Summoning and you . . . so many questions

Discussion on playing Earthdawn. Experiences, stories, and questions related to being a player.
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Summoning and you . . . so many questions

Post by Michael » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:21 pm

Our Elementalist is about to circle to 5th and I have sooooo many questions about it

Let's begin
Question 1:
P 366 says
The spirit will perform one service for the summoner during this time.
Next paragraph says
After calling the spirit, the summoner must negotiate with the spirit using the Spirit Talk or Elemental Tongues talent (as appropriate) against the spirit’s Social Defense. For every success scored on the test, the spirit agrees to use one of its powers to perform the desired service.
So as RAW, I take it you're never going to get more than one service from a summon? The negotiation is to get the spirit to use many of its powers for the one service you asked for?

As a Shadowrun player I was expecting to be able to get a few services out of the summon. Is that breaking the system for 4th? Is shortening/changing the summon time of 30 mins breaking the system?

Question 2: Combat
Can a service be loosely called "Aid us in defeating the band of slavers in that cave"? And if so, would the spirit be inclined to use all it's negotiated powers for such.

If the answer is yes, how do I get the spirit to change targets or follow tactics? Contest of wills or simply ask it? Would that be a Free/simple/standard

Question 3: Powers

Aid Summoner:
This power allows a spirit to increase its summoner’s magical abilities for the duration of a summoning.
So does this mean I summon an Air elemental (2 successes), merge with it and for 2 hours get +1 to every talent test?

Enhance Summoner:
When using this bonus, the summoner takes strain equal to the spirit’s Strength Rating to reflect the
difficulty inherent in channeling the spirit’s energy. If multiple uses are available, each bonus may be applied to a different test, but only one test per round.
So as RAW, I take it that it's strain every time the adept uses the bonus?

Soothe: I take it one service is for one person, not the group or multiple targets?

Poison: Does the spirit have to wound the target to apply the poison? I'm assuming you can only apply the poison 1 time, each new application just resets the duration. Speaking of duration, does it last in SR rounds?

Find: Does the spirit have to return to inform the summoner of the results? If so, I'm assuming it can get there fairly quick

Insubstantial: It specifically calls out weapons and bows, are unarmed not affected by this power?

Talents: Can you assign talents to a spirit in the summons? +2 to DN per talent you want

Karma: In Shadowrun, the spirits refused to use their karma for the benefit of the summoner. Are ED spirits that picky or will use karma on the task at hand? For example, defeat the monster in the cave.


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Re: Summoning and you . . . so many questions

Post by Bonhumm » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:40 pm

I just had to go through learning spirit mechanics too (

So I'd say for question 1: Indeed, you only get one service, negotiation in only about how many/which powers it will use to do said service. I did not see anything related to reducing the summoning time although (now that I think about it) I did not check if there was any knacks related to Summoning/Banishing.

As for #2, from my understanding, the service can be as specific or 'vague' as you want, but you have to keep in mind the spirits might not correctly interpret your request. As for 'changing target', I don't think you could do that: you have ONE service; if the service was 'kill that guy' it will kill THAT guy. However if you word it as, kill THOSE guys, it will kill those guys but the order it will pick them up is up to it.

As for aid summoner, it says: 'The summoner may only apply this bonus to one test per round'; thus you can use the bonus on any and all talent, but only once per round (and it cost one strain every use).

Also, an important details I noticed about spirit powers; one of them is 'manifest', which is basically just making the spirit get out of Astral Space and come to the physical plane. Thus, you could assume that you'll have to 'waste' a success to get this power on 90% of the services you need because many/most services will require said spirit to be in physical space.

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Re: Summoning and you . . . so many questions

Post by Panda » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:45 am

1) Additional services and shorter summoning time make summoning increase how accessible it is in a variety of situations. It's a very powerful ability and offers incredibly versatile solutions to problems. Without some notable tradeoffs, it allows one character to easily overshadow (and even replace) the rest of the group. Different groups may have different appetites for giving spirits a greater role within the group. Moving away from mechanics, spirits are sapient and certainly have opinions on what is happening. There are good reasons there's in-setting discussion on if forcing a spirit to perform tasks against their will is akin to slavery. Paying them is always a good idea.

2) The spirit performs the task with all the negotiated powers. In general, spirits don't like performing combat tasks. Unless you've built a relationship with the spirit, risking their lives for you doesn't sound like a great deal. Expect them to perform the task they have to perform with all the motivation of someone who must perform it. You can certainly ask them to do those additional things and they might, or might not. They're not bound to your supplemental requests. A spirit you've built a relationship with may be willing to fight and die for you, like a comrade, and will probably listen to what you have to say. Asking requires having the appropriate talent (e.g., Spirit Talk) active, but is otherwise like talking to your other allies.

3a) Aid Summoner: The air elemental makes an Aid Summoner test against your Mystic Defense. For 1 Strain, you get +1 per success to one talent test. You can do this each round, but it can be a different talent test each round.

3b) Enhance Summoner: Yes, you take the Strain each time the bonus is used.

3c) Soothe: The request can be for a group, but it should be within reason and easily defined. Spirits who like you are more willing to be flexible and efficient in all things.

3d) Poison: There's no defined poison because there's no standard spirit poison. That's in the gamemaster's purview as the the spirit summoned, though if you are summoning a spirit with a specific poison power, you should have some say in the poison (the type at the very least).

3e) Find: If there's time remaining, the spirit reports back. This is in the power description.

3f) Insubstantial: Unarmed attacks are generally considered physical weapons. This is an unnecessarily pedantic question. Please respect answering all this occupies time.

3g) Talents: They are listed as powers (Gamemaster's Guide, p. 375).

3h) Karma: This is not Shadowrun. Did you summon a spirit with the Karma power? Did you negotiate for it to use the Karma power? Does the spirit like you? Are you asking it to do something suicidal? Are you forcing it to do something suicidal? If you summoned a spirit with Karma and negotiated for it to use Karma, then it uses Karma at it sees necessary to accomplish its task within reason. Otherwise, it might spend Karma or might not (if it has Karma at all), depending on how it feels.

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