Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lilith and Lilim

Lilith by Isra2007
Lilith.  Ah, Lilith.

I have written so much about her over the last 20 years I hardly even know where to start today.

For those that don't know, Lilith is from the ancient Talmud and Jewish texts as the First Woman.  The woman created before Eve at the same time as Adam.  She rebelled against God and Adam and became her own thing.  She is not really a demon, but something else.

As a horror author who loves witches, demons and vampires, Lilith is all of those rolled up into one thing.
As an Atheist, Lilith is a great example of a "glitch" in the "Source code" of the bible.  Contradictions in the text that show that Genesis was even written by a number of different people over the ages.
As someone that considers themselves a feminist she is a "recent" icon.  In short what is not to love?

Lilith was a major character in my "Willow & Tara" game Season of the Witch (a Buffy game where I playtested the rules for Ghosts of Albion).  Characters (and players) didn't know if she was the Big Bad or on their side. In the end she was on her own side, but was not after the characters.

In my "Willow & Tara" games Lilith plays not just a central role in the events of the season, but in my revised mythos of world.  Lilith was not just the "mother of demons" and possibly the mother of vampires. She is also the mother of all witches and even the Slayer.  (See "Every Angel is Terrifying").  I like it since it gets rid of Whedon's overt rape metaphor and makes the Buffy game more compatible with the mythos of the WitchCraft game.

Back in the 2nd Edition AD&D days I "created" a new race of demons called the Lilim.  They were the "Daughters of Lilith" and included the Succubi and a number of related all female demons.  I later used these demons in my Buffy/Willow & Tara games "The Dragon and the Phoenix" and "Season of the Witch" along with Lilith herself.

I am revising these races once again for Eldritch Witchery.

Lilith by John Collier
These demons have their creative origins from Lilith, but also the Lilin, Lilu, and Lamashtu.  I have included creatures such as the succubus, the night hags and other related creatures.

The Lilim are an old race of demons, though some scholars debate on whether they are a true race unto themselves or not.  Lilim are also known as the daughters of Lilith, the “Queen of Demons”. A title she abhors.  Each subrace of Lilim is believed to have come from Lilith herself and her congress with other demon types such as the Baalseraph, Eodemons and Shedim.

The Lilim all share a number of unique qualities in addition to the powers all demons share. Lilim are also fully immune to poison and poses Nightvision instead of Darkvision.
All Lilim have a draining attack, as detailed below.  Most Lilim can switch between a “human” and a “demonic” form.  The human form allows them to infiltrate society and collect the souls they require.  Any time the lilim is under stress or in combat she will revert to her demonic form.  Both types of forms are detailed below.
Nearly all Lilim can cast spells as if she were a witch.

Alrunes: These demons are legion. It is most commonly believed that they are the offspring of nymphs, sayyrs and other fey with other Lilim, in particular Succubi. A succubus will sometimes shape change to a male to seduce fey creatures, and sometimes they are even seduced themselves. These demons have only the most basic of the powers of the Lilim and indeed they only have one form, a “human” one.  Though many have features can give away their demonic heritage.  They posses small vestigial horns, wings and sometimes even a tail.  Most opt for some demonic form of witchcraft.  Like all members of this demonic race they are female.  Of all the Lilim only Alrunes are not wholly evil, though very, very few are ever good.  Alrunes do not have a draining attack per se, but their kiss can lure a victim into a deep sleep as per the spell.

Batibat: These are among the weakest of the Lilim.  They prey on people in their dreams.  They house themselves in a tree near where their victim is sleeping and invade their dreams.  They have only a weak physical attack (1-3 hp) but their dream attack requires a Wisdom saving throw each night or the victim looses 1 point of Constitution.  When their victim dies (reaches 0 Constitution) they can summon a Nightmare and return to their master with the soul.  During the day they sleep in their tree and are helpless. These deams appear to be small, elfin like women and are sometimes mistaken for a dryad.  Their hair though is dark black.

Empusa: These are the daughters of Lilith and various calabim demons, most likely the Utukku.. They are the most “demonic” of all of the Lilim.  The Empusae (or “forcers-in”) like all Lilim can appear as a stunningly beautiful woman or as a demon.  The demonic form of the Empusa is the one of the most hideous of all of the Lilim.  The body remains mostly humanoid and female, but covered in fine scales.  It’s legs become like those of an horse or ass and end in hooves that are made of brass or bronze.  It’s back supports a set of large leathery bat-like wings, similar to that of a succubus.  It is its head that features it’s most horrible transformation.  The creature’s long following tresses are replaced with a mass of snakes similar to that of a medusa.  It’s facial features are blocked by an area of complete darkness, only it’s glowing eyes are visible.  It is said among sages that face of the empusa is not shrouded in darkness, but it is so horrible that our minds block the vision from us.  It is also said that other demons can actually see the empusa’s face and run in fear from it.  Its former delicate hands now end in razor tipped claws.  A long reptilian tail completes the picture.
An empusa can appear as human or it can also shape shift into a large dire wolf (statistics as per Dire Wolf).  Unlike the combat shy succubus, empusae live for battle. They can either use their natural claw/claw/bite routine or use a flaming sword that strikes for 2d6 points of damage plus 1d6 of flame damage.  Empusa gain to hit and damage bonuses due to their high strength (21) as well.
The touch of an empusa drains the Intelligence of the victim at 1 point per bare handed, not weaponed, attack.

Lamashtu: Are powerful demons, close only to the Lilitu themselves.  Believed to be the offspring of Lilth and the various Eodemons. These demons are old even by demonic terms.  Their natural form is a horrid hybrid of a linoness’ head, donkey ears and teeth, a hairy human female body, with the hind quarters of a pig.  They are commonly holding a large snake.  In their “human” form they prefer to disguise themselves as old women or nursemaids.  This gives them access to their preferred prey, new born babies.  Once she has gained access to  a new-born babe she will carry it off till she can find a safe place to eat it.  Lamashtu are not tempters, they hunger and only flesh will satisfy them.  They can be held at bay if a witch prepares a special talisman.    Her song drains Constitution to all who hear it, 2 points per night.  Anyone so drained must make a Consititution based save or fall asleep.  
Lamashtu may cast spells as a 7th level witch.

Lamiae: Lamiae can appear as any female type humanoid they choose.  They typically choose to emulate humans and elves of high charisma.  Their demonic form is less innocent.  The Lamiae has the same upper body of a beautiful woman, but her features have become twisted to show only evil.  The lower half of the creature becomes serpentine.  This gives them a look similar to the Marilith,  much to both races displeasure and distaste.  Other Lamiae appear to be women with the lower body of a lion.  It is believed they are the offspring of Lilith and various Animal Lords. 
Lamiae will most often attack her prey when they are sleeping.  They have a song that acts a sleep spell cast as a Witch of 14th level.  They may use this song once per day.  Lamiae then embrace their victim to drain their wisdom or blood (1d6 hit points).  Typically a lamiae will spend many nights corrupting a single man by draining his wisdom, all the while laying with other men to drain them of their blood.  A Lamiae will not let the corpses stack up to betray her nature. 
If forced into combat a Lamiae can use a weapon or change to her normal form and use a claw/claw/bite routine. A Lamiae will avoid open combat at all costs except to save her own life.  She would rather poison a rival, or better yet, get someone else to do the killing for her. 
While a Lamiae can gate in 1-4 Empusa to aid her, she rarely does.  But if her life is threatened she can and has a 1-4 on a 1d6 chance.
Lamiae drain Wisdom, up to 2 points per touch.  The touch must be with their bare hand and not a damage causing hit.

Lilitu: The Lilitu are not only the most powerful of the Lilim, but they may be among the most powerful demons, outside of the Balor. The Lilitu are the daughters of the Goddess Lilith and powerful spirits.  Every Lilitu are millennia old. A Lilitu’s human form is unearthly beautiful. Unnaturally tall, they have perfect voices and skins.  Their beauty is only matched by their minds; intelligent, witty and full of grace. Their personalities are in a word, formidable.  Of course this is all a façade, the Lilitu are demonic and should not be underestimated. Their demonic form is very similar to that of their human form.  Their beauty remains, but their unearthliness becomes apparent.   A set of large dark feathered wings spring from their back, alternately described as looking owl or crow like. Their once fine fingers curl into razor sharp talons.  Their legs are replaced with those of a giant predatory bird complete with claws for feet.  Despite appearances lilitu are not related to harpies and to suggest so to one invites certain death.
Lilitu do not avoid combat.  While they would rather have someone else do their fighting, they are perfectly capable of protecting themselves. Lilitu can attack open handed with both hands or with a weapon in both hands with no penalty.  They are also preternaturally strong (Strength = 20) and gain the appropriate bonuses to hit and damage.  Their touch or kiss can drain 2 points of Strength and 2 points of Constitution per hit.
Lilitu may also cast spells as if she were a 10th level Witch.

Moromo: The Mormo, or Momolyceia (“frightening wolves”), may the most frightening of the Lilim.
The mormo can appear fair and beautiful, but such forms are only an illusion, their demonic form is horrible to behold. The are tall, 7’-8’ feet tall and appear to much like a type of hag.  Their lower half is that of a wolf and they have a set of large bat-like wings on their backs.  The mormo is covered with a fine coat of gray or black hair.  Their hands end in long talon like nails and their mouths are filled with large, sharp canine fangs.
The Mormo have no fear of combat, in fact they relish in it..  They can fight in their demonic form with a claw, claw, bite routine.  She may also choose a weapon, but rarely do. They can also drain Strength points.  Typically they withhold this power to use among her victims; draining a point here and a point there to keep them weak in body so that she can work on their wills.
Like the Empusa, the Mormo feeds on human blood and human children.

Night Hags: Night hags spend much of their time moving between the worlds of men and that of demons.  They are the couriers of souls of humans to their demonic lords and can found in the employ of any demon greater in power to themselves.  Though night hags have their pride and only sell their services to most power of the demon lords and ladies.  Since most Lilim have little regard for their “sisters” Night Hags are most often found with Shedim or Baalseraph masters.
The Night Hag appears as other Lilim, as a tall humanoid female, but unlike the others they do not have a natural “beautiful” form and must accomplish that with any magic they have.  Night Hags can cast as a Witch of 8th level.   In addition to the powers in common with all Lilim night hags can cause a deep paralysis so they may drain a victim of their vital essence (constitution, 1 point per night).
They have a claw/claw attack, but avoid using it since their goal is to drain their victims to 0 Constitution. Night hags also have a horrible bite that can inflict a disease known as Demon Fever.  This fever causes an additional 1d6 points of Constitution damage and leaves the victim bed ridden.
Night hags also may form coveys with other hags if they choose.  Occult scholars have not determined why this might be the case, but many speculate that night hags are the offspring of other lilim and the more common hags.

Succubi: Succubi are the most common of the Lilim.  These female demons are not found in great numbers and never working together.  These demons, while not physically very powerful, are capable of controlling other demons that are far more powerful.  Succbi are charged with the tempting of mortals, a task they relish in.  They appear as unearthly beautiful women (or men if needed), in their true form they stand 6' high and feature small horns, a tail and large bat-like wings growing from their backs.
A Succubus can cause Darkness 5', have Nightvision, can Dominate any one (1) PC and can become Incorporeal at will.  The succubi lures her victim into acts of passion and drains their life force with a kiss.  This Energy Drain takes 1 life level/hit dice.  She can also use the following spells as a Witch of 6th level, Charm Person, Detect Good, Continual Flame, ESP, Clairaudience, Hold Person, and Polymorph Self. Succubi also have Spell Resistance against fire based magic.  If pressed they can attack with two claw attacks (dagger -2), if each attack succeeds then she can also grapple for her energy drain attack/kiss.
A succubus can gate in another demon (expect another succubus) but prefer not too since that would compel the succubus to a service for that demon or it’s master. 
They can also with a touch, kiss or embrace drain 1d6 points of strength and constitution.  Often this accomplished by touch as the Lilitu see humans as little more than animals.  As with all Lilim, they choose whether or not their touch will drain life energy or not.

Posts about Lilith here:
Every Angel is Terrifying: The Secret and True Origins of the Slayer
Pseudo Slayers
Going Up to Hell: Cosmology
Sympathy for the Succubus
- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Let's Talk About Sex(y)
E is for Eodemon
The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 7
Season of the Witch: Episode 2


Unknown said...

I think this might be my favorite A-Z post of the month. And I'm now a huge fan of your blog. Thank you for all of your research and this most interesting topic. :)

Lusting Lola! said...

I only know Lilith from Cheers/Frasier. I had no idea the meaning behind the mean. Fascinating.

Laura Clipson said...

Ooh she sounds interesting! I like that she didn't 'follow the crowd' so to speak.
And also loving the connection to the Lamiae :)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Jadie, thanks so much!

@Lola, Glad to introduce you to one of my favorite stories.

@Laura, Lilith was the first rebel girl. That's why I love her!

Unknown said...

Wow! You are thorough :) Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse