seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

True Summoner first iteration

I just completed the first iteration of a Prestige class for wizards, for my niece who has an interest in summoning (through Pokemon type things). This is for comments/ideas. (yes, I know, "Crystals of Summoning" isn't in this version yet.

True Summoner

    True Summoners are a Prestige Class of spellcaster, which
have some unique characteristics in that they can modify some of the capabilities
of the base class in a permanent manner once the Summoner has committed to
the path. In order to qualify for the True Summoner prestige class, a character
must have the ability to memorize (not merely cast) up to 3rd level spells,
have at least 6 ranks in Knowledge: Arcana, have at least one "craft item"
feat  and know at least one Summoning spell (that summons a creature,
creatures, or spirit/being) at each of levels 1, 2, and 3.

Wards and Summoning Circles

    Summoners give up more and more power to cast spells in
the ordinary fashion in exchange for the ability to summon and bargain with
or bind mystical creatures to perform services for them. A summoner has two
classes of tools that they use regularly in their profession, The first is
the Summoning Circle, which is a geometric shape (not necessarily circular
– pentacles, triangles, and other shapes are used – constrained by mystic
wards into which the Summoner can call up beings from differing planes in
order to bargain or constrain them. The strength of a Summoning Circle is
directly related to the power of its Wards, components used to make up the
circle. A Summoner must make his or her own Warding items (they can be stones,
sticks, crystals, or other objects of reasonably sturdy and permanent nature
that can be placed on/in the ground) and place some of his or her own power
into them. This power is taken directly from their spellcasting power, and
is equal to five spell levels per CR of the summoned creature; a Summoner
may not make a Ward for a CR greater than their own level. The loss of spellcasting
power is permanent, but so are the Wards. If the Wards are destroyed, the
spellcasting power returns to the summoner the next day. Wards are not easy
to destroy, effectively having a cumulative DR of 10/+1 for every 4CR they
can restrain, and having a number of effective HP equal to the number of
spell levels in them. If they are not totally destroyed, the Summoner can
repair them easily in a few hours with a mystical rebonding process that
restructures the Wards to their proper form.

In order to create the Summoning Circle, the Summoner places the Wards evenly
about the geometric figure they wish to use as the Circle, and inscribes
particular symbols relating to the being or type of creature they are summoning
between the Wards, creating a complete enclosed geometric figure with the
Wards and symbols. The Summoner then invokes the Circle and target being
with the proper words of power as they have been instructed, and if all has
gone well the proper type of creature will appear in the circle, free to
be bargained with or constrained. Success at Invocation is determined by
an Intelligence save at a DC equal to 10+the CR of the summoned creature,
modulo any special circumstances the GM may consider applicable.

Bargaining and Constraining


Bargaining with a Summoned creature involves talking with it (Summoners can
naturally converse with any being they have Summoned, even if they cannot
normally speak the language of such beings) and arriving at some mutually-agreeable
exchange whereby the Summoned being will perform a service for the Summoner,
and the Summoner will, in effect, "pay" for the service. The payment can
be something as simple as allowing a Fire spirit free access to your fireplace,
so it can come and go between the plane of Fire and the Prime Material as
it will, or more complex, as in agreeing to make or obtain a Circlet of Protection
from Evil for a Tree Spirit. Some spirits are easy to bargain with, others
are not. While a GM may of course permit the player to directly roleplay
the negotiations, it is also possible to simply roll success against target
number. The DC of the Charisma-based roll is a matter for GM judgement, but
some factors to consider are:

  • PC knowledge of the particular sort of being (Elementals, Celestials,
    etc.) certainly applies as a bonus for their roll.

  • Whether a successful negotiation with this type of being has been
    done previously; this would be at least a +2, possibly more if this had become
    a commonly summoned type of being and the Summoner had always succeeded before.

  • Whether the Summoner has a Spirit Companion (see later) of the same
    or a related sort.

  • Whether the Summoner has failed in attempting to bargain with a similar

  • How powerful the Summoner is compared to the being he is trying to
    bargain with.

  • Any negotiation skills the Summoner (or the Spirit!) may have

In general, it should not be difficult for a Summoner to bargain with any
spirit of a CR they can safely summon, barring ill-will between them and
the spirit or its kin. If specific bargains are not being roleplayed, a cost
should be assigned (appropriate to the campaign) which would be increased
or decreased depending on how well or poorly the bargain roll was made. For
instance, if the GM determined that the base cost for summoning a 3CR fire
spirit was, oh, 50GP, and the DC was 15, a roll of exactly 15 might make
the cost 100gp, a roll of 16 through 19 75GP, 20-24 50GP, 25+25GP.

A GM may decide that spirits below a certain power level, or that have been
summoned a sufficient number of times, require no bargaining and only some
nominal payment; the Summoner has become so skilled and respected by the
group in question that the spirits want to encourage the relationship between

A Summoner can make a Will save in order to ensure that a Summoned being
is dealing with them honestly, and if the Summoned being is, in fact, equal
to or less than the CR of the Summoning Circle, the Summoned being can only
oppose with their base stat; level or creature bonuses they may have do not
apply. Thus, only if a Summoner attempts to summon and bargain with or constrain
a being of considerably greater power than themselves do they run the risk
of being tricked often. A Summoned being who turns against a Summoner can
also be Banished by the Summoner if the Summoner wins a Will contest. Summoners
have other ways of dealing with treacherous or dangerous spirit beings; the
Wards can be turned outward, producing a protective Circle which excludes
any Summoned beings from its radius, up to the level of the Summoner, and
any beings which can pass are at a –(caster level) to all actions while within.
From this it should be clear that only extremely powerful or foolish beings
of the Summoned sorts will dare treat falsely with a trained Summoner. If
a Summoned being is sent against another Summoner, the other Summoner may
use his skills to bargain with or fence out, or even Banish, the opposing
Summoner's creature. However, in this case the DC is an opposed Invocation
roll against the other Summoner.


Constraining a spirit is forcing a spirit being to perform a service for
you without any need of payment. This is generally done only by either evil
Summoners, desperate Summoners, or on spirits too dumb to understand bargains
(generally low CR beings). The Summoner three times commands the being to
serve them for one task and then return to their home plane, and each time
must win a contested Will roll against the creature. If they do so, the Constrained
being has no choice but to obey. As a rule, this tends to make the creature,
if intelligent, hostile towards the Summoner; they must perform as required
(and cannot use genie-like "screw" tactics, unfortunately for them), but
if ever summoned and free to act they can arrange nasty demises for former

Spirit Housings

The second way in which a Summoner will exchange their magical power for
Summoning-items is to create Spirit Housings. A Spirit Housing is a charm
or amulet which can hold a Spirit within it, and is used for two purposes.
One is for holding Constrained spirits, and the other is as a home for Spirit
Companions. Spirit Housings take one-half level of power (permanently) to
create, and require a Masterwork quality item of a value equal to 1000gp
X Summoning Circle CR. Summoners achieve their first level with one Spirit
Housing for free, as this is part of their training. The design of Spirit
Housings are left to the GM and players' preference, but all must be designed
as containers of some sort, fancy or otherwise.

A Spirit Housing opens when the Constrained spirit, or Spirit Companion,
emerges. If more than one spirit is within, the Housing closes automatically
after the selected spirit has left.

Unlike Wards, which are personal to the Summoner, Spirit Housings may be
used by any Summoner.

Spirit Companions

 At their first level as a Summoner, and every two levels thereafter,
a Summoner gains a permanent Spirit Companion. They may choose the general
category of Companion, or may summon a specific one and see if it is interested
in becoming a companion. The Companion begins at a CR equal to 1/2 the maximum
CR of the Summoner's Summoning Circle, and afterwards is treated as a normal
being of that sort (i.e., it advances with its own experience), with the
exceptions that:

1. The Companion is permanently linked to the Summoner. This means that the
Summoner can call it up out of its Spirit Housing at will, and return it
to the Spirit Housing at will. Barring death, the Spirit Companion never
goes away or returns to its home plane.

2. The Companion and Summoner always understand each other, whether or not
this is normally the case.

3. The Companion is completely devoted to the Summoner, unless the Summoner
badly mistreats the Companion (it IS possible to lose a Companion permanently
in that fashion). However, calling on the Companion to perform normal service,
including fighting for you, is not considered mistreatment; it's part of
the Job Description.

This means that a Summoner is wise to make a great deal of use of his Companions,
because they will gain in power as they gain in experience, and has a special
"trick" (the "Call Back") to get them out of real danger.

Each Companion requires a separate Spirit Housing. For Constraining purposes,
a Spirit Housing may hold up to twice the Summoning Circle's maximum CR in
spirits (i.e., if the Summoner could safely Summon up to CR 6 creatures,
one Spirit Housing could hold two CR 6 spirits, twelve CR 1 spirits, 1 CR
6 and 3 CR 2, or any similar combination).

The Summoner's remaining spell power can be used as ordinary spells, divided
up in level as they desire (as restrained by whatever spells they could normally
memorize, were they still a normal Wizard). That is, they work by a Spell
Level system – if they have 6 remaining levels of spells left, they could
memorize 2 3rd level spells, 6 1st level spells, etc.

In addition to any spells they have in their spellbooks, Summoners gain for
free a knowledge of various Companion Enhancing spells, most of them analagous
to the defensive and healing spells used on PCs. As Summoners progress in
level, they gain the normal additional Spellcasting abilities of their base
class. Example Companion Spells would be: Spirit Strength (as Bull's Strength),
Spirit Healing (different levels; as the Clerical healing spells), Spirit
Armor, True Strike, etc.

"Call Back"

Spirit Companions, as stated before, can be commanded to fight, investigate,
and perform other tasks, and in fact it is strategically good for them to
be used fairly often, as they then can gain experience and power of their
own. Some Summoner organizations have been known to arrange for training
of their Companions through carefully organized tournament-like battles;
besides the training advantage, often there are prizes of some sort to be
won by the Summoners, ranging from money to Spirit Housings to Crystals of
Summoning (see later)

One of the most common uses of a Spirit Companion is as an ally in combat.
However, in many cases, the Spirit Companion may become injured or endangered.
In these cases, to preserve the Companion's life the Summoner may "Call Back"
the Companion – the reverse of summoning them out of the Spirit Container.
This requires a partial action, but as it is done simply by saying "<name
of companion> Return!" the action can take place at any time in the round,
even before the Summoner's normal initiative. It does not require effort
unless the Companion wishes to remain out; in that case, it requires a Will
contest, Summoner versus Companion; if the Companion wins, the Companion
remains out, if the Summoner wins, the Companion immediately returns to the
Spirit Container.

Use of Summoned Spirits:

A Summoned spirit (Bargained, Constrained, or Companion) may perform any
service which makes sense in context of what sort of spirit it is. A clever
Summoner can effectively replicate any spell on the lists, and invent new
ones, often. The maximum equivalent SPELL LEVEL of effect that a Spirit can
produce, as a rule of thumb, should be considered to be 1/2 its CR, with
the effective CASTER level being roughly equal to the CR, if there is no
other obvious way to decide; a Fire Spirit of a 6CR, for instance, could
do a 6d6 Fireball or Flame Arrow, but a creature of more "solid" nature might
be only reasonably able to fight and use minor special abilities. Companions
can gain other advantages, even choosing to take character classes, advance
in levels that way, and use items.

Number of Summoned Spirits

There is no set number of spirits that a Summoner may have available at any
given time. Each Summoning ritual takes time – about fifteen minutes per
CR of the Summoned being, plus any time spent in bargaining – and of course
there are the costs associated with bargains. Aside from these, however,
a Summoner may have any number of Spirits waiting to perform their Services.
This means that under the right circumstances a Summoner can be a fantastically
dangerous opponent… but also that once they've "blown their wad" it can take
quite considerable time to build it back up. Where a regular Wizard or Sorcerer
need only spend an hour to rememorize/restore their normal spell capacity,
a Summoner of any significant level needs many hours to rebuild their resources
(aside, of course, from their Spirit Companions).

General Classifications of Summoned Spirits

  • Elemental (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit)

  • Celestial Animals

  • Infernal Creatures

  • Nature/Mystical Beings (Fae)

  • Outsiders of all sorts

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