Runequest #159 - Son of Advanced Sorcery - Summoning Magic!

Clint Staples

By now, it should come as no surprise ot anyone who has read Runequest Thursday, that I love The Fantasy Trip! I have used Advanced Wizardry several times in the past as inspiration for new Sorcery spells for my own system. Summoning spells, specifically those of elementals, have long been available to sorcerers and theomantic casters in Runequest. But spells that summon physical creatures have generally not been available. Advanced Wizardry included a number, and I have reproduced sone here, along with some ideas on using them and others in your games. 

 

Limitations on the Summoner:

  • A Summoner learns each Summoning spell as a separate spell, and cannot learn a spell with a Base POW cost higher than her Manipulation Limit.
  • Each turn, the summoner must devote a Move Action to commanding the summoned creature or it will not take action. It will Evade, or Block if attacked (if it has these abilities).  
  • A Summoner can have any number of creatures summoned, but must devote at least a Move action to control each one. Thus, in practice, she could only control 2 summoned creatures at a time (One with a Move action, another with an Attack Action).

 

Summoning Spells

General rules for summoned creatures:

  • A Summoned creature is the “average” creature of its type, so its profile comes straight from the monster book approved by your game.
  • A Summoned creature may be recognized as such with a successful Sorcery skill check.
  • A Summoned creature is summoned from one of the myriad planes of existence, appears in your reality for a short time (which is less than an eye-blink in its own), and then returns to its former existence unchanged from when it left. Whatever occurs in its summoned existence is an odd dream or a temporary felling of “déjà vu” and no more.
  • Summoned creatures that die are immediately unsummoned.
  • A summoner (in this case, someone with at least one summoning spell available to cast) may attempt to Banish other summoned creatures (see Banishing Summoned Creatures, below).
  • Though the summoned creature is real in all ways, it, and its effects last only so long as the creature remains summoned. So the skin of a summoned wolf will vanish when the summons ends. Similarly a wyvern’s venom will not outlast its summons or death.
  • Though essentially identical in effect (except for the nature of the summoned entity), Summoning and Conjuring are not similar enough that one could be used reversed to dismiss the other.

 

 

Summon Snake [Type]   Range – 10 Yards                        POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                  Base POW cost - 1

You summon a snake (either a constrictor or a venomous snake) to do your bidding in all things. It will fight, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the conjuration.

 

 

Summon Wolf [Type]   Range – 10 Yards               POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                  Base POW cost - 2

You summon a wolf to do your bidding in all things. It will fight, track, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the summoning.

 

 

Summon Horse [Type]   Range – 10 Yards            POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                  Base POW cost - 3

You summon a horse to do your bidding in all things. It will run, fight, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. If you are able, you may ride it, though it does not appear with saddle or tack. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the summoning.

 

 

Summon Bear [Type]   Range – 10 Yards               POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                  Base POW cost - 4

You summon a brown bear to do your bidding in all things. It will fight, track, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the summoning.

 

 

Summon Warhorse [Type]   Range – 10 Yards                  POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                  Base POW cost - 2

You summon a warhorse to do your bidding in all things. It will run, fight, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. If you are able, you may ride it, though it does not appear with saddle or tack. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the summoning.

 

 

Summon Wyvern [Type]   Range – 10 Yards                      POW Check - No

Duration – 10 rounds                                                              Base POW cost - 6

You summon a wyvern to do your bidding in all things. It will fight, guard or take any other action of which it is capable, and that you can command. If you are able, you may ride it, though it does not appear with saddle or tack. It appears within the summoning range, can act immediately, and remains for the duration of the spell, or until reduced to 0 Total Hit Points. It is affected by spells and damage as would any normal creature.

            Levels may be spent to increase the duration of the summoning.

 

 

Banishing Summoned Creatures

A sorcerer can banish her own summoned creatures at any time. The user of this spell may also cast the reversed spell to banish a creature summoned by another sorcerer or some other caster or agency (such as a demon that could summon a monstrous servitor, for example). The Banisher must overcome the Base Power (the POWer used to summon the creature, excluding any POW spent to manipulate that summons) on the Resistance Table. The Banisher’s Value on the Resistance Table is equal to the Number of POW she chooses to spend on the attempt, (which may not be more than her Manipulation Limit). Unlike normal casting, failure to Banish a summoned creature results in the expenditure of all the POWer devoted to the Banishing, as opposed to the normal spell failure cost of 1 POW.

 

Example:

Sangor (Manipulation Limit 5) knows Summon Bear, and recognizes the wolf slinking from the shadows as a summoned creature (he made his Sorcery skill check). Instead of fighting the wolf, he decides to banish it. He can devote up to 5 POW on the attempt but chooses to devote only 3,  vs the Wolf’s Base POWer Cost of 2. On the Resistance Table, this gives Sangor a 55% chance to banish the wolf . . .

 

 

 

Grimoires of Summoning:

Many tomes of Summoning are part of the paraphernalia of sorcerous cabals, often of summoners who prize them highly. Few cabals would allow their secrets to be rifled by non-members.

 

Cabalic grimoires often adhere to a theme, which might also be reflected by the Cabal that owns the grimoire. The Thallassomancers will contain summoning spells for creatures of the sea, whereas the Cabal of the Dread Chalice will focus on the summoning of various undead. The Vermis Custodes, who have banded together to collect and preserve the magic of the Empire of the Wyrms’ Friends, value spells of a draconic nature. A summoning grimoire of the Vermis Custodes is more likely to include spells to summon a Dragonewt or Wyvern than a wolf or bear.

 

To make up such “themed” spells, use the ones provided as a guide and adjust the Base Power Level according to the potence of the creature.

 

Enhanced Summoning

It might be possible, with the expenditure of greater POWer, to use a known Summoning spell to summon a creature with Enhancements. In this way, a horse might be summoned with saddle and tack for +1 POW. Similarly a warhorse might be summoned with saddle, tack and barding for +2 POW. Note that in all cases, any Enhancement POW cost is added to the Base POWer Level of the spell. Thus, less effective casters (those with lower Manipulation Limits) are much less able in this regard.  

 

Other Enhancements, and other summonings are certainly possible - Gimme some suggestions and I will see if I can write them up.