NPC examines sentient, unplayable characters that add depth, pivotal experiences or tactical challenges to games. This time, we’re considering the Fable enigmas known as Demon Doors; specifically, the one located just outside of Albion’s port city of Bloodstone. Turn on the AC; it’s getting kind of SPOILERY in here.
Game/Series: Fable II
Level/Quest: Just outside of Wraithmarsh, on the outskirts of Bloodstone.
Name: Never revealed.
Age: Potentially centuries old; exact date unknown.
Gender: Identifies male—as much as a door possibly can identify with a gender, I guess.
Race: Doorus Demonicum? Sentient Gateway? Portalis Intelligentia? Whatever. Demon Door. There.
Appearance: High-relief granite sculpture of a bearded older man’s head, about 10-15 feet in height, dominating an arched entryway.
Profession: Part-time passageway, full-time guardian. Also a musician; whether former or current is unclear.
Mechanical Intelligence: Demanding, yet encouraging. Requests a moderately challenging, time-based lute performance before granting passage.
Narrative Intelligence: Um…smart? For a door? For a human, possibly ordinary, with a higher-than-average aptitude for music, which he longs for and can’t seem to get much of, what with being trapped in a cemetery and wedged into what looks like the entrance of a crypt.
Details: Like all Demon Doors, Bloodstone’s Door will moan or yawn on approach, acknowledging that a person is nearby. This one idly sings scales until confronted, and if it sees you have a lute, begs for a song. If you have no lute, he still begs for a song.
There are a lot of unknowns about Demon Doors in general; least of which is whether the doors are demons themselves or just called that because the creatures bound to guard them are cursed. Local folklore implies they once were men; how they came to be imprisoned and turned into stone is never explained. It’s understood that they are meant to serve as the strongest sort of magical barrier to places of former power or treasure. Almost all doors, once opened, speak to memories or events in the past, or of a strange, warped representation of a former location, now destroyed. The treasures found within range from the impressive to the comical; but it’s heavily implied that most of them have been looted of their most powerful items long ago.
Bloodstone’s Door is unique, in that it possesses an additional level of warding-off or protection, (so to speak) once you make it inside, down the lane, and inside the cabin, which is charmingly known as Winter Lodge.
It was a perfectly fine snow-covered, Dickensian tableau, right?
What’s that? What treasure? Oh, right. You’d have to go inside the Lodge to get that. Here, let me help.
Yeah, I know. It became a snow-covered, Dickensian tableau from the third act of A Christmas Carol. I’m sorry.
This is one of the starkest, most jarring, bizarre encounters in the Fable universe, and that’s saying something, because the Fable universe is pretty fucking bizarre. It’s always been a mishmash of Disney-esque charm undercut with Night-on-Bald-Mountain horror. But even so, the juxtaposition of Winter Lodge’s promise vs. its reality remains one of the most troubling, probably because there’s no further information once you get your Master Longsword and the fuck out. There are no abandoned letters or journals, and the Door himself appears either to not know the depraved quality of what he’s guarding, or has deliberately chosen not to tell you.
At any rate, once opened, the Door (like all his brothers) disappears, leaving a purplish, swirling portal in his wake. Feel free to return to Winter Lodge any time you desire, should you have a sudden need to gaze upon a bunch of gibbets.
Encounter Strategy: Get a lute. Steel your heart.
Best lines: “I’ve seen hobbe flatulence contests with more melody than that!” “Ah, yes! Bravo…a virtuoso performance!” “And NOW, for the GRAND FINALE!”