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Thot

Hurrah to demon objects!

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In preparing certain... items for my players to earn next session, I once again observed how beautifully the advanced summoning and binding rules in Advanced Sorcery work. By filing off the Shadow serial numbers, I was also able to create a similarly powerful item of the Light allegiance (it's a Young Kingdoms campaign, so the correct terms are actually Chaos and Law in my game).

This is just something no other game system that I know of has done as beautifully as Elric!/Stormbringer5/Magic World!
 

I'll post the items here when the session is over and they have got their stuff. Until then, I'll just ask you guys, what have you created as magical objects or as demons in your campaigns? What was especially memorable, either as GM or as player?

Or, lacking that, what's your favourite 17-magic-point bound demon? :)

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Designed for the Golden Grimoire campaign, with a mixture of Stormbringer 3 and BRP

PERIHELION - DEMON OF KNOWLEDGE
STR [0] CON [30] SIZ [5] INT [88] POW [17] DEX [0] CHA [15]
Hit Points = 30 Major Wound Level = 15 
Skills 
Language (Summoner's) 95% 

Language (Demon-tongue) 109% 
Language 1 (GM's choice) 145% 
Language 2 (GM's choice) 114% 
Language 3 (GM's choice) 116%
Knowledge (Region: Hell) 125% 
Knowledge (Demonology) 107% 
Knowledge 1 (GM's choice) 153%

Knowledge 2 (GM's choice) 121%, 
Knowledge 3 (GM's choice) 125%
Powers
Perihelion has 3 chaos powers.
1. Retrocognition - Seeing the Past (left hand mirror)
2. Scrying - Seeing the Present (centre mirror)
3. Clairvoyance - Seeing the Future (right hand mirror)

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The session where the PC's will likely discover their devices is on Wednesday, so I'll just point out for now: It takes a minimum of 10 magic points to summon any demon, and to make it into a weapon, a POW 18-mage has a total of 17 magic points (without any sorcerer's staff or Brazier Of Power), which would allow for a Demon Weapon for an extra damage of 1d10+1D4 (average of 8 points of bonus damage). This is already quite powerful, and not hard to do for a sorcerer that only knows a single spell, Summon Demon. The only risk, of course, is in the actual act of binding the demon.

 

 

Edited by Thot

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In answer to OP I used lots of limited one-trick bound items (inspired by the Spot rules on when to use the Demon's ability and when to use the owner's)

Smoked Glasses with Search%

Crystal Ball with Million Spheres%

Compass with Navigate%

Card Deck with Insight%

 

As an aside

My 'solution' to the 'problem' of demon weapon escalation (even way back with SBIII) was that no Demonic power could take an item above TWICE its mundane value

i.e. Stormbringer being a Greatsword inflicts 2d8 and cannot be boosted by more than 8 points on the roll table (i.e. RAW 2d8+1d10+1d6 my tweak - see below - 2d8+2d8)

 

The other changes I made included smoothing the Elric! roll table

so 1d10+1d2   becomes 2d6

then 1d8+1d6

then 2d8 then 3d6 then 1d8+2d6 then 2d8+1d6 then 4d6 etc etc; I freely admit that this was more to do with my low grade (amusing rather than life-altering) OCD than because it objectively made the game any better

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On 9/9/2018 at 8:57 PM, Al. said:

As an aside

My 'solution' to the 'problem' of demon weapon escalation (even way back with SBIII) was that no Demonic power could take an item above TWICE its mundane value

I don't see it as a problem, actually. Sorcerers must be rare, given the requirement of POW 16+. Player sorcerers are limited by the amount of POW they can spend on creating such items. And if all ellse fails, one can always (nearly) drown them in numbers to make things interesting.

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On 9/11/2018 at 9:14 AM, Thot said:

I don't see it as a problem, actually. Sorcerers must be rare, given the requirement of POW 16+. Player sorcerers are limited by the amount of POW they can spend on creating such items. And if all ellse fails, one can always (nearly) drown them in numbers to make things interesting.

POW isn't much of a limit, since it is a summoning cvost, not a binding (permant) cost. 

 

But, overall, I think it depends on which version of SB you are running. With early versions the perks of demon weapon and armor are so great that sorcerers become virtually unbeatable if their opponents don't have magic. A weapon that does +5D6 isn't all that expensive considering the benefits, and any amount of demon armor can make a character nearly invincible. And, with the way the game was written, there was really no reason not to max out the STR of a demon weapon if you could. 

With later editions, especially after Elric! the escalation isn't as bad. Something like a +5D6 weapon (3D10 or so in Elric!) is much more costly, and comes at the expense of things such as STR.

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For a second, let's pretend I'm a player with a 17 POW and Summon Demon. First thing I do is set up some amazing demon armor and drop my POW to 16. Next thing I do is set up myself a funky weapon, placing my POW at 15. Thus ends my career as a sorcerer. Well worth it.

I agree with you that the demon abilities open up a world of options. When I run a game in the Young Kingdoms though I usually go two ways. The first is the sorcerer I outlined above. The second is a sorcerer who pacts with demons to complete a specific task. Demon items are rather rare in my game unless they are seriously significant.

In the spirit of the thread I will write up some objects this weekend.

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On 9/12/2018 at 8:24 PM, Atgxtg said:

POW isn't much of a limit, since it is a summoning cvost, not a binding (permant) cost. 

But binding cost IS permanent - sure you can spend all your days making negotiations with demons, but that is never free.

 

 

 

Edited by Thot

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Now, as promised: Five objects I use in players' hands in my campaign now.  They were all stolen by Cran Liret 2000 years ago because he had a vision that one day certain people would come to his library who'd try to escape the end of the world, and would take a descendant of his with him.The original creators of these eternal bindings (for 3 Points of POW) were near death at the point of creation, making the items family heirlooms. Cran Liret hid them in a secret chamber beneath his library, guarded by a demon that he negotiated with for, though he may have misrepresented the time it would take the destined users to get there when negotiating with the demon...

The Dagger Krassaktuhl

STR 2D8

CON 6D8

SIZ 1D8

DEX 4D8

INT 3D8

POW 4D8

APP 5D8

Abilities:

Demon weapon: +3D10 damage (20 MP)

Paralyze (7MP)

Total points to summon: 54.

Demon need: Observe true love to a person, activity or item once a day. (i,e,, see someone act on behalf of a positive passion).

 

 

Sceptre of Peace

STR 3D8

CON 3D8

SIZ 5D8

DEX 3D8

INT 3D8

POW 4D8

APP 4D8

Abilities:

Fog (radius of 40 meters, no offensive actions within): 20 MP

Surture: Heals 8 points of damage per wound, only for open cuts and bruises, not for internal: 8 MP

Total points to summon: 53.

Demon need: Needs to touch a cloud once a day (PC is a Myyrrhn).

 

Armor of Beauty

STR 3D8

CON 5D8

SIZ 3D8

DEX 2D8

INT 3D8

POW 4D8

APP 5D8

Abilities:

Demon Armor: +3D10 damage (20 MP)

Absorb Missile (110%): (11 MP)

Total points to summon: 56.

Demon need:  Needs to have a song played to it twice a day (successful roll required, or it doesn't count).

 

The TOME of (owner's name appears on its cover when bound)

STR 1D8

CON 8D8

SIZ 1D8

DEX 3D8

INT 4D8

POW 4D8

APP 4D8

Abilities:

Kowledge (answer one question in 1D8 hours): 10 MP

Regenerate (Book quickly heals itself if damaged): 3 MP

Remember (equivalent of 3 books): 3 MP

 Skill: Knowledge (million spheres): 120% (12 MP)

Total points to summon: 53.

Demon need:  Needs to be fed a glass of ink once a day.

 

And finally, to show the flexibility of the system: The following is not a demon, but an item of law that I just created with the same system to have it roughly balanced to the others:

The Last Vibro Sword of Halaktan:

STR 3D8

CON 5D8

SIZ 1D8

DEX 4D8

INT 3D8

POW 4D8

APP 5D8

Abilities:

Demon Weapon: +1D6 damage (3 MP)

Electric Attack: 4D10 of damage that ignores metal armor and can even pass along a metal balde that is parrying. (20 MP)

Total points to "summon": 53.

Demon need: This device with its two buttons is powered by piezzo crystals. Consequently, it needs to be moved for half an hour for one charge, which can be used either to use the vibro blade for one combat or to discharge for one electric attack. There is storage for 4 charges in the blade.

 

Edited by Thot

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1 hour ago, Questbird said:

But POW can be gained back in various ways, eg. POW:POW struggles on the Resistance Table.

But these ways mean significant cost or significant risk, which limits the spread of such items in the game world. Even in a group: Your group's sorcerer can't make all the desired items at once.

Edited by Thot

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1 hour ago, Thot said:

But binding cost IS permanent - sure you can spend all your days making negotiations with demons, but that is never free.

It's also fairly cheap. For a couple of points of POW you get a nasty item. The only real concern is keeping your POW above 16. 

On top of that, it only takes a couple of items (weapon, sword) to make the character overpowering. 

 

37 minutes ago, Thot said:

But these ways mean significant cost or significant risk, which limits the spread of such items in the game world.

Not so much. POW gain rolls aren't all that hard or risky. Especially if you have the bound items to back you up. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

It's also fairly cheap. For a couple of points of POW you get a nasty item. The only real concern is keeping your POW above 16. 

 

That IS a major concern.

 

Quote

On top of that, it only takes a couple of items (weapon, sword) to make the character overpowering. 

 

Overpowering to a single foe without such help, yes. Not overpowering to a group of them. As I wrote above, you can easily drown them with numbers.

 

 

Quote

Not so much. POW gain rolls aren't all that hard or risky. Especially if you have the bound items to back you up. 

 

In order for a POW gain role to happen, you need to have succeeded at a POW:POW contest against someone of equal or greater POW when it is actually dangerous (as per page 53 in MW). By definition, that means that goes wrong half the time. Dangerous things that go wrong half the time... that's rather risky.

 

 

Edited by Thot

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7 hours ago, Thot said:

That IS a major concern.

Minor concern. It just means you only get items one at a time over time. 

7 hours ago, Thot said:

Overpowering to a single foe without such help, yes. Not overpowering to a group of them. As I wrote above, you can easily drown them with numbers.

Depends on what version of SB your are playing. In early versions no, the demon armor will make the character virtually invulnerable. In later editions demon armor isn't as powerful. 

7 hours ago, Thot said:

In order for a POW gain role to happen, you need to have succeeded at a POW:POW contest against someone of equal or greater POW when it is actually dangerous (as per page 53 in MW). By definition, that means that goes wrong half the time. Dangerous things that go wrong half the time... that's rather risky.

No all that risky. in all version of SB, there are POW rolls when dealing with demons. While any dealings with demons are dangerous, as the sorcerer gets to build the demons he summons, he can minimize the risks. He can summon something with a high POW that isn't otherwise all that formidable. And he can prepare for it ahead of time and have items, spells and even other characters ready in case something goes wrong. 

In later editions of SB, all you really have to do is to try and cast a spell  on an unwilling target in battle. This is basically the same as tossing a disrupt in RQ for a POW gain roll.  Yeah, it's  technically dangerous (it's combat) but not all that dangerous, or uncommon in an RPG.

 

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Minor concern. It just means you only get items one at a time over time. 

And that limits those items severely. Also, items can be rebound, i.e., stolen.

2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Depends on what version of SB your are playing.

We're in the Magic Worlds section here, so that question should be answered from the start. ;)

2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, it's  technically dangerous (it's combat) but not all that dangerous, or uncommon in an RPG.

Well, if it did never happen, it would be rather dull, of course. Still, especially those with higher POW are less likely to even encounter beings with as high POW as they have. And those that commonly have higher POW than 15 (such as dragons) are indeed dangerous with potentially catastrophic consequences.

But as you seem to have such a strong opinion on it being no big deal, was there ever a campaign for you where this got easily out of hand?

 

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Thot said:

And that limits those items severely. Also, items can be rebound, i.e., stolen.

No so much. The sorcerer gets the weapon or armor. Stolen items aren't much of a thing, simply because whoever graps them has to go POW vs POW with the demon, and most characters don't have a 16+ POW, making that much more risky.

30 minutes ago, Thot said:

We're in the Magic Worlds section here, so that question should be answered from the start. ;)

LOL! Yeah, it is much more toned down with Magic World. Also, MW adds things to the game that old SB lacked, that help to balance things out a bit. 

30 minutes ago, Thot said:

Well, if it did never happen, it would be rather dull, of course. Still, especially those with higher POW are less likely to even encounter beings with as high POW as they have. And those that commonly have higher POW than 15 (such as dragons) are indeed dangerous with potentially catastrophic consequences.

That's where binding demons actually works in the sorcerers favor as far as POW gain. Since 17 POW scores are more common than 18, let alone 20 or 25, it is in the sorcerer's best interest to to bind demons and keep his POW on the low side, so he can get more chances to improve. That in turn gives him more POW to spend to bind more demons, and so on and so on. 

30 minutes ago, Thot said:

But as you seem to have such a strong opinion on it being no big deal, was there ever a campaign for you where this got easily out of hand?

Pretty much every Stormbringer campaign I've ever ran on played in, to some degree. First edition was the worst in this regard. Sorcerers were very powerful in SB1, as were the demons.  A weapon with a +7D6 damage bonus is virtually unstoppable in this sort of game system, and the old demon armor made a character practically invulnerable to normal weapons. Agents of Law were simply outclassed, too.

It actually is a problem when trying to account for Elric himself. By the RAW, he "should" be wearing demon armor. It doesn't make sensor for him not to. It's kinda like a high level fighter in D&D not having magical armor. It's a bit of a disconnect between setting and game mechanics. 

 

Later versions toned this down , and from Elric! on it becomes less of a problem. Sorcerors and demons are still overwhelmingly powerful, a weapon with a +1D8 damage bonus is still going to chop through armor and inflict a major wound most of the time, but it's not quite an autokill anymore. And the magical spells help to level the playing field for those characters who don't have demon items. A normal weapon that does an extra 4 points of magical damage can offset that +1D8 weapon, and the spell can be cast on multiple weapons. Toss in things like special successes and demon items aren't the  only "deciding factor" anymore. Swipe Ki skills for Land of the Ninja for Agents of Law, and things can actually get challenging. 

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Great Items, Thot. Question though. Let's look at the Scepter of Peace. Fog and Suture don't have a stat associated with them. Are these focuses in which the demon manifests or just bound items? If the Scepter is only used for the abilities then the soccer should probably leave all the stats at 1d8 (except for POW which would be 3d8).

So, I was being a little flippant about the demon weapons but the truth is demon weapons are the best bang for your buck.  If I were going to really dig into being a sorcerer I would want three spells as my base. Summon Demon, Brazier of Power and either Agony, Curse of Sorcery, Contribute to Truth, Terror, Unbreakable Bonds, Break the Will, Control Sea Life, Diminish Demon, Enthrall, Greater Banishment, Phantom Illness or Spectral Ownership. Summon Demon and Brazier of Power are obvious. All those other spells are POW : POW spells. I'd probably want a 1mp spell like Terror. Now my sorcerer has a way of replenishing POW that is not dependent on the DM calling for POW : POW checks.

No binding to start out. I get myself a staff. That takes me from 17 to 16 POW. I now have 33 mp. From there, I use my POW spell to try and increase my POW back up to 17. Anything serious I need to get done happens through bargaining with a demon. When I'm back up to 17 it is time to get some armor. My POW is back at 17 so I now have 34 mp. Ten go into the basic summoning spell; one for ever stat except POW, which is four for a greater demon. Twenty four go into my demon armor. Lets say I'm enchanting soft leather which has a protection of 1d4-1. My new demon armor is 1d4-1+4d10+1d8. Hell, maybe I just want to bind the demon into some robes. That would still be 4d10+1d8. I'm starting to feel pretty safe right now.

If my binding succeeds then I am in good shape. If it doesn't I use Terror some more to get me back up to POW 17 and try to bind my armor again. Eventually, I will get that armor. 

Next, I have a decision to make. Do I want to settle down or do I want to travel. If I settle down it's Brazier of Power time. If I want to travel it's time for another 'staff'. I might make this one an amulet or a torc or a bracer or a pretty tiara. Regardless, I'm creating it when I have POW of 17 and I won't bind again until I return to a POW of 17. This means I now have 51 magic points. Subtract ten for the binding ritual of a greater demon. Let's say I drop it into a short sword. The final result from 41 mp is 1d6+1+db+8d10+1d2. I'm now feeling very confident.

Bound demon weapons and armor far outstrip any benefit from focus binding or binding demons for skills. These are all core rules. The only thing that complicates things is the binding luck roll. A smart sorcerer, when summoning, has extra targets chained to the wall, a straight hallway to run down and a fast horse waiting.

I actually use the Corum Summoning rules for Chaos Creatures to make summoning physical demons more appealing but as it stands...

I guess I should be fair and break it down for summoned demons.

 

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Oops, I screwed up major demons. It's been a while since I've ran.

Minor demons are top out at 2d10 and 9 mp for the basic summoning. Greater demons need their stats to equal 25 d8s. This means 3d8 needs to be placed in each stat apart from POW, which is 4d8. This also means that my initial armor is topped off at 1d4-1+2d10 (but there are extra points to add effects). That also means my short sword is 1d6+1+db+5d10+1d2. Still, these are serious numbers.

The strength of bargaining is plausible deniability and having someone else do your work for you.

Edited by Chaot
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Negotiating. Same rules. I've got a staff and lets say I still have a POW of 16. Thirty three mps to spend. When I calculate bargain costs I go by the Corum book. It's defined as taking a 'thing' from a 'victim', the result of which should get the sorcerer jailed or executed. We're talking costs that make people suffer.

If you're looking for combat protection you want to summon something with a lot of legs for Claw, something that can Gout Fire or Vomit Acid. Otherwise you want something that can infiltrate. You want a Seer or a demon that can Shape Change and has a lot of social skills. The thing is with these you can pact for a week and just pay the pact price.You've a demon or two in your pocket. You can avoid local resistance.

Still doesn't compare to Binding weapons and armor.

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12 hours ago, Chaot said:

Great Items, Thot. Question though. Let's look at the Scepter of Peace. Fog and Suture don't have a stat associated with them. Are these focuses in which the demon manifests or just bound items? If the Scepter is only used for the abilities then the soccer should probably leave all the stats at 1d8 (except for POW which would be 3d8).

Fog's height is linked to the demon's size. Also, the objects all need to be Greater Demons (so at least 25 D8 in attributes), in order for their needs to be so relatively harmless. That part is GM fiat, and I believe I miscomputed the number of D8's, but that's okay, as they're one-of-a-kind items. :)

 

12 hours ago, Chaot said:

So, I was being a little flippant about the demon weapons but the truth is demon weapons are the best bang for your buck.  If I were going to really dig into being a sorcerer I would want three spells as my base. Summon Demon, Brazier of Power and either Agony, Curse of Sorcery, Contribute to Truth, Terror, Unbreakable Bonds, Break the Will, Control Sea Life, Diminish Demon, Enthrall, Greater Banishment, Phantom Illness or Spectral Ownership. Summon Demon and Brazier of Power are obvious. All those other spells are POW : POW spells. I'd probably want a 1mp spell like Terror. Now my sorcerer has a way of replenishing POW that is not dependent on the DM calling for POW : POW checks.

Good thought! However, you'd still need to find a situation where it is actually dangerous to use them on a subject that has equal or greater POW than you... which would also have to be found.

12 hours ago, Chaot said:

No binding to start out. I get myself a staff. That takes me from 17 to 16 POW.

My two player sorcerers have been trying to get those 6 weeks of time to do that since the beginning. No luck so far, with the end of the world being around the corner... :D

 

12 hours ago, Chaot said:

 

I now have 33 mp. From there, I use my POW spell to try and increase my POW back up to 17. Anything serious I need to get done happens through bargaining with a demon. When I'm back up to 17 it is time to get some armor. My POW is back at 17 so I now have 34 mp. Ten go into the basic summoning spell; one for ever stat except POW, which is four for a greater demon. Twenty four go into my demon armor. Lets say I'm enchanting soft leather which has a protection of 1d4-1. My new demon armor is 1d4-1+4d10+1d8. Hell, maybe I just want to bind the demon into some robes. That would still be 4d10+1d8. I'm starting to feel pretty safe right now.

If my binding succeeds then I am in good shape. If it doesn't I use Terror some more to get me back up to POW 17 and try to bind my armor again. Eventually, I will get that armor. 

Next, I have a decision to make. Do I want to settle down or do I want to travel. If I settle down it's Brazier of Power time. If I want to travel it's time for another 'staff'. I might make this one an amulet or a torc or a bracer or a pretty tiara. Regardless, I'm creating it when I have POW of 17 and I won't bind again until I return to a POW of 17. This means I now have 51 magic points. Subtract ten for the binding ritual of a greater demon. Let's say I drop it into a short sword. The final result from 41 mp is 1d6+1+db+8d10+1d2. I'm now feeling very confident.

It is a good strategy, but it depends on having the opportunity to do all these things.

12 hours ago, Chaot said:

Bound demon weapons and armor far outstrip any benefit from focus binding or binding demons for skills. These are all core rules. The only thing that complicates things is the binding luck roll. A smart sorcerer, when summoning, has extra targets chained to the wall, a straight hallway to run down and a fast horse waiting.

But then it wouldn't be dangerous to attempt the binding... a missed opportunity. ;)

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14 hours ago, Chaot said:

Negotiating. Same rules. I've got a staff and lets say I still have a POW of 16. Thirty three mps to spend. When I calculate bargain costs I go by the Corum book. It's defined as taking a 'thing' from a 'victim', the result of which should get the sorcerer jailed or executed. We're talking costs that make people suffer.

If you're looking for combat protection you want to summon something with a lot of legs for Claw, something that can Gout Fire or Vomit Acid. Otherwise you want something that can infiltrate. You want a Seer or a demon that can Shape Change and has a lot of social skills. The thing is with these you can pact for a week and just pay the pact price.You've a demon or two in your pocket. You can avoid local resistance.

Still doesn't compare to Binding weapons and armor.

Obviously binding is superior, but keep in mind that a bound demon counts against your free INT, costs that point of POW and can be stolen or destroyed. A negotiation, on the other hand, requires a summoning to take place on the spot, which requires 1D8 hours of preparation... though you can technically summon, make a deal, and call in the favour later.

My favourite demon ability for the latter, if combat related, by the way, is "Horde". :D

Edited by Thot

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It's funny but I've never run into stolen demon weapons. I would assume that the demon just wouldn't perform for the thief if it was bound with 1 POW.

To make demon bargaining more interesting and attractive I use a variant on the Chaos Creatures rules form Corum. Nine magic points gets you 3d8 in every stat. The summoner can shift 3 of the dice, so one stat might be 1d8, another 2d8 and the third 6d8. One magic point also equals 10% in a skill.

Once summoned, this demon is always on call and will usually request the same pact price.

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One thing I do regret. When Ben was putting together Advanced Sorcery I was starting a new job. Though I'm uncredited I weighed in on some spells and I suggested the redesign of the Deep Magic wheels.

What I really wanted to do was overhaul Demon summoning. I think it's the best part of the system and has so much potential for story telling. The second best part of the system goes to Charles Green and his Virtue summonings from Gods of Law.

The issue with demon summoning is that items need to be scaled back and abilities need to be enhanced. There needs to be a reason for a sorcerer to summon and negotiate with a demon rather than just bind it.

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2 hours ago, Chaot said:

It's funny but I've never run into stolen demon weapons. I would assume that the demon just wouldn't perform for the thief if it was bound with 1 POW.

"Stolen" of course means the thief learns the demon's True Name and rebinds it. ;)

 

1 hour ago, Chaot said:

The issue with demon summoning is that items need to be scaled back and abilities need to be enhanced. There needs to be a reason for a sorcerer to summon and negotiate with a demon rather than just bind it.

But there are! Apart from POW (which you also need to build up a big Brazier Of Power, and which I still do not see as easy to regain per rules as written), you can only have INT spells and bound demons. A sorcerer wants a demon armor, a demon weapon, and a few other items like a demon with vital skills or Knowledge. Also, some bound demons are limited in lifetime, such as a Teleport demon, so summoning is better for that.

 

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