Summoning Spirits

OK, so we have a problem.

ArM5, page 151:

Rego Mentem

Level 15: Summon a ghost. (Ritual)

TMRE, page 28, reprinted in LoH, page 65:

rego (ForM)

Spells of a specific Form can command any spirit tied to that Form: for example, Ignem can command any fiery spirit. Vim spells using these guidelines can command spirits aligned with one of the four realms; Divine, Faerie, Infernal, or Magic. The Form of the spirit is irrelevant.

Level 5: Control a disembodied spirit of (Form)

Level 15: Summon a disembodied spirit of (Form)

RoP:I, page 121

rego vim
General: Summon a demon with

Infernal Might less than (the level of the spell + 20), as a Ritual effect.

Level 5: Command a demon to do the caster’s will.

RoP:M, page 111

rego (form)

Spells of a specific Form can command any spirit tied to that Form. For example, Ignem can command any fiery spirit. An Arcane Connection is always needed to summon a spirit.

Level 5: Control an Airy Spirit of (Form). Level 15: Summon an Airy Spirit of (Form).

rego vim

General: Summon an Aspect of a Daimon if (level + 4 magnitudes) equals or ex- ceeds twice its Might. (Ritual)

Level 5: Control an Airy Spirit of a specific Realm.

Level 15: Summon an Airy Spirit of a specific Realm.

These are not strictly inconsistent, but they are certainly not helpful.

The effect for demons should probably be errata'd to just be level 15, like everything else.

The tricky question is whether these spells should be Rituals or not. It is possible to justify the difference, but that makes it difficult to remember, and might make some cases difficult to judge. I think I would prefer them to all be Rituals, or all be non-Rituals.

Which way should I go? This isn't a poll, because I am interested in reasons as well.


Probably, there would be a need to define "Summoning". Does it mean that the spell forces a spirit to manifest regardless to where he was before being summon ? Would it be the same spell if the mage is within the vicinity of the Spirit ?
I find thematic to be able to summon more easily a ghost nearby his grave or his haunts, without requiring ritual or virtus - in fact using Coerce the Spirit of Night to force him to manifest. But I would also see a ritual needed to summon a Fire spirit from the Brass City into a mage's lab.

For balance reason, it should be a ritual if only because Sihr and Djinn summoning could lead to unlimited, high quality source of teaching.

Would it be possible to differentiate summoning for a "brief" (to be defined) service, like answering questions ? I like the possibility of it, but it might be too complicated to differentiate both uses.
Also, if rituals are the only ways to summon spirit, the Spell Binding Virtue loose a lot of its appeal.

There is also the following from Legends of Hermes p65

Incantation of Summoning the Dead (ArM5,
p.152) ReMe 40, R: Arcane, D:
Conc, T: Ind, Ritual. Calls up a
person’s ghost, You must be on the
spot where they died or have the
corpse. You can summon any ghost
which is actively haunting the area
you are in, if you know its full name
— but a non-Ritual summoning
spell can also summon such a spirit.
(Base 15, +4 Arcane, +1 Conc)

And an item effect:
CAlling the DeAD
ReMe 60
Pen +20, 24/day
R: Arc, D: Conc, T: Ind
Calls up a ghost which has a regular
haunt if you are at that place, or if you
have previously summoned the ghost
by magic, and you have an Arcane
Connection such as the ghost’s full
name. This effect is particularly ap-
plicable to spirits originally called by
Ritual summoning.
Once summoned, the Staff main-
tains concentration on the summoning,
until the ghost is dismissed.
(Base 15, +4 Arc, +1 Conc, +10 lev-
els for penetration, +5 levels 24/day, +5
maintain concentration)

These two together indicates that you can summon ghosts with a non-ritual spell, but only if they are alrady haunting some place. That would be no different from summoning any other type of spirit.

Summoning the ghost of a dead person that isn't already manifested in spirit shape is what requires a ritual. Probably because then you have to summon the spirit from whatever afterlife the person has gone to.

The demon guideline probably needs to be adjusted, especially since the example spell, Adjuration of the Hellsworn Spirit isn't a ritual.


I wonder if Demon Summoning should be a Ritual.
An argument can be made that they wish to corrupt humanity, so something Infernal will turn up at the slightest invitation. Hence a simple incantation/Formulaic Spell.

Getting a specific demon to appear might be worth a Ritual.


I think there's some justification to keep demon summoning different from general spirit summoning: most demons want to be summoned, but probably should be a more difficult to get the higher rank/Might demons. I think that making demon summoning not require a Ritual would also make it more likely to happen, which would be good for generating stories.

Having spirit summoning need a Ritual would make the various Summoning supernatural abilities more useful to Hermetic magi.

I'm also of the opinion that summoning should be a ritual for game balance reasons. Sahir's need to use vis for their bargains. Strictly speaking do not have to, but have large penalties to their bargain roll without it.

I'm also a fan of Infernal Demons not needing rituals, as half the problem with the Infernal is how easy it all is.

If a hermetic summoner would need to cast a ritual and spend vis every time he wants to summon some spirit, that would leave hermetic magi very weak as summoners compared to those using one of the various Summoning abilities - none of which require vis to work.

So for game balance reasons, regular summoning spells should not be rituals. That they are usually level 40+ due to requiring Range:Arcane Connection is restricting enough.


In our saga we came to the conclusion that spirits (ghosts) can be in Mythic Europe or outside of it. (In Faerie realms, in Purgatory, in Hell, etc) When you try to summon a spirit in Mythic Europe, usually lying inside its corpse, you use the non-ritual spell. When you try to pull back a spirit from Purgatory, Faerie realms, etc you have to use ritual spell to reach over the boundaries of realms.


If I were to go for uniform treatment, the simplest and most "balanced" choice in my view is to remove the Ritual requirement from everything... with one caveat about Daimons.

I'd allow the actual Daimon summoning spell to work without vis, but still make a sacrifice of vis (or perhaps something else of value, like someone's love) necessary to obtain the Daimon's services. This streamlines a lot of mechanics, allows greater flexibility and thus a better match between price paid and services provided, and ensures that the same price actually gets paid by those non-Hermetic summoners who can easily summon Daimons without vis.

As for Incantantion of Summoning the Dead, I'd note that it was never a Ritual in previous editions (and worked perfectly well). Even in 5th edition, there was initially a mismatch between the guideline (not a Ritual) and the actual example spell (Ritual). I think that the spell on its own could stay a Ritual if one clarified that the spell (as a number of troupes including my own play it) actually raises someone's ghost - i.e. "creates" a ghost that simply did not exist before the spell was cast, which is certainly more powerful than calling up a ghost that's already around somewhere, as per the guideline. Either way a clarification would be useful.


While there is some dispute, it looks as though dropping the Ritual requirement from all the guidelines is probably the way to go, and revising the core spell for consistency.

Aesthetically, summoning a spirit should be a ritual, but I don't think that outweighs the considerations on the other side.

Any further comments?


One thing I think is a big consideration here is comparing such summoning to instant transportation. Generally speaking, you're doing the equivalent of an AC range and AC distance instant transportation of the spirit. So if it's not a ritual, I would expect those levels to be in agreement. AC range is already handled. AC distance is base 25 for Aquam and Terram (questionable for Ignem) and base 35 for Animal, Corpus, and Herbam. Through Herbam we see that living is harder than not living, but I don't know if you'd consider a spirit to be "living." Regardless, base 15 seems way too low if it's not a ritual. If it is a ritual, then that can at least provide some explanation as to why it is so low. So if it's being made a non-ritual, I would bump that base up to at least 25 if not 35.

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Aesthetically, it seems like summoning a spirit should be ceremonial -- spend some time drawing a circle, lighting some candles, whatever -- but I can't think of any Guideline with such a requirement. It makes spirit-summoning seem a bit trivial if a magus can snap his fingers and have a daimon immediately appear like you just pokemon-summoned it.


Some summonings should remain rituals:
Summoning a Daimon
Calling up the ghost of a dead person, when they aren't already a ghost. (Which is what the core spell can do.)
Possibly other cases too where the spirit exists on some other plane of existence (in the Realm of Magic, or in Arcadia, or similar)

Legends of Hermes (as quoted earlier) makes clear that summoning an existing ghost (one which is already haunting some place) does not require a ritual. Clarification on this point in the core book might be good though.

Summoning of regular spirits, those who already exist in the world, that should remain non-ritual.
(As a secondary consideration, changing those summoning spells and guidelines to be rituals would require a lot of errata to cover all the books.)

The demon summoning guideline and example spell does need to be fixed one way or the other.
The guideline (RoP:I p121) says a ritual is needed, but the spell using that guideline (p122) is not a ritual.

Having low-Might demons be easier to summon than other spirits is not a problem, in my opinion. It just reflects that the Infernal wants to make contact so it can start corrupting the summoner.

I am in full agreement with those who think that aesthetically some sort of ceremony or ritual would be fitting, but in some cases (for example summoning the spirit of a bonfire that you are next too) doing a big ritual seems vastly overblown


My own understanding of the meta was that it's a ritual to do a summoning accross realm borders.

Ex: Daimons - locked up in the magic realm. Ghosts - wherever the dead go unless they're already restless. Demons - often in hell. Airy spirits of an emotion or a flower - not so much, they're usually in the physical realm or a regio.

And yes, I'm globally of the opinion that moving a manifest ghost shouldn't require a ritual per once you found it. If a ghost is already restless - just locate it, control it, bind it in a box if you need to.


This is how I understand the intent of the spell - find a body and get a ghost. There is usually no point for a necromancer to spend vis to summon a ghost with an arcane connection, since that requires finding its body or place of death, and most ghost stories have them haunt their places of death - why should I spend vis to bring you to me if I can find you in the building and I already have an arcane connection to find you? If the intended use was to summon them off site - honestly it's a lower level ReMe non-ritual to just bind them for later use. That raising the dead requires adjucating the ghost's might post factum is something that I have some difficulty handling, however.


I like the idea that summoning things from the Realms (Demons from Hell, Faeries gods (maybe), Daimons from the Magic Realm, etc.) takes a ritual but summoning spirits from Mythic Europe (Airy spirits and similar from other realms, ghosts at their haunts, etc.), particularly one linked to the Tree/person/etc. where you are casting does not.

I disagree with Callen that summoning an insubstantial spirit should be at least the same level as teleporting a physical substance of that form. I think insubstantial spirits should be easier to call to oneself than a physical object by their insubstantial nature.


What if you teleport them away from you. Why would they not have the discount in the base for that?

I don't see a problem with it except the Guideline is to summon which has a direction. There isn't actually a "Banish spirit" guideline and there probably should be though I guess you can use the Coerce guideline to tell a spirit to leave and that's even lower level.

I also like the idea of multiversal summoning needing a Ritual.

Summoning a spirit that is already in Mythic Europe is not a Ritual. If the spirit is in a different realm, whether a regio or somewhere even more distant, you do need a Ritual.

Why include regiones? Well, in part because the distinction between high-level Magic regiones and the Magic Realm is not that clear in core. But also because that is a boundary between different realities, and the idea of spirits hiding in regiones creates potential for interesting stories. "Just cast the Ritual" is only an option if you know the Ritual.



I'm not sure I understand what your intention is with that sentence.

Are you suggesting, that every individual spirit that could be summoned ritually needs an individual ritual-spell?

In general I like and agree with the proposal. Although I wouldn't make the Summoning-Ritual too difficult. It's already spending Vis for a relatively temporary gain.