Tag Archives: Ghoul

On the Origin of The Jinn

Lamp (Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve been doing some housekeeping and have activated the page containing the Jinn as Characters article I wrote for the first incarnation of Sub Rosa back in 2007 over here.  This article and the research I did for it not only formed the kernel for my later dedicated Jinn chapter in The Cradle and the Crescent, but was also seemingly responsible for the “tap on the shoulder” from Niall Christie that started me writing for ArM5… but that’s perhaps a story for another time.

Back in the day, I had little other than the ArM4 resources Niall had written and RoP: the Divine (the original tainted by partial ArM4 legacy plagiarization edition), RoP: the Infernal and HoH: Societates so the mechanics are somewhat off.  I was trying to extrapolate from Erik Dahl’s Holy Companion / Nephelim and Cult of Heroes Mythic Companion creation rules and twist them  towards Faerie – time has shown I was way off what Timothy and the others who worked on RoP: Faerie would deliver, but at the time it seemed as good a guess as any.

I think there’s still some good ideas in here – in particular there are some concepts on elemental nature like the Close Elemental Ties Flaw and the idea of Jinn Mysteries that for some reason I never translated into the official product. I’d like to particularly explore the latter at some stage.

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Of Wolves and Fearful Jinn…

Wolf Spirit (Deviant Art, by Tillantti linked with permission)

Despite their prevalence in European folklore, the concept of a werewolf is relatively unknown in the Mythic Middle East.

A Ghul, a member of one of the more evil jinn tribes, often assumes the shape of predators and scavengers such as jackals and hyenas in the tales, but the wolf is a form never mentioned in Arabian folklore as the shape of a shapeshifted jinn.

The Arabic equivalent of a werewolf, the qutrub, is believed to be a form of ghul that can assume the form of a “wolf-like” animal, but specifically stated as never assuming the appearance of a wolf per se. The form is therefore most likely a hyena.

Apparently this is because jinn greatly fear wolves. If I’d known, I would have made more of any potential confrontation between a Tremere with a wolf companion and a sahir with a coterie of jinn servants as a Story Seed… perhaps a lost opportunity.

I stumbled upon this fact only after I completed my final drafts for The Cradle and the Crescent in an excellent source of jinn related material and story ideas: Legends of the Fire Spirits, by Robert Lebling. I really wish I’d found this book earlier, but in my defence it was only published in early 2011. It’s a gold mine of ideas and if it had been available back when I was writing the first drafts I would have used it extensively.

There is however a ghostly spirit, the ‘udhrut, native to Yemen that takes the form of a wolf. Greatly feared by jinn, the spirit is the murdered ghost of an evildoer. In context an evil wizard such as a sahir in ArM5 terms is a potential option and makes an interesting opponent for the jinn minions of the native wizards of the Mythic Middle East…

To Wolves of the Middle East
To ‘Udhrut (the Jinni’s Bane)