We spent the last session on logistics - specifically summoning demons. Much to our chagrin, we discovered that the rules outlined in the otherwise wonderful Elric! rulebook are, to say the least, obscure. Ironically, the player with whom I spent last session working through the laborious summoning process seemed perturbed by the balance-shattering powers that are available to the sorcerer that successfully summons and binds a demon.
Although I remarked that Elric! is not a game that is overly concerned with balance, my nostrums did little to persuade my player that creating a sword capable of inflicting 2D10 points of damage would ruin the game. I even went so far as to assure him that his adversaries would most certainly wield weapons of comparable power, which did little to allay his misgivings. As a matter of fact, I think it bolstered his his misgivings.
I should say that I have never subscribed to the idea that a GM should go out of their way to kill their players' characters. I am not saying that death isn't possible in my campaigns. My players and I are grizzled adults with limited time to spare on something as trivial as an antiquated RPG; the only reason why we do this is that we still enjoy tossing dice and engaging in collaborative storytelling. It would be anticlimactic, in my opinion, if my characters, the focus of this melodrama, were repeatedly bumped off by adversaries lucky enough to circumvent their blades and their baroque, demon-infested armor.
With this in mind, I took my friend's reservations to heart, and we devised (rather quickly) our own summoning rules. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that my friend responsible for the lion's share of the innovations contained within this system. I add a few touches, and I have since exercised GM prerogative and revised some of the rules that we hashed out. For the one other person out there who actually knows about, cares about, or, perhaps, plays Elric!, I hope that these revisions come in handy.
Revised Summoning Rules
1) Cast Summon Demon (8 Points).
2) Roll under your luck score (POW x 5). If successful, devote the 8 points to the demon’s attributes. If you fail, you lose the 8 MPs and the demon fails to materialize.
3) All demons must have at least 1d8 in every attribute, including SIZ, DEX, and APP.
4) For a lesser demon, 3d8 must be devoted to POW. No more than 24d8s may be devoted to attributes. No Skills or abilities may exceed 100%.
5) Use your pool of MPs to purchase demonic abilities, skills, as you see fit.
6) Per the normal rules, a lesser binding costs 1 POW. An eternal binding costs 3 POW.
7) POW: POW contest to successfully bind the demon. The demon reveals its true name.
8) If you’re binding a demon into a weapon or armor, use the Damage Bonus determined by adding STR+SIZE and add it to weapon’s damage. For demon armor, add CON and SIZE, consult the same table, and add that to the armor’s stoppage capacity.
9) Additional d6s of protection or damage may be purchased for 10 MP.
10) Describe how the item looks and make a CHA roll. If you only put 1d8 in APP, your loss. The DM will determine what a successful or failure means with regard to the appearance of your item.
11) Think up a suitable need for the demon, or the DM will do it for you.