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Old 10-03-2019, 12:59 PM   #1
Yssa
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Default Dealing with Demons

I got halfway into a battle with a Demon of Old (and his various minions) and realized that things I thought made sense about demons from the comfort of my couch seemed much less clear once the PCs got involved, so here are a couple questions:

1. Targeting the heart: My Holy Warrior with Hidden Lore (Demons) Successfully identified the location of the heart. Monsters (20) describe the "Achilles Heel" as "vitals" which would be -3 penalty to hit, but that seems kind low: If you are targeting human vitals that includes a slew of internal organs as options, whereas this is single organ. Would you all stick with -3, or apply some greater penalty?

2. Damaging the vitals: It's not totally clear to me how Achilles' heel works. The Demon of Old Description (Monsters 20) says, "The only sure way to defeat such a demon is to run it through the heart." which implies that a single shot through the heart should do the trick. If that is the case, does any amount of injury to the heart cause death, or does it have it's own little HP pool that must be exhausted. On the other hand, [B]Monsters[B] (12) says, as part of the "unkillable" description: "Achilles’ Heel indicates injury from the named source can kill the monster normally: HT rolls to live at -1x HP and below, death at -5x HP, and no coming back," Which seems to indicate that you still need to do the normal amount of damage to the monster, you just also have to hit the heart to trigger HT rolls. If that is the case, does it matter when the vitals get hit? For a 20HP demon, would a 1 point of injury stab to the vitals followed by 39 points of untargeted injury trigger a HT roll the same as 39 points of untargeted injury followed by a stab to the vitals to push it over the edge, or would all 40 points of damage need to be targeted?

3. Dread: Holy Objects: Upon seeing the demon hovering above a lagoon, my the demon-hating Holy Warrior jumped up and grappled it in the air. She wears a blessed holy symbol at all times, which the demon would dread. Monsters (13) describes Dread: "Monster has a supernatural aversion to the specified item, and must keep the indicated distance from it. If the object of dread is brought closer, the creature will sense it and must take Move maneuvers to get outside the indicated range. If it can’t flee, it’s compelled to Do Nothing." Since the holy warrior is hanging off the demon, a move maneuver would not get him farther away, as she would float along with him. By a literal reading of the rules, the demon is then left with the only option of "Do Nothing." I feel, though, like the intention of the rule is not "must use move" but "must try to get away" in which case trying to break free and then move would be the thing to do. On the other hand, I could imagine that the Demon is so horrified by the proximity of the holy symbol that the urge to flee would be so great that it wouldn't think of breaking free, even if it could fairly easily. What would you do?
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Old 10-03-2019, 01:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

[CONFLICT OF INTEREST]
I'm quite certain that the demon should drop dead, leaving behind heaps of gold and magic items. And some special holy artifacts for the cleric. And some exotic tea for the scout-who-is-obsessed-with-tea. And probably a vorpal sword for the holy warrior.
[/CONFLICT OF INTEREST]

Since my cleric is currently embroiled in this encounter, I guess I'll wait to see what other people have to say. (It was an awesome cliffhanger ending... can't wait for the next session!)
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Old 10-03-2019, 01:36 PM   #3
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[CONFLICT OF INTEREST]
I'm quite certain that the demon should drop dead, leaving behind heaps of gold and magic items. And some special holy artifacts for the cleric. And some exotic tea for the scout-who-is-obsessed-with-tea. And probably a vorpal sword for the holy warrior.
[/CONFLICT OF INTEREST]

Since my cleric is currently embroiled in this encounter, I guess I'll wait to see what other people have to say. (It was an awesome cliffhanger ending... can't wait for the next session!)
Well, you don't find a vorpal sword, but on the other hand, you do find some rations. A snickers snack.
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Old 10-03-2019, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

Disclaimer: In GURPS, my answers might be different, but this is DFRPG, where 'simple and consistent' outweighs 'realistic stuff published in stuff other than DFRPG.

1. Stick with the -3; the Achilles Heel is pretty clear on this, and letting Holy Warriors and clerics do cool things is good.

2. Once the monster takes a blow to the vitals, it makes HT rolls like a normal creature without Unkillable. Whether that blow to the vitals happens first or last doesn't matter.

3. A grappled creature can't take Move maneuvers unless its ST is more than twice its foe's (Exploits p.41), so (unless your Holy Warrior is a Halfling), the Demon can't fly away with her. I'd interpret the rules as allowing Break Free in this case, though. Note the +5 that the Holy Warrior gets in the Quick Contest if using both hands! For a lesser demon, I'd use 'paralyzed with terror, must Do Nothing' in this situation, which does fit the strict reading of the rules.

Oh, and the demon ought definitely leave behind heaps of gold and magic items, an absolute loot piñata. But all of the magic items should be cursed and unholy, and the gold should be the sort of coins that have the trapped souls of the damned inside them, just so the cleric has to feel super-guilty about it.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harald387 View Post
Disclaimer: In GURPS, my answers might be different, but this is DFRPG, where 'simple and consistent' outweighs 'realistic stuff published in stuff other than DFRPG.

1. Stick with the -3; the Achilles Heel is pretty clear on this, and letting Holy Warriors and clerics do cool things is good.

2. Once the monster takes a blow to the vitals, it makes HT rolls like a normal creature without Unkillable. Whether that blow to the vitals happens first or last doesn't matter.

3. A grappled creature can't take Move maneuvers unless its ST is more than twice its foe's (Exploits p.41), so (unless your Holy Warrior is a Halfling), the Demon can't fly away with her. I'd interpret the rules as allowing Break Free in this case, though. Note the +5 that the Holy Warrior gets in the Quick Contest if using both hands! For a lesser demon, I'd use 'paralyzed with terror, must Do Nothing' in this situation, which does fit the strict reading of the rules.

Oh, and the demon ought definitely leave behind heaps of gold and magic items, an absolute loot piñata. But all of the magic items should be cursed and unholy, and the gold should be the sort of coins that have the trapped souls of the damned inside them, just so the cleric has to feel super-guilty about it.
I'm with Harald387 on this one.

Getting grappled by a Holy Warrior wielding his Symbol is kind of a Demon's worst nightmare. "RUN AWAY" being the top priority, and "OH NO I CAIN'T RUN!" looping in a action-freezing sequence until it dies from getting heart-poked.

That being said, if you want this to be a harder encounter and not an auto-win for the Holy Warrior:
1. Adjust the specifics from Monster As Written (MAW), make the Heart/Vitals harder to hit for this demon. A -5 or -7 for a "Harder to Hit" demon Achilles' Heel.
2. Adjust the Demon's resistance to the Holy Symbol. A particularly tough or Evil Deamon may get rolls to break its "Do Nothing" dread-lock. Not MAW, but will turn the auto-win into a desperate struggle...
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

1. I think the penalty is stiff enough that it's not worth derivation from Rules as Written. You could presume that "heart" is not to scale with human anatomy or that it represents a more complex system of circulatory organs in demons.

2. Without some greater understanding of that lore I'd say it's subjective weather the demon can be injured except by their Achilles heel. I would have to assume they can be crippled and it's difficult to imagine them having their head bitten off by some supernatural beast and being "undefeated" unless their form is instantly regenerating except when stabbed through the "heel" to make things simple I'd say all damage has to be dealt to the "heel"

3. I'd say that the target of a dread item can't take action against the person grappling them even to the point of consciously breaking that grapple, but if fleeing is an opportunity there's nothing that would prevent them from trying to flee even if it's not logically possible to succeed, and a demon that can only be harmed by attacks to the "Heel" could flee through fire or under water or fly into walls.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:55 PM   #7
Yssa
 
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

Thank you all; this is helpful: I will run it thus:

1. Normal injury does hurt the demon, it is just unlikely to take it down, without some damage done to the vitals. (This might remain a bit unclear to my players, because the fire mage happened to be building a giant fireball out of boredom while everyone else smoked hookah with a half-orc mystic, and dealt 40+ injury to the Demon before it had even fully materialized on this plane. . . so it's already in line for death checks one it gets a vitals stab)

2. I will count attempts to break the grapple as an attempt at moving away, but I wont allow attacks from within the grapple (the fear compels "break free" and takes away the judgement that beating your grappler senseless might get you out faster.)

And a follow up: Anyone have any inspiration on some good demon-toted loot to drop at the feet of my adventurers?
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yssa View Post
And a follow up: Anyone have any inspiration on some good demon-toted loot to drop at the feet of my adventurers?
Demonhide Armor (DFMI2 p.38) might be a good choice - of course demons would wear the skin of other demons! A powerful magical whip or kusari might also be fitting. Unholy, of course, not simply 'magical'.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dealing with Demons

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Originally Posted by Yssa View Post
. . . and realized that things I thought made sense about demons from the comfort of my couch seemed much less clear once the PCs got involved . . .
I can so relate to this mental affliction. It's so the motive for perpetual organizing and simplifying. ;-)

~~~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
. . . And probably a vorpal sword for the holy warrior.
This so reminded me of an ironic, little amusement that Kromm put in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG: Delvers To Go booklet of pre-generated characters.

This is one of the Knight Sir Yvor Gryffyn's quirks:
Quote:
Misuses adjectives ("Fetch my vorpal helmet!").
I was reading through the characters the other week, and that made me smile.
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