Commentary: Phil Dack, David Oakes
.pdf of this article.
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
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
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).
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