A Red Cap or Redcap, also known as a powrie, is a type of malevolent murderous goblin found in Irish and Scottish folklore.
Aka : Fir Larrig, Dunter, Red-comb, Bloodycap
He usually takes the form of an short old man with a large mouth full of sharp teeth. His eyes are fiery red and his arms end in talons sharper than those of eagles. He wears iron boots, carries a pikestaff, and wears a red cap upon his head. The latter is the source of his name, and Redcap periodically redyes his cap by drenching it in human blood.
Redcaps are said to murder travelers who stray into their homes, sometimes by pushing boulders off cliffs on to them, or pushing them from the ramparts of their castles.
It is impossible to escape a Red Cap despite the iron-shod boots he wears. They constantly made strange sounds which resembled the sound of beating flax. When this sound grew especially loud, it was a portant of death or misfortune. The only way to escape one is to quote a passage from the Bible. Quotations from the Bible cause this faery intense pain making it flee.
The Red Cap moves from place to place on a whim throughout the extreme lowlands of Scotland along the English border. He haunts the ruins of old castles and cairns which he guards with his life.
The most infamous redcap of all was Robin Redcap. As the familiar of Lord William de Soulis, Robin wreaked much harm and ruin in the lands of his master's dwelling, Hermitage Castle. Men were murdered, women cruelly abused, and dark arts were practiced. So much infamy and blasphemy was said to have been committed at Hermitage Castle that the great stone keep was thought to be sinking under a great weight of sin, as though the very ground wanted to hide it from the sight of God.
Yet Soulis, for all the evil he wrought, met a very horrible end: he was taken to the Nine Stane Rigg, a circle of stones hard by the castle, and there he was wrapped in lead and boiled to death in a great cauldron.
William Henderson found the following song about Redcap:
- Now Redcap he was there,
- And he was there indeed;
- And grimly he girned and glowed,
- Wi' his red cowl on his head.
- Then Redcap gave a yell,
- It was a yell indeed;
- That the flesh neath my oxter grew cauld,
- It grew as cauld as lead.
- Auld Bluidie cowl ga'ed a girn
- It was a girn indeed;
- Syne my flesh it grew mizzled for fear,
- And I stood like a thing that is dead.
- Last Redcowl gave a laugh,
- It was a laugh indeed;
- 'Twas mair like a hoarse, hoarse scrough,
- Syne a tooth fell out o' his head.
Another Redcap in Perthshire was a little man who lived in Grantully Castle.
- Red Caps are featured in the game Lost Magic as a common enemy along with Purple Caps.
- Red Cap is Monster in My Pocket #25. They appear in the video game, sliding down diagonal girders in the stage 4.
- Mike Mignola, the author of the Hellboy comic book series, includes a short story entitled Iron Shoes which depicts Hellboy investigating an old abandoned castle in Scotland inhabited by a canabilistic goblin who wears iron shoes and hurls iron spears at Hellboy. This story can be found in Mignola's third hellboy trade paperback volume The Chained Coffin and Other Tales following the story The Corpse.
- Redcaps are mentioned in the Harry Potter series by British author Joanne Rowling.
- Redcaps (properly called Powries) are one of the nine types of Shadow Fey or Arak in Ravenloft. They are always of Chaotic Evil alignment.
- Redcaps are enemies which match their original description of goblins in the MMORPG City of Heroes.
- Redcaps are one of the basic Kiths of Kithain in Changeling The Dreaming, the RPG by White Wolf. They are strong supporters of the Unseelie court, often to the point of torturing their Seelie members. The redcaps' incredible appetite also figures strongly in the game.
- Red caps (aka powries) are also some of the monsters in R.A. Salvatore's DemonWars series.
- The Final Fantasy series, most notably in Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Redcaps appear and they are considered members of the goblin family, often being the weakest members of this family.
- In the first Mage graphic novel: The Hero Discovered by Matt Wagner, redcaps serve as all-purpose henchmen to the Umbra Sprite, a powerful spirit of darkeness. Though not armed with pikes, they use Elf-Bolts fired from a sling and wear iron shod boots.
- Redcaps also appear in the game Dark Cloud 2 or Dark Chronical as it is known in Britain. Here the creatures are dwarfed no higher than the main character's knee and wear a red cap which falls over the top of their eyes. Although far cuter than the original folklore, the redcaps are still as vicious, maintaining an annoyance unparalleled by other enemies. Some have names and as you continue through the Forest Dungeon a change occurs and some can have different colours of caps.
- A Card named Murderous Redcap appears in the collectable card game, Magic the Gathering. It is classified as a Goblin Assassin type creature. It is aligned with the colors Black and Red.
- Red caps are used as the front army with goblins in The Merideth Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
- The popular trading card game Magic: the Gathering features a card by the name of Murderous Redcap, in which a goblin like creature is depicted complete with a blood-covered dagger and blood-soaked hat.
- A Redcap also appears in the vertigo comic Fables#2 carrying an uzi with boo bear.
- The Spiderwick Chronicles featured a goblin properly named Red Cap who wore iron boots and had a red cap.
- Redcaps have appeared on a number of occasions in author Mark Chadbourn's fantasy trilogies The Dark Age and Kingdom of the Serpent.
- Redcaps also appear in a 1999 PC game published by Bethseda Softworks, Magic & Mayhem. They are one of several summonable creatures that fight alongside the main character.
- Redcaps make several appearances in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series.
- Sawney Beane, the main villain in Rob Thurman's novel Madhouse, is identified as a redcap, although the traditional accounts of Sawney Beane describe him as human.
- The film Max Magician and the Legend of the Rings features a "troll assassin" named the Red Cap, who is shown in early scenes pursuing two Sidhe and later hunting for the title character.
- A Redcap appears hiding behind a curtain at the entrance of 'Rumpus Mansion', the haunted house attraction at Blackgang Chine Fantasy Park on the Isle of Wight. Visitors are urged to "Watch this heartless Redcap,‘cos he’d rather see you dead. He’d love to squeeze out all yer blood, then put it on his head!".
You can summon a Red Cap in the DS game Scribblenauts.