Summoning

Do you have suggestions? Questions? Are there mechanical or balance problems?

Summoning

Postby Maugh » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:25 pm

Summoning is a pain in my hindquarters. Getting good summoning spells is really challenging, because there is major overlap across wide parts of the system. I'm continually trying to break it down into sub-parts, in order to get better structure, but I'm also having a hard time getting things concrete. Here's what I have now:

I- Familiar:
These are elemental and animal/monster themed. For example, you could do a small lightning bird or a massive icy wolf. The size and type of familiar is determined by the spell, but for each spell, once you have selected a single familiar, you will summon the same creature every time. These critters can be commanded by the caster to act and to attack, using the caster power for offense, if attacked, the damage will be passed on to the caster, but reduced by a set amount. If they take too much damage at once, they'll disappear.

They essentially acts as an extension of the caster, allowing them to make attacks and manipulate the environment. Should probably be able to cast spells through them as well.

This mechanic is pretty solid. The mechanics work, it's fairly simple, and it scales pretty well for level, depending on the size and utility of the critter. I'm considering calling them "totems," in case we want to build "familiar" into something else.


II- Minions:
These are smallish, demonic creatures designed for attack or defense, (sword minion, shield minion, archer minion, etc.) They have a low-cost boost that summons extras, so they summon in groups, generally. They can be commanded to attack, even in groups, but only get 1 attack per group, (whelm rules still apply,) and they only have 1 hit point. If they get hit, they disappear. They have to stay within a close distance from the caster.

Strategically, these are mobs. They summon quick and die quick. You throw them at enemies and they throw themselves between you and attackers to soak hits.


III- Sentinels
These are indestructible critters that are fixed to specific locations, but once summoned can make AOE attacks in that area on command. Basically repeatable nuke spells. Right now they're elemental and animal themed, but I think that I might do them as divine instead?


IV- Demonic
These are a series of non-controlled summons. It basically dumps a creature on the battlefield that will charge and attack on it's own action, but at random. They're a bit stronger than other summons, but they're also not controlled, and unless handled very carefully, will just as likely attack allies as enemies. This category also includes gremlins and some similar demonic summons.


V- Stasis Binding
This creates a spacial paradox tied to a specific object, trapping a controlled or subdued creature inside. There are 6 of these spells, five of which are set to skill levels, (0-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20), and the last is designed to handle sentients.

This is the pokeball mechanic, allowing players to "Collect" monsters as they go. The only real disadvantage is it has a bit of overlap with the Chronomancy school.


VI- Calling
This one is a little dicey, and it's a concept that I've been kicking around a bit this morning. Basically, rather than calling a creature from nothingness, like the familiar, minion or demonic spells, it is putting a subtle attraction effect out there, to call creatures from the environment. a "Call Creature" spell, cast in the woods, would call out to any wildlife within a set distance, drawing them toward the caster. If cast in the sewers, it might draw in all the rats. Alternate versions could include "calling" undead, demonic, or others, or that might be a boost of some kind, to select a specific type.

This wouldn't necessarily be an immediate effect, but might draw them in over the course of a few rounds/minutes. Higher circle spells might call in bunches of creatures, or might affect larger distances. (Scar casts "Call Wildebeast")

This almost steps on the toes of Compulsion magics, but I think I could work around it by making it a "drawing" kind of effect, rather than a hard compulsion. If there is major reason not to come too close, they aren't compelled to, and they are not controlled once they get there. You'd need to combine it with Compulsion to make it work.

Dunno. It's a fresh thought, but it might fill enough of a gap to fix the problems I'm currently having.


Distribution:
I don't want Summoning to be too heavily slanted toward good or evil, since it's ideals are dark/life. I also think it may be important to represent all of the major types of creatures. Familiars represent animal (and elemental), demonic represents demons, minions are sort of neutral, I could shift the "sentinel" spells to give them a divine slant. That leaves draconic as the only major group left, and that could be done to fill the high-level gaps. Maybe a little drake or dragon kti?

Feedback on any of these sub-categories? Some of them are definitely conceptually stronger than others. Ultimately I need 40 spells, across 5 schools of magic, at 12/10/8/6/4.
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Re: Summoning

Postby TheMatt » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:22 am

6 is too many.

Familiar is a kit/UMA, not a spell.

Minions are cool. They 'pop'. Need a better name; to match name to concept. Phantasms? Phantoms?

Sentinels: Why are AoE attached to this? Their durability is a nice contrast to the Minions w/o the 'standing nuke'.

Demonic: Random attacks are rarely as cool as you think. People dislikes the pain more than they like the gain.

Pokemon: Kit/UMA, not spells. 5 spells, 6 UMA tiers...

Calling: Summon Nature's Ally, eh? DnD contrasted it with 'Summon Monstor', which called non-intelligent Wildfey, and the priestly 'Summon Ally' which called similarly aligned outsiders to your aid.

Time delay would be a pain to track.
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Re: Summoning

Postby Maugh » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:10 pm

Yeah, the Vi is too many. I was trying to figure out which were the strongest, conceptually, and which were the weakest. More on this later. Have other stuff to prep for the con. I WILL get back to this.
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Re: Summoning

Postby TheMatt » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:19 pm

"Caller" -- as per FF, summoner dies if the critter does. Ergo, caster takes damage for the critter (critter has no HP of its own).
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