Along the long road to the capitol we came upon a curious caravan heading in the other direction. It was draped in silks of the rich purple of the Eastern Merchants guild. It was pulled along by animated equine statues, steered by a man clad in the same coloured silks that covered the vehicle. Thorodr hailed it down, hoping to get a good deal for the figurine he found in the great river.
Thorodr browsed his wares, looking for a weapon to trade for the magical item. I bought Bradley a box of rich Eastern candies and spoke with the merchant. He asked about my profession and I told him about my quest to document the magical species of the world. He told me that he had something I might be interested in and disappeared into the carriage, returning with a cage holding a strange creature.
The creature was the shape of a young babe, though its skin was brown and leathery like that of a toad. Small horns sprouted from its disproportionately large head and stubby fangs jutted out of its mouth. The merchant told me that it was a demonic imp, like those in the servitude of apprentice demonologists. He told me that it would serve me faithfully if I could guess its true name. Seeing an opportunity to learn the true origins of the so-called “demons” of the fictional Abyssal Plane, I bought it promptly. Thorodr traded his falchion and the statuette for a spatha of Praetorian steel and the merchant went on his way.
As the light was failing we decided to make camp in a small and well-used clearing off the side of the road. Bradley built a fire and fed Benjamin while Thorodr began sharpening his new sword. I decided to start off with the imp. Knowing you attract more flies with honey than vinegar, I introduced myself and politely inquired as to the creature’s name. The little brute began swearing up a storm. Bradley was quite rattled and Thorodr snickered. Abandoning diplomacy, I started with a common demonic name from a prominent book of demons I had studied in the Academy. The Imp laughed horribly and then threw a magic curse at me.
I felt a strange feeling in my hands. Upon looking at them I realised my fingers had grown to twice the length. Horrified, I pleaded with the little beast to restore my hands to their normal form but was greeted with cackling. Knowing that the only way to regain my normal form was to render the Imp servile I tried another name, this one much more obscure. I guessed wrong and the thing cursed me again, this time my mouth filled with saliva and I could not help but let it drip down the front of my shirt.
Thorodr was in hysterics at my state; he could barely breathe from the laughter. Bradley, however, was quite distraught at my situation and I decided to end this quickly for his sake if not mine. I began listing any demonic name I could think of, starting in alphabetical order but devolving into pure randomness. In hindsight I can see that this was a huge mistake. The avalanche of curses that fell upon me rendered me barely human. Steam began pouring out of my ears, pain shot up my posterior, my lips swelled and became almost unusable among other things too horrible to describe here.
Finally Bradley stepped in to help in the only way he knew how. He started stamping on the thing’s cage until the occupant was reduced to a sulphurous mush. As soon as the Imp had expired the curses were lifted from me. In my relief I quite forgot my disappointment at having gained no knowledge from the creature. I have decided to get expert advice before I mingle with the creatures of the dark arts again.
This creature looks like a bestial human baby with leathery, warty skin and small horns. It is the smallest kind of demon and often serves as a companion and menial servant for Wizards. If separated from its Wizard owner, it can be controlled if a character says its true name. If the character guesses wrong then they must pass a Will check or be affected by a minor curse.
Claws (-5 damage, cannot parry)
Curse: Once per turn the creature can force an opponent to reroll a successful check if it passes a Will Check.