June 22, 2011

Hari Ragat: an Aversion to Aswang

I have a confession to make.  For all that Hari Ragat is a Philippine-inspired setting, I’m a bit leery of including that iconic Philippine baddie, the aswang.

My concern is a matter of desired game tone.  I’m trying to design Hari Ragat as a game of epic heroism, a game that’s much closer to The Iliad and Pendragon than to a Dragonlance novel and D&D dungeon crawling.  What I fear is that the addition of aswang to this game setting will orient players and GMs toward a ‘hunt the monsters’ style of play.

But don’t heroes in Hari Ragat hunt monsters? Yes.  But in my way of thinking, hunting down a giant or a dragon is epic; hunting down the neighborhood witch/vampire isn’t quite there.

What to do?  If I’m to remain true to my inspiration I should keep the aswang in there.  The material I’ve come up with so far for aswang-type monsters can give creative GMs quite a bit of material for doing a supernatural tragedy. 

Hm.  Two solutions come to mind.  First, make the aswang more epic in feel.  Build on the back story.  Make the aswang harder to kill, unless the heroes can find her secret weaknesses, which in turn involves investigating her back story.  Second, hold off on the aswang – and release it with a supplement.


  1. I'm all for including it. If Pendragon is the model then yeah, make it more epic and singular (or at least very rare). More like a Grendel or the Gorgons. Maybe the names of all of the aswangs are known and whispered in tales to frighten children?

    As someone who has zero (mostly) familiarity with Philippine myths and legends, I find this setting unbelievably cool and exotic. Great stuff!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look for ways to make this creature more unique and demonic. I like the idea that the aswangs are named and known.

    Glad you like the setting! I plan to release a book (PDF most likely) sometime next year.


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