Knowledge of a devil's true name or the ability to inscribe its sigil grants significant power over the fiend. In the cast of the spell planar binding, when a devil's true name is used to conjure a specific fiend, the target devil takes a -5 penalty on the initial Will save to resist being summoned; if its sigil is inscribed within the magic circle binding it, the devil takes a -5 penalty on all checks to escape the circle. True names and sigils might also be known to have other powers over devils, though most devil summoners keep the discovery of such powers closely guarded secrets.
By studying tomes of dark lore, infernal documents, and tragic histories, one might discover occluded riddles and hints at the names of devils working their will upon mortal kind. A researcher not specifically searching for the true name or sigil of a specific infernal creature might discover either of these details relating to a lesser devil by spending a month doing nothing besides studying in a sizable library of history or arcane lore. At the end of the month, the GM should make a DC 25 Knowledge (planes) check for the researcher, modified by aid from a single assistant and any tomes noted to be of particular value. If this check succeeds, the researcher discovers the type and true name or sigil (one or the other) of a random lesser devil. If the check fails, the researcher discovers nothing of value relating to true names; he may spend additional months researching again in the same library, but each subsequent check there takes a cumulative -2 penalty for that researcher until the penalty is so great it is obvious the place holds no valuable lore. If the researcher fails his check by more than 5, he believes he's discovered a creature's true name, but it is in fact a fake, and holds no power.
If the researcher knows of a specific devil, he may attempt to specifically research that creature's name or sigil. For a lesser devil, researching this information takes a month, while for a greater devil, it takes 3 months. At the end of this time, the GM makes a Knowledge (planes) check for the researcher with a DC equal to 20 + the devil's Hit Dice. Should the researcher already know the creature's true name but not its sigil (or vice versa) he gains a +2 bonus on this check in addition to any other bonuses for assistance or worthwhile tomes. Success on this check reveals the details being sought, while failure reveals no information, though the researcher may continue to study in the same library, as noted above. Failing by more than 5 uncovers false information, as previously noted.
One might also attempt to research the name of a diabolical being as powerful as an infernal duke or archfiend, but such can only be done in the libraries of Hell or with a tome of fundamental evil power (like the Book of the Damned). Although such beings can resist as summons that invokes their true names or sigils, they often choose to appear anyway merely to discover who has learned their secrets and how. Such encounters typically end with such brash devil summoners being dragged screaming back to the infernal prince's domain in Hell.
One might attempt to coax knowledge of a weaker infernal creature's true name or sigil from a summoned devil. Any devil has a percent chance equal to double its Hit Dice to know the true name of one or more fiends lower than it in the infernal hierarchy-- lesser devils typically know 1d4+1 true names and sigils, while greater devils usually know 2d8+2. There are certain exceptions such as lemures that never know any true names, osyluths that usually know as many names and sigils as true devils, and gelugons and certain other highly manipulative greater devils who might know double the typical number.
No devil betrays the true names of its inferiors freely, though. A devil summoned via planar binding or planar ally might be coaxed into revealing such details, but only for a high and often dangerous price. Fiends typically use this opportunity to entice their summoners into performing acts that further their own nefarious schemes or the goals of Hell. In addition, spellcasters employing planar binding still need to engage in a contest of wills to convince the fiend to reveal such a secret, forcing the caster to make an opposed Charisma check as described by that spell. A spellcaster planar ally using must perform a deed and pay his infernal contract for its knowledge in treasures equaling 2,000 gp times the Hit Dice of the devil whose true name or sigil is to be revealed. A devil only reveals one true name or sigil per summoning and returns to Hell upon doing so.
Daemons sense mortal souls like sharks smell the blood of a wounded animal thrashing in the water. Those who fashion such lures find that they will come, streaming from the angles of the summoning diagram to take their prize. Most daemons care absolutely nothing for their summoners, even in the event of a worthy sacrifice. Instead they care only about breaking free and feasting upon the Material Plane’s ripe, waiting harvest—usually starting with their would-be masters.
A daemon’s eagerness to slip Abaddon’s bonds and venture into the feasting grounds of the Material Plane is such that casters often find summoning or calling many daemons proves remarkably easy. With such ease comes danger, however, as a summoned daemon is even less likely than an impetuous demon (and far less likely than devils, who enjoy crafting contracts and bargains) to sit idly by while the caster outlines a proposal. More often, daemons eviscerate their summoners immediately. Such dangers aside, most methods of conjuring daemons contain similar thematic elements, tailored to weaken the boundaries between the mortal realm and Abaddon, and to call out to a daemon’s tastes and desires.
Magic Circle: A magic circle is paramount in daemon-summoning—not to contain the fiend so much as to anchor it in place until it is completely bound by the conjurer. More than one summoner has fallen prey to the ravenous hunger of an uncontrolled daemon, and few live to make the mistake twice. The circle is best engraved so as to avoid smudging or smearing of written symbols, and then outlined in fresh mortal blood (the caster’s own if possible). Recorded examples have even used candles of rendered infant fat burned so that their wax pools into the channels of an engraved circle, or a living circle formed from the twisted or braided entrails of a living, bound victim next to the summoner, acting as a conduit and focus for the binding.
For spells such as planar binding that require the caster to make opposed Charisma checks against the outsider, the use of a sacrifice favored by the daemon—often in some way associated with the manner of death the daemon personifies, and usually in or within view of the summoning circle—provides a benefit for the caster on Charisma checks to bind the daemon.
Some conjurers believe that if they stand in a second magic circle, they are safe from a rebellious daemon. Unfortunately, that spell only prevents bodily contact from summoned creatures, not called creatures. Of course, the circle’s other powers (resistance bonus, saving throw bonus, and protection from possession) still function, but there is nothing to stop a daemon called by planar ally from physically tearing the caster into pieces.
Name: The summoner must also know a daemon’s common name—the name it is known by to its peers and educated mortals—in order to call out to it specifically, or else a random example of its kind will answer. The name must be inscribed at four points on the circle’s exterior, paying homage to the Four Horsemen, and their unholy names must be invoked four times, requesting their permission to summon their servant, and promising Horsemen and the servant alike an appropriate sacrifice for appearing, and a reward after their service, to be bargained ahead of time.
More useful is a daemon’s true name, a unique mystical identifier that perfectly defines the creature when its name is spoken. Discovering a daemon’s true name usually requires at least a month of research and a DC 25 Knowledge (planes) check (at the GM’s discretion). Success means the summoner can speak the true name as part of the conjuring ritual, giving the creature a –5 penalty on its Will save to resist the calling. Most daemons of note hide their true names and plant false names in books so as to trick mortals into a false sense of security when conjuring.
Texts: Many of Abaddon’s daemons are so eager to reach the Material Plane that some of the available texts on summoning their kind contains false information intentionally left to deceive would-be summoners. The material is often grossly flawed, but that is not to say that it doesn’t function. Rather, it functions too well, drawing forth a daemon to the Material Plane. Where the rituals and diagrams often fail is in properly containing the fiend long enough for the summoner to complete a bargain with it. Far too many attempted daemon summonings end with a scorched, broken summoning circle; a summoner shucked of his immortal soul; and a trail of death left in the fiend’s wake.
Numerous books detail the summoning and binding of daemons. Usually suppressed and censored, copies fetch high prices from both those wishing to learn and use their secrets and those eager to secure and destroy them. Of the various daemonic guides and lectionaries, the following examples are some of the most often cited or most eagerly sought after. All of these books are spellbooks, and each description includes a list of spells included in a typical copy of the book; most contain other spells as well, but the listing only includes spells that are common to the majority of copies.
Arzikan’s Liber Daemonica: A general exploration of daemons, their desires, and their various castes by the ancient Thassilonian mage Arzikan. While many of the text’s rituals are suspect (possibly to ensure the death of any would-be rivals who might steal and use his books), its lengthy discussion of appropriate sacrifices and a listing of true names for many lesser daemons remain invaluable for those in possession of a copy. A typical copy of this book includes the following spells: agonize, contact other plane, daemon ward, dimensional anchor, dismissal, lesser planar binding, magic circle against evil, protection from evil, summon cacodaemon (both varieties), summon ceustodaemon.
Inusalia’s Asemic Acrostic: Though on the surface this book appears to be a bizarre, highly precise, and informative Keleshite treatise on herbal potions, hallucinogenic drugs, and poisons, closer examination reveals a complex acrostic in Abyssal, comprising two smaller texts encoded within the first. The first describes devotions to the Horseman of Famine. The second lists the common names of daemons in his service and their preferred sacrifices. From the second list comes the name of the book’s likely author, the meladaemon Inusalia, the Lady of Wasting Intoxication. A typical copy of this book includes the following spells: contagion, greater planar binding, lesser planar binding, plague carrier, planar binding, summon meladaemon.
Olemhaut’s Chronicle of Nine Despairs: Penned by the mortal conjurer Lucretia Olemhaut and her erodaemon consort Esdaria of the Nine Despairs, the book explores the various desires and hungers of many of Abaddon’s more powerful daemonic castes, and an autobiography of its erodaemon coauthor. Highly philosophical, it explores various ideologies regarding daemonic nature and how they relate to mortals, as well as an appendix listing more than a dozen effective wards and bindings to protect summoners. A typical copy of this book includes the following spells: contact other plane, daemon ward, lesser planar binding, overwhelming grief, planar binding, summon erodaemon, symbol of despair.
The Withered Footsteps of the Dire Shepherd: The oldest known source on daemons, this tome also contains expositions on many other soul-devouring creatures, along with exquisite details on summoning or actually creating them. The book avoids the intentional corruption of virtually all other sources—whenever the text is altered, it reverts to its previous (and presumably true) state. This property only applies to complete versions of the book; excerpts and quotations from it may contain errors, lending scholars to seek only complete, bound volumes rather than relying on secondhand or incomplete references. Complete copies exist written in Abyssal and Infernal, though portions of each include passages written in an unknown or dead language. The book’s most eager buyers are daemons themselves, who grant the text an almost religious reverence. A typical copy of this book includes the following spells: banishment, create greater undead, gate, greater planar binding, planar binding, soul transfer, summon derghodaemon, summon thanadaemon, trap the soul.