Monday, October 7, 2019

Infernal Evil For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons From The Dragon Issue #42 & How to Counter It OSR Style

So last night I dragged The Dragon issue#42 out in into the light. This issue has some fantastic stuff for the dungeon master looking for something spooky but all of his or her players have memorized every Ravenloft & monster manual around.

The issue only runs about sixty pages but these are solid additions to any dungeon master's tool box; "
 The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow - A spooky AD&D adventure; Demons, Devils, and Spirits; The Possessors; Patron Demons; The Restless Dead; Day of the Dwarf; Minarian Legends - The history of Pon; Giants in the Earth; Electric Eye - Adventuring by computer.

October 1980 ... 60 pages". Now this little bright spot of October goodness came about because of Wayne's Books whose The Dragon magazine resources are spot on unlike other internet sources. This is the issue that put the Satanic in Panic & will put the fear of Hell in your players. You got the Demons, Devils and Spirits by  T. Moldvay for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. These are some very powerful devils straight out of Hebrew,Greek, & occult mythology such as :

SARAPHS Saraph (from the Hebrew, Shin, Resh, Pe—to burn or devour with fire)
MOVE: 9”
% IN LAIR: Nil
 ALIGNMENT: Neutral (tending toward Lawful Good)
Within their homeland there is, presumably, a large variety of classes and types of Saraphs. Outside their home, however, one meets only members of the Brotherhood of the Sun. These warrior Lords wear a red surcoat with a flaming golden sun in its center, over a suit of scale mail which appears to be made from some cooper-gold alloy (though it is as strong as steel). The Saraphs’ helmets, greaves, and bracers are made from the same material, as is the longsword and dagger belted at their sides. The sun motif on a red field is repeated on their shields. Saraphs are a hominid race which lives on the Elemental Plane of Fire. They appear as seven-foot-tall, ruddy-skinned individuals with bright red hair and pink-irised eyes. Since they come from a highly magical Plane, Saraphs’ armor and weapons acquire magical properties on the Physical Plane. Treat as Scale Mail + 1, Shield + 1, Sword + 1 (Flame Tongue), and Dagger + 1. The magical bonuses apply only when the armor and weapons are used by Saraphs. Individuals of the Saraph race are generally larger than humans, and have quicker reflexes, coming from the Plane of Fire. As the Brothers of the Sun are chosen for maximum strength and dexterity, treat any brother as having 18/00 Strength and 18 Dexterity, with all appropriate bonuses.Saraphs may cast the following spells once per day (as a 10th level Magic-User): Fireball, Fire Shield, Fire Charm, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Invisible, Dispel Magic. They can Produce Flame or cause Pyrotechnics as often as desired. Fire-based attacks do no damage on Saraphs if the fire is non-magical; magical fire attacks are at - 1 on both “to hit” and damage dice
The Saraphs are at war with the Efreeti. The war occasionally spills over to the Prime Material Plane since Saraphs hunt Efreeti through the Physical Plane and vice versa. The Efreeti have made an alliance with Fire Giants. Saraphs have countered this alliance with one between themselves and Golden Dragons. The Brothers of the Sun are few in number, and, outside of the Plane of Fire, will always be encountered singly. Saraphs appear on the Physical Plane to track down and kill Efreeti. They also serve Gold Dragons who have aided the Saraph race in the past, often acting as treasure guards when the dragons are out feeding. Saraphs have been known to contract service with high-level characters (particularly lawful good or neutral Magic-Users) in return for that character’s aid. Contracts will specify the length and nature of service for both parties. Note that such contracts depend solely on the good will of either side; service is a matter of conscience, not coercion.

Yeah that's right these are the arch enemies of the Efreeti & everyone seems to forget just how dangerous the Efreeti really are. Everyone points to the demons & devils of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons but its actually the Efreeti who cause all kinds of havoc according the Monster Manual.

DAT Monster Manual Efreeti illustration.

The rest of the article digs into the other inhabitants of the Tom Moldvay devils & demonic horrors but its the note at the beginning I want to reprint; "
(Author’s note: Few things spice up an adventure more than having characters confronted by a monster they have never seen before. The monsters described below are based on traditional names from the ancient magical grimoires. Using a translation of the name as inspiration, four new monsters were created. Devils and Demons (Asperim and Hacamuli, respectively) follow the general guidelines for such creatures as set down in the AD&D Monster Manual. Spirits (Apollyon and Saraphs) infer a creature or category of creatures whose power base is primal, primordial, or elemental. Such beings often originate in planes other than the Prime Material Plane and would usually occur very rarely. Spirits would generally be of one of the seven alignments exclusive of Chaotic Evil and Lawful Evil.)"
What it infers here is the fact that many of the monsters & systems presented in The Dragon even at the time were always optional for the players & DM. This gets into some of the most evil & nasty vile monsters that I've seen & had the unfortunate experience to encounter "
The Possessors By A. Parker ; "Hell raged around the crag-faced mountain top, bringing down monstrous strokes of white lightning from the cloudy black sky. The air was choked and stifled with the smell of brimstone and the terrible cries of the abyss. Plutonian mists encircled the base of the great mountain, and, at the peak, there was carved a throne of bone. The throne was hellishly ornated with red rubies and blue diamonds, all set into the bleached white bone of the royal seat. Upon it sat the ruler of this domain: Satan, the Lord of Hell. Satan pondered the evils he had done and the things he had wrought. For uncounted months he had set upon the bony throne, his contemplations continually returning to his experiments in the loathsome pits of the everlasting fire. He had experimented upon many things, in many ways, using many devices, but still he had not the results he desired. His creations did not serve his complete purposes, and, realizing this, he had begun his search for a new evil. He discovered it easily, for it was fundamental to his essence. He discovered temptation! Temptation was then set to work upon the people of the world. Soon many men (and even some elves) became engrossed in this proposal of Satan, which was: Serve him and he will grant much power. So were born the undead. But this had been long ago, and Satan still was not able to accomplish all of his designs. So he sat upon his throne, thinking. He questioned himself continually, but his great intellect had failed to equal its reputation . . . until now! Suddenly all of Hell screamed, in answer to Satan’s discovery, with an unholy fury that was never again to be matched. The Lord of the Abyss no longer sat upon his throne, but instead he stood upon the precipice of the mountain, calling up the horrors of Hell. Souls were writhing in unbearable pain, for Satan was rejoicing, and celebrations in Hell, more often than not, contented only the Prince of Darkness. As the churnings of Hell subsided, Satan went to his darkest, most vile pits, and he began to call upon unholy rites. For days Hell was unruled, chaotic, and the souls trapped therein knew unprecedented relief from the tortures of Satan. Upon the sixth day, Satan completed his evil scheme, and, then torture was reborn and multiplied in the pits of the Dark Realm. The possessors had been spawned."

Posssessors are lawful evil, have been ruled by the same Arch devil since the beginning of the events of 
The Dragon #28, “The Politics of Hell” by Alexander von Thorn article. And are very nasty indeed ; "Possessors are wholly and completely incorporeal beings. They have no mass, and, thus, they cannot be attacked in any normal way. They must be summoned to and from the material plane by a powerful being because they cannot travel the planes alone. They are absolutely not affected by any weapon or any magic with the exception of certain spells (listed below). The material forms that they appear in, however, can be slain normally. "
Now if you think that the local clerics & other priestly orders ( pagan ones included here of course) are helpless in the face of such devil spirits then you are sadly mistaken! 
Exorcise, 4th level cleric spell, page 48 of the Player's Handbook! D
ispel evil, spiritwrack, exorcise, banishment, succor, holy word are perfect for making frail friar so & so a very kick ass name taker when it comes to other worldly horrors. 

If it was me I  would House-rule the 'Turn Undead' ability for Clerics to include Exorcism. But there's a whole cloth thread on this on the Dragon's foot forums.  This got me thinking about the Arduin Grimoire here. Why?! Because of the fact the planes of the early issues of The Dragon magazine were very experiemental.
Twenty Two planes of the Arduin Hells were burnt out planets, planes, etc. which to merely step on too meant death & damnation. Let's not mention the demons & devils of the twenty Hells. 

There are several optional spells in the Arduin Grimoires that allow one banish such things 'The possessors' & can bring them to their spirtual knees. The fact is that exocisisms make really boring adventures after the third time.  But I might be bringing back the third optional AD&D campaign background for my campaigns coming up.
Having a solidly strong priest class is essential in an old school or OSR game in my humble opinion. This is where Dark Albion  comes in offering a very interesting alternative to the usual options. But Dark Albion Cults of Chaos with its inquistor campaign option that might actually be the order of the day here. 

Another slightly unorthodox option might be to use the shamans, runegravers, etc from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. There are several ways of bringing over the horrors & weirdness of demonic entities while battling on the planes of Hyperborea. The work of Clark Ashton Smith was filled to the brim with dangerous devil spawned entities.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.