Grill Six Billion Demons

The Summoning chapter in the Codex is super fucking cool. The implied setting of otherworldly beings weighing on our world but acting on it obliquely and through their relationships with summoners is fascinating.

But I’ve always struggled when putting these otherworldly folks together. So I was hoping I could get you all to do my job with – slash – for me.

I’d love for you all to

  • Share your spirits’ stats
  • Share your inspirational material
  • Talk about how you’ve integrated spirits and summoning into your settings and big pictures
  • Just kinda ramble on the topic :person_shrugging:

Thanks,
Q.

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In one campaign, we established that humans could only use either Folklore or Summoning - no other magic. BUT if you needed magic done, you had to summon the Fae to do it for you.

Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, Orcs - all of these were actually summonable entities and did not exist in the mundane world - they were from the land of Faerie. Dwarves had access to Enchanting, Trolls could do Sorcery in the form of Art Magic (yes, odds are a spell from them could go very wrong), and Elves and Orcs (Goblins) had their usual Magic.

If you wanted an enchanted item, you had to summon a dwarf. If you wanted a fireball-throwing bodyguard, summon a troll (Jotun). Goblins and Elves were rarely summoned because we established all Elves had Spite…and goblins…well, they be goblins.

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One Dwarf by the name of Mr. Bespokeskin created a powerful magic item that forced the wearer to take the form of a wolf and undergo possession. The Beast of Ulster Hall haunted the county for a good month or so before our party realized it was actually a sequence of poor kidnapped souls forced to don the skin and play out the murderous desires of the restless spirit bound within. They were each executed once they’d played their part.

In my campaign Channeling The Wheel, which is now four years old, “Demons” are not an entity, but Spirits are, and they’ve been born from the same place.

The inspiration was originally, I think, Avatar (the stuff about the ancient past; Airbender not Blue Aliens) but it has grown a lot of Spirit Island (the board game) inside it now. The stats are, of course, very variable, but I have thrown a few recurring rough entities at them and will dig them out, although I’m not giving more stuff than the “basic” stats because they’re basically customised to become specific. These things are at the “lowest” level of Named Spirit: they’re the imps or lesser daemons, I think. The only stuff I’ve written is their “things they are really good at” and their Will for the purposes of being Primal Barked at. They all have the Spirit Nature Trait, and would have some Traits explaining their physical differences from humans if I were a better prepared GM or Enchanting existed in-universe.

Magic comes in three forms, Spirit Binding, Summoning, and Channeling (as well as Elven Songs and Wolf Howls, I guess). Channeling is a customised skill-based magic systems for humans which requires a Gifted-like trait and has now made a lot of use of the Fighting Arts rules to help make it even more adaptable which maintaining some rigidity.

The PCs are a Spirit Wolf and two members of a village, both Channelers, and are fighting against the forces of a powerful Named Spirit which appears to be slowly taking over the world, or something. I made a longer post about this a while ago, and that might chronicle it better.

Monoliths
G5 Forte G4 Power. (G10 MW, B5 Su, B10 Li)
B5 combat skill.
B4 Will
Nil Armour

Sand Things
G4 Speed.
B3 combat skill
B4 Observation, Tracking.
2D Armour

Vaktri (idea stolen from Exalted)
B8 Forte, B5 Power
4D Armour
G6 Will. G5 “Terrifying Commands”
B3 Combat Skill

I use spirits a lot in my games. One of the big inspirations for me (and Luke too) was a novel by Gregory Keyes called The Waterborn. Highly recommended.

I like to play summoners a lot. One of my favorites was a necromancer named Tybalt. The GM was heavily inspired by Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series. The PCs were siblings who ran a crew in a city inspired by Venice.

Summoning and Circination was the only magic in this setting, primarily the restless dead and sanctified dead orders. It was possible to summon higher-order spirits, but the knowledge required was rare and heavily restricted.

The upshot in this campaign was that the testimony of ghosts was considered authoritative in court because summoned spirits cannot lie to their interlocutors when providing revelation. Additionally, if your dead fell into enemy hands, any secrets they knew in life would become known.

Kidnapping and assassination were common. If two crews went to war, recovering the bodies of your fallen before the enemy could sieze them was paramount. The campaign predated Blades in the Dark and was fantasy rather than steampunk, but there were a lot of similarities with that game.

Tybalt walked around bedecked in jewelry made from the bones of the ghosts he commanded. Terrifying!

In a campaign I ran years ago, the PCs went through a faerie trod to the Goblin Market looking to acquire an object of power. I decided the fae were completely transactional, so anytime you engaged with one (“excuse me madam, can you tell us how to find the Plaza of Dreams?”) we used the Bargaining rules. It took the players a couple of encounters to catch on to what was happening. They still talk about that trip to the Goblin Market with dread.

For stats, I mainly use the Burning Rogues chapter from BWGR and slap on the Named and Spirit Nature traits. For ghosts I’ll use the Poltergeist or Rest in Peace traits.

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We recently had a demon unleashed by a botched Faith roll (I subtly updated the NPC’s Possession belief to “OH FUCK WHERE IS IT?!” on the wiki), but the player was concerned that unleashed felt wrong for her magic.

So, after some back and forth we decided she had healed the demon. Demons are a consequence of Rule of Names style magic interacting with Gods arguing. When a God curses out their rival, the words spilling from their mouth create beings that don’t belong in this world.

Most demons are in constant pain because the world doesn’t suit them, and go to the underworld to make a place that does. Most demons cause problems because the things that they think are good are horrific for mortals. Think " they do not know the difference between pleasure and pain".

I have started mocking up some pseudolifepaths to make back stories and stats, but it’s Audit Season where I work.

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