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MoonRightRomantic

Revising the summoning system?

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So the summoning system never received a revision like the sorcery and alchemy systems did. Sorcery was revised in the Liber Ka sourcebook. Alchemy was revised in the unpublished Slaying the Dragon sourcebook. Both systems were revised and reprinted in Enlightened Magic for BRP.

The closest we have to a revision of summoning is the third circle spell "Summoning" on page 54 of Enlightened Magic. Could that be expanded into a whole enlightened summoning skill with three circles?

 

Here are a couple extracts from the old mailing list: 

Quote

From: Doyle Wayne Ramos-Tavener tavener@mail1.rcsntx.swbell.net
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 17:44:34 -0500
Subject: Summoning Rules, Part 1

I have been anxious to finish this and show it to the list, and so have decided to split it into three parts.

This part contains some raw rules material. The second will be four entities available to a summoner under these rules. The third will be explanations, justifications, misgivings and apologies.

Summoning

Procedures

The Magic Circle, Assistants and Ritual Tools
The Magic Circle, as described in Liber Ka, functions identically in Summoning. In addition, The Summoner's Ka may be raised by the presence of Assistants in the same manner as described in Liber Ka. Finally, Ritual Tools, as described in Liber Ka, can be created for exclusive use in Summoning Rituals.

The Ritual of Summoning
This ritual is normally referred to as the 'Operation'. To perform an Operation, you must first design a ritual. This requires a variable amount of time, dependent on the Circle involved, and may require successful Research, Hermetic Lore, Astrological Lore and Kabbalistic Lore rolls, as required by the Gamemaster.

After the design process, the Operation may be performed. An Operation normally has the following structure.

The Evocation
First is the Evocation, which calls up the presence of the entity. To simulate the Evocation, roll Lesser Theurgy, Invocation or Greater Theurgy. The Gamemaster makes this roll.
Success = The Operation will work.
Critical = The Operation will work, and the summoner is treated as having a Ka (either Dominant or Elemental) of 3 greater than normal for the purposes of that Operation alone.
Failure = The being summoned or generated will not appear. The Operation must be redesigned, and performed on another day.
Fumble = The Operation is flawed. However, The Entity might appear, at the Gamemaster's discretion. It the Entity does appear, the Summoner will be treated as having a Ka (either Dominant or Elemental) of one-half the value she would normally have, for the rest of the Operation.

The Adjuration

Then comes the Adjuration, which forces an oath to obey from the entity Evoked. A Nephilim may impose its will directly on the Evoked entity by matching its Dominant Ka (or appropriate Ka-Element) against the Dominant Ka (or appropriate Ka-Element) against the entity on the Resistance Table. The Nephilim may draw Ka from its Stasis as usual, but Blood Sacrifice is not possible, since the Nephilim is matching its might against another entity, not causing a magical change in the world.

This method is not available to humanity, since they may not bring their Solar-Ka to bear against other Ka-Elements. Instead, an Awakened human must match the Ka of an Elixir, Sacrifice, or Homunculus used against the Ka of the entity summoned.

In addition, the Nephilim (or Awakened human) may use Invocation in order to help dominate the entity summoned. Invocation is discussed below, under 2nd Circle Summoning.

Once the total Ka values have been calculated, the Gamemaster rolls the Ka vs. Ka conflict on the Resistance Table.
Success = The entity will obey the Conjuration, within the limits of its ability.
Critical = The entity will obey the Conjuration, within the limits of its ability, as well as suggest and offer aid above that which is required.
Failure, Fumble = The entity rebukes the summoner, and seeks to break the Magical Circle. To do so it matches its Ka vs. the Ka Strength of the Circle. If this roll succeeds, the summoner suffers the effects of the 'Failed Adjuration' entry for the entity involved.

The Conjuration
The Conjuration comes next, which are the instructions that you give to an entity. It must obey, if it was subject to a successful Adjuration. Such instructions are dependent on the type of entity summoned. Entities perform only those Conjurations that are appropriate to them. In each entry for an entity are listed some possible Conjurations. These are not the only possible Conjurations for the entity, and the Gamemaster should not in any way feel limited by those enumerated in the entry for the entity.

The Abjuration
Once the entity has completed the instructions, the summoner performs an Abjuration, which releases the entity from the Adjuration, and in a sense 'dismisses' the entity. This is nearly as important as the Adjuration, as the consequences of not properly performing the Abjuration are nearly identical to the negative consequences of the Adjuration. As before, the Gamemaster rolls the Ka vs. Ka conflict.
Success, Critical = The entity is dismissed.
Failure, Fumble = The entity rebukes the summoner, and seeks to break the Magical Circle. To do so it matches its Ka vs. the Ka Strength of the Circle. If this roll succeeds, the summoner suffers the effects of the 'Failed Adjuration' entry for the entity involved.

1st Circle of Summoning: Lesser Theurgy

All Lesser Theurgy Operations take 2d6 hours to design, and cost one point of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.

Some of these are magics involve entities which are naturally generated from the Magic Fields of the Earth. These are not conceptual entities; they exist independently of the Nephilim's consciousness, collective or otherwise. These include Elemental Creatures, Daemons, and Nephilim.

A few of these magics involve entities that are at least partly conceptual, such as the Genius Loci and Greater Elementals, though even these are very much associated with either specific places in the world or the Elemental Fields of the world.

Spells

Exorcise Daemon (Threshold 20) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Daemons.
This spell is used to evict a Daemon from its host. Match your relevant Ka-Element against the Ka-Element of the Daemon. If you overcome it, the Daemon leaves. If unsuccessful, you may not evict the Daemon from its host. If you fail, you may try again on a different day.

Summon Daemon. (Threshold 40) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Daemons.
This spell allows the Nephilim to 'generate' a Daemon. The spell does not actually call the Daemon from some other place; rather an appropriate place is chosen that possess the correct characteristics for the natural generation of a Daemon. The spell then helps along this process. Unless the area in question is within a Nexus or Plexus, or some other form of Ka is available in the area, it is necessary that the Nephilim sacrifice a point of Dominant Ka (through the Blood Ritual) in order to insure the generation of the Daemon.

Summon Creature of (Element). (Threshold 60)
These spells are virtually identical to spells described in The Nephilim Gamemaster's Companion, with exception that the Elemental creature may be Conjured, that is, given a command, without the expenditure of a point of Dominant Ka.
Also, this ritual can be used on a preexisting Elemental Creature. If this is the case, then the Operation must be performed in the vicinity of the Creature and the Evocation serves to gain the Creature's attention, while the Abjuration frees it from the ritual in such a way that it will afterwards ignore the Summoner.

Ritual of the Vessel. (Threshold 70)
This Operation forces a Nephilim in Stasis or Narcosis to manifest in an artificial vessel. This vessel can be a hollow bust, statue or by extension any artifact that can said to be hollow. Only Nephilim can be so constrained in this manner.
The Operation is conducted in the same way as other Summoning rituals, except that no Magical Circle is necessary, as there are no negative consequences that arise from incurring the wrath of the Nephilim.
The Nephilim may not cast magic, or communicate except at the behest of the summoner. Ka-Vision is required to interrogate or command the Nephilim inside the vessel. The Nephilim remains in the vessel until the Nephilim has fulfilled one command, or one day has passed.
Such an experience is terrifying for Nephilim, and is not practiced much among them, except in the direst of situations.
There are said to be rituals that force permanent enslavement to the vessel, but these are unknown. If such a ritual did exist, the Secret Societies would spare no expense to acquire it.
This ritual, combined with Alchemical techniques, may have been the genesis of the development of the Homunculus.

Summon Greater Elemental of (Element). (Threshold 80) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on Greater Elementals.
This Operation summons partly conceptual entities, the Greater Elementals. These entities are composed of a concentration of one of the Elemental Fields. The existence of such an entity is unstable at best, because the lack of a grounding Personality Trait gives the entity little or no focus in the world. Thus, such entities are never natural products of the Elemental Fields, but rather Summoning-wrought manipulations of it.

Summon the Genius Loci. (Threshold 90) See Appendix 1 for the statistics on types of Genius Loci.
'Genius Loci' is Latin, and means roughly 'local spirit'. This is a partly conceptual entity that exists in places of import or significance, but is only called into being by the art of the Summoner. Unless the area in question is within a Nexus or Plexus, or some other form of Ka is available in the area, it is necessary that the Nephilim sacrifice a point of Dominant Ka (through the Blood Ritual) in order to insure the success of the Operation.

Second Circle of Summoning: Invocation and Greater Theurgy

The Second Circle of Summoning is concerned with two magical techniques. Invocation, or the calling by name of entities for supernatural aid, and Greater Theurgy, which is concerned with the Summoning of purely conceptual entities.

Invocation

Invocation is a direct appeal for supernatural power by the process of calling upon a name. In many ways, Invocation implies that you are assuming the authority and identity of the name you call upon.
To Invoke, a Nephilim must simply say aloud the Name of some supernatural entity. This takes one Action. Each Name can be considered to have four characteristics: Element, Resistance, Effect and Purpose.
Element refers to the Ka-Element that the name embodies.
Resistance refers to the Strength that the Nephilim must overcome on the Resistance Table in order to receive the Effect bonus.
Effect refers to the bonus to the Adjuration Ka-Roll that the Nephilim receives.
Purpose refers to nature of the Name, and the uses to which it can be used.

Briefly, when a Nephilim Invokes a Name, she matches her Ka-Element corresponding to the Ka-Element of the name against the Resistance number on the Resistance Table. If she succeeds, the Effect bonus is added to her next Ka-Roll (in Summoning, this is the Adjuration Ka-Roll). In the case of a failure the Effect number is subtracted from the Adjuration Roll. In Summoning, this bonus cannot exceed 25%. This system may also be used in Sorcery, at the Gamemaster's discretion.

Sample Invocations
Name
Element
Resistance
Effect
Purpose/Explanation

El
Air
40
20%
"Lord", "Mighty One"

Elohim
Water
20
10%
My Personal God, My only God

El Elyon
Air
15
7%
God Most High (Authority, Leadership)

El Shaddai
Air
30
15%
God of the Mountain, High God (God as separate from the world)

Yahweh
Fire
50
25%
"I Am", God as the Unbegotten One

Yahweh Sabaoth
Fire
35
17%
God, Lord of Hosts

Immanuel
Earth
25
13%
"God Is With Me"

IAO
Moon
30
15%
Greek, God in the Greek Sense, as Prime Mover

Tetragrammaton
Moon
20
10%
Greek, The Holy Name referred to, not uttered

Jehovah
Air
15
7%
The Holy Name referred to, not uttered

Adonai
Water
10
5%
"My Lord"

Jesus Christ
Earth
30
15%
Greek, Yeshua, the Anointed One

Pater, Filli, et Spiritu Sancti
Earth
40
20%
Latin, Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Messias
Earth
15
7%
Greek, Jesus as Messiah

Greater Theurgy

All Greater Theurgy Operations take 2d6 days to design, and cost two points of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.
This art is concerned with the summoning of wholly conceptual entities. These entities should not be seen as actually existing on another plane of reality, rather, they are, in essence, partly created through the will and imagination of the summoner.
These entities may only be summoned on Enthronements of the Ka-Elements that they are 'governed' by.

Third Circle of Summoning: High Theurgy

All High Theurgy Operations take 2d6 months to design, and cost three points of Cha'we to cast. The summoner must have a skill rating in this technique equal to the Threshold of the spell in order to attempt the operation.
This Circle is much like the 2nd, in that the entities summoned are entirely conceptual. However, the entities summoned here are of enormous power, so much so that they can only be bargained with, never commanded. As such, Invocation is of little or no use. These entities may only be summoned on Grand Enthronements of the Ka-Elements that they are 'governed' by.

 

Quote

From: fafnir327

Date: 21 Jun 2010 06:06:54 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

Sorry for the delay, but here's what I'd worked up. I'm actually retrofitting this back to Nephilim - I originally worked all of this up for my Golden Dawn CoC game.

As groundwork, each entity needs to be tied to one of the 10 sephiroth. Also, the system needs to have astrology worked out so that every sphere has its favorable day and months.


Summoning rituals use the following procedure:

Step 0: Learn or devise the spell (research the sigil of the entity).

Step 1: Draw the Sigil of the entity.
Takes 1d10 minutes, requires INTx5 roll. High skills in Art(draw) or Kabbalistic Lore give bonuses equal to the skill/10. Results:
Fumble: spell will fail, but caster does not know. Proceed.
Failure: Spell will fail, caster knows. Start over.
Success: Spell can work. Proceed.
Critical: Sigil is nearly perfect. +10 to technique roll in Evocation.

Step 1A: Draw Magic Circle (optional)
This uses the same rolls and procedures as in Liber Ka (costs 1 ch'awe). Using a magic circle allows the caster to use assistants (as per Ritual magic in Liber Ka - the can contribute ch'awe and offer up bonuses to the caster's Ka). If anything goes wrong, the entity summoned must overcome the ka of the caster to leave the circle.

Step 2: The Evocation (Technique roll)
The caster stares into the seal, intoning ritual phrases and channeling their will into the seal, creating a beacon that shines across the spheres. Takes 1 action per point of threshold of the entity. Make a technique roll:
Fumble: Dire attentions. Possible astral attack.
Failure: Contact is not made. The sigil is wasted.
Success: Contact is made with the desired sphere. Proceed.
Critical: Contact is made in half time, check technique for later increase.

This roll is modified by ritual elements: colors, materials, that correspond to the entity's sephiroth grant bonuses. Ritual tools and the complexity of the ritual can also offer bonuses.

Step 3: The Adjuration (Ka roll)
Once the caster has contacted the entity, they must draw it to its sigil with an effort of will. Costs 2 ch'awe per circle of the spell. Make a Ka roll (for the apporpriate element), with Ka multiplied by the Circle of the spell (x3, x2, or x1).
Fumble: Spell fails. Ch;awe spent. Gain 1D3 Khaiba. Caster cannot attempt this spell again until the next favored day for the element.
Failure: Spell fails. Ch'awe not spent.
Success: The entity comes.
Critical: The entity comes, ch'awe cost halved. Check ka for later increase.

The caster's Ka is modified by the daily astrological modifier, and assistants (if any). Entities that appear are only visible in Ka vision, though the uninitiated may feel a presence.

Step 4: The Conjuration (opposed Ka roll)
Once the entity has been called forth, the caster must bind it to their will. This is an opposed roll between the caster's dominant Ka and the entity's contract value. Costs 5 ch'awe.
Fumble: The entity breaks the sigil. Caster suffers rupture. In addition, the entity may engage in astral combat witht he caster if it desires. Gain Khaibe equal to the entity's Contract divided by 5 (round up).
Failure: The entity breaks the sigil and the caster suffers rupture.
Success: The entity obeys the caster for 1 Service (see below).
Critical: The entity obeys the caster for 1 service, and departs with no abjuration needed. Check ka for later increase.

The caster's ka is modified by the astrological modifier, Invocations, and enchanted talismans devoted to opposing elements. Knowing the entity's True Name is worth a +10 ka bonus. Orichalca is also very useful.

The Service: The entity, once conjured,can be made to do the following:

Service. The spell description. Entities can be sent to targets not present, if there are ritual links to the target. The entity must make a Contract x3 roll to find a non-present target.

Pact. The entity inscribes its sigil onto the caster's aura. Henceforth, the caster can summon the entity by simply making a Technique roll. Each future casting will require another Conjuration (though no abjuration is necessary).

Spellcasting. The entity will cast sorcery spells of its element and circle, up to its threshold. No rolls needed - spells cast by entities always succeed. The entity will cast 1 spell for every 10% the caster beat the Conjuration roll.

Inhabitation: The entity can be placed into a specially prepared idol or statue, or even an alchemical golem. Enchanting the vessel costs 1 Ka per circle of the entity, and requires a lengthy ritual. Once the vessel is inhabited, the entity will remain within it for a number of months equal to the caster's dominant Ka modifier. Each month, the entity can do one of the following:
Teach sorcery spells (its element and circle, up to its threshold), Must make a Contract x3 roll to succeed.
Tech Occult skills (grant 1 check), An entity cannot raise a caster's in an appropriate skill above its own Contract x3.
Prophesy - the entity will answer a number of questions equal to the caster's Ka modifier. A successful Contractx3 roll yields accurate info, at the GMs discretion.

Step 5: The Abjuration (Technique roll)
Once the entity has performed its service, the summoner must ritually dismiss it so as not to offend the entity or give it any means of taking retribution on the caster. The abjuration takes 1 action per point of Contract, and costs 1 ch'awe.
Fumble: the entity departs, but exacts some future revenge or initiates a plot complication.
Failure: The entity departs, but still counts against the caster's summoned entity limit.
Success: Entity departs.
Critical: Entity departs, no ch'awe spent.

Step 6: Grounding the Circle (optional)
As per Liber Ka, the caster spends 1 minute ritually killing the magic circle if a magic circle was used.

Astral Combat
In this variant system, all spirits can engage in astral combat. Each round, the entity and target both make Ka x3 rolls (contract x3 for the entity). Whoever has the better successful roll (critical beats impale, impale beats success, higher number within a tied category wins) deals 1D3 ch'awe damage to their opponent. A fumble gives the enemy a +10 bonus to the next roll.


That's about the size of it. Thoughts?

 

Quote

From: Ian Borchardt

Date: 21 Jun 2010 06:41:30 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

I'd definitely not consider the magical circle to be option, since it sets the extent of the ritual, even if it provides no additional protective effect. Otherwise the caster will be trying to shift the whole universe with their magic.

I'd rate the ability to create an appropriate ward to be a separate ability. Probably six of them; one for each of the fields.

I'd also add a meditation phase before hand. 2d10 hours is about right, methinks. And don't forget the ritual purification, either. A summoning shouldn't be a trivial affair.

Also I note that there is no mechanism for Invocation [ie: having the entity intentionally possess the summoner (frex, Loa).]

 

Quote

From: fafnir327

Date: 21 Jun 2010 14:07:22 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

I'd ruled with the protective circle being oiptional to allow for "quick and dirty" castings for summoners in a bind or who want to live dangerously.

Making the ward circle a separate skill/ability is an intriguing idea.

As for meditation phases and ritual purity, I had figured they would come in as optional modifiers for various steps - taking the extra time to meditate would give the castere a bonus to ka for purposes of the Conjuration, that kind of thing. I'd either grant a Ka bonus if ritually pure, or (prolly better) slap a penalty on the caster if they aren't.

When I first devised these I had ported over pretty much *all* of the spellcasting modifiers and options from GURPS Cabal, turning their skill roll mods into Ka bonuses/penalties. It's a lot to keep track of, but boy was it nice. I may post that next, since I was applying them to sorcery as well.

I'm using the word "Invocation" to specifically mean bullying the spirit with the names of God and powerful beings. It'd be an arcane technique a lot like Correspondences in Major Arcana: names have a threshold, invoking requires a little ch'awe and a skill roll, and yields a Ka bonus.

Now, as to letting the spirit ride the caster (or a present offering), that's a sweet idea. It also occurs to me that possession might be a cool tactic for spirits to use of the conjuration fails. Another potential downside to using assistants - they're likely much easier targets than the caster...

 

Quote

From: exubae

22 Jun 2010 11:34:38 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

A quick overview of what I've been messing arround on the wiki and at in game, this was my orginal concept for the process of summoning:

1. The Ritual Space
1. Define Ritual Space
2. Activate Ritual Space
2. Summon Entity
1. Bind, Bargain with Entity: Creating Pact
3. Dismiss Entity
4. Close the Ritual Space
1. Cleanse the Rituals space
2. Unmake the Ritual space

Most of this is mechanically invisible to the user (other than the time taken).
All is subsumed by the Summoning circle skill.
With the roll negatively modified if the entities particualr tastes are not catered for in the decoration of the ritual space.
(Fumbles etc tend to imply the ritual space has not been unmade/cleansed, and un pleasantness can occur in the area from dragon effects spont. appearing).

You can then request an immediate service/or arrange a pact.
Services from the entity are arranged through either binding or bargaining. (Binding leaves the entity hostile).

Services include:
Loans of Artifacts
Spells
Skills training and Knowledge.
Entities particular power.

The pact is the key point:
You pre-arrange a number of services from the entity, which can be called back with invoked through the pact (once again using summoning circle skill) to provide one of its services.

Fumble on a Bind/Bargain results in rupture.


Summoning also includes:
Gate rituals, they form bridges to an entity and its realm, allowing the summoner to interact with the realm and the occupants...It works well in play - Adonai's realm became a gate ritual.

Travel, any one initated into 1st circle can wander arround the material world and Assiah in a solar Ka astral form.
2nd Circle get to all of Yetzirah
3rd Circle and so on
100% in 3rd Circle get free range of the tree.
In all case the Sim is left behind with only a trace of Solar Ka.

What I'm planning to do is altering the entity power levels for my next campaign I run... following the suggestions on the group.
Fro the Gate summons its no to bad as the Character is effectively travelling - ie all any one sees is the an unconcious Sim.

I've split most of the entities in to 3 major categories/perspectives:
Solomonic - demonic/untrustworthy
Angelic - Angelic hosts
Enochian - Ministers and dwellers of the Aethyrs

There are other summoning perspectives, based arround arcana and metamorphosis.
Khabic - Devil
Sidhe - Faerim
Godform - Heirophant (Neph builds up an idealised image of himself in Solar Ka through the belief of his followers, he may summon it or possess it for a limited period of time)
Constructs -Chariot.

 

Quote

From: fafnir327

Date: 22 Jun 2010 18:57:28 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

Lots of neat ideas here - the bargain vs. bind option in particular I find very compelling. Is there any way to objectively set up how to drive that bargain, I wonder?

The additional stuff (spells for sphere travel, etc) is awesome, and the divisions of entities by paradigm is also very cool.

I will confess i don't know much about Enochian magick at all, and am intrigued at the idea that these different types of entities might be good for different things.

 

Quote

From: exubae

Date: 22 Jun 2010 20:47:00 -0000

Subject: Summoning System Revisions

 

Objectively, not really other than drawing upon the entity descriptions and its possible motivations.

A good portion of the entites with the poetic sounding titles are of enochian origin:
The panoplied Horsemen from the River of Dreams
for example is a minister drawn from the 13th Aeythr (LAZDIXI)
and is ruled over by the Archangle Malchidael.

The Whispering Ones, Spirits of the Basalt Forest
Are ministers of the 7th Aethyr (SAMPHA)
and is ruled over by the Archangel Advachiel

There are thirty Aethyrs and within them four (five) elemental watch towers. All of which are ripe for the plundering into game terms :)

 

While I think some suggestions may be needlessly complex, the overall idea is that summoning invocations would be performed as rituals to call and bind an entity into service, or compel an entity that already exists in proximity (e.g. exorcising demons, calming an elemental creature, binding a nephilim/homunculus into oaths of servitude). In general summoning would be more powerful than sorcery, although the risks would likewise be higher. 

 

What do you think?

Edited by MoonRightRomantic

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