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priests == summoner?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Queshire, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    I'm considering having priest's and other divine spell caster's (shamans, druids, and so on) primary shtick being that they make a contract with a god or powerful spirit and then gain the ability to summon either the god itself (for lesser gods or powerful spirits) or servants of the god for more major gods. Aside from letting the god/spirit into this world, they have no power of their own.

    The idea behind this is that unsummoned gods and spirits can't affect the physical world much, at most they can manipulate probabilites when it comes to their area of influence (resulting in their priests seemingly having extremely good luck when it comes to the god's area of influence) but they can't do anything impossible. So they need a priest to summon them to let them muck around with the physical world.

    The priest gets the protection of the spirit/god, the gods get to muck around in the physical world and advance their cause. Plus, seeing a god appear to lay the smack down on the priest's enemies does remarkable things when it comes to getting people to flock to their religion. ^^

    So..... what do you guys think about this? Good idea, bad idea, corny idea? Any obvious plot holes you can spot? etc and so on. Any input would be apreciated.
  2. I like the idea.

    Here's my question: how easy is it to summon? Really really hard, or relatively easy? Does it depend on what you're summoning?

    And another: how do the gods/spirits manifest? Are they corporeal in some sort of form, or by being summoned to they imbue their summoner with their power?
  3. Struddles

    Struddles Dreamer

    Summoners in my mind could be capable of bringing out demi-gods that can carry influence whereas priests could be the highest level of "summoner" and could actually bring forth a god to aid them. The question would be how upset would a god be to be summoned by what they would most likely consider their little play things.

    A prime example is greek gods were often times considered just complete assholes and showed favor to very few but could be absolutely spiteful in other situations. Could you imagine how pissed off Zeus would be if one of his priests just called him down to the world and was like hey could you do this for me like maybe fight that big monster over there..... I love the idea behind it though definitely don't stop building on it.

    One thing you could do though is that instead of actually summoning the god the person could summon their strength, intelligence, or some of their weapons. Zeus - Lightning Bolt / Ares - Warhammer and so on. (Just examples)
  4. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

    Are those summoned Gods unrestrained? What is their attitude to the common populace? And how friendly are they with the other Gods? I mean this, if several perhaps opposed summoners each call their God into the world, what would happen? Would all those divinities start fighting each other?
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    How much effort it takes depends on how strong the priest is and how strong the thing they're trying to summon is. Summoning a major god is nearly impossible, the grand master of a major religion might be able to summon a major god by himself, but he would wind up stuck in bed for most of a year if he didn't flat out die. Otherwise it would take a group of powerful priests and a rather cumbersome ritual to summon a major god.

    I suppose there'd be techniques for using the spirit's power for yourself, turning them into weapons or armor, but for the most part it'd just be summoning them as physical creatures made out of magic to fight for you.

    You can't summon a god/spirt without it's consent or the consent of their boss. Priests, shamans, druids, and such basically make a contract with the spirits. So long as you keep to the contract most gods/spirits are, well, maybe not happy, but it's their job to help out and they'll do it. Of course you gotta keep your spirits happy and don't summon them for things beneath them or they may get disgruntled.

    The gods stay in this world by the power of the priests that summon them, so they frequently don't get too out of line or they get kicked back to the astral plane. Mostly the abide by the actions dictated by their contract.

    The spirit's reactions to mortals vary from one to another, some view them as pets, some view them as pawns, some veiw them as prey, they run the gamut.

    Furthermore their reaction to other gods run the gamut as well, just like people's reactions to other people. Mostly the spirits have a non-interference policy with each other, so if two gods are summoned on opposing sides in a conflict they'll stop and discuss who has the right-of-way as it were, or just decide to leave it to the mortals. Gods only very rarely directly combat each other, and it's considered impolite to summon a god and tell it to fight another god.

    There are exceptions to this though. If the spirits are enemies of each other, or belong to pantheons that oppose each other, then you can just summon them and let nature take it's course. And seeing how spirits and gods can only be truly killed when they're forgotten, it's not uncommon for a god/spirit to want to be summoned to oppose another spirit/god, mostly these fights are just for fun or to check their strength.

    Basically, rule 1 of dealing with gods and spirits is that you ask, not tell.
  6. Zophos

    Zophos Minstrel

    I dig the idea. Seems to me that clerics kind of sell some summoning ability, by definition...intercede on your behalf, forgiveness/redemption schtick, etc. I think I'd stay away from outright physical manifestation except in climactic moments. Should be enough to have a few prayers answered here and there.

    I think you've got some natural subplots built in with that, as well. Maybe a "devout" old codger who is starting to have his doubts about his god answering his prayers confronted by some more primitive shaman or something having very obvious direct action on his/her behalf. There's alot of ways to go with that.

    Seems real solid.
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Have you considered priests/summoners being able to summon *aspects* of the God in question, rather than the God him/herself? For example, Eric is a priest of the God of War, attached to an army facing a tough battle. He summons the 'battle spirit' of the God, which 'possesses' many of the troops, enhancing their strength and speed and making them less prone to fear. (then after the battle, they all fall asleep for three days straight). With a healing God, it would be the 'power to heal' that would be summoned. And so on.
  8. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    thought about it, decided not to. The summoning aspect clearly seperates divine magic from arcane magic. If I went the way you suggested I would have to work extra hard to seperate arcane from divine. A wizard that conjures a fireball and a priest that summons a slamander that spits a fire ball are obviously two different things.
  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Unless of course, said salamander is specific to that deity - ONLY priests of that deity can summon fire ball spitting salamanders.

    Or, instead of summoning the God, the priest summons one of the Gods 'angels' or closely related 'pets'. Or maybe something else specific to that deity, like Thors Hammer or some such.

    This would also have the benefit of giving your Gods character:

    'Oh...fireball spitting salamanders! There must be a temple of the Fire God nearby!' At which point, unless forcibly shut up, the priest launches into a divine anecdote about how the Fire God created said Salamanders as pets or some such.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  10. Zophos

    Zophos Minstrel

    I am particularly fond of repetitive characters. "Have I ever told you the story about...."

    Eventually it takes on a comedic quality and makes for rich, live-in, dialogue. I find as a reader that I develop three or four pre-programmed responses to that kind of thing and when one of the other characters spits out one of "your" lines, it brings a homey feel to it.
  11. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

    I like your sense of humour Queshire xD

    It seems like there would be an interesting power relationship between the gods and their earthly contractors. The priests need the gods, the gods need the priests. No plot holes come to mind as yet.

    Also the part about the gods manipulating probabilities within their sphere of influence translates elegantly into dice roll modifiers that are more specific than just a general 'luck' modifier. Nice blend of mechanics and fluff there :cool:
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