Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Werk: Grobbly-Bonk

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we'll look at the Grobbly-Bonk.

It's a bit of a digression, but to give readers an idea of the Grobbly-Bonk, we include an excerpt from a lecture on the Abyss by the University of the Study of the Arcane Arts and Sciences' very own Professor Uaaru.

According to Professor Uaaru:
"I cannot stress this enough: there is no such thing as 'safe' demonology.  It is a common misconception among amateur or brash sorcerers to think that there is an entity that is easy to control.  The example of Grobbly-Bonk is a classic in this regard.  The name is comical, the entity has a reputation of being stupid and somewhat clumsy, the sacrifice for the demon is relatively easy to obtain, and the ritual to summon the entity is readily available; you could probably find it in our library if you look hard enough.  Maybe you'd summon him, maybe you wouldn't have a problem.  It's entirely possible, maybe even likely.  But for novice or expert alike, the best case scenario for failure is that nothing happens.  You flub a syllable or lose concentration for a second and you've lost a couple hours' work.

"But the worst case scenario?  You make a mistake in the binding portion or you neglect to draw your sigils correctly, and he eats you.  You forgot the cardinal rule — there is no such thing as 'safe demonology.  You wear many hats — you're scholars, you're craftsmen, you're brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and children, you're lovers.  Grobbly-Bonk is always a demon, twenty-four hours a day, and no matter how simple its motivations, it is always trying to figure out how to overcome your defenses and eat you.  All demons are.  They can't be trusted, because they want to unmake reality.  Everybody in this room wants something different.  All demons want to unmake the world.  Even though they bicker, they all seek the same basic goal.

"Which brings us to the second point — Grobbly-Bonk isn't the point.  The ritual is easy and readily available because it behooves someone to have you cast it and succeed.  Each demonic action is another foothold of the Abyss on our reality, and every sorcerer who feels comfortable conjuring demons is just another potential fool who will some day summon something he can't put down.  He's a weak link in the Prime Material's defenses.

"Frequently, the Path of Screams begins with just a simple, tantalizing, first step."
As noted, Grobbly-Bonk is frequently considered a minor demon, one lacking intellect or motivation, one that can be easily swayed.  As also noted, it is a poor idea to ever underestimate a demon.

However, many of the tales are reasonably accurate — while Grobbly-Bonk may wish to eat you, it is relatively unintelligent and by-and-large only seeks to eat.  In fact, the most notable material component in its summoning ritual is meat.  While it does require over a ton of meat, it doesn't care what sort of meat it is fed — 1,500 pounds of rotten cow carcasses will catch its attention just as much as a ton of virgin's flesh.  This makes the Grobbly-Bonk a very tempting target for first-time demonologists, as the summoning ritual does not require the vile components so common in other demons' summoning rituals.

As for the demon itself, it typically keeps to a simple bargain — so long as it is fed when it arrives, it will attempt to enact the will of its caster.  Being of such low intellect, it will do so to the best of its ability, and it has a habit of leaving its task only partially complete when it eventually dissipates back to its plane of origin.

The Grobbly-Bonk is best known for its ability to locate lost objects.  Frequently, the Grobbly-Bonk will idly sketch a treasure map on nearby paper or etch a map in a wall or dirt floor, even if not prompted to do so.  These maps tend to be crude and frequently ignore several important details — such as traps, monsters, secret rooms, and suchlike — but are typically accurate with regard to whatever features they show.

Assuming the summoning goes wrong (or assuming a rival mage's summoning goes well), the Grobbly-Bonk is a fearsome combatant.  The Grobbly-Bonk opens combat with Fearsome Countenance, and will frequently spend an action point to savage someone with Double Attack.  When engaged by multiple combatants and adjacent to at least one, it will drop Darkness to confound foes.  The Grobbly-Bonk will typically fight to the death, although if precautions are not taken, "death" usually only dispels the creature back to the Abyssal realms.

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