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 Demon's Amulets - 1st edition lore revisted
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8553 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2019 :  19:04:09  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So, not to sidetrack far, but I was thinking on the idea of red wizards stuck in Abeir on the continent of Katashaka while in Abeir, and establishing a great new city that they dub New Eltabbar. I've had the idea for a while they they basically takeover a plateau held by a powerful group of leonine humanoids and establish a tharch there complete with a canal city. So, a little while ago, I got the idea, what if we copy the general idea of Eltabbar more, but differently... what if these red wizards call upon the might of a god and then imprison a god beneath the city.... but what god? So, I thought... the Untheric people were so pissed at Nergal that they buried him outside their country... I'm also wanting to involve Ereshkigal as returning to the Untheric people temporarily... and since the red wizards would be more inclined to Myrkul (or Velsharoon for those who hate the Zulkir of necromancy) I decided to look into Nergal... who like Lolth is apparently a demon lord

So, I went and looked into the original Fiend Folio looking for the exact spelling of "Nergal"'s name as a demon lord (which I was in the wrong book its the 1e MM2 as Nergel), and noted this old lore



Demons' Amulets: Demon lords and princes maintain their vital
essences in small containers - their souls, so to speak, are thus at
once protected and yet vulnerable if some enterprising character
should gain the amulet. Demons with amulets are able to magic jar
once per day. Demons' amulets cannot be detected as such by any
magical means, and they do not otherwise appear unusual in any way.
The device need not be with the most powerful princes, although the
lesser demons typically need to carry theirs on or near their person.
Possession of an amulet gives the possessor power over the demon to
whom it "belongs" for the space of,for example, one adventure, and
never more than a day (24 hours). The amulet must then be returned
to the demon - or it can be destroyed and thus condemn the
prince to abyssment for a year (and it may return thereafter only
if summoned). Use of an amulet is very, very dangerous. Possession
of one will double chances of calling the attention of another demon,
and any demon not controlled by the device will immediately attack
the person possessing such an amulet. If the amulet leaves the hand
of the one commanding the demon to whom it belongs, that demon
attacks him in its most effective fashion, immediately, attempting its utmost to slay and then to carry all that remains to its own domain, i.e. that character is lost and gone forever. On the positive side, however, if the wielder of the amulet carefully repays the demon for aid rendered,adds a considerable sum for having the temerity to dare to command the demon in the first place, and then carefully restores the amulet to the demon, the prince might not bear him a grudge forever afterwards nor seek to hunt him out whenever possible.



Now, my thoughts here are basically, they gain possession of this demon lord's amulet and imprison him within the prime material after using him. They then "siphon" him for power periodically. Meanwhile, the demon queen (Ereshkigal) who actually rules with him orders other demons to not seek to free him as punishment for his turning on her.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32879 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2019 :  19:58:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How about twisting the idea, a bit? Instead of one powerful entity, how about building a "battery" of several fiends or something? Entrap several of them in some sort of arcane mechanism and make it like a demonic mythallar -- a general power source, but one that also allows attuned individuals to draw on specific abilities of those fiends? So maybe one wizard could temporarily use the fiendish immunity to fire, while another would get say three uses of a particular fiend type's innate abilities.

Mix up the fiends, and you've got different abilities to draw from. Make the attunement require like a bit of blood, a week's time near the machine, and a feat, and then they can draw on one or two of those abilities, using the innate spells like 3x a day. Burn another feat, and they can do like 3 or 4 of those abilities.

The blood and the week's time represent the commitment and add flavor from a lore standpoint. The feat requirement is the mechanical bit, making it rules-based. Limiting the abilities that can be drawn on, and how oft it can happen, keeps it from being too powerful.

So instead of directly copying a thing that's already been done, you put a twist on it and make it something different, yet similar enough to be a reasonable variation on the theme.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8553 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2019 :  21:37:18  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

How about twisting the idea, a bit? Instead of one powerful entity, how about building a "battery" of several fiends or something? Entrap several of them in some sort of arcane mechanism and make it like a demonic mythallar -- a general power source, but one that also allows attuned individuals to draw on specific abilities of those fiends? So maybe one wizard could temporarily use the fiendish immunity to fire, while another would get say three uses of a particular fiend type's innate abilities.

Mix up the fiends, and you've got different abilities to draw from. Make the attunement require like a bit of blood, a week's time near the machine, and a feat, and then they can draw on one or two of those abilities, using the innate spells like 3x a day. Burn another feat, and they can do like 3 or 4 of those abilities.

The blood and the week's time represent the commitment and add flavor from a lore standpoint. The feat requirement is the mechanical bit, making it rules-based. Limiting the abilities that can be drawn on, and how oft it can happen, keeps it from being too powerful.

So instead of directly copying a thing that's already been done, you put a twist on it and make it something different, yet similar enough to be a reasonable variation on the theme.



Actually, its kind of weird that you mention that, because in 2nd edition I did exactly that with minor demons trapped in the astral within an orb surrounded in hizagkuur and telstang and with wards to prevent magical transport without a key. There were spell engines set to absorb their magical casting (which they did because in 2nd edition, spellcasting on the astral was addictive) and then turn the energy towards a spell to hunt down spellshadows of the circle spell.

I like this option you present though, as it gives an interesting mechanic. I hadn't been thinking about the gameplay parts of it, but this would fit towards giving the suitably evil vibe that I want to give this particular portion of the culture. It also stinks of them not learning from their forebears (i.e. the drow of Narathmault and the demonbinders of Narfell). I was also bringing back Jorgmacdon (the first Zulkir of Conjuration), so I may move him to this city as well instead of where I was considering keeping him (or maybe he lives in both... they're suitably far apart enough that he might want a summer home).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6974 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2019 :  13:53:14  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My adaptation of 1E demon/daemon/fiend amulets into 2E (and later) gaming...

They're functionally similar to a lich's phylactery. Insofar as they are a physical object which anchors and links a spiritual entity to the material world. Possession of the object doesn't in itself grant any direct magical control over the being bound to it. But damaging or destroying the object would basically "kill" the being (harming the portion of its "soul" contained therein, causing it great pain, banishing it to whichever abyssal hell it belongs)... and the threat or risk of such inconvenience is enough to compel the being to obey commands.

"Killing" a demon in 1E usually meant banishing it for 100 years. I changed this to however many years the demon would need to convince some evil grasping mage to craft an amulet. If lots of evil grasping mages then lots of vengeful demon respawns, lol. I also assumed that using the amulet to control the demon was always a fierce battle of wills, absolute dominance vs absolute submission (sullen seething hatred and fury and abusive interpretations of worded orders still permitted) - and the more you use it the more the demon can explore and exploit your psyche, employ trickery or treachery, etc - after enough uses the demon will always win (then take possession of its own amulet).
I suppose mages crafting the amulets would perform human sacrifices and other unspeakable acts. And I suppose demons investing a portion of their "soul" (and/or investing the evil crafter's corrupted soul) into the amulets would endure inhuman torments (and they might be forever diminished if it's lost). So demons would guard their amulets most fiercely - even from each other. And they'd be quite vengeful towards anyone who'd taken their amulets before.

[/Ayrik]
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5708 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2019 :  20:04:43  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Obviously that 1E take was player-centric in that it gave PCs a way to control demons. It doesn't make sense however. Why would a demon prince/lord put their essence/soul into an amulet? The only reason I can come up with is that by doing so, they short-cut the "if your true demon form is slain, you return to the Abyssal chaos and slowly reform as a base, minor demon and work your way up through the ranks"-trope. In that context it kind of makes sense. Otherwise, what's the point? That of course ignores the tarrasque in the room: just why would any demon prince/lord put their amulet anywhere it could be got to by another being? It would have to be their most prized treasure, no? People always point to the genius of EGG; this wasn't one of those creative genius moments. Much like subduing dragons.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
248 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2019 :  13:57:19  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That sounds about as close to an ripoff of the One Ring from Tolkien you could get, imho, just without implementing a reason behind it. The ring known as the ring of Sauron contained a lot of his essence (soul?) and power, in order to be able to control all other rings.

Imagine, if we tries translating it to D&D... Lets say an up and coming Demon Lord invented the magic of Liches, turn into the first ever lich, teaches the magic of phylacteries to others (spreading lichdoom), and then betrays them by ascending, turning into something like an demigod / Demon Lord able to control all existing liches. That deity dies, but budding Demon Lords and Fiends powerfull enough to aspire to power, try replicating the magic by sealing off parts of their souls, making Demons Amulets.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3937 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2019 :  04:58:15  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My original thought on demonic amulets was that when a new demon was formed by a more powerful demon an amulet was created to be able to control the demon...but that wouldn't have worked because more powerful demons don't really need amulets to control lower demons; they just use threat of force.

So my only recourse was that very powerful demons would create their own amulets to prevent their essence from being destroyed even if they were killed in their home plane. How those amulets then were lost by them is anyone's guess...possibly stolen when the demon wasn't able to stop it from happening for some reason.

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1557 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2019 :  11:20:53  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Both reasons could work very well: not reforming into a lesser demon if killed in other planes, and not being killed permamently if defeated in their own planes. I can also see them using decoy amulets to manipulate mortals who would think they have control over them.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

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(by Ed Greenwood)
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6974 Posts

Posted - 22 Oct 2019 :  01:07:48  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Decoy demon amulets. And decoy lich phylacteries. Mwoohahaha!

[/Ayrik]
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2146 Posts

Posted - 22 Oct 2019 :  21:47:37  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The demon amulets were just a form of protection; on the prime demons could not be permanently destroyed and would reform on the abyss, but they could be destroyed while on the abyss. These amulets were a safeguard against that; you destroy the demon and they STILL are not destroyed WHAT? This is also the reason they could not be detected - what use would a phylactery be if all you had to do was "detect phylactery" to find it and destroy your enemy.
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1845 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2019 :  19:08:48  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Decoy demon amulets. And decoy lich phylacteries. Mwoohahaha!



quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Obviously that 1E take was player-centric in that it gave PCs a way to control demons. It doesn't make sense however...People always point to the genius of EGG; this wasn't one of those creative genius moments. Much like subduing dragons.


I'm with George, and I like the "decoy" idea.

The "lore" given for demon amulets in the 1e books is the common understanding -- a ruse; the amulets seem to have have real power over any demon, but it's all smoke blown in your face.

What they do:
1) get that demon's attention -- this could be useful sometimes, but its primary role is facilitating the illusion of power over that demon.
2) negate any magical or psionic defenses the user might have against ESP and similar abilities; if you're touching the amulet, your mind is an open book.

So an amulet believed to control, or hold the essence of, or whatever, Demogorgon () should seem to have great power. You say the command word, which you may be led to believe is Demogorgon's truename or somesuch word of eldritch might, and a moment later (with a sudden eruption of sulfurous gas and hot muddy muck) a stomach-churning hezrou climbs/slithers/bubbles out of the earth, regards you balefully for a moment, and then announces that a hand of Demogorgon is before you and awaits your command.

Meanwhile, by touching and invoking the amulet, you've set off an annoying alarm bell in one or both of Demogorgon's heads, and presented the entirety of your mind for perusal. In an instant, the demon prince knows every ambition and nightmare you've ever had, and what you want Demogorgon to do for you, and what you really [em]don't[/em] want Demogorgon to do [em]to[/em] you, and so on, ad infinitum. It's a simple matter to determine a use for you and a means to manipulate you into performing that task while believing that you are in charge.

He also knows that you think Demogorgon is some kind of god of slimes, and slimes are gross, and the sight of a giant intelligent evil slime demon just might make you soil yourself. With fleeting amusement, one or both heads decide to use you instead of killing you...

tl;dr demon amulets don't let you control demons, they just let you think you can control demons. Gygax summarized some folklore, for the use of DMs who want a hook for introducing these items into their campaigns.

Edited by - xaeyruudh on 23 Oct 2019 19:21:09
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1845 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2019 :  19:16:26  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Now, my thoughts here are basically, they gain possession of this demon lord's amulet and imprison him within the prime material after using him.


While I don't support the demon amulet blurb being taken literally, I do like your idea and I think it would be cool to include the appropriate amulet(s).

As the PCs tumble into the dark of what's going on in this city, the "truth" they find could support the myth of the amulets' power. Deeper in the onion, another "truth" could be subtly or completely different.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6974 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2019 :  22:36:39  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, one thing Planescape lore teaches is that it's ridiculous (and potentially lethal) to assume everything in the planes works the same everywhere in the planes.

Perhaps demons need(ed) amulets to manifest in Greyhawk. Just because whatever unique (Gygaxian) properties of the place/plane somehow require it.

And perhaps they need(ed) amulets to manifest in the Realms. Same thing. Except the Realms also has the Weave... and each new iteration of the Weave dramatically changes the rules.

[/Ayrik]
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