Monday, February 6, 2012

Has the Hobby Completed a 360 (Devils & Demons in D&D)

I had this thought while lying in bed last night after my Super Bowl viewing / eating / drinking. Are we returning to the early days of the hobby? Are be going to be re-experiencing the Jack Chick tracks?

AD&D had a demon on the cover of the DMG (I KNOW it was an Efrietee (sp), but the common man saw it as a demon). But even before that, the MM had whole sections devoted to Devils and Demons. Heck, I remember putting Asmoudeous (damn spelling) in a 20x30 room for my Monte Haul Campaign back in my High School years. Yes, the players killed his mortal form.

AD&D 2e exorcised Demons and Devils from Dungeons & Dragons and turn them in some jumble of nearly random letters. Solve the PR problem by filing off the serial numbers.

Since then they've been making a resurgence, especially with the OSR inspired games of late. We all remember LotFP Weird Fantasy is Porn, but it was also bringing back so
some fairly demonic images with it's art. Not saying it is bad or wrong, but I still feel it was done more for shock and notoriety then game purpose, especially in a system that intentionally has no monster section.

The Secret Fire was heavy on the demonic feel, almost as if the only way to harken back to Old School gaming is pentagrams and demonic art on every page. Which is a shame, as it obscures a nice game system.

Carcosa goes heavy (as in a ton of bricks heavy) on the evil rituals, sacrifices, raping and killing the kittens, but it almost treats such in a text book manner. If it was going for shock value, it was less effective then the art in the other books I mentioned. It's dark in the manner of making one think, not just going for the raw emotion of reaction.

It's almost like a 40 year old heavy metal fan putting up his poster of Iron Maiden's Eddie from the Piece of Mind Tour to prove he still knows his metal and it's still relevant.

I can still sing along with nearly every Iron Maiden song, but Eddie is no long relevant in my eyes.

In a few months we will have reprints of the 3 core AD&D 1e books, complete with the demons and devils, and the succubus with the really nice breasts. We actually find ourselves back at the beginning. I really need to find the Chick comic for D&D. Like so much else, its packed away somewhere.

BTW, not judging, just observing. I find it interesting that the hobby has moved in a circle in some ways.


  1. It's almost like a 40 year old heavy metal fan putting up his poster of Iron Maiden's Eddie from the Piece of Mind Tour.

    Hey... You peeping in my bedroom or something??

  2. Hey! Don't you be dissin' my lovely Somewhere in Time tour t-shirt throw pillows!

  3. D&D was selling like crazy back in the witch hunt days. Maybe Wizbro wants to bring back a little of that the old satanism vibe as a way to get attention and make a few extra bucks.

  4. I think WotC did a good thing by getting back their spine regarding fear of association with demons and devils. Third Edition ended all the euphemisms.



    They even published the Book of Vile Darkness.

    And WotC continued that tradition with 4E.

    Hell, Orcus is on the cover of the 4E Monster Manual!


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