Monday, August 27, 2012


Imps are the quintessential shoulder-devils of cartoon fame.  In essence, they are devils-in-training—it is in imp form that newly minted devils hone their skills of deception, seduction, and recruitment—and devils of training—for imps are eager to instruct and mold the young, the impressionable, the power-hungry, and those who perceive themselves (rightly or wrongly) as being in desperate straits.  An imp offers four adventures in one: What mortal master is it serving?  What deal is it offering?  To which diabolic master does it owe allegiance?  And where is the paperwork tying all of the above together?

Imps are notorious pests at colleges of magic, seminaries, and summonaria, whether called as familiars or on their own recognizance.  At the Cerulean Circle, the blue-veined marble summoners’ college in the cloud city of Muir, consorting with an imp is automatic grounds for expulsion.  Even summoners whose eidolons merely ape fiendish aspects (particularly red skin, bat wings, or an odor of brimstone) are likely to face years of academic probation, for fear that infernal secrets are informing the eidolons’ evolutions.

Imps damn their masters in two ways: by coercing them to perform lawful evil deeds or by getting them to sign away their souls.  This latter tactic can doom even otherwise spotless mortals.  Imp consulars are typically gifted with magical scrolls that vanish off to the Hells immediately upon signing.  But ordinary imps must file their signatures the hard way, by finding a gate back to the Inferno.  When the princess of a river gypsy clan signs away her soul to find a husband, it is a barge-leaping race downriver to catch the imp before it reaches the Black Lock in the canal city of Parsi.

Having fulfilled his soul mandate without being called back to the Hells, the imp Preebus now tends bar.  His small size is no obstacle at the Half & Half (a split-level joint catering to the worst examples of hafling and half-orc society in Near Limrick); he never talks down to his patrons and he can easily flit to reach the top-shelf liquor. For those on the shady side of the law, he also gives excellent one-time legal advice pro bono when his manager isn’t looking.  The success of their first endeavors tends to bring these ne’er-do-wells back as repeat customers—often in even hotter water than before—and for these, Preebus always has a second round of advice and a blood-red quill ready for them.

Pathfinder Bestiary 78

I really need to stop plugging an RPG supplement released 25 years ago, but you have to love the imp in GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri.

Here’s the last episode of my show for the summer semester.  Everything from Mungo Jerry to MNDR, plus summer-themed songs, the 10th anniversary of Sleater Kinney’s One Beat, and a bunch of new music. Enjoy!

(Music starts 30 seconds into the file.  The feed sometimes skips, so for best results load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, savor forever in iTunes.)

Oh, and this is pretty neat: my college friend H. is on Funny or Die.  I deem this legitimately funny.

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