Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Will the Real 'Set' stand up?! Set & His Minions in Gods, Demi Gods, & Heroes & Dieties & Demigods by Robert Kuntz & James Ward

 It's been a bit of a hectic three days or so but last night I put down the keyboard and went back to original Dungeon & Dragon's Gods, Demigods, & Heroes by Robert Kuntz and James Ward. Mostly to cleanse my own palette of the never ending 'scree' about whatever topic the hobby is upset about this time.

 And thumbing through the book I noticed something really interesting about original Dungeons & Dragons version of the Egyptian god Set. It's not the god  Set of Egyptian mythology who according to his Wiki entry; "Set (/sɛt/EgyptologicalSutekh - swtẖ ~ stẖ[a] or GreekSeth /sɛθ/) is a god of deserts, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion.[4]: 269  In Ancient Greek, the god's name is given as Sēth (Σήθ). Set had a positive role where he accompanies Ra on his barque to repel Apep, the serpent of Chaos.[4]: 269  Set had a vital role as a reconciled combatant.[4]: 269  He was lord of the Red Land (desert), where he was the balance to Horus' role as lord of the Black Land (fertile land)"
The God of Evil and the Night is straight up nasty in original Dungeons & Dragons. Check this out from original Dungeon & Dragon's Gods, Demigods, & Heroes by Robert Kuntz and James Ward;"SET GOD OF EVIL AND THE NIGHT Armor Class — 4 Magic Ability: (See Below) Move: 18" Fighter Ability: 17th Level Hit Points: 275 Psionic Ability: Class 6 Set is a scaled humanoid with the head of a fierce jackal. He is totally dedicated to the spreading of evil and has attributes to match. He can change any being's alignment from neutral and lawful to evil (saving throw applicable) these changed beings becoming Minions of Set. He can shapechange, make all light turn to darkness, and call on 2-200 Minions of Set. He enters battle with a Javelin of Darkness. This night black shaft has a plus 4 hitting ability and does 9-90 points of damage. There is a 5% chance that Set is watching when a being does a highly evil act (judge's option) and if he is he will give the being 2-20 Minions of Set with no strings attached being confident that the being will only do evil with them. MINIONS OF SET Armor Class — 2 Magic Ability: (See Below) Move: 12" Fighter Ability: 10th Level Hit Points: 25 Psionic Ability: Class 6 Minions are able to transform themselves into giant snakes. They also fight as 10th level lords. They appear in plate armor and use a broadsword. They are fully intelligent and often act as gobetween for Set and man. These beings never check morale. " 

And we get this version of Set repeated in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition Gods & Demigods ;"
SET (god of evil and the night) Greater god ARMOR CLASS: -4 MOVE: 78" HIT POINTS: 378 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 7-70 SPECIAL ATTACKS: Alignment change SPECIAL DEFENSES: Poison skin; + 3 or better weapon to hit MAGIC RESISTANCE: 59% SIZE: M (7') ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: Evil beings SYMBOL: Coiled cobra PLANE: Nine Hells CLERIC/DRUID: 75th level cleric FIGHTER: 77th level fighter MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 30th level illusionist THIEF/ASSASSIN: 75th level assassin MONK/BARD: Nil PSIONIC ABILITY: II S: 74 I: 25 W: 23 D: 20 C: 25 CH:-2"
"Set is a scaled humanoid with the head of a fierce jackal. He is totally dedicated to the spreading of evil and has attributes to match. He can change any being's alignment from neutral or good to lawful evil with a touch (saving throw applicable); these changed beings become Minions of Set (see below). He uses a Spear of Darkness that is a jet black + 4 spear that hits for 7-70 points of damage. His skin is also deadly poisonous to the touch. There is a 5% chance that Set may be watching when one of his worshipers does a highly evil act, and if so, Set will lend that being 2-20 Minions of Set for 12 weeks. Set is the implacable enemy of Osiris and Horus, ond will attempt to thwart them through others whenever possible" 
And the Minions of Set are a force to be reckoned with 
"Minions of Set FREQUENCY: Uncommon NO. APPEARING: 1-20 ARMOR CLASS: -2 MOVE: 12" HIT DICE/POINTS: 25 hp % IN LAIR: 0% TREASURE TYPE: Nil NO. OF ATTACKS: 3/2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-12 (bite), by weapon type, or by form SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below SPECIAL DEFENSES: Save as 10th level fighters MAGIC RESISTANCE: 10% INTELLIGENCE: High ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil SIZE: M (6W) PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil Attack/Defense Modes: Nil LEVEL/X.P. VALUE: V/500 Minions are able to polymorph themselves into giant snakes that bite for 1- 12 points of damage. They fight and save as 10th level fighters. They appear in black scaly plate mail and use broadswords. They are fully intelligent and act as go-betweens for Set and mankind. These beings never need to check morale. Some minions are also able to polymorph themselves into cave bears, giant crocodiles, or giant scorpions" 

This isn't just another snake cult but this is a full on Lawful Evil god with a base within the Nine Hells. And a growing cult that has minions to spare for anyone who can further his evil influence upon the planes prime. For an OSR Sword & Sorcery game 'Set's a perfectly suited antagonist ready to go. The real question is, who the Hell is 'Set' really?! My suspisions are that he's an arch devil whose been using the guise of 'Set' for eons now. 

And this makes him a perfect antagonist for a Sword & Sorcery game. He's methodical, nasty, and dangerous. And he's been around right under the noses of the rest of the Egyptian pantheon and thier followers. The cult of 'Set' might not be simply another cult of snake worshippers but instead be the growing root of methodical evil within a campaign. 

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