Encyclopaedia Arcane: Demonology
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Welcome, mortal, to Demonology - The Dark Road. Within these secret pages you will find the most forbidden knowledge of all - that of summoning, binding and ultimately controlling the demons, devils and fiends of the infernal planes. This book is not for the faint of heart for only the strongest of wills may dare to dabble in the blackest art of all. The perils are great and the dangers terrifying but for those willing to gamble their very souls, the rewards are far greater than any mortal can possibly conceive.
The demons of the infernal planes are unlike anything within normal human experience. They are immortal creatures, utterly evil and twisted to the core, consumed with their own selfish and often unfathomable ends. Such beings delight in corrupting and perverting all that is good and wholesome, enjoying the temptation of mortals with promises that may never be fulfilled. Their capacity for hatred, cruelty and spite are infinite.
The practice of demonology, that is, the study and control of beings from the infernal planes, is one of lengthy research and sheer force of personality. The strength of mind required to hold the most minor of demons in check is beyond the imagination of most and many practitioners over-reach themselves too quickly, with fatal results. Many choose not to understand the power of this discipline and art, and thus demonologists are usually solitary in nature, consumed by their studies and progress to greater understanding. Most are vilified or actively fought against by those ignorant of the sheer strength that can be unleashed and used for the good as much as the ill. But all who follow the Dark Road are united in the knowledge that theirs is but a narrow path, with a precipice of damnation awaiting one fatefully placed wrong step.
Demonology - The Dark Road heralds a new series from Mongoose Publishing based around new and exciting forms of magic. Designed to be seamlessly slotted into any fantasy-based D20 games system, the Encyclopaedia Arcane series does far more than merely introduce new spells to extend existing magic-using character classes. Instead, each book will cover a completely new form of magic, adding a whole new dimension to campaigns. Such arts are not just intended for Games Masters to use in conjunction with Non-Player Characters, however. Each book of the Encyclopaedia Arcane gives full details for players themselves to try the new magic system, along with plenty of information to aid Games Masters in the introduction of each book into his campaign.
DEMONOLOGY — THE DARK ROAD
This, the first of the Encyclopaedia Arcane series, gives players and Games Masters alike all the information they need to begin using demonology within their campaign. You will find chapters devoted to those who dare to summon almost uncontrollable energies, the rituals used to bind these powers and also individual demonic entities. New feats and magic items are introduced to aid the fledgling demonologist along his path, whilst Games Masters may take no little delight in applying these rules to the most evil of races, creating the archnemesis of any party.
Demonology is not for the weak of will and any practitioner's greatest ally is knowledge. With proper research and a diligent attention to detail, however, one can unleash and control some of the mightiest powers available to any mortal of the material world.
The old man looked up from his book as the bell above the door of his shop chimed softly announcing the entrance of a potential customer. He squinted through the accumulating gloom at a young man, well-kept and wearing the baggy robes currently in vogue for those styling themselves wizards. The aged sage snorted softly at the manicured hands and carefully trimmed beard of the lad. He had seen this sort often enough, probably knew just enough to entertain the ladies he wished to coax to his sheets. The old man muttered to himself and went, back to his reading.
Curse that fool Marius, Santado thought to himself. This shrivelled old man could not possibly be the legendary Falun, tutor to half of the Red Tower mages. He just looks like a doddering old curmudgeon who would scarce know the difference between iron and apple seeds.
'Excuse me, sir, is there a Falun here?' Santado decided that perhaps the old man was Falun's father and might know his whereabouts.
The old man blinked, 'Falun? Not heard that name in many years, who wants to know?'
'I am Santado, I was told that this Falun fellow could show me the Dark Road.' Santado smiled hopefully.
The old man squinted over the jumble of vials and twists of herb-filled parchment scattered on the counter before him, 'Well, I'm Falun, for that part of your question, but the Dark Road? Never heard of it.'
Something in the way the old man chewed at his wispy moustache named him a liar. His young customer pressed further for the information he sought.
'It was intimated you were a guide to those seeking to travel such a path. Perhaps there is one who knows more that I have mistaken you for . . .'
The old sage straightened to his full height, 'There is none more knowledgeable than me in any matters magical. Any who says otherwise is a liar.'
The young man changed his approach, 'If it is a matter of money, I've more than enough gold to pay for my instruction. Name your price.'
Falun rolled his eyes, 'Listen, boy, you couldn't haggle your way out of an open sack and you're as subtle as a goat with gas. What makes you think you'd be able to bargain with a fiend?'
T made no mention of fiends. Perhaps I speak with the correct person after all.'
The old man bristled and grumbled to himself, 'Shifty little bastard got you there you old codger. Mayhap you're getting too old for this.' The frowning sage glared at his customer and shook his head.
'I can show you the Dark Road, boy, but the work and the danger will be yours alone.'
There are many misconceptions surrounding the active practising of demonology. It is often called the Dark Road, the Forbidden Path or the Black Art. It immediately conjures up images of blood-soaked rituals, of the sacrifice of virgins, of the bargaining of one's very soul. A practitioner will often find he must engage in his studies with the utmost secrecy, lest some mob of ignorant commoners storm his dwelling and hang him from the nearest tree. There is much misunderstood of the people who choose to tread the Dark Road.
Demonology, in and of itself, is not evil. A wizard who chooses to supplement his arcane powers with the demonic is not necessarily a twisted individual, greedy and selfish, utterly consumed by his quest for knowledge. In all likelihood he does not, in fact, offer up dark prayers to the gods of evil whenever he uses his magical powers. Like much in the world, demonology is merely a tool, no more, no less. A powerful and potentially dangerous tool, to be sure, but there is no more inherent evil in the art than in the forging of the finest sword. Such a weapon may be used to defend a peasant family against the hordes of darkness but it may also be turned against the innocent at the desire of its wielder. So it is with demonology.
When one serves good, to hold back from using any tool available is dereliction to the point of the affirmation of evil.
When all is said and done, those who practice demonology will often find themselves exposed to the most implacable evils on an almost constant basis. From reading ancient texts written by the diabolically mad to personally facing the darkest lords of the infernal planes, any demonologist who wishes to remain pure of heart must possess the most unshakeable resolve. The immoral creatures they seek to summon and control are cruel beyond measure and delight in perverting all that is good and innocent. Being academics by nature, demonologists are, however, prone to focus upon their studies to the exclusion of all else, unaware of I the damage they may be doing to the world around them and just how far down the Dark Road they may have travelled. This is the cold, black precipice all practitioners of the art must stare in the face each and every day of their lives.
It is often said the practice of demonology will eventually corrupt anyone, no matter how strong they were before they started on the Dark Road. A demonologist studying the art will quickly find he can progress to great knowledge and in doing so, begin to control far more powerful energies than if he restricted himself to the arcane lores alone. It is I here the trap is laid. Virtually any wizard has the strength and ability to summon the lesser creatures of the infernal planes. All it takes is access to the required knowledge. Such a wizard may call forth a nightmare to carry him a great distance with all speed in order to deliver a vital message. He may summon a small pack of hell hounds so as to aid in the defence of a lonely village from a marauding tribe of hobgoblins. There is no harm and little danger in this, so long as all the required prerequisites of the summoning are followed and obeyed. But as the wizard progresses along the Dark Road, he gains far deeper and blacker knowledge, becoming a demonologist proper. He will learn the rituals and rites required to call forth the greater powers of the infernal planes. He will become far more capable and when he pulls a being from the infernal planes, the demonologist will find he can reach the most powerful and malevolent of creatures. Being so close to such power is a draw to many and they may find themselves performing acts during summonations that once they may have found repugnant. It is a relatively simple step to using the bones of those long gone in order to summon certain species of demon. From there, where is the harm in using live animals as offerings to demonic entities, if it is for the greater good? Where will a demonologist draw the line? It is extraordinarily difficult for even an experienced demonologist to summon the most powerful beings of the infernal planes without offering a soul for their services. As the demonologist walks the Dark Road, it can be exceedingly hard to avoid practices any civilised being would deem evil to the core.