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About 120 years before H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard collaboratively created what has become known as the “Cthulhu Mythos”, Matthew Lewis (author of “The Monk”) and Walter Scott (who went on to write such books as “Ivanhoe” and “Rob Roy”) made an abortive attempt at a shared mythology based off Germanic stories of the elemental Fairy Kings. Snobbish critics have historically tended to downplay, or even completely ignore, Scott’s involvement with Gothic literature, but he contributed poems to Lewis’ popular anthology “Tales of Wonder”. Scott’s “The Fire-King” (which also appears in his collection “Translations and Imitations from German Ballads”) stands as a great and influential contribution to the literature of the weird. Those familiar with 20th century fantasy may no doubt recognize a precursor of Tolkien’s “Balrog” here.

The following depiction of the Fire King combines both Scott’s and Lewis’s ideas.

Fire King

A powerful ruler among the Fire Demons, sought out by the bloodthirsty.

Creature Class: Spirit (Demon)
Number Appearing: 1
Initial Impression: An enormous naked man wreathed in flames, exhaling smoke from his mouth and nostrils, and wielding a bloody falcion of blue steel.
Size: Large (12’ high)

Perversity: 30
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 18 Intelligence: 15 Wisdom: 15
Strength: 50 Dexterity: 18 Constitution: 22
Speed: 13 walking, 20 Flying

Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 1 (Demoniac Falcion, or punch)
Special Abilities: Demonic Characteristics, Burning Hot to the Touch, Sage of Fire, Summon Fire Demon
Weaknesses: Demonic Weaknesses, Vulnerable to Water
Assets: Intimidating
Afflictions: Easily Angered
Preternatural Powers: Ball Lightning; Combust; Darkness; Detect Evil; Fireball; Flame Strike (1 time a day); Fog (Smoke) Cloud; Ghost Lights; Invisibility; Light; Lightning Bolt; Transform Self into Snake, Scorpion, Lion, Lizard, Salamander, or Jackal; Pyrotechnics; Stinking Cloud; Wall of Fire

Natural Habitat: The Outer Darkness, the court of the Elemental Fairy Kings, the upper atmosphere of Earth, volcanoes and lava fields
Level: 10

Fire Kings are the nominal rulers of the Fire Demons that inhabit the upper atmosphere of the Earth. Thankfully for the human race, even the powerful Fire Kings cannot keep the rebellious demons focused on their goals. Otherwise, all life on Earth might have been incinerated long ago.

The Fire King’s muscled body is always wreathed in flame, yet (like all Demons) they actually cause the environment around themselves to become colder, rather than warmer. Anyone who actually touches a Fire King, however, will be horrifically burned. A Fire King’s voice roars like an out of control conflagrations, and lightning will flash from his mouth. His eyes glow like white-hot metal, and despite the fire around him, the blade he carries is always covered in liquid blood. Although he lacks apparent wings, he can fly through the air at great speed. A Fire King is also 50% likely to be riding a Dragon when he appears.

A Fire King’s Falcion is actually a Demoniac Object inhabited by a Possessor Demon (with 3 Hit Die). Consequentially, the weapon does an addition 3 points of damage whenever it strikes, and can harm any supernatural creature. As is the case with any Demoniac Object, however, the Demon within the blade can be exorcised, or forced to flee with a successful show of Faith. If that happens, the blade will become an ordinary (if oversized) weapon. If the Fire King is destroyed, the Demon within the blade may agree to stay within the weapon and serve a new owner, if the weapon will be often bathed in gore.

Although they are Demons, each Fire King is also part of a regional Fairy court consisting of itself, an Earlking, a Cloud King, and a Water King. Together they conspire to inflict pain, suffering, and death upon humanity. The Fire King’s role is to rain burning meteors on the ground, cause the eruptions of volcanoes, and ensure that travelers are misdirected by roving lights. They are opposed in this work of malevolence, however, by the Good Fairies and Angels who watch over the world.

Only the most foolish or powerful Magician would dare try to Summon a Fire King. Nonetheless, their total knowledge of all subjects relating to fire, and ability to wreak destruction, can cause the unwise (or daring) to attempt their command. Likewise, Fire Kings have been sought out by desperate warriors, for the Demons are known to lend their Demoniac Falcions to those who wish to commit acts of slaughter.

Fire King Special Abilities

Demonic Characteristics: Fire Kings are immune to all weapons, except those which are made of iron, blessed, or otherwise enchanted. They cannot be harmed by cold, fire, acid, disease, or any Special Ability or Preternatural Effect which targets minds or emotions (except those that specifically target Spirits, of course). They can see perfectly regardless of illumination, are immune to blindness or any other debility caused by extremely bright light, retain the ability to distinguish colors in conditions of total darkness, and do not need time to adjust their eyes to changing light. Fire Kings can speak, write, and understand all languages and forms of communication.

Burning Hot to the Touch: A character that deliberately touches a Fire King with their hand (or other body part) will be burned for 1d6 points of Lethal Damage.

Sage of Fire: Fire Kings have perfect knowledge of all arts, sciences, and crafts involving fire – metallurgy, glassblowing, blacksmithing, artillery use, etc. They are sometimes Summoned expressly for their knowledge, but preternatural means such as Bind Spirit are usually required to force the Demons to answer truthfully.

Summon Fire Demon: Once during any fight a Fire King may Summon a Fire Demon to his aid. The Demon that responds to the Summon will appear the next Round, and can be anywhere from 1 – 8 HD in strength.

Fire King Weaknesses

Vulnerable to Water: Water-based attacks against a Fire King grant the aggressor a +2 Bonus on the Attack Check, and inflict an additional 2 point of Lethal Damage. Holy Water does double normal damage to Fire Kings. Fire Kings must Check Morale whenever they are damaged by water-based attacks.

Demonic Weaknesses: Fire Kings are burned by holy water as if it was acid, cannot enter holy ground or touch blessed objects, and are subject to the power of Faith. Like all Demons, they are Vulnerable to Iron, will not voluntarily touch it, and must Check Morale if damaged by it. Additionally, they are repelled by pure crystalline salt. As Spirits, they are susceptible to all Preternatural Effects that target spiritual entities. Strangely, they cause the entire Nearby Area to become discernibly cold rather than hot.

The Fire King’s Falcion

A Fire King is willing to give his Falcion to anyone who has murder in their heart, and who will use the weapon to cause suffering and bloodshed. Naturally, the Possessor Demon inhabiting the weapon will will not tolerate any expressions of piety or tenderness on the part of its owner. If the blade’s wielder shows any evidence of deviating from the path of destruction, it will fly from his hands and return to the Fire King (no matter where the demon currently is in the Universe). The Falcion is over five feet long, and requires a normal-sized person to use both hands when using it. Despite its size, the Demon within it causes the weapon to be as light as a feather.

Fire King (for OSR games)

Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Morale: 11 (or 17)
Intelligence: 10
Move: 240′ (or 24”, or 50 ft), Flying: 450′ (or 45”, or 85 ft.)
Armor Class: 1 (or 19)
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks & Damage: Falcion+3 (1d8 +10 total)
* Magic Resistance: 75%, or +7 on Saves vs. Magic.
* Immune to all weapons not Magical, Blessed, or Iron.
* Immune to Cold.
* Immune to Fire.
* Immune to Acid.
* Immune to Disease.
* Immune to mind-affecting magic (except that which targets Spirits)
* Perfect vision under all conditions.
* Can speak, write, and understand all languages.
* Strong as a Hill Giant
* Burning Hot: Take 1d6 Damage if deliberately contacted.
* Perfect knowledge of all arts and sciences relating to fire.
* Summon a Fire Demon of d8 Hit Dice (once per day).
* Cannot enter holy ground.
* +2 Damage from Iron
* +2 Damage from Holy Water (1d8+2)
* 50% likely to ride a small Red Dragon.
* Spell Like Abilities: Dancing Lights; Darkness; Detect Evil; Fireball (three times a day), Fog Cloud; Flame Strike (once a day), Lightning Bolt (three times a day); Invisibility; Polymorph Self {Snake, Scorpion, Lion, Lizard, Salamander, or Jackal}; Pyrotechnics; Stinking Cloud; Wall of Fire (three times a day)
Saves: As Magic User 10
Treasure: 50,000 gp value of coins, gems, and magic items, plus its magical Falcion.
Challenge: Four characters of at least 10th Level.