Pressure Spirit
rating: 0+x

On a night like this there came,
A stranger on the road,
I saw him stumble, heard him fall,
I helped him with his load,
The further that we walked,
Well the heavier it became,
And I believe I've felt the weight,
From another world…

(from) The Risen Lord Chris De Burgh

Basic Information

Pressure spirits (German: "Druckgeist") are a category of supernatural beings from German folklore whose main mode of attack is sitting on their victims (or alternatively equipment they are carrying) and becoming really heavy - driving their victims to exhaustion. It is possible that this represents some form of vampiric feeding. Pressure spirits include:


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • If you want to come up with a custom creature that nevertheless feels authentic to German folklore, merely give it pressure spirit powers.
  • While pressure spirits are ordinarily solitary attackers, they might team up with faeries, demons, or undead in RPG encounters - going after the physically weakest characters and distracting them while their allies go after the stronger player characters.
  • Possibly the spirits in question are largely or completely immobile - or at least confined to a given area - and need a great deal of power to move. Their "attack" consists of latching onto a mortal and forcing them to provide that energy, with the act of carrying their weight being a symbolic act aspecting the energy towards movement.
  • The idea of a burden that becomes progressively heavier features in a lot of tales, whether it be a child or old lady that the protagonist has volunteered to carry, or a burden of luggage they have offered to help with. Such burdens may be malevolent in character - as might be expected from a pressure spirit - but may also be a test of charity, either on the part of one of the fae or some other power - in extreme cases up to and including the revelation that the person in question has been carrying Christ (typically in the guise of a child) and/or the weight of the world's sins. Where the bestower of the burden is not malevolent some form or reward or blessing is to be expected, and even if the bestower turns out to be less that saintly (typically in the case of mischievous fae) some other power may intervene to provide compensation.
    • The entity may also be a trickster come to humble an overly proud hero in the same manner as the humiliations of Thor1 - only when he finally admits that he isn't strong enough to carry a little old lady a few miles and that he isn't quite as mighty as he's been claiming will the trickster come clean and admit to the exhausted hero who they really are.
    • In other cases an unbearable passenger has been disposed of by a last ditch rally, where the carrier announces that he "can't rest here all night, he has to get (passenger) back to the cook-pot or his family will all go hungry" - or an equivalent declaration that he intends to steal the luggage - provoking the troublemaker to flee - or even to ransom themselves. Probably best not to try this on the previous sort of passenger…
  • Pressure spirit powers may also be useful to prevent characters from fleeing an encounter - as the try to leave, they become so crushed under a supernatural weight that they can barely crawl back the way they came … for good or ill, they must stay and face the ghost/whatever…
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License