Green Sun Rising
Demon Summoning, Banishment, and Binding
A History of Demon-Binding:
After the Primordials were first sewn into Malfeas, there was a period where contact with demons was viewed as treason. So much has been lost in the war—generations of mortal lives, entire continents and concepts, the cycle of reincarnation itself being thrown into peril. Only a madman or Yozi sympathizer would risk that by seeking contact with the fallen Titans or their lesser souls.
However, the arrogance of humanity was equal to that of their fallen enemies. As the war receded into memory, and the Exalted came into their own as the new rulers of Creation, many argued that they had little to fear, and much to gain from the imprisoned Titans. How much knowledge and power was imprisoned in Malfeas, bound behind surrender oaths? It likely began by happenstance—certain natural phenomena, especially around Calibration, allow demons to slip between the Realms. Perhaps during one of these occasions, a deal was struck in the middle of battle—knowledge, in exchange for the chance to experience Creation again. A prisoner’s deal with a guard. Or perhaps a wandering Lunar ranged far enough that, by some accident, they slipped into Hell, and found that there was more there than just bitterness and danger. However it happened, in the generations that followed the Primordials’ imprisonment, Creation began to speak to their fallen masters once again, deals struck in the shadows.
This cumulated, of course, in the Advent of Sorcery. If the legends are to be believed, Mara taught Brigid to speak to Creation in the ancient language of the Primordials, unlocking the art of Sorcery to all Exalted that followed. Did the Deer-Footed One know that by doing so, she had unlocked the key to demon-binding as well? Was it a grand accident? The deepest betrayal yet, of her father? Or part of a grander scheme to allow demons to roam in Creation again, still bound, but no longer Anathema? If it was the latter, it worked entirely too well—according to the records of the Shogunate, biased as they are, the twilight years of the Deliberative were built almost entirely off of the servitude of Demons.
More than a thousand years after the Usurpation, Demon-Summoning has become ingrained in the landscape of creation, be it the summoning circles that dot the halls of the Heptagram on the Blessed Isle, the demon-cults of the South, or the thousands of legends of sorcerer kings being betrayed and overthrown by their servants. It is still a dangerous art, yet still too useful to ignore for a sorcerer. Malfeas offers much, and demands very little. At the same time, no matter how powerful, a sorcerer always risks being destroyed by their art—either from a demon broken free, or the terror and suspicions of lesser minds
Summoning a Demon:
Binding a Demon is, to put it lightly, a complex process. Firstly, it’s expensive. All demon summoning requires a ritual circle—most regular summons use iron inlaid in the floor of a specialized chamber, which can be purchased from specialized contractors for Resources 1. That level of caution is not strictly required—a quick circle can be constructed with an (Intelligence+Occult) roll at a Difficulty of 3, and an interval of one scene. A botch in the process results in a non-obviously flawed circle, which renders the control roll impossible.
The second step in summoning a demon is discovering a suitable demon, and amassing sacrifices. All summoning a demon truly requires is a name, and a sorcerous initiation. In fact, when summoning a First-Circle demon, you don’t even need the name of a specific demon—the lineage and nature of the type of demon you’re attempting to summon is sufficient. However, more powerful demons require exact names, and some sorcerers prefer to work with demons that they’ve used in the past. All demons also have links — objects with a spiritual connection to the demon that make summoning it easier.
The Summoning Roll:
The Sorcerer first pays 2m up front per Circle of Demon to open a rift between Realms. Sacrifice can substitute for Essence—every magnitude of humans reduces the cost by 2m, and every magnitude of large animals reducing the cost 1m.
Second, an extended ritual is required, with a Threshold of (Demon’s Essence), a Cumulative Difficulty of (Circle of Demon x 10), and interval of one hour. All demon summonings must be occur at night, and must be completed by dawn. Each link to the demon subtracts 1 from the Threshold. A new moon subtracts 2 from the threshold, and Calibration subtracts 3. A botch results in automatic failure.
The Control Roll:
Summoning a demon is not nearly enough—once they’ve arrived, you have to bind it. Firstly, if the ritual circle is flawed in any way, the demon may immediately escape. The sorcerer has no chance to impose their will on them—they are free to do as they wish unless stopped by work. Assuming the circle is suitable, however, a contest of wills begins
Each party rolls (Temporary Willpower) against the other, with each Link adding a success to the Summoner’s roll, until one party wins (Circle) rolls.
If the Demon wins, it breaks free. If the summoner wins, they may issue one task to the demon. This task must either have a fixed conclusion—eg, the death of a rival, or have a duration of no longer than “until calibration” for first circle, “a season” for second circle, or “a month” for a third circle. At the end of this period, the demon returns to Malfeas. A summoned demon will obey its controller’s orders so long as they are at least tangentially related to it’s summoned purpose. It is rumored that it is possible to bind Demons to the world for even longer durations, but such a feat would require a sorcerous working in addition to summoning.
Paying the XP:
Controlling a demon is taxing. A summoned demon costs (Essence*2) XP to control. This XP is refunded when the demon is no longer useful to the summoner.