Summoning is Super Powerful?

Just had a “did I read that right” moment with the summoning chapter in the codex. Here’s the deal. Restless dead can perform the transference service which grands one of their traits to the summoner for one ‘event’ (I’m reading this as a single conflict). This requires an Ob 3 summoning test to summon the restless dead, and an Ob 3 resources test to pay tribute. All restless dead have the Spirit Nature trait. This is a 17pt trait. So a novice summoner (who starts with an affiliation to the restless dead order for free) can get a 17pt trait for an entire conflict for two Ob 3 tests. For comparison, an art magician whose school grants the Trait effect must test against Ob 19 to get the same trait. Is this right?

Even if you’re reading it right, you can only get a very specific 17 point trait… I don’t have a book right now, what does Spirit Nature actually grant?

Can walk on water, mud, and ice. +2D for climbing and flying, if you have wings. Immunity to all physical harm, including being bound with ropes, on fire, sick, hit with a sword, etc. Only Sorcery, Faith, other spirits and spirit weapons can harm them. So fairly general-purpose I would say :stuck_out_tongue:

Remember, summoned beings can’t do anything that isn’t in their power. If you ask for gold and they don’t know where a stash is hidden, they have to go out and get it for you. I’d argue that the dead can/will only give you the traits they had in life, spirit natured is simply integral to their present existence and they can’t simply give it up, that would imply the restless dead can simply… Stop being ghosts, which seems wrong to me, much different than using their nature as spirits and a bit of summoning magic to grant a summoner an aspect they had in life.

At best, I would allow it with the dead on the condition that the summoner takes the Poltergeist/rest in peace (or whatever the Sanctified dead trait is) along with it, the dead might be able to allow the summoner to experience “life” as a spirit, but they’d have to take the whole package (meanwhile the dead spirit gets to experience the physical world again), not just the “immune to normal weapons” part of being dead.

Now a corporeal spirit like a demon or the like, might be persuaded to loan the trait to to the summoner, for the right price, but it would be a hard bargain as that would make the spirit itself vulnerable in the process…

That makes sense. I was thinking about that - what would happen to the spirit if it gave up spirit nature, it seems kind of contradictory. So there’s a hidden rule here I suppose - the spirit cannot give up traits that are at the core of their being. The result is that, unless she knows the name of the spirit she wants, the summoner won’t know what kind of traits the spirit she summons will have, right? So transference with the dead is not particularly useful unless you just happen to summon up someone with the perfect trait.

You can summon a specific spirit that you’ve never called before at +1 Ob. “Someone who can give me a call on to sword”, “One that can lend me an Oratory skill”, “The man who designed the Duke’s castle”, or “Someone with Massive Stature”, would all be valid in my mind for that +1 Ob. So you CAN get specific traits you want from the dead, you just need to eat the ob penalty or a have a name of a spirit who happens to have the trait you want.

I think specific spirits are actually specific, not just matching categories. You have to at least know of someone in particular who meets your desired quality. “Silver-tongued Snorri” or “the duke’s architect” are fine. You can also, in general, summon “a demon of the host of Verrine” or “a Visigoth.” No “a really big guy” or “someone really good with a sword” summonings!

I think it depends on how strictly you want to read the ‘The Summoned’ section, I think there’s a board reading that allows “A big guy”, and there is also a very strict reading which says that even a type/class of demon is too general and it is either a particular individual or anything the GM decides fits into that order, with nothing in the middle. But I think the semantics debate of what this instance of ‘specific’ means is veering a bit off topic, in absence of a declaration from on high, pick a reading that works for your group and be consistent about it.

One thing I DO want to correct about my examples above is that “One that can lend me an Oratory skill” is wrong because summoned spirits, by RAW can only lend stats and traits, not skills. That was a ‘posting away from my books’ mistake. A clever summoner can probably still find a use for Silver-tongued Snorri, just not the way I suggested.

He’s got the trait The Story, of course!

Pardon, but where do the Summoning rules state that the summoned spirit gives up/removes/deletes the trait when it transfers it? I don’t think we ever played it that way.

Bad analogy time:
I have a cold. I cough on you and now you have the same cold. Am I cured? No. Rather we both have a cold.

“Transference is the process by which the summoner or a character of his choice may take on one of the entity’s traits. During the term of service, the creature does not have access to the transferred trait.” - Codex p. 326 / MagBu p. 117 (emphasis mine)

As to the tests, you left out drawing the prison gate. That’s now 3 tests and a good deal of in-game effort to get that trait. Do note the price is set by the spirit - so it’s an Ob 3 Resources*, but it’s still stuff to do after summoning itself.

  • BTW, a novice summoner is unlikely to have the dosh to comfortably afford that.

Wow, well! Ha! That’s why I have my signature there. CYA, and all that.

Pfff, prison circle, who needs that? What’s the worst that could happen? :wink:

But more seriously you’ll likely want a good Fortress circle as well. Circulation as written is pretty easy to raise if that’s the player’s goal though.

True, no test is ever not a big deal. But I’d say total invulnerability to all physical harm and restraint is a bigger deal, especially given that it would be at least 19Ob using another system that is fairly good at getting you traits.

If you summon a creature and take its spirit nature and they lose theirs… Then when the summoning is done wouldn’t you be the one banished back to the spirit land?

Hah. Good find. Not intended for you to claim Spirit Nature from ghosts. I’d eliminate Transfer as a power for those types of summoned creatures. But it’s in the book, so the call is ultimately up to you.

There’s always the cost, too, of the bargain. If you were transferring the spirit nature trait, what does the ghost get? I’d say the ghost gets your body in return. So ghostly sorcerer floats off to do whatever but the body is the plaything of an entity that hasn’t eaten, drunk, fought, ran, revenged, lived for many many years. So the roll of the dice might be easy, but the cost might/should not be. YMMV.

@Luke: Yeah, I’ll probably strike transference off the dead.

Nope, the ghost gets the results of an ob 3 resources test. The restless dead can demand only Tribute (barring failed bargaining), and Tribute is a resources test equal to the summoning ob. So the rules don’t allow any leeway here.