|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!