Author Topic: Demon Summoning System  (Read 1273 times)


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Demon Summoning System
« on: August 09, 2017, 08:49:01 AM »
EDIT:  I apologize about the formatting.  I resubmitted the post attaching the list properly formatted and including diagrams in the .pdf below.  I tried to post it before I went to bed last night, and I should have taken my time.

I am trying to a develop a demonic summoning system that relies upon a series of bonuses (and penalties) that build the target skill roll required to succeed from 0.  The execution of the ritual does not rely on an attainable skill, but it is based on a 3d6 roll to determine level of success. Rather a caster must compile a series of circumstances that afford them at least a modicum of success.  The ritual's chance of success is calculated thru 11 steps.  The system is meant to be a hidden or forbidden path to magical power, and the criteria for it's use are inherently difficult to acquire.  This system is designed to be universal in its utility, but in this particular draft it is attached to a particular fantasy world.

The system is, variably, called the Black Stair, Demonology, Nethermancy, the Wasted Path, the Way to Argul, or the Infernal Path.  The demons represent the negative aspects of humanity and civilization that cause strife and disharmony.  There are 77 demons (Powers) divided amongst 8 Paths, and each Path has an opposing Path creating 4 Paradigms.  Each Path has a Primarch, 3 Princes, a number of Vassals equal to the Infernal Number of the Path (2-9), and an innumerable army of Minions (lesser demons).  There is also an unnamed "all-demon", mother-demon, or father of demons (depending on whom you ask) that only makes an appearance if the end of the world has arrived.

The system is far more complex than this post would suggest.  It has modifiers that are not listed (eg being born of a demon parent, becoming a servant of a Power after death, etc.)  However, its comprehensiveness is a feature of the design.  It is meant to be the spine of a campaign, whether as a goal, a nemesis, or a mystery.

The ritual is the bedrock for the ethos I am designing, and if it does not function then there is no point in carrying on until it's fixed.  I will include notes, I will be as brief as possible, along the way to clarify the facets of the ritual.  I will also include 3 examples of rituals to showcase how it functions.  The system is designed to handle anything from the accidental utterance of a demonic Name to a massive ceremony involving thousands of believers seeking to tear open a portal and destroy the world.  Achieving a balance between the two extremes is proving difficult.  Any suggestions or criticisms any one has would be appreciated.

The Examples (A-C) are in posts below.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 08:33:23 PM by Robetaur »


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Re: Demon Summoning System
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 08:50:00 AM »

After her grandfather's funeral Megan searched his house for a picture of the two of them together.  In the basement, she came upon a box filled with notebooks with strange titles.  She opened one of them and discovered page after page of apparently jumbled words organized into sentences and paragraphs.  She inspected several more with the same garbled writing in each of them.  Retrieving another from the box she read the name scribbled on the cover, "Mohth?  Moh-ATH?  MOO-ath?  MOH-ahth?"  Surrendering to her befuddlement she replaced the book, and it occurred to her the picture might be in a closet upstairs.

[Unbeknownst to Megan she had inadvertently sounded out the Name of Moath the Mad, Vassal of Chaos, and Crafter of Insanity.  Under the rules this counts as a ritual casting.  For purposes of this exercise all other factors will be assumed to be +0 (i.e. Space, Self, Selenology, Calendar, etc.) with a couple of exceptions.  She has no knowledge of the demonic, but she has accurately pronounced the Name of a Power.  With all things being equal the modifiers are (in order): 
+2 Exposure (the basement was used by the grandfather for many rituals throughout the years)
-2 Commune with the 17th Way ((17/10) x 1 = -2) [Reminder: Unless specified a casting is assumed to be Commune]
+3 for speaking a Name
-0 for Language (Name's only appear in the original "Lost Tongue")
Target Roll = 3 or less (and the GM rolls a 3...a critical success)

A critical success means that the casting was more successful than intended.  Which can be as dangerous as a critical failure.  The GM decides that the casting resulted in a successful Summoning rather than a Communing.]

Aftermath:  With no knowledge of or defense against the invading Power Megan is haunted by voices and hallucinations for several months.  She becomes more and more introverted.  She eats very and little and sleeps even less.  After nearly a year her worried parents have her institutionalized.  Her father, having been witness to the abnormal behavior of Megan's grandfather for all of his life was silently thankful that it had appeared to have skipped a generation.


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Re: Demon Summoning System
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 08:50:30 AM »

Sasha loved Marcus, but Marcus looked right thru her.  Mistress Zanda was away for several days and Sasha concocted a plan that would make Marcus hers.  She had, under her Mistress' supervision, cavorted with the Minions and Vassals of Usah the Golden Mother.  They had taught her much about the heart of a man, and showed her more of the man's body.  One night with her and Marcus would belong to her forever.

She had prepared the ritual chamber meant for Summoning.  The room Mistress Zanda called 'the Harem'.  Sasha lit the eight silver braziers along the walls, muttering one of many phrases she had learned as she did, "I walk the beautiful path", and the room filled with the aroma of flowers.  She inspected the circle of powdered charcoal, meant to protect her, for any break in the pattern.  There was none, and she was sure the Barrier spell she had cast was performed flawlessly.  The protective ring contained the proper Symbol, and it was drawn in reverse, as if viewed in a mirror.  As it should be.

Sasha was ready.  She let her robe slip off of her into a heap on the floor revealing the intricate and masterfully worked tattoo of a flight of doves that dominated the left side of her body.  She knelt at the Argulyph and its overlapping circles of silver imbedded in the stone floor.  All of the components she had collected waited for her on a silver tray.  She placed the disc of polished Bloodstone representing Lushar within the glyph.  She then placed a silver thimble upon the disc near the bottom to represent Ryshak, the Chaos Moon, Ascending.  She took a pen from a silver inkwell and wrote in black ink, upon her body, things she knew to be lies.  "My parents loved me."  "I am the most beautiful in the land."  "I am happy."  Six lies she penned on her arms, legs, and chest.  Even undiscovered lies can do harm, but no lie is as painful as the truth unveiled.  It gave her pause.

She snatched the silver goblet filled with wine from the tray and gulped it down until it was empty and the drink ran down her chin and breasts.  Sasha was unsure of her Lusharite, so she decieded to use Orumitic.  It wasn't as close to Argulite as the former, but it was an Elder Tongue.  She spoke, in the clearest and strongest voice she could muster, "Come to me down the flower-lined path Aduotta, Vassal of Seduction...thru the garden Dark Dancer...come to me Daughter of Zuthros the Temptor and Guz the Deceiver...leave your garden and come to me."

[This example is a much more common venture then the other two, but it must be said that the caster has a much deeper understanding of the process than most demonologists might.  I wanted to use the entire list of modifications.

+1   Prior Contact to the Path (cavorting with Minions, etc.)
+1   Mark (tattoo)
+1   Condition (the GM ruled that Sasha's infatuation with Marcus was strong enough to allow for a bonus)
+2   Exposure (the room was the site of multiple rituals the most potent of which involved Summoning a Vassal)
+1   Defile (the lighting of the 8 silver braziers, the aroma, and the utterances involved in the spell)
+1   Stain (Sasha has been corrupted only slightly, but it's enough to qualify for a bonus)
+2   Month (it is the 7th month which is Aspected to Beauty,...
+0   Day (...but the day falls under the purview of another Prince)
+4   Lushar (the face of Lushar reveals a Radient Moon, which is Aspected to Beauty)
+2   Ryshak (the Chaos Moon is climbing towards the center of Lushar thus it is Ascending, +2)
+2   Argulyph (made of silver with 8 Rifts between the interlocking circles)
+2   Celestial (2 devices made of components inherent to the Target path representing the moons: Bloodstone and silver)
-16   Target Penalty: Aduotta is the 35th Way: 3.5/10 = -4, x2 for Summoning = -8, x2 for Rank of Vassal = -16
Symbol   (The symbol is included in the Barrier.  It does not modify the chance of success, but it is important.)
Barrier   (The ring is of a component Aspected to the opposing Path of Darkness.  Her Barrier spell was successful.)
+1   Mastery Level 1
+2   Active Components (silver goblet and wine)
+2   Aspected Components (pen and black ink, the act of writing activates the components)
+2   Technique (nudity and imbibing)
+8   Name (Name, Path, 2 Titles, Lineage (2 Named Sires))
-3   Language (Orumitic is an Elder Tongue which is relative to Garumitic and Lusharite which are closer to Argulite)

NOTE: On Contamination, the pen, black ink, and charcoal are all contaminants that would help determine which alternate power might have been Summoned with a critical failure.  Sasha avoided further Contamination by using a silver tray and silk robe and not a substance Aspected to another Path.

Standing on the shoulders of her Mistress' work Sasha has put together a respectable target roll of 15 or less.  The GM rolls a 7.  It is a simple success, and the ritual went according to plan.  The modifiers and criteria for Contact and Negotiation are not pertinent to the casting.]

Aftermath:  There was a flash of light, and Sasha averted her eyes as her Mistress had instructed.  Despite her eyes being closed she could tell the room was brtighter, and she could feel the warmth on her body.  She had never gone this far.  She had never traded words with one of them, but she knew what was to be done.  Evoking her Mistress' she absorbed the lesson one more time, "The secret to dealing with a servant of the Eight Veils is to resist them.  Do not be mesmerized by them.  They will seem to be precisely what you most want them to be.  Do not waver.  Do not delay.  Do not let them into your heart.  You are their Master or they are yours."

Sasha rose to her feet with eyes closed, and she slowly turned her head towards the light and opened them.  It was Marcus, but she knew it wasn't.  It couldn't be, but he stood there naked and precious and vulnerable and he smiled.  He smiled.  Sasha rallied her will and spoke, "Uuuuuuuuuuuhh..."


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Re: Demon Summoning System
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 08:50:48 AM »

Thousands gathered on the hills above and their cheers and chants echoed and echoed down upon the Temple of Bone.  The center of the Lusharite Empire was teeming with the mythic and the Infernal.  All was in alignment: Lushar and Ryshak Aligned on the final moons of the Calendar of Nights awaiting the 5th Juncture.  Atraxis the Bull wielding Godkiller, Utan the Bone King, the Knights Entropic, Esephus and Muat of the Many Fingered Hand, Moade the Damned, the god-demon infant-child of Usah and Sathren bourne in a silver cradle by the fallen god Thevar, and the 5th Gulgeth housing Heth the Wondrous were in attendance.  The only Path unrepresented was that of Thopal the Worldhag, but such is the nature of the Perverse.

The various cults and covens had gathered the greatest array of Infernal vessels and relics unimagined.  The sword Godkiller, the Blasted Tome, the Hammuraht, the Banner of Oothung, the bones of the goddess Belerine, and the Fell Stone mounted atop the Staff of Garum the Garumite had been collected.  Also brought to the Argulanth were the children of the devout and the sacred over many centuries.  They were enslaved and bred for the sole purpose of being used as an offering to Breach the divide and allow their kind egress out into the world.  The Knight's Entropic had been hard at work, surrounded by piles of the dead and dying, marking the way for the chosen one to the Last Argulyph on a path colored blood.
Hemod the Destroyer, Lord-General of Gbaji's hordes, was selected to complete the ritual.  A rite that ended in Oblivion would be initiated by Destruction.  It was always the way.  Hemod raised his arms as the moment approached, and upon its arrival began the True Name and the Last Name with Preithar the Demagogue, Vassal of always started with Sanctimony.  The rite within the Blasted Tome wound its way thru the Hierarchy following bloodlines and Aspects until each Power was named save the last...the Eschem...Nothingness.  He then drank the killing drink fashioned by the Many Fingered Hand, and their was no way back for him.  As he retched and convulsed he plunged the Hammuraht deep into his chest and found his heart.  Thus Hemod the Destroyer became Hemod the Destroyed by dual suicide.  The ritual was at its end.

[This ritual is meant to tear open the space between this world and Argul and bring about the end of the world.  This is the Last Argulyph meant for the All-Demon.  It can only be used to bring about a Breach, and no Bond or Contact can be made with the All-Demon.  There are also no Components, Aspected Components, or Barriers (Symbols) that can be used.  The massive undertaking took place at the height of the Lusharite Empire.  It was hundreds of years before the circumstances were right, and during that time they went thru great pains to gather together all they would need:

+2   Blood (Hemod the Destroyer comes from a long line of Demonologists)
+3   Conditions (having 7 of the 8 Paths represented gives +3)
+4   Devotee (the ritual takes place in the Argulanth and at the Temple of Bone)
+4   Exposure (Utan, Primarch of Oblivion has resided her for centuries)
+2   Stain
+4   Portal (the active gate of a major Power (Utan) is located here, Death's Door)
+8   Presence (only 2 can be used: relic/vessel the Hammuraht +4 and the Blasted Tome +4)
+6   Juncture
+0   Lushar (there is no face Aspected to the All-Demon)
+4   Ryshak Aligned (appearing as co-centric moons)
+4   The Last Argulyph (lines, Rifts, and Celestial components)
-120   All-Demon: 77th Way (77/10) = -8, Breach x3 = -24, Rank of All-Demon x5 = -120
+4   Concoction (Almalgamation)
+2   Act (2 forms of suicide)
+40   Human Sacrifice (hundred's sacrificed leading up to the Juncture)
+8   Name (involved reciting the Names of all of the Powers by all of the participants, inc. lineages, sires, etc.)
-0   Language (Argulite)
+4   Mastery Level 4
+40   Covenant (thousands witnessed and dozens participated (GM's discretion whether the thousands affected the rite)
-8   Non-Believer (Moade the Damned)

Target Roll: 139-128 = 11 or less.  The GM rolls a 12.  Every failed roll using the Last Argulyph is a critical failure.]

Aftermath:  All watched in wide-eyed anticipation as the space above the glyph ripped open.  It grew and folded in on itself and expanded again.  It did this over and again for time seeming endless until it exploded open to thunderous revelry from the human host and the Infernal alike.  The festivities were short-lived, however, as the abyssal mouth sucked into itself all about before slamming closed.

It dragged into Argul all that were present save for two.  They were Moade the Damned, Moade the Childherder, Voice of Utan, and the child he had saved from the Knights Entropic.  He had served Utan, Primarch of Oblivion, for more than 200 years with the promise of seeing his dead wife again.  It did not take him long to surmise that it was all lies.  So, Moade the Childherder, the man most synonymous with the practice of stealing children and spiriting them away to the Temple of Bone bore away the last child he would save.  He was still a Master of the 6th Principle, and as Hemod drove Hammuraht into his chest Moade, and the child, were teleported to safety.  They arrived deep in the Thickwood, home of the Veld, where the little girl would join the hundreds of other people he had saved over the centuries.

Magnus Pym

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Re: Demon Summoning System
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 10:12:32 AM »
This is interesting, if a bit intricate, but really I'm at a loss with actual rules. We have some rules guru here though so I've no doubt they'll chime in at some point. However, from my first full read I'll say I like it.

Do you have a list, or some table or image that describes the Paths and Paradigms?


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Re: Demon Summoning System
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2017, 08:35:27 PM »
Quote from: Magnus Pym
This is interesting, if a bit intricate, but really I'm at a loss with actual rules. We have some rules guru here though so I've no doubt they'll chime in at some point. However, from my first full read I'll say I like it.

Do you have a list, or some table or image that describes the Paths and Paradigms?

I do.  In fact, I reposted the original set of rules with diagrams (including the Paths and Paradigms).  I apologize for the sloppy post.