Infernal Prayer Strips
2 to 4 Dot Artifact

Prayer to the Demon Princes can be efficacious, but who can depend upon their caprice? Many prefer ironclad agreements with the infernal powers instead. One knowledgeable in the occult may craft parchment from a living demon’s skin and write the name of its Third Circle progenitor upon it in the finest calligraphy using his own blood as ink (treat this as crafting a relic of the desired rating) and bring it to said Third Circle demon with a petition for some future favor. He demon into offering aid with no strings attached, but this requires a successful ([Charisma or Manipulation] + [lower of Craft (Air) and Performance]) check against difficulty 5. Alternatively, the petitioner may persuade the demon to grant a boon in exchange for some small service, such as acquiring a rare substance or protecting something connected with one of the demon’s Intimacies. If the artificer’s player fails the roll and no agreement can be reached, the demon rejects his petition, and the prayer strip is consumed in green flame, wasting the work that went into its creation. On a successful roll or agreement, the prayer strip pulses with life as the characters written upon it writhe to spell out the terms of the pact.

At any time thereafter, whosoever bears the prayer strip may throw it into the air while calling upon the named Demon Prince. So long as that Demon Prince may reach the bearer’s realm of existence, the strip hangs aloft, shrouded with unholy fire, serving as a channel for the demon’s Essence as it fulfills its agreement. This is a Blasphemy effect. Once the demon’s aid is ended, the strip burns to ash, its power exhausted. For examples of Third Circle demon powers, see The Books of Sorcery, Vol. V—The Roll of Glorious Divinity II, pages 47-54. In Creation, Yu-Shan or any other realm within the ambit of the Loom of Fate, one may only invoke the power of an infernal prayer strip at sundown, on a night of the new moon or during Calibration, when the bonds of the demon prison are weak enough for a Demon Prince to force its power between the prison’s bars. Prolonged effects may extend beyond that interval.

If the strip’s creator empowers it through an offer of service and then fails to uphold his end of the bargain, the Demon Prince will know. Displeased, the demon issues its curse: a single botch in some arena that falls under its aegis, to occur at some inopportune future moment either in the Demon City or at one of the times described above when its powers might breach the barriers between worlds.

Some common varieties of infernal prayer strips appear below:

Infernal Hospitality Prayer Strip (Artifact ••; Any)
The fires surrounding the prayer strip burn a hole in the air, revealing a portal to the Demon Prince’s abode. Creatures and objects may pass through this gateway freely1. One minute after it opens or when the strip’s invoker passes through it—whichever comes first—the portal collapses upon itself and vanishes with a clap of thunder. Those who pass through the portal receive the Demon Prince’s hospitality. They may remain within its domain without fear of harm for one day, so long as they uphold whatever laws apply there.

Minion-Calling Prayer Strip (Artifact ••; Any)
The earth gapes wide, disgorging a single demon of the First Circle that kneels before the user of the prayer strip. This functions exactly as the Emerald Circle spell Slave-Spawn Summons (see pp. 165-167), except that no roll is necessary and the demon serves only for a single day. The type of demon to be called may be predetermined when the prayer strip is created. If not, the Demon Prince chooses what demon to send.

Unfurling Road Prayer Strip (Artifact •••; Jacint)
A road of black stone, reinforced by iron and brass, unrolls from the user’s feet at a rate of two yards per second. It may pass through any terrain, even carving a route through mountains or arching over empty gorges, though difficult terrain halves its speed and extreme terrain quarters it. Its normal pace comes to four miles per hour, and Jacint will extend it for up to 25 hours before he deems his work complete.

Rain of Glass Prayer Strip (Artifact ••••; Orabilis)
The air seethes with light and fire as Orabilis rains molten glass on the user’s foes. The rain falls upon any target within 10 miles and encompasses an area from 100 to 600 yards across. For one hour, those within the downpour suffer an environmental effect of (Damage 5L/action; Trauma 5). Once the rain ends, an inch-thick crust of pebbled glass remains over the affected region.

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