Summoning Spells (Bulk)

Name dcss:brainstorm:magic:summoning: existing spells
Summary Ideas and concerns about the existing Summoning spells.
Further information summoning
Added by evktalo
Added on 2010-09-14 16:09

Summon Small Mammals

Needs one final nerf: to be Summon Small Mammal. That is, only one creature per casting. I find that I pick up Call Imp until Spammals starts producing two creatures per casting. Then I don't need CCF either. — evktalo 2010-08-07 16:04

Make it level 2, too. One creature with fighting capibilities for 1 MP is too much. Then you can even make it occasionally summon 2 creatures once in a while. Even with 1 mammal per cast, you can duel many *strong* enemies like Stone Giant and win easily. You simply regenerate MP faster than you spend it. There's already one level 1 Summoning spell with adequate power: Summon Butterflies. Summon Small Mammals is the only Summoning spell which can easily swamp enemies. It needs to end. This has lead people to believe all summoning spells are like that - this is not the case at all ! I find myself manage MP carefully when I play games without Small Mammals. — b0rsuk 2010-08-07 17:41

The problem is, this would necessitate completely removing Summoner as a starting class, because at level one they would have no means of hurting enemies. Since nobody else except one of the wizard variants can be guaranteed a spellbook with more than one summoning spell, and that wizard only gets two such low level spells, it would make it difficult to play a character who actually focuses on summonings without getting lucky. Adding a non-summoning spell to the Book of Callings would be extremely inelegant, but no other move could save the Summoner class if Summon Animals was raised to level 2. — brickman 2010-09-21 06:22
Perhaps you could make spammals scale very badly (i.e. more power hardly helps at all)? Then it would still work for starting summoners, but not be so broken later in the game. — ais523 2010-11-21 21:32
I don't see this as a problem at all. Warpers, Transmuters, Enchanters have pretty hard start, and Small Mammals on character level 2 would be much nicer. I've beaten the game without using Summon Small Mammals (relying on Canine Familiar, Ugly Thing, Shadow Creatures, even Demonic Horde instead). It's definitely possible. The Book of Callings could be given the butterflies spell. — b0rsuk 2010-11-22 20:32
Warpers are expected to be a hybrid and are given both thrown and melee weapon skill (and good darts) to do so. There's no point in the game at which translocations magic is not supporting another means of combat. Transmuters are pretty much either magic-assisted monks or earth mages, and have an entry class for either. Enchanters are basically assasins with magical status ailments to aid in stabbing; they come in with +1 darts and a short sword rather than a blowgun and dagger, but that's enough to reach level 2 and memorize ensorcelled hibernation. If anything the darts are against-theme, but they need them to survive. Summoners, however, can very easily treat summoning as their primary or sole form of offense. Forcing them to start the game with skill in and reliant on a weapon they could well never use again after level 2 seems questionable to me, although I'll admit it is a viable solution that I did not think of when writing my earlier reply. Certainly, however, if spammals was made level 2 and butterflies was left as the starting summon you would need to shuffle their starting skills, moving one away from summonings and stealth to put in fighting and a weapon. Perhaps for uniqueness's sake that weapon could be quarterstaves rather than the normal selection. Even then it seems like a huge hit to deep elf or kenku summoners (two of the only three species to have positive summoning aptitude–that doesn't stop other specieses but it can scare new players away from trying). — brickman 2010-11-23 04:56

Summon Elemental

1967696: elementals are always friendly, their strength depends on the elemental skill, the spell may train the elemental skill

2834380: another overhaul, splitting the spell into several (also nice analysis on the spell's problems)

Summon Elemental is a great and interesting spell that is rendered useless by the inability of summoners to train any schools of elemental magic. I propose removing Sticks to Snakes from the Book of Callings and replacing it with Tukima's Dance. I also propose making Tukima's dance a level 2 spell, but offsetting that by making it three school: Enchantment/summoning/air. The other change would be to make Summon Air Elemental summon an Insubstantial Wisp instead at low power, reaching 100% tameness at Air level 5. The chance of getting an Elemental instead of a Wisp should increase as the chance of them being tame increases, with something like a 5% chance of Elemental at Air5 and 95% chance of elemental at Air15. These two changes would be enough to make summon elemental usable, while keeping the current tension of summoners hoping to find books that let them train elemental magic. — 256 2010-07-20 19:52
I do not support the idea of having it summon an insubstantial wisp. This means the player can spam the spell until a real one appears, then go in and destroy all the opponents. I suggest removing elementals from the summoning school entirely because, really, they don't summon anything. Instead they 'create' something, which requires control of the respective element; not the ability to form a gateway to a sub-dimensional plane (and bind whatever comes through).
The spell itself exists for elementalists to use, not for pure summoners. That's why it's level 4. — studiomk 2010-07-24 21:18

The best thing for this spell might be axing it. The misc items with the similar effect seem more interesting. An Evoker/Elementalist hybrid is more interesting and conceivable than Summoner/Elementalist, and that's where the effort (if any) should be put. — evktalo 2010-10-12 11:54

Elemental subtypes according to square's nature

Proposal from studiomk.

The Summon Elemental spell is very powerful, but very costly. I believe it can be made more interesting and fun to use if one certain implementation was taken that tiny bit farther.

Right now, you can choose from what substance to form the elemental. Wall tiles; empty tiles, lava; and water; can all be chosen from. This current implementation is good but it would be even better if it also took note of what specific material is used. The following points will show this.

Earth Elementals

Summoning from a wall tile will form an earth elemental. What if the tile is made of stone, or wax, or green crystal? I propose the introduction of earth elemental 'sub-types'. This will give the player a tactical choice in choosing what type of earth elemental to create. It also gives a use to the many different wall tiles available. For example, the green crystal elemental should be resistant to all elemental magic. The wax elemental should be susceptible to fire.

Air Elementals

Summoning from a free tile will create an air elemental. This is good, but again, what if we chose from the various clouds: Poisonous; freezing; mephitic; miasma; flame; mutagenic.

Again, with this, I suggest an elemental of the appropriate cloud is formed.

The requirements for these 'special' elementals should be higher, however. A poisonous elemental would require 15 Air Magic and, say, 5 Poison Magic, to be friendly.

Other Elementals

Similar for the others. Magma Elemental from lava (instead of a Fire Elemental).


This sounds cool, but I don't see an overall gameplay benefit. — evktalo 2010-10-12 11:54

Call Canine Familiar

2037777: sense invisible implementation (is one in?), stabbing/extra damage to fleeing creatures in the comments

2809692: summon the same familiar each time. evktalo likes the idea, but not necessarily for the spell.

A canine could share its sense invisible “sight” with all summons (and the player?), letting them attack creatures that they otherwise couldn't see - it'd give the spell utility value long after it'd otherwise be obsolete, it'd get rid of the above complaints about shared vision, and it'd be somewhat fitting with the real-world use of dogs. Flavor could be barking at invisible creatures, if needed. This would, of course, take much of the “threat” out of invisible creatures, but I don't find that they're much of a concern for casters regardless. — og17 2010-04-14 23:06

If you want a permanent pet then you need a new class and a new skill. 'Beast Taming' would be appropriate. Intrinsic shared-vision I disagree with. The 'barking' is good for flavour but it should remain at that. It gives the player information that an invisible is there and thus the player will send the dog to 'attack at will' (a needed command) or to run away. Rings of see invisible should have a use in the game. It would be weird-looking if high level summoners created dogs to see invisible, then called upon a greater demon. I would suggest a complete overhaul of the system if your concern is that spell slots are wasted. Instead of calling individual creatures, portals to various places are made. The summoner chooses a creature and the creature emerges. Friendliness/hostility and duration of the summon would rely on the skill. That way, spells keep their utility long after they're learnt as the summoner can simply choose a stronger monster. — studiomk 2010-07-24 21:49
Sharing the vision of the dogs (reasoning: dogs point out the monster to the player, not (only?) by barking but with their gestures - isn't this what hunting/tracking dogs do?) sounds elegant and excellent. The monster can be shown like it is with antennas: the unknown monster glyph. This would go a great length towards “utility summons”, a concept I think is very neat. I do not agree that summoning a dog first and then a demon is strange, except in a good way. — evktalo 2010-07-26 12:19
This would be immersion breaking for me. If you want utility summons then you can surely think of a different way to implement them. Try brainstorming.
Something with 'vision sharing' would be much more appropriate for a spell called 'summon giant eye'. And talking of utility, 'summon boring beetle' (mentioned below) for digging is a great idea.

For this spell, I suggest the dogs get a speed boost against fleeing/retreating creatures and get a damage bonus against said creatures. Many monsters retreat when injured (hydra too) so this would give the spell much more utility. Dogs like to chase so why not giving them perks against annoying runners. Would be interesting when used in tandem with the fear spell (or scrolls of fear). Alternatively could give the more powerful dogs an ability to cause fear themselves. — studiomk 2010-07-27 01:35

I find Canine Familiar to be strong and quite useful. I can see why it was not in the starting book. Early on, war dogs are almost overpowered. I still end up using canines in Lair, especially against yaks. Ice beasts are okay, but they are poor against fleeing enemies, often leaving me vulnerable near the end of a fight.
I like barking at invisible enemies. Some form of bonus against things running away would be nice. How about pack hunting - canines deal slightly more damage for each ally adjacent to the enemy ? Wolves could be given full See Invisible, for flavour if not anything else. Wargs could be made excessively brutal, savagely ripping corpses to pieces instead of continuing the fight. This could also make them regain HP. — b0rsuk 2010-08-07 17:28
Two more ideas: 1) Canines pin heavily wounded enemies down, allowing you or another summon to finish them off. They would be unable to move (and possibly unable to attack, stabbable) Each enemy could only be pinned down by one canine, each further dog attacks as usual. This would also help against fleeing enemies. 2) Dogs and wolves, being natural pack hunters, surround enemies better. Similar to how monsters make room for their comrades when fighting in doorways or corridor corners. Currently allies form a semi-circle around an enemy. Dogs could form a full circle. — b0rsuk 2010-08-15 09:34

Call Imp

Possibly import the additional 4.1 imps for Call Imp (and only Call Imp, both monster and player) (darshan).

Currently L2 spell in master. Seems ok, except overlapsed by Spammals once it starts giving two creatures / casting. — evktalo 2010-08-07 16:01

I don't like L2 Call Imp. It makes them spammable. I'd prefer imps to be some sort of random toolbox, with each imp type possessing an unique ability. Shadow Imp with its Raise Dead is good. White Imp with ranged capibilities is also good. Red imp sucks, perhaps it could reveal some (but never all, only one chance per object in a game) traps and secret doors ? I would continue along this line of thought, then make it L3 again and cap number of imps at 1. — b0rsuk 2010-08-07 17:36

I think Imps are more meant to annoy rather than to be a viable threat. They already do a great job of annoying the player so why not extend this monster ability to a summon ability. Give them better distraction techniques against monsters and allow them to blink out much more frequently when they're under threat. They should be annoying things, not actual damage-doers (with ranged weapons). An Executioner chasing a blinking Imp would be great fun. — studiomk 2010-07-27 02:28

I think this is a good idea. — evktalo 2010-08-07 16:01
In practice, you could give crimson imps Mesmerize ability. It would also hopefully mix things up for players in the later game. Would this be too drastic for the early game imps? — evktalo 2011-11-13 00:48


Recently overhauled, feedback welcome. — evktalo 2011-11-13 00:55

Level 3 single-target Abjuration is a big improvement over the previous state, but I don't like the mass version at all. Only dedicated summoners have a chance of getting it, and even if they do, there are very few mass monster summons remaining - small mammals and ufetubi hardly merit using a level 7 spell on. And even if it were actually useful outside of ziggurats (it's not even very good in those), it would still just be “regular Abjuration, but bigger,” which is awfully dull. I think Mass Abjuration can be safely removed as a player spell. — minmay 2011-11-13 01:17

Summon Ice Beast

Give them more HD/AC with spell power - this would be a mid-level summon with staying power. Would also combo with TSO's summon extension and the planned Elly ally play. — evktalo 2011-02-06 12:57

Summon Ugly Thing

Ugly things could adapt to their foes. They'd know the resistances of their foes (maybe after hitting them), and try to morph into colours that their enemies don't have resists for. This'd make their cool colour-changing ability more meaningful in play. This would potentially give a niche for Summon Ugly Thing: a spell that adapts to the opposition. The spell itself could do a check for enemy resistances when cast, and produce a good colour against monsters in view. — evktalo 2011-02-06 12:57

Summon Greater Demon

(pulled from the graveyarded Demonlogy overhaul page)

My big issue with demonology is its flagship spell, summon greater demon. Instead of having the demons turn hostile after 20 turns, how about making them go hostile if they leave your LOS? That way, you can't summon a bunch of 1s and teleport away. — Minced 2010-07-22

I love this idea. The radius could also be smaller than LOS (but of course visually represented). — evktalo 2010-07-24 01:37
I support this idea for all demonic summons. In classic demonology, the conjurer must first prepare an area to bind the demon. This involves the drawing of various glyphs on the ground and possibly the presence of particular objects. A circle is drawn around the conjurer and a triangle is drawn where the conjuration is to appear. The conjurer must remain within the circle, otherwise the demon would be able to harm him. Whilst in the circle, the conjurer has various means of compelling the demon to do his wishes but any wrong move or misread evocation could lead to death.
For Crawl we could borrow this idea, but instead of LOS I suggest a circle of tiles around the summoner is created. The demon will be neutral and unable to enter the circle. If the summoner leaves the circle, the demon will become hostile (but the summoner can re-enter at any time). Another spell could be created called 'Create magic circle', given instead of abjuration. It would be necessary for all demonic summons but the summoner can only have one at a time (and is unable to create one that overlaps with an existing circle). Higher skill would give the circle a greater duration and the demon would disappear when the circle disappeared.
Another aspect of classical demonology is that the demon beseeched usually offers various familiars. For the lower level demonology spells, they could instead summon a 1/2/3 who in-turn summons stuff for you (but does not attack himself). Higher power will keep the 1/2/3 there for longer, thus giving you more creatures. The 1/2/3 is frozen in place (eg. within the magic triangle/circle suggested above). — studiomk 2010-07-24 21:30
The problem with Summon Greater Demon is that people always scoff at it and call it useless because your summons will go hostile. Actually this spell is pretty broken. The hostility is not really a threat if you use the spell correctly - even if you don't it only takes two abjures, not really anything.

It's a shame, as this spell is a single powerful ally rather than a storm of summons, which I find much more fun to use and the direction I would like to see summoning generally take.

The other problem is that nerfing it will been seen as “making a terrible spell worse” by the unenlightened. — st 2010-09-14 09:41
It really is bad, though. It can summon hostile demons, meaning that you just took a turn to blow seven mp and put a fiend in your face. When friendly, they still go hostile very quickly and unpredictably, meaning that you need to spend turns (and mp) on abjuration while being open to some of the strongest attacks in the game. On the other hand, when they're still friendly after a fight, you need to get rid of the things or risk them wandering over hostile during the next, as their total duration is far longer than their friendly duration. And if your idea of “correct” use is getting out of LOS, that hardly seems in line with the direction summoning seems to be going in. — og17 2010-09-14 12:50
Yes, that's my idea of correct use, and why I say the spell is broken. — st 2010-09-14 14:32
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dcss/brainstorm/magic/spells/summoning_general.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-21 22:49 by XuaXua
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