Thursday, August 30, 2007

No, your mom's a devil, not a demon

It was nice to start reading Rich Baker's most recent post about the story aspect of the monsters in the upcoming Monster Manual, as a nice background is useful to the DM, and relationships between monsters can help flesh out or even create an adventure.

Giving the devils some background as to their origins was nice to see, using a somewhat biblical storyline, but I raised an eyebrow when I saw "re-sorted demons and devils a bit." Merging to erinyes and succubus? Making the result, the succubus, a devil? What's going on here?

I can understand that 4th edition wants to change rules, to change the game system, all in the name of better, smoother gameplay. I can see monsters having to go through changes to adapt to the new system, whether it's to fit into the new CR/EL scheme, or to refocus their roles in combat. But to change a creature's type, especially one that some might consider iconic?

To some, the difference between a demon and a devil might not seem like much. One's chaotic, one's lawful, right? They're both from bad places, both evil, and all need to be slain for the greater good. But for those who put some thought and care into their game, like players designing characters around demonic or devilish paths or DMs using one or the other as more than a single encounter in a campaign, the difference is night and day.

The succubus has been with many 3rd edition players since Idalla appeared in the Forge of Fury. Of all of the encounters in that WotC adventure chain, that has to be in the top ten that stands out in my mind. To then decide that this creature is not what it was, to about-face with alignment, just seems anathema to me. What's next? Meepo will become more gnoll-like, and Ashardalon will start playing for the blue team?

Edit: I just noticed that Rich Baker was the author of Forge of Fury. How could you, Richard?

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