Men & Monsters of Ethiopia

Michael O. Varhola

Ethiopia is one of the oldest, strangest, and most fascinating places in the world and its history, peoples, legends, and folklore can serve as rich sources of inspiration for encounters, whole adventures, or even entire campaigns.

I recently traveled to Ethiopia and, during the two weeks I was there, spent as much time as possible exploring the afore-mentioned topics through site visits, firsthand interviews, and research at academic institutions like museums and universities (see Into Africa: 15 Days in Ethiopia and my TravelBlogue). Part of my motivation for this was to enable me to develop a number roleplaying gaming products, initially an article on the "Men & Monsters of Ethiopia" for Gygax magazine and eventually a number of sourcebooks, stat'ed for multiple game systems, for my Skirmisher Publishing LLC

My Gygax article follows the format I adopted when writing my article on "Men & Monsters of Polynesia" for its issue #3 and is extrapolated from such sources; references in classical mythology and other external sources to events in Ethiopia; and firsthand research that included visits to sites around the country, from the ancient cities of Axum and Lalibela to numerous museums and the Institute for Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University. 

Many creatures that can be found in Ethiopia conform to the characteristics of existing monsters, and where this is the case DMs should refer to the statistics provided in the AD&D Monster Manual (or appropriate reference for whatever other system they are using). 

Following are the creatures that I am currently writing and stat'ing up for the article I am working on for Gygax magazine. Many of these creatures or their equivalents appear in the AD&D Monster Manual and all I do is discuss their specific role in an Ethiopian campaign setting. Ones that are wholly new, however, I have italicized for ease of reference. 

RELIGION

MEN
Bandits
Dervishes
Magi
Merchants
Nobles
Nomads
Pilgrims
Pirates
Priests
Tribesmen
Villagers
 
MONSTERS
Animal
Baboon
Baboon, Monstrous
Chimera
Crocodile
Crocodile, Giant
Debbi
Demon
Devil
Dragon, Arwean
Elemental
Elephant
Gibeta
Giant, et al
Halfling, Cave
Hyena
Hyena, Giant
Leucrotta
Lion
Lion, Monstrous
Lycanthrope
Monopod
            Humanoid
            Leonine
Ostrich
Rom
Snake, Giant
Sphinx
Undead
Waga
Walia, Giant
 
Ethiopian Monsters Encounter Table