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This is mostly just writing out my thoughts to see if they look sensible, but there is a genuine question at the end.

In preparation for a Rogue Mistress playthrough, I am looking at the Stormbringer summoning mini-game 1st vs 4th editions (borrowing Background Events and Passions from MRQ II). Rogue Mistress was written for 4th edition as far as I can tell.

For those who don't have the secret knowledge of the Eldest Edition, many players at that time had great fun using the Summoning mini-game to prepare for play.

First you had your sorcerer. Generally the game premise was "Everyone is playing Melnibonean Warrior-Priest Sorcerers" cos that was fun and it saved having to roll 01 on the nationality table. Especially for Rogue Mistress this is sort of (but only sort of) the default game mode. Also my group house-ruled a minimum of 16 in each of INT and POW, to save time re-rolling characters who didn't make the minimum 32 INT+POW to be a sorcerer.

Once you had your stats and skills you could start the mini-game, which has two stages.

Firstly you summoned elementals until you got tired of rolling. The side-effect of this, entirely justified in the text, is that your POW increased with each (well, most) successful elemental binding.



Stormbringer 1st edition

[5.4.1] Binding Lesser Elementals (p. 66)

The sorcerer who wishes to build up his/her POW (in more ways than one) will do it by summoning and binding as many spirits (elementals and lesser demons) as he/she can. ...

[] Power gain from Binding Elementals (p. 66)

If the binding is successful the sorcerer has the opportunity to gain in POW. Roll 1d4-2. There is a 50% chance of gaining POW, 25% chance of remaining the same, and 25% chance of losing 1 POW point. ...

[5.6.2] Binding demons (p. 72)


When a sorcerer succeeds in binding a demon of equal or greater POW than him/herself, the sorcerer has a chance to gain POW. Roll 1d4 and subtract 1. Add the difference to the binder's POW attribute.


The text is clumsier than I remember it being, but it seems straightforward.

As teenagers we didn't limit this and one guy stayed up all night rolling 10000 times to see how high he could get his POW. He fell asleep while we were playing the next day which was pretty hilarious.

For the upcoming Rogue Mistress game I am thinking of limiting it to 100 rolls, or 90 days, or something similar.

In the text there is no downside to binding a multitude of elementals so long as you only bind one at a time, and release the last one (e.g. by asking it to do 4 tasks in a day) before binding the next.

So (a) you have to succeed in your Summoning roll and then (b) succeed in your binding roll at POW*3%. If you fail the binding roll your POW is temporarily reduced to 1, recovering 1 point per hour of rest. I don't think there is any penalty for failing the Summoning roll.

3rd (Games Workshop metal album cover) edition tried to slow the mini-game down by requiring a critical success before you could gain any POW. 4th edition kept the critical success requirement and added a stat loss penalty for failing the Summoning roll, and required 2 or more Summoning rolls for demons compared to elementals. This basically destroyed the mini-game, because it was no longer cost-effective to perform Summoning until your Summoning skill was in the high 90s.


Stage 2 of the Eldest Edition Sorcery mini-game started once your had your POW at 30 or 40 or 3000 or whatever.

This is when you summon demons (instead of elementals) and bind them into your weapons and armour and make magic items out of them. You can only bind a number of demons equal to half your CHA. In 1st edition there were 6 types of demons, and you varied their stats based on yours. High POW means your demons will have good stats, and hence your demon sword, demon armour, etc will be awesome.

The limit on this is that each sorcerer only knows how to Summon 2 or 3 of the 6 different types. This created a neat opportunity for players to trade different demons amongst themselves.

In 4th edition they swapped out the 6 different kinds for a 'pay for powers from this list of 30-40', so that looks better to me both in terms of matching Rogue Mistress and in terms of interesting bound demons. Also 4th edition has some bookkeeping impositions requiring you to buy expensive blank grimoires to write down all the different Summons you learn. Melniboneans are rich, so this doesn't affect the mini-game -- although it does give you bragging rights "My library has 100 grimoires" etc. Of course taking grimoires from your dead opponents (or trading them with your friends) now has an in-game effect, so that is cool too.


Obviously, I'm thinking of using the 1st edition Summoning mini-game as prep for Rogue Mistress.


Looking over Mongoose Runequest II and MRQII - Elric of Melnibone (MRQ II Elric is a supplement not a game on its own) there are some interesting things to add to chargen however.

In MRQ II everyone rolls to build their family and then on the Background Events table, and then you invent 2-3 Passions for your character based on that.

So I'm thinking of how to make all those elemental summoning rolls more interesting. In the text, for each additional elemental you bind at one time, there is a chance of drawing the attention of the lord of those elementals: either Straasha, Grome, Lassa, or Kakatal depending on type. There's a little bit of text describing each one, but not enough so that they have a personality.

However, what if you had to roll on some sort of Elemental Event Table (by type) when binding an elemental, and I specify a few different ways of "drawing the attention of an Elemental Lord". I'm thinking of mostly nothing happens, but sometimes you have to agree to do something, or make a pact not to do something or whatever.

So, my question is, what can you tell me (suggestions) about the Elemental Lords? What do they like, dislike, what are their motivations? If they are paying close attention to  a Melnibonean sorcerer, what will they want to see happen?


BTW, towards the end of Rogue Mistress there is a potential encounter with Straasha: a certain oceanic plane (M'oor Talen) is controlled by Pyraray the Lord of Chaos (potentially your Priest-Lord  of Melnibone might worship Pyraray), and if you return it to Straasha, he(?) will fix your magic flying interplanar boat so you can leave. I love these little references in Rogue Mistress and I want to make more out of them. Thanks Lawrence Whitaker -- and others -- for writing this wonderful book.




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We used to call these 'doorstop demons.' Little ten pound mounds of flesh that could be used to keep a door open or as a paper weight. Got that summoning skill up pretty high.


As for the Elemental Lords, I'd tie it to tasks that the elemental lords might care about, either promoting that element or tearing down an opposing element.

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8 hours ago, Chaot said:

We used to call these 'doorstop demons.' Little ten pound mounds of flesh that could be used to keep a door open or as a paper weight. Got that summoning skill up pretty high.


From the bad ol' RQ habit of "tick hunting" to skill-up.

Demon-tick's, summoned to skill-up.

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