“. . . Today, I want to talk about a story
element that has cropped up a couple of times in our discussions. Basically, we
want to make it very clear in the story of the D&D worlds that when
demons enter the world, it's a Bad Thing—and when demon princes enter the
world, they leave a stain that will never be removed . . .” (When Demons Intrude)
really interesting to note the change in tone from the previous editions of
Dungeons and Dragons and the newest version of the game. In older editions
demons happened. They attacked your party, corrupted good non-player
characters, and plotted the downfall of your group; but there was no long term
effect to the demon’s incursion into the world – unless they never left.
of examples exist in the established game worlds where demon incursions meant
that one side had gained an incredibly powerful ally, but their presence wasn’t
a blight on the land. In Greyhawk, for example, Iuz the Old not only summoned
demons to fight for his side in the Greyhawk wars, but he is a Cambion
(half-demon) and has been a long term character in the game world without the
sort of world corrupting effect that is going to be happening in the new system.
begs the question, is Wizards going to create a mechanic to undo the corrupting
effects of a demon’s incursion into the Prime Material Plane?
. . A
variety of summoning spells throughout the game's history has allowed
spellcasters to bring creatures from the elemental and Outer Planes to the
Material Plane. That's a part of D&D history we want to keep, for
sure, and we're not particularly excited about having people summon celestial
badgers or fiendish piranhas. We think calling a creature from the Outer
Planes, particularly, should be a pretty big deal, and it should get you a
recognizable celestial or fiend—something you can find in the Monster Manual
without adding a template . . .” (When Demons Intrude)
an interesting change and it certainly seems to make the use of the Summoning
spells far more powerful than in previous versions of the game. The
implications of making the spell that much more powerful are tantalizing.
wonder if this will make using Geoffrey McKinney’s Carcosa easier? That would
definitely make the game weirder and far more dangerous . . . I’m for it.
. . But summoning a vrock or a bone devil is not easy. Well, bringing a devil
to you isn't necessarily hard, but getting it to do what you want it to do is
trickier—you need to give it something as well. And summoning a demon requires
a messy blood sacrifice, so you're not going to do it unless you're really
evil. It's easier to bring something like a modron or slaad, a yugoloth, or a
gehreleth (demodand), and there are fewer strings attached.
you know that when an evil cult is working to bring a demon prince into the
world, there's going to be a lot of slaughter even before the demon shows up.
And the results aren't going to be pleasant . . .” (When Demons Intrude)
far I’m really liking the implications that this line of thinking has for the game.
Your evil cults are going to be a lot darker and more deadly and that can only
make your players that much more heroic as they actively seek to thwart those
I’m for it.
. . Ages
ago, in some Prime Material world that is long gone and all but forgotten, a
group of mad cultists succeeded in opening a gate to the 422nd layer of the
Abyss and brought forth Yeenoghu. With a single sweep of his multiheaded flail,
the demon prince annihilated the cultists, now useless to him, and he set out
on a rampage of destruction and slaughter.
could stand against his terrible might. Packs of wild hyenas trailed in his
wake, keeping a safe distance but feasting on the carrion he left behind. The
more they ate, the stronger and bolder they grew, and Yeenoghu soon had a wild
horde of demonic hyenas hunting at his side.
last, somehow, his wild rampage was stopped. Some legends say that it was
Yondalla, of all people, who stood up to him, countering his desolation with
her abundance and his slaughter with her bounteous life. Whoever it was,
Yeenoghu was defeated and sent back to the Abyss with his tail between his
legs, and his pack of demonic hyenas went with him.
last of the hyenas, though—those that had not yet grown large and strong enough
to fight at their master's side—feasted on the gore left behind in the great
battle between Yeenoghu and his opponent. These hyenas were transformed,
gaining a shard of the demon prince's cunning and savagery and changing into
his physical image.
they were originally contained to that one Prime Material world, they spread
like a plague and infected nearly every known world of the D&D multiverse.
let that be a lesson: When a demon prince enters the world, no world is
untouched by its corruption . . .” (When Demons Intrude)
so sure that I like this narrative for the creation of Gnolls but it’s as good
as any other I suppose. I think that I would like it better if there was less ambiguity
and more certainty in the story. A deity performing such a heroic act should be
remembered and not forgotten.
ambiguity speaks too much for the limited impact of our actions and too much
for the actions of evil.
. . Long
ago, a cult of Orcus almost succeeded in bringing Orcus into the land of Vaasa,
in the Forgotten Realms setting. (This saga is told in a strange series
of adventures: H1, Bloodstone Pass; H2, Mines of Bloodstone; H3, Bloodstone
Wars; and H4, Throne of Bloodstone, all published in 1985–88.
Strange because H1 featured large-scale combat using the Battlesystem rules,
and H4 was ostensibly for characters level 18–100.) The spirit of Orcus
possessed a duergar and ravaged an entire city of svirfneblin before it was
destroyed. But Orcus remained a threat, with a gate to his home in the Abyss
remaining and his cultists working to bring him bodily into the world.
did not succeed, but Vaasa was never the same. Though its Witch-King was
defeated and the hordes of humanoids, undead, and demons that served him were
routed, the demonic influence of Orcus is still felt to this day. The ruined
Castle Perilous, once the home of the Witch-King, has recently sloughed off its
façade of ancient, crumbling stone and re-emerged as a sleek and dark edifice,
shimmering with black runes.
is even possible that the dreaded Warlock Knights of Vaasa, ostensibly powered
by a metal they call ironfell, harvested from the regenerating body of a fallen
primordial, are not entirely free from Orcus's lingering influence. Perhaps
Orcus's power drew Telos to Vaasa, or it could be his will, not that of some
inert primordial, that exerts itself through the strange ironfell. . .” (When Demons Intrude)
this is a far better narrative to use in a Dungeons and Dragons game then the
previous one suggested. All the best elements are there and it’s got me
flipping through those modules wondering if maybe I should start running them
on my birthday.
much better ending then where we started but a lot of questions are left
unanswered. I’ll have to ruminate on them over the course of the remainder of
the week to see if I fully like the implications of this article.
do you think?