Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

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Lamoron
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Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Lamoron » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:34 am

My first Earthdawn character got himself drawn and quartered, so now I'm trying to build myself a sweet new Elf Nethermancer. Most things about the magic system makes sense now, but I'm having trouble with the Bone Circle spell, and specifically how the Aid Summoner ability works.

Step 1; Make a Bone Circle
Step 2; "Invite" a Bone Spirit

Now how do I make sure that the arriving Bone Spirit is one with the Aid Summoner ability? In the description in Game Master's Guide there's a bunch of suggested powers, so can I just pick the ones I want, and how many can I pick (Circle 3 Nethermancer)? It seems logical that it would follow the standard rules for summoning on Game Masters p. 366, and thus the difficulty would decide the number of powers, but nothing in the spell indicates that this is how it works.

Secondly, how do I make it actually do anything. The text says it won't attack the Summoner but can't otherwise be controlled, so then what good is it? Again Logic here dictates that it works like a normal summoning, and the Spirit Talk check determines the number of favors (but you have access to Bone Circle way before Spirit Talk, so maybe not)?

Thirdly, the abilities like Aid Summoner states that they last until the summoning ends. Does this mean I can make my Bone Spirit use Aid Summoner on me (IF I can make it do anything of course), and for the next three months (Circle 3) I can use the effect, no matter where I am in regards to the Bone Circle?

Edit: The Aid Summoner ability also gives me a headache. The text says "Each success grants the summoner a +1 bonus to talent tests. The summoner may only apply this bonus to one test per round"... does this mean that I can apply 1 to a talent test each round (paying the strain) or do I have a specified number of times I can use it, like the Enhance Summoner ability?

Slimcreeper
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:52 pm

Tagging a long on this: How many powers does a spirit get per level?

There is a a suggested power list for the bone spirit in the spell description.

I would also say there's nothing saying the spirit can't speak Throalic, so I would have the spirit default speak the same language as the caster. Then it can negotiate.

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Kosmit
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Kosmit » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:01 pm

There was once a sweet, long document regarding summoning... a lot of random stuff could be rolled. I don't know where it is now, though.

lanir
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by lanir » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:52 am

The spell doesn't particularly say how or whether you can specify the spirit's powers. You should probably ask your GM how they awnt to run that.

These spell-summoned spirits are all described as tasked spirits if you're reading the summoning chapter. They really only do exactly what the spell says they do. And you specifically don't control it and it's not too bright, so... Apparently it just physically attacks people entering it's circle.

The bone spirit also can't leave the circle so it can't merge with you using the Aid Summoner power and give you a boost for months at a time even if it decides to do so. Not unless you want to adventure through Barsaive one two yard radius circle at a time. Aid Summoner sounds like it's on tap until the spirit decides to stop merging with you and using that power. So you can spend 1 strain to add the bonus to a single spellcasting ability in any round you choose to use it. Or until the spirit decides to do something else.

Your GM could choose to make this more interesting and add RP to the mix. It may be worth checking the spell list for spells that build on this to make sure you're not trying to RP your way into similar effects. Thinking of RP, even if you could manage to adventure with the Aid Summoner power affecting you for months at a time there's the problem of being a walking spookshow from the description of the power - good luck convincing the local yokels that you're not working for the Horrors.

A guideline on numbers of powers per strength rating is mentioned early in the Spirit Descriptions heading on p375 of the Game Master's Guide.

Lamoron
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Lamoron » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:37 pm

These spell-summoned spirits are all described as tasked spirits if you're reading the summoning chapter.
Can you give me a page reference on that, as I don't remember seeing that anywhere so maybe that chapter will enlighten me on other things (the layout of these books... sheesh).
The bone spirit also can't leave the circle so it can't merge with you using the Aid Summoner power and give you a boost for months at a time even if it decides to do so.
This seems like an assumption. It's a logical one, no arguing there, but it's still an assumption that it can't merge and leave (it gains the ability to leave later on with other spells). Even if it can't leave it's still fairly useful, as you can set up a circle when you need it to learn spells, use patterncraft etc., but then infinitely less useful if you can't make the spirit do anything.

It seems like a lot of the rules in Earthdawn are sort of "eeeh, maaybe, talk to your GM" :)

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Mataxes
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Mataxes » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Lamoron wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:37 pm
Can you give me a page reference on that, as I don't remember seeing that anywhere so maybe that chapter will enlighten me on other things (the layout of these books... sheesh).
There are a couple things he's likely referring to:

Pg 365 of the Player's Guide (On Spirits):
"Tasked Spirits are simple spirits with capabilities limited to a certain task. They are usually summoned by spells such as Summon Fog Ghost or talents such as Orbiting Spy, and their summoning and other related rules are governed by the rules for the spell or talent."

Pg 365 of the Gamemaster's Guide (On Tasked Spirits):
"Many students of the astral realms think of a third category of spirit: the tasked spirit. Unlike more free-willed elemental and ally spirits, a tasked spirit is one brought into our world through the use of a spell or magical talent for a particular purpose, for example, the ‘orbiting spy’ used by Nethermancers and Scouts."

---

All that said, the Bone Circle spell specifically says the Bone Spirit is "an ally spirit" so it should follow those rules (as indicated by the spell). Given the spell's purpose, I would allow the caster to select the Bone Spirit's powers*, but the spell also imposes limitations (for example, the "cannot leave the circle" restriction), which makes it behave like a tasked spirit in some ways.

(* Note the Bone Spirit description on page 377 of the GM Guide: "The list of suggested powers includes all available selections when a bone spirit is summoned through the Bone Circle spell (Player’s Guide, p. 318). This list supersedes the list provided in the spell description." So you actually have more powers to choose from than the list given in the spell.)

Because of the restriction on leaving the Bone Circle, I would rule that if the spirit has the Aid Summoner power, it can only use the power while the Nethermancer is in the Bone Circle. If the Nethermancer leaves the Circle, the power ends.
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Telarus
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Telarus » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:18 am

Good clarifications. I roll for a random Attitude if summoning a "random" spirit (jumbled bones), but if the Nethermancer specifically uses bones she already has a relation to (dead familiars, relatives, ancestors, etc) then the spirit starts out at Neutral or better. This sets up the RP side of the spell. This can really tweak the spell in the caster's favor, especially early on (before Contests of Will become viable) if she is willing to do favors FOR the spirit in return for favors from the spirit (like "please don't attack my apprentices", etc).

The best applications of Bone Circles & Spirits that I have run across are:
- one in the caster's main "workshop", often positioned so other tools or resources are within or within reach. Mainly to use Aid summoner while casting longer duration spells or enchanting, casting other 'circle' spells, etc.
- one that circles around each doorway to the main workshop. These are more defensive, allowing the caster to retreat behind the edge (cover!) & use that spirit before falling back to her final bone circle. The doorway spirits will harass anyone approaching the doorway (thus the circle arch on each side). Super handy to spring on Thief adepts trying to pick your locks.
- other strategically set circles that serve as "area control/denial". "Dont attack anyone going into the alley, attack everyone trying to leave" is a classic (popped up in a fan-posted adventure thread recently). Funnel invaders with well placed bone circles to where you want them (usually a place you can cast from without a direct approach, a balcony, etc, where you have another bone circle). If there are 2 doors in the circle, and only one of them is locked, most people aren't going to stick around when being attacked.


Oh, the other great trick I've seen is to bury the bones after it is cast. ;D

Slimcreeper
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:04 am

I see that now! 1 power per 2 levels. I remember reading it when I first got the book and haven't been able to find it since.

Telarus - that's a really nice RP modification with the bone collection

Lamoron
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Lamoron » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:13 am

Mataxes wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:28 pm
Lamoron wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:37 pm
Can you give me a page reference on that, as I don't remember seeing that anywhere so maybe that chapter will enlighten me on other things (the layout of these books... sheesh).
There are a couple things he's likely referring to:

Pg 365 of the Player's Guide (On Spirits):
"Tasked Spirits are simple spirits with capabilities limited to a certain task. They are usually summoned by spells such as Summon Fog Ghost or talents such as Orbiting Spy, and their summoning and other related rules are governed by the rules for the spell or talent."

Pg 365 of the Gamemaster's Guide (On Tasked Spirits):
"Many students of the astral realms think of a third category of spirit: the tasked spirit. Unlike more free-willed elemental and ally spirits, a tasked spirit is one brought into our world through the use of a spell or magical talent for a particular purpose, for example, the ‘orbiting spy’ used by Nethermancers and Scouts."

---

All that said, the Bone Circle spell specifically says the Bone Spirit is "an ally spirit" so it should follow those rules (as indicated by the spell). Given the spell's purpose, I would allow the caster to select the Bone Spirit's powers*, but the spell also imposes limitations (for example, the "cannot leave the circle" restriction), which makes it behave like a tasked spirit in some ways.

(* Note the Bone Spirit description on page 377 of the GM Guide: "The list of suggested powers includes all available selections when a bone spirit is summoned through the Bone Circle spell (Player’s Guide, p. 318). This list supersedes the list provided in the spell description." So you actually have more powers to choose from than the list given in the spell.)

Because of the restriction on leaving the Bone Circle, I would rule that if the spirit has the Aid Summoner power, it can only use the power while the Nethermancer while they are in the Bone Circle. If the Nethermancer leaves the Circle, the power ends.
This makes sense. With that in place, would one favour from the spirit be one attempt at using Aid Summoner, or is one favour going to buy me a "try until it works" approach, seeing as the thing gets -2 Charisma and has to roll max on it's die to affect me?

Lamoron
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Re: Bone Circle / Bone Spirit - Aid Summoner

Post by Lamoron » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:40 am

I also can't figure out if multiple Bone Spirits can use Aid Summoner on me simultaneously? If I've got three circles, and thus three spirits, can I take three strain and get all their bonus' at the same time?

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