Real Name: Baron (Robert) von Staler

Identity/Class: Human (magic user); 16th Century

Occupation: Baron

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Servant of the Devil

Enemies: Solomon Kane, John Silent; unnamed female victims

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Devil

Base of Operations: The Castle of the Devil, The Black Forest, Germany; 16th Century

First Appearance: Castle of the Devil in Red Shadows (1968);
(MU) Savage Sword of Conan#19/4 (June, 1977)


Powers/Abilities: Von Staler had no direct superhuman powers, although a kick from his hooves probably wouldn't feel too good. He was reasonably experienced with a sword (although not a master), and had some knowledge of the occult.
He was served by a small army of soldiers, armed with sword and shield.

History: Baron von Staler was born with hooves. He lived as a powerful Lord in the Black Forest in Germany.

(Savage Sword of Conan#19/4 (fb)-BTS) <1570>- Von Staler made a deal with the Devil: Every year upon the date of his birth, von Staler would sacrifice a female virgin--dipping his hooves into a basin of her freshly-drained blood. After five years, five virgin sacrifices, and five hoove dippings, von Staler would walk like other men.


<1575> - Von Staler prepared for his fifth and final sacrifice. He abducted a woman from a nearby village and brought her to his castle. However, after learning she was not a virgin, he stripped her naked and had her hanged.
Von Staler had another girl taken captive--this time a true virgin, but his first would-be victim was found and rescued in time by the Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane.
After learning her fate, Kane encountered fellow Englishman John Silent, whom he convinced to join him in taking vengeance on von Staler. The two posed as mercenaries seeking to join his army to gain entrance to his castle. That night, they secretly followed the guards taking von Staler's new victim to the sacrificial chamber. The two men stopped the sacrifice, but von Staler's army began to approach almost instantly. Kane abruptly stopped fighting the Baron and used his brazier to set fire to his idol of the Devil--carved from the wood of the Black Forest. Kane had correctly figured that since a pact existed between von Staler and the Devil, that the destruction of one might indeed result in some similar change in the other. Von Staler was transformed into a form identical to the Devil, just as his own army burst in. Kane and Silent fled with the maiden, as the soldiers attacked and slew von Staler, whom they believed to be a demon that had slain their master.


Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard. Adapted by Don Glut and Alan Kupperberg.

Which devil did von Staler serve? Take your pick: DEMONS

I'm sure our Howardian expert Greg O will be able to elaborate, but I believe this story, The Castle of the Devil, was first published in the book Red Shadows, in 1968. It must have been an unfinished publication that someone else rounded out, as REH died back in the 1930s.

To the best of my don't-live-in-no-monarchy understanding, a Baron is the lowest title that is still considered royalty. It is one notch below the Viscount.

It just goes to prove the old adage: Never trust a man with hooves.

Kane's quote: Whether he be man or devil, I shall ease the godless fiend of his life!

Baron von Staler's first name was revealed in Marvel Atlas#1.

No known connections to:

Savage Sword of Conan#19/4 (June, 1977) - Don Glut (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Sonny Trinidad (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)

First Posted: 11/07/2002
Last updated: 11/07/2002

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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