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Summoning Magics

Design: Jasyn Jones
Commentary: Phil Dack, David Oakes

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This article covers a quintessential concept of magic: summoning a creature from another dimension. In default Torg, summoning a creature from another dimension and creating a creature are both conjuration effects and mages cannot tell which is happening. Why this should be is never satisfactorily explained. Clearly, the rules need to be rewritten and clarified.

This article covers all kinds of dimensional magic subjects, including travel between dimensions and summoning a creature from another dimension. It involves concepts from my “Worlds Without End” article, in particular the definition of “dimension” (so reading that article may prove enlightening.)



Summoning is the act of bringing something to here from there. “Something” may include objects, living beings, color, light, sound, heat, cold, and so forth. Nearly always, it involves apportation magic. In point of fact, summoning is the essence of apportation.

Many common spells involve summoning. Examples include yield pearl (Pixaud’s Practical Grimoire, pg. 51), steal spiritual essence (Delphi Council Worldbook, pg. 115), and summon bird (Pixaud’s Practical Grimoire, pg. 54).

It is apparent that, since summoning involves movement, it should be a function of the magic of movement: apportation. Accordingly, all spells that move objects, creatures, or substances between dimensions are apportation spells.

Summoning objects, creatures, and substances across dimensional barriers becomes possible at a Magic axiom of 15. These acts of summoning are dependent on the nature of dimensions in the Torg universe.

A “dimension” (or a “plane” in other games) is a “space”, a place for matter and energy to exist. Reality as we know it, from Earth to the edge of the universe is one dimension. A cosm is a cluster of such dimensions. A given dimension can be infinite in extent (though most aren’t). A cosm can have an infinite number of dimensions (though most don’t).

It is possible to travel between dimensions, but only between dimensions of the same cosm. Travel between dimensions is inherently difficult. It cannot be done through normal movement, or even assisted movement. It takes advanced technology, miracles, psionics, or in this case magic to broach those barriers.

Two dimensions can be “close” to teach other, which means that it’s generally easy to travel between them, or they can be “far” from each other, indicating that it may be difficult or nearly impossible to travel between them.

Some scholars imagine that dimensions are like spatial objects, moving in orbits that might take them nearer or farther away from each other over time, but the exact mechanics of these orbits are often impossible to determine, and may not even be stable over time.

All the dimensions in a cosm are parallel: you can always travel from dimension A to dimension B without traveling through dimension C. In addition, all dimensions within a cosm are simultaneously parallel: all points in dimension B are equally accessible from one point in dimension A. A person in dimension B could gate (using extradimensional gate) into any location in dimension A, then gate back to any location in dimension B.

These facts have interesting consequences for trans-dimensional magics. Any kind of spell can cross dimensional boundaries: conjuration magics can form a gate to another dimension, divination magics gather information from that dimension, apportation magics can be used to bring objects, creatures, and substances from another dimension, and alteration magics can alter targets in the other dimension.

Crossing a dimensional boundary with magic is possible through the use of true knowledge. This Arcane Knowledge allows mages to design spells that have a dimensional magic aspect, so that the spell effect pierces the barriers between dimensions.

The “distance” between dimensions has consequences for dimensional magic. Spells are limited in many extents- range, duration, effect value, and so forth. A spell, even one with a true knowledge aspect, must still account for the difficulty in broaching the dimensional barriers between two different dimensions.

For cross-dimensional spells, there is a new bubble on the App (apportation) line of the spell design worksheet, which relates to piercing dimensional barriers. This value has to exceed the “distance” of the other dimension from the dimension the caster is located in (10 for “near”, 20 as an average, and 30 or higher for “far.”) If the true knowledge value is too low, either because of dimensional “movement” or other factors, the spell won’t work. Once the barrier is pierced, however, the “range” of the spell relates to how far the spell effect radiates from the point of correspondence.

For Example: The Aysle cosm contains many dimensions, two of which are its primary dimension, Aysle, and the Demon Dimension. The forces of evil have a strong desire to be let loose into the mortal realm, so the Demon Dimension is “near” to the dimension of Aysle. Its cross-dimensional “distance” is 10.

A summon demon spell needs a 10 on the new bubble to reach into the demon realm. It can pierce the demon realm at any point such as Dis, the city of Dispair, or the vast desert of “Nothing for Miles Except Burning Sands.”

Both of these spots, as well as any spot in the Demon Dimension, can be reached just as easily from the caster’s location (say, Castle Vareth’s basement, in Aysle). However, a given spell effect can only reach one of those spots at the same time.

If the spell has a range of one mile then, upon piercing the Demon Dimension in the desert, the apportation spell affects one demon within the range. If there are no demons there, no demon can be summoned.

As well, the spell could pierce the dimension in the middle of downtown Dis, near the meat-packing district (and don’t ask what meat they’re packing). One demon within a mile is apported back to Aysle.

Nature concedes the movement of physical mass. Accordingly, summoned creatures do not return to their native dimension when the spell that summoned them expires. Magicians who frequently engage in cross-dimensional summoning are advised to have a banish spell at the ready, in case the summoned creature is ill-tempered (as most demons are).

Updated: May 9, 2006
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