Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fallen Angels: Ecology of the Succubus

Wow, it was a whole year ago that I wrote the article that appears in this month's Dragon Magazine (#417).

I picked Ecology of the Succubus from a list of topics that D&D was looking to have freelancers write. I like writing ecologies and this would be my third, following the Ecology of the Scarecrow and the Ecology of the Banderhobb. I think I'm averaging about one a year. I feel as though I've been one of the go-to authors for fey in D&D over the past few years, but the ecologies have given me a chance to do horror (scarecrow, banderhobb), and the Ecology of the Succubus and Demonomicon have provided an opportunity to explore wickedness and deviltry. I've enjoyed the variety.

As soon as I accepted the article, I began to regret it. How was I going to write about sex demons in a D&D-friendly manner? Why would I want to skirt the topic of what these creatures are about, diluting them to a clean, inoffensive, PG-13 article?

Furthermore, I soon realized that I'd taken on an even larger burden. Succubi come with edition baggage. They had been classified as demons up until the 4th Edition of D&D, when demons and devils were slightly recategorized. Some traditionalists have cried foul over the change. Did I want to involve myself in that debacle? Not a jot.

In the end, I decided to rise to the challenge as best I could. I wasn't going to shy away from the true version of the succubus--in fact I was going to embrace it. And I wasn't going to deny the previous editions either--I was going to embrace them. This made for a tall order, a big challenge.

In the end, I was pretty happy with it. Much of the article concentrated on bringing out the original mythological elements and justifying all the previous lore of the succubi and incubi across all the editions of D&D. It was a hard task, but one I'm glad to have done. You can check out the article here, if you like.

The illustration above was used for the article and is the handiwork of Mark Winters.


Timothy Brannan said...

Awesome. I am a rather huge fan of the Succubus and I loved this article. I think you did a good balancing act here.

Loved in the inclusion of Lilith back into the mythos.

Steve said...

Thanks, Tim!

And thanks especially for having so many pictures of witches and succubi on your own blog (http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/) to inspire me!