Jump to content

Some Details About Demons


Jex

Recommended Posts

So, because I'm apparently a glutton for punishment, I decided to give a sorcerer NPC in an adventure I'm working on the ability to summon demons.  I'm trying to stat up a demon for her to summon, but the demon entry in the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary leaves me confused on a few aspects.  (I see I'm not the only person to have questions about demons; I found a prior thread on the topic, but it doesn't address all of my questions).

What the heck is their CON?  The table in the Glorantha Bestiary (page 168) just says that their CON "Depends on POW".  Okay, but depends on POW how?  Is their CON equal to their POW?  Or is there some special manifesting power somewhere that I missed that lays out the relationship?

For that matter, the table doesn't list CHA.  Are demons incomplete creatures that don't have CHA?  But they're disembodied spirits, and earlier the Bestiary says that disembodied spirits "have POW and CHA".  Are demons an exception?

The demon entry gives demons a claw attack.  But the entry says that "the term 'demon' encompasses a wide array of Underworld spirits."  Is it okay to assume that demons vary widely and that the table just represents a "typical" demon, and that if I'm statting up a bespoke demon I can give it different attacks?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am in favor of the bespoke demon.  Let your adventure have a unique twist, let the demon give your adventurer a unique twist.

One possibility is that one man's demon is another man's Elemental or cult spirit.  If they are on the other side they are demons.  Broyan gets offed and his friends say it was a  Lunar demon.  The Lunars say it was an Elemental(Lune)   that  drove his friends insane and in a berserk rage one of them killed Broyan.  

Are demons incomplete creatures?  That looks reasonable.  They can be more malign that way.  You don't have to make a back story about their abused childhoods, or leave a possibility that they will decide to join Chalana Arroy like a certain broo.  In any case they appear to manifest as very embodied spirits.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with @Squaredeal Sten in that one man's elemental or helpful spirit is another man's demon. Dehori and Lunes look very different to people not in their respective pantheons, especially when they're order to attack. I don't have any problem with any 'demon' being manifested by almost any Rune association. I think that a Harmony demon would be rather pointless as an adversary, but several other Runes could generate some VERY interesting demon types. A Fertility Demon could be a nasty piece of work as it tries to turn your party of adventurers into nutritious mulch, for example. I would imagine that a Beast 'demon' would be a significantly up-rated minotaur or minotaur-centaur chimera [body of a bull, with minotaur torso, head, and arms].

As to your specific question regarding demon statistics:

Checking the RQG Bestiary on pg. 168, the table says that CON 'Depends on POW', ergo POW = CON. The text further states that HP and AP are equal to the demon's Magic Points... the most spirit magic it casts, the easier it is to physically defeat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the sorcery Summon Demon spell, "one man's elemental is another man's demon" doesn't really work.  Summon Demon, Summon Moon Elemental, and Summon Lust Spirit are three different spells; if Summon Demon allowed a sorcerer to just summon any spirit they wanted to, or if the sorcerer could decide for themselves what they considered a demon, then the Summon Demon spell would be far too versatile and there wouldn't be much reason for a sorcerer to ever learn any of the other Summon (Species) spells.  So for the purposes of a sorcerer with the Summon Demon spell, it actually does rather matter exactly what a demon is, and it is important that the entity in question is a "true" demon and not some elemental or passion spirit.

41 minutes ago, svensson said:

Checking the RQG Bestiary on pg. 168, the table says that CON 'Depends on POW', ergo POW = CON.

Right, I quoted the CON "Depends on POW" part in my initial post, but does that mean that CON = POW?  That's the way I'm inclined to interpret it, too, but I'm not sure that's correct.  If the CON just equals the POW, why not say "Equal to POW" instead of "Depends on POW"?  Again, I'm inclined to agree that that's probably what "Depends on POW" means... but it doesn't explicitly say that, and there are other possible interpretations.

55 minutes ago, svensson said:

The text further states that HP and AP are equal to the demon's Magic Points... the most spirit magic it casts, the easier it is to physically defeat.

Yes, I saw that part too, but I didn't quote it in my initial post because I didn't have any questions about it; that part seemed pretty straightforward.  (Well, except maybe for the question of what the demon's starting Magic Points/HP/AP are, but I'm assuming the demon's maximum Magic Points are equal to its POW like for most creatures.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In case anyone's curious, here's how I've tentatively statted up the bespoke demon for the sorcerer NPC in my adventure to summon.  I assumed for now that CON = POW and that the demon lacks CHA, and I went ahead and customized its attacks (and gave it a hit location table); aside from that it should match the guidelines for demons in the Glorantha Bestiary:

Foruel Ganodra (Summoned Demon)

To those who can see it, Foruel Ganodra appears something like a giant three-legged kiwi bird with a lamprey mouth on the front of its body and green pustules sprouting from its back.  However, unless it is manifested it is only visible to those with Spirit Sight or similar abilities; it can manifest or discorporate at will.  Foruel Ganodra claims to be a grandchild of Tolat the War God and Ty Kora Tek, Goddess of Dark in the Earth—though Asratha strongly suspects this is a lie.  [Asratha is the sorcerer NPC who can summon this guy.]

Characteristics

STR 25 CON 12 SIZ 25 INT 15

DEX 20 POW 12

Hit Points: 12* Move: 12

DEX SR: 0 SIZ SR: 0

Combat: When manifested, Foruel Ganodra can simultaneously stab with its beak and rake with its claws, at the same or different targets.  A special roll with the beak indicates an impale result and the damage is rolled twice.  If it impales, Foruel Ganodra can detach its beak and leave it in the target, immediately growing a new beak.  The detached beak dissolves into foul-smelling gas when pulled out the target.

A special roll with the claws means that Foruel Ganodra has grasped the target; Foruel cannot attack a different target with its claws while it has a foe grasped, but if it succeeds on another claw attack against a grasped target it brings the target to its mouth and bites it for 5D6 damage (instead of the normal claw damage).  A failure on this claw attack against the grasped target means the target has escaped the demon’s grasp.

As a disembodied spirit, Foruel Ganodra is not subject to the usual effects of suffering damage to specific hit locations.  However, if it takes damage to two legs equal to or more than the legs’ hit points, it can no longer make claw attacks; if it takes damage to its head equal to or more than the head’s hit points, it can no longer make a beak attack; and if it takes damage to its body equal to or more than the body’s hit points, it can no longer bite grasped foes.  It regains the use of these attacks when its magic points (and thus hit points) are restored to their maximum value.

Runes: Darkness 60%, Death 90%, Spirit 80%, Truth 75%.

Rune Points: 9

Special Rune Spells: Blinding, Clairvoyance, Command Ghost, Mind Read, Reconstruction, Sever Spirit, Shield of Darkness, Summon Dead, Turn Undead.

Magic Points: 12*

Skills: Listen 70%, Scan 65%, Search 80%, Spirit Lore 70%, Underworld Lore 95%.

Languages: Speak Darktongue 60%, Speak Spiritspeech 80%.

Spirit Magic: Countermagic 4, Darkwall (2 pts.), Protection 4, Sleep (3 pts.), Visibility (2 pts.)

Foruel Ganodra Hit Locations

Location

D20

Armor/HP

Right Leg

01–04

*/5

Left Leg

05–08

*/5

Body

09–16

*/6

Head

17-20

*/5

 

Weapon

%

Damage

SR

Beak

75

2D6

4

Claw

70

2D6

4

Spirit Combat

80

1D6

12

*Foruel Ganodra’s hit points, armor points, and current magic points are all equal; if one of those decreases, so do the others.  See page 168 of the RuneQuest Glorantha Bestiary for details.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jex said:

So, because I'm apparently a glutton for punishment, I decided to give a sorcerer NPC in an adventure I'm working on the ability to summon demons. 

 

Generally summon demon is too broad a sorcery spell.  It should be limited to a specific class of demon such as the Hollri (ice Demons) RQB p184 or Nyctalope p169.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Generally summon demon is too broad a sorcery spell.  It should be limited to a specific class of demon such as the Hollri (ice Demons) RQB p184 or Nyctalope p169.

Hm... I thought Summon Demon was okay because Dominate Demon was explicitly given as an example of a Dominate (Discorporate Spirit) spell (p395), and I'd assumed Summon spells would fall under the same guidelines as Dominate spells.  If not, though, do you think it would be all right to use, maybe, Summon Underworld Demon (which is what the demon I statted up is supposed to be)?  Again, except for customization to the attacks and giving it a hit location table, my bespoke demon follows the guidelines for demons on page 168; notably, hollri and nyctalopes don't follow those guidelines (for instance, they don't have the magic points, HP, and AP linked as the demons described on page 168 do), so they apparently belong to different class of demon if they're true demons at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Jex said:

Hm... I thought Summon Demon was okay because Dominate Demon was explicitly given as an example of a Dominate (Discorporate Spirit) spell (p395), and I'd assumed Summon spells would fall under the same guidelines as Dominate spells. 

I think that's likely something that slipped through the editing process.  The other example given of a Discorporate Spirit is a Ghost which has a strict definition compared to the vagueness inherent in demon.  Sorcery generally wasn't meant to have catchall categories.  Given that the original demons are from the Munchrooms (Trollpak p196), I would have made it a specifc demon species rather than imply all demons are like this.

10 minutes ago, Jex said:

If not, though, do you think it would be all right to use, maybe, Summon Underworld Demon (which is what the demon I statted up is supposed to be)? 

Underworld Demon is still far too broad a category for my liking.  Greg once wrote about the Red Emperor being able to summon demons from the "Four-horned family" etc.    I think that's the type of a specificity should be aimed for in a sorcery spell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Underworld Demon is still far too broad a category for my liking.  Greg once wrote about the Red Emperor being able to summon demons from the "Four-horned family" etc.    I think that's the type of a specificity should be aimed for in a sorcery spell.

Well, in the course of the adventure, the character in question is almost certainly going to summon only one specific demon anyway, so making her spell more constrained won't really cause a problem for the scenario.  I guess I just have to figure out some evocative name for the particular demon family her summoned demon belongs to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Somewhat OT: For RQ2 there was a series of articles in White Dwarf by Dave Morris titled "Dealing with Demons - Demonology in RuneQuest".  The author published them on his blog:

https://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2017/11/dealing-with-demons-part-1.html

https://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2017/11/dealing-with-demons-part-2.html

https://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2017/12/dealing-with-demons-part-3.html

The demons even got miniatures as shown recently in a blog post by Rick Meints (a sheet with stats included):

https://www.chaosium.com/blogout-of-the-suitcase-33-collecting-and-dealing-with-personal-demons/

Edited by Ludo Bagman
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jex, I am curious: How are you going to scale this demon summoning sorcery?  I notice that your bespoke demon probably qualifies as a small demon, with 12 POW. 

What if your sorceror wants to summon a large demon, one with POW = armor protection that no weapon is likely to penetrate until the thing can be provoked into using its magic points, or some MP draining magic overcomes its POW?

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
Spelling / typing
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What the rules call demons and what Gloranthans call demons are different things. I would go with the bestiary demons as a wide variety of otherworld entities that were not living beings in the past, differentiating them from the typical spirits. It is a single category for dominate spells, but not for summoning. For summoning, I would class the demons by rune and pantheon / Culture. So you may have Storm Orlanthi demons (Gagarth followers) and Dark Uz demons (Zorak Zorans) as different beings. As enemies, you may play with alternatives- Orlanthi Fire demons would be servants of the evil emperor or his children, while Fire Uz Demons would be similar, servants of the carrion emperor, called differently, though dominated in the same way.

As always, learning the true name allows you to call the same demon every time, with the advantage that it is a known entity, and you will not be surprised by a POW 22 demon the next time you make a summons.

I would use the rules of elemental dominance to make strong demons at least manageable, or making a weak demon a powerhouse against its weak element.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Jex, I am curious: How are you going to scale this demon summoning sorcery?  I notice that your bespoke demon probably qualifies as a small demon, with 12 POW. 

What if your sorceror wants to summon a large demon, one with POW = armor protection that no weapon is likely to penetrate until the thing can be provoked into using its magic points, or some MP draining magic overcomes its POW?

I get the impression that's simply not the kind of demon this sorcerer knows how to summon. It's like asking "What if the Storm Voice wanted to summon a Wind Fist that didn't violently punch people, but was a skillful painter instead?" When you're writing a NPC in a scenario, you aren't ever required or expected to flesh out an entire variant magic system in the process.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Jex said:

Well, in the course of the adventure, the character in question is almost certainly going to summon only one specific demon anyway, so making her spell more constrained won't really cause a problem for the scenario.  I guess I just have to figure out some evocative name for the particular demon family her summoned demon belongs to.

I follow others, "demon" is some "not friendly otherworld entity" and may have a lot of shapes, elements and powers.

 

If I had to manage a sorcerer like that I would :

- create a race of demons "the darkest river-claws are some children of Styx" with powers I want

- create the spell [ summon(darkest river-claws)  ] = :20-sorcery-command::20-sorcery-summon::20-element-darkness::20-element-water:

- let the sorcerer invoke the good size depending on the opponents ( 3d6 ? 4d6 ?...) to have the challenge's level you want. If it is a climax, a smart sorcerer would have time and opportunity to summon an entity stronger than rules allow pc. the sorcerer may have some apprentices (maybe killed by the demon before it was dominated, ) or some friends (a hook for another scenario, later... "you killed my friend !!! "). There is always an explanation.

and at the end, decide if it is good for the story to give them name and even spell (is there some book  to learn the spell or killing the sorcerer brings of losing the knowledge ?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I get the impression that's simply not the kind of demon this sorcerer knows how to summon. It's like asking "What if the Storm Voice wanted to summon a Wind Fist that didn't violently punch people, but was a skillful painter instead?" When you're writing a NPC in a scenario, you aren't ever required or expected to flesh out an entire variant magic system in the process.

That's basically it, yes.  I don't have any intention of having her summon any other demons in the scenario, and since this isn't a spell that's likely to fall into the PCs' hands, there's no need to go into details about what else could hypothetically be summoned with it.  The sorcerer in question isn't really a specialist in demons; she's an initiate of Lhankor Mhy who went digging and gathered some spells not normally taught by the cult, and this is one she ended up with, but she only learned the name of one demon, so that's the one she summons because since she knows its name she can control it.

Keep in mind that the sorcery Summon spell takes an hour to cast, so it's not something she's going to be doing in combat in response to the PCs' actions.  I have her basically casting the spell every morning with a long enough duration for the demon to stick around all day and serve her (invisibly, unless there's a big enough threat to make it manifest).  To be honest, the main reason I'm putting the demon in the adventure is to give the sorcerer something to defend her and make her a bit more of a challenge if the PCs decide to fight heralthough they don't have to do that at all; the scenario is open-ended and there are ways to resolve it without combat if the PCs are more social types.  (It's also an adventure for starting characters, so I don't want the demon to be too tough if the adventurers do end up fighting it.)

I guess it wouldn't hurt to make that explicit in the adventure to clarify it for the Gamemaster, though.  I can call the spell something like Summon Demon of Kaldan's Gate (for example; name not finalized), and explicitly note that while there may be other demons of Kaldan's Gate that could theoretically be summoned, Foruel Ganodra is the only such demon whose true name Asratha has learned so far, so it's the only demon she'll summon in this adventure.  (Notably, she does NOT know a Dominate Demon of Kaldan's Gate spell, so if she summoned some demon whose true name she doesn't know it would be hostile to her unless she overcame its magic points with her spell strength, and that's a risk she's not willing to take.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The same’s true of the

Spoiler

Septimated Lunar Demon

that turns up in my scenario The Duel at Dangerford. If I had to create an entire magic system for Lunar demonology in order to justify one Harryhausen monster turning up for my scenario’s boss fight, I’d have said “Sod this” and done something else instead.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Jex said:

Hm... I thought Summon Demon was okay because Dominate Demon was explicitly given as an example of a Dominate (Discorporate Spirit) spell (p395), and I'd assumed Summon spells would fall under the same guidelines as Dominate spells.  If not, though, do you think it would be all right to use, maybe, Summon Underworld Demon (which is what the demon I statted up is supposed to be)? 

Along the lines Nick notes, I would not sweat the specifics of this.  It's perfectly fine to have a sorcerer use/cast an overly broad summon spell.  What happens is that they have no idea what type of demon they will get (and at least in my Glorantha, it is as broad as say Summon Mammal or Fish), but bespoke demon they do get!  

Now, the next question is how well Dominant Demon works.  It's kind of the opposite of Summon.  The more specificity you have in relation to what you summoned, the better.  The less specificity, well, there's some penalty - but it's up to you to determine how much and then focus on a POW vs POW roll to dominate it.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I follow others, "demon" is some "not friendly otherworld entity" and may have a lot of shapes, elements and powers.

 

If I had to manage a sorcerer like that I would :

- create a race of demons "the darkest river-claws are some children of Styx" with powers I want

- create the spell [ summon(darkest river-claws)  ] = :20-sorcery-command::20-sorcery-summon::20-element-darkness::20-element-water:

- let the sorcerer invoke the good size depending on the opponents ( 3d6 ? 4d6 ?...) to have the challenge's level you want. If it is a climax, a smart sorcerer would have time and opportunity to summon an entity stronger than rules allow pc. the sorcerer may have some apprentices (maybe killed by the demon before it was dominated, ) or some friends (a hook for another scenario, later... "you killed my friend !!! "). There is always an explanation.

and at the end, decide if it is good for the story to give them name and even spell (is there some book  to learn the spell or killing the sorcerer brings of losing the knowledge ?)

That's why my sorcerer character has formulated the sort of reverse of the Protective Circle - sure, it's a circle still, but it stops things getting out, rather than stopping things getting in. This is what all demon summoners should have... (and, it's basically hinted at in the Dealing With Demons posted earlier.

And given that those have now been posted and are freely available, I'd just go with them....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...