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The Demonologist

dark art, daemon, the witch

Encyclopaedia Arcane: Compendium

Authors August Hahn, Alexander Fennell, Matthew Sprange & Sam Witt

Publisher Mongoose Publishing

Publish date 2004

The demonologist is the quintessential practitioner of the dark art, toiling for long hours under his academic labours to harness the powers of the infernal planes. The vast majority of demonologists start off as wizards and most still practice their regular arcane magicks but the mainstay of their studies is firmly rooted within the realms of demons.

Most demonologists are solitary individuals, for there are few willing to grant them the freedom to practice the summoning rituals necessary to call forth the greatest of powers without comment. The very nature of the demonological art requires knowledge and components that any of the civilised races would find distasteful to the extreme. In addition, the penalties for any error the demonologist himself makes during the summoning of greater powers can cause a great deal of harm to any around him as demons, freed from their shackles and at liberty to terrorise the material world for a short period of time, slaughter all around them.

There are, however, certain parties willing to risk the presence of a demonologist in order to further their own plans, whatever they may be. Powerful guilds and organisations or adventuring parties with few scruples may be welcoming of a demonologist into their ranks, who is likely to appear to be nothing more than a regular wizard until he actually starts to practice the black art.

Either way, demonologists are often regarded as strange people who rarely see the world as others do. After having faced the fiends of the infernal planes in direct and costly battles of sheer unadulterated willpower, few can remain completely unscathed. It is a tragic tale that many demonologists go into the practice with the purest of hearts, only to have their morals and standards constantly chipped and battered away until they become, quite literally, completely different people.

Hit Die: d4.


To qualify to become a demonologist, a character must fulfil all the following criteria.

Feats: Spell Mastery

Languages: Draconic

Class Skills

The demonologist’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Constitution), Craft (Intelligence), Decipher Script (Intelligence, exclusive skill), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Intelligence), Profession (Wisdom) and Spellcraft (Intelligence).

Skill points at each level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

The Demonologist
Class LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialSpells per Day
1+0+0+0+2 +1 level of existing class
2+1+0+0+3Siphon Demonic Energy+1 level of existing class
3+1+1+1+3Extended Instruction+1 level of existing class
4+2+1+1+4Lesser Control+1 level of existing class
5+2+1+1+4Multiple Summoning+1 level of existing class
6+3+2+2+5Demonic Vulnerability+1 level of existing class
7+3+2+2+5 +1 level of existing class
8+4+2+2+6Full Instruction+1 level of existing class
9+4+3+3+6 +1 level of existing class
10+5+3+3+7Greater Control+1 level of existing class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the demonologist prestige class.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Demonologists gain no proficiency in any weapon or armour.

Demonology: Demonologists are versed in the summoning and controlling of demons and so may use the Art of Summoning rules

Spells per Day: A demonologist continues training in arcane magic as well as his own field of research. Thus, when a new demonologist level is gained, the character also gains spells as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, get any additional benefits a character of that class would have gained, only the new spells.

This essentially means that he adds the level of demonologist to the level of another arcane spellcasting class the character already has and then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly. If the caster had more than one arcane spellcasting class before he became a demonologist, he must decide to which class he adds each level of demonologist for the purposes of determining spells per day when he adds the new level. Demonologist levels are never added to a class that uses divine magic.

Siphon Demonic Energy: At 2nd level, the demonologist gains the ability to siphon demonic energies to fuel his own spellcasting

Extended Instruction: At 3rd level, a demonologist grows strong enough to compel the demons he summons to follow longer and more complicated instructions. The limit for each instruction issued grows to twelve words.

Lesser Control: At 4th level, the demonologist has the Strength of will to compel demons to serve him for longer periods of time. The maximum time a demon can stay in the material world is increased to two hours. Each successive Control check to retain the services of the demon for longer will now allow it to stay a further two hours in the material world instead of just one.

Multiple Summoning: At 5th level, the demonologist has grown so adept in his art that he may now summon more than one demon at a time.

Demonic Vulnerability: As the demonologist’s knowledge increases, so too does his ability to maximise the effect his spells have on the creatures of the infernal planes he may meet in battle. At 6th level, the demonologist may add +1 to his casting level whenever targeting a creature from the infernal planes with arcane magic spells.

Full Instruction: By the time he reaches 8th level, the demonologist has become truly skilled at controlling demons and forcing them to do his bidding. Even the most complicated instructions can now be given and will be obeyed. The limit for each instruction issued grows to twenty words.

Greater Control: The demonologist’s mastery of his art is almost complete as he reaches 10th level. He is now able to extend his control over demons in the material world for much greater lengths of time. The maximum time a demon can stay in the material world is increased to three hours. Each successive Control check to retain the services of the demon for longer will now allow it to stay a further three hours in the material world instead of just one.

The Art of Summoning- First Steps

woman, female, evil

Encyclopaedia Arcane: Compendium

Authors August Hahn, Alexander Fennell, Matthew Sprange & Sam Witt

Publisher Mongoose Publishing

Purchase Link Rpgnow

Content Puller John Whamond

Encyclopaedia Arcane Compendium V.I

Publish date 2004

A wizard who consciously chooses to set aside much of his normal research and concentrate on the lore of demonology is one who gambles his innermost soul in the quest for knowledge. We have looked at the risks involved in the practice, as well as those who undertake this dangerous pursuit. Now we will begin the first steps on the Dark Road.

This chapter will examine, in detail, the underlying fundamentals involved in the summoning and controlling of demons from the infernal planes. A wizard following these steps and performing his first initial research into the lore will have everything he needs to attempt his first summonation. To begin with, the fledgling demonologist is well advised to concentrate his energies on calling forth the weaker demonic entities – hell hounds, dretch and imps. Such creatures are relatively easy to control when summoned and the consequences of failure are greatly reduced. It is imperative to keep in mind that so long as the required rituals are known, there are no limits to what a demonologist may attempt to summon. In the unlikely event a fledgling demonologist learns the complicated rituals needed to summon a balor or pit fiend, there is absolutely nothing to stop him calling these insanely powerful creatures into the material world. His chances of controlling such entities are, however, non-existent. At best, he will be slain within seconds of completing the ritual. At worst, the enraged demon will carry him off to the infernal planes to suffer an eternity of torment amongst the most evil and twisted races known. In short, every demonologist is limited in what he may achieve by just two factors – the forbidden knowledge he is able to uncover and his own good sense. The successful practitioner will always recognise his own limits and never push himself too far too fast. Always remember that there is no such thing as a bad demonologist – such people quickly succumb to the excesses of the art they vainly attempt to control.

Research and Study

skull, library, wizard

The cornerstone of demonology is pure research. Practitioners spend much of their lives locating and interpreting forbidden lore, material often descending through the ages from the most ancient of times. It is a basic requirement of every demonologist that he become linguistically skilled in the use of languages that no mortal creature may have spoken or written in, perhaps, thousands of years. Such are the texts that speak of the creatures of the infernal planes – their names, capabilities and what forces are necessary to bring them into the material world where they may be bound or controlled by practitioners of sufficient will.

This knowledge is extremely rare and thus can pose the would-be demonologist with the immense difficulty of locating the information he needs to attempt even the most basic of summoning rituals. Some of the largest libraries of the world may hold a few sought-after scrolls and tomes within their darker recesses, though it is a common practice for periodic purges to destroy these valuable resources at the behest of well-meaning librarians. In the same vein, the personal libraries of arcane wizards may also contain a few books of interest to the demonologist, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf in some mystic study, treated as nothing more than a curiosity. Again, though, this is rare. It may also be worth watching any merchant or trader who regularly deals in ancient books. Tomes of forbidden lore occasionally pass through their hands, though it is highly unlikely they will recognise the worth of such an item.

It is doubtful that a practitioner relying purely on these sources will progress very far along the Dark Road over any period of time. In this practice, knowledge is most certainly power and those wishing to increase their abilities will have to work hard to uncover the forbidden lore vital to their studies.

The most obvious source of knowledge is another, more experienced, demonologist but this raises its own problems. Demonologists are, by their very nature, reclusive and small in number, suspicious of any who dare intrude upon their own studies. The practice of taking apprentices or sharing information is unheard of within demonology, such are the risks each practitioner runs of discovery. In addition, the process of physically taking another demonologist’s library by force is fraught with danger as not only will they have the power to call upon demonic creatures from the infernal planes, they are also highly likely to be accomplished spellcasters in their own right. All this said though, a demonologist’s collections of books and notes will be considered a real treasure trove by any other practitioner.

In reality, a demonologist will likely be forced to travel far and wide, throughout the dark and evil places of the world, following every story and rumour concerning the location of ancient texts. Unless the practitioner is unusually lucky, it may take a great deal of time to uncover the deepest secrets of demonology.

Once works of forbidden lore have been located, a demonologist’s research may begin. First the texts have to be translated into a form more readily accessible to the practitioner as they will usually be written in languages long since forgotten or even not of this world. This can take a great deal of time in itself, particularly for the inexperienced demonologist who will be encountering such languages for the very first time. This done, the demonologist must then employ his intellect into comprehending what he reads – deciphering is not understanding. There are many subtle nuances and twists within the art, all of which must be firmly fixed in the mind of the practitioner if he is not to court disaster. The knowledge he seeks may be buried within several texts, hidden by riddle and code, as is the nature of many forbidden and heretical lores.

With hard work, dedication and a great deal of lateral thought, however, the demonologist may emerge from his studies with the knowledge he so tirelessly sought to uncover. He will be ready to begin the summoning ritual.

Summoning Rituals

Though summoning rituals can vary wildly in their specifics, the fundamental practices of all have much in common and any demonologist will readily identify any ritual he witnesses as such, even if he is not familiar with the demonic entity being called. All summoning rituals call for a pentagram to be inscribed upon the ground, though the design is different for each demon and an incorrectly drawn form will have no power during a ritual. The ritual itself will require perhaps many hours of chants and calls, along with the consumption of various components, expended in much the same way as with the casting of arcane magic. Such rituals are the most lengthy part of the summoning process, particularly if the demonologist is unfamiliar with the demon he is attempting to call.

If the summonation proves successful, the demonic entity will appear, drawn from the infernal planes, into the pentagram before the demonologist. Now begins the shortest part of the ritual but also the most hazardous. The practitioner must apply his force of personality to break the spirit of the demon and bend it to his own demands. The successful application of this last process is the ultimate goal of all demonologists. Failure does not often grant one a second chance to correct mistakes.

It must be noted here that, contrary to popular beliefs, the sacrifice of animals or sentient beings is never required for the successful controlling of demonic entities. On the other hand, such offerings can greatly aid an evil demonologist with no remaining scruples and even the most accomplished of practitioners will be hard pressed to control the greatest of the demonic powers without a valuable soul to offer in exchange for services.

The Risks

We have spoken of the immense risks demonologists face in the practice of their art. But why is demonology a lore to be greatly respected, not just by those whom it may be employed against, but also by its actual practitioners?

The first stage of demonology, the uncovering of knowledge and the maintenance of secrecy whilst engaging in the practice is little different from that which other adventurers face on a day-to-day basis and need not be covered here. The summoning ritual itself holds little danger for the demonologist, other than the fear of discovery for it tends to be a fairly lengthy process. Failure in summoning a creature from the infernal planes is likely to result only in the loss of potentially expensive materials for no gain. The danger lies in the attempted control of a demonic entity. Such beings do not enjoy being ripped from their homes within the infernal planes and will be greatly enraged by the intrusion into their often incomprehensible plans and designs.

Upon the completion of a successful summoning ritual, the demonologist will be confronted by the entity he sought to call, standing within the pentagram he laboriously toiled over, its power now spent in pulling the demon into the material world. Such an entity will be murderous in nature, its desire for cruelty and destruction magnified by the temerity of a mortal seeking to dominate it by his sheer will. The demonologist has but one chance to bring the creature under control. A single slip, just one break in Concentration will leave the demon free to roam the material world. Its first act will be to exact vengeance upon the summoner, either rending him limb from limb in an orgy of blood-letting, or carrying him off to the infernal planes where he will suffer for an eternity as the plaything of demons. Even if the demonologist manages to somehow survive and escape such a baleful existence, he is unlikely to ever be… quite right again. Every demonologist is all too aware of the risks they run every time they practice the art. Most fervently pray for a quick end should they ever make a costly and fatal mistake at this most critical of times.

In some cases, the demon may seek to stay in the material world to wreak havoc for a little longer than the summoning ritual ordinarily permits. In such circumstances, the demonologist will be viciously assaulted physically, mentally and spiritually as the demon attempts to possess him, gaining absolute control of his functions and twisting his body beyond all recognition. Bones bend and snap, skin warps and muscle expands as the mortal body strains to contain the demonic energies it is subjected to. The chances of surviving such a fate unscathed are non-existent.

Required Knowledge

A demonologist of any level is free to attempt the summoning and control of any creature from the infernal planes, provided he has the appropriate research materials and texts. Information on how to supply player characters with these texts is given in the Help for Games Masters chapter but, for now, we will concentrate on the rules used to summon demons and force them into service.

Throughout these rules, the Challenge Ratings of individual demons are used to gauge their relative strengths and the difficulty in summoning and controlling them. This provides a quick and accurate measure of a demon’s power, taking into account Hit Dice, spell abilities and special powers – obviously, the stronger a demon is overall, the harder it will be to summon and control.

Any scroll, tome or other resource a Games Master deems to contain demonological knowledge must first be read and comprehended by the player character before it can be used in a summoning ritual. A successful Demon Lore check, DC 15, is needed to identify any such material and discover which demon(s) it pertains to. To actually decipher and comprehend these inevitably complex texts takes 1d3 days + the Challenge Rating of the demon concerned and requires a Demon Lore check, DC 20. A Games Master is free to modify the DC of this check by up to + or -10 to reflect varying degrees of ease and complexity of ancient or relatively new texts. No other tasks may be performed during this period. Where such a resource holds the knowledge of several demonic entities, the time taken and a separate Demon Lore check is required for each. Failure in the Demon Lore check will result in the demonologist being unable to understand the information contained within the resource. He may not make another attempt until his rank in Demon Lore is increased.

Once successful, the demonologist may make a note of the demon he has studied – from this point, he may attempt the summoning and control of the creature at any time. The Games Master will inform the player of the capabilities and special powers of the demon, as well as any specific materials or rites required in its summoning ritual, this being the knowledge the demonologist has uncovered through his study.

Knowledge (demon lore) (Intelligence; Trained Only)

This skill represents your ability to comprehend all aspects of demonic knowledge. It is most commonlyused to decipher and understand demonic based texts, but may also be utilised to recognise demons and predict their natures and special abilities.

Check: Answering an easy question regarding demonology (could that beautiful woman with bat wings possibly be a demon?) has a DC of 10. Basic questions (what is a balor armed with?) has a DC of 15 whilst really tough questions (what is the true name of the pit fiend in front of me?) could have a DC of 20 or 30. The difficulty of deciphering demonic texts is covered in the Required Knowledge section.

Retry: No. The check represents what you know. Simply thinking about a question again will not permit you to know something you did not know in the first place.

Special: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, a character is likely to be relying only on myths and legends. Generally, only
demonologists, binders and possessed have access to this skill, though the Games Master may rule otherwise in his campaign.

The Summoning Ritual

Summoning rituals vary between the differing demons they are designed to call forth, with certain pentagram designs, components and binding chants having power over one being but not another. The core rules used for summoning demons, however, are very simple though there are many modifying factors a player must be aware of so he may swing the odds of success further into his favour. This practice of minimising the chances of failure in summoning and controlling demons is the heart of demonology.

Summoning rituals take as many hours to perform as the Challenge Rating of the subject demon. The summoning of a Tanar vrock, for example, takes thirteen hours. During this time, the demonologist prepares the pentagram, expends components and masters the chants of summonation, all of which were learnt through his study of the demon. Whilst performing the summoning ritual, the demonologist may take no other action and so cannot cast any spells.

The Summoning Check

The basic Summoning check is DC10 + the Challenge Rating of the demon.

The summoning ritual requires the acquisition of various components for both a pentagram and a summoning focus. These vary for each type of demon and are covered on p54.

Failure in the Summoning check results in nothing more than the expenditure of any components used and the absence of said demon. Of all the steps used in demonology, this is the one that is safest and least costly to fail in.

A successful Summoning check will draw the demon from the infernal planes into the pentagram, where it will appear before the demonologist. Now comes the most difficult part of the ritual – controlling the demon and making it subject to the summoner’s will.

The Control Check

The basic Control check is DC 10 + twice the Challenge Rating of the demon.

If passed, the Control check will allow the summoner to give the demon instructions to be carried out, as detailed on p20. A failed roll will likely mean the demonologist is in very serious trouble as the summoned demon frees itself of the bonds that have been placed upon it. It will immediately attack the demonologist as described on p22.

For both Summoning and Control checks, a roll of a 1 is an automatic failure and a roll of 20 an automatic success.

Pentagrams and Their Uses

As with the study of demonology itself, there are many misconceptions based around pentagrams and their use within magical labors. It is a common belief, for example, that a pentagram exists to protect the wizard from malevolent spirits that he calls upon for boon and aid. There are some fields of magic, witchcraft being the most prevalent, where this holds true but for demonology the pentagram serves a much different purpose. To pull a being of any power from the distant infernal planes and make it manifest in the material world takes a tremendous amount of magical energy, the type of which few mortals are able to withstand let alone manipulate to their own ends. The pentagram used in demonology is, quite simply, a carefully constructed magical focus designed to channel and magnify a practitioner’s own forces in order to build enough power during the summoning ritual to call a demon into the material world. By focusing this much energy over a relatively short period of time, the power inherent within a correctly drawn pentagram is completely expended when the summoning ritual is complete, leaving the practitioner with no protection against the creature he has just summoned other than his own knowledge and force of personality.

The correct drawing of a pentagram during the summoning ritual is of utmost importance if the attempt is to be successful and the margin for error is incredibly small. Even a single human hair lying across a critical juncture of the pentagram can be enough to dissolve its power and decrease its potency, thus placing a far greater burden on the summoner who may instead benefit from saving his strength for controlling the demon rather than just summoning it. In this way, a badly drawn pentagram can have a marked effect upon the controlling process even though its power has been expended during the summoning.

A demonologist cannot, of course, cast any spell or activate any magical item whilst performing either the summoning or the controlling process. He must rely purely on his demonological capabilities during these critical times.

Shifting the Odds

With his very life and soul at stake, any demonologist will work hard to increase the chances of a successful summonation and control of the demon he calls. At the same time, however, other factors may intrude upon the summoning ritual to make it far more difficult. There are many different bonuses and penalties that may be applied to Summoning and Control checks listed throughout this book but those most applicable to the fledgling demonologist are detailed here. All are summarised on p65.


The experienced demonologist will naturally be far more capable than one just starting his journey down the Dark Road. Even when confronted by an unfamiliar demon for the first time, he will have the strength of will and purpose to cover minor mistakes and errors, becoming consistently successful in the art. A character’s combined demonologist, binder and possessed class levels are added as a bonus to every Summoning and Control check.

Study and Preparation

Demonology is not an art that can be easily mastered by those short of memory or failing in their mental faculties. It requires precise observation and recollection, for a mistake made in the preparation of the pentagram or in the summoning chants can cripple a ritual. A demonologist’s Intelligence modifier is added as a modifier to every Summoning check.

Force of Will

Whilst specific rituals and rites are absolutely essential if any demonologist is to control a demon he has summoned, it is often his sheer force of will and personality that can make the difference between success and failure when he comes to actually controlling the creature. A battle of titanic wills can erupt in a fraction of a second as the demon strains to break free of the bonds being imposed upon it, even as the demonologist exerts his mind to bring the entity under control. A demonologist’s Charisma modifier is added as a modifier to every Control check.

High Quality Components

By acquiring the finest examples of the components necessary in any given summoning ritual, a demonologist can greatly minimise the risk of failure in calling the demon into the material world. If the components used are at least double the base monetary value required, a modifier of +1 may be applied to the Summoning check. If the value is at least four times greater, a +2 bonus is granted. For components of eight times or greater value, the maximum bonus of +3 is awarded. For items without a strict monetary value (an ancient war banner, for instance), the Games Master will be required to exercise his judgement in applying these bonuses.

It should be noted that if undervalued or misidentified components are used, there is no penalty to the Summoning check – the ritual will simply not work and every component will be consumed and wasted.

Slow Ritual

Demonologists, by necessity, take great care in their preparations for the summoning ritual. Given enough time, greater safeguards can be employed, with every stage of the ritual being checked and re-checked for any possible mistakes. By doubling the time required to perform a summoning ritual, a demonologist will be granted a +2 bonus to both his Summoning and Control checks.

Hurried Rituals

By the same token, there may be times when a demonologist will be put under the severest pressure to summon a demon as quickly as possible. Under such circumstances, it is almost inevitable that errors and mistakes will creep into the ritual, making the whole process harder and a lot more dangerous for the demonologist. Hurrying a ritual will reduce the time required to perform it by half but will impose a -4 penalty to both Summoning and Control checks.

Previously Summoned Demon

In performing the same ritual again and again, a demonologist will inevitably become more familiar with its subtleties and nuances until they almost become second nature. If a summoning ritual has been successfully performed before by the demonologist, a +1 bonus is granted to the Summoning check.

Previously Controlled Demon

Once a demon has been summoned and the practitioner has established his control over it, he will find future attempts at imposing his force of will to be much easier. Apply a +1 bonus to the Control check if the demon has been successfully controlled by the demonologist
in the past.


Fledgling demonologists, those just starting the practice of the art, often make sure others are present during the summoning ritual in order to provide a physical defence against the demon if control is not established. There is a -1 penalty to both the Summoning and Control checks for every creature, sentient or otherwise, present at the ritual other than the demonologist himself. They need not be present for the entire ritual for this penalty to be applied – even poking their heads around the door of the demonologist’s laboratory can shake the Concentration
required for a summoning ritual.

Demonology in Practice

Fallora is a 1st level demonologist attempting to summon her very first demon. Having studied an ancient scroll for the past five days and passing her Demon Lore check, she feels reasonably confident that she can now summon a dretch.

This being her first attempt in the art, Fallora makes sure she will be undisturbed during the summoning ritual and takes her time, gaining the +2 Slow Ritual bonus to both her Summoning and Control checks. She also locates fine quality copper powder, the component needed to draw the pentagram for dretches, adding a further +1 bonus to the Summoning check.

Taking four hours to perform the ritual, as she is making sure no mistakes enter her preparations, Fallora attempts to call a dretch from the infernal planes into the pentagram. A dretch has CR 2, so the check becomes DC 12. However, Fallora is a 1st level demonologist (+1), has an Intelligence of 15 (+2), is using high quality components (+1) and is taking her time (+2), giving a total bonus of +6, meaning only a 6 needs to be rolled. Unsurprisingly, she manages to call the dretch to the material

Now comes the tricky bit. Incensed at being pulled from the infernal planes, the dretch would clearly like to exact revenge upon Fallora. Clearing her mind of the telepathic threats the dretch is hurling at her, Fallora attempts to control the demon.

The Control check is DC 14 as the dretch’s CR is doubled for this check. Fallora’s Charisma of 11 adds no bonus, but being a 1st level demonologist helps (+1), as does her Slow Ritual (+2), meaning she has to roll 11 or more. With a breath of relief, she succeeds and gives the dretch a very simple instruction – ‘protect me from all harm.’ The dretch will now effectively act as her bodyguard for the next hour but Fallora, overjoyed at her success, wants more. She exerts her will to force the dretch to follow this instruction for another hour. There is a =2 penalty to this next Control check as it counts as being an additional instruction, so Fallora needs to roll a 13.

She succeeds in this too and decides she can try for a third hour. The cumulative penalty for another additional instruction rises to –4, thus requiring a roll of 15 this time around. Unfortunately Fallora fails and the dretch breaks free of the magical bonds she placed around it. Fallora is about to learn even a dretch can be a very dangerous enemy when free…

The Demon Controlled

Upon the successful summoning and control of a demon, the demonologist will have the ability to command the creature to do his bidding. As with every other part of this practice, there are rules that must be obeyed.

A controlled demon is compelled to carry out and complete a single nine-word instruction issued by the summoner for a duration of no more than one hour. Once the instruction has been carried out or an hour has elapsed, whichever comes first, the demon instantly winks out of existence in the material world and is immediately returned to the infernal planes.

This instruction must be given at the moment of control, straight after the demon has been summoned or it will merely return to the infernal planes. Instructions cannot normally be issued after this time, no matter how powerful the demonologist is.

Anything may be demanded and the demon is compelled to carry out such instructions to the best of its ability. A demonologist may ask the demon, for example, to act as a bodyguard, or to assassinate an enemy. Many demons have existed since before the dawn of time and are thus incredible sources of long forgotten knowledge. Others, such as the nightmare steeds, excel as fast mounts or even beasts of burden. These are just a few of the most basic examples of what a practitioner may compel a demon to do. In practice, he is limited only by the demon’s powers and his own imagination. Due to the convolutions of demonic politics upon the infernal planes, however, a summoned demon can never be compelled to summon additional demons itself.

Multiple Instructions

Passing the Control check when the demon is summoned allows the demonologist to issue a single nine-word instruction that will be obeyed for up to one hour. However, the number of instructions and the time the demon is compelled to stay in the material world may both be extended by a demonologist of sufficient power.

For each additional instruction issued or each additional hour the demon is required to remain in the material world, another Control check must be made with a cumulative –2 penalty. If any of these additional Control checks are failed, the demon will become uncontrolled with the consequences described below. No more instructions or additional hours may be added to the demon’s service as it is now free to exact its vengeance.

Note that any of these additional instructions or extended hours must be attempted straight after the first Control check. They may not be added to the demon’s service at a later time, so a demonologist must plan in advance to decide exactly what he will ask the demon to do if the summoning proves successful.


It happens to every demonologist sooner or later. Despite painstaking attention to detail during the summoning ritual, the demonologist will, at some point, lose control of the demon he is calling forth. Even those careful not to overreach themselves may make a mistake – the fact that it is far easier to summon than control makes this almost inevitable.

There are many terrible fates to which a practitioner may be subjected by an uncontrolled demon. However, those taking the first steps on the Dark Road will start by summoning the lesser demonic entities, those of a Challenge Rating of 6 or below. The reactions of these more minor creatures are always predictable and deadly. Their first priority is the destruction of the mortal who called them into the material world. The failure of the Control check negates the bonds placed on the demon by the ritual and the summoner’s will, allowing it to act with complete freedom of purpose. It will move with all speed to the summoner and attack with every resource and ability it has. Once the summoner is slain, it will either seek out and destroy all intelligent life for a period of one hour or simply return to the infernal planes, this being determined by the Games Master. It will also immediately return to its home plane if it is in danger of being slain.

In Summary

This concludes the basic rules for summoning and controlling demons. The fledgling demonologist will be able to summon all manner of creatures from the infernal planes, provided he does his research. The likes of dretches, Quasits, imps and hell hounds will all be within his power to command.

There is, of course, far more to the practice of demonology than this. Far more powerful demons can be called upon as the demonologist becomes increasingly more capable and he will be able to command them to do far more things once summoned. He may even be able to draw upon raw demonic power to fuel his own arcane castings to greater levels than he ever dreamed. For this, however, the demonologist must tread further down the Dark Road.

The Art of Summoning- The Neophyte

Witches' Sabbath - Johannes Praetorius: Blockes-Berges Verrichtung, Leipzig u.a. 1668 (VD17 3:015601X) Date 1668
Witches’ Sabbath – Johannes Praetorius: Blockes-Berges Verrichtung, Leipzig u.a. 1668 (VD17 3:015601X) Date 1668

Encyclopaedia Arcane: Compendium

Authors August Hahn, Alexander Fennell, Matthew Sprange & Sam Witt

Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Encyclopaedia Arcane Compendium V.I

Publish date 2004

Up to now, we have looked at how those skilled in the arcane arts can pursue the lore of demonology and summon the more minor creatures of the infernal planes. The Dark Road is a long and twisting path, however, and far greater knowledge awaits those who are prepared to take weightier risks. Within the following pages you will find information on how to call upon the named demons, the most powerful of creatures existing upon the infernal planes. The accomplished demonologist will now be able to use a demon’s raw energy to fuel his own magical capabilities or to possess other sentient beings. The secrets of group summonings and blood sacrifices are also covered to grant a demonologist a further edge in the art. The dangers in dealing with the more advanced forms of demonology are also greater, however, and we therefore take a look at these too.

It must be noted that demonologists, unlike most other character classes, do not have a strict level-by-level progression of power. You need not wait until a certain level to utilise the rules within this section. Every demonologist must judge his own readiness to walk further down the Dark Road. Glory or damnation await the intrepid searchers of forbidden knowledge.

Siphon Demonic Energy

Many demonologists regularly summon demons for the sole purpose of drawing upon their energies to fuel their own magical powers. Such demonically charged energy can be intoxicating to the senses as it flows through their blood, stimulating their awareness and granting the ability to control far greater amounts of arcane power than ordinarily possible.

Siphoning Demonic Energy

At 2nd level, a demonologist gains the ability to Siphon Demonic Energies, adding them to his own magical strength. To siphon energy, a demonologist must make a successful Control check for a demon he has just summoned. Instead of giving it instructions as normal, he may instead draw upon its raw energy. This may only be done whilst the demonologist is preparing his spells. The time taken for the summoning is added to the hour normally required to prepare spells.

The demonologist will gain extra spell slots for one day, based on the Challenge Rating of the demon. Each point of the Challenge Rating will allow an extra spell level. These spell levels may be split or combined for additional spells as the demonologist sees fit, but he may not use them to take spells he could not ordinarily cast.

For example, an osyluth (CR 6) could be used to obtain an extra 6th level spell, a 2nd and 4th level spell, six 1st level spells or any combination in between. However, the 6th level spell could only be gained if the demonologist could normally cast 6th level spells.

The demon returns to the infernal planes as soon as the energy has been taken from it.

Multiple Summoning’s

Though it is essential a demonologist does not push himself too far too fast in the black art, there are many who succumb to temptation. As the practitioner walks the Dark Road, he becomes greatly skilled in demonic lore and may soon have the ability to summon more than one infernal creature in a single ritual. This has the advantage of him being able to control two or more demons at the same time but is, naturally, far more difficult to accomplish. The demonologist runs the very real risk of having to face the wrath of several demons if he fails to control them.

Attempting a Multiple Summonation

Demonologists gain the ability to summon more than one demon at a time when they reach 5th level. There is no limit to the total number of demons they may summon at any one time and they need not be of the same type. The Challenge Ratings of all demons to be summoned are totalled for both the Summoning and Control checks. Any instructions given will be applied equally to all the demons – separate instructions cannot be given for each.

There is an additional -1 penalty to the Control check for every demon, including the first, summoned when using this ability.

This special ability potentially provides a very easy route for a demonologist to overreach himself in the art and that is all we will say on the matter!

Named Demons

Above the numberless hordes of Quasits, imps, hell hounds and their ilk, lies the intensely hierarchical structure of the named demons. Ranging from the relatively weak barbazu to the insanely powerful balor, these are the greatest of all creatures within the infernal planes, harnessing tremendous demonic energies in their sometimes massive frames. Upon the infernal planes, they are lords and masters of the lesser demons, often having vast numbers in their service to do battle and bring about the defeat of their enemies, other demons with whom they constantly war and politick against.

Every one of these demons has many names and each must be treated as an individual by the prospective demonologist. The rituals learnt thus far may summon any creature from an entire demonic species but the named demons have the strength of power to resist the lure and pull of the more mundane summoning rituals. Instead such rituals, by necessity, must be crafted and revised for each individual demonic entity. A demonologist may learn the appropriate ritual to summon one succubus, but it simply will not work for another. At the heart of the practice of summoning demons of this magnitude are their names.

Any text depicting the summoning of such a demon will always include at least one of their common names, the basic identifier used during the ritual to make contact with the creature and bring it forth into the material world. A demon may have many common names and these are the ones mortals are likely to use when speaking of legends and myths concerning the demon’s excursions into the realms of men. Common names are nothing more than identifiers or labels and as such grant no power over the demon though they are a necessary part of the summoning ritual.

All demons of this stature will also have a small number, no more than half a dozen, of greater names. These names have actual power over the demon and are thus carefully guarded by their owner. They are typically the names used by demons to bind each other into service; a demon who knows the greater name of another has the ability to summon it to grant aid, a useful Survival trait within the infernal planes. Demons use this calling only in very rare circumstances for to do so leaves them in debt and they can always expect to make repayment sometime in the future. A demonologist, however, can use a greater name of a demon he summons as raw leverage when attempting to control it. Any demon detests the mere concept of a mortal knowing one of its greater names primarily because of the added edge it grants in subjugating it to service.

Above the greater names are the true names of which a demon will only ever have one. A demon will never willingly reveal its true name to any creature as it has the potential to grant absolute power to any who know it. When one demon learns the true name of another, it will be able to guarantee service without heed of falling into a debt that must be repaid – the other demon is effectively enslaved. A demonologist will actively pursue the true name of any demon as it can grant him a greater edge in controlling it than any other factor. A less powerful demon, such as a vrock, can be instantly cowed by an accomplished demonologist in possession of its true name. The greatest of demons, the balors and pit fiends for example, may well be able to resist even this power but it can grant enough leverage to bring them into service for a short time. When summoning such mighty and baleful creatures, a demonologist will quickly find he needs every possible advantage he can muster. True names are seen as essential components of any summoning ritual designed to control these creatures by most demonologists. Actually using the true name of any demon, however, will earn the summoner its permanent enmity. It will simply not suffer any such mortal to live. The application of the true name during the summoning ritual may guarantee control but if the demon can find its own way into the material world, such temerity will be rewarded in the most painful and grisly fashion the demon can devise.

The process of locating greater and true names of the demons they summon is a trying and exacting one for any demonologist. Greater names are hard to find to say the least and it is unusual for texts describing summonations to include them unless the author was particularly knowledgeable. Those that also include true names are virtually unheard of, not least because a demon will do all in its power to destroy such works. More often, a mortal must travel far and wide to locate such valuable information and may find it turns up from the most unrelated of sources.

Enterprising demonologists have been known in the past to summon one demon simply to learn the greater or true name of another. This is a practice fraught with danger and uncertainty for even if a demon knows such a name, being forced to relate it will earn the demonologist the enmity of both demons for he will be meddling directly in the convoluted politics of the infernal planes.

Using Named Demons

Any demon with a Challenge Rating of 7 or more is considered to be a named demon. Any demon below this rating can be summoned using ‘standard’ rituals common to their species as a whole. Named demons are unique individuals and a learnt summoning ritual will summon that demon and that demon alone. Needless to say, if the demon is ever permanently slain by any means, the demonologist will no longer be able to summon it again – the time spent locating and learning the ritual is wasted.

The research of greater and true names is a process handled entirely by the Games Master. He will let the player know whether the sources of knowledge uncovered include such information. If they do not, the player will have to search harder to locate them, if they exist at all. Common names, however, will be present in any text describing the summoning of any particular demon and this is all that is required to actually perform the summoning ritual.

A greater name grants a +5 bonus to the Control check when performing the summoning ritual for the demon. A true name grants a +10 bonus. Only one such bonus may be used for any one Control check and you will quickly find this knowledge is essential for controlling the more powerful demons.

Blood Sacrifices

The archetypal demonologist, for many common folk, is one who performs the most hideous ritual sacrifices in the pursuit of his black art. The truth is a little different and many demonologists actually shun such practices. Others limit themselves to using only common creatures, those the civilised races slay every day in the names of sustenance and sport.

It is an undeniable fact though that demons of all types delight in both the misery and death of other creatures. A blood sacrifice may be incorporated into any summoning ritual by a demonologist and, in doing so, be granted a little extra power in compelling the demon to service.

Using Blood Sacrifices

Any warm-blooded creature, from a chicken to an elf, may be used as a blood sacrifice in a summoning ritual. The creature must be alive, though not necessarily aware, throughout the ritual and must be slain by the demonologist immediately before the demon is drawn into the material world at its completion.

A blood sacrifice adds a +1 bonus to the Control check for any type of demon.

Group Summonings

It is a very rare occurrence, given the basic nature of demonology, but demonologists have been known to combine their powers in order to perform a particularly difficult summoning ritual. Such gatherings are often fraught with mistrust, even treachery, but it is often the only way a demonologist can summon the more powerful creatures of the infernal planes with any degree of safety.

Performing a Group Summoning

Any summoning ritual may be developed into a group summoning by a demonologist. Only arcane wizards, demonologists and binders are permitted to take part. One demonologist must lead the summoning and it is upon his skill and ability the attempt is based. The others, however, will add a bonus to both the Summoning and Control checks according to their class level.

Total the class levels of each wizard, demonologist and binder present and divide this by three, rounding down. The result is the bonus used for the Summoning and Control checks. A maximum of six people may take part in a group summoning and none will count towards the distraction penalty as they are all, of course, an intrinsic part of the summoning.


The more powerful of demonic entities have the ability to possess mortal beings, subjugating the host to their complete domination. This is usually done either to cause the maximum amount of harm to the mortal who dared to summon them or to stay within the material world for protracted periods of time in order to fulfil their own malevolent plans outside of the infernal planes. Accomplished demonologists can also force the possession of other mortals as a means to trap the demon in the material world for longer than the summoning ritual might ordinarily allow.

The subject of possession will lose all control of his body, though he remains conscious and aware. The demon takes control of his body utterly and the victim can do nothing more than watch mutely as the demon performs the most vile and hideous of acts in his name. Physical changes also take place, with the body straining to take the shape of both mortal and demon simultaneously. With some demons, the physical effects may be lessened – a succubus possessing a human female, for example, may result in nothing more than the softening of features and the growing of vestigial wings. A halfling body straining to contain a balor though is likely to cause a twisting beyond all recognition. Bones will grow and reshape, muscles will swell and skin change and reform into the likeness of the demonic entity.

For the victim, this is a process almost beyond all Endurance, for being aware and a witness to these terrible transformations, they must suffer the absolute agony of the reformation of their bodies. Many go mad during these short seconds alone, others as they are forced to occupy the same mental space as the ultimate evil that is a demon. The physical and mental effects possession causes are permanent with no mundane cure. Even if the demon can be driven out of a host, the victim is likely to be left crippled and unable to function within normal society. Such is the price for succumbing to the demon.

Accidental Possession

Only named demons can attempt to possess a mortal being by their own power. If the Control check is failed during a summoning ritual, a Games Master may rule instead of attacking the demonologist, the demon will attempt possession. This is a full-round action for the demon.

The summoner must make a successful Will save at DC 10 + the demon’s Challenge Rating to resist the possession attempt. If the summoner passes the Will save, the demon may never attempt to possess him again. If the Will save is failed, the demon’s attempt at possession is successful and the summoner is in very serious trouble.

The summoner will immediately come under the complete domination of the demon and effectively becomes a Non-Player Character in the control of the Games Master (though those interested in roleplaying may relish the idea of trying their hand at a diabolic character, for however short a period of time). Physically, a number of things now happen. First, all ability scores and hit points are averaged between host and demon into new scores, rounding down. The host will gain all special abilities and qualities, skills and saving throw bonuses of the possessing demon. Finally, a melding of the physical forms of host and demon will occur – the Games Master will inform the player concerned of the specific details. As an incidental consequence, the host also gains the immortality of the demon, his body now driven and sustained by raw demonic energy.

At the discretion of the Games Master, the host’s body may also gain one or more of the physical attacks of the possessing demon, with claw and bite attacks being the most common.

These effects will remain until the demon leaves the host body though the physical changes to appearance are permanent. A demon may choose to leave the host body at any time to return to the infernal planes, though as demons are immortal creatures who have existed for aeons, this may well not occur for a great many years, decades or centuries. The host may, however, be able to exert his innate willpower to drive the demon out. This is entirely dependent on the foothold the demon if desired. In addition, the victim will also be reduced to one hit point as his body is wracked with the strain of having contained the demon for however short a period of time.

These effects cannot be reversed with spells such as restoration, as he is now effectively part demon, though wish spells will function to remove both physical changes and the side effects on the table above. If a period of possession falls in between any of the limits listed below, as can happen with self-possession for instance, then the next highest side effect is used. A character possessed for three hours, for example, will suffer the effects of having been possessed for a day.

Possession Table

Will Save failed byTime PossessedSide Effects
1-31 hour-1 Wisdom and Charisma, -1,000 XP
4-81 day-1d6 ability scores, -1,000 XP
9-121 year-1d6 ability scores, – 1d6 x 1,000 XP
13+Permanent-2d6 ability scores, – 2d6 x 1,000 XP

Possessing Others

In order to gain the service of a demon for a greater length of time, a demonologist with few morals may attempt the difficult process of forcing the demon into a mortal host. Whilst few demons find the act of possessing distasteful, doing so at the behest of a summoner can leave them under his control for longer periods, something they will strenuously try to avoid. It is not only named demons, however, that can be forced to possess a host. The strength of will of the demonologist in itself can permit any species to possess another, so even a lowly dretch or imp may be utilised in this way.

To possess another, the demonologist must have another sentient being immobile and present within the pentagram throughout the summoning ritual. Furthermore, such a victim must be conscious and aware throughout the ritual and so a demonologist must devise his own methods for holding subjects ready for possession during the lengthy summoning process. The demon can then be summoned as normal.

There is an additional -4 penalty to the Control check when attempting to force a demon to possess another as it is virtual imprisonment for the demon concerned and it will battle that much harder to circumvent the demonologist’s will. The penalty for distraction does not apply to the intended victim of possession as they are an intrinsic part of the ritual.

The demonologist must specify his instructions to the demon during the Control check as normal and this is what the demon will be compelled to do for as long as it possesses the victim. If the Control check fails, the demonologist loses all control of the demon and it will attack him immediately (and may attempt to possess him in return!). If the Control check is successful, then the victim must make a Will save to avoid possession by the demon, as described in the previous Accidental Possession section. The demonologist may apply his Charisma bonus as a modifier to the demon’s roll as he exerts his own will alongside that of the demon’s to break down the mental defences of the victim and force the possession through. If the victim is willing at the point of possession (immediately after the Control check), then no Will save takes place – the demon possesses the victim permanently, as if the Will save had been failed by 13 or more.

If the possession fails, the demon will immediately return to the infernal planes and the whole attempt is a wasted exercise. If it succeeds, possession occurs as described in the Accidental Possession section, with the full effects being applied to the victim. The only exceptions are that the demon may not return to the infernal planes until the duration of the possession is over and that neither it nor the host have free will both are subject to the instruction given by the demonologist before the possession took place.

Driving Out the Demon

It is entirely possible that friends of a victim of possession will seek every means to drive out the demon and allow their companion to return to something approaching normality. There is, however, no known process to accomplish this through the practice of demonology and normal Dispel magic spells will not remove the possession. Dismissal, banishment and Holy word spells will work to remove the possession, as will dictum and word of chaos. paladins or good-aligned clerics without access to such spells may attempt to drive the demon out by sheer force of will, though this never leaves the victim unharmed and completely whole.

Any paladin or good-aligned cleric may attempt to drive the demon out of a victim in the same way as they turn undead, using the demon’s Challenge Rating as they would Hit Dice for undead. The demon will seek to avoid the attempt at all costs, fleeing if it is able or actively attacking the cleric. If successful, the demon will be driven from the victim, materialising in its true form and immediately attacking the cleric. It will remain in the material world for a period of one hour, during which time it will likely be hunting down the demonologist who forced its possession, or simply seeking to cause as much destruction to mortal life as it is able. The victim will suffer the side effects for possession as normal.

Possessing demons can never be destroyed, rebuked or controlled by this form of driving out and only a paladin or good-aligned cleric may attempt this process.

Possession in Action

Fallora has progressed quite far in the field of demonology since we last left her. She has now achieved 4th level as a demonologist and feels ready to summon the succubus known as the Debaucheress, using research material she uncovered from the notes of an evil wizard she and her adventuring comrades recently put an end to.


Everything seems to be going fine in the summoning ritual for Fallora, as always, is taking her time, using high quality components and generally doing everything she can to make sure nothing goes wrong. She easily summons the succubus but as it appears in the pentagram in front of her, the unthinkable happens – Fallora’s player rolls a 1 for the Control check. Grinning with the lovely maliciousness only a succubus can muster, the Debaucheress advances forward across the boundaries of the pentagram. Fearing for her life, Fallora begins to cast an offensive spell until she realises that the demon is not attacking her directly – it is assaulting her very mind.


Fallora’s Wisdom of 12 will help here as her Will save bonus is now +5. The DC of the save is 10 + the succubus’ CR 9. It is a tough roll, needing 14 or more and, rolling 11, Fallora quickly succumbs to the Debaucheress’ mental attack though it will only be able to control her for one hour. She is
now possessed and falls under the control of the Games Master until one hour has passed and the succubus returns to the infernal planes.


Fallora, as the host for the succubus, immediately gains all the demon’s skills and saving throw bonuses, as well as all its special abilities, such as energy drain, alternate form and tongues. In addition, their ability scores must be averaged out between them. Fallora’s scores are Strength 8, Dexterity 13, Constitution 9, Intelligence 15, Wisdom 12, Charisma 11. The succubus’ scores are Strength 13, Dexterity 13, Constitution 13, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 14, Charisma 20. The new scores for Fallora, averaged between her original abilities and those of the succubus, are therefore Strength 10, Dexterity 13, Constitution 11, Intelligence 15, Wisdom 13, Charisma 15. Her hit points of 12 are also averaged with those of the succubus’ of 33 to result in 22 hit points.


Last of all, much
to Fallora’s consternation, she becomes physically more demonic!
She starts to grow small bat-like wings and her eyes begin to glow with
a sinister light.


Fortunately for Fallora, the possession only lasts an hour and the succubus soon departs, though not without destroying her laboratory in which it was summoned, tearing apart her demonological notes and slaughtering her familiar which did not get out of the way in time. She loses the succubus’ skills
and special abilities, her ability scores are returned to what they were
before the possession took place and she now has one hit point left. She
regains, however, full control of her own body again.


The effect, brief
as it was, has unfortunately not left Fallora completely untouched for
she still retains the physical likeness of a succubus. She also loses
one point from her Wisdom and Charisma ability scores permanently, as
well as 1,000 experience points.


The whole affair has left Fallora questioning whether she will continue the practice of demonology at all – at the very least she is likely to be very cautious in the art for the future. She also realises, however, that the possession could have been much, much worse. Overall, she has got off lightly.


Dismissing Demons

There may come a time when a demonologist is required to end the service of a demon prematurely. Such circumstances can be many and varied, coming to peace with an enemy the demon has been summoned to fight being one example.

In these cases, a demonologist is required to make a Dismiss check at any time during the demon’s service. This Dismiss check is at DC 10 + the demon’s Challenge Rating and may only be attempted against a demon the demonologist himself summoned. He must be within 60 feet of the demon and it must not be in total cover relative to him. One attempt may be made to dismiss the demon every round and it is counted as a full-round action. Success in this Dismiss check will result in the demon immediately returning to the infernal planes.

As must be abundantly clear, a demonologist must instruct his demons carefully, particularly if they are powerful beings in their own right. A demon poorly instructed and unleashed upon the world can cause an immense amount of damage with the demonologist being almost powerless to stop it.

Demonic Familiars

As they cultivate their growing knowledge of the black art, demonologists often seek to enhance all around them with the energies they learn to control. Many will look to their own familiars, if they have one. There are many minor demonic entities that flit about within the infernal planes, all but beneath the attention of the larger demons, as ants scamper unnoticed by men. Such beings may be brought
into the material world by any demonologist with the intention of possessing
his own familiar.


Creating a Demonic


Any demonologist
with a familiar may choose to possess it with a minor demonic entity at
any time. Doing so takes a day and uses up magical materials totalling
a cost of 500 gp. Demonic familiars function in exactly the same way as
mundane familiars, with the exceptions noted below.


The demonic familiar
retains its original form, but will begin to look distinctly demonic in
nature – a cat may grow horns or vestigial wings, for example, or
the eyes of an owl may begin to glow with their own inner light. The demonic
presence may be driven out by a banishment spell and similar magicks.
If this occurs, the familiar automatically leaves the demonologist, as
it will never trust its master again. Treat this as if the familiar had


Familiar special
abilities are granted as normal, but a demonic familiar will also gain
the abilities listed below;














Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar
Class Level

Special Ability
to fire and poison
See in darkness (including magical)
once a day
and acid resistance 20
may speak telepathically with any creature who has language whenever
he is in physical contact with the demonic familiar

The Art of
Summoning- The Dark Road

Arcane: Compendium

Authors August
Hahn, Alexander Fennell, Matthew Sprange & Sam Witt

Publisher Mongoose

Purchase Link Rpgnow

Content Puller John Whamond

Encyclopaedia Arcane Compendium V.I

Publish date

We now approach the end of the Dark Road, the conclusion of our journey. If a mage has travelled this far in his study of demonology and managed to survive, he is truly a man of great power. Likely as not, he has the knowledge of many demons, has cowed them into submission and forced them to do his bidding. He will have conversed with the fell creatures and learned many secrets never intended for mortal understanding. The experienced demonologist is a force to be feared.

The Dark Road stretches on though and those determined to see its end harbour a desperate need to access the greatest powers of all. They will seek to summon and control the very lords of the infernal planes, those implacable beings of awesome might who are themselves subservient only to the dark gods. They will consider themselves the very equal of such creatures as the pit fiend and the balor, seeking to break their will and drive these powerful demons to service. To do so, they may be forced to adopt the most extraordinary of measures, for the strength and wrath these beings possess is almost beyond comprehension. The end of the Dark Road will reveal these methods to the dedicated practitioner but the dangers become all the greater. It is here that a demonologist will learn the secrets of soul sacrifices, soul servitude and self-possession.

There are few who can contain such power without overreaching themselves with the most fatal of consequences. Those able to dominate the mighty demonic lords can only be regarded as the true masters of both the mortal and the ever-living.


There are more than a few demonologists who, upon witnessing the effects of possession on others, are driven to uncover the forbidden lore of taking the demon into themselves in an effort to harness its power through more direct means. Only a tiny fraction of these individuals will go through the black rites required for the dangers are all too apparent. By allowing a demon to enter him both mind and body, the demonologist is confronting the greatest of evils within the most personal of battlefields.

The creature is by no means a passive observer and constantly twists and turns inside his darkest mental recesses, trying to assert its own control as it continually plagues him with the most horrific of nightmare visions and dreams.

Outwardly, the demonologist suffers all the torture and damage any other victim of possession does, as his body reshapes itself agonisingly to adopt the form of both man and demon. However, he also gains the demon’s strength, power and knowledge, and it is these boons the demonologist seeks to the detriment of all else. A demonologist skilled in self-possession truly knows the ecstasy of being far more than a mere mortal. So long as he can keep the demon at bay through the sheer force of his personality, he will be the equal of almost anything he sets his imagination to. In doing so, though, the practitioner suffers permanent disfigurement and runs the risk of the demon overpowering his mental strength.

Those who pay little heed to the dangers of self-possession are often drawn inexorably to a far more perilous part of the Dark Road. Exchanging the practice of demonology to become one of the possessed, they slowly bargain away their souls by fractions through intimate and insidious pacts with infernal creatures. Down this route lies possibly the greatest power known but journey’s end can only ever be damnation.

Performing Self-Possession

A practitioner must have a rank of 8 or greater in Demon Lore before he may attempt any self-possession. Any demon successfully summoned and controlled may be compelled to possess the summoner himself in lieu of any other instructions. The demonologist must specify the length of time the self-possession is to last, up to a period of one year and a day. He immediately suffers all the bonuses and penalties for possession, with one exception – he retains free will and is not subject to the wishes of the demon. His physical appearance will permanently change, his ability and hit point scores averaged and he will receive all skills, saving throw bonuses and special qualities of the demon. However, he may still act as he pleases and does not become a Non-Player Character.

The demon will constantly strive to gain dominance of the demonologist’s body though and this battle will rage until the self-possession ends. Every 24 hours after the self-possession begins, the demonologist must make a successful Will check at a DC equal to the demon’s Challenge Rating as it nutures and marshals its strength to assert its power over his body. Success will mean the demonologist has brought his mental forces to bear and defeats the demon’s attempt. Failure will result in the demon flooding, unchecked, through his mind as it gains the upper hand. From this point, the demonologist is treated as having been accidentally possessed and so becomes a Non-Player Character. Furthermore, this will be considered a permanent possession as the demonologist allowed the demon to enter his body willingly.

The self-possession ends automatically when the length of time specified by the demonologist is complete. The demon may also be forced out by the normal methods of magic and good-aligned clerics and paladins. The demonologist may also willingly drive the demon out earlier, at any point, simply by making a Will check at a DC 10 + the demon’s Challenge Rating. This may be attempted only once a day. Failure will result in the demon immediately striking back, trying to take over the demonologist’s body once more. Make a Will check at a DC equal to the demon’s Challenge Rating to avoid the possession attempt, as described in the previous paragraph.

A demonologist interested in pursuing the practice of self-possession may be naturally drawn towards the making of permanent pacts with the demons he summons. Players are directed to review the possessed prestige class.

Soul Sacrifices

The single greatest advantage a demonologist can gain over any being of the infernal planes in the normal course of summoning is to have a soul to bargain with. It is this practice alone that has earned every demonologist the enmity of the forces of good, whether or not they perform the soul sacrifice. In offering the soul of another sentient being to a demon in return for service, the practitioner is doing far more than merely slaying his victim. He is condemning the immortal soul to an eternity of pain, torture and anguish as the plaything and pawn of demons. This repugnant practice is believed necessary by many of the more skilled demonologists, for a suitable sacrifice may convince even demonic lords to comply with instructions, such is the boon they receive upon returning to the infernal planes.

The actual process of performing a soul sacrifice is relatively simple and any demonologist can readily adapt summoning rituals he is familiar with to incorporate the extra power to be gained by this practice. The main requirement is a living sentient being– no beast or animal will be sufficient, for these only fulfil the requirements of a blood sacrifice. The victim must be alive and aware throughout the long summoning ritual. Additionally, they must be in the possession of a soul, be they goblin, ogre, human or dragon. At the completion of the summoning ritual, just as the demon is about to appear and be made manifest, the demonologist slays his victim, usually by the application of a knife through the heart. At this point, the victim’s soul departs, to be immediately snatched by the arriving demon and is lost for eternity, whether or not the demonologist succeeds in controlling the demon.

The practitioner is likely to gain an immense advantage over the demon as he seeks to control it but the soul of the victim must suffer in return, for a price must always be paid somewhere in the black art of demonology. Forever will the soul wander the infernal planes, wreathed in flame and tormented by fell creatures as it is used as a bargaining tool between demons in trades it may never comprehend, or be mutated into lesser demonic entities and used as cannon fodder in the eternal wars of hell.

Using Soul Sacrifices

Any sentient being the Games Master rules has a soul (yes, orcs have souls too!) may be used as a victim of a soul sacrifice by a demonologist in a summoning ritual. The being must be kept alive, aware and immobile throughout the ritual. So long as this is accomplished, the slaying of the victim may be considered automatic, regardless of hit point considerations. The slaying of the victim takes place after the Summoning check, but before the Control check.

If the victim escapes or is rescued during the ritual, then the Summoning check automatically fails and all components are wasted, as normal. If the Summoning check is successful but the victim is able to gain freedom just as the demonologist prepares to make the sacrifice, the demon appears and the Control check automatically fails with the usual consequences.

A successful soul sacrifice, however, is likely to grant the demonologist a tremendous bonus to his Control check. This bonus is equal to the character level or Hit Dice of the victim, whichever is higher.

Demons especially favour the corruption of the good and pure and the soul of one who is particularly noble of heart can compel even the mighty balors and pit fiends to service. The bonus is doubled if the soul of a paladin or good-aligned cleric is offered as a sacrifice.

Victims of a soul sacrifice may never be resurrected by any means, even through the use of a wish spell. Their souls are far beyond the reach of such magic and imprisoned by the great demonic powers of the infernal planes.

A soul sacrifice may never be combined with a blood sacrifice. Only one victim may be used in any one summoning ritual.

Soul Servitude

Very few practitioners of demonology ever uncover the lore necessary to bind themselves to soul servitude and it is perhaps well they do not. In such a practice, they make a dangerous pact with a single demon, trading temporary but total control over the creature for their own soul. This is the path of utter damnation and, for those who reach this far, marks the end of the Dark Road as a mortal.

A demon’s interest in the soul of a demonologist is two-fold. Firstly, and most pragmatically, all are keen to halt the spread of demonology. Each demon, high or low, has its own machinations and plans of ambition to fulfil upon the infernal planes but by some quirk of the universe, mortals may open gates between these hellish places and the material worlds. It may be amusing to consider a great demonic lord leading his hordes over the parapets of a hated rival’s castle of skulls, only to disappear as he is drawn to mortal realms. The demon, however, is unlikely to see the humour itself. And yet such instances are occasionally heard.

Secondly, demons have a passion for corrupting and twisting mortals to their own designs. By offering their own soul, demonologists descend far below the point of decency any mortal may reach through their own simple and petty vices.

There are few demons able to resist the lure of the soul of even a relatively inexperienced demonologist and many will be prepared to endure the degradation of service to a mortal in order to obtain it. The demonologist who successfully performs soul servitude will gain the service of the demon for a year and a day. During this period, the demon will comply with any instruction at any time, potentially granting the practitioner tremendous power to fulfil his worldly concerns. After a year and a day has passed, the practitioner’s soul becomes the property of the
demon, to do with as it pleases.

Only the weakest of demons will seek to take the soul immediately in order to reap immediate benefits within the infernal planes, causing the instantaneous death of the demonologist as the body cannot exist without the soul. More powerful demons will both toy with the practitioner and use him to further their own ends upon the material worlds. He will become an agent of evil, unable to resist the compulsions and whims of his demonic lord. Though retaining free will much of the time, the victim will become a mere tool of the demon, forced to perform the most heinous of acts and forever living in fear of the knowledge that, one day, the demon will come to collect.

Attempting Soul Servitude

A demonologist may only perform soul servitude with a named demon and he must have a demon lore rank of ten or greater. Possessed may never attempt soul servitude for their souls have already been sold, piece by piece. In the same way, a practitioner who has performed soul servitude may never take the possessed prestige class. Their soul is no longer theirs to bargain with.

A demonologist who offers soul servitude to a demon he summons gains a bonus to his Control check equal to three times his character level. As can be readily seen, even the most powerful of demons are likely to be compelled by this.

Success in the Control check will result in the demon lord being compelled to obey every instruction the demonologist issues for one year and a day from the time of summoning. These instructions do not have to be stated when the demon is summoned, as is usual, but instead any can be given at any time and they will automatically be obeyed. If the demon’s physical form is slain whilst on the material world, it will return to the infernal planes but, unfortunately for the demonologist, the soul servitude is not nullified and after the year and a day, he will be beholden to the demon as described below.

Regardless of whether the Control check is successful or not, the demonologist’s soul will pass to demonic hands. From this point on he will not be able to be resurrected by any means.

Once the year and a day has elapsed, the practitioner will immediately have his soul snatched by the demon if it is relatively weak (Challenge Rating 7 or 8). Due to the pact made with the demon, his soul will be ripped from his body and taken to the infernal planes, slaying him instantly.

In other cases, the demonologist will come under the complete domination of the demon he has made soul servitude with. This may be played out in one of two ways, as determined by the Games Master. The first choice is for the demon to compel the practitioner to become its agent in the material world, performing all manner of perverse and destructive acts in the name of pure evil before his soul is finally collected by the demon. The character becomes a Non-Player Character under the control of the Games Master and may well turn into the hated enemy of the rest of the party in future scenarios.

The second choice is for the demonologist to become the very hand of evil as described above, but under the control of the player. This is recommended only for veteran roleplayers but it can provide some of the most tense moments any gaming group may experience.

An Agent of Evil

It is strongly recommended that both player and Games Master consider the consequences of playing out soul servitude beyond the point where the practitioner falls under the sway of the demon, for it has the potential to alter the structure of an entire campaign. In most cases, groups will be far better off with the demonologist simply becoming a non-player character. That said, there is always the possibility of high drama, particularly if the rest of the party is good-aligned and collectively work together to thwart the machinations of the demon that has their friend in its grip. An evil-aligned party, however, may welcome the entrance of a demonic patron…

Once a year and a day has passed of the practitioner being able to compel the demon with which he has made soul servitude, their positions reverse. The Games Master must, from this point, always keep in mind how twisted and malevolently evil demons really are. They delight in pain, torture and destruction, being perfectly willing to see thousands of innocents perish for their mere amusement. They will enjoy toying with the demonologist, forever reminding him his soul is theirs for the taking at any time, as they watch him further their plans and ambitions in the material world.

Once soul servitude has been made, a demon may always see and hear through the practitioner’s own senses merely by concentrating, even whilst on the infernal planes, so close is this bond. The demonologist will always be able to sense the foreboding presence of the demon whenever it does this. In this way, they are forever able to watch and monitor the progress of their servant to ensure he acts according to their dark plans.

The demonologist retains free will throughout the soul servitude and may act as he wishes at any time. There are, however, three methods by which the demon may compel him to do as it demands. First, the demon is able to speak directly to the practitioner at any time, whether whilst awake or within his dreams, again simply by concentrating. If threats and black promises fail to sufficiently motivate him, the demon is then able to either possess him or take his soul. Possession occurs automatically, with no chance of the demonologist resisting and the demon is able to leave at any time of its choosing, though its victim will suffer the usual side effects as described on p26. The taking of a soul is the ultimate threat for this is something the body cannot exist without. Such an action will automatically slay the demonologist, with no chance of reversal or resurrection as his soul descends to the infernal planes to be forever a plaything of his demonic master. This is the ultimate fate of all who make soul servitude, for the demon will inevitably come to collect one day. All the demonologist can do is follow the designs of his master, hoping that by proving himself capable, he staves off the cruel attentions of the demon for as long as possible.

It may be hard to imagine what a demon could possibly want from the material world, especially as it is likely to be up to its neck in the convoluted politics of the infernal planes. However, demons and other immortals have always had a peculiar interest in the affairs of those on the material world, taking great delight in influencing or destroying them with mighty, awesome power.

The initial tasks set before a demonologist under soul servitude are likely to be minor, petty even, as the demon weighs up its new tool. Simply visiting pain and destruction upon those nearby may be one course. Alternatively, a more practical approach may be taken, such as seeking the death of a noble knight who has too often thwarted the plans of evil, or another demonologist who has dominated many demonic allies for far too long. Beyond this, nobles may be corrupted, entire cities subverted and kingdoms toppled as the demonologist, aided by his demonic master, is compelled to build cults and followings dedicated to causing the greatest amount of destruction possible. A demon’s vision of its own ambition is truly infinite and its plans will always reflect this. Just as the demonologist begins to think he can do no more for his master, the demon will start to relate a new set of demands, further propelling him into becoming an enemy of all that is good and pure.

There are two more things to consider. First of all, demons regularly use the souls in their possession as bargaining tokens to further their own ends upon the infernal planes, always the prime concern. Being immortal, demons do not view the passage of time in quite the same way as those on the material world and the passing of a mortal’s lifetime is of little moment to such creatures. However, there remains the possibility
of a demonologist suddenly finding himself beholden to a far more powerful demon than he originally bargained for as his soul gets passed on, perhaps even as far as one of the very lords of hell. If this unfortunate event ever occurs, he will suddenly be confronted with an increasingly domineering master who is likely to demand a lot more from the soul servitude.

Second, one day, whether it is sooner or later, the demon will come to collect its due. After the ritual of servitude, the practitioner’s soul becomes the property entire of the demon. For weeks, months or years it will tease and torment the pitiful demonologist, always reminding him his time on the material world is at its sufferance and that one day, the debt must be paid in full. Some in the past have sought their own deaths rather than be made the playthings of demons, only to find their souls have already been claimed by the infernal planes. A practitioner may gain an incredible amount of power from soul servitude but, ultimately, damnation is the only end from which there can be no escape.

A Final Thought

The one question to be asked is who would dare risk soul servitude, even for the power gained? The rules for soul servitude may seem unduly harsh, even considering the tone of the rest of this book and this is purely intentional. Soul servitude must never be considered lightly and is likely to result in, at least, the retirement of the character concerned. That said, during playtesting we uncovered a number of highly imaginative, not to say daring, methods of escaping soul servitude once it had been made. Most players tend to spend their time working out increasingly ingenious ways of breaking free of soul servitude, once it has been made. This process we will leave up to the individual Games Master as to whether he will allow players the chance to release themselves of what is effectively and literally a binding contract. All that can be said is that the price for doing so must be incredibly high, as is right and proper for the practice of demonology in general.

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