Tag Archives: Vampire

Mesopotamian Monsters

I’ve just found this article by Robert Lebling (author of Legends of the Fire Spirits) over at the online magazine Saudi Aramco World, from which I’d used some of the articles on Arab falconry when writing The Cradle and the Crescent. Some of the jinn related concepts are found in the main book and I feel I’ve covered them fairly well already but there’s some additional material of interest on vampires and werewolves.

I don’t think we covered either the ekimmu or utukku – both are vampiric creatures that work well as non-Jinn Faerie creatures. The distinction of being “non-Jinn” is important as one of the main mechanical distinctions of “Jinn vs non-Jinn” in ArM5 now is that “Jinn” can be affected by Sihr (the most common Summoning Art used by sahir), whereas “non-Jinn” are unaffected by Sihr (but can be affected by different summoning magics depending on whether they are incorporeal spirits, elemental creatures or animals).

These Mesopotamian monsters might therefore make good nemeses for Middle Eastern wizards that control jinn – these vampires are unaffected by the summoning magic and bargaining mechanic of most common sahirs ie. those who use Sihr. I’ve detailed a similar “non-Jinn” creature sourced from Lebling’s work, the wolf spirit ‘udhurut, that would also be an interesting opponent for a sahir dominated Saga as many Arabian jinn fear wolves.

To me, the ekimmu sound as if they are physical humanoids, whereas the utukku are more spirit like from Lebling’s description – I suspect they could be easily modeled using the “Vampire Bestiary” rules that I’ve just read in the well-worth reading Transylvanian Tribunal sourcebook:  Against the Dark, pages 117-122.

In the final part of the vampire section Lebling also mentions a possible Turkish vampire, the izcacus :

Some vampire lore may also have entered Eastern Europe through the Turks. In Hungary, for example, the belief in vampires is said to date back to accounts from the 12th century that cite a demon called izcacus, or blood drinker. This word’s origin dates back before the Hungarians’ arrival in Europe from Central Asia in 895. Turkic culture expert Wilhelm Radloff says the word has its roots in ancient Turkish, which the Hungarians encountered during the late eighth century in regions between Asia and Europe. Migrating Turkic tribes may have acquired vampire lore from settled populations in western and Central Asia that had been influenced by the Assyrians and their successors.

I’d not come across the concept before – it would be interesting to develop the concept for the Levant or other Sagas set in the Silk Road and Beyond…

Oh, I also think the comic style art by June Brigman is interesting, but admit its not very Ars Magica in style – much more d20 Modern in feel.