D&D 5E When Demons Intrude (Wandering Monsters 10/23/13)


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I like the general premise. Summoning Demons should (by default; individual campaigns may differ) be a big deal, and a Demon Prince should be an even bigger deal. I 100% agree with that.

Though, I didn't really understand the point of the Orcus mention. It seemed a little bland with a side of bland while not really making sense in the context of the article.

I dislike the Gnoll story. I dislike it less now that I've had time to think about it. My initial reaction was probably more extremely negative than was warranted. I've managed to move from "absolute hate" to "dislike, but can live with I guess."

I was going to post exactly this. So, this.

The Orcus link is really out there. I don't use demons (or devils) much, but they tend to be memorable singles when I do. A demon prince would be a major campaign element.
 

pemerton

Legend
I don't like the gnoll story. I found that 4e made gnolls and Yeenoghu interesting to me for the first time - because of their role in the fall of Nerah - but an origin story involving Yondalla is pretty weak. And there's no real permenanent mark there, either - the whole point of the story seems to be to justify a status quo (Yeenoghu is back on the Abyss, where he belongs; anytime that there were not gnolls in the world is some mythical pre-play time that we won't actually deal with in the game) rather than set up a dynamic situation.

Like others, I didn't really follow the Orcus/Bloodstone bit.

The bit I liked least, though, was this:

Wyatt said:
ummoning a vrock or a bone devil is not easy. Well, bringing a devil to you isn't necessarily hard, but getting it to do what you want it to do is trickier—you need to give it something as well. And summoning a demon requires a messy blood sacrifice, so you're not going to do it unless you're really evil. It's easier to bring something like a modron or slaad, a yugoloth, or a gehreleth (demodand), and there are fewer strings attached.
The implication of this is that the focus of play should shift away from interesting, immediately engaging monsters like devils and demons and on to ones that have meaning only for a certain group of Planescape cogniscenti (demodands, daemons, modrons).
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I always found the combination of improved invisibility, flight, and fireball broke the game. The roving invisible helicopter of doom, able to take down entire pirate ships alone, in just a couple of minutes.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
The implication of this is that the focus of play should shift away from interesting, immediately engaging monsters like devils and demons and on to ones that have meaning only for a certain group of Planescape cogniscenti (demodands, daemons, modrons).

Huh, never been called cogniscenti before. :)

But I'll agree with you partly here in that I vehemently disagree with Wyatt's statement that summoning something like a modron, slaad, yugoloth, or gehreleth should be intrinsically easier than summoning a demon or devil. Why? Honest question, why does he think that? I'm baffled here. Secondly I would posit that something being easier to summon can often mean that there are going to be even more strings attached (especially with 'loths) rather than fewer as Wyatt states.
 

Kinak

First Post
But I'll agree with you partly here in that I vehemently disagree with Wyatt's statement that summoning something like a modron, slaad, yugoloth, or gehreleth should be intrinsically easier than summoning a demon or devil. Why? Honest question, why does he think that? I'm baffled here. Secondly I would posit that something being easier to summon can often mean that there are going to be even more strings attached (especially with 'loths) rather than fewer as Wyatt states.
Honestly, I felt like he was just rating them from most to least iconic. Like the iconic monsters are tough to summon, but the equally powerful monsters he didn't feel are as iconic are easier to summon.

Personally, if they're going to have easy-mode summons, I'd prefer that stick with elementals.They seem like the sort of thing wizards should be calling at a moments notice.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
The implication of this is that the focus of play should shift away from interesting, immediately engaging monsters like devils and demons and on to ones that have meaning only for a certain group of Planescape cogniscenti (demodands, daemons, modrons).

Seriously, though, that's pretty awful. "Demons and devils are too evil, so summon something else evil but not as interesting because plot"? I'm severely weirded out by the taking of interesting opponents and boxing them off as "too storyline important to put in your own stories".
 
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MarkB

Legend
The part I really hated about the Gnolls origin story was this:

Wandering Monsters said:
Although they were originally contained to that one Prime Material world, they spread like a plague and infected nearly every known world of the D&D multiverse.

The whole point of having a D&D multiverse is that you get to use different background stories in different settings. Sure, maybe Yee-know-who created them in that fashion in, say, Greyhawk, but in Forgotten Realms or Eberron their origins could be completely different.


The article concentrates on demons, but I think its basic concept should apply to any sufficiently-powerful extraplanar being. Summon a high-ranking Celestial or Elemental into the Prime and you'll see equally long-term effects in their wake.

And even in the case of the good-aligned beings, those effects aren't necessarily going to be all good, because however beneficent they seem, they're still a distortion of the natural laws of the Prime Material plane, and as such can have unpredictable side-effects.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
We're obviously discussing different adventures. The one I am talking about is The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga, TSR 9471 for AD&D 2E, published 1995. And it's goofy as hell.

<EDIT> And now that I've found the one in #83, it's only for 9th level and above anyway, not the 14th+ level ones I was discussing.

Actually, what is says is: "The Dancing Hut is designed to challenge high-level characters to the limits of their ability; characters below 9th level should not go adventuring in this module."

First, thats probably a realistic take on "high level."

In any case, 14th level characters would certainly be challenged. Its a thinking persons adventure with a lot of spell nerfing, as was the style of the time. There are also tips on how to power things up (Natasha summoning demons, powerful visitors...) And with higher level characters they could encounter the old which herself. She's at the back of the adventure. And is a nearly indestructible 25th level MU, 14th level druid, and 15th level illusionist. Lloth has nothing on her.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Seriously, though, that's pretty awful. "Demons and devils are too evil, so summon something else evil but not as interesting because plot"? I'm severely weirded out by the taking of interesting opponents and boxing them off as "too storyline important to put in your own stories".

Yeah. I think summoning demons and devils should be a big deal, but summoning modrons and slaadi should be an equally big deal. For that matter, so should summoning angels. My take is something like this:

  • Devils: The easiest to summon, devils are positively eager to respond, and quite helpful. The deals they offer typically involve immediate assistance in exchange for a measure of long-term control over the summoner. Though devils have a reputation for twisting words, they seldom do so in these situations. They prefer to build trust to encourage repeat business, with the ultimate aim of bringing the summoner wholly under the devil's thrall.
  • Demons: Also relatively easy to summon, demons require grisly sacrifices to lure them in. They don't make deals. A summoned demon will do as you say for as long as you're strong enough to make it submit. The instant you show weakness, it will turn on you. Demons also seize any opportunity to wreak havoc, and their very presence is a blight on the world, so they are best kept on a short leash.
  • Demodands: Demodands can't be truly summoned, as they are tightly bound to the plane of Tartarus (also called Carceri). However, they can be called to take delivery of prisoners. If you have someone or something you need locked away forever, summon a demodand to take whatever it is off your hands, no charge. Just don't ask for it back.
  • Daemons: Daemons (also called yugoloths) are mercenaries who demand payment in souls, and you had better be ready to settle your bill when they report in. Unlike devils, they don't try to build long-term relationships. They're much more transactional; summon the daemon, make your offer, it does what you want, you pay and it leaves. If you give them a loophole, they'll take it every time. Fail to deliver your end, and they'll take your soul to settle the account.
  • Modrons: A modron has a job to do, and it's going to do it. If it finds itself trapped in a summoning circle, it does what it must to get out of that circle and back to work ASAP. That said, modrons also operate under a bewildering array of rules and regulations, which dictate what they can and can't do at any given moment, so the modron will almost always insist on reams of fine print to any deal. Summoning a modron is a bureaucratic nightmare for which very few wizards have the patience. If you do strike a deal with one, it upholds its end to the letter (but not necessarily the spirit).
  • Slaadi: Slaadi can be summoned but not controlled. No bargain is binding on a slaad, and it does what it likes without regard to its summoner. On the plus side, they bear their summoners no particular malice--they aren't evil like demons or devils--so they can be a great way to start a diversion or generally sow confusion.
  • Angels: Angels are the hardest to summon, and absolutely will not submit to control. Instead, they must be petitioned for aid. Worthy petitions are answered; unworthy ones are rejected; truly unworthy ones are punished with a blast of divine fire.
 

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