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

Monday, June 20, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Die Hüne

David faces Goliath in this 1888 lithograph by Osmar Schindler
Today I want to delve a bit more into an idea I had been playing around with a little while ago, the combined pantheon of Greek and Norse mythos into a Roman-Norse syncretism. Both groups have many common features, but one that sticks out is the use of a race of giants that predate the gods that represent the forces of chaos.

In my syncretized myths these creatures are called Die Hüne, (plural. Singular: Der Hüne).  This is what I said about them before:

Die Hüne are the Titans and the Giants of both myths. Primordial beings of great power that the gods defeated but still trouble them. In this myth, the Gods fought Die Hüne and brought order out of chaos. These are not just giants and titans, these creatures are the demons of this mythology.

In my mind, they are something of a combination of giant, elemental, and demon. The Gigantes of Greek myth (not AD&D) were more monstrous creatures.  The jötunn of Norse myth likewise were more demonic. As time goes on these titans and jötunn become more and more human-looking till we have something like the giants of D&D. 

My goal with Der Hüne is to get back to those older, more monstrous giants. Given that this mythology is half-Roman, these people will have been familiar with some of the tales of Goliath, the Anakim, and others from Jewish mythology.  So maybe some of those tales entered into their thinking.

Here is how they will be used in my various D&D/OSR/FRPG games.

The giants Fafner and Fasolt seize Freyja in Arthur Rackham's illustration of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Erde Hüne

These creatures are also known as Earth Giants.  They are the forebearers of the Hill, Mountain, and Stone giants as well as ogres.  They stand 12 ft tall and are said to have bones made of stone.

These creatures are Chaotic Evil and have the most dealings with humans. While some certainly are stupid brutes, others are sufficiently intelligent and sophisticated enough to lead human armies. They have a taste for human flesh; both in the culinary and carnal appetites. There are some very tall, very evil humans that can trace their ancestry to one of these creatures.  We get the word "Hun" from "Hüne."

Note: These take the role of the "evil giants in the bibles and other tales" giants like the Anakim.  Though I covered some of this ground with Gog and Magog. I had Gog and Magog as a type of Balor or Baalor in my games.  Maybe I could turn up the demonic influences on them and make Gog and Magog the named Erde Hüne.  Balor are also 12' tall.  The myths about Gog and Magog certainly have them more human-looking. This would also bring them closer to the Ogre idea I originally had.  Worth thinking over to be sure and it would give me the demonic influences I want. 

I think just to be "that guy" I am going to make them 13' tall.

Meer Hüne

These giants are found in the oceans to the far north. They are related to the Frost and Sea giants. They are not the progenitors of these creatures but are the offspring of the Rime Jötunn along with the Frost Giants. Sea Giants are the offspring of the Meer Hüne.  

These creatures avoid humans but are no less evil. They have been known to wreck ships where they keep all the treasure and eat the humans aboard. In my myths, they would also be the forebearers of the Viking raiders that would swoop down and raid the villages of these people. 

Note: On Earth, these giants populate the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Norwegian Sea. In my desire to have my cake and eat it too I would picture these guys looking like the stereotypical Vikings. Including "Hägar the Horrible" horned helmets, though no idea how they make such helms. 

Feuer Hüne

These creatures are made of pure living fire.  They are the generation after the Inferno Jötunn and the "older brothers" to the Fire Giants.

Note: Right now these creatures are not significantly different enough from either the Fire Giants or the Inferno Jötunn to merit another distinct monster entry.  

Äther Hüne

These creatures are massive with some towering as high as 36 feet tall. It is said their bones are made of clouds and their muscles are made of storms.  They are the progenitors of the Cloud, Storm, and Fog giants. 

Note: This is my "Jack and the Beanstalk" Giant (though in truth an evil Cloud Giant covers that readily). 

Though anytime I work on giants this image comes to mind.

giants

This image comes from the Creationist idea that there were giants in biblical times. This speculation all grows out of Genesis 6:4 "There were giants in the earth in those days", meaning the fallen angels or Nephelim or whatever.  I spent a lot of time talking about this on my old Atheism blog, The Freedom of Nonbelief

Here is how I use that image above.  These are closer to AD&D heights than D&D 5e. 

  1. Human
  2. Stone Giant
  3. Troll
  4. Ogre
  5. Hill Giant / Erde Hüne
  6. Fire Giant
  7. Frost Giant
  8. Cloud Giant
  9. Storm Giant

There. That is far more useful. 

How do I work through the Square-Cube Law?  Magic!

Of all these creatures I think I will develop the Erde Hüne (Earth Giants) and the Meer Hüne (Sea Giants) more. Fire and Frost are already covered well in the various jötunn of Norse myths. The progenitors of the Storm and Cloud Giants I think are also handled well by the Greek myths.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Review: Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum

Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
Coming up on some myths I know the least about and maybe the most excited to read.  There is a lot of great stories I have read and watched over the years.  What I like, so far, is that these are mostly new stories to me.  Well. Not entirely new. I have been using Baba Yaga for years and my first published Ghosts of Albion adventure deals with Chernbog (Czernobog in this book).  

So let's instead say I am less familiar with all of these.

Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum

For this review, I am considering the PDF and hardcover book.  The book is 94 pages. Color covers, black & white art. Written once again by Brian Young.  He doesn't say it in the books, but it is Brian N. Young, Ph.D.  He worked hard and earned his degree and it should be recognized.  

Chapter 1: In Bygone Years

Like the previous volumes, this chapter covers both the real-world history and the myths of the area.  The area in question surrounds the Black Sea in Eastern Europe.  

We get some pre-history, but the people we call the Slavs will get their start in this volume with Byzantine Empire.  The time period here is parallel to both the Germanica and Nodica books.

The myths of the area are all new to me and while Young (the author) does a good job in his summary, it leaves me wanting to seek out more.  I suppose that is the point right?

Chapter 2: The Whole World & That Which is Beyond

This goes into detail about the lands of the Slavs and these myths.  I have now gone through five of these Codecies and I am thinking that a Castles & Crusades game in Mythic Earth is a great idea.  There is a nice map of the Slavic Kingdoms.  

The second half of this covers the mythic lands of the Slavs; the three worlds.  Like the Norse, these are placed on the World Tree, the Drugi Svet. Young even mentions that combination is possible but does not (correctly) tell you how since it would depend on YOUR world.  The three worlds are Parv (or Iriy or Vyrjy), the realms of light, the lands of summer, and the home of the Gods. Lav (or Yav) is the middle realm of men, and Nav the Underworld.  Here Czernobog becomes the Devil-like figure.  Indeed it might be hard to tease out what is Czernobog and what is "Lucifer" in modern depictions of "the Devil."  Svarog is our creator deity of light. 

In a case of supporting my "One Man's God" series, there is Peklo, the Abyss, which is the home of various demons.  Demons it seems very much in the AD&D mindset.

There are more lands and frankly, the more I read the more I want to use all of this in a game. 

Chapter 3: Did Dwell Many Peoples

Our monster chapter.  Monsters are "false creations" (my words, not so much Young's) of Czernobog.  And there are some GREAT monsters here. Nearly 50 monsters here. Some are familiar to any D&D players, but many are new to *D&D games or at least in this form.  

There are a couple new "races" that characters can be.  The Zmajevit, or the "Dragon born" are humans with dragon blood in them. The Zduhac, or the Elemenatal ones, are elemental influenced humans. 

There is also a new class here, the Vampirdzhija or the Vampire Hunter. This is a Wisdom-based class. Essentially the Vampire Slayer of the Slavic cultures. 

Chapter 4: Filled with Great Magic

Another favorite section this one covers magic and new magic-using classes.   The Kolduny is a new type of wizard that is Wisdom-based.   The Molfar is the Slavic shaman, also Wisdom-based.

There are a few names mentioned for other types of spell casters. These are just names for other types, but do not have their own class per se. 

Chapter 5: Of Mighty Gods and Spirits

This chapter takes the myths and reshapes them into something that can be used with Castles & Crusades but of course any other game.  And there are a lot of gods here! Some are familiar to me, but most are brand new.  

There is some text on the pagan religions of the Slavs and their practices. 

Chapter 6: Battle Strong and Heroic

This is typically the "fighters" chapter. This one covers the weapons used by the Slavs and mentions of the heroes and groups of heroes of their tales. 

Chapter 7: Castle Keeper Info

This is the GM's or Castle Keeper's information on running a game using these rules. Like the others in this series, this includes names and the various laws of the lands. 

More so than the other books this one left me wanting more.  This is a good thing and not a fault of the book. It is due to my own unfamiliarity with these myths and stories.  It would work well with the Germanic and Nordic books for greater world-building.  Now I want books like this for all the big myths of the world. 

Codex Europa

Maybe one for Spain and Al-Andalus should be next?  What do you think Dr. Young?

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

Another social media-inspired post today.  My wife was reading something on Geek Girls and she got very excited about the idea of there being border-lands in Hell. Which naturally got us talking about my Demons for Basic Bestariy III.  Not knowing anything about the D&D Blood War, she thought the idea of multiple demonic species in "Hell" a really fun idea.  She was really excited when I mentioned that my Basic Bestarity Demons come in 12 different species, or what I am calling Lineages.

What D&D calls unique devils I refer to as the "Baalseraph" or the Devil Lords.  These are the ones that fell to Hell after losing the War in Heaven.  Each Baalseraph is unique and each one had a previous name from when they were spirits of good.   

Today I want to investigate both of these topics and also show why I also like using OGC monsters.  In this case, I am updating "Amon" from the Tome of Horrors Complete from Necromancer Games and Frog God Games.

Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

"Amon, or Aamon, is a great and mighty marques, and commeth abroad in the likeness of a Wolf, having a serpents tail, [vomiting] flames of fire; when he putteth on the shape of a man, he sheweth out dogs teeth, and a great head like to a mighty [night hawk]; he is the strongest prince of all other, and understandeth of all things past and to come, he procureth favor, and reconcileth both friends and foes, and rule forthy legions of devils."

- Johann Wier (1583) Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.

Large Fiend (Diabolic, Baalseraph)

Aamon, Grand Marquis
Frequency:
 Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Lawful Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Hit Dice: 22d8+44****** (143 hp)
 Large: 22d20+44****** (165 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+14)
Attacks: 1 weapon or 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 2d6+6 (+3 weapon, +3 strength) or 1d6+3 x2, 1d8+3
Special: Baalseraph powers and immunities, magic resistance (75%), regeneration (3 hp/round), spell-like abilities, summoning, teleapthy 100 ft. (see below)
Save: Monster 22
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XVI, XII (G,K)
XP: 16,250 (OSE) 16,750 (LL)

Str: 19 (+3) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 18 (+3) Wis: 16 (+2) Cha: 18 (+3)

Aamon, also called Amon and Nahum, appears as a wolf-headed humanoid standing 9’ tall. His fur is brownish-black and his eyes and teeth are yellow. His great clawed hands are brownish in color and covered in shaggy fur.  He has a long tail like a snake.  

Aamon is a vassal in service to Geryon, commanding no less than 3 legions of bone devils and 40 legions of lesser shedim (devils) on his home plane in Hell. Amon wields a +3 great-mace with two hands. He can also bite in the same round for 1d8+3 hp damage.  If pressed he can attack with his two massive claws instead of his sword. Amon is only harmed by +3 or better weapons. Amon is very strong (STR 19), receiving +3 to hit and damage in melee combat. He regenerates 3 hp per round.

Aamon has the following spell-like abilities, usable at will: animate dead, charm monster, detect invisibility, detect magic, dispel magic, fear (as the spell), fly, geas, know alignment, polymorph self, produce flame, read languages, read magic, suggestion, teleportation, wall of ice, and limited wish (for another being only). In addition, one time per day he may employ a symbol of hopelessness and gate (60% probability of success) 1d4 bone devils. He is able to summon all wolves in a 1-mile radius and control them to do his will.

Like all Baalseraph, Aamon has the following damage modifiers.  He takes no damage from fire (mundane, magical or dragon), normal weapons, or poison (ingested).  He is immune to the effects of mind-affecting magics like charm, ESP, hold, and sleep.  He takes half the damage (and saves for no damage) from cold, electricity, and poisonous gases.  Finally, he takes full damage (or saves for half where applicable) from acid, magic missile attacks (or similar magical energy), blessed, magical, or silvered weapons.   He has magic resistance of 75%. 

Prior to his fall, he had been the spirit known as Nahum, which means "who induces to eagerness."   He was summoned as an impartial judge in disputes between friends.  Now as one of the fallen he creates strife between friends. 

As a Grand Marquis Aamon commands his troops to fend off the hordes of invading Asuras, Calabim, Tarterians.

Seal of Amon

--

Aamon is not just a great example of a Grand Marquis, he is a great example of an OGC monster.   He is used in Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, and others along with its original use in AD&D.

Section 15 for this monster follows:

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Swords & Wizardry Core Rules. Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook. Copyright 2010, Matthew J. Finch.

Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games.

Amon from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; based on original material by Author Scott Greene, based on original material by Gary Gygax.

I am choosing to cleave close to the original material and the OGC material because I feel that anyone using this monster (or later using the Basic Bestiary) to be able to slot him right into an ongoing game without too many "continuity errors."  So I include his "mythological" background (description, legions controlled) and his "D&D" background (allegiance to Geryon).  I also include more details that are solely from my own games (Baalseraph, borderland disputes). 

My Aamon is expanded and changed, but I can see where you can use Amon and Aamon interchangeably. The ability to pick up one of my monsters and use them in any game is one of my main design goals.

Links


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Astaroth (2017)

Astaroth (2020)
This one came up as a suggested movie on Tubi so I had to check it out.   I have long been fascinated by the Goddess Astarte and her literal demonization to the male demon Astaroth. This movie covers some of that and adds some neat little tidbits as well. 

Astaroth (2017)

The movie is Brazilian and completely in Portuguese.  Thankfully the captions are in English.  Not that it would matter much, it's not a difficult one to follow.

Our stars are three college students living together whose primary interests seem to be tattoos and metal.  There is tattoo artist Dri (Ju Calaf),  guitarist Lia (played by former top Brazilian porn star Monica Mattos), and martial artist Mai.  Dri and Lia meet up with tattoo artist Gregório (Janderson Tucunduva) who has been communing with the demon Astaroth (also played by Mattos).

Gregório has been tattooing sigils on to people so Astaroth can claim them.  Once she has enough she can come into the mortal world.

All in all not a bad premise.  The movie feels like an American horror movie circa 1995, only a lot less sex and nudity if you can believe that.  The movie doesn't really get going until the half-way mark. 

Eventually, Lia gets possessed by Astaroth kills Dri, but not before Mai can find out.  Mai figures out what Astaroth is and kills Gregório and the possessed Lia to send Astaroth to hell.

The movie is quite obsessed with metal with the bands getting top billing right after the actresses. Not a bad thing really; demons, metal, horror, it all fits together.  The trouble is sometimes it comes across as an 80s training video.  If it had been made in the 80s there would have been a larger body count and at least one song by Dokken.

It wasn't a bad flick really, it just had the feel of some people doing this on a budget and they got all their friends over to do it. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 46
First Time Views: 33

Saturday, October 23, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lilith (2019, 2018, & 2017)

Lillith (2019)
Some movies about one of my favorite mythological figures Lilith.  

Lillith (2019)

Ok, this one is spelled with two Ls and is a bit of a silly movie, but even then there is a good-sized body count.    Jenna played by Nell Kessler discovers her boyfriend cheating on her. She and her friend Emma decided to get some revenge by summoning the demon "Lillith."  Trouble is she never really believed it would work even when she shows up.  Savannah Whitten is so much fun as Lilith.  She brings a real dark sense of humor to the role.  I love the makeup effects they use for her too.

A few other things.  I love the Tarot card they are using here. And 69 action news? Sure why not!

Let's be honest...this is not a great movie, but it is a fun one.  There is a solid vibe here of just a bunch of friends getting together to shot a horror movie.  It is quite fun.

They have/had a good social media presence, so that is also really fun.

Lilith (2018)
Lilith (2018)

Ok now, this one is 180° from the one above.  This one is an anthology where the central theme is Lilith getting revenge on men who have wronged women. The connective tissue here is Police Detective Ryan Carson.  We see him shooting Lilith (we learn later) in the first scene.

The first story deals with Brook Carson (Brialynn Massie), the detective's teenage daughter.  She is having sex with her teacher and gets pregnant.  Unable to deal she kills herself.  Brooks friends, who abandoned her when she needed them try to blackmail the teacher, but they screw it up. One kid gets shot and the teacher tries to kill the others.  While he is hunting them down Brook comes back, but possessed by Lilith.  She kills her former friends for abandoning her and the teacher.  When she is done though her father sees her and tells her that Lilith will take care of her now.

In the next one Lilith poses as a caregiver for an old man.  She takes on the form of "Joanne" the old man's dead wife. In this one Philip (Vernon Wells) expects her to show up and has been waiting. There is the implication that Lilith is now in charge of Hell.  She kills Philip and Det. Carson shows up later to investigate. 

The next story deals with a guy, Darren (Colton Wheeler), and his porn addiction.  His wife heads out to a religious retreat.  His skeezy buddy convinces him to call this call-girl, who is of course Lilith.  They have sex. A lot of sex. Lilith kills him. Madison, his wife, comes home and finds his dead body posed like Baphomet.  Det. Carson investigates this murder too.

The last story deals with a serial killer Frank (played by Frank Tryon) and he kidnaps Melissa (Kimberly Roswell).  He brings her to his home where he has been torturing her.  Frank is remembering all the women he killed (and their shoes) and is getting ready to dismember a still living Melissa when there is a knock on the door.  It is Lilith (no shock).  Frank tries to drug her, but Lilith manages to switch the drug to Frank's drink. Lilith proceeds to torture him, but sets him free.  Melissa shows up behind him and shoves the drill into him.  Lilith then rips out Frank's heart.   As expected Det. Carson shows up.

The connecting scenes between the stories deal with Det. Carson and a priest trying to trap Lilith, but it is obvious there are in way over their heads.  It is also the least interesting of the tales. 

The makeup effects are kind cool and Lilith is played in each story by a different actress. I admit this is what drew me to the movie to start with. Some of the actors were good, many were only ok.  It was still a fun little romp.  I do love a nice horror anthology.

Lilith's Hell (2017)
Lilith' Hell (2017)

This one is a little odd.  It is filmed as a point of view movie staring the "filmmaker" Ruggero Deodato as himself and two others to film a horror movie. I say "filmmaker" since he is playing himself and he is the filmmaker in the movie, the actual director is Vincenzo Petrarolo. Though Ruggero Deodato is an actual director, just not in this one.  He is most famous for "Cannibal Holocaust." This movie is a nod to that,  

The movie is taking place "just outside of Rome" and it is obvious that the filmmakers (in the movie) have no idea what they are doing. 

There is some security came footage, ala Paranormal Activity which could have been scary, but ends up just being tense.  The only scare comes when Marco hides under the bed of the actresses (everyone has to share) and then reaches up to grab Michelle's leg.  Everyone then tries to go back to sleep. Michelle wakes up startled and walks around the house.  She finds Marcond Alberto in the pool and seems to warm up to them. That is until she bites off Alberto's penis. Ryans and Sara find them and start freaking out.  Michelle is nowhere to be found and Alberto is dead.   They find Michelle but she seems all possessed.  She screams, but it sounds like an animal and the security cameras go all weird. 

They stumble into another room that is covered in drawings and runes that look demonic.  The room is connected to the security room where all the cameras are.  They also find the body of Marco's grandmother.  Of course, Ryan is freaking out, but not because of the deaths or the evil room, but because what is they are filming now is better than his movie.  

They find a camera on the ground and play the SD card on it.  There are robbed people in the evil room and they performing a seance to summon Lilith.   She appears to possess the young woman in the video. The men in the video get terrified and try to stop Lilith and Marco's grandmother, but they all end up killing each other, leaving the possessed girl tied up in the room.  They realize she is still there, and she begins to scream.   It looks like the girl, Linda, is ok, and in pain, and only Sara seems to understand what is going on.  She demands that they tie her up since Lilith can possess her.  Though in their excitement to find a phone and call the priest they let Sara loose.

Credit to Manuela Stanciu who plays Michelle as a vapid actress wanting drugs, to a scared woman, to a demon-possessed monster.  Her exorcism scene is quite good.  Joelle Rigollet also does a great job as Sara, the make-up artist that knows a lot about Lilith.  Speaking of make-up, her running and smeared mascara is a great touch. 

--

What do these all have in common?  Well, they get a lot of it right at least in terms of popular cultural understanding of Lilith.  In two of the three cases, priests are unable to exorcise her.  In the 2017 movie, he says it is because she is Sumerain and can't be removed.  She can charm with her eyes and get men to do what she wants.  She only possesses women, but that might be a personal preference.   When she does her eyes turn yellow or gold. 

None of the movies were "great" but all were fun and I honestly enjoyed them all. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 41
First Time Views: 28

Thursday, October 21, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: 5ive Girls (2006)

5ive Girls (2006)
I am not going into this one with very high hopes.  It deals with demons, witches, and Ron Perlman.  

5ive Girls (2006)

The movie begins with Ron Perlman as Father Drake.  He is the teacher of a Catholic girl's school, St. Marks.  One of his students, Elizabeth, is drawing a scene from the Bible where Jesus casts out the Legions of demons (is Legion the number or the name? Sunday school was a long ass time ago).  Anyway, while Drake is talking to some students, Elizabeth starts to hear voices.  Soon the door slams shut and she begins hearing the voices of demons.  Drake finally gets into the room, but Elizabeth is gone, leaving only blood.

Five years later, the school reopens with just only five students and recovering drunk Father Drake.  The newest girl, Alex, is a witch with TK and can hear voices coming from nowhere. She also sees Elizabeth walking around the halls.  The other girls also experience strange happenings.  Leah passes through a filing cabinet.  Cecilia is blind but has second sight. Connie is a Wiccan.  Not sure what Mara does other than being a pain in the ass.  No, actually her power is healing by touch. 

Former student and current head Mistress, Miss Anna Pearce played by Amy Lalonde, also can see Elizabeth.  She tells her she is trying to help her.

We get typical Catholic School Girl shenanigans. Spanking with a ruler, girls sneaking off to smoke, breaking into the third floor.  While there they find a pentagram in a magic circle. At the same time, Miss Pearce is casting a diabolic spell to try and free Elizabeth with the other five girls as the sacrifices. 

Elizabeth, or a demon, is summoned and lands in Connie, but Mara is able to heal her.   Alex discovers a book belonging to Elizabeth. 

The next day a possessed Connie tries to kill Leah and then vomits a bunch of demons into her.  The girls realize right away that Leah is possessed. Leah confronts Father Drake and he tries to exorcise her, but she stabs him with the crucifixes instead.  We learn that Miss Pierce is Elizabeth's sister. 

Legion jumps from girl to girl, killing them along the way. 

The ending is kind of neat with the demon made of blood. But otherwise fairly derivative and predictable. 

About the cover. In this movie when you get possessed your eyes don't go all black, but all white.

--

Ok, I think I need to create a category of movie, Daughters of the Craft.  These are movies made after 1996 with teen witches, usually four, sometimes five. One should be good and one should be evil, or at least misunderstood. The filmmakers obviously loved the Craft and thought that was the movie they wanted to make.  I'll go back and see which ones fit it. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 36
First Time Views: 23


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Satan's Baby Doll (1983)

Satan's Baby Doll (1983)
Tonight's movie is a fairly notorious one that dates back to my VHS days.  I always saw this one in the video store, Prestige Video (long since gone), but it was always checked out.  Years later it became harder and harder to find.  I finally scored a copy this year, though a Region 2 DVD only.  Not a problem!  You don't become a European horror aficionado without some tools at your disposal. 

Does the movie live up to all the hype?  Well...let's see shall we?

Satan's Baby Doll (1983)

There are two versions of this movie.  A horror version and a softcore porn version.  For tonight's review, I am more interested in the horror version.

While the movie looks like a demonic story, it's actually a demonic, or more to the point, diabolic witchcraft story.

Marina Hedman plays the recently dead Maria. While waiting for the reading of her will her husband Antonio (Aldo Sambrell), and children Miria (Jaqueline Dupré) and Ignazio (Alfonso Gaita) explore her old estate along with weird nun Sol (Mariangela Giordano).  

The makeup effects of the dead Maria are all over the place. Sometimes she looks like a rotting corpse other times just dead. I am not counting the times she is walking around as a spirit.  This is an 80s movie, but the make-up effects are closer to the mid-70s.

Maria's spirit begins to possess her young, and formerly innocent, daughter Miria into seducing and killing her former husband (father), son (brother), priest, and Sol. So yeah a little squicky. What is it with demonic possession and incest?  

Maria/Miria goes through her whole family, killing them all. The end was not what I expected, but it was fun. 

Let's address the cover. Satan never really appears in the movie and certainly never like that.  Also our femme fatales, Jaqueline Dupré and Marina Hedman are both blondes.  The cover is obviously geared towards the style of covers popular in the heyday of early 80s fantasy.   The alternate cover is not exactly safe for most social media platforms.

Satan's Baby Doll alt cover

Again, this scene never happens in the film.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 35
First Time Views: 22

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Sennentuntschi

This particular creature has been on my list to do for a bit.  I had read about this creature in connection to the succubus many years ago but never could find anything else about it.  Mostly I think due to my inability to remember how it was spelled. 

Thankfully I now have the movie to help me out. 

Sennentuntschi
Sennentuntschi

Medium Construct (demonic) 

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8+3*** (23 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 14 (+5)
Attacks: 1 fist or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+2 or by weapon+2
Special: Charm, illusion, immune to mind-affecting magic, immune to poison and gas, only harmed by fire
Save: Monster 3
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 125 (OSE) 170 (LL)

Str: 16 (+2) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 14 (+1) Wis: 14 (+1) Cha: 18 (+3)

Sennentuntschi, which is believed to mean "shepherd's wife" or "herdsmen wife," is a type of construct inhabited by a demonic spirit. The creature is created by making a life-sized doll out of clothes, straw, and whatever is on hand and then animated with the demonic spirit. 

The sennentuntschi, once animated, will act as the "wife" of the shepherds who animated her.  She will cook, clean, and even share their bed at night.  She cannot speak but casts a powerful charm and illusion effect on all around her.  The men who created her automatically fail their saving throws. To them and all others who fail, she will appear as a beautiful young woman.  If the save is made, then she will appear as a grotesque collection of rags and straw in a human shape.  Clerics of pure and good intent (Lawful, Lawful Good) gain a +3 bonus to their saving throw against this charm.

The goal of the sennentuntschi is to kill the men that animated her and return to her native plane with their souls. She can't though just kill them outright. The men must first commit an act of violence against her. This can be as simple as one of the men slapping her, though usually, the violence escalates from there.  Each of the men that animated her, typically three, must commit this act. Once that is complete she will seek to kill them or have them kill each other.  As a construct, she is immune to all mind-affecting magic but is vulnerable to fire. Cold, electricity, gas, or poison has no effect on her.

If anyone attacks the sennentuntschi anyone charmed by her will do anything to protect her including killing others.  If the sennentuntschi is destroyed then the charm is broken. It is rumored that if a sennentuntschi is created and no violence is perpetrated against it for the season then the magic holding it together dies and no souls are damned.  This is a very rare occurrence.

Animating a Sennentuntschi:  A sennentuntschi can be animated by a folk magic ritual (0 level Witch spell) known to the shepherds and herdsmen of the mountains. 

Sennentuntschi
Create Sennentuntschi
Witch Ritual Level: 0
Ritual Casters: Three shepherds
Duration: One Season, typically Summer
Range: One Sennentuntschi poppet

The ritual to animate a sennentuntschi is typically handed down from older shepherd to younger in the form of a story about how the first sennentuntschi was animated.  All that is needed is a life-sized poppet to house the sennentuntschi spirit and the three men to summon it.  

Typically this is an older shepherd, a younger one, and a boy; each representing the stages of life for a man. The ritual is then performed, usually with the imbibing of much alcohol, and the spirit is summoned.

Many occult scholars believe that the demonic spirit inhabiting the poppet is akin to the succubus or other Lilim. 

October Horror Movie Challenge: Sennentuntschi (2010)

Sennentuntschi (2010)

This one has been on my list for a while and I could never find it, and then suddenly it was on all my streaming channels!  It's a Samhain miracle!

Sennentuntschi (2010)

Based on the Alpine legends of the same name.  Is she a demon? A witch or just an abused woman?

An aside.  The mushrooms the little girl is supposed to be picking in the first scene are King Mushrooms and they are wonderful.  Not sure what the red-capped ones are.  Anyway, she finds more, which leads to a shallow grave with the body of boy who likely died over 40 years ago.

Flashback to 1975.  

Ok.  The movie is in German and my German, as mentioned before, is not what it once was.  Yes, there are captions, but often I am writing the review while watching.  Or in this case also working the Monstrous Monday version.  Where am I going with this?  I missed parts and had to go back rewatch it.

So back in 1975 in the nearby village, we find a priest has killed himself and the other priests claim that it was the Devil ("dämon" and not "teufel").  After burying the priest and "wild woman" (Roxane Mesquida) is found.  The local police take her to the police station where she is examined by the local doctor.  She doesn't speak at all and she is covered in dirt and leaves. 

Soon the villages start to suspect the woman has had something to do with the priest's death. Claiming her arrival is not a coincidence.  The woman drops a carved goat that local bar owner Theres recognizes as the the work as her brother, Albert.  She asks Reusch, the policeman to go up the mountain to check on Albert and Erwin.   Reusch finds no one and assumes they went hunting.  As he leaves we see a bloody hand reach up to the window.

Everyone is convinced the woman is some sort of witch or demon.  Especially the local priest, the head of the same church the younger priest killed himself in.  The officer, Reusch gets the woman cleaned up and takes some Polaroids of her to send out to find out who she is.    He tries to find out if she can write, but all she can do is draw some sort of glyph. 

In what we later learn is even earlier in time, we see a man, Martin, head up to the mountains where he meets Erwin and Albert.  He is getting out of city he claims and spends time with Albert and Erwin.   Erwin shows Martin his stash of Absinthe and they begin to drink. 

Back at Reusch's place, the woman, make Reusch some coffee, showing she at least remembers how to do that.  They go to the city records and Reusch finds another woman that went missing in 1950 that looks exactly like the woman.  He heads to the valley to find out more.  He encounters a man who was a policeman in the area and he has pictures of the woman from 1950 in relation to a fire that killed three men.  

While Reusch is gone he lives the woman with his friend.  But while there the priest attempts to kill her.  In the confusion, she runs off.  She finds Theres but is frightened of the cross she makes in the bread.  Later we see that Theres loses the baby she was carrying because of the attack.  We see the woman running up the mountain. 

Back on the mountain, the men are getting really drunk.  Erwin asks Albert to make a "Sennentunschi" for Martin, but he seems afraid to do so.  While Albert is making the Sennentunschi Erwin retells the tale of how the first Sennentunschi was made.  They hallucinate from the absinthe and soon their straw and rag Sennentunschi looks just like the woman from the village. They wake up in the morning from their drinking and find the woman in hiding in the cabin.  The men decide to take her back down to the village, but Irwin has other ideas.  Starting with showing her how to make coffee and ending with raping her in the kitchen.

Martin suspects something is going on and he tries to take her back to the village himself, but she won't go. She runs off and Martin chases her, captures her and it is his turn to assault her.   Martin and the Woman return. More drinking and we learn that both Irwin and Martin have a past of assaulting and later in Martin's case, killing, women.  

That night both Martin and Irwin rape her some more.  When they pass out we see her going down the mountain.

Through a series of events, we learn the woman's mother, the woman from the 1950s, was staying at the church where the older priest had kept her and impregnated her. She gave birth to girl.  He kept the girl in captivity for 25 years treating her like a demon.  The younger priest didn't commit suicide but was killed while trying to prevent the girl from escaping and the older priest made it look like a suicide.  This would also explain why she was afraid of crosses. 

Reusch finds her on the mountain and discovers that when she escaped she came here first and then killed Erwin, Albert, and Martin, but that was days ago.  She took their bodies and stuffed them like in the tale.  She runs off but falls down the side of the mountain. Reusch kills himself. 

The movie is dark and has a few generally horrific moments.  I have to give credit to actress Roxane Mesquida who has to go through the movie as a mute and several different stages of undress. It would be interesting to see her with some speaking lines.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 33
First Time Views: 20

Saturday, October 16, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Curse of the Mayans (2017)

Curse of the Mayans (2017)
Another one with my wife tonight.  She was in the mood for something Egyptian or similar, but I remembered I had this one on my list.  It is horror, it is sci-fi, and I have been wanting to find something more about Mayan myths, even if it was in the form of a cheesy movie.  Actually for what I have planned a cheesy movie is perfect.

Curse of the Mayans (2017)

This movie was also known as Xibalbá.  An American professor, Dr. Alan Green (played by Steve Wilcox) hires a professional cave diver Danielle Noble, played by Carla Ortiz, to uncover what he believes is the lost library of the Mayas.

There is a bit in the start about an alien race of reptile aliens from the Pleiades. And a Mayan retelling of the Nibiru tale, Va Sheck.

The movie starts slow, but about 1:05 in it really begins to kick in.  The divers find what they think is the library, but it looks like alien technology.  One of the divers tries to grab a gold jaguar head, but instead, they let something out.  The demons/aliens begin to kill the divers.

The professor tells us the alien/demons are "Tlaloc."  While the name is Aztec, there is a Mayan god that is similar.  They can possess humans, but their eyes look like snakes.  Cool, but how does the professor know all of this?

The movie ends just as it is getting interesting.  

So some scares, but not enough and too little too late.

I had hoped for more really. 

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 31
First Time Views: 18


Thursday, October 7, 2021

No, 5e Devils are Not Misunderstood. But Alignment Is.

It's October and one of my favorite things to talk about are devils, demons, and all sorts of fiends.

You know what I don't like talking about? Alignment.  

Why? It is boring and tedious and so many people get confused with what is written down in the rules and what they understand it to be, or not to be.  And frankly, the conversations are never very interesting. 

Conversations about alignment in the pages of Dragon actually predate The Dragon and go all the way back to The Strategic Review.  Very little new light has been shed on the topic ever since.

So alignment has largely been one of those things I give lip service to because pulling out would make a bunch of other things break.  Like the spells Detect Evil or Protection from Evil are just two examples.  There needs to be something in place so they work.  Swords with intelligence and ego. Other magic items on the small scale and the planes of existence on the larger scale.

Most of the other RPGs I play don't have alignment. D&D is the only holdout.

I am not saying I don't want universal Good or Evil, or even Law and Chaos, in my games.  I do.  I want my devils to be evil, or even better yet, Evil, with a capital E.  Demons? I want creatures that make the Devils go "whoa, hold on there dude."  But I also have creatures Beyond Good and Evil.  Not just in a Nietzscheian way, but in ways that are unmeasurable and unknowable by mortal kind.   

So when the "new" publisher (they have been publishing D&D for longer than the "old" publisher) wants to try something new like say "Unaligned" or "Typically Chaotic Evil" then I applaud the effort.  When they want to do something really interesting like remove monster alignment altogether my response is "interesting, tell me more..."

But of course, there are going to be those that freak out about it and claim ridiculous notions that "Devils are no longer evil."  This is of course a complete stretch of what the D&D 5 team, and Jeremey Crawford actually said.  Plus the examples given are NOT for all of D&D nor even for the upcoming 5.5 or 5r, though they could be.  In this case, these only apply to the optional adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.  

Typically
My 2e books list them as Neutral

Still Chaotic Evil
Still Chaotic Evil, 100% of the time

Will we see some of these ideas in the upcoming D&D 5 update? Most certainly. Will we see them all in this exact manner? Maybe. 2024 is still a bit off and WotC has demonstrated they want to take in fan feedback and the editing process is a pain in the ass.  Tasha's Cauldron of Everything dropped alignments (and they were not missed) Witchlight brought them back.  So obviously they are still experimenting.

This is nothing new.  We saw this in the early days of AD&D 2nd Ed.

Monsters and Alignment

Monsters and Alignment

Monsters and Alignment

But let's say for the sake of argument they drop alignments from all monsters.  What does that mean?

In 5.5/5r it means monsters won't have an alignment.  

That is the absolute sum total of it.  It does not affect my Basic-era-B/X-OSE games.  It does not affect NIGHT SHIFT games. And you know what, it doesn't even affect my current D&D 5e games. 

They are not doing anything terribly new or innovative here. Even by adding "typically" to the alignment they are still only explicitly doing what we implicitly knew or at least did anyway.

Devils will still be evil. Demons will still be evil. Maybe, maybe there will be an odd Devil that seeks out redemption or maybe even understanding to the point where they are not evil anymore.  Or not.  I don't care about redeeming devils, I only care how quickly my player's characters can put the fiends down.  

Seriously though the only people online complaining about this are people who loudly and often will exclaim with pride that they "never bought any WotC D&D and never will."  Fine. Whatever. It's ok not to like the newest version of D&D.  It's fine to prefer older versions.  But if you complain every single time WotC does something with D&D I am going to assume your hobby isn't playing D&D but rather complaining about it.

I am reminded of the Chicken Littleing that went on last year about Oriental Adventures and the big pile of nothing that happened after.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

One Man's God: Norse Mythos

Norse Mythos
And here we are.  The last of my regular features of One Man's God.  I wanted to save the Norse for last because in many ways it was the myths of the Norse that showed me that there was a whole other world of myths and legends beyond the Greek.  This happened, as it turned out, during a series of events that would lead me to D&D.   In many ways the myths of the Norse are the most "D&D" of them all.  The Monster Manual might be full of monsters of the Greek myths, the Norse myths run a very close second.

The purpose though of One Man's God is to talk about demons.  So let's get to it.

There are a lot of great entries for gods here and there are some really powerful monsters.  But there isn't really anything here that says "demon" as D&D defines them.   Or is there?

Among the creatures, we have the children of Loki, who here is listed as Chaotic Evil, who certainly could be considered demons.  The Fenris Wolf is variously described as demonic and is Chaotic Evil. The same is true for Jormungandr.  But they really don't fit the notion of demons. There is a type of creature from Norse Myth that does, the Jötunn.

Jötunar as Demons

There are a lot of good reasons to list the Jötunn as demons, even in the classical sense. The word Jötunn is often translated as "giant" or even "troll,"  but another translation is "devourer."  This word is also the source of the word Ettin.  

They are also described as predating the gods, coming from the primordial chaos, and the enemies of the gods.  Sounds pretty demonic to me.  It also sounds like the Titans of Greek myth, but more on that later.

The D&DG tells us that,

Giants in Norse Myth D&DG

This lives on in the 4th Edition D&D mythology about Giants, Titans, and Primordials. 

Fire Giant
Jötunn, Inferno
FREQUENCY:  Very Rare
NO.  APPEARING:  1-4
ARMOR CLASS: -2
MOVE: 24" 
HIT DICE:  15+75 (143 hp)
%  IN  LAIR:  0%
TREASURE  TYPE:  E, Q (x10), R
NO.  OF  ATTACKS:  2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  Flaming Sword 2d12+5 (x2)
SPECIAL  ATTACKS:  Fire Aura (2d6)
SPECIAL  DEFENSES: +2  or  better weapon to hit
MAGIC  RESISTANCE:  55%
INTELLIGENCE:  Average
ALIGNMENT:  Lawful Evil
SIZE:  L  (20')
PSIONIC ABILITY:  Nil

The progenitors of the Fire Giants, the Inferno Jötunn are a truly horrible sight to behold.  They tower over the Storm Giants and rival the Titans in sheer size and strength.   They are surrounded by flames and even their eyes, hair, and mouths are filled with flames. They are more violent than their cousins from Niflheim and Jötunheimr, the Rime Jötunn, but leave their lands much less often. 

Inferno Jötunn all come from the land of Muspelheim, also known as Múspell which is also another name for these creatures.  Muspelheim is a land of bright, white-hot flames that only these creatures and their fire giant offspring can withstand.

Inferno Jötunn are surrounded by flames that deal 2d6 hp of damage at all times.  They wield great swords of flame and attack with their great strength (2d12+5) twice per round.  Inferno Jötunn are immune to normal and magical fire including dragon breath.  They have magic resistance at 55%.  Rare individuals can also cast spells as a 9th level magic-user.

Their king is Sutur, also known as Surt. He commands his subjects with an iron fist. 

Frost Giant
Jötunn, Rime
FREQUENCY:  Very Rare
NO.  APPEARING:  1-4
ARMOR CLASS: -3
MOVE: 24"
HIT DICE:  18+90 (171 hp)
%  IN  LAIR:  0%
TREASURE  TYPE:  E, Q (x10), R
NO.  OF  ATTACKS:  2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  Frost brand sword 2d12+6 (x2)
SPECIAL  ATTACKS:  Chill Aura (2d6)
SPECIAL  DEFENSES: +2  or  better weapon to hit
MAGIC  RESISTANCE:  55%
INTELLIGENCE:  Average
ALIGNMENT:  Chaotic  Evil
SIZE:  L (21')
PSIONIC ABILITY:  Nil

Rime Jötunn are the primordial Frost Giants that first rose from Niflheim.  Unlike the Inferno Jötunn, they range far and wide and are constantly battling with the Gods and other giants.

Rime Jötunn are surrounded by an aura of cold that deals 2d6 hp of damage at all times.  They wield great swords of ice and attack with their great strength (2d12+6) twice per round.  Rime Jötunn are immune to normal and magical cold including dragon breath.  They have magic resistance at 55%.  Rare individuals can also cast spells as a 9th level cleric.

These Jötunar can also adjust their size to appear as a human or elf as they need. 

Niflheim is a cold, dark place of mists, ice, and gloom.  Here the Rime Jötunn await with their lord Thrym to wage the final war on the gods in Ragnarök.  Until they will cause as much evil as they can.

--

Rereading the Norse Myths you get the feeling that the Jötunar are more elemental in nature than even the fire and frost giants of D&D. Again in this respect, D&D 4th Edition had some great ideas.

While there are plenty of supernatural creatures in the lore of the Norsemen, with trolls and giants among the more popular, they are not represented in the D&DG and indeed mainly play a lesser role to the Gods and the dwarves of Norse myth.

And here are.  The last of the regular entries for One Man's God.  I have a few specials in mind to wrap up some ideas from this series and a "Norse Mythos, Part II" in a way later this week with a new "This Old Dragon."  All in all, I am a little sorry to see it end. It has been a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

One Man's God: Japanese Mythos

D&DG Japanese Mythos
It's been a while I figure today is a good day for another One Man's God. A brief review of the purpose and "rules" here.

The purpose of One Man's God is to see how I can take the creatures of the various mythos as they appear in the Deities and Demigods and see how they could have been represented as AD&D demons. NOT Abrahamic religion demons, or even esoteric or occult demons, but AD&D demons as they appeared in and defined by the Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II.  

That is my first rule.  So no need to come at me saying "X culture did not have demons."  Not only are demons in D&D not real, no demons are real, so by that logic no culture has demons, but all cultures have stories of demons and stories can be retold.

Also, this is NOT a criticism of the research methods of the original authors and researchers of the Deities and Demigods.  It is easy for me to criticize sitting here in my office chair in 2021 with access to pretty every written book, scholarly article, and more in any language at my fingertips.   They had the local library.  So another rule is I can't criticize the material based on what I can research now.  I can use research from now to help inform my opinions, but that is all.

I can look a little beyond my sources here (D&DG, MM, FF, and MM2) to see what could fit into these based on the rules above.  But I am not going to add to much more beyond that. That's what Monstrous Monday is for.

Ok? Cool?  Great! 

Today I want to hit one that was HUGE back in the 80s. Japanese Mythos

Growing up in the 80s you could not help be nearly overwhelmed with references to or from Japanese culture.  Well...not real Japanese culture, a weird American version of it for mass consumption.  Ninjas, karate, Richard Chamberlain running around in a kimono on TV in Shōgun, and more than I can remember.  I even got caught up in it all and found some Japanese myths to read, in particular the tales of Momotarō (the Peach Boy). 

It was odd that almost none* of what I read connected back to the myths in the D&DG.  Now I see that their myths are too widely varied, complex, and even some had not been translated to an easily consumable English version.  Some concepts in Japanese do not have good English equivalents. My first year in grad school I took Japanese as an extra elective, I found it extremely fascinating and remarkably difficult.  The Deities & Demigods even touches on this with the concept of Kami.  We would use the word like "god" or "spirit,"  even in the Goddess Amaterasu we get the word "Omikami" or more appropriately, Ōmikami.  

*I will talk about what did connect.

The Gods and Goddesses

Despite how interesting these myths are and how much they were likely used, there are only five pages of them in D&DG and only 13 entries.  There are heroes, which is really important for the tales, most of the stories of Japan are about the exploits of the heroes. Of these, I only recall reading about Yamamoto Date.  But that has far more to do with Me not reading everything on Japanese myths.

Of the Gods the best known are the trinity of Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess, "the great august deity"), Tsukiyomi (the Moon God), and Susanoo (the God of Storms and Seas).  Now, these are the stories I know well.  I am remarkably pleased that the depictions and stats match up well with my personal ideas of what these gods are.  Amaterasu is easily the most powerful god in this book, thankfully for the mortals, she is Lawful Good.  In my games, there was no greater foe of the undead than her. And let me just say I am so pleased the authors did not take the easy way out and make Susanowo Chaotic Evil and went with the more appropriate Chaotic Neutral.

A couple of Goddesses that I remember reading about didn't make it in.  I mean I easily see why, but still, it would have been nice to see them.

Ame-no-Uzume

Ame-no-Uzume is the Goddess of the Dawn and for her role in the story of Amaterasu and the Cave she is the Goddess of Revelry.  In many ways the "darker" versions of Amaterasu and Ame-no-Uzume can be found in my "Nox" and "Syla" the goddess of the Dusk and Near Dark.

But back to Uzume.  I am not the first to point this one out and many others more read than me have done a better job.  But if you want to bring Ame-no-Uzume all you need to do is turn a few pages back to the Indian myths and bring over the similarity named Ushas, the Goddess of the Dawn. Her stats are pretty much perfect as is.  

Isshin-ryū Mizo-Game
Mizo-Game

Oh, Mizu Game. How you have vexed me over the years.

So WAY back in the day I decided to take karate lessons, their was a local place that was offering Isshin-ryū Karate and I decided to join.  I spent a couple years doing it. I was good, not great, but I felt like it achieved my then goal of getting some extra exercise.  The important part for today is the Isshin-ryū patch.  I was told that the half-woman/half-dragon goddess on the patch was Mizo-Game a Sea Goddess.  So naturally, I wanted a character that worshipped her.  But outside of Isshin-ryū I could not find out anything about her.  And you know what?  I STILL can't.  Every so often I get the idea to search for her again and I have only limited success.

Now with this post, it's going to mess with my search algorithms even more! 

I had hoped to find a goddess I could borrow from other myths, like I do for Uaume, but nothing came up.  She would be a Lawful Neutral demigoddess of the sea.  She related to dragons and to the other gods.

Mizo Game in Isshin-ryū

Demons

While this is all fantastic. There are no monsters here, let alone any demons. 

A while back I talked about the Yaoguai or Chinese demons.   The name means something like "strange ghost" or "strange devil."  In Japan, similar creatures are called Yōkai. Which also means "strange apparition."

In my games, Yaoguai and Yōkai are both different lineages of demons that are related.   There are no creatures listed in the D&DG that would count.  The closest we get is the Ogre Mage, also called the "Japanese Ogre" in the Monster Manual.  BUT that creature is obviously based on the Oni. 

Are Oni demons or yōkai?  I am going to say no. The tales of Momotarō, also known as the Peach Boy, feature many Oni, and while they are powerful and even a little supernatural, but they are not really demons.  Sadly even branching out into the Oriental Adventures does not help here.  Though there are also Ushi-oni that are very much yōkai and Oni are said to have come from the "demon gate/"

For demons and yōkai it would seem I am on my own and I have a lot more research and reading to do.

No Yōkai here.

Expect to see some Yōkai in future Monstrous Mondays. Will I reclassify Oni as demons?  No idea yet.

It's too bad that with all the material out there on Yōkai that so little to almost none made it into AD&D.

There is only one more set of myths left in this series and I am hoping it will be a big one!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

SPI's Demons (1979)

SPI's Demons game
I celebrated my 26th wedding anniversary over the weekend.  I have now been married for over half my life!  We went downtown to see the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. I got us the Premium tickets, and glad I did, we sat through the whole thing twice!  It was completely amazing. We ate at a new fusion Thai place and of course, no date night is complete for us without a stop at a bookstore.

Since so many of the bookstores we used to go to over the last three decades are closed, we stopped at Half-Price Books.  

I found this little gem, SPI Demons.

At first I thought it was an add-on or supplement for the DragonQuest RPG.  They look rather similar really.  But closer examination revealed that it was really a board game.

In any case, I could not say no to this. Besides, look at that cover!  That demon is fantastic!

I got it home and since it was late I let sit on my dining room table for a bit.  I finally got around to looking at it yesterday.  Turns out that only is this game whole, and unpunched it looks like it is near mint condition!

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

Ah. Nothing says the late 70s like oil shortages. 

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

Contents of the SPI Demons boxed game

It is a rather attractive game in a late 70s War-Games-bleeding-into-RPGs way.

I posted some pictures of this over the weekend and I was reminded that TSR bought SPI back in the day and absorbed them.  WotC who now owns all of TSR's IP also owns SPI.  They could rerelease this if they wanted to.  Sadly there is really no reason to.  The cash cow in that arena is D&D and even DragonQuest, who could do well, suffers from comparison.   TSR, like them or not, straight up murdered SPI and the body is too dead to Raise Dead.

BUT that doesn't mean *I* can't perform a bit of Necromancy myself! 

This game could feed into my "Traveller Envy" quite well.

DragonQuest & Demons

The obvious thing to do here is use that Demons map of Albania and do it as a DragonQuest Hex crawl.  And I mean a proper Hex crawl that also just so happens to be filled with demons and wizard hunters.   The magistrate or wizard hunter's angle of the game also made me think of THIS unholy abomination.

DragonRaid vs. Demons

Maybe instead of "EdenAgain" the DragonRaiders are in the old country fighting demons?  That one is a bit of stretch really.  Also I would need some sort of converter to sit in the middle; likely D&D.  Though these both will contribute to my War of the Witch Queens campaign. 

Warlocks & Warriors & Demons

These two games share a lot of similarities in tone and publication time.  Both are essentially the bridges between war games and RPGs as board games. Both feature a wilderness area to explore, monsters (demons) to defeat, and treasure to collect.  Slightly higher on the complexity scale than Dungeon! but not quite full-blown RPGs.   You can read my overview of Warlocks & Warriors here

Demons from Mayfair and SPI

These two do not have a lot in common other than name and subject matter.  But both would be equally fun resources in my games. 

Like I say though I might not figure out how to get these to all work together (or even some of them) but it will be fun trying.