Sunday, April 27, 2014

Games From the Basement - Demons (Mayfair Games)

Remember one of the biggest changes to AD&D 2e? No, I'm not talking about the removal of assassins or half-orcs from the roles of PCs. No, it was something that got my gaming group riled back in the day - the removal and Demons and Devils from the monster manuals and renaming them Fred and Ethel (or Tanar'ri and Baatezu - I forget which). It was, for lack of a better word, sacrilege.

So, up stepped Mayfair with it's Demons line of supplements. Made for AD&D 2e, they included new demons, new spells, a players book to get them in the mood, poster maps and other goodies. I have 2 boxed sets and 4 folios from the line. The demons come on their own hole punched pages, made to be inserted in the horrible AD&D 2e Monster binder.

Did I ever use it? No - I've never have included named demons or devils in any of my campaigns (although Azmodious did appear in a random dungeon room of a dungeon I rolled up back in High School). We did include the basic unnamed ones as "just another monster". It was just the idea that TSR was "dumbing down" or making D&D "politically correct" back in the day that annoyed us.

I don't recall if there is a matching "Devils" line of boxes and books.


  1. Never had these, any good? I use named demons only in my campaign. I never got into the habit of calling them Type II or Type IV, I always made them a significant baddie that deserved a name.

    "What's my name? What's my name?"

  2. Satan-worshippers unite! The lost tomes of EEEVVVIIILLL have been found. Bow before us for we shall rule the WORLD!

    Wasn't that the expectation of naive parents and other guardians of children's moral indoctrination?

  3. Mayfair's Role Aids line was one of the factors behind old TSR's collapse as a company. The others being: A lack of focus, ignoring the customer base, competing products, and too many lawsuits against others.

    It also killed Mayfair, Omega Helios, and GDW. Lorraine Williams, the August Derleth of RPGs.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I've heard LW disappeared after it, too.
      Really, though, I think it goes back to Gygax being a poor businessman, which is the reason he was able to be outmaneuvered to begin with. TSR died in the mid 80s, what persisted - and not to say it was all terrible - was just someone using a trademark to give them a legal hammer against competitors.

    3. Mayfair is still around. They are always at Gen Con.

  4. One of the better products I have, I thought that the players handouts where pretty neat but the concepts of saving vs sins was a bit off the wall.


  5. Interestingly, many of the Mayfair Demons supplements were written by (or with contributions from) Mike Nystul.

  6. They were fun. I have them all and they are not great, but they are fun.

    There wasn't a "Devils" book but there was a "Sentinels" book.

  7. The best part about these supplements was the gruesome artwork. You didn't really need to use the information, just flash the pictures at your players and watch the tears flow.

  8. Just picked up the Demons pages for the binder though I can't tell if it's complete (why multi-page works aren't page numbered in lots of gaming accessories and modules is beyond me.) I have, excluding the Annuals and original volumes because I have the 2e MM, the entire MC appendices and got the Mayfair Demon one with MC9 just because the dealer wants to get rid of the MC binder stuff. What is the first page of the Demons appendix from Mayfair and how many pages should it have?

  9. Have them all and built an entire Apocalyptic campaign around them. Now I'm doing a sort of prequel to that campaign for our current Labyrinth Lord group so I'm revisiting these. In addition to hundreds of named demons and other monsters, they include new spells, magic items, and classes like thaumaturgists (demonic themed wizards), slayers, and inquisitors. Still use versions of all these.


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