Weird Books for Gamers VII: A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits

This is the seventh in my series of capsule reviews of non-fiction books from my library that would be useful or inspiring in RPGs – Weird Books for Gamers

A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits(Goodreads)

This is a 1998 book that is essentially a bestiary of fairies, demons, and other hidden creatures from various cultures across the world. It’s written in the form of guidebook, treating it as a given that all of these creatures actually exist.

It separates the list into the various habitats where these creatures might be found – Water, Mountain, Forest, Desert, Domicile, and Psyche. Each entity is described in the same format. First, a description of the creature. Then the Lore section – several short tales of humans who encountered the creature. Finally, and most useful for gaming, the Dispelling & Disarming Techniques section – how to ward off, defeat, or simply avoid the creature.

Most (if not of all) of these beings have probably already been translated into monsters for various RPGs. However, it’s nice to have all of the original lore collected in one volume.

One could imagine a campaign where the players are anthropologists of the Fae, traveling the world, getting into scrapes studying the various types of fairies and demons.

Alternately, you could run a Men In Black style game, where the players have to police all of the Tengu, Kishi, Duregar and other hidden creatures of the world, while keeping Humanity ignorant.

Here’s some of the more gameable bits:

The Norwegian Huldrefolk (hidden people) were the children of Adam and Lilith (Adam’s first wife). When God visited Adam and Eve, he asked to see the children. Eve hid Lilith’s children from God, so God proclaimed: “Let those not revealed remain concealed”. Thus, the Huldrefolk remain hidden in another dimension behind a veil.

The Eloko – a people-eating dwarf in the rain forests of Zaire. Their skin is covered in a coat of grass, and they use magical bells to bewitch their victims.

The Palis of the Arabian Desert drains the blood from its sleeping victims by licking their feet.

The Nuckelavee of Scotland is described as a “lethal amphibian centaur”. It can be repelled with spring water.

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