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When the Canon goes off…
Posted By Matthew J. Neagley On September 16, 2008 @ 5:14 am In Specific RPGs | 10 Comments
I love to give my DM a hard time. It’s just playful teasing and part of how i have fun in the game. For example, my DM uses large monsters a lot but uses 1″x2″ bases to represent them and I’m fond of teasing her how her current tactical setup would be impossible were she using the “correct” basing.
Yesterday, after game, she told me “I was so worried you were going to call me on the fact that I put those gnolls in an encounter with a succubus and some imps.” I was completely puzzled. What was wrong with gnolls, a succubus and some imps? She further explained that the Monster Manual states that gnolls often work with demons. That made sense to me. After all, gnolls worship Yeenoghu, Demon Lord of Gnolls. Then she followed up with “and Succubi and imps are devils.” That’s when it dawned on me. Of course! Imps were devils, not demons. I should have totally spotted that. However, she was wrong about succubi. Succubi are demons that seduce more with/inspiring animal lust, whereas the devil equivalent is the Erinyes, a female devil with feathered wings that uses carefully crafted seduction. My DM was puzzled that I was so sure of this, so we looked it up. Oops! Succubi are devils! Serves me right for not reading all the new core rulebooks from front to back.
It seems that with the changes to the alignment system in 4e, demons and devils had to be classified differently than “Lawful Evil” and “Chaotic Evil” so now all demons are horrible engines of violence, moving some of the more subtle demons square into devil territory. They also created new canon around the creation of demons and the abyss, since demons and devils can no longer be corrupted versions of the “Lawful Good” and “Chaotic Good” outsiders. Frankly, the new cannon for demons bothers me. I don’t like the new direction it takes demons and I think it’s pretty hokey sounding (although I dohave to give props where props are due. An epic campaign to travel to the heart of the Abyss and shatter the seed of ultimate evil that created it, destroying the Abyss and all of demon kind in one fell swoop does sound all kinds of awesome).
Still, it’s not as though this is the first canon change DnD has ever seen. Every eddition, there are a few changes in stats, new fluff is added and old fluff is dropped, which can make being a 1e trivia buff kind of fun. For example, only in 1e do they go into detail on how devils (and demons, until 4e) are created and promoted and why, because of this, it’s exceedingly unlikely they can “fall to goodness”.
What canon changes have called out to you in your favorite games over the years, fellow gnomes? Which ones have left you annoyed and indignant? Which have inspired and excited you?
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