HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: Travel to, Within and from the Abyss

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell and Guild Companion Publications Ltd © 2016

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"If given an opportunity, Demons and similar ilk will enter the Mortal Plane via bridges and Gateways, though always having taken the precaution of willing a part of their essence into the miasma first."

One of the occupational hazards of trafficking with Demons and using their dark mana is the risk of creating temporary bridges between the mage’s current plane and one of the subplanes of the Abyss, through a fumbled spell or ritual. The risk is heightened if the mage is already present on one of the abyssal subplanes as the walls between the subplanes are already weakened by miasmic energy.

Thus whenever a spell, ritual, or other magical effect involving the Demon Aspect or powered by dark mana or both is fumbled, then the GM should secretly make a d100 open-ended roll adding the following modifiers:

  • +10 if the effect was a fumbled ritual
  • +10 if the effect involved both the Demon Aspect and was powered by dark mana
  • +10 if High Magic was involved
  • +1 per every PP used in the magical effect
  • +20 if the effect occurred on an abyssal subplane
  • 01-100: No bridge forms
  • 101-120: A bridge forms and remains for d10 rounds
  • 121-140: A bridge forms and remains for 2d10 rounds
  • 141-160: A bridge forms and remains for d10 minutes
  • 161-180: A bridge forms and remains for 2d10 minutes
  • 181-200: A bridge forms and remains for 3d10 minutes
  • 201+: A bridge forms and remains for d10 hours

Bridges to the abyssal subplanes created by magical fumbles appear d10 feet away from the spell caster or main ritual caster (in any direction the GM chooses) and form in 2d10 rounds. The destination point of these bridges is random in terms of both subplane and specific location on the subplane (GM’s choice).

Example: Lucien, a dark mana user, is battling a group of irate pitchfork wielding peasants and has just fumbled a 16 PP Hellfire Wall spell. The GM rolls 90, plus 16, equals 106, which is enough for a short-lived bridge to form. The GM rolls a total of 5 on 2d10 for the completion of the bridge’s formation, 7 on d10 for its duration, and 10 on d10 for distance away from Lucien. An opening to hell will serve to infuriate the peasants more but if the battle continues to go against Lucien, he might decide to take his chances on the other side.

Using Detect Magic (or similar spells and abilities), the opening to the bridge can be located. Alternatively the tell-tale distortions of the rent in reality may be seen by a successful Extremely Hard (-60) Perception maneuver by any individual within visual range of the bridge point (GMs should ensure that all appropriate vision modifiers are applied.) Once a bridge is created anyone from either side can simply walk through the opening and appear instantly on the other side. Anyone with the wit to note the location of the opening on their destination plane can return home by simply stepping back through the opening while the bridge remains in existence. It is up to the GM to decide if any Demons take the opportunity to stage an incursion.

Summoning spells (such as Summon Demon) and equivalent rituals create stable bridges between the planes. These lock onto a suitable demonic being or creature and forcibly teleport it through the ethereal layers to the desired location. The Demon will normally will a part of its essence into the safety of the Miasma — no known spell or ritual has been able to prevent this. For the duration of the spell or ritual, the Demon must remain in the destination (sub)plane, but is not automatically compelled to obey the summoner, who should have a Control Demon spell ready to cast or be able to exert other forms of persuasion on a probably vexed Demon. Once the spell or ritual ends (either normally or by being cancelled or dispelled), the residual effect of the magic will return the Demon to the origin point on the subplane it was summoned from.

Traveling to or from an abyssal subplane can be achieved using a Demonic Bridge spell or equivalent ritual. This creates a stable bridge between two points on different (sub)planes, one of which must be on an infernal or demonic (sub)plane. Anyone or anything can use the created bridge to travel instantaneously between the two (sub)planes. Infernal Gateways are permanent versions of the Demonic Bridge spell that have been created by potent rituals. Many Infernal Gateways connect the subplanes of the Abyss together, though not all pairs of subplanes appear directly connected. Not all of the Gateways are known; many of those that are known are guarded. There are Infernal Gateways that lead from the Abyss to other planes, notably other subplanes, and these are almost all well-guarded. The Elemental overlords vigorously resist attempts to create gateways from the Abyss to their subplanes. Many Demon Princes seek gateways into the mortal plane and have fought terrible wars to acquire these from or deny them to rivals. There are no Infernal Gateways that lead to the divine planes.

If given an opportunity, Demons and similar ilk will enter the Mortal Plane via bridges and Gateways, though always having taken the precaution of willing a part of their essence into the miasma first. A Banish Demon spell is one means of forcibly repatriating them back to the Abyss. By default, this will return them to the location on their home subplane that is mystically analogous to the location from which they have been banished. The GM decides where this return point is.