The Summoner (Split Class)

SummonerSummoning is an ancient, nearly extinct, magical art. Summoning circles, in particular, have been abandoned because of the hazards involved. Such rituals create a temporary dimensional gateway calling a random creature from the nether world. The monster will serve its master – for a time – but may not return to its home plane once the control fades…

The summoner is among the most feared of al the men of magic; he is feared because of the sacrifices and self-inflicted wounds required to activate the summoning circles; feared because of the malevolent forces that are controlled; feared because of the evil that walks within the shadows of the summoner.

Like the Glyph Mage, I’ve been inspired by the Palladium FRPG, but am using rules from a different game system in the implementation. This time, I’m just swiping the Monster Summoning spells from HackMaster.

Summoner Progression

Level XP Spellcasting
Special Ability
1 5,000 1st-lvl Spells Monster Summoning I
2 10,000 2nd-lvl Spells Monster Summoning II
3 20,000 3rd-lvl Spells Monster Summoning III
4 40,000 4th-lvl Spells Monster Summoning IV
5 80,000 5th-lvl Spells Monster Summoning V

Game Rule Information

Prerequisites: To become a summoner, a character must be a spellcaster with no restrictions from using the Conjuration/Summoning school of magic. Both arcane and divine casters are eligible. The rituals of summoning are actually quite easy to learn, but the experience requirement typically discourages low-level casters. To summon more powerful creatures, the character must meet the spellcasting requirements as given in the table above.

Alignment: Any but Lawful. Summoners are almost always Chaotic, but a few rare ones are Neutral instead. The study of summoning magic is forbidden by the Church of Law.

Split Class Restrictions: Summoning requires a particular blend of willpower and obsession. Summoners are restricted from advancing in any other split classes, and characters who already possess levels in a split class are unable to advance as summoners.

Special Abilities

Monster Summoning: Through study of arcane circles and rituals of summoning, the character has learned to conjure up servants from other planes of existence. To summon one of these creatures, the appropriate circle, symbols, components, and sacrifices must be made; requiring one full turn. A summoner can only summon creatures via circle magic once per day, and may only have one summoning in effect at any given time.

By its nature, summoning is a chaotic form of magic and the summoner usually has no control over the creature summoned. It is rumoured that certain expensive material components or unusual sacrifices can influence the result, but these secrets are closely guarded and must be discovered through gameplay.

Summoning circles are divided into various grades – I, II, III, IV, and V. As the summoner gains experience, he is able to summon more creatures or more powerful creatures. By default, only a single creature is summoned. However, a higher-level summoner using a lower-grade circle will conjure more creatures. A 2nd-lvl summoner using a Grade I circle will conjure 1d4 creatures, for example. Similarly, a 3rd-lvl summoner gains 1d4 creatures from a Grade II circle, 2d4 from a Grade I circle, and so on.

A character can control a summoned creature (or group of creatures) for one day per summoner level. After this, each creature gains a saving throw once per day to break free from the summoner’s control. For this reason, most summoners will try to ensure that the thralls are ‘used’ before this period expires, though any obviously suicidal commands will grant a new saving throw to break free.

A summoner may prematurely relinquish control of a thrall, but may be unable banish a monster that he has summoned. A creature unwilling to be sent back to its home plane may attempt a saving throw to resist. If it succeeds, it remains in the summoner’s world permanently. Slaying a summoner will release thralls from his control and will usually banish them to their home plane, though unwilling creatures may attempt to resist.

Summoning Descriptions

(For now, I would recommend simply using the Monster Summoning spells in the AD&D/OSRIC rules, found on pages 90-92. They’re okay, but I’d prefer lists with a more extraplanar bent, so I’ll probably end up modifying them if I get the chance.)

(UPDATE: I just looked over the HackMaster Monster Summoning tables from page 319+ of the GM’s Guide. They’re awesome – use them instead.)


About K-Slacker

Gamer and 5th-level magic-user.
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