Crown of Shadows
Spellcasters other than the legates of Izrador are rare in the world of MIDNIGHT, and their roles are somewhat different from those of spellcasters in other fantasy settings. With the exception of the legates, spellcasting in MIDNIGHT is not tied to any class. Rather, it requires a character to take feats that represent spellcasting ability. Characters draw from their own energy to cast spells, which in turn pull on the mystical power surrounding and intertwined with Aryth to create the spells’ effects. Characters have spell energy points that may be spent to accomplish this; if a character runs out of spell energy points he may still cast spells, but at the expense of his own health. Many of the traditional spellcasting classes found in the d20 System core rules—bards, clerics, paladins, rangers, and sorcerers—are not found in MIDNIGHT. Druids and wizards only exist as prestige classes. The ability to cast spells is no longer tied to the class you take—anyone can take the Magecraft and Spellcasting feats and learn to wield magic. One new class, the channeler, does facilitate the casting of spells, and as inheritors of the magical tradition, they gain special abilities that allow them to wield more effective and powerful magic than those who merely dabble in the arts.
The Three Paths
Though the science of magic has waned in the days since the rise of Izrador and its use has been all but stamped out by Izrador’s minions, it is still commonly understood that there are three types of magic on Aryth. The most common type of magic in this final age of Eredane is that granted by Izrador. This is divine magic, that granted by a deity to his followers. While once common throughout Eredane and beyond, divine magic for all but Izrador’s followers was cut off during the Sundering.
The type of magic most used by PCs and the common folk of Eredane is channeled magic. Channeling draws on the natural power of Aryth herself, the web of power and magic that surrounds and is a part of everything. In order for this power to be woven and released to desired effect, however, the “pump must be primed” so to speak, which requires the use of spell energy. Channeled magic is the type learned through Channeling feats, and is described in greater detail below.
Finally, the most natural and once the most common of the three paths is innate magic. This is the sort of simple and natural magic found among the elves, halflings, and even many creatures (including those with spell-like abilities). Innate magic comes from within, not calling on any god nor manipulating the power of the world. The natural magic of the elves and halflings has of course been assaulted by Izrador, and that used by the other creatures of the world has by and large been twisted to Izrador’s uses, so this type of magic is now much less common than it once was. However, it may be that Aryth herself is joining the fight against Izrador, as a new type of innate magic has arisen in the Last Age: that of heroic paths.
A character who wants to be able to cast anything beyond innate spells, and who does not wish to give himself over to Izrador, must take the Magecraft feat in order to do so. This feat is the basic building block upon which all of the character’s spellcasting abilities are based. After he takes this feat, the character can then select Spellcasting feats that allow him to learn and cast spells from certain schools.
When you select the Magecraft feat, you must also select a tradition. The tradition determines which ability score your spellcasting abilities will be based on, what spells you may begin with, and what special abilities you will have if you ever take channeler levels. The three traditions are described below.
Regardless of the tradition chosen, a character that gains the Magecraft feat gains knowledge of prestidigitation, three other 0-level spells of his choice, and one 1st-level spell of his choice. He may then cast a number of those 0-level spells per day equal to 3 + his spellcasting ability modifier. In addition, he gains a number of spell energy points equal to his spellcasting ability modifier. This spell energy can be used to cast the 1st-level spell he selected, as well as later learned spells, as described below under “Casting Spells.”
Note that when selecting your 1st-level spell, you may not select spells from the greater schools of magic.
Until a character gains the Spellcasting feat, he can only cast the spells that he learned from the Magecraft feat. Once a character gains a Spellcasting feat, he may learn and cast any channeled spells he wishes within the limits of the rules for channeled spellcasting.
The Three Traditions
As one’s scope narrows from the types of magic down to channeled magic, one is once again presented with three choices: the three traditions. While their practical differences are largely cosmetic, the three traditions each have different roots and different styles. Each of the spellcasting traditions of MIDNIGHT is based on a different way of interacting with the world and the subtle but powerful currents of magic that infuse Aryth.
All three traditions, regardless of their mindsets, use the same methods: their practitioners use a combination of verbal, somatic, and sometimes material components, along with a catalyst of personal energy called spell energy points, to create mystical and often dramatic effects called spells.
Spellcasting Ability: Based on Charisma.
Spell List: Magecraft spells must be chosen from the core rules bard spell list. Spellcasting spells must be chosen from the MIDNIGHT spell list on page 393.
Description: Charismatic spellcasters harness the magic of Aryth through sheer will. While they do not have the benefit of learning from others, either by book or mentor, they have the confidence and strong sense of self to experiment again and again until they learn the words, motions, and materials necessary to cast spells. They are likely to be brash, outspoken, or confident, though some are so quietly intense that they need no words to convince others of their power, only actions.
Spellcasting Ability: Based on Intelligence.
Spell List: Magecraft spells must be chosen from the core rules sorcerer/wizard spell list. Spellcasting spells must be chosen from the MIDNIGHT spell list on page 393.
Description: Hermetic spellcasters are the alchemists, mathmeticians, and studious sages of MIDNIGHT. They use esoteric formulas translated into words of power and motions of arcane might to create their spells. Hermetic channelers are naturally gifted loremasters, loving to accumulate knowledge for its own sake. Getting them to pull their heads out of their stacks of writings or their laboratories in order to share or use that knowledge, however, is another matter.
Spellcasting Ability: Based on Wisdom.
Spell List: Magecraft spells must be chosen from the core rules druid spell list. Spellcasting spells must be chosen from the MIDNIGHT spell list on page 393.
Description: Spiritual spellcasters are the most closely tied of the three traditions to both spirits and the physical world. Their magic is created through an understanding of plants, animals, and weather, as well as life and death. The motions used to create their spells are like dances and humble requests, rather than charismatic channelers’ demanding and forceful gestures and hermetic channelers’ complex and precise movements. Of all the channelers, spiritual channelers hearken the most strongly to the priests of old, but in place of removed and unavailable gods, they make their requests of the world and the spirits around them.
If Magecraft is the foundation of channeled spellcasting, the Spellcasting feat is a beam or pillar upon which the rest of a spellcaster’s knowledge is built. Whereas Magecraft allows a character to know and cast a few 0-level spells and a single 1st-level spell, each Spellcasting feat chosen opens up an entire school of magic to the channeler. As noted above, until a character gains the Spellcasting feat, he can only cast the spells that he learned from the Magecraft feat. Once a character gains a Spellcasting feat, he may learn and cast channeled spells from that school using the rules below.
Choosing Spells for the Day
Channeling spellcasters do not need to prepare spells ahead of time each day. They may select any spell they know when they need to cast it and can cast the same spell as many times per day as they have sufficient spell energy to do so.
Many of the rules for casting spells using channeled magic are unchanged from the mechanics for casting arcane spells presented in the core rules. Channeling spellcasters must abide by the same casting time restrictions, chance of arcane spell failure as caused by armor, chance of disruption due to damage, and so on. A few things are different, however, and are explained below.
The most notable difference between channeled magic and arcane magic in the core rules is that channeling spellcasters have neither a number of memorized spells per day nor a number of spell slots per day. Instead, they have a number of spell energy points. In order to cast a spell, the caster must pay one spell energy point per level of the spell he wishes to cast. It’s that simple. So, casting a 3rd-level spell reduces your available pool of spell energy points by three.
Running out of Spell Energy
Normally when a channeling spellcaster performs a spell, he is using some of the threads of mystic power that bind his own spirit to the energy that exists throughout Aryth. When he runs out of that spell energy, he is cut off from his normal sources of power, just as a wizard or sorcerer in the core rules might run out of spells or spell slots. In MIDNIGHT, however, a channeling spellcaster has another option: he may sacrifice some of his own life essence to regain that connection to the powers of magic, thereby allowing him to cast additional spells. Doing so is dangerous, however; when a channeling spellcaster casts a spell and cannot pay the cost in spell energy, she suffers one point of Constitution damage per spell energy she is short of the spell’s cost. This damage cannot be prevented and may not be restored using spells or effects such as lesser restoration. The only way to recover this Constitution damage is by resting for a full eight hours. Upon getting a full night’s sleep, a character recovers all Constitution damage suffered in this manner during the previous day.
If a channeling spellcaster has some spell energy left, but not enough to cast the spell she needs, she can pay the difference in Constitution damage and cast the spell normally. So, if Elera needs to cast a fly spell but only has two points of spell energy left, she can cast the spell by using up her remaining spell energy and suffering one point of Constitution damage. A character must use spell energy to cast a spell if she has any remaining for the day.
Reducing Spell Energy Costs
There are several ways to reduce the amount of spell energy required to cast a spell. A character can learn rituals that reduce or eliminate the energy necessary to cast a spell. Special items known as spell talismans can also help ease the burden on a spellcaster when he uses specific spells.
Channeled magic is an art more than it is a science, and depends more on personal investiture of power than in complex interactions with mystic materials and strange physical properties. Therefore, while all channeled spells require the same verbal and somatic components as their counterparts in the core rules, none require material components unless they have a value of 1 gp or greater (this effectively means that all channeling spellcasters gain the benefits of the Eschew Materials feat).
Unlike spontaneous spellcasters in the core rules, spellcasters in MIDNIGHT do not have to use a full-round action to cast spells using metamagic feats. The caster simply pays the increased cost in spell energy for the spell and casts it normally.
The caster level of channeled spells is usually equal to character level. However, there are sometimes dangers to revealing too much magical might in the world controlled by the Shadow, who is hungry for the power demonstrated by those with arcane abilities. Therefore, as per the core rules, a channeling spellcaster may cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level she chooses must be high enough for her to cast the spell in question. All level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.
For example, a 12th-level channeler can cast stoneskin with a duration of 120 minutes and the ability to absorb up to 120 points of damage. If she wished, she could cast a stoneskin spell at caster level 7 instead, but it would only have a duration of 70 minutes and would only be able to absorb up to 70 points of damage. She couldn’t cast stoneskin with a caster level lower than 7th (the minimum level required for a channeler to cast stoneskin).
Characters know very few spells when they first select the Magecraft and Spellcasting feats. Channelers pick up new spells fairly rapidly gaining two spells with each new channeler level, and all characters learn a new spell each time they gain the Spellcasting feat. Characters may also learn new spells with the Spell Knowledge feat or via one of the special methods described under “Learning Additional Spells,” below.
When learning new spells, a channeling spellcaster must meet two requirements: level and school. These are described in more detail below.
A channeling spellcaster cannot learn a spell until his character level is twice the spell’s level. Therefore, a character must be at least 2nd level to cast 1st-level spells, 4th level to cast 2nd-level spells, and so on. Another way of stating it is that characters may learn spells of a level equal to or less than half their character level.
Note that channelers gain a special benefit that allows them to learn higher-level spells earlier than non-channelers. A character with more channeler levels than levels in other classes adds +1 to his character level for the purpose of determining what level spells he may learn.
For example, a fighter 1 character with the Magecraft and Spellcasting feats would be able to cast only 0-level spells (level 1, divided by 2 = .5, rounded down = 0). When the same character reaches 2nd-level, he becomes able to cast 1st-level spells (level 2, divided by 2 = 1). That character would be unable to cast 2nd-level spells until 4th level (level 4, divided by 2 = 2).
Meanwhile, a channeler 1 character with the Magecraft and Spellcasting feats would be able to cast 1st-level spells (level 1 + 1 = 2, divided by 2 = 1), a channeler 3 or fighter 1/channeler 2 would be able to cast 2nd-level spells (level 3 + 1 = 4, divided by 2 = 2), and so on.
A channeling spellcaster also cannot learn a spell until he has gained the Spellcasting feat for that spell’s school.
There are 10 schools of magic in MIDNIGHT: Abjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Greater Conjuration, Greater Evocation, Illusion, Lesser Conjuration, Lesser Evocation, Necromancy, and Transmutation. These schools are unchanged from the core rules with the exception that Conjuration and Evocation have been split into two different schools, with lesser and greater versions of each.
Lesser Conjuration: This school includes all Conjuration spells other than those with the Calling or Summoning subtypes.
Greater Conjuration: This school includes all Conjuration spells of the Calling or Summoning subtypes.
Lesser Evocation: This school includes all Evocation spells with no descriptor, as well as those with the Darkness, Light, and Sonic descriptors.
Greater Evocation: This school includes all Evocation spells with a descriptor not listed above.
Universal: There is no Universal school of magic in MIDNIGHT; all channelers know prestidigitation, and arcane mark, limited wish, permanency and wish do not exist.
A channeling spellcaster can learn any spell from any source the DM allows, so long as that spell is not restricted to the paladin or cleric spell lists. For example, a character with the Spellcasting (Enchantment) feat could learn and cast charm person (an arcane spell) and calm animals (a divine spell, at least in the core rules). Regardless of the original type of spell, any spell learned and cast by a channeling spellcaster becomes a channeled spell when used in MIDNIGHT (rather than a divine spell, for instance).
Characters learn spells at their listed socerer/wizard level, if applicable. If a spell is not on the sorcerer/wizard lists, characters learn them at their lowest level on any other list, with the exception of the paladin and cleric lists.
Learning Additional Spells
Aside from the normal process through which a channeling spellcaster learns spells, each tradition gives its followers another, unique way of gaining new spells. Each has its pros and cons, and each requires a large amount of time and energy. In any case, a channeling spellcaster can never learn more spells while he is at a given character level than his spellcasting ability score modifier.
For instance, Illeana is a 5th level charismatic channeler with a Charisma of 16 (+3 modifier). While she is 5th level, she can learn up to three new spells (beyond those granted by Channeler levels and feats) of any level she can cast. Once she learns her 3rd spell, however, she would need to wait until reaching 6th level to learn any additional spells.
The Charismatic Tradition: Experimentation
Charismatic casters love to play with the energy that is within and around them, leading to frequent experimentation with new spells. This can take the form of anything from random and haphazard combinations of verbal and somatic components in hopes of finding something worthwhile to subtle but methodical variations of the components of one spell until it creates a similar but different effect.
This method of learning spells is quite difficult and has a greater personal cost than either of the other methods. Learning an additional spell via experimentation requires the expenditure of two days (eight full hours of experimentation per day) per spell level and 100 XP per spell level (one day and 50 XP for 0-level spells). Alternatively, a charismatic caster may simply experiment while traveling, at meals, during down-time, etc. When experimenting in this manner, the charismatic caster may make the Spellcraft check to learn a new spell after one week of normal activity, even adventuring, per spell level.
Regardless of which method the charismatic caster chooses, all Spellcraft checks made to learn the new spell (see below) have their DC increased by 5. The DM always has the final decision on whether or not a spell can be learned spontaneously, and he may require some quest to be fulfilled before the character can achieve such a breakthrough.
The Hermetic Tradition: Study
Ensconced as they are in the trappings of books, scrolls, glyphs, and runes, hermetic casters may learn new spells by finding them in other hermetic casters’ lorebooks or on scrolls. Obviously, a spell cannot be learned unless a lorebook or scroll containing the desired spell is available. Learning a spell from a scroll destroys the scroll, as the learning process culminates in the successful casting of the spell.
Learning an additional spell through lorebook or scroll study requires an expenditure of two days (eight full hours of study per day) per spell level and 50 XP per spell level (one day and 25 XP for 0-level spells).
The Spiritual Tradition: Communion
Spiritual casters believe in the unity of all things and creatures, and as such are able to learn additional spells directly from the minds and spirits of like-minded casters. Working with a teacher in this manner is a very efficient and fairly easy way to learn an additional spell, but requires finding a teacher and getting him to agree to the constant effort required for the transition of knowledge. In some cultures, such as among the elves, this is a fairly minor drawback. After all, the more spells known by the foes of Izrador, the stronger the forest’s defenses. In other places, such as in occupied territory, finding a teacher can be both difficult and dangerous.
Learning a spell by communing with another spiritual caster requires one day (eight full hours of communion) per spell level and 50 XP per spell level (one day and 25 XP for 0-level spells).
At the end of each day of experimentation, study, or communion, the character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level, or DC 20 + spell level for spontaneous learning). Success indicates that the character has made progress and has either learned the spell or may continue his studies the next day. Failure indicates that the character has failed to grasp the necessary techniques and must repeat the day’s work. This does not increase the XP expenditure, though teachers communing with a particularly dense spiritual caster may become quite impatient with a student who repeatedly fails to learn what he is being taught.
Though more limited than casters in other settings due to the high cost of powerful offensive spells and a limited number of spell energy points, channeling casters have a great boon in the form of ritual magic. Rituals can greatly increase a spell’s duration, lower the amount of spell energy needed to cast it, or even lessen the apparent caster level of the spell so that it is less likely to be detected by the dark god’s legates.
These rituals have been developed over thousands of years as the channelers of Aryth have come to understand the fundamentals of their magic and arcane lore better and better. Different groups have become well known for certain types of rituals. The elves, for instance, are well known for their healing rituals, and the halflings of central Erenland often weave rituals that ensure that their crops remain robust year round. The gnomes, meanwhile, are masters of illusion rituals that hide their semi-permanent raft cities from patrolling orc vessels or flying enemy scouts. A character can participate in any ritual for a spell that he knows, as described below.
In order to learn a ritual, a character must have the Ritual Caster feat. A character may learn a ritual version of any spell that he knows using the normal rules for learning new spells for his tradition; rather than learning a new spell at the end of the process, the character learns the ritual version of an already known spell. This means that spiritual channelers must find teachers to commune with who know the ritual, and hermetic channelers must find scrolls and texts specifically describing the ritual they seek.
Alternatively, the ritual caster may learn a new ritual any other time that he would learn a new spell, such as by gaining a level or taking the Spellcasting or Spell Knowledge feat.
The first ingredient that any ritual needs is a character with the Ritual Caster feat who knows the ritual. This is the ritual leader. A number of ritual assistants may also participate in the ritual, up to a maximum equal to the ritual leader’s spellcasting ability modifier. In order to assist in a ritual, a character must be able to cast spells of the ritual spell’s school (via the appropriate Spellcasting feat) and must have a caster level equal to the ritual spell level, but need not know or be able to cast the spell itself. For each ritual assistant who participates, the spell energy cost of the ritual is lowered by one, with no minimum (meaning that a ritual can allow a spell to be cast for zero spell energy).
Rituals essentially allow a channeling caster to push, prod, and stretch the mystic energy of Aryth into the form or manner he desires. Each ritual participant must pay the ritual’s spell energy cost. The ritual takes a great physical toll on all participants, however, and thus they may not use spell energy points to pay for the ritual’s spell energy cost (nor may they use spell talismans and the like to lower the spell energy cost). Instead, the ritual participants must pay for the ritual by suffering Constitution damage equal to the ritual’s spell energy cost, just as if they had run out of spell energy.
While costly, this option allows desperate casters to accomplish longer-lasting, farther-reaching, and less easily detectable spell effects than would otherwise be possible. Also, if the number of participants is balanced with the spell energy cost of the ritual, the ritual may have no spell energy cost whatsoever. It is the use of such rituals, often for days without rest, that allow the hard-pressed healers of the elves and dwarves to keep up with the constant battlefield wounds of their soldiers.
In addition to the potential for reduced spell energy cost, rituals allow a spell to be modified in several ways. For each ritual effect chosen from the list below, the spell energy cost of the spell increases by one.
- No effect (this does not increase the spell energy cost of the spell, and is often used when the intent is to reduce the spell energy cost of the ritual to zero).
- Double original duration of spell.
- Lower the caster level of spell’s aura by one for the purposes of astirax detection.
- Affect one additional target.
- Double the original radius or area of effect of spell.
A ritual effect may be chosen multiple times. For instance, a 5th-level ritual leader casting a ritual version of mage armor could choose the “double original duration of spell” effect twice, giving the mage armor spell a duration of 15 hours and a spell energy cost of 3.
Casting a ritual requires 10 minutes per spell energy cost of the ritual (this cost includes the addition or subtraction of spell energy due to ritual participants and ritual effects). Even rituals with a total spell energy cost of zero still require at minimum 10 minutes to cast.
This includes time preparing material components, drawing glyphs and symbols on the target of the spell (or area that it will affect), and mentally preparing for the grueling task ahead. Such preparations generally do not take more than one quarter of the time spent on the actual casting. For example, a ritual with a spell energy cost of 4 rarely requires more than 10 minutes to prepare.
The actual casting of the ritual requires complete concentration, and significant distractions can cause the ritual to fail. Anything that would normally disrupt the casting that affects any of the ritual participants forces them to make Concentration checks in order to maintain the ritual. In addition, large-scale distractions or a change in the local environment (a powerful storm moving into the region, a battle taking place, etc.) require all participants to make a Concentration check (DC 10 + the ritual’s spell level) each minute or the ritual is lost. Once order has been restored, the caster no longer needs to make these checks.
Rituals can fail for a variety of reasons. A ritual fails if the caster does not succeed at a required Concentration check, the ritual area is disturbed, or the caster simply stops performing the ritual. Other situations may cause a ritual to automatically fail as well, according to the DM. If a ritual fails, any character participating in the casting suffers immediate Constitution damage as if he had cast the spell without use of the ritual. This penalty is harsh, and characters are well advised to use rituals only under circumstances they fully control.
Rituals are an important part of the magic of Aryth, and each should be designed to reflect the particular culture from which it springs. Different types of magic also have certain common elements in their rituals, elements that can be found in the rituals of diverse cultures.
The material components used in rituals are rarely valuable, as items of worth—food, clothing, and tools—are hard to come by in the Last Age. They are more likely to be materials common to the area in which the rituals are conceived. The elves make liberal use of wood, leaves, flowers, herbs, and moss in their rituals, while gnomes use the bones of river fish, reeds, and smooth stones from shallow areas. The humans of Eredane adapt to their varied surroundings, using clay for drawing and other materials where appropriate.
Some of the most common types of ritual spells and their components are as follows.
Healing: Healing rituals are common, especially when greater healing is needed and there are not many healers to perform the duties. The subject of the healing is usually painted with an aromatic paste made from various local plants. The spellcaster then chants over him for several hours while applying more of the paste and sometimes feeding him roots or leaves during the process.
Illusion: Illusions are often used to hide entire communities from oncoming armies or to facilitate the movement of small numbers of people through enemy territory. When used on these scales, it is often more than local channelers can handle, so they turn to rituals to aid them. Illusion rituals often use translucent gemstones and minerals such as quartz. Light is shone through the stone and reflected onto the area to be glamered, while the channeler envisions and describes the illusion to be wrought.
Abjuration: Spells used for protection can often be made to affect more people and larger areas when used in conjunction with rituals. Protection rituals often make use of powdered substances that are used to draw circles and symbols on the area to be protected. Common materials include bone and dirt from an area that is sacred or somehow special to the local population.
Transmutation: Sometimes a channeler needs to use powerful transmutation magic to aid himself or another. This is common when a great champion is needed in battle. Transmutation rituals are always intense and personal, and they usually involve the use of colorful dyes or pastes that are applied to the subject in a way related to the enhancement he is being given. For instance, a character being augmented by a ritual bull’s strength may have an exaggerated or stylized musculature painted on his body during the ritual.
Beyond the obvious effects of the Sundering as it relates to clerical power and divine access to the world of Aryth, the barrier also has dramatic effects with regard to channeled magic.
Aryth is completely cut off from the other planes, and as such spells that require contact with or travel to or through other planes do not function in MIDNIGHT. This includes such spells as blink, etherealness and ethereal jaunt, dimension door, teleport, tree stride, or any other spell with the teleport descriptor, gate, plane shift, and astral projection; essentially, any spell or effect that would be prevented by a dimensional lock or dimensional anchor is not possible. Additionally, since there is nowhere for extradimensional spaces to exist, such as those created by rope trick or a bag of holding, spells and effects that create extradimensional spaces also do not function.
Just as there is no access to other planes, there are also no planes from which to draw extraplanar creatures via the summon monster or summon nature’s ally spells. However, this is not to say that those spells are useless. Rather, they simply have different effects. First of all, rather than calling on extraplanar creatures, summoning spells in MIDNIGHT call on the lesser eternal spirits on Aryth, those who have always been part of the world and always will be. The summoning spell merely gives the spirit a physical form, powers, and even provides it with a certain level of intellect and ability to communicate, all dependent on the power of the caster who created the vessel for it and bound it temporarily to this world.
Most believe that all channeling casters have a single spirit, a manifestation of Aryth’s power, that is part of them at all times. The spirit is neither good nor evil, and any personality it has is at once completely alien from anything we might comprehend as well as completely intertwined with that of its summoner. When the channeling caster first brings the spirit into being with a summoning spell, he creates a shape for the spirit that looks like a celestial eagle or a dretch or a vermin or whatever other form he wishes. Even when the caster summons multiple creatures at once, these theorists believe, each is simply a different manifestation of the same spirit.
None of this theory on the sources of spirits has any effect on how the spells work. The creatures created by the summon monster and summon nature’s ally spells have exactly the same abilities, powers, and stats as a creature of the listed type, including all listed templates.
Each summoner can only bind a limited number of spirits to his aid, or if the theorists are right in saying that each summoner only has one spirit, he may only know a limited number of forms to give that spirit. Regardless, this means that a spellcaster may only summon a limited number of types of creatures. For each summoning spell he knows, a caster may choose a number of creatures from that summoning spell’s list equal to his spellcasting ability modifier. The summoner may only summon these types of creatures when casting the spell. Creatures need not be chosen until the caster wishes to summon them, and even then need not all be chosen at once. For instance, a charismatic channeler with a Charisma of 16 could wait until the first time he casts Summon Monster I to choose one of his creature types; if he likes, he can then continue to summon only that type of creature for an indefinite period, waiting to choose his second and third creature type until circumstances require it.
Communicating with Summoned Creatures
As they are manifestations of a spellcaster’s will, summoned creatures automatically understand and obey any spoken commands of their summoner, regardless of whether or not the creature whose form they take would normally know his language. Creature forms that are intelligent simply follow the commands to the best of their ability; creature forms with animal intelligence or lower are assumed to know any trick that may be taught via the Handle Animal skill, and the summoner automatically succeeds in commanding the creature to perform that trick.
The summoner may give a number of commands each round as a free action equal to his spellcasting ability modifier. A single command may be applied to any number of the caster’s summoned creatures while still counting as only one of the free action commands in a round. In order to receive a command, the creature must be able to either hear or see the caster.
Because of the inter-connectedness of the spirits to the magic of Aryth, and possibly thanks to the close bond a summoner enacts with the spirits to which he gives form, spellcasters in MIDNIGHT have an additional option when using summoning spells. They may summon creatures to act as servants rather than combatants. Such creatures require less arcane power to maintain their forms because they are not engaged in violent physical activity, and therefore can retain their forms for longer periods of time.
When the spirit servant version of a summoning spell is cast, the following changes are applied to the summoning spell:
Casting Time: 1 minute
Duration: 10 minutes/level or see below (D)
Description: The summoned creature is intended to act as a servant, scout, mount, advisor, or any other non-combatant role. The creature has half its normal Strength and Constitution and weights one-tenth its normal weight. It can perform any non-strenuous activity within its means, including casting spells, tracking enemies, scouting, or even performing simple chores. However, the trade-off is that the creature’s form is very unstable. As soon as the creature suffers any lethal damage whatsoever, the spell ends and the creature disappears. The spell also ends immediately after the creature attacks any creature (using the same determining factors as those that would cause an invisibility spell to end) or performs any strenuous act, including running or charging, breaking down a door, lifting or dragging an amount of weight equal to its maximum load, and so on.
Whether because the spirits called are actually the same each time, or because the summoner imprints his personality and connection with the summoned spirit each time, a summoned creature of any one type seems to remember the events and experiences from each previous time it was summoned.
This allows a spellcaster to, for instance, send a creature in to scout a location from which he may not have the time or ability to return. The spellcaster could then simply summon the creature again and ask it to report on what it saw. This continuity also allows spellcasters to form personal bonds with the spirits they summon that are, in some cases, akin to friendship. They might even summon creatures merely to talk with them about some problem or get advice from a friendly source.
Calling spells suffer from the same limitation as summoning spells: there is no access to other planes from which to draw a creature. These spells continue to function on Aryth as well, however, but whereas summoning spells allow a caster to give a form of his choice to one of the eternal spirits found throughout Aryth, calling spells instead bring forth one of the bodiless spirits trapped on Aryth by the Sundering. The calling spell allows them to manifest physical bodies in their original, natural shapes.
Game mechanically, this simply means that the called creature is a native of Aryth rather than an extraplanar visitor. Otherwise, the spell effect is the same as in the core rules. As the planar ally spells may only be cast by legates, the spirits summoned are always demons or devils that serve that dark god. The planar binding spells, on the other hand, can summon any trapped spirit whose true name is known by the caster. Because each trapped spirit in MIDNIGHT is unique, planar binding spells may not be used to simply call forth a desired creature type.
Learning a spirit’s true name should always be the result of an adventure or quest, and not simply the result of aconversation with an NPC or a simple spell check.