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Summoning & Spirits

Rules for summoning spirits

1 - Summoning

Game mechanic for summoning

The summoner rolls their Magic skill, taking a penalty according to the level of the spirit:

  • Servant/Watcher: no modifier to roll
  • Seasoned rank (Lesser spirit): -2 to roll (4PP)
  • Veteran rank (Common spirit): -3 to roll (6PP)
  • Heroic rank (Greater spirit): -4 to roll (8PP)

Don’t forget that - per the Power Preparation rule (SWADE pg 140) - if a summoner concentrates for an entire round (taking no action, not moving, not being Shaken or Stunned), they can cancel up to 2 points of penalty to any power roll. This applies to practically all summoning done outside of combat and helps offset the penalties listed above.

Take a Drain resistance test on a natural 1 on the Magic die, as usual.

Summoned spirits last for (Spirit die type) hours and can do unlimited things for the summoner in that time. There is no concept of favours as used in spirit summoning in Shadowrun. Remote services - anything that takes the spirit more than (Spirit die type)×10 metres away from its summoner - use this time period up at 10× faster rate.

A summoner can dismiss a summoned spirit as a free action.

On a raise on the summoning roll, the spirit gains the Resilient power, and so it will be able to withstand an extra Wound before being disrupted. If the spirit already has the Resilient power, it is promoted to Very Resilient (two wounds) on a raise.

The spirit enters the world already materialised on the physical plane and can act immediately. In combat, they act on the same initiative card as their summoner. Mages can send mental commands to their summoned spirits as a free action and they can do that immediately after summoning.

By default, summoners can only have one lesser/common/greater spirit summoned at a time. This does not count as maintaining a power, so there is no ongoing penalty to the mage’s rolls. They can also keep one servant/watcher summoned.

2 - Summoner types

How different magical traditions approach spirit summoning

Although different magical traditions have the same abilities to learn powers and cast spells, they use draw upon different types of spirits when they use the Summon Ally power.

Spirit levels

As in Sprawlrunners and Summoner’s Circle, spirits have defined power levels. I’ve additionally given them explicit names, to make it clearer:

  • Novice rank - watchers/servants
  • Seasoned rank - Lesser spirits
  • Veteran rank - Common spirits
  • Heroic rank - Greater spirits
  • (Rumours persist of even more powerful spirits that can be commanded by advanced mages…)

A mage can only summon spirits of their own rank or less.

A mage doesn’t need to do anything to “learn” new ranks of spirits as they increase their own rank. On their 8th advance, when they move from Seasoned to Veteran, common spirits become available to them automatically.


All mages can summon watchers - little more than a blob of magical energy squished into form by the mage’s will. Although the true nature of spirits is hugely debated, most mages agree that watchers are not “summoned” as such but rather created on the spot.

Hermetic mages

Hermetic mages can summon elementals of the four classic elements: fire, earth, air, water. Each spirit exists at lesser, common, and greater levels.

Compared with other spirits, elementals are somewhat… dreary. They lack intellectual curiosity and are easily confused by unexpected situations. They also seem to have no capacity for boredom, and will carry out the most rote of repeated tasks without seeming complaint or irritation. Hermetic mages treat them as mere servants, and elementals seem content in that role.

Elementals have stats and abilities as per Sprawlrunners.


Shaman spirits take the form of nature spirits. Shamans treat them with great reverence and respect. Nature spirits are more independent than elementals but can be capricious, and sometimes have their own ideas and agendas.

Nature spirits have stats and abilities as per Sprawlrunners. Note that nature spirits can ignore 2 points of casting penalties when in their home environment.

Note also that Sprawlrunners RAW uses “Focus” as the spellcasting skill for spirits. For technical reasons related to FoundryVTT, it’s easier to rename this to “Magic”, so it’s the same name as everyone else uses.

Attuned summoners

Many other magical traditions are what magical researchers refer to as attuned summoners. These are characterised by having a much smaller roster of spirits to draw on than other summoners, but these spirits are much more closely bound to the summoner and typically demonstrate greater loyalty than other spirit types.

Game mechanics for attuned summoners

When they first take the Summon Ally power, attuned summoners automatically gain access to two spirits of lesser rank. As they increase their own rank to Veteran and then to Heroic, they gain two common spirits and then two greater spirits.

These spirits can be created freely by the player.

Once a character achieves Initiate status (by taking the Edge), they can take a downtime action to journey to the metaplanes and bond with a new spirit type, of any rank they choose. At that time, the player can create a new statblock for the new spirit type. Afterwards, they can summon that spirit as they please. See downtime actions.

They can repeat this process until they have a total of four spirit types at each of lesser, common, and greater rank. At that time, if they undertake an Attune action again, they must remove one other spirit from their roster to make room for the new one.

Other traditions

In addition to the above, there are other types of spirit that are strongly associated with various magical traditions. There are no game mechanics for these currently.

  • Druids invoke Nature Spirits
  • Wujen invoke Spirits of the Elements and Ancestor Spirits
  • Tír na nÓg followers of the wheel are rumored to invoke the Wild Hunt at a high rank.
  • Houngans, Mambos and Voodoonistas may summon the Loa

There are also traditions associated with dark magic:

  • Initiated Blood Mages are able to invoke Blood Spirits
  • Toxic Shamans invoke Toxic Spirits
  • Insect Shamans invoke specific Insect Spirits (cf, Chicago, and Bug City)

3 - Creating spirits

Rules for creating stats for spirits

Players who’s characters follow magical traditions other than hermetic mage or shaman will have to create their own spirit stats as their character learns to summon new spirits. For the main, these will follow the rules in the Savage Worlds Summoner’s Circle supplement. You can freely define everything about the spirit.

Common abilities

All spirits always have the following powers and abilities. Numbers in brackets are the points value from Summoner’s Circle.

  • -4 damage to mundane ranged attacks (2): difficult to harm with physical objects alone.
  • Dual-natured (1): native to the astral plane; is always astrally perceiving at all times.
  • Elemental (5): doesn’t need to eat or breathe; immune to poison/disease; immune to called shots; ignores 1 level of Wound penalties (although this only applies if the spirit is also Resilient or Very Resilient, as otherwise, 1 Wound is sufficient to disrupt the spirit.)
  • Extraplanar (-2): can be targeted by the Banish power.
  • Fearless (2): immune to fear effects.

Net total: 8 points.

Spirits & Powers

Spirits can have the ability to use Powers (spells), with some notes and caveats:

  • It takes 2 ally build points to take the first power, then 1 further point for each additional power they have access to.
  • Any spirit that is to use Powers will need to take the Magic skill, which is paid for as normal (1 ally point per die type).
  • Spirits use Powers using the No-Power-Point rules, the same as mages do.
  • Spirits still suffer from a form of Drain when they roll a natural 1 on their Magic die, although this represents the spirit’s link to the material plane being weakened rather than drain in the traditional sense.
  • Spirits can take any Power players can, except for Summon Ally (!) and Banish. There are some additional powers below.

New Powers for spirits


Rank: Seasoned
Power points: 2
Range: Smarts×2
Duration: Sustained

Causes the target to experience mishaps, slips, and other instances of bad luck at an accelerated rate. Whenever the target rolls a natural 1 on their skill die (regardless of the value of the wild die), they experience a crit-fail or similar effect.

Must be sustained as usual (ie. the spirit takes a -1 penalty on further Magic rolls while sustaining the power.) This -1 also applies to rolls to use magical spirit abilities that roll skills like Shooting or Athletics.

Modifier: +2PP: can effect all targets inside a Medium Blast Template.