Runequest Thursday #134: Summon/ Dismiss "Creature" - More Sorcery from "Advanced Wizard"!

Clint Staples

Over the last while, I have been developing spells for my version of Sorcery for Runequest, based on Advanced Wizard, part of The Fantasy Trip.

In my Sorcery, one of the things that sorcerers can become as they reach mastery is a Summoner, a specialist in summoning creatures, elementals, even objects. Obviously, I needed a Summon Creature spell for such masters. Advanced Wizard had spells for summoning wolves, human warriors, bears, trolls and various sizes of dragons. For mine, I decided that the sorcery spell would be limited by the rune involved(the Beast rune) to summoning animals, and their giant versions (like giant insects, giant hawks, etc).

I based Summon/ Dismiss Creature on my Conjure/ Dismiss Elemental, making it a dual function spell capable of summoning a specific kind of creature, or dismissing the summonings of others.

There are inherent issues in summoning spells, and they can unbalance play if not carefully controlled, and carefully written. I think I have done that her, but this is not playtested, so I can't be sure. But I think it is worth having, and working on, because summoning is such a set-piece of fantasy literature.

So here goes. LMK what you think, especially if you try it out in your game.

 

Summon/ Dismiss “Creature”: [Beast, Mastery]   Range – 1 Yard  POW Check – No

POW cost and Level of the Spell: Varies according to Creature summoned

Duration – 10 rounds

The “Summon” portion of this spell summons a specific creature of “Fixed” INTelligence, specified when the sorcerer learns the spell. So a sorcerer might learn Summon/ Dismiss Eagle, or Summon/ Dismiss Tiger. On a successful roll, the summoned creature appears immediately adjacent to the summoner. If there is not enough room for the entire creature to appear, the summons automatically fails. The creature may be directed by the summoner, and can take its turn to act immediately upon the directions given. It will carry out the instructions to the best of its ability until they are complete, at which time it will await further instruction. Any Round in which the summoner so directs his creature, he must devote a Major Action to doing so.

            The creature summoned is typical of its type (i.e: the average creature, drawn from the appropriate entry in whatever bestiary your game uses). Although it is a living creature drawn from another realm, it does only what it is instructed to do. The summoner is in mental command and contact with the creature, and knows what it knows (albeit in a way limited by its mental faculties) but cannot perceive through its eyes or direct spells through it. Wounds, conditions and spells cast upon the creature do not carry over from one summoning to the next.

            Each Summon/ Dismiss spell is ranked according to the power of the summoned creature. This determines the number of POW that must be spent to cast a Base Summons. The Base summons can then be manipulated up to the Manipulation Limit of the summoner. The Level of the spell (and thus the POW paid) is equal to 1 per 8 SIZ (or portion thereof of the “average” for the creature) of the creature, +1 level for each of the following powers it possesses: Flight, Any unusual “Trait” such as formidable natural weapons, poison, wall walking, etc.

The “Dismiss” portion of this spell allows the spellcaster to dismiss her own, or other’s, summoned creatures. To dismiss her own creatures prior to the duration expiration, she merely wills them to be dismissed. To dismiss the creatures of others, the spellcaster must defeat the higher of the POWer of the creature to be dismissed, or its summoner on the Resistance Table, then pay 1 POW per rank required to perform the Base Summoning for the creature (as described above). To Dismiss, one need not have suffient ranks of the spell, only the necessary POW and a successful contest on the Resistance table.

Notes:

  • The spell: Command, could be used to take control of a summoned creature, just as it could be used against any other. The original summoner may dismiss the creature in the normal way for a creature she controls, even though she has lost command of it.
  • Undoubtedly, there is a chaotic version of this spell, employed by sorcerers who have fallen into chaotic servitude. It would differ from the above only in adding Chaos to the Runes of Beast and Mastery, and be restricted to summoning chaotic creatures. In all other ways, including dismissing creatures, and having one’s creatures dismissed, it is identical to this spell.
  • According to the needs of the GM and players, the summoned creature may be a specific individual, or a random one.
  • There may be variants of this spell that includes the Man rune or that allow the summons of dream dragons. If so, they have been lost.

The Base spell may be manipulated to increase Range or Duration.

Example:

Wyrmhere arrives at the abode of a Master Summoner, wishing to learn the spell Summon/ Dismiss Giant Scorpion. We determine that this is a 6th level spell, because the AVG size of the giant scorpion is 23 (23/8, equals 2 + a remainder of 7, so we round up to 3), In addition, it has the special Traits: Formidable Natural Weapons, Wall-Walking and Sting. Wyrmhere’s Manipulation Limit of 6 would allow him to learn this spell, but he had hoped to be able to extend its duration and range. On consideration, he decides to learn the Level 4 spell: Summon/ Dismiss Panther instead (SIZ 19 = Level 3, + 1 Trait: Night Sight = Level 4).