fly 240' (80') [24"]
  Swim 300' (100') [30"]
Armor Class: -6 [25]
Hit Dice: 25d8+125********* (238 hp)
 Gargantuan: 30d20+125********* (388 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 5 (+14)
Attacks: 5 bites or breath weapons
Damage: 3d8+7 x5 or Breath Weapon
Special: Breath weapons, capsize, digestive acid, swallow whole, dominate and summon water-borne creatures,+3 or better weapon to hit, immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), telepathy 100 ft.
Save: Monster 25
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 31,503 (OSE) 30,500 (LL) 8,600 (S&W, CL 34) 11385 (BF)

Str: 23 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con:  23 (+5) Int: 20 (+4) Wis: 18 (+4) Cha: 18 (+3)

Tiâmat and Leviathan
Tiâmat and Leviathan

This demonic monster appears to have the worst features of hydras, dragons, and sea monsters, all with demonic qualities mixed in. Leviathan often appears to have the body of a giant sea creature with webbed limbs ending in wicked-looking claws. A long tail is used for swimming, and anywhere between five and seven heads (accounts differ). Each head has a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth and appears to be some combination of dragons but no particular dragon (i.e. there is not a "red dragon" head). 

This monster is believed to be the oldest of all the Eodemons.  Leviathan is so ancient that even other demons seem in awe of “his” age and power.  It is assumed that it is a "he," though there is no evidence to suggest either way. Leviathan exists only for one purpose; to feed.  Leviathan is drawn to worlds with strong magic and powerful magic users. Here he spends his time in the deepest parts of the oceans of these worlds, where he begins to feed. After devouring 800,000 levels/hd of magical life, Leviathan will be strong enough to destroy the entire world.  From there, he moves to a new world where he rests before starting the cycle anew.

In physical form, which many believe is only a material projection of Leviathan's true form in the Astral plane, attacks with its five heads. The heads vary in color and shape from encounter to encounter due to the chaos this monster is birthed from.  The heads have the following powers. Charm: The first head's breath weapon is one of charm and domination. All creatures within a 120' long cone (60' wide at the end of the range) are Dominated. Creatures below 6 HD/Level have no save. Creatures from 6 HD/levels to 9 HD /Levels save at -2. A failed save means the affected creatures follow Levithan even to their deaths. Only a Wish or similar magic can reverse this.  Plague: This head belches forth a gout of flying insects that consume as per the Creeping Doom spell.  The cloud is 50' in radius. Leviathan is immune to these attacks. Famine: This cone-shaped breath weapon causes hunger and thirst among any who fail their save. Victims permanently lose 2d8 hp and 2 points of Constitution. Only a Wish can reverse these effects. War: This head belches forth a gout of burning blood that sticks to skin and burns. It does 6d8 hp of damage (save for half) to everyone in the affected area, a line 120' long and 5' wide. Death: The last head always appears to be a rotting, corpse-like head of a dragon. The head's breath weapon is a cloud 60' in radius where victims have to save vs. Death or die.   Two other heads are rumored to appear when Leviathan is at his greatest power, but their powers are unknown, save they can speak in melodious voices.  Regardless of function, each head can bite for 3d8 hp of damage.

Additionally, Leviathan has the following powers. Capsize: Due to his large size, he can capsize any water-based craft on a successful roll to hit. Swallow whole: Any critical hit roll of a natural 20 by a head will result in a swallow whole.  Digestive acid: The acid in Leviath's many stomachs is so strong that once swallowed whole, the victim will take 4d8 hp of damage per round. Dominate and summon water-borne creatures: While in an ocean or sea, Leviathan can summon and control any water-based creature. Intelligent humanoid creatures like sea elves or tritons are allowed a saving throw. Leviathan's hide is so thick that +3 or better weapon to hit. He also has immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), and telepathy 100 ft.  He speaks the languages of demons, devils, and of the primordial gods.  

Leviathan is an Eodemon, the oldest of all demonic beings. Some occult scholars claim he is the first consort to Tiamat but has since left her due to how envious he was of her power.  Despite his appearance, he is not worshiped or honored by dragons. 

Leviathan as a Patron: Powerful Warlocks that share Leviathan's desire for the destruction of magic and the world can become his Exarchs. The Hand of Leviathan and the Voice of Leviathan are his heralds. The Hand appears first to destroy and sacrifice powerful spell casters. The Voice proclaims the return of their lord and opens the gate to allow Leviathan to swallow the world whole. Killing these heralds does not stop the coming of Leviathan, but it does slow him down. When Leviathan destroys a world, these exarchs and his warlocks are destroyed with it.


I am pretty happy with this. I might need to tweak the bite damage a bit. 


Sunday, August 13, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 13

 Beyond the spider webs, there is a hidden but not difficult to find. Especially considering this series of rooms is much like the previous three.

Room 13

Inside this room sitting on a pile of rocks and surrounded by spiders is the rare and ancient Aš ("Ash") demon.

Aš Demon

Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 8+8 (44 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (1d6+4x2), 1 bite (1d8+4) + poison
Special: Poison, immune to fire, webs, gate demon, petrify gaze
THAC0: 12 [+7]
Movement: 150' (50')
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 8 (8)
Morale: 11
Alignment: Chaotic evil
XP: 3,258
Number Appearing: 1 (1d3)
Treasure Type: B

Poison: Any creature that is bitten by the Aš must make a successful saving throw versus poison or be poisoned for 2d4+2 turns. The poison causes the victim's blood to burn from the inside. During the duration, the victim suffers from burning pain to the point where they cannot perform any actions. A remove poison counteracts this. 

Immunity to Fire: The Aš is immune to fire.

Gate Demon: The Aš can gate (25% probability of success) another Aš or 1d6 fiendish spiders.

Petrify Gaze: The Aš has the ability to petrify any creature that meets its gaze. Any creature that looks directly into the Aš's eyes must make a successful saving throw versus petrification or be paralyzed until a remove paralysis spell can be used.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 12

Again, going back to room 2 and moving to the next hallway.

This room is similar to the other three rooms off of this central chamber. It is long and a little wide. 

Room 12

Coming down from the top of this room are five large Fiendish Spiders.  

Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6* (27hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4 x2), 1 bite (1d8 + poison)
Special: Poison, immune to fire
THAC0: 14 [+5]
Movement: 120’ (40’)
   Web: 180' (60)
Saving Throws: D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 SS 11 (6)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Chaos
XP: 561
Number Appearing 1d4 (1d6)
Treasure Type U

Poison: Save vs poison or dance for or suffer "demon fever" for 2d4+2 turns. Fever, unable to focus (attack or cast spells)

Immune to fire: Fiendish spiders are immune to fire.

They drop down to attack. Their treasure can be found bound up in their webs.

Friday, August 11, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 11

 Hidden by the darkness is a small door, only large enough to allow one medium creature through at a time. 

Room 11

This small room is filled with gems. Most are useless glass but have a magical glamour on them to make them look like real gems.  A dispel magic will remove this.

There are 3d10+10 real gems worth 1d6x5 gp each.

There are no creatures or other creatures.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 10

 Moving through the door, the party finds themselves in a long room. Inside waiting are two succubi.

Room 10

They look at the party and tell them that all they really need are two more souls, and their 1,000 year servitude to the Vampire Queen is complete. So they are taking volunteers. 

If two characters agree to give up their souls (not likely) all four disappear in a cloud of brimstone.

If the alu-fiends are still alive, they do have souls, but the party would need to trick them somehow into giving their souls to the succubi.

The party can kill the succubi, but they will return in 21 days to do it all over again.  If it looks like the party will fight they will simply disappear and return later.  They have no treasure and are really prisoners of the Vampire Queen.

These demons are smart and are not fond of combat.


Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 6+6*** (33 hp)
Attacks:  2 claws (1d3 x2) or 1 kiss (see below)
Special: Energy drain, demon abilities.
THAC0: 13 [+6]
Movement: 120’ (40’) / fly 180' (60') 
Saving Throws: D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (6+)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 825
Number Appearing: 1 (1d2) 
Treasure Type: I, Q (typically)

Succubi are demons (Lilim) that appear as beautiful women. They are not particularly strong, nor do they work well in groups, but they are cunning and exceptionally intelligent. 

The succubus's kiss can drain a victim of one energy level (or one point of Constitution). 

Succubi have the following demonic powers:

  • Become Ethereal at will
  • Charm Person
  • Clairaudience
  • ESP
  • Shape-change, humanoid forms only
  • Suggestion
  • Succubi can also gate in other demons, but there is only a 40% chance the gate will open: 

    • Type IV (70%)
    • Type VI (25%)
    • Lord or Prince (5%)
    • Succubi never gate in Type V demons due to a long-standing enmity. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 9

Going back to Room #2 the next passage looks similar to the passageway for Room #6 (and #3).  Once entering the room the party sees two succubi.

Room 9

These "succubi" are in fact two Alu-fiends.

Alu-Fiend Demon

Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 6+6*** (33 hp)
Attacks:  2 claws (1d4+2 x2) or 1 weapon (1d6) +2
THAC0: 13 [+6]
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws: D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (6+)
Morale: 10
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 1,250
Number Appearing: 1d2 (1d4) 
Treasure Type: C

The alu-demon is the female demonic offspring of a succubus (or other Lilim) and human. Though part demon, not all alu-demons are inherently chaotic (although good alu-demons are extremely rare). The typical alu-demon has black or brown hair and dark green, brown, or black eyes.

Alu-demons might be sent to the Material Plane to seduce mortals. When on such missions they typically arrange their flowing hair so it hides their horns and also fold their wings against their backs (and tuck them under their robe, shirt, or whatever garment of clothing one happens to be wearing at the time).

Each time an alu-demon hits with its claw attack it gains temporary hit points equal to the damage she inflicts. These temporary hit points disappear in one hour. 

Alu-fiends have the following demonic powers:

  • vampiric touch 
  • immune to poison
  • magic resistance (15%)
  • telepathy 100 ft.
  • Alu-fiends can cast the following spells: 

    • Charm person (3/day)
    • Dimension door (1/day)
    • ESP (3/day)
    • Suggestion (1/day)
There is a 15% chance that these alu-fiends will not attack at all.  They are here to drive victims to their "sisters" in Room 10, behind the closed door ahead.  They will claim they are trapped here due to the magic of the Vampire Queen. This is mostly true. They will claim that if the party can get a scepter from the next room they will be freed and seek their vengeance against the mages of the Vampire Queen (this is a complete lie. They heard this from other demons here).

Monday, August 7, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Gargantua Demons, Basic-era

 We live in an unprecedented time of access to media. For example, when I was a kid if I wanted to watch a Godzilla movie I had to wait for the various "creature feature" shows that would be on my local Channel 8, 11, or 12 on the weekends and then hope that one of them would be showing Godzilla.  As I got older my options progressively grew to cable channels, VHS, DVD, and then BluRay. Now I have streaming choices. Tubi was (and is) always good for horror, but now Pluto has stepped into the ring with their 24-hour Godzilla channel and Godzilla movies on demand. Subtitled, not dubbed, for the most part.

As expected, I have been watching it all the time. I am reminded there are some really, really bad ones here (Son of Godzilla comes to mind) but also some I really enjoy.  One of those was 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Yeah, I have it on DVD, but catching it one night was a nice treat.

It also made me want to come back to my idea of giant, Kaiju-like demons for my games.

A group of D&D Demons
A collection of DIY Demons

Destroyah is about the same size as the official D&D (4th Edition) Orcus, though Destroyah was only about 10 bucks. Given the 1" = 5' scale, a 6½" Destroyah comes out to about 32.5'.  With horn, 35'.

It makes for a very scary demon to be honest.

DIY D&D demons
D&D Demons with your humble 5'9" blogger to scale.

I have done these Gargantua demons before for both Spellcraft & Swordplay and D&D 5.  I should also do them for my hybrid Basic/Advanced "Basic Bestiary" stat block.

Gargantuan Fiend (Demon, Calabim)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1-4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 240' (80') [24"]
   Fly: 300' (100') [30']
   Swim: 300' (100') [30']

Armor Class: -7 [26]
Hit Dice: 30d8+180******** (315 hp)
 Gargantuan: 22d20+44******** (495 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 4 (+15)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite, 1 tail, 1 breath weapon (typical)
Damage: 4d8 x2, 4d12, 2d12, as per dragons
Special: Alternate forms, breath weapon, fear aura 120', immune to mind-affecting magics, magic resistance 75%, vulnerable to holy weapons.
Save: Monster 30
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 38,750 (OSE) 38,750 (LL)

Str: 25 (+6) Dex: 10 (+0) Con: 25 (+6) Int: 6 (-1) Wis: 7 (-1) Cha: 2 (-4)

These horrors are destruction incarnate. These demons stand 40 to 50 feet tall.  Each one is unique, but all have characteristics in common.  They are typically humanoid in shape but could be covered in scales, leathery skin, fur, chitin, or any combination of these. Some gargantuas even have alternate forms they can transform into. This includes the sprouting of wings or even juvenile or ultimate forms. In one recorded case, a gargantua was able to divide into dozens of smaller forms of 1 HD each and then reform later as the larger, composite creature. 

Their intellect is far below that of animals, and they exist only to destroy.  Powerful Balor or even Arch Fiends can control them, but it is challenging for them to do.  Mostly they are sent somewhere where everything must be destroyed or eaten.  Gargantua will even fight and kill other demons.  

All gargantua have massive claw and bite attacks.  Any critical hit roll on a bite indicates the victim has been swallowed whole.  Every gargantuan also has a breath weapon attack like that of a dragon. Typically fire, but lighting and wind are also typical. They do damage equal to the number of hp they have remaining, save vs. Breath Weapon for half.

Human wizards have been known to try to summon these creatures, but the destruction they cause usually outweighs any perceived benefits they may offer.  The spells to do so are carefully guarded.

Some scholars theorize these creatures are the remains of the ancient Titans like the Jötunar or even Die Hüne. But most believe these creatures began as normal animals infused with the evil essences of demons and their homes in the vast Abyss. 

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 7

Moving on in this area, the party comes to a wider chamber. 

Room 7

Lurking in the shadows is a true horror.  A skeletal horror, covered in blood with glowing red eyes.

It appears undead, but it is a Babu Demon. 

Babau Demon

These 7’ tall demons have ebony flesh that clings closely to their skeleton, appearing almost like a leathery corpse. They have a single curving horn that emerges from the back of their heads. 

Armor Class: -3 [22]
Hit Dice: 7+7 (45 hp)
Attacks:  2 claws (1d4+3 x2), 1 horn (1d6+3) or 1 weapon +3
THAC0: 12 [+7]
Movement: 150’ (50’)
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B10 S12 (7)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 2,050
Number Appearing: 1d3 
Treasure Type: C

Babau demons prefer to attack with weapons from a distance when possible and have STR 19 which grants bonuses to attacks and damage with some weapons.

  • Glowing Eyes: Any creature within 20’ that looks into a babau’s glowing red eyes must succeed in a saving throw versus spells or be affected as if from a ray of enfeeblement. 
  • Slimy Skin: A slimy red jelly coats the babe’s skin when in combat, reducing damage by 50% from cutting and stabbing weapons.
  • Thief Skills: These demons have the abilities of a thief of 9th level. 
  • Weapon Damage: Babau suffers damage from ordinary weapons and +2 damage from weapons of iron.
  • Spell-Like Abilities: The babau can use the following at will.
    • darkness 10’ radius
    • dispel magic
    • fear (as the wand of fear, by touch)
    • fly
    • levitate
    • polymorph self
    • heat metal.
  • Gate Demon: a babau may gate (25% probability of success) another babau demon.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 3

The first four tunnels are on the left, and they are all lined up next to each other.  The fifth tunnel is on the right and at an angle away from the others.

The farthest tunnel opening on the left leads to a short but wide tunnel. The walls are smooth, as is the floor, but it is obviously carved out of the rock.  Within this tunnel, the party encounters a group of four small demons.

Room 3


These creatures are fat, with long, spindly arms and legs.  They have rudimentary human heads, with slobbering jaws and folds of fat.  Dretch demons have some weak demonic powers.  

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 4 (18 hp)
Attacks:  2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d6)
THAC0: 16 [+3]
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws: D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (4)
Morale: 6
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 225
Number Appearing: 1d4+1 
Treasure Type: J, K, L, M

  • Low intelligence: Dretch demons are not intelligent and act accordingly.
  • Demonic Powers: Dretch demons have some minor demonic powers. Each usable once per day.

    • stinking cloud once per day
    • teleport
    • cause darkness (10ft diameter)
    • summon 1d4 giant rats

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 1

 These stairs go down into this tomb for quite a long way. Also, any dwarves (or other similar characters) will also note the stairs are moving towards the north.  

The stairs end in a large and somewhat cooler chamber.  There is a set of large iron doors.

Level 8, Room 1

These doors are large and heavy.  To open these doors requires a combined strength of 40 points or magic. Unless staked open they will slam shut.


This level has been largely protected from the volcanic activity of the level above.  

Wandering monsters are found here using the table for 8th level (and sometimes 7th level).  Again, magic sensitive characters can detect low levels of necromantic magic here.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 7, Room 29

The alcove on the far right in Room 26 opens to a long hall. As the party moves down they hear growling.

Room 29

In this part of the hall has the heads of various demons fixed to the walls like trophies, which is exactly what they are.

As the party approaches the demons growl and hiss. The party can read a plaque under each one, it has the demon's name and the date it was killed by the Vampire Queen.  The characters need to be careful, getting too close and the demon head can bite for 2d6 hp of damage. 

Each head is still "alive" but lock in a sort of perpetual death. They can't regenerate their bodies and they can't die. 

The demons demand to be released, but they honestly have no idea how that can be accomplished. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Wasted Lands: Melissa Belladonna

Melissa Belladonna
Our weekend Fifth Edition D&D games are slowly sliding over into the Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age RPG. We have been able to pivot so well because a lot of what we have been doing in D&D 5 comes from the same roots that you find in the Wasted Lands.  But there is one thing the Wasted Lands doesn't do out of the box that many of the D&D 5e players love, and that is to play non-human characters. 

That is until now.

If you are a backer, you already got the preview of nonhuman species so you can play the likes of an Elf, Dwarf or other stranger things. This is one of the key D&D experiences, and it is a welcome addition for those who want them. The rules addition from Jason includes the expected ones; elves, dwarves, gnomes and the like. But D&D 5 is full of all sorts of species to play. Can you do that in WL?


Keep in mind one very, very important thing about the "humans" in the Wasted Lands. They are not really humans at all. They are proto-humans, proto in the sense that they very well might look like us but they were created by the Old Ones as sort of a "rough draft" of humans. So they could have ancestry from just about anything to be honest. Birds, reptiles, snakes, and yes, primates. The changes are largely cosmetic and immaterial to a group of mortals fighting evil elder things from beyond the stars. So adding an elf, dwarf or even dragonborn is really trivial.

Today I want to try a tiefling. Not just any tiefling, though. 

It dawned on me a couple weeks back that I do not have a tiefling character to call my own. I still didn't but needed an NPC to fill a certain role.  Enter Melissa Belladonna

Melissa is a tiefling Artificer that runs an alchemist shop. You can follow her exploits on Twitter and Twitch (links below). But I was thinking here is a good character to try out. She has a 5e class. She is a tiefling. And she serves a role I needed of an alchemist. Plus, she is fun, and NPCs should be fun.

Melissa Belladonna

The party got to meet up with her, and she was great. I had more planned, but they had other things to do (and tacos were done).  But she will certainly be back.  Here is how I did her for the Wasted Lands.

Part of her background is should used to pretend to be human and used a glamour. That still works here, to be honest. There are demons in the Wasted Lands, so it is possible that there is an offspring of a demon and human that is also good. 

Melissa Belladonna

Melissa by idlemo_bun
Class: Sage
Level: 17
Species: Tiefling (Mammon heritage)
Alignment: Neutral Good (Twilight Good)
Background: Sage, Alchemist

Strength: 14 (+1) 
Agility: 12 (+0)  
Toughness: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 18 (+3) A
Wits: 15 (+1) N
Persona: 17 (+2) N

Fate Points: 10
Defense Value: None 10
Vitality: 60 (d6)
Degeneracy: None
Corruption: None

Check Bonus (A/N/D): +7/+5/+3
Melee Bonus: +5 (base)
Ranged Bonus: +5 (base)
Saves: +1 Fire-based effects, +1 to Magical-effects (Tiefling), +7 to saves vs. Magical Effects (Sage)

Sage Abilities

Languages (18), Lore (188%)*, Mesmerize Others (170%)*, Suggestion, Renegade Skills, Spells, Read Languages

Renegade Skills

Hide in Shadows: 95%
Open Locks: 90%
Bypass Traps: 100%
Sleight of Hand: 100%

1st Level: Mystical Senses (Tiefling), Beast Speech, Glamour, Read Languages, Restore/Drain Vitality, Summon Familiar (Perry, a Raven)
2nd Level: Create Water, Eternal Flame, Invisibility, Subtle Influence, Zone of Honesty
3rd Level: Anti-toxin, Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, Slow, Zone of Protection from Evil
4th Level: Befuddlement, Conjure Fire, Kiss of the Succubus

Divine Touchstones
Level 1: 
Level 2: Arcane Ability: Enhanced Senses
Level 3: 
Level 4: Luck benefit (1d6)
Level 5: 
Level 6: "Spirit Guide" Her cauldron homunculus. 
Level 7: 
Level 8: Magical Recovery
Level 9: 
Level 10: 3rd level spell: Conjure Fireworks
Level 11: 
Level 12: Glamour at will
Level 13: 
Level 14: Slow aging
Level 15: 
Level 16: Signature Item: Cauldron
Level 17:

Heroic (Divine) Archetype: Sage, Occultism, Dragons

Here lore skill covers her alchemy and artificer skills. She is also widely regarded as an expert on dragons, having conducted extensive field work on studying them for years.

Thank you to Melissa Belladonna for letting me borrow such a great character to play with! Everyone loved her.

Melissa's Links

Some Mini Witches on my Desk

Melissa and Larina

Please check out and back the Wasted Lands Kickstarter.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Malarea, Outcast Duke of Hell

Malarea, Outcast Duke of Hell
I do love a good research project. 

Last week I posted This Old Dragon #91, which listed many outcasts devils for the AD&D 1st Edition game. Among these was Malarea (an obvious play on Malaria, and pronounced Mahl-ah -ree -ah).  Of course, I wanted to learn more about her, but there is precious little about her in the article.  So I started my deep dive.  

This is almost, but not quite, detailed enough for an In Search Of... style post, but it is perfect for a Monstrous Monday.

What Is Known

The Dragon article reveals that she is a former Duke (Duchess) of Hell. She wanted to be counted among the consorts of the Archdukes of Hell, even to the point where she had assaulted an unnamed Duke's consort and would kill all the other consorts to get her way. She is violent and erratic.

At some point after her exile to Avernus, she sought out the courtship of the up-and-coming Bel only to be rejected by him.

She is described as:

... tall, human-like female with huge black wings, which tower 6 feet above her own head when furled; in short, rather like an erinyes. Her eyes are fiery red, her hair long, greasy, and black, her body sleek but powerfully muscled and of a faintly luminescent, "ghostly" white hue. Her hands have long claws, and she has large, vampire-like fangs.

- Dragon Magainze (91), October 1984, p. 24

And...that is largely it to be honest. She has stats in Dragon 91 and a mention in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants Of The Nine Hells for D&D 3.5.

So let me look into who might have been likely to interact with her.



The former Archduke Bel was once her quarry, but he had rebuffed her. This had to have made her even more furious than being rebuffed by any of the other Archdukes. After all, Bel was essentially just an elevated Pit Fiend, and she was an Archdevil. I would imagine that she would do anything to see him defeated or humiliated in some way.


These two share similar names and some physical appearances, but they are quite different. I mention her here because, for a bit, I considered making them the same person. The deeper lore of both prevents this, really.


We know that Malarea went out of her way to avoid Tiamat. This was back in the AD&D 1st Ed lore when Tiamat was the ruler of Avernus. It has since been retconned that Zariel was the ruler, and Bel overthrew her.  So maybe, from this point of view, Malarea avoided Zariel. 


The former and current ruler of Avernus is the former Angel Zariel. If we follow the 4e and 5e notions that all the Erinyes were former angels, it stands to reason that Malarea was also one. Malarea and Zariel are physically strong, given over to fits of rage and violence, and have similar appearances and backgrounds. Are they the same? Again, I am going to go with no. Both have elements in their backstory that are largely incompatible. Malarea seeks to be counted among the consorts of Hell. Zariel wants to destroy all the devils and rule Hell on her own.

Malarea Today

What would Malarea be up to today? I imagine her status has not changed much. While there have been great upheavals in Hell in the last 40 years, change still moves slowly for the most part. 

Malarea, Outcast Duke of Hell
Malarea, Outcast Duke of Hell

Large Fiend (Diabolic, Baalseraph)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Lawful Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Fly: 240' (90') [24"]
Armor Class: -1 [20]
Hit Dice: 21d8****** (116 hp)
 Large: 21d20****** (137 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+14)
Attacks: 1 weapon or 2 claws, 1 bite, wing buffet
Damage: Weapon +2, 1d4+2 x2, 1d4, 1d12
Special: Baalseraph powers and immunities, magic resistance (70%), regeneration (1 hp/ 2 rounds), spell-like abilities (see below), summoning, +2 or better weapons to hit
Save: Monster 21
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: See Below
XP: 15,250 (OSE) 15,750 (LL)

Str: 17 (+2) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 13 (+1) Int: 16 (+2) Wis: 14 (+1) Cha: 14 (+1)

From Dragon Magainze (91), October 1984, p. 24-25:

Malarea is a bitter and envious devil. She despises many of the consorts of the Nine Hells and desires (to the point of mania) to join their ranks. If she has to slay them all to claim her rightful place among them, she will do so unhesitatingly, but rude defeats on the occasions of her bold, direct assaults in the past have made her more cautious.

Malarea remains a fiercely combative, fractious devil, given to sudden berserk rages and wild physical attacks. This temperament cost her a consortship or other position in the hierarchy of the hells, and has undoubtedly earned her her present exile. She has learned little, however: if she recognizes an archdevil, duke, or unique greater devil, she will pause to ascertain their situation and intentions before she attacks - but she almost always attacks eventually, except when faced with impossible odds. Lesser devils and intruders are her prey - she will attack any such creatures immediately, swooping at them to bite (1d4 damage) and strike with a lance, spear, or other weapon gained from a previous victim, or bare-handed with her iron-hard claws (1d4+2). Malarea is a strong flyer, and often buffets airborne opponents with her great wings, or rams into them at full speed (1d12 damage).

Malarea can use the following spell-like powers at will, one at a time and once per round:  pyrotechnics, produce flame, wall of fire, detect magic, dispel magic, detect invisibility, hold person, and polymorph self. She can shed fear in a 2' radius at will (save vs. spell to avoid), and can cast a delayed blast fireball (5d6) three times per day. 

Malarea appears as a tall, human-like female with huge black wings (28' wing span), which tower 6 feet above her head when furled; in short, she is like an Erinyes. Her eyes are fiery red, her hair long, greasy, and black, her body sleek but powerfully muscled and of a faintly luminescent, ghostly white hue. Her hands have long claws, and she has large, vampire-like fangs. She

is usually encountered wearing some gaudy trophy of a previous victim - a gleaming necklace or jeweled belt, but she cares nothing for the value of such items and will carelessly discard one for another of gaudier appearance

This was Malarea as of the mid-1980s and 1st Edition AD&D.  We know from the Fiendish Codex II that she was still an outcast as of the mids 2000s and 3rd Edition D&D.  She seems to be too strong willed and angry to have changed her status. 

How desperate is she today? Would she even approach Zariel for her consortship? I can see Malarea considering it but not Zariel. Besides, both devils are far too angry at their own situations.

I think if I were to update her some more (and I have an event coming up in my games that would fit the bill) I might make her the captain of the Erinyes. Her name has Latin roots (sorta) so I might rename her into something with Greek roots. Her name is close enough to Megaera ("the jealous one") for me to work with.  I have done a lot of work with the Erinyes, the Keres, and the Dirae, so I am "in the market" for a leader of this group of devils. Someone other than Glasya. I just need to figure out who Tisiphone and Alecto are. Alecto, in particular, will be a challenge since some of her myths overlap with Nemesis's. 

This works in another way since the Eriyes/Furies were said in Ovid's Metamorphoses to guard the gates to Dis. In D&D geography, this would put them in Avernus. 

Now I just need two more unattached archdevils.


Thursday, February 23, 2023

Sympathy for the Succubus, Part 4: In Search of the Sutherland Succubus

I have stumbled on some new information so I have decided to combine an older feature, Sympathy for the Succubus, with a newer one, In Search of, for something new.  In particular, my search for the roots of the succubus in D&D. 

You can see my first three parts here:

Today I want to explore one of the "urban legends" of the early days of D&D. The David Sutherland III succubus art from the AD&D 1st Ed Monster Manual.

Let's start with what everyone knows or thinks they know. 

Two 1977 publications
Two 1977 Publications. What do they have in common?

Oh, Sheila!

Sheila Mullen
Shelia Mullen
Sheila Mullen was the Playboy Playmate of the month for May 1977.  Certainly, the time period was right. The Monster Manual was published in December 1977. There are even a few pictures that *could be* right. The one to your right is a cropped version of the biggest contender. 

This notion has been taken up by many modern writers, bloggers, and chroniclers, myself included.  

Likely the source of all of this is the Blog of Holding. Which only claims that the "body of one of these original succubi was copied from a Playboy centerfold."  Sheila Mullen was a centerfold for 1977, making her the likeliest of choices.

Except that is *mostly* wrong.

Sweet as Honey

The date of 1977 is right, but the month was October. And it wasn't a centerfold.

I apologize for not remembering who it was that first clued me in on this idea, but it sent me down a rabbit hole of searching. 

This issue is rather famous for having an interview with Barbara Streisand. I posted the cover above. The centerfold/Playmate is Kristine Winder, who sadly passed in 2011 at 55 from breast cancer. But neither she nor Sheila Mullen lived on in the pages of the Monster Manual. 

No, that honor belongs to Honey Wells.

Miss Wells was featured in the "Ladies of Joy" pictorial by John Bowers, with photography by Robert Scott Hooper. It featured women in "the world's oldest profession." 

As you can see here with the Sutherland Succubus, her photo is a good match.

Honey Wells
Honey Wells and the Succubus. Covered for your protection as much as mine

We don't know much about Miss Wells here. Save for what she tells us.

Honey Wells

So there is no real way to research Miss Wells here. I doubt that is even her real name. Not to mention that this is a 45-year-old article, so much could have happened since then. If alive, she would be in her mid to late 60s now.

Which is too bad. I wonder if she ever knew that her pictorial inspired this art and that art was held in such fond memories of an entire generation of gamers.

Now I will concede that the succubus pic is likely inspired by Honey Wells and Sheila Mullen. The hands and hair fit a similar pose on Miss Mullen (pictured above), and the overall pose is Miss Wells.

Sadly David Sutherland passed away in 2005, so I can't approach him and confirm. Indeed, it was also more than 45 years ago, and any memory is likely blurred. 

Though it is comforting that Sutherland, Wells, and yes, Mullen have a bit of D&D Immortality to call their own. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

One Man's God Special: Syncretism Part 4, Orcus and Dispater

This post really is a transitory one.  It takes on ideas from my One Man's God and my One Man's God Special: Syncretism and transitions it in-a-matter of speaking to my new In Search Of posts. 

Today I want to talk about syncretism, but not in the sense I have in my last few posts. I covered the basics of syncretism a while back. In two different posts syncretized the Greek and Egyptian gods and the Roman and Norse gods.  It is to the Greek and Roman gods that I turn today.  In particular, I will focus on the Roman side of the Greek One Man's God posts in OMG: Greek and Roman Mythos, Part 4 Tales of Brave Ulysses, and my attention is on Orcus. 

In Search of Orcus

Demon Lord Orcus
Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead

Orcus has always been a major bad guy in my and many others' games. Not just because he is a great demon lord and master of the undead, that is plenty of reason, but even more so from the very mysterious Etruscan background of the god Orcus

I mentioned Hades a lot in this series before. He is the God of the Underworld and was so feared that he was often never called on by name, he gains the epithet "The Rich One" and, much later on, "The Lord of this World," something that has also been later attributed to Satan. 

As Greek myths merged into Roman myths, several gods were syncretized to arrive at the Roman Pluto.  These include many gods of the underworld, the dead (but not death), and riches such as the Etruscan Atia, the Etruscan Tuchulcha, and the Roman Dīs Pater.   Mixed in all of this are the Greek Horkos and Roman/Etruscan Orcus

This is what is going on in our world. But what of the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons?

I'll be 100% honest here. I think the "official" history of Orcus is pure garbage. Orcus starting out as a human? No. Not in my world. Orcus was a god. Romans swore sacred oaths to him. He has a dwarf planet named for him. He was not some human necromancer. He was more.

But before I get to Orcus and what he was or is, I want to discuss Dis.

In Search of Dīs Pater

Dispater, The Iron Duke
Dispater, the Iron Duke

I will admit that the AD&D Dispater was always one of my favorite devils. Looking into his official background is more appealing than it is for Orcus, largely because there is not much of it.  I think role-playing wise I molded him after the devil character from the TV series "From the Brothers Grimm" episode Bearskin. Sort of the evil gentleman devil.  

In later editions of D&D, the "Iron Duke" have become akin to an infernal arms dealer and paranoid. Certainly an interesting choice but how does that square with the Dīs Pater, or Rex Infernus, of Roman myth?

Both Dispater and Dīs Pater are very wealthy. Both are considered to be the Lord of the Underworld (or at least one of them). Dīs Pater has a connection with the dead via Pluto/Hades who he was conflated later on. Dispater's only connection with the dead is via the souls he traffics in Hell.

Like the god Orcus and later on Satan, Dīs Pater is a good of riches and "Lord of the World."  This does fit into the notions of how Dispater is currently being presented.

How the Gods Die, and are Reborn

Things with Gods never should be clean-cut. If there is nothing else I want to show here, then let it be that Gods and Demons are a messy bunch.  They live, and they can die, and they can be split up and recombined.

I mentioned in my Syncretism of the Greco-Egyptian Gods that, in some cases, scholars have pointed to the syncretism of Set and Hades in early notions of the Christian Satan. There is more than this of course (see the "messy" note above), but this is a good start for me today.

One of the themes I like to play with in my games is the conflict between the old and new gods, or more specifically, the conflict between Paganism and the rise of Monotheism. In D&D this has its manifestation in the Dawn War

In my games the servants of the good gods, angels, and the like, who fell became the Baalseraph or the unique devils.  Demons have various origins, but some used to be gods.

Orcus used to be a God. 

Sort of.  In my overly complicated mythologies here Orcus was an avatar of a God of the Dead. I am currently using Hades/Pluto as a stand-in here but I will come up with something later. So this God of the Dead creates an avatar and this is Orcus of Roman myth, he also has another avatar, more akin to Dīs Pater but is more of psychopomp (like Hermes or Vanth).  Here is where things get weird. This god is killed, maybe during the Dawn War, maybe before. The two avatars do not die, but rather go a little mad, each thinking they are the rightful heir to this god's mantle. Both "fall" and are "demonized." The psychopomp of Dīs Pater falls and becomes Dispater the Iron Duke.  The other avatar is demonized to become Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead.

Each remembers being a god, if somewhat vaguely.  For Orcus, this manifests in his desire to become a God himself and his rage to destroy all life when he can't. For Dispater, this manifests as his extreme paranoia, his desire to control all around him, and his hoarding of his wealth.

It also has one other aspect may be unique to my games.  Orcus and Dispater hate each other. It is a deep existential dread that the other has something they need OR need to destroy. Both work against the other. Their warlocks, priests, and cultists (who have rituals that are oddly similar) work against each other.  It goes beyond anything that the Blood War might suggest; it is a personal hatred they share.

What would happen if Dispater and Orcus put aside their animosity and worked together? Or worse, what if some magic was used to re-combine them back into the God they were?  I shudder to think to be honest, but there is no way that would be good for anyone.

Maybe there is a third part of this god. A Neutral Evil one that does know what they were and what roles Orcus (CE) and Dispater (LE) play in this. Who is that entity? What do they want?

I still might take a page from Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski's series, The Menagerie, and have Hades dead. This third creature, likely much weaker than the other two, would live in the remains of Hades' kingdom.


One Man's God Special: Syncretism