Runequest Thursday #75 - Wizardry, Part Two, On Demons!

Clint Staples

Last week we took a look at Wizards and the process of demon summoning. This week we are going to deal with the other side of the Pentacle - Demons. Today's post gives you the final part of the Binding procedure that we went into last week, then gets into all the details on demons, how they are built, what they can do and how the wizard can affect what he gets. This week deals with Lesser Demons and gives some hints about Greater Demons - which we will go into next week!

So without further ado . . .  the last bit of last week's post, which appears to have fallen off, or been removed by a particular crafty daemon.


Having arrayed all of his Primes and Strictures, the wizard may then attempt to force them on the demon by Binding it to the pact – If he is able. Powerful Demons have Binding Resistance, just as some also have Summoning Resistance.

Binding Resistance does not reduce the Wizardry Skill of the Binder. It reduces her Manipulation Limit. Thus a Binding resistance of 1 reduces the Manipulation Limit, and therefore the number of Strictures that may be placed on a demon’s binding. If the Modified Manipulation Limit is reduced below 3, the demon simply cannot be bound by that wizard. The Primes cannot be enforced, so no binding will hold.

What this also means is that it is harder to get what you want out of a powerful demon. A Rank 5 Noble of the Far Realms, with Binding Resistance of 3 or higher, would reduce many wizard’s Manipulation limit for the binding down to 4 or less, reducing the Strictures one can place on its service. For this reason, wizards with the temerity to summon Greater Demons at all, usually content themselves with a single service, rather than trying to bind a Duke of the Hell into a sword, for example.

The Contest

If all of the above has been done correctly, the wizard may attempt to Bind the Demon with a POWer Contest with the demon. The Wizard receives a Bonus to his personal POW of 1/10 of his Wizardry Skill. So a POW 19 Wizard, with a skill of 76, would fight this contest with an effective POW of 26 (19+7).

If the wizard wins, the demon is bound according to the Primes and Strictures of the Pact. The Wizard must immediately sacrifice 1 permanent POWer Point for each Stricture of the binding. This sacrifice must come from his own personal POWer.

If the wizard fails, but does not Fumble, he suffers 1d3 POWer damage and may try again. If he has a familiar or other source of POWer, he can temporarily replensh this damage and maintain his full POWer in the Contest. Otherwise his POWer in the contest is reduced by this amount.

He may attempt to Bind the demon a number of times equal to his Modified Manipulation Limit, unless he rolls a Fumble, each time risking more damage, and a Fumble. When the limit is reached, he must dismiss the demon or risk it getting loose on its own.

If a Binding attempt is a Fumble, the Demon may immediately return to its home if it wishes. It is no longer held within the Binding Sigil and may attack the wizard or attempt to escape the area. However, many demons await a blunder such as this in hopes of gaining a servant or concessions.


NOW, on to this week proper!

Demons and Wizards

A Wizard may have a number of bound demons equal to his Manipulation Limit. This includes all that he has bound to him personally, into items or in places over which he has control, or any that he has not relinquished control of ritually. Demons that are bound to a single service count against this limit until their service is fulfilled and they are released.

Demons by Rank

There are 5 ranks of demons that may be summoned and bound by Wizards, each rank more powerful than those previous and increasingly difficult to summon and bind.

When a wizard summons a demon, he may have a degree of control over the form that it takes. This is reflected by the degree to which he may alter the form of the demon as determined via random generation. The GM can roll up demons in advance for a wizard to choose from, have a selection of demons available for summons as gleaned from rare demonic grimoires and tomes, or allow a wizard free reign to roll or design his own.

The basic assumption is that any wizard has only limited control over the form that a particular demon takes, as well as its powers. This is reflected by the wizard’s Manipulation Limit, which allows a wizard to re-roll or choose powers, essentially customizing his demon.

Note: If a players is not getting exactly what he wants, and continually dismisses a series of demons as unacceptable, the GM should feel free to increase the difficulty of summoning, the cost or rarity of ritual components, etc. Commanding demons is not intended to be full comprehensible to even the most powerful of wizard.

Lesser Demons

Many wizards have taken to imposing some of the social structure of their own society upon the demonic multitudes. While this analogy is limited, it does make for a somewhat regular demonic taxonomy.

Rank 1 – Demonic Churl or Serf

These are the lowest class of demons, often referred to in grimoires by the following terms: imps, quasits, or manes. They make good body servants and assistants, fetchers of things and people, or lesser guardians, but are not particularly formidable.

POW: 2d8+8

Demon Points: 8d8 + Wizardry Skill

Summoning Assistance: +20% - Demonic Churls swarm around weaknesses in cosmic reality like flies to ordure. Whether this is because they are drawn to such places naturally, or they yearn to escape the attentions of those demons greater than they is a disputed notion among wizards. Certainly, quasits and imps are the most common visitors from the far realms, and often haunt both sides of a demonic gate or dimensional weakness. The end result is that it is especially easy to summon a demonic churl.

Base Damage 1d4


Rank 2 – Common Demonling or Demonette

These demons have sufficient power to be more generally useful, but are still not difficult to summon and bind. They are limited in their intellect and abilities however, and often find themselves bound as succubi, incubi, mounts, demons of combat or more potent versions of Rank 1 Demons.

POW: 3d8+8

Demon Points: 12d8 + Wizardry Skill

Base Damage 1d6


Rank 3 – Demonic Knight, Tarkhan, Councillor, Tutor

Rank 3 demons are embedded in the activity of their own realms, often acting as powerful underlings to greater demons. Thus they are more difficult to tempt from their homes.

POW: 2d8+12

Demon Points: 16d8 + Wizardry Skill

Summoning Resistance: -20%

Base Damage 1d8


Greater Demons: This section is just a Placeholder for the next Post on Greater Demons, in which we will expand on their powers and such. What you see is where I am at so far, but I need to work with the numbers some.

Next week I can firm these up, and perhaps even have an example or two.

Update: the next part of this series has the completed Greater Demons write-ups and more.

Rank 4 – Demon Lords

Base Damage 2d8

Summoning Resistance: -40%

Binding Resistance: 2


Rank 5 – Dukes of the Far Realms

Base Damage 3d8

Summoning Resistance -80%

Binding Resistance: 4



Demon Creation: Demon Points and Power Picks

Each demon is constructed using a number of Demon Points, which are based on the demon’s Rank, and modified by the Wizardry skill of the one doing the summoning. From these Demon Points the wizard’s player must give the demon attributes and powers. Each roll on an available Table (the rank of the demon or lower) costs one Pick. Each Pick is rolled randomly from that table. Occasionally, an entry may direct you to a different, usually lower table. One Pick costs 5 Demon Points.

In practice, the design of a demon may involve a little back and forth between Apportioning Points and Picks. This is fine, and encouraged. However – once a Pick is rolled, that roll remains and the points for it are spent. The player may choose to spend further points of Picks, but may not re-do a roll already done.

Details such as overall appearance, coloring, facial feature, claws, fangs, tusks, horns etc; even the general shape of the demon are left to the imagination of the wizard’s player, subject to the powers a demon has and any appearance changes that a power might engender. So a demon might have wings, but unless one of the demon’s pick results was “Wings” or “Flight”, they are somehow non-functional (presumably the wizard’s player wanted them there because she included them in her description).

In some power description you may see: “You may spend a Pick freely to . . .” This means that, if your demon has this ability, you may spend one of your picks to enhance the Power as noted. You don’t have to roll for this, just spend one of your picks. 


Demons: Attributes and Skills

Demons are not “Complete” creatures in their home realms, and need not be so when summoned and bound. Thus a demon May have an Attribute of “0” in place of any of STR, DEX, CHA. Any of the other Attributes )with the exception of POWer) may have any number that is not “0”. POWer is determined when the demon is summoned and is derived from the Attribute range in the demons Rank description. The summoning wizard is free to add POW to the demon from available Demon Points, but this will increase the Demon’s POW during the Binding, making it more difficult to Bind.

When allotting Demon Points to Attributes, care should be taken to allow sufficient level of an attribute to allow the demon to do what is envisioned. Thus a combat demon should probably have sufficient STR, CON and DEX (and possibly SIZ) to be effective as a fighter; in the same way a succubus would benefit from high CHA and sufficient SIZ for its function if it is to act as a “companion” or spy. The Powers a demon has are core to its sense of self, and its attributes probably will reflect those powers. Each power has a listed attribute that is used to adjudicate that power’s effect should the need arise.

Similarly Demons do not have Skills as such. Any skill defaults to the most likely Attribute roll. The percentile of the roll is Attribute x 5 + Attribute x Rank. Demons do not have all skills however, only being competent at those in which they have attributes of 11 or higher. So if you want a Demon Advisor, make sure that its INT is 11 or higher. If you want a demon that can run and jump give it an 11 or higher in DEX. If you are unsure of which attribute to use in a particular case, consult the Powers Tables for the governing Attribute for a similar power.


Defending Against Demons

Demons are defined by their Rank, but also by their Attributes. When a contest would normally be called for, it works as it would if there were no demons involved. So a demon that tries to “Seduce” (a Rank 2 Power) would need to succeed at a CHA contest against its target. Wizards should remember this when they assign attributes to their demons. For this purpose, each Power has a governing Attribute associated with it.

For purposes of protection, magical and otherwise, a Lesser demon’s rank is its Power level for overcoming magic. Thus a spell-like ability used by a quasit (Rank 1) would count as level 1 for purposes of overcoming Countermagic, for example.

In the case of Greater Demons, defensive Battle Magic has no effect against them at all. Only Rune magic or other equally potent magic will stop their abilities. Note: this applies to Battle Magic used to affect the demon. Thus, Protection 6 does not stop damage from a Demon Lord, but Peirce 3 on a hero’s sword will still penetrate any armor it might have.



Ranked Powers:

Each rank of demons has access to a set of powers. Each higher rank includes all powers available to lower ranks. So a Rank 4 demon may have powers from ranks 1-4. Powers each require one Pick from the Points available from those available to the Wizard.

·      The wizard may allot as many points to picks as she wishes, rolling randomly for each.

·      She may add further picks, to add more rolls, or to reroll a power. She may even do this multiple times if she can afford to spend demon points in this way.

·      For two Picks, the wizard may choose a power freely from any allowable Table of the demon’s Rank, or for One Pick may choose freely from a Power on a Lower Table.


Rank 1: Roll 1d20

  1. Animalistic Features (INT) – The demon has a physical appearance reminiscent of a beast. It may be bestial in form, a hybrid of man and another creature, or take a portion of the body of the creature.
  2. Appeal (CHA) – the Demon has an appealing aspect. This may be physical beauty, an aura that attracts or some combination of the two. The demon generally manages a favourable impression on first contact unless the demon attacks, the target is suspicious or knows the true nature of the demon, or the demon reveals that nature. Targets so impressed are generally willing to do favors for the demon, usually rather small, brief or non life-changing in nature. If the demon must contest for a favourable result or wishes to request a favour of a target, it receives +25% to its CHA check.
  3. Armor (CON) – Every 2 Points spent raises the Armor Points of the Creature by 1.
  4. Chameleonic (DEX)– The demon’s skin changes color and texture to mimic its surrounding, adding +1d8x5% to Hide checks.
  5. Dark Vision (INT) – The creature can see in darkness equally as well as a cat.
  6. Disturbing Appearance (CHA) – One or more aspects of this creature are disturbing or disgusting, beyond the norm for demons. The wizard’s player should make sure the description is suitably horrid or bizarre. Any foe first encountering it, suffers a -1d8 to Initiative.
  7. Extra Body Location(s) (SIZ) – Roll 1d20, the demon has an extra of that location with the same Armor Points and Hit Points as the original location. If you rolled legs or arms, you may spend an extra pick to gain a pair of limbs. If legs, add +2 Move, if arms, add an extra melee attack at base damage. If body add Rank x 1d4 in SIZ (greater demons may choose all details of this Power).
  8. Far Vision (INT) – The creature can see things that are 20 times as far away as if they were within a few yards.
  9. Foul Smelling (CON) – The demon exudes a terrible scent that drives other away. The demon can choose to affect those within Rank in Yard with CON Contest. Those who fail must move beyond that area for Rank in Minutes before they try again.
  10. Improved Damage (STR) – The creature’s damage with one attack form is particularly devastating (which should be represented by the description of the creature). Increase the damage listed by 1 Demonic Rank (Rank 3 damage of 1d8 become 2d8).
  11. Improved Fighting (DEX) – The demon is better than normal at fighting. Any attacks it gain a bonus to hit of Rank x DEX over the norm.
  12. Leaping (STR) – the demon can leap, or pounce into melee, allowing it a leap of STR in Yards. If it pounces into melee, it gains +5 Strike ranks and a +2 Damage bonus on its first attack if it makes an Athletics check.
  13. Magical Adept (INT) – The demon can aid in magical work in the same way as an assistant or apprentice, even allowing the wizard to use its POWer for spellcasting or ritual purposes.
  14. Mimic (INT) – The demon can mimic a living thing it touches or studies for an extended period. This is only illusory, and lasts for 1 encounter at Rank 1, 1 hour at Rank 2, 1 day for rank 3. Greater demons can maintain a mimicked appearance for as long as they desire.
  15. Missing Location (SIZ) – roll 1d20, the location is missing. The resulting creature may be a deformed version of a “base’ Creature, or the missing location may appear almost normal.
  16. Negate Energy (POW) - The demon can negate 1d8 damage to itself from a chosen elemental source per turn. The Wizard may specify a single elemental or other source.
  17. Resistance (CON) – The demon negates 50% of damage or effect from 1 chosen Elemental Source per Rank.
  18. Running (DEX) – The demon’s Move is Increased by Rank x DEX.
  19. Swimming (CON) – Swim at a speed equal to ½ CON yards per turn.
  20. Wily (DEX) - This demon is agile and difficult to hit. Whenever an attack is directed at the demon the chance of it hitting is reduced by Rank x 10%.


Rank 2: Roll 1d12

  1. Absorb Energy (POW) – the demon can absorb 1d8 damage or energy from a chosen elemental source per turn, negating that much damage. The Wizard may specify a single elemental or other source. The absorbed energy replenishes any POWer used by the demon.
  2. Acidic Touch(DEX) – Instead of attacking with tooth or claw, the demon may attack to grap or slap, inflicting 1d6 bonus acid damage (which damages armor in the location
  3. Blind (INT)  – The demon has no eyes or they do not function. It is immune to any visual effects. Instead, the creature focuses on another sense to orient itself and fight. At Rank 2, this is Hearing, which can be foiled by Stealth, either magical or Mundane. The creature also takes 1.5x effect from damage or deleterious effects based on sound. At higher rank, other senses may be used instead of Hearing. 
  4. Choice (POW) – The wizard's player may spend an additional pick to choose a power  on the current Rank Table or may, without spending the additional pick, choose a power at will from the Tables for lower Ranks.
  5. Clinging (DEX) – The demon can move up walls and across ceilings as easily as it can over normal terrain. Rgged surfaces reduce its movement in the same way, regardless of the orientation of the demon’s travel.
  6. Corrosive (CON) – Any object or weapon piercing the demon’s hide (doing Hit Point damage) suffers Rank Base Damage.
  7. Heat Vision (INT) – The creature can perceive the heat given off by objects and creatures. One benefit of this is that invisibility often does not mask heat.
  8. Special Attack (POW) – The creature possesses a ranged attack of some sort: spikes its hurls, a gout of fire it spits, a spear of ice it can create and throw, for Rank x5 Close Range/ Rank x20 Far Range, or a Cone that projects from the creature’s position a number of yards equal to Rank x3. Damage is 2 x Rank Base Damage. Chance to hit = Rank x (CON+DEX+INT+POW)%. The creature can make this attack Rank x3 times per day. A pick may freely be spent to increase the Rank of any one of the above amounts 
  9. Tracking (POW) – The creature can track (as the Advanced Skill) using POW x5 as its percentile chance of success.
  10. Tunneling (STR) – Move through earth and stone by use of claws, tusks or other physical means, at a speed of Rank in yards per round.  A Pick may be spent freely to enable that a tunnel may be left open in the demon’s wake so that others can use it.
  11. Waterwalking (DEX) – Move across water and other liquids as though they were solid. This does not confer immunity to any damage or effects that would result from contact with those liquids.
  12. Wings (DEX) – As long as its wings are not out of commission a demon may fly at a speed equal to its DEX in Yards per Round.


Rank 3: Roll 1d12

  1. Choice The wizard's player may spend an additional pick to choose a power  on the current Rank Table or may, without spending the additional pick, choose a power at will from the Tables for lower Ranks.
  2. Crystalline Heart (POW) – The demon has a heart of magically potent crystal. The binding wizard can commands the demon to spend Crystalline energy from its heart to heal itself or another on a 1 POW to 1 Hit Point ration. The Heat has a POW rating equal to that of the demon. If the demon dies, any unspent POW in the Crystalline Heart may be used in the same way by whoever possesses the heart.
  3. Corrupting Touch (CON) – The demon’s touch causes organic things, including flesh, to putrify and corrupt. This does 1d4 CON and Base Damage not reduced by armor.
  4. Demonic Tutor (INT) – The demon is able to instruct and inform on nearly any subject. A demonic tutor must have 11 or higher. Tutelage counts as training under a skilled instructor in any Skill you wish, but time must be spent, just in normal training. The Demon cannot tutor a skill any higher than its own ability in that skill (INTx5 + INTx Rank).
  5. Detect (INT) – The creature has the ability to detect a particular type of thing (examples include, enemies, life, magic, gold, etc;] in a radius equal to Rank x INT Yards. The accuracy and detail is based on the success level of the roll.
  6. Eldritch Movement (STR/ SIZ) – The demon is capable of a single chosen form of supernatural movement (Phasing through solid substances, traveling as mist or smoke, Traveling from shadow to Shadow, or fire to fire, etc). If the movement is measured in Speed (phasing or moving as mist, for example), this is Rank x2 Yards. If the measure is distance instantaneously (instantly stepping through one mirror and out another, for example) the Distance is Rank in miles for Rank 3; Rank x100 Miles for Rank 4; and unlimited distance for Rank 5. The demon can transport 1 SIZ for Each SIZ and STR it possesses. This transport can include a willing subject (including yourself) or a subdued, unwilling one, if sufficient SIZ can fit into the limit.
  7. Invisible (DEX) – the Demon may become invisible at will. It will become visible when it attack or is successfully attacked or detected. You may spend a pick freely to allow the demon to include you in its invisibility when you are within in Rank in Yards.
  8. Poison (CON) – The creature has a poisonous bite or sting, equal to CON in Potency. If the attack does any hits of damage to a victim, the Poison does Rank x Rank Point of damage to the victim’s attribute [Roll 1d8 to determine the affected attribute when the power is rolled. On an 8 you can choose the attribute).
  9. Regenerative (CON) – The Demon regenerates 1 point per Rank each round. If more than a single location is wounded, heal points are spread among them as equally as possible, starting with the head(s), Chest, Abdomen, then spreading out to limbs.
  10. Supernatural Sense (INT) – The demon can perceive the world through a supernatural sense that allows near-perfect perception within a stated area. Beyond that area, the demon must rely on mundane senses. The radius of the area is equal to POW in yards, within which the demon can see invisible things, sense magic and spiritual energy, and detect things like teleportation or other incursions into the area as they begin. In addition to the above, this renders the demon immune to surprise from threats originating within the area of the Supernatural Sense.
  11. Petrification (POW) – With a scratch, or a glance, the demon can turn a target to stone (Choose one method). If a melee attack the attack must do at least on Hit of damage of the target. The target is attacked by POW vs. CON, and is turned to stone if this succeeds. If the attack is at range, the target and the demon must each be visible to the other. The target is attacked by POW vs. CON with the results as above. The Petrification lasts for Rank in Days (rank 3), Years (rank 4), Permanent (Rank 5). However, a relatively straightforward method for being transformed back to flesh must be stated when this power is rolled (Touched by Moonlight, Spattered with Blessed Water, or by Blood, etc). ideally this mentod should fit the theme of the demon, and would be known to wizards and lore-masters on a Demon Lore or Arcane Lore check.
  12. Teleportation (INT) – The demon can travel instantaneously across vast distances. The maximum distance is Rank x the Demon’s INT in Miles. The demon can transport 1 SIZ for Each SIZ and STR it possesses. This transport can include a willing subject (including yourself) or a subdued, unwilling one, if sufficient SIZ can fit into the limit. You may freely spend a Pick to enable a rank 3 Demon to travel Inter-dimensionally, if allowed by the GM. Greater Demons can do this whether you want them to or not.


Rank 4: Roll 1d10

  1. Choice The wizard's player may spend an additional pick to choose a power on the current Rank Table or may, without spending the additional pick, choose a power at will from the Tables for lower Ranks.
  2. Beguiling Form (CHA) – The creature can adopt the full form and semblance of other creatures, though it gains none of their powers, allowing it to approach, even beguile or seduce. The form may be maintained indefinitely, and does not inhibit the use of any of the demon’s other power, even if the “semblance” does not display the power. When desired by the demon, the power simply manifests: claws or fangs sprout, A bolt of lightning spews forth, wings erupt, etc.
  3. Command Own Kind (POW) – The creature can command and control others of a “kind” that it shares. This might be elemental beings that share an element, a creature that its true form resembles (even humans), or even other demons. The Commander can state a command with a finite limit [use the Binding Primes and Strictures as a guide, if you like. Demons think this way, which is why wizards use them). If the demon wins a POW vs. POW, the affected creature will do its bidding to the best of its ability. 
  4. Elemental Radiation (POW) – the demon radiates its Base Damage in a chosen elemental form, for Rank in Yards around it.
  5. Extension (INT) – Choose a power of this Rank or lower: its numerical effect is extended in one way from the following lists: Damage, Duration, Radius, Range, or Rank of Effect.
  6. Life Drain (CON) – The creature can drain the blood or life energy from a victim as it touches, bites, etc. The creature may drain 1d3 Points per Rank of CON (Blood), or POW (Life Force) whenever it strikes in melee, or touches a willing victim. This stolen CON or POW automatically heals damage currently suffered, as determined by the demon.
  7. Master of Lore (INT) – The demon is versed in every aspect of a particular Lore. It can answer just about any question on the subject, even things lost to history, or not yet discovered. The Lore in question is determined when the demon is summoned.
  8. Paralyzing Gaze (POW) – The Demon can Paralyze Rank number of targets with a POW contest. The Paralysis lasts until Dispelled by magic, dismissed by the demon, or successfully resisted in a POW Contest.
  9. Poison Cloud (CON) – A deadly cloud issues from the demon, either as a radius around it, or a cone forward of it. On a successful CON Contest, the Poison does Rank Points of damage to victims attribute [Roll 1d8 to determine the affected attribute when the power is rolled. On an 8 you can choose the attribute). Radius is equal to Rank in Yards; Cone is rank x2 Yards long, and Rank wide at its furthest extent.
  10. Shapeshifting (INT)– The Creature may shapeshift freely, exchanging STR, CON, SIZ and DEX points between these attributes, and altering its appearance. Any powers it has remain however, and the adopted form is largely cosmetic. The new form has any movement forms or attacks that make sense for the form, but powers are not automatic. So a demon may masquerade as a Basilisk if it wishes, but it can only paralyze targets if it has that ability.


Rank 5: Still working out the Powers for Rank 5. Come back Next Week for Greater Demons.