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Of Conjuration and Summoning

conjuration summoning conjurer summoner conjure summon

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#1
ddillon

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Conjuration/summoning is seldom implemented in a satisfying manner: RPGs are full of fantastic creatures, but conjurers and summoners typically have access to only a very limited selection of these creatures. If conjuration/summoning magic is included Project Eternity, please do it right.

Allow conjurers access to most if not all of the creatures found in the gameworld. The number of conjuration spells should not be limited to the number of spells available to other spell schools. Consider that each new conjuration spell does not necessarily require new assets; the creature assets already exist as enemies, and portal/summoning animations and effects will already exist after the first conjuration spell is created.

Also, I would be interested in game mechanics that allow spirits, demons, and such to be summoned by opening a portal to other dimensions but that handle animals and such in a different fashion: Perhaps animals could be permanently dominated by a conjurer/summoner of sufficient skill when encountered and then accompany the party on its travels (rather than be conjured or summoned out of portals, etc). The number of animals that could be dominated at once could be dependent on conjurer/summoner skill, or each dominated animal could reserve a specific amount of the conjurer/summoner's mana as upkeep (similar to the buff spells in DA:O).

Thoughts?

Edited by ddillon, 29 September 2012 - 01:00 AM.

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#2
Volourn

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I agree. I hope they have summong spells, and I hope they are extremely varied. and not just limited to the usual animals/elementals/demons stuff. Take a gander at the DnD pnp summoning tables and stuff liek that. Make it truly random or based on class/.alignment(or whatever equivelant due to soul)/race/gender or whatever. But, make sure they are varied.

#3
metiman

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If conjurors can summon the most powerful monsters in the game would that not also make them the most powerful adversaries in the game? I can just picture a party of 6 conjurers summoning their own army of ancient red dragons and adamantium golems and demi-liches. Seems way overpowered to me. Summoning spells are limited for balance reasons. Mages are typically powerful enough already. I can't think of many games where they weren't the most powerful class. How about giving thieves back their backstab multiplier instead. They were totally nerfed in 3rd Ed and I haven't heard about them getting back their formerly glorious abilities.
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#4
happyelf

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Along with shapeshfiting, the 'conjure everything' quality of 3e dnd spellcasters gave them enormous power and versatility in many situations. When you get access to an entire bestiary, you tend to be able to achieve some truly game-breaking effects. While it's true that art assets could be re-used, making monsters work as 'pets' does take some design work in order the balance the results.

I think a more interesting option would be either a suite of well-tested conjurable creatures from the existing bestiary, or some kind of cusomizable conjured elemental that you could tweak when conjuring it to make it larger/smaller, faster/stronger, or posessed of other qualities.
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#5
Umberlin

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Conjuration type magic users always have so much potential that is never tapped. They're almost always turned into, 'the pet class' rather than what they're presented as, dealers and contractors. The applications go well, well beyond the, "I send an imp I summoned into combat' routine we're used to. Summoning creatures to sacrifice for crafting or enchanting styled purposes, summoning an entity to gain information on a subject or quest, perhaps the location of something related to the type of entity you've summoned and so on. The simple straightforward, 'throw a fire elemental at it' mentality of most implementations of conjuration styled magic just . . . are drab.

Then again I suppose I should be happy that Conjuration is implemented at all. Good Transmutation styled magic users are near non-existent, they do exist nicely and well in PnP, but it's rare to find them well implemented, or implemented at all, in cRPGs. Good Transmutation, Illusion, Enchanting and Divination style magic users skills/classes in cRPGs just don't seem to happen often, and when they do . . . they don't seem to be implemented very well outside of the rare case.

#6
aluminiumtrioxid

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I don't really care about how they implement it, but I do want to be able to summon some really otherwordly and alien creatures.
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#7
Leferd

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#8
zlarm

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To be honest what you're proposing sounds like it would make summoners extremely OP. Unless summoners are incapacitated while the higher level creatures are summoned (or something of that sort), summoning would allow you to have a very powerful creature plus a fully functioning mage. And that assumes theres a limit to the amount of creatures you can summon. You're also talking about running around full time with an animal companion.....aieaieaie. How would you ever balance say a fighter or anyother class against that?

#9
ddillon

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If conjurors can summon the most powerful monsters in the game would that not also make them the most powerful adversaries in the game? I can just picture a party of 6 conjurers summoning their own army of ancient red dragons and adamantium golems and demi-liches. Seems way overpowered to me. Summoning spells are limited for balance reasons. Mages are typically powerful enough already. I can't think of many games where they weren't the most powerful class. How about giving thieves back their backstab multiplier instead. They were totally nerfed in 3rd Ed and I haven't heard about them getting back their formerly glorious abilities.


I thought it obvious that I was referring to "normal" creatures rather than "boss-level" creatures. I was not suggesting that conjurers/summoners be able to call Red Dragons, etc.

The rogue (a better term than thief imo) should take inspiration from DA:O. Backstab, dirty combat tricks, poisons, bombs, dual-wielding, etc - very fun to play.

To be honest what you're proposing sounds like it would make summoners extremely OP. Unless summoners are incapacitated while the higher level creatures are summoned (or something of that sort), summoning would allow you to have a very powerful creature plus a fully functioning mage. And that assumes theres a limit to the amount of creatures you can summon. You're also talking about running around full time with an animal companion.....aieaieaie. How would you ever balance say a fighter or anyother class against that?


Did you miss my suggestions for balancing? Similar to DA:O buffs, controlled creatures could reserve a portion of the caster's mana, meaning that the caster would *not* be a "fully functioning mage" while controlling animals. Or under a memorization system, the maximum number of controlled creatures could be determined by the caster's skill level, perhaps requiring the expenditure of a spell slot or selection to control additional animals and thus limiting the selection of other available spells (again, *not* "a very powerful creature plus fully functioning mage"). Or perhaps it could be balanced in another fashion: That's what this thread is for, to ask for a good implementation of conjuration and explore ideas concerning how that might be accomplished.

Conjuration type magic users always have so much potential that is never tapped. They're almost always turned into, 'the pet class' rather than what they're presented as, dealers and contractors. The applications go well, well beyond the, "I send an imp I summoned into combat' routine we're used to. Summoning creatures to sacrifice for crafting or enchanting styled purposes, summoning an entity to gain information on a subject or quest, perhaps the location of something related to the type of entity you've summoned and so on. The simple straightforward, 'throw a fire elemental at it' mentality of most implementations of conjuration styled magic just . . . are drab.

Then again I suppose I should be happy that Conjuration is implemented at all. Good Transmutation styled magic users are near non-existent, they do exist nicely and well in PnP, but it's rare to find them well implemented, or implemented at all, in cRPGs. Good Transmutation, Illusion, Enchanting and Divination style magic users skills/classes in cRPGs just don't seem to happen often, and when they do . . . they don't seem to be implemented very well outside of the rare case.


Good post, interesting ideas.

---

More concerning my rationale:

It makes sense to me to be able to open a portal to another dimension to allow a spirit, demon, elemental, or other such creature to cross into or manifest in the physical realm. However, I've always found it odd that normal flesh-and-blood creatures are summoned out of portals. If a conjurer/summoner can reach across time and space to move a creature from point to point in the physical realm, then why doesn't that spell school also include teleportation? If a conjurer/summoner can communicate with or control summoned creatures, then why can't that mage do the same for other creatures encountered in the world? Sure, fantasy magic is unrealistic to begin with, but we can still apply some basic reasoning to it.

Further, given that conjuration/summoning implies connecting to, contracting with, charming, or outright dominating the minds of summoned creatures to compel them to fight for the caster, why not solve the above problems by merging charm and domination effects into conjuration/summoning as suggested and utilizing those effects in place of portal summoning for animals?

Edited by ddillon, 29 September 2012 - 07:48 PM.


#10
agewisdom

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Love the this idea. I still remember the fun I had in BG2 summoning devas....

#11
zlarm

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Well your original post states "Allow conjurers access to most if not all of the creatures found in the gameworld" so thats really where I think the balancing problems come in. DA solved it partly by reserving some of your mana AND partly by not letting you summon just any creature found in the gameworld. For example you should never be able to summon a creature that would pose a significant challenge for you to fight. Look don't get me wrong I'm all for diversity in spell choice but balance needs to come first.

#12
Badmojo

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I would also like to summon any creature in the game along with any being, demon, ghosts, other worldly creature, etc. I am always bummed when the creature summoning is limited to wolf, bear..etc. Pretty stupid generic stuff.

A bit related, I would like to see a polymorph spell where you can transform into creatures/beings you slain.

#13
Gurkog

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Give the ability to summon anything... but the higher level it is the less likely it will be under your control.

"Hey, Bob! Is that a big black flying lizard comming out of that portal?! OMG its eating my leg!"

Edited by Gurkog, 29 September 2012 - 10:11 PM.

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#14
Umberlin

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While we're on the subject I miss the uncontrolled summons you saw in some of the older games, and in some of the IE games. You needed to combo your spells, such as in the D&D games you'd have to protect yourself from evil to keep thing that came through the portal from just plain eating you. It was also interesting in its visuals especially but just as a general knowing something could come through, not even always the same something every time, that was completely out of your control. Your best form of control being, essentially, the 'please ignore me but not them' approach.

#15
ddillon

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While we're on the subject I miss the uncontrolled summons you saw in some of the older games, and in some of the IE games. You needed to combo your spells, such as in the D&D games you'd have to protect yourself from evil to keep thing that came through the portal from just plain eating you. It was also interesting in its visuals especially but just as a general knowing something could come through, not even always the same something every time, that was completely out of your control. Your best form of control being, essentially, the 'please ignore me but not them' approach.


I do remember having some fun literally unleashing hell on my enemies... and sometimes my own party. ;)

---

Another idea: Perhaps animals and other flesh-and-blood creatures could be spawned offscreen when summoned, proceeding to run/fly/whatever onto the screen to simulate nearby creatures answering the caster's call. Certain summons could work only in certain terrains, regions, etc. Or a spell could summon different creatures in different terrains, regions, etc.

It might be obvious, but to be clear, I'm interested in:

1. a great number and variety of summons, preferably access to most of the normal creatures encountered in the gameworld.

2. a mechanic for summoning animals other than portals (charm/domination of encountered animals, offscreen spawning, or something else).

3. awesome portal summoning of spirits, demons, etc.

Edited by ddillon, 30 September 2012 - 05:36 PM.


#16
PsychoBlonde

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How about giving thieves back their backstab multiplier instead. They were totally nerfed in 3rd Ed and I haven't heard about them getting back their formerly glorious abilities.


If you were actually applying the backstab multiplier correctly, where it only multiplies the base weapon damage (and the biggest weapon pure thieves could legitimately use was a d8), then the 5d8 you get from "backstab" is nowhere near as powerful as the 10d6 sneak attack rogues get up to in 3rd edition.

I'm not a big fan of summoning in most games--it's usually implemented poorly and the summonees are either way too weak or way too powerful and get in the way because you can't really control them effectively.

If they do decide to do some kind of summoner/pet class, I'd make these suggestions:

1. Make the summons immortal during their summon duration, but they can be dismissed or otherwise disabled in a variety of ways.
2. Each pet has ONE ability. Maybe one shoots ranged damage spells at the enemy. Another goes around knocking enemies over. One throws small heals. One distracts enemies into attacking it. Stuff like that.
3. Strict limits on how many pets you can have out at any one time.

#17
rjshae

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Does the available selections really matter that much? The role of summoned creatures in games primarily seems to be as a damage-inflicting shield. It might be nice to be able to give them more roles than just cannon fodder. Perhaps send them ahead as scouts or deploy them as sentries while resting. They could deliver messages, search for herbal components, trigger traps, distract enemies, and so forth.

Edited by rjshae, 30 September 2012 - 08:12 PM.


#18
Azrayel

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I would like to see the summoning of demons being an important element in the game, but if they're on the level of like a djinn or greater I want it to be a plot/quest type deal-- not a simple mechanic, although summons you're unsure of you could control would be quite interesting.

I want there to be gathering of ingredients, optional sacrifice of a virgin (and special alternate outcome if it turns out the sacrifice wasn't really a virgin after all), learning of True Names (used as an example by a dev for non-combat skill use), spilling of blood, chanting of ancients words, precisely drawn pentagrams circles and such on the ground, and a potentially volatile otherworldly portal which might pour out more than what you asked for.

Then a long, complex dialogue with the demon in which you bargain with them. Gaining them as a companion should be only for the best players who thought things through and took all the right options. If you didn't do quite that good an don't make the mistake of lowering the constraints around him and letting him free to wreck havoc, then perhaps he could bestow upon you an epic demonic item with certain draw backs he may forget to mention if you don't explicitly ask.

Perhaps he'll just answer three questions if you don't have all the stuff or skills for the other outcomes, and maybe he'll possess one of your companions or corrupt their mind if a certain set of conditions is met/you have him join you.


At any rate I think they should be interesting moments in the game and plot which would only happen twice or thrice at most. Rarely do I see the idea of summoning and bargaining with a demon built into a fleshed out scene, and even then I'm generally disappointed honestly. P:E ought t'set the new standard!

Edited by Azrayel, 30 September 2012 - 08:26 PM.

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#19
Jarmo

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I've always found summoning animals a bit strange. Is there a stock of summonable ponies somewhere for me to pluck,
does someones pony herd get a dead pony back after I've borrowed one for 30 seconds for help against a dragon?

I could understand a druid or a high ranger calling a few (or many) animals from local woods,
but they'd walk to you and stay only while you're near their natural area. You wouldn't be able to call a bear from town sewers.

Elementals are a bit easier to understand. Yes, there's a whole plane of them and they just love being called upon.
Undead are fine and should follow you for a good long while. But townspeople should not like one bit you towing in a fleet of them.

Devils, demons and such, I'd like to see having to pre-summon them at some point, either defeat them or make a deal.
Only then you'd be able to summon them into combat, maybe for a limited number of times or for limited total duration.

Maybe you could summon all kinds of creatures you've defeated, or who've agreed to it for other reasons.
(and maybe you shouldn't be able to call on them once they're dead, or maybe you'd get a zombie version)
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#20
Badmojo

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I would like to see the summoning of demons being an important element in the game, but if they're on the level of like a djinn or greater I want it to be a plot/quest type deal-- not a simple mechanic, although summons you're unsure of you could control would be quite interesting.

I want there to be gathering of ingredients, optional sacrifice of a virgin (and special alternate outcome if it turns out the sacrifice wasn't really a virgin after all), learning of True Names (used as an example by a dev for non-combat skill use), spilling of blood, chanting of ancients words, precisely drawn pentagrams circles and such on the ground, and a potentially volatile otherworldly portal which might pour out more than what you asked for.

Then a long, complex dialogue with the demon in which you bargain with them. Gaining them as a companion should be only for the best players who thought things through and took all the right options. If you didn't do quite that good an don't make the mistake of lowering the constraints around him and letting him free to wreck havoc, then perhaps he could bestow upon you an epic demonic item with certain draw backs he may forget to mention if you don't explicitly ask.

Perhaps he'll just answer three questions if you don't have all the stuff or skills for the other outcomes, and maybe he'll possess one of your companions or corrupt their mind if a certain set of conditions is met/you have him join you.


At any rate I think they should be interesting moments in the game and plot which would only happen twice or thrice at most. Rarely do I see the idea of summoning and bargaining with a demon built into a fleshed out scene, and even then I'm generally disappointed honestly. P:E ought t'set the new standard!


I like this, but think it could go further. Why do people summon evil demons, gods, beings beyond time and space, super powerful entities, etc, because they want something. The few times demons have been in games, they didn't offer much. What do people usually want with sommoned beings? Fame, power, immortality, money, forbidden knowledge, love/lust, etc, perhaps its not something selfish, perhaps its to save someone, or bring someone back from the dead, or some other reasons. I would like to be able to make deals like that, oh not starting off, you have to work you way up, to get something, you have to do quests for the entity in question as part of the pact. It should start off small, maybe even silly, maybe even beneficial...oh, you want to know the combination to the lock in the safe? Sure master, I will even give you the power to be invisible and here is some gold to help you on your travel, and all I ask is you write on the iconic statue of the high priest with the sygil of my name in paint. Is it really too much to ask master? It is easily washable...ah, good, here is the paint.

The idea is that the being seems sooo reasonable, and really, you are getting so much for so little. Then, before you know it, the being has you wrapped around its finger and you will do anything to gain more power(or whatever you want), even sacrificing your friends and family. It would be good if there is different beings to summon to bargain with that specialize in different things, each with its own quests/benefits. Good, neutral, evil..etc





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