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Publisher: Cathriona Tobin

GUMSHOE ZOOM: Author: Kenneth Hite
Layout: Cathriona Tobin
Not everything can support a game of its
own, or even a big sourcebook. For those Interior Artwork: Anna Rogers
things, we present the GUMSHOE Zoom, a
sort of supplement focused on a key game Contents
mechanic and its possible applications. In
general, Zooms are interesting potential I ntroduction3 Demonic Teaching 11
hacks, or intriguing adaptations of the main
rules. Some apply to one specific topic or The Art’s History 3 Supernatural Powers 11
sub-sub-genre. Others cross all manner
Goëtia  3 Customizing Goëtia 12
of GUMSHOE turf; you can slot them in
and adapt them to tales of Cthulhuoid The Magic Ability 4 Dials 12
investigation, mean superpowered streets,
or alien colonies alike.
Magic at Character D emons 13
Zooms are experimental. That does Demonic Descriptions 13
mean that they haven’t been playtested, Learning Magic 4
necessarily. (If something in here is really Aberrance 13
really broken – and it’s not, as this ain’t our Goëtia Mechanics 5
Damage Modifier 14
first rodeo – we’ll fix it in post.) But that also Standard Goëtic
means we encourage you to experiment with Conjuration5 Armor 14
them. Changing the cost, or prerequisites, or
Other Abilities 9 Sample Demon: Buné 14
point effect, or other mechanical parameters
of a given Zoom changes how often it shows
Multiple Casters 9 Resisting Demonic Attack
up and how much drama it drives. The dials  14
are in your hands. Sacrifices 9
Pentacle Defense 14
Zooms will change the focus of your play
Other Modifiers 10
if you use them. Putting a mechanic on S ources 15
the table puts it into your game. Adding a Impedimentia 10
Zoom means more actions, possibly even Fiction 15
more scenes, using those rules. Since the
Effects of Goëtia 11
Nonfiction 15
Zoom mechanics are intended to encourage
specific actions or flavors, to force a card
in your storytelling hand, they aren’t
“balanced” against “normal” actions or rules.
In general, if you don’t want to see more of it,
don’t Zoom in on it.
Zooms are optional rules. You can and
should ignore them if you don’t want them,
or change them at will. After all, if a given
Zoom turns out to be crucial to an upcoming
GUMSHOE game, we’ll change it to fit that
specific genre or form of storytelling.

© 2015 Pelgrane Press Ltd. All rights reserved.


howl or wail,” and either comes from
the practice of Greek priestly mourners
using wails to guide spirits into the
Underworld, or from the howls of

The practice also comes from the

of would-be demon-summoners.
Occultists of the Golden Dawn
translated medieval manuscripts
and reprinted goëtic texts (Mathers
in 1888 and 1897, Waite in 1891 and
1911, Crowley in 1903), inspiring
another wave of demonolatry in
Greeks of late antiquity, who blended its membership and eventually, in
Jewish, Babylonian, Egyptian, and popular culture at large.
their own magical and religious

Bifrons. Glasya-Labolas. Marchosias.

Names to conjure with – literally! This traditions into a sorcerous stew
GUMSHOE Zoom takes you inside the powered by the names and
pentacle and introduces you to the invocations of gods, spirits, saints,
hierarchy of Hell. Historical European and demons. Major magical texts like “CIRCLES AND PENTAGRAMS
demon-summoning magic just got the Testament of Solomon (c. 300 A.D.), LOOMED ON EVERY HAND, AND
easier and more realistic. Which may the Picatrix (c. 1050), and others added TOLD INDUBITABLY OF THE STRANGE
or may not be a good thing … character and detail to this ongoing BELIEFS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THOSE
From the mid-13th century to the
early 20th century, Western European In the Renaissance, goëtia gradually – H.P. LOVECRAFT, “THE HORROR AT
magicians summoned, bound, and separated itself from theurgy (angel- RED HOOK”
commanded demons using the Names summoning magic) and even
of God, Jesus, and various angels. “natural magic” (usually powered by As befits a scholium extending over
Some were black magicians seeking the planetary spirits or by the stars half a millennium (at least) and
power and poison; others thought themselves). A purely demonological engaged in primarily by desperate
of themselves as white magicians strain of magic emerged, ironically weirdos (at least), there are plenty
investigating the laws of Nature and drawing from the writings of Johann of different rituals, ingredients,
the deeds of Man. Weir, a Dutch lawyer whose De and variations in historical goëtic
praestigiis daemonum (1563) denied the practice. In most cases, this Zoom
Their art, goëtia, is the subject of reality of witchcraft while providing treats the “Ars Goëtia” chapter of the
this Zoom. In goëtic magic, there are the best list of demons in print. Lemegeton as the “default” source
no fireball spells. If you want to toss for goëtia, although between Eliphas
a fireball at someone, you have to Shortly thereafter, the goëtia as Levi’s romanticism and A.E. Waite’s
summon a demon and command it to we know it came into full bloom, cussedness, this Zoom has a huge
go toss a fireball at your foe. Same thing eventually becoming part of the fondness for Waite’s translations of
if you want to reconcile two enemies, Lesser Key of Solomon, or Lemegeton Levi and other grimoires as “near-
or learn astronomy overnight. It’s Clavicula Solomonis, a 17th-century defaults” despite their academic
demons all the way down. compilation of various magical sloppiness. Finally, the term karcist,
arts. Witch-hunters found that meaning “goëtic practitioner,”
THE ART’S HISTORY text more often than any other in comes from the Grand Grimoire.
black magicians’ collections, and it
The word “goëtia” comes from the spawned imitations and copies. By That said, in the name of game-
ancient Greek goeteia or “sorcery,” 1700, French publishers and copyists mechanical suitability some details
itself from góes, meaning “sorcerer.” began inventing and importing new have been drifted or elided. Need it be
That likely derives from goáou, “to grimoires to sate the growing market emphasized, do not try this at home.



Janice wants to buy Magic.

She spends 7 build points, and
gets Magic with a rating of 3.
The first rating point costs a
premium of 5 build points; the
next two each cost 1 build point.

The GM may always refuse to allow

players to buy Magic abilities during
character creation.

Outside of character generation,
there are only two ways for
characters to learn the Magic ability:
studying grimoires, or being taught
magic by demons.

Studying Grimoires: Grimoires, or

books of magic, contain not just
lists of demonic names and weird
rituals but fundamental insights
into the nature of sorcery. Each
grimoire has an associated Magic
rating (usually equal to its “Magic
potential points” in games using
the potential point rules) of 1 to
3, or even higher. After a suitable
period of study (years or months
in a more realistic or low-powered
game, weeks or even days in a more
cinematic or high-powered game)
a character can attempt to add the
rating of that grimoire to his own
THE MAGIC ABILITY different as Chemistry and Biology or Magic rating. (Studying a grimoire
Intimidation and Interrogation. requires a rating in the grimoire’s
Magic is a General ability. It refreshes
Language.) He must successfully
at the end of the adventure. It can
MAGIC AT CHARACTER summon, bind, and dismiss one
also be refreshed once per session,
after four hours spent in a magician’s GENERATION demon from that grimoire to do
so. This summoning may have
laboratory, place of power, or other
The GUMSHOE default for special another goal; it needn’t be entirely
similarly eldritch spot.
abilities such as Magic is as follows: dedicated to his improvement.
If your game has more than one you buy such abilities out of your Only one character in a single PC
kind of magic, it’s up to the GM to pool of General ability build points. party can ever add the rating from
decide whether Goëtia and Voodoo, Buying the first rating point in a any given copy or manuscript of
for example, or Goëtia and Cthulhu special ability costs a premium: 5 a grimoire to his Magic ability:
Mythos magic, all draw from the build points for the first rating point. learning and maintaining it
same “mana pool” and skill set, After that, build points for that ability requires constant study. Black
or whether they are at least as become rating points as normal. magicians don’t share well.



Demonic Teaching: Some demons CHARCOAL ON THE CLEARED CENTRAL infiltrated or party-crashed by the
can teach Magic like any other ability. SPACE OF THE LARGE ROOM. AND player characters – those should
The GM decides which demons have ALWAYS IN THE NIGHT THOSE RHYTHMS follow the pattern for a standard goëtic
that capacity, and what they expect AND INCANTATIONS THUNDERED...” conjuration.
in return. A given demon can teach
any number of magicians, though
not in the same conjuration.
Etc.: That said, the GM can always Every goëtic conjuration requires
lengthy ceremonial work. Some For center-stage player karcists, calling
introduce one-off methods of adding
texts call for months or even years of up a demon takes anywhere from
1 Magic rating point (especially
repeating a single ritual to summon a an hour to a night, and calls for five
the first) to a character: demonic
powerful entity – the GM should keep successful tests of the Magic ability:
possession, handling a powerful
magical item, deep psychic shock this possibility in mind for NPCs and
• Inscribe (S) the pentacle (usually
or wounding (Stability drops below season-arc cult projects. More gameable
Difficulty 4): physically draw
-5), sleeping under the Black Stone “on screen” demon summoning, by
or otherwise prepare the magic
of Stregoicavar, telepathic stain, contrast, needs dramatic tension and
hereditary gift, etc. assumed preparation.
• Invoke (I) the demon (usually
By and large, and for the same reason, Difficulty 4): call on the specific
GOËTIA MECHANICS these rules apply only to player- demon to be summoned
character goëtists: NPC necromancers
“FREQUENTLY HE NOTED PECULIAR • Evoke (E) the demon (usually
mostly summon (or fail to summon)
THINGS ABOUT; LITTLE WAX IMAGES OF Difficulty 5): summon that
their demons “off screen” and succeed
(or not) based on narrative rhythm or
perhaps a single die roll. The major • Constrict (C) or bind the demon
exception to this is an NPC working (usually Difficulty 6): force the


The entities summoned by goëtia might be any number of things – or goëtia might actually and unknowingly
summon or attract many different types of entities.
Fallen angels: In the standard Christian mythos, demons are fallen angels (and sometimes their offspring)
who rebelled against God and now serve the cause of evil.
Outside entities: Demons might simply be beings from outside Creation, or from previous, broken or tainted,
creations: the qlippoth of the kabbalah, the ab-human entities from Hodgson’s Carnacki stories, or the Outer
Dark Entities of The Esoterrorists.
Diminished gods: Demons might be former gods now forced to serve necromancers, and perhaps ticked off
about it. Some Christian demons such as Moloch, Baal, Astaroth, etc. are explicitly former gods as well as
fallen angels.
Enhanced spirits: Contrariwise, demons might be exalted former spirits, or tulpas given strength by belief
and evil acts. A demon might have begun long ago as the ghost of a murderer or black magician, or the spirit
of a dangerous forest or pool.
Fragments of the super-self: In modern magick, demons are often considered the magus’ own sins,
distractions, or negative facets, “bound” and “exorcised” in his quest for pure power and will.
Dead Mythos beings: Particularly powerful, dangerous, or willful Mythos entities – Mi-Go engineers,
Serpent Folk archmagi, lloigor, Yithian librarian-torturers – may have left psychic impressions outside time.
“Summoning demons” allows humans to perceive these shadows.



demon to obey your command, the pentacle and try the Magic
Inscription Total Pentacle
and prevent it from attacking you test again. If the karcist does not
(Roll + Spend) Might
possess the Occult ability, anyone
• Abjure (A) the demon (usually
4 16 else present may spend 1 point from
Difficulty 5): send the demon
5 25 their Occult pool to notice the error.
back to Hell, and ritually remove
any lingering demonic energies 6 36 Demons will still appear when
or traps summoned if the pentacle is not
7 49
The letters in parentheses are secure. Oh, yes.
8 64
abbreviations of these five tests used
in the rest of this Zoom: +2S, for
example, is +2 to the Inscription roll; in shape) and a Circle of Solomon The karcist calls on a specific
+1CA is +1 to either the Constriction (ideally 9 feet in diameter) in which demon to appear. The name of the
or Abjuration roll. the karcist stands. (The Circle often demon must match the name in the
has a pentagram inside it, and is pentacle. A given pentacle can “hold”
The sum of the karcist’s rolls the names of a number of demons
sometimes a square or hexagon.)
and spends on the middle three equal to its Inscription total – 3: for
Other participating or assisting
tests (Invocation, Evocation, and example, a 7-point pentacle can
karcists (see p. 9) or companions
Constriction) is the conjuration’s hold 3 different names, allowing
stand in secondary circles or stars
Power, which must equal the the karcist to perform two extra
inside or tangent to the Circle of
demon’s Aberrance rating. conjurations without redrawing the
Like other repeated tests, the karcist
In theory, each pentacle must be
must spend more points than on Even a successful Invocation is
measured and drawn freshly for
her previous effort to re-try any creepy; everyone in the ritual space
each conjuration. Even the grimoires
Magic test. Failed tests do not add to (inside and outside the pentacle)
realized this was unlikely, and by the
the conjuration’s Power. must make a 2-point or 3-point
18th century usually substituted the
incorporation of a virgin parchment Stability test (Difficulty 4).
Each test during the working,
successful or not, takes one “round,” (or fresh goat-skin) inscribed with
A failed Invocation allows an
whether that be a few seconds or the specific demon’s name into a
impostor demon to take the place
several hours. pre-painted Seal of Solomon. The
of the summoned demon; it must
karcist can “open” and “close” a pre-
spend Aberrance equal to the
At the end of the working, the karcist painted or chalked circle with her
pentacle’s Inscription total to do so.
must spend a mix of Athletics, sword or similar implement, rather
The impostor may be a lackey of
Health, and Stability points totalling than with paint or chalk.
the summoned demon, or a specific
the number of rounds taken.
The pentacle is an absolute barrier enemy of the karcist waiting for his
Assistants must spend half that.
to any physical attack (including chance.
No karcist with a current Stability hurled furniture, summoned rats,
To notice a failed Invocation
pool lower than 1 can perform any etc.) by a demon with an Aberrance
requires a successful Sense Trouble
part of a conjuration. Iron will and rating lower than the pentacle’s
test at a Difficulty equal to 4 + the
self-control are mandatory while Might, which is the square of the
margin of failure. The karcist may
summoning demons. total of the karcist’s Inscription
then spend 1 point of Occult or
total: his roll plus his spend on the
INSCRIPTION Theology to re-try the Magic test.
Inscription test.
This spend does not add to the next
A pentacle traditionally has two
If a karcist with the Occult ability test.
major components: a Seal (or Star)
of Solomon into which the demon fails this test, she notices her
Any given demon can only be
is to be summoned (despite the failure before going further. She
invoked once per night.
name, often a triangle or square can attempt to redraw or re-close




Demonic Task Constriction Points

Answer any question within the demon’s

1 for yes-no, 2 for more complete answers
Reveal or scry out a distant target 2 for most targets, 3 for powerful targets
Teach an Ability 2 per Ability point granted
2 per attempt (for powerful NPCs), per target (for weak NPCs),
Kill, possess, or harm someone
or per location (for mooks)
1 per 3 Ability points in familiar’s Aberrance, Magic, Health,
Grant a familiar or Scuffling ratings; 1 for each +1 to damage from familiar’s
attacks (begins at -1)
Grant a supernatural power to the karcist 3; lasts until sunrise
4; allows that specific karcist to auto-succeed (total of 5+die)
Sign the karcist’s Book of Pacts
at next Constriction test against that specific demon
Perform some other service 2 or 3 at GM’s discretion

EVOCATION karcist must make a successful out a specific task. A successful

The karcist forces the specific demon Athletics or Health test at a Difficulty Constriction test can be assumed to
to appear, or the demon heeds the equal to 4 + the margin of failure include “and harm no person here
call for its own purposes. The demon before re-trying the Magic test. present” or the equivalent.
appears inside the Seal. During this period the demon may
appear for the purpose of horrifying The final total of the karcist’s
The demon may appear in a the karcist, without being fully spends and rolls on the Evocation,
horrendous form, or tell horrifying evoked. Invocation, and Constriction tests
truths (or horribly plausible lies) to is the conjuration’s Power. It must
the karcist or her companions. Such CONSTRICTION equal or exceed the Aberrance rating
revelations often necessitate another of the summoned demon. If it does
The karcist binds the demon,
Stability test (3-point or 4-point or not, the demon changes form once
usually with the Names of God
worse), this time at Difficulty 5. more (4- or 5-point Stability test) and
and its superior demons, to carry
The demon may change form, or
launch a similarly devastating
psychological attack, or just tear up GOËTIA AND CTHULHU MYTHOS MAGIC
the inside of the Seal, each round
The goëtic magic in this Zoom isn’t too different, mechanically, from
until successfully bound.
the Cthulhu Mythos magic in Trail of Cthulhu. Both require success in a
On an unmodified result of 6 on the series of tests, although Cthulhu magic is (appropriately) much swingier.
Evocation roll, the karcist can force Given the precedents in “The Horror at Red Hook” and The Case of Charles
the demon to appear in a specific Dexter Ward, goëtic magic may allow the summoning of some Mythos
form and refrain from Stability- entities. Treat gods and titans’ Inertia as their Aberrance for the purposes
harming activities for the time being. of this Zoom; for lesser creatures, double their listed Inertia.
Rat-things make excellent familiars, as might ghouls. Tsathoggua and
A failed Evocation is always his servants traditionally teach Magic; so might Yig and his folk.
noticeable; it adds time and Theology is useless in conjurations involving the Mythos.
exhaustion to the working. The



Not counting the free “don’t kill me” Most demons brag that they have not The karcist gives the demon license
instruction, the karcist can command been bound if the Constriction fails, or to depart, and orders it to remove all
the demon to perform a number of simply vanish. More subtle demons demonic contamination (or at least all
tasks defined by the total roll and pretend to be bound; noticing such unwanted or unknown such effluvia)
spend in the Constriction test. pretense requires a successful Sense from her presence. At the conclusion of
Trouble test (as with Invocation). The a successful Abjuration, the karcist can
Each task consumes a number of karcist must re-try the Constriction leave the pentacle safely.
points from the Constriction total, as test immediately; otherwise, the
given in the nearby table. demon is free for the night to wreak The demon can leave spiritual or
mayhem. sorcerous traps, minor imps, or other
The GM should rule liberally and let troublesome effects behind if the
edge cases go to the karcist. Demons
ABJURATION Abjuration fails. In extreme cases, the
are tricky and horrible, but the player demon may turn invisible (pretending
has worked very hard to command If the karcist plans to summon more to be dismissed) and remain to haunt
them. Let the karcist command the demons during this session, she the karcist’s chambers or even go out
demon successfully; there’s plenty of returns immediately to Invoking into the world to wreak havoc.
time later to reveal that the demon’s the next demon; Abjuration is the
faithful service still had dangerous conclusion of all goëtic work for the A Sense Trouble test (as with Invocation)
or toxic consequences. night. is needed to detect a failed Abjuration.



The karcist may then spend 1 point of • Cryptography (to encode the assist at a test. Familiars usually have
Occult or Theology to re-try the Magic demon’s name into the seal): +1S four ability ratings: Aberrance, Health,
test. This spend does not add to the Magic, and Scuffling.
• Interrogation* (allows rephrase or
next test.
take-back of a retroactively stupid Aberrance powers any other magical
question during Constriction) effects the familiar can do: turning
OTHER ABILITIES invisible, lighting fires, making a
• Notice* or Evidence Collection*: can
During the conjuration, the karcist be spent as Sense Trouble to spot breeze or wind, changing to human
or her assistants (with the karcist’s failed ICA tests shape, carrying the karcist through the
permission) may use other abilities air, etc. Minor effects cost 1 Aberrance,
• Occult*: +1SEA major effects cost 3 Aberrance.
besides Magic to influence the action.
• Theology* (for names of God):
Spending 2 points of Stability equals 1 Magic is the familiar’s rating in the
point of Magic spent, on any test in the Magic ability – or at least that portion
conjuration. Spend 2 Points of its ability it chooses to reveal.

Spending 1 or 2 points of other • Bargain or Negotiation: +1C Health and Scuffling work like normal
abilities provides modifiers to • Bullshit Detector or Assess Honesty: animals’ abilities. Familiars have
specific tests, which count toward +1C no special immunities to normal
the test’s total result. Interpersonal damage, and take double damage
• Bureaucracy (the infernal from enchanted weapons or silver.
abilities are especially useful: demons
bureaucracy is the model for the Holy water damages familiars like
are elemental personalities, and
earthly sort; the caster knows the acid.
roleplaying demon interaction adds
demon’s superiors, specific duties
zest to the conjuration play.
and regulations, etc.): +1IE Familiars’ attacks do -1 damage, unless
By and large, the player characters the karcist bargains for increased
• Flattery or Flirting (with some
can only spend any given ability damage from attacks.
demons, especially demons of
once during any given conjuration:
Vanity and Lust): +1IC Familiars may resent or even resist
if Armand spends Astronomy during
• Intimidation: +1CA doing good deeds.
Inscription, Callista cannot spend it
during Invocation. The exceptions (*)
are Stability, Occult, Notice or Evidence
• Law: +1C
Collection, Interrogation, and Theology. • Physics or Mathematics (to
Blood must be spilled ceremonially
incorporate vector values into the
The GM may allow other creative inside the pentacle to count as a
pentacle, or to comprehend its
spends if she wishes. sacrifice.
non-Euclidean truths, in certain
games): +1S Sacrificed animals provide +1 to the
Spend 1 Point
Power of the conjuration for every 3
• Anthropology (for other demon- MULTIPLE CASTERS Health points sacrificed.
banishing practices): +1A Casters can cooperate on Magic tests Sacrificing the karcist’s own blood
• Astronomy (to have determined during a conjuration just like any provides +1 to the Power of the
the proper astrological conjunction other GUMSHOE test: spend 1 Magic conjuration for every 2 Health points
for the summoning beforehand): point (or 2 Stability) to assist, and then sacrificed. Assistant karcists provide
+1SI spend any number of further Magic +1 to the Power of the conjuration for
points that add to the total. every 3 Health points sacrificed.
• Chemistry, Outdoorsman,
Pharmacy, or Streetwise (to have FAMILIARS Profaning a consecrated Host (3
retroactively made or sourced
Familiars – magical or demonic maximum) provides +2 to the Power
extra-good incense or other
animals given to the goëtist by a of the conjuration (and requires a
materia): +1IEC
demon – never have to spend Magic to 4-point Stability test for Christian



The grimoiric tradition runs from the first century A.D. (Josephus mentions a demonological book of Solomon) to
today’s New Age bookshelves. Here are some of the traditional great books (with languages and Magic ratings):
The Black Pullet: Treasure-finding magics; pact with Satan. Late 18th century; first ed. 1820. (French; 1)
Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin: Includes 12 demon summoning rituals using mathematical magic squares
instead of sigils. Possibly 15th century; earliest ms. 1608. (German, French, Hebrew; 2)
Grand Grimoire (a.k.a. Le Dragon Rouge): Instructions for summoning Lucifuge Rofocale. Mid-18th century.
(French; 2)
Grimoire of Pope Honorius: Used by Paris Satanist poisoner ring in late 17th century. (French; 2)
Grimorium Verum: Includes 27 goëtic summonings, not least Lucifer and Belzebuth. Based on the 17th century
Grimoire of Armadel; likely ca. 1817. (French, Italian; 2)
Hygromanteia (a.k.a. Magical Treatise of Solomon): Byzantine magic text on binding demons into cauldrons or
urns. May date to 6th century; earliest ms. 14th century. (Greek; 3)
Key of Solomon: Core text of Western magic. Of the 144 known manuscripts, the earliest dates to ca. 1500. (Latin,
French, English, Hebrew, Italian, Greek; 3)
Lemegeton (a.k.a. Lesser Key of Solomon): Main source for Goëtia. Possibly 1570; first ed. 1657. (French, English; 3)
Munich Manual: One copy exists, from c. 1430; its first chapter is missing, so its title and author are unknown.
(Latin; 2)
Petit Albert: Hedge magics, Hand of Glory. First ed. 1704. (French; 1)
Sworn Book of Honorius (or Liber Juratus): John Dee once owned a copy. 13th century. (Latin; 3)
Every one of these books exists in many variant texts, titles, manuscripts, and editions. The given Magic ratings for
them could easily increase or decrease by 1 depending on the copy.

karcists); acquiring it requires a brutal Time: Daytime (+3); new moon (-1); blood, for example. The GM can
Interpersonal threat, a Difficulty 5 during an eclipse (-3). require or handwave such things as
Filch test, etc. she wishes.
Time spent preparing the
Truly evil magicians can gain +3 to conjuration, fasting (lose 1 Health per Such impedimentia become the
the Power of the conjuration for every 2 days), etc: ad hoc (+3); one day (+1); “magic items” of a goëtic RPG
3 Health points of a human sacrifice. three days (+0); one month (-1). Make campaign. The various tests most
Characters who commit human a Preparedness test to “have already associated with each item appear in
sacrifice make an immediate 10-point been preparing this working” all day parentheses. Using a goëtic sword,
Stability test. (Difficulty 4), for the last three days staff, or blasting rod might actually
(Difficulty 5), all month (Difficulty 7). damage demons in physical combat
OTHER MODIFIERS (+1, or more if demons can be
IMPEDIMENTIA damaged by normal weapons), if
The GM may enforce or allow other it’s that kind of game.
modifiers as she sees fit, to suit her The various grimoires describe
own notion of the campaign’s themes all manner of impedimentia and Arthame: A black-handled knife,
or potential. Some other modifiers to utensils as vital for goëtic magic. used for cutting magical cords and
all goëtic Magic test Difficulties might All these items carry specialized similar symbolic work. Represents
include: inscriptions or embroidery. Often, air (or fire). (SI)
each item must be prepared by the
Location: In battle or other distracting Blasting rod: A forked wooden
karcist himself with ridiculously
setting (+4); in a graveyard or crossroads rod (hawthorn or hazel) with two
specialized ingredients: forged at
(+0); in a demonic temple, magical magnetized steel caps, used to
the hour of Venus from melted
laboratory, or similar ritual space (-1) scourge demons. Use Shooting to hit
coffin nails and cooled in mole’s



demons; increase damage by +1 per horns. Held by the karcist or by an EFFECTS OF GOËTIA
Magic point spent. (IEA) assistant. (IEC)
See the Demonic Constriction Table on
Bolline or sickle: A horn-handled Sword: Used to close and open the p. 7 for the possible services rendered
curved knife, used to cut actual circle, and for magical defense by demons. Most of them are fairly
things and sacrifices. (IE) against demons. Often white- self-explanatory, but one or two
handled. Represents air (or fire). require some attention.
Brazier or censer: Used to burn (SCA)
specialized incense, perfumes,
metal powder, herbs, drugs, etc. Wand: Used to direct energies and
customized for each demon. Also commands. Represents fire (or air). Many demons teach various lore and
used to burn paper or parchment (IEA) knowledges. This reflects the Enochian
containing demon names, tradition in which fallen angels
instructions, etc. (IEA) BONUSES FROM
taught mankind their arts, bringing
about the Flood. Demonically taught
Burin or graver: A tool for carving
A goëtic tool might provide a bonus abilities are just like other abilities,
inscriptions into the other
for any number of reasons. The except the points come “for free.” The
impedimentia. (SIECA)
most common bonus comes from GM may wish to track which abilities
Candles: Perhaps of human fat; the karcist making her own tools the character gained from demonic
one at each vertex of the pentacle is from virgin materials on the right instruction, to suitably color or darken
recommended. (IE) nights and at the right hours, and the information gained through them.
so forth. However, even demon-taught abilities
Chalice or kylix: Used to hold still get core clues for free.
water or blood. One chalice may To hand-build a goëtic tool takes one
month, $1-6000 (or the equivalent), a
hold charged water for drawing
successful Mechanics test (Difficulty
the pentacle, while another holds
blood, ink, or other scrying liquids. 5), and finally the spend (during a Demons can grant supernatural
Represents water. (IE) session) of 4 points total from Magic powers to the karcist for 3
(1 minimum), Occult, Theology, Constriction per power. The power
Crystal or paten: Used to focus or the appropriate Craft ability. (If lasts until sunrise the next morning.
energies, draw the pentacle, or for Craft is available in the game, a Normally, the power simply works
scrying or safely viewing demons. minimum of 1 point is also required automatically. If the GM decides the
Represents earth. (SIEC) from that ability.) This tool then power requires a test, either because
provides +1 to one kind of goëtic test: it’s opposing a player character or
Lancet: For drawing blood. (IE)
Inscription, Invocation, etc. major NPC, or because its effects
Ring: Worn to protect the karcist and need to be quantified somehow, the
For each 70 years of continuous
symbolize her command of demons. karcist tests the most closely related
magical use, a magical tool might
Karcist may spend 1 Magic point as General ability, at +3 to his roll. For
contribute +1 to a conjuration’s
1 point of armor against demonic example, a karcist with:
attack while wearing it. (SCA)
• Flight tests Athletics or Fleeing.
Impatient karcists may try to steal
Robe: Black, without seams or sleeves.
powerful items from museums, • Invisibility tests Shadowing or
May be goat-hair, wool, or silk. (ICA)
rival cults and orders, or the like. Stealth.
Skull: Of a human, goat, or previous This sounds like a game session to
• Protection from bullets or Armor
karcist. Provides a connection to Hell me.
tests Athletics or Sense Trouble.
and a mouthpiece for some demons.
No single item should contribute • Shapeshifting tests Disguise.
more than +3 to any test, although
the amount of Power it can add can • Fiery breath tests Shooting
Staff: Often capped with two horns
be as high as the GM wants. (damage +3).
of metal or with antlers or animal



dials to karcists with ratings of 8+ in

Magic. Each additional 6 (or 4) points
in the ability activates one more dial.

• Karcists with Preparedness can

“have already told a demon to do
that” with a Preparedness and
a Magic roll against the same

• Total result of Invocation,

Evocation, and Constriction
tests and spends must equal
the demon’s Aberrance pool, not

• Any karcist with Languages

(Enochian) may add +1 to
up to three tests during any

• Any karcist with Languages

(Hebrew) may add +1 to up to two
tests during any conjuration.

• Karcists can spend other abilities

besides Stability multiple times
during a single conjuration.

• Only three rolls needed:

Invocation, Evocation, and
Constriction. The pentacle is
either pre-drawn or drawn as
part of Invocation; abjuration is
incorporated into Constriction
• Magical lust-inspiration tests DIALS (“to depart this place when your
Shrink or Psychoanalysis. task is finished”). The GM may
These options change the Zoom
And so forth. combine this with the regular
mechanics. The GM may want to
five-step working, applying the
tinker with these dials until the flavor
CUSTOMIZING GOËTIA fits the table as a whole, as well as her
quicker conjuration only to minor
imps, succubi, or other low-level
notions of genre and drama. Use as
The Zoom mechanics above are entities.
many or as few of these dials as you
designed to fit conceptually into the
wish for your preferred, specific flavor. • Any assistant can make the
“standard game space” of GUMSHOE:
Abjuration test; the primary
capable characters, with action DIALING IT UP karcist then becomes an assistant
modeled on common storytelling
The following changes make goëtia for that test.
conventions. But an individual GM may
more powerful, prevalent, or • An unmodified roll of 6 on
want to blow up or (comparatively)
prominent in the game. A full-fledged the Inscription test allows the
de-emphasize the role of goëtia in her
medieval demonology game might karcist to apply the margin (the
game. This section helps her customize
wind up using all of them! In some remainder of his roll + spend – 4)
the rules to fit exactly the kind of story
games, the GM might restrict these to the conjuration’s Power.
she wants to tell.



• Karcists may spend Stability Each additional 6 (or 4) points in the • Every conjuration requires the
for Magic at 1 for 1, as in Trail ability removes one more dial. sacrifice of a cat-sized (Health 3)
of Cthulhu. This is a double- or larger animal. This does not
edged advantage, at best, but it • Learning the Magic ability add to the conjuration’s Power.
does potentially vastly increase requires Potential Points (as in
Rough Magicks or Voodoo) • Hand-built goëtic tools only give +1
the players’ available pools for
for one specific demon.

conjurations. • A demon can only be summoned

• Even a failed test adds 1 to the at its proper astrological hour.
conjuration’s Power. Every Invocation requires a
1-point Astronomy spend that
• Demonically taught abilities cost does not add to the total. The standard goëtia incorporates 72
1 Constriction per point taught, named demons, although the specific
not 2. • The Languages Hebrew, Greek,
lists shift depending on the grimoire.
or Latin are required to summon
• The cost of an entry in the Book of These 72 don’t include other big-name
demons. More restrictively
Pacts is 3 Constriction, or 2. demons like Baphomet and Lucifuge
yet, the Language Enochian is
Rofocale, demoted or usurped gods
• Demons might provide magic required to summon demons.
like Moloch, or the vast armies of sub-
items: a breastplate that stops • Another player (the GM or a demons working for the 72 “upper
bullets, for example. Such items suitably poker-faced fellow management” types.
cost 3 Constriction each, and player) makes all rolls during a
impose a 3-point Stability test conjuration; the karcist does not If this Zoom does well, we may
when they work, along with the necessarily know whether she produce a follow-on supplement
regular General test if any. Items has succeeded at any given test with nothing but demon statistics
remain under demonic control, during the working. This option and descriptions and weird powers
and cannot be carried onto holy requires more subtle demonic and such, along the lines of Voodoo
ground. strategies than the old scream- 2: The Invisibles. Until that happy
and-leap if the karcist fails day, extrapolate from this write-up
• The karcist’s ring provides -2
somewhere. using the demonic descriptions in
Armor against demonic attack
the Lemegeton (available many places
per Magic point spent, and -1 • A pentacle’s Might equals 5 x the
online; see Sources) or elsewhere.
anti-demonic Armor per Athletics total of the karcist’s Inscription
point spent. roll + spend, not the square of the
total. Lowering the Might to 4 x
• In the Lemegeton, many demons
can be summoned by day; there the total makes goëtia even more DESCRIPTIONS
is no Difficulty modifier for dangerous and costly.
The grimoires arrange the demons
daytime summoning. Powers, • Evocation and Abjuration tests in ranks, from knight to king. These
etc. still end at the next sunrise. default to Difficulty 6 instead of ranks provide the basis for the demon’s
DIALING IT DOWN Difficulty 5; Constriction defaults game statistics. Presidents, princes,
to Difficulty 8 instead of 6. and kings increase the Difficulties for
These changes, by contrast, make
Constriction and Abjuration.
goëtia less powerful, or less useful for • Demonically taught ability points
players. They don’t make it worthless must come from build points,
– if you don’t want goëtia in the game, experience points, or points ABERRANCE
don’t use this Zoom at all! – but they do already allocated to other abilities.
A demon has only this ability while on
raise the cost of dealing with demons. They do not come “for free.”
earth. It takes damage, powers its feats,
• There is no Book of Pacts. Each and improves its chances on other
Once you’ve chosen which dials to use,
demon must be Constricted for abilities using only this pool. A minor
the GM might remove one of them for
each conjuration. demonic power (poltergeist effects,
a karcist with a rating of 8+ in Magic.
small fires, verminous infestation)




Rank Aberrance Damage Modifier Armor Notes

-1 Difficulty CA; may only perform

Knight 13 +2 -1
one task per conjuration
Marquis 23 +3 -1
Earl/Count 31 +5 -2
Duke 43 +7 -3
President/Praeses 53 +8 -4 +1 Difficulty CA
Prince 61 +9 -4 +2 Difficulty CA
King 73 +12 -5 +3 Difficulty CA

costs only 1 Aberrance point. A major Dragon with three heads, one like If he grants powers, they are probably
demonic power mentioned in its a dog, the other like a griffin, the powers associated with the dead or
grimoiric description, or a traditional 3rd like a man; he speaketh with a undead: vampire or ghost powers, etc.
sort of demonic ability (fire, dank high & comely voice; he changeth A vampiric Buné may be more easily
wind, possession) costs 2 Aberrance. ye places of ye dead, & causeth held with blood (blood sacrifice adds +1
An un-demonic or grandiose power those spirits that are under him to conjuration Power per source).
costs 3 Aberrance. All demons have to gather together upon their
Hit Threshold 4 unless they spend sepulcheres; he giveth Riches to He answers questions readily and
Aberrance to improve it for a scene. a man & maketh him wise & completely.
eloquent; he giveth true Answards
DAMAGE MODIFIER to yr demands; & governeth 30 RESISTING DEMONIC
Legions of spirits. ATTACK
This is the damage the demon does
with bites, sword slashes, talon swipes, As a Duke, he has Aberrance 43, Outside a pentacle, use the normal
tail smashes, horn butts, fiery blasts, Damage +7, and -3 Armor. He requires GUMSHOE rules against the demon,
etc. Treat Aberrance as Scuffling, a pentacle with Might 43 or more (total which will attack either physically or
Weapons, or Shooting depending on Inscription roll + spend = 7+) to hold magically.
the effect. him.
Resistance (if warranted or possible)
He specializes in questions and to demonic mental attack, possession,
ARMOR answers about the dead and undead, etc. requires a Stability test against
Demons only take damage from iron and probably in necromancy, zombies, a Difficulty equal to the demon’s
(or in some games, silver or hawthorn and similar sorts of effects. He can Aberrance spend (usually 3+) plus its
or ash-wood); blessed or holy weapons send demons and ghosts to graveyards roll.
or relics; goëtic swords, staves, and regardless of their protections.
blasting rods; and holy water (as acid). His “Riches” probably consist of buried
The GM may restrict or change these treasure, especially grave goods. He Inside a pentacle, the attack becomes a
weaknesses. tells the karcist where to dig, rather contest of the demon’s Aberrance pool
than dumping golden mummy masks and the pentacle’s Might pool. Subtract
SAMPLE DEMON: BUNÉ on the floor. the Constriction totals (roll + spend)
The Lemegeton says of Buné (or Bime): of any previous conjurations in that
He teaches abilities like Preparedness
pentacle (since the last sunrise) from
and Sense Trouble (“wise”) and
He is a strong, great & mighty the pentacle’s Might.
Interpersonal abilities (“eloquent”).
duke, & appeareth in ye forme of a



Then subtract an equal amount from 2 Stability, as the spender briefly almost the only one. A Dangerous
both values until either Aberrance touches the unprotected Outside. Energy, by John Whitbourn, makes
or Might is below 20. (If further near-goëtic (and quite horrid) demon-
• If the demon fails, it can spend 2
demons join the fight, subtract that summoning a centerpiece of its
Aberrance to stay in the contest
same amount from each demon’s alternate-historical weird fantasy tale.
for the next round.
• The Difficulty of the pentacle’s test Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides
Then run a full GUMSHOE contest increases by +1 for each person Out has a bravura demonic defense
between the demon and the pentacle, inside with a Stability below o. sequence, and his other Black Magic
with the following changes: novels can be mined for lurid details.
• During any round, the demon Alan Moore’s magnificent comic
• The contest ends at sunrise, when can also shapeshift or otherwise Promethea of course includes goëtia
the demon returns to Hell. This attempt to panic those inside (specifically the demons Andras and
usually takes 2 to 7 rounds. After into breaking the pentacle, as Marchosias) within its grand tour of
the third round, every human the effects in Invocation and all Western occultism.
inside the pentacle must make an Evocation. These attempts cost 2
Athletics or Health test (Difficulty Aberrance apiece.
= round number) to avoid collapse
• Once Might or Aberrance reach 0,
from the strain. On an unmodified Detailed (if occasionally slipshod
a failure ends the contest. If both
roll of 1, the collapsing body breaks or outmoded) smorgasbords of
fail simultaneously, the demon
the pentacle. ceremonial magic lie before you in
• If the demon succeeds with an works by A.E. Waite (Mysteries of Magic
The demon can always use its other (trans.), The Book of Ceremonial Magic),
unmodified roll of 6, it can either:
powers on the room or humans E.M. Butler (Ritual Magic), and Emile
o add 1 round to the contest outside the pentacle as normal; these Grillot de Givry (Witchcraft, Magic, and
uses usually cost 1 or 2 Aberrance Alchemy). They can be found cheap
o attempt to mesmerize someone apiece. It can also reveal truths about in most good used bookstores or (in
inside the circle into breaking it those inside, make offers or threats, Waite’s case) free online.
(Stability test to resist, Difficulty etc. to inspire conflict and distraction,
= demon’s Aberrance spend + hopefully breaking the pentacle as a For lots more demons than the
roll) result. This is free. standard 72, see Gustav Davidson’s
A Dictionary of Angels, Including the
• If the karcist succeeds with an Those inside the pentacle can spend Fallen Ones, or Michelle Belanger’s
unmodified roll of 6, she can its Might on their own Stability, Dictionary of Demons: Names of the
either: Athletics, and Health tests. The karcist Damned.
o subtract 1 round from the who inscribed the pentacle can also
contest spend its Might on Magic tests (but Owen Davies literally wrote the book
not to repair the pentacle). on Grimoires. Jake Stratton-Kent
o attempt an immediate posits a very weird theory about
Abjuration test (Difficulty of 2
+ demon’s Aberrance spend)
against the demon

• If the pentacle fails a test or

otherwise breaks, anyone inside
it can spend 1 Magic or 2 Occult to
These sources skim the surface of
what’s available. Nevertheless, I found
them inspiring in some fashion.
goëtia as Greek zodiacal magic in
his Geosophia; he also translated the
Grimorium Verum. Any translation
of any grimoire by Joseph Peterson is
dependable and scholarly. His website
Esoteric Archives has the full text of
many goëtic grimoires, including the
repair it. (The GM may also allow
2-point spends of Anthropology, FICTION Lemegeton:

Physics, etc. to repair the pentacle The novella Black Easter by James Blish
depending on the campaign is the indispensable goëtic fiction, and solomon/lemegeton.htm
cosmology.) Such a spend costs