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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Origin of the Huecuva

Most of us know the huecuva as a fairly low-level undead priest or monk, cursed by the gods which they presumably betrayed and with some sort of disease or another of the four-horseman-styled special attack. I believe they first appeared in the Fiend Folio but I might have missed them in an earlier place.

photo credit: smileham via photopin cc

I recall there being a Dungeon magazine issues with these guys in it that was somewhat amusing, but otherwise they are usually overlooked.

Where did this odd name come from?

Turns out, it comes from native american mythology, like many legends mined for bad guys in the early heydays of D&D. Remember the Wemicus, anyone?

The Mapuche tribe inhabited parts of Argentina and Chile, and they had a word for liars: Wekufe. The pronunciation is pretty much... you guessed it... hue-cu-va (with a soft 'v').

Once the Catholics arrived, and taught the natives about how liars were demons, the word evolved linguistically and basically came to mean a demon that lies. Aren't missionaries sweet?

These creatures are sometimes described as spirit-entities that oppose the natural world and seek to destroy humans. Sounds a lot like undead, right?

The similarity is clear, especially in the priest-betrayal explanations behind huecuva. But something about the actual myths surrounding these guys seems way more fascinating than a somewhat generic low-level undead dude with yet another yawn-worthy disease attack.

I'm working on a Wekufe creature for Monstrarium, that I hope ends up more distinct and memorable than the poor, mostly-forgotten Huecuva. As usual, tracking down the mythological origin creates a lot of brainstorming space!


  1. Good work on the monster origin! You're one huecuva scholar.

    1. No one appreciates good puns these days.

      That was awesome.

    2. I thought it was rather punny.

  2. Great info! Thank you. I wonder if those ancient native Americans ever imagined they would be immortalized in the canon of D&D and Fiend Folio! Now THATS Advanced. Heucuva is thus an excellent name for the sub-lich/demon-possed fallen shamen of the previous era in my total homebrew RPG/wargame 😻 Joy! Anything that earned its way into old dnd and warhammer is in play, but no orcs, gnolls vs beastmen!


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