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Basic Information

A dormovoi1 is a household spirit from Slavic mythology, similar to the brownie of Western mythology or the penates of Roman mythology.

Generally benevolent, the dormovoi is said to live in the family stove and emerge under cover of darkness to do odd jobs around the house in return for offerings of food and drink. He resembles a small, hairy old man, sometimes with horns and a tail, but is also capable of taking the form of a cat or dog. Dormovoie appreciate a family that is sober, well behaved and makes an effort to keep the property up - dissolute or immoral behaviour and sloppy housekeeping will upset them and lead them to engage in poltergeist like activity until placated with offerings and improved conduct. On the rare occasions where a member of the household actually encounters the dormovoi, he should be treated with respect and addressed as "master" or "grandfather" in case he becomes offended. The dormovoi of a hostile neighbour may also join in the family quarrel and slip into the house to cause trouble - in which case the householder may invoke his own resident for aid. There are also rituals to persuade a dormovoi to accompany a relocating family and to invite one into a newly built house.

Dormovoie also demonstrated some oracular powers, warning the family of forthcoming misfortune - and occasionally good fortune as well. Actually seeing him was said to imply that there would be a death in the family very soon.

In some legends, the Dormovoi is the husband of the kikimora, who is a far trickier spirit to deal with.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • In a modern Russian campaign, dormovoi trouble might be an interesting surprise for characters who grew up with a Soviet inspired contempt for their heritage.
  • As implied, similar domestic spirits exist in a large number of cultures … almost as if there was something inspiring all these myths…
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