troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
X
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Summon Magic
Some people used it before it was cool.

Summon Magic is basically the ability to call on a magical, often mythological entity without the hassle of actually having it follow you around. This is a common spell found in RPGs.

In most Eastern Role Playing Games, one of the most powerful means of blowing the crap out of your enemies, aside from a Limit Break, is to call some powerful mythological beast to lay the holy (or unholy) smackdown for you. A powerful spell that, for all intents and purposes, works just like any other attack spell, only with lots of (often superfluous) eye candy thrown in. Typically, one or more powerful creatures will make a flashy entrance, perform an attack (causing as much destruction as possible), and then leave. The summon may be a Limit Break or have some other restriction in order to compensate for its power.

Summons will occasionally require you to defeat them before you can use their power. In franchises, especially non-linear ones, the summoned creatures will usually remain the same across all installments, such as in the Final Fantasy and Tales Series.

These have a very high probability of being called "shô'kanjű" / "召喚獣" ("Summoned Beasts") in Japan; in translations released for the west, more individual names (Espers, Bestia) may be substituted.

Note that in most Western RPGs, summon spells are of the "instant ally" variety, as in the Tabletop RPGs they're modeled after: Beings summoned are much weaker than those in Eastern RPGs, but stay in the battle as fully commandable NPCs (at least for a few minutes) instead of delivering a one-shot proxy attack and vanishing. Necromancers and Demon-summoners, both of whom usually use a form of Hermetic Magic, fit this subset of the trope. The Japanese form of such spirits are shikigami.

"Killing" a Summon may result in its actual dying, both it and the summoner dying or just being sent back to its home until the Summoner can summon it again. Compare Mon. See also Inconvenient Summons for when the summoned is not happy to be interrupted.

It is not necessarily always magical, in some cases it can be an inborn superpower, a psychic ability (teleporting allies to you for example), or even from an item you hold in order to call upon the summoned being.

See also Summoning Ritual, for the more dangerous form of this kind of magic. Compare/contrast Drone Deployer. When an enemy does this, it is an Enemy Summoner.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • State Farm has several commericals based around this concept. If a customer recites the company's jingle then their insurance agent will immediately appear next to them. It's like this:
    Customer: Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!
    Agent: You're covered.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Summoning jutsu in Naruto require the user to make a pact with the creatures he summons, and are actually explained as a type of teleportation that is also used on inanimate objects to create a Hyperspace Arsenal (and the same branch of ninjutsu used to flat-out manipulate time and space). One particularly inventive ninja created a technique to "summon" himself to other places (special seal which he put on kunai to be specific) as a way of traveling quickly.
    • In chapter 409, Naruto gets "reverse-summoned" (which itself sees some more use later on) to Myobokuzan by one of his own summons, who is lounging there with other frog summons. Fukusaku says that Myobokuzan is "a month's journey from Konoha on foot". So the summons live in distant areas of the Ninja Continent, not in their own pocket realities.
    • Pain's Animal path body is capable of summoning her own teammates to her current location. This was once used to hide their numbers while on an infiltration mission.
    • Humans can also be summoned as proven early on during the Forest of Death section of the Chunin exams. The scrolls the teams had to gather summoned higher ranking Ninja telling them they passed if they did it right (having at least one of each scroll) and rendered them unconscious if they opened them otherwise.
  • Referred to as Stellar Spirits in Fairy Tail, and Stellar Spirit mages summon them with "Gate Keys." Also, summons can change appearance depending on the owner (e.g., Virgo and even Loki) but always have the same personality. A few don't distinguish friend from foe, or do so in a perverted fashion... So far Lucy is the only one of note, minus one other who plays into Loki's backstory.
    • Angel of the Oracion Seis also turns out to be a Stellar Spirit mage, and she in fact killed Loki's previous master.
    • Inverted by Caprico, a.k.a. the rogue Stellar Spirit Capricorn who can summon human beings.
    • Yukino formerly of Sabertooth has the two Zodiac Keys that Lucy doesn't have.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S introduced Summon Magic to the franchise along with two summoners: Caro Ru Lushe, who can summon dragons, and Lutecia Alpine, who can summon insect-like creatures.
  • The CHILDs in Mai-HiME are of the Western school of summoning. Once they're summoned, they stay on the battlefield until they are destroyed or their summoner willfully dematerializes them. Some can even be given vocal commands (Natsuki does this frequently when readying her ultimate attacks).
  • Persona -trinity soul-, to no one's great surprise - considering that it is set in the same Verse as Persona 3, mentioned below. The personas seem to be of a more permanent nature here, even surrounding their owner like a translucent suit of armour and enabling flight, and the evokers have been removed.
  • Fang-Fang Huang from Rosario + Vampire has the power to summon various monsters to aid him in battle. Unfortunately, he hasn't mastered it, so he only gets a random monster. Fortunately, he is good in another thing.
    • His father, on the other hand, seems to have mastered this power.
    • The head of Fairy Tale's fourth sub-division, Xia-Long Miao, has mastered it and is able to summon plant monsters.
    • Yukari has learned Summon Magic in a very short period of time.
  • All demons in Mahou Sensei Negima! seem to require a summoning to be anywhere. They stay around till their task is complete, to which they then leave in a poof of smoke. Demon slayers are required to end their summoning by defeating them before they can complete their task (usually killing). Most higher level demons don't bother for pride's sake, but demons do act on free will to meddle in human affairs, which appears to be the only time slayers and exorcists will outright kill them. However, they only ever organize when utilized by humans. Is per Rule Magic, the amount and quality of demons summoned is directly linked to a summoner's skill or raw power.
  • Ga-Rei has, well, Ga-Rei, AKA the inugami Byakuei. There's also Ranguren, a chimera, and Kurofoudo, a giant electric eel.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth's Ascot, who thinks of his summoned beasts as his only friends —mostly because everyone else ran in fright of him when he summoned something— but doesn't hesitate to sic them on his enemies, at which point they tend to get killed. Clef can also summon great beasts, although he uses them more as vehicles than enforcers.
  • Guru Guru magic in Mahoujin Guru Guru summons monsters through magic circles. Properly performed Guru Guru spells summon anything from blasts of fire to lightning throwing demons to bad luck fairies to houses. Improperly performed Guru Guru magics summon something utterly random.
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited , an anime loosely based on the Final Fantasy series, has a character who uses a magic gun to summon monsters.
  • Guardian ARM in MÄR. They're accessories or weapons that turn into giant creatures and kick ass.
  • In There Beyond The Beyond, magicians are sometimes seen making use of summoning magic as the article describes, but the main plot stresses the use of magic to summon flowers from the Beyond, which are permanent beings that can grant wishes, perform miracles, and enhance magical powers.
  • Shamans in Record of Lodoss War can summon elemental spirits to fight for them. Deedlit the Elf, one of the main characters, often summons a water-spirit named Undine and an air-spirit named Djinn. Her Evil Counterpart, Astar the Dark Elf, summons Behemoth, an earth-spirit, to fight her.
  • England in Axis Powers Hetalia tried to summon a demon. He accidently summoned Russia instead.
  • Rental Magica has Adilicia, a heir apparent of a magic schoool in Solomon's tradition who prefers this part. If she uses magic, it's going to be "summon demon" — or occasionally "summon angel".
  • Hotarubi from Basilisk can distract her enemies by summoning a swarm of butterflies so large it completely blocks their eyesight.
  • One of the functions of the crystals seen in Agnis Philosophy is to summon a dragon. This is almost certainly a Mythology Gag for the main Final Fantasy series, seeing as the clip is a tech demo for that franchise.
  • In Kaze no Stigma, certain magicians (especially amongst Fire Magic users) combine the powers of smaller spirits of the element into a spirit beast, who channel the elemental power through themselves. Unfortunately, when a beast suffers a wound, it can feedback into the summoner.
  • Magika no Kenshi to Shoukan Maou is set in a world where humans discovered magic Twenty Minutes into the Future. Most mythological beasts actually exist in a parallel world and are now called "Divas." Divas can be summoned by those who bear a special marking that appears on their 14th birthday.

    Comic Books 
  • The Shadow Crown in Locke & Key allows the wearer to summon an army of shadow-creatures to do their bidding. Fortunately, they disappear in direct light, as Kinsey is quick to exploit.

    Fan Works 
  • Game Theory has an interesting variation. There's a type of magic called summoning, but the mechanics are rather different from the norm. Instead of conjuring entities to fight for them, the summoner creates magical constructs from designs imprinted in their linker core by their genetics.
  • As one of the perks of being Artemis's only child, Armani can summon animals to help him fight, and utilizes this power in the second book of the Broken Bow series to call in some of his mother's wolves to even the odds against the Athena kids who have him cornered.
  • Concept Road receives a deck of twenty-one cards, which he most likely must fill by making contracts with people willing to join him. "What am I, a Magister Magi?"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, the Big Bad and Mentor wizards duel by conjuring up huge glowing spirit-warriors that exchange sword blows.
  • In The Smurfs, Gargamel sends a moth to summon eagles so that he could escape Rikers Island in New York City. Instead, he gets a swarm of flies that help him escape.

    Literature 
  • In Second Apocalypse the character Iyokus is specialized in demon summoning.
  • The Heroes of Olympus series:
    • Frank's godly parent gives him a spear tipped with a Dragon's Tooth that can be used thrice. Breaking it off in the ground creates a zombie warrior roughly akin to the Terminator.
    • Nico uses the Scepter of Diocletian to call up a Roman ghost-legion in The House of Hades.
  • In Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, The Horn of Valere is used to summon heroes of legend from every age of history to kick ass on behalf of whoever blows the horn.
  • The Dresden Files. Several evil sorcerers summon demons to help them fight. When a demon is summoned, that's only its vessel. If destroyed, then whoever summoned it can make a new one easily. It's very difficult to permanently kill one, but one way to make it easier is to use a magical holy sword.
  • Inferno by Dante. As the narrator is impeded in his journey towards the next circle of Hell by a malicious demon, an angel comes out of the freaking sky for no reason, commands that he be let through, and vanishes.
  • Unsurprisingly, the source material of the Mega Ten series, Digital Devil Story, features summoning via the Demon Summoning Program.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy the ability to summon, control, and torment demons is the only thing magicians can do. However, because this essentially gives them command of all the magic that the demons can do, they don't feel the loss that badly. However, it's also somewhat cumbersome, as the demons wish to kill their masters and will twist their commands if they can get away with it, and summoning them can be time consuming and must be done perfectly. The magicians try to conceal this weakness by commanding invisible demons to perform feats of magic, and can also have demons "seal" spells into objects that they can activate without the demon's aid later, so if someone doesn't know the trick it appears that magicians have magical powers in addition to commanding mighty demons.
    • There are indications that there is another magic, seen with the golem in the second book. The magic of earth and shadow that powers it is antithetical to demons, it was created by a man who did not appear to be a magician, and who was putting a lot of himself into it. However, summoning and controlling demons is presumably a easier and actually less damaging to your health than golem making, and no other spells are mentioned that use it.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In The Phoenix on the Sword, Thoth-amon's Ring of Power gives him this power.
    What do you see, oh serpent of Set? Whom do you call from the gulfs of the Night? Whose shadow falls on the waning Light? Call him to me, oh serpent of Set!
  • The warlocks from Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds had no power of their own but could summon Eidolons to do their bidding. Eidolons however cannot be commanded, only bargained with.
  • This is Macadra's specialty in The Chathrand Voyages; in the last book, she conjures various demons to pursue the protagonists. Her rival and brother Arunis can do this but isn't very good at it; his skills seem to lie more along the route of necromancy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andrew, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, summoned powerful demons to battle Buffy. note 
  • The titular character on Merlin has this. As a Dragonlord, he can summon and command the dragon by calling to it, and it was bound to obey him.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Ava learns to control an Acheri demon, which she uses to help her kill the others at Cold Oak.

    Pinballs 

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is how Daemons of Chaos are brought into battle in both Warhammer 40,000 and Dawn of War.
  • Dungeons & Dragons errs on the side of game balance in regards to summoning magic (a subset of the "conjuration" school of magic). All casters have some form of summoning magic, at all levels of casting, but the creatures summoned aren't all-powerful. They do, however, fight right alongside everyone else in combat, meaning nobody has to step out for the summon to take their place. There are also the Planar Binding and Planar Ally spells, which call forth an exceptionally powerful creature, by force or bargaining respectively. And at the highest end of things, there are a handful of spells that take quite a lot of time to cast, but conclude with the caster summoning his own private squad of powerful, loyal monsters.
    • One of the most powerful conjuration spells is Gate, which simply makes the monster (such as a powerful demon, archangel, titan, or god) be here...and says nothing about its attitude toward the caster.
    • Then there's the Planar Exchange spell, which switches the caster with an extraplanar being, zips him up in a pocket space, and allows him to remotely control the summon and use its senses - effectively being replaced by that creature for the duration, as in FFX.
    • As a spin-off of D&D, Pathfinder has the same exact spells for summoning creatures. In addition, a core class, the Summoner, focuses exclusively on summon magic. In addition to having lots of Summon Monster spells at his disposal, the Summoner also has an Eidolon, which is basically a Mon that he can call upon or dismiss at will.
  • In Magic The Gathering all creature cards are actually spells that call them forth to fight in the duels. They were even initially called "summon spells".
    • Some even work in the Eastern fashion, as one-shot super-monsters. Ball Lightning is the canonical example of a very large, very damaging, very brief red summon.
    • Lorwyn's Evoke mechanic was an explicit attempt to invoke the Eastern style. A creature could be summoned, bringing with it an additional effect, or, for much cheaper, summoned very briefly for the effect alone before it vanishes into the Graveyard.
    • Of course, summoning is the primary way to beat your opponent, though it is possible to Kill It with Fire.
  • In Mage: The Awakening and Werewolf: The Forsaken, it is possible to summon spirits from the Shadow, though they are by no means obligated to serve the summoner (without additional magics or rituals, at least) and can often quite hostile. The Mage Sourcebook Summoners has details for summoning other beings, including cryptids (weird terrestrial mutants, such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster), chtonians (beings which inhabit the Underworld which cannot be reliably said to have ever been alive), Abyssal beings and even the denizons of the Supernal Realms. The last two are noted to be very hard to summon, quite difficult to control, and extremely dangerous.
    • Changeling: The Lost also has a minor bend into summoning with the higher levels of the Contracts of Communion, which allow you to summon a guardian made of the Contract's chosen element and bind it to serve your purpose.
  • Summon Magic is rare in Deadlands, and where it is present, it runs toward the dark, soul-devouring end of things. Shamans might be able to summon and bind nature spirits (the spirits don't like this), but the best summoners are those that have sold their souls for such abilities.
  • GURPS severely limits the effectiveness of this. It takes a lot of energy, requires thirty seconds to perform the needed ritual, won't always cooperate and sometimes takes several minutes to appear once the summoning ritual is finished. Nonetheless, a sufficiently powerful necromancer could try to summon the assistance of Satan for a full hour.
    • That's using the basic GURPS Magic rules. An alternative method is to build the summoned creatures as an Ally with the "Summoning" enhancement.
  • One of the major cornerstones of Sorcery in Exalted is the Summon [X]th Circle Demon spell. It allows you to call up a demon from Malfeas and challenge it to a test of wills; if you win, it's bound to serve you until its chosen task is completed or for a year and a day, whichever comes first. If you lose, however, the results can be...messy. There are somewhat safer spells, such as Summon Elemental, and Necromancy has its own equivalents (such as Summon Ghost).
    • Many spells draw power from other beings, Final Fantasy style. Total Annihilation comes to mind, invoking the Green Sun of Hell to accomplish not quite Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Other examples include the Titan's Icy Breath (unnamed Behemoth), the Crumbling Walls (Saturn, Maiden of Endings), the Battle's End (Saturn and her sister Venus, Maiden of Serenity), Cleansing Solar Flame (Ignis Divine himself) and Light of Solar Cleansing (ditto).
  • In Shadowrun, both Mages and Shaman can summon spirits. Shaman summon nature spirits on the spot while Mages summon element spirits ahead of time and bind them to be called on later. The 4th Edition of the rules blurs the line between the two types.
  • In the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, summoning is called "deploying". All cards (except Interrupts and some Epic Events, which are one-shots) are "deployed".
  • Similarly, in Yu-Gi-Oh!, playing a monster is referred to as "summoning" it.
  • This is the main ability of Shifters from RIFTS, and the reason most people don't like having them around.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • One of the first examples is Rydia from Final Fantasy IV; while summoners were actually introduced in the previous game, Rydia brought attention to the job. Since then, Summon Magic in some shape or form has been a staple of the Final Fantasy series. In some cases the summoned beings even play a role in the plot (hello Bahamut).
    • In Final Fantasy V, Summoners are one of the jobs the player characters can train in, and it works more or less the same as in III and IV (as a powerful one-time attack). The Ranger can also use the !Animals command to summon a random woodland critter, which does a mild amount of damage, inflicts a status effect, or heals the party, for no MP cost.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, the summoned beasts, or Espers, drove the entire plot of the game. They weren't even summoned creatures in the usual sense until about an eighth of the way into the game, where they started dying and turning into Magicite. Even before that, pretty much every plot point was based on them: They hold the lost art of Magic, the Evil Empire is draining their powers to become all-powerful, the Mysterious Waif is half-Esper, and their world contains the resting place of the Gods of Magic. For all their plot-importance though, the actual summoning aspect is arguably the weakest it's ever been in a Final Fantasy game. You can only equip one summon per party member, and you can only summon them once per battle, unless someone mimics the summoner. True, the summoning effects are still quite powerful, and holding the Magicite alone teaches magic, but they're no longer the bane of all enemies, like they were in IV. Though that's Justified because Magicite is actually the remains of a dead Esper. All you're doing is summoning some shadow of their former self.
    • Final Fantasy VIII takes it a step further, with the entire combat system being built around your summoned creatures, called Guardian Forces. The main characters defeat Guardian Forces and thus earn their friendship and support, and "junction" these Guardian Forces. The GFs then grant them various powers, such as the ability to use magic, summon them, use special abilities, or junction magic to their physical stats to make them tougher, stronger, more powerful with magic, etc. This also has some important plot relevance, as a side effect of junctioning Guardian Forces is memory loss.
    • Final Fantasy IX has summon magic as an Inherent Gift of a tribe of people. In this game, abilities are taught by items, and Eidolons are taught by certain gems. Storywise, they are used as weapons of mass destruction by the villains. The effects of one Eidolon even looks like a nuclear explosion.
    • Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII were unusual in that they went with a variety of the Western trope, having them replace everyone on the team but the summoner and fight like a party member.
      • It's worth noting that Espers in XII tend to be best used solely for their limit breaks, as a full party of three is much more versatile and can potentially do more damage than the Espers' own attacks, given the damage cap. This leads to something similar to the first kind, as the Espers unsummon themselves right after said limit breaks.
      • Also of particular note is Yuna's emergence as a playable character in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, summon abilities and all. Why is this noteworthy, you might ask? Well, the Dissidia games are Mascot Fighters, and all of Yuna's attacks are carried out by one (or two at once, if in her Super Mode) of the five Aeons that she obtained in her pilgrimage (sidequests not included) in FFX. It's also notable because the other character whose powers are largely defined by her summon abilities, Lightning, uses Odin's powers by herself, having Odin sit the fight out.
    • Final Fantasy XI summons are even more Western in battle application, making the summon a variety of 'pet' that costs Mana to summon, to keep summoned, and to use its powers. In a doubly dissonant subversion, conflicting both with their storyline role and their traditional usage in the Final Fantasy series, summons' attacks are actually fairly weak unless you use your desperation ability or reach level 70.
      • However, until you reach level 70, the Summoner class is used in parties as nothing more than a different kind of White Mage, exactly because the summons are so weak: if you see Summoners under 70 keeping their pet out all the time while in a party, they're not doing their job properly. When they reach level 70, however, they're used more for their intended purpose, and the mechanics of play are closer to the eastern fashion: summon, run into the fray, use mega-attack, unsummon, fall back, recharge (one way or another), rinse, repeat.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has these, but they can transform into vehicles. Each character has their own summon (Odin, Shiva, Bahamut, Alexander, Hecatoncheir and Brynhildr to Lightning, Snow, Fang, Hope, Vanille and Sazh respectively) because of their status as l'Cie.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, Summoners, Arcanists and Scholars all use the western pet-type summon. Arcanists summon different varieties of Carbuncle, which is described as an Aether construct. Scholars, a healing class, summon a fairy to assist them in that task. Summoners summon Egi, a small shard of a Primal's essence that stuck on them after they defeated that Primal in battle (although before they can summon it at will they have to perform a Summoning Ritual the first time, followed by battling it to establish dominance.)
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has not only the traditional Summoner job, but also an additional ability called the Totema, which were meant to represent each of the races within Ivalice. The Totema targeted all the enemy units, and two of them only targeted MP, while the other three targeted HP. But you could only use them when a unit has ten Judge Points, no less.
  • This is the entire magic system in Flight-Plan's Summon Night series. The stones that allow you to summon act more like spellbooks in that they need to be equipped and each has a set of available abilities that a particular summon can do. Most are the Eastern variant, coming out to deal/heal damage or possess units (as buffs/debuffs). A few also follow the Western variant as they can also be summoned into units, giving the summoner an instant ally. However, doing so denies the use of said summon for any its other skills until it is recalled. If it falls in battle, all the abilities of said summon are unavailable for the rest of the battle. Summon Night 4 did allowed the player to use a summon's skills while it is out on the battlefield as a unit. It hangs a lampshade on this by having said summon teleport from its current location to pull out the attack, and then teleporting back.
    • The Pain Rings in Black/Matrix 00, another game by Flight-Plan, also follows the Eastern version.
  • All special and magic attacks in Persona 3 are of this variety, as the main characters' special powers (and their combat statistics) are derived from magic demons that are representations of your psyche, created by your mind through Tarot Motifs and summoned on the battlefield... by shooting yourself in the head.
  • In League of Legends, you take the role of a Summoner. An anonymous character who calls into battle (or summons) a champion, whom which you control to battle other summoners to win EXP and IP or influence points, to unlock champions.
    • More directly gameplay-related are Champions who themselves summon creatures to help them. From plants, to spiderlings, to turrets, to zombies, to a clone of you or your allies, to a giant animated teddy bear from Hell (literally), there's quite a few options.
  • Romancing SaGa does this also; but summoning elementals, to really summon the very powerful monsters you need special items to do so.
  • Frequently occurs in the Tales Series as well, starting with the first game, Tales of Phantasia.
  • Nippon Ichi games don't use summon magic as a separate type, but the highest-level elemental magic is shown calling forth some massive entity to bring the pain. The later games in the Disgaea series actually have you calling in characters from Makai Kingdom.
    • In addition to the high level spells, Disgaea Dimension 2 adds the new Book weapon-type, which uses Summon Magic for all of it's skills.
    • Also, in La Pucelle: Tactics, you can summon various elemental beings by doing a Mass Miracle by purifying a circle of Geo Effects. Taken to a silly extreme in the Disgaea series where Priere, having as(/de)cended to become a Demon Overlord, can perform an attack where she causes a Mass Miracle and invokes herself.
    • As of Disgaea 4 you can now summon anime characters. If you ever wanted to sick Holo or Anime Tenchou on your foes, now's your chance.
  • Master of Magic has creatures that can be summoned in battle AND a large number of creatures that can be summoned outside battle under your permanent control. You can see most of them during a montage in this video.
  • Western trope example: Several Hero units in WarCraft III are capable of summoning beasts, elementals, or demons to aid them in battle.
    • In World of Warcraft the Mage class also has an optional elemental summon. So do Druids, Priests and Shamans with the right talents, although their summons are rather short-lived and can't be controlled as directly. Recent addition Deathknight can call short lived ghouls, while a talent allows them to keep a ghoul as a permanent pet much like a hunter or warlock.
    • The Warlock is explicitly using demons Summoned from the Twisting Nether, making them the best example of this.
  • City of Heroes had many, many ways to scratch that summoning itch:
    • First and foremost, Masterminds were entirely built around the concept of having a small army of henchmen pets do all the fighting (with the Mastermind himself as a support character). Some Mastermind variants had even more than the normal six pets. The Thug powerset had Gang War, which let you summon a huge but weak army of gang members who leave after a short time. Necromancy had Soul Extraction, which let you transform one of your undead minions into a ghost (and then you could re-summon the original undead minion in addition).
    • All Controllers and Dominators, with the exception of Mind Controllers/Dominators, could summon a creature to fight beside them. Electric Control summoned a pair of pets with its summon power, Gremlins, and Fire Control summoned a trio of Fire Imps. Several sets (Plant Control, Darkness Control, and Illusion Control) had temporary pet powers in addition to the permanent pet.
    • Several support sets (used by Defenders, Controllers, Corruptors, and Masterminds) had pets, including Dark Miasma (Dark Servant), Traps (Seeker Drones, Force Field Generators, Acid Mortars, and Triage Beacons), and Storm Summoning (Tornado and Lightning Storm).
    • Some other powersets had one-off pets, like Voltaic Sentinel in Electrical Blast (for Blasters and Corruptors) and Gun Drone in Devices (for Blasters). Peacebringers could summon Photon Seekers, similar to Seeker Drones. Warshades could extract the essences of defeated foes to fight for them for a short time. Arachnos Soldiers (Bane or Crab) could "Call Reinforcements" to summon Arachnobot Disruptors, and the Crab Spider sub-class could also summon Spiderlings.
    • Any villainous character could learn Patron Powersets, all of which had at least one summon (with the exception of the variants for Masterminds). Some had an additional pet or pseudopet as well (for example, Leviathan Mastery had Water Spout, which was effectively the same as Tornado in Storm Summoning).
    • When Incarnate powers were added to the game, the Lore Incarnate powers let any character of any class summon ghostly versions of various minor NPCs to fight for them for a short time.
    • Subscribing for at least 9 months would allow the player to give vanity pets to all of their characters; subscribing for at least 14 months would allow the player to give combat pets to all of their characters. There was a choice of styles so you could match the pet to your character concept (fairies, robotic drones, etc), and the combat pets could either give offensive or defensive buffs (chosen when you pick the pet).
    • Other vanity pets were available from the cash shop, plus a leprechaun pet that would increase money drops while it was active.
    • Finally, there are various temporary powers that allow summoning of helpful pets for a short time, from armored police drones for heroes, to armored Arachnos soldiers for villains, to zombies and werewolves for everybody (just to name a few examples).
  • Champions Online also has an astounding number of controllable pet options, including attack robots, healing drones, wolves, bears, dinosaurs, eldrich golems, wind spirits, darkness elementals, and even killer toys. There are also uncontrollable pet-like attacks like tornados, ball lightning, fire snakes, and so on, that are generally treated as ranged attacks, but will chase down enemies and even switch targets if the first one dies. And with Champions' freeform power system, you can take all of them if you want (and if your computer doesn't overheat and explode). There are even specializations to make your pets hit harder, survive longer, and require less energy to summon.
  • Phantasy Star Online also uses a summon-type attack, called a Photon Blast, as a Limit Break.
    • Phantasy Star Universe has a variant where the android CASTs get massive artillery pieces teleported from satellites and BEASTs turn all big, furry, and dangerous. Humans and Newmans only get summons in the Portable series, activated the same way as the SUV weapons and the Nanoblasts.
    • Phantasy Star Online 2 has an evolved version of its predecessors' limit-break-style summons: instead of pausing the action for a flashy cutscene-attack, your summoned... being either roams the battlefield attacking on its own or follows you and attacks your targets, depending on the summon. They only last a few seconds, and they aren't particularly strong compared to your regular attacks, but you are invincible while summoning them, and you can even chain the summons with nearby players to make them substantially more powerful.
  • Golden Sun enables you to summon monsters by temporarily using up "Djinn" which are ready on standby. They can be summoned individually for minor attacks, or you can use up a lot of them at once to summon more powerful spirits; either way, they're ready to help again after a few turns of rest.
    • The problem is that while resting or in standby, you lose the stat bonuses the Djinn give. The cycle goes like this: 1) Djinn equipped, grants stat bonuses. 2) Unleash a Djinni, cause a special effect depending on the Djinni, and put it in standby mode. 3) Summon a combination of unleashed Djinn to get spiffy effects and deal major damage. The Djinn rests for a few turns each before being reset and grant bonuses again. If the character has no Djinn set, he or she is usually at almost 50% of normal capability.
      • The formula for Djinn recovery is basically 1 Djinn on the next turn at random. The way it is set up. You can also hasten the process by unleashing a certain djinn to speed up the recovery. However, given the abilities of the set classes, it is actually a lot smarter to use the customized classes rather than summons (except on Dullahan) because although summons are powerful, you are almost guaranteed to survive a good fight with a custom class. If you run out of summons and the enemy is still alive, your chatracters will get killed.
      • However, if you decide to unleash your Djinn to use their special powers (something that might come in handy), you might as well summon with them to do some damage and raise your elemental powers, and allow them to reset themselves on their own, rather than waste turns manually setting the Djinn.
  • Beating most Navis in the Mega Man Battle Network games will get you their NaviChips, which let you summon them to perform an attack. NaviChips come in multiple levels (as many as five in some games), and they always freeze time, making them especially valuable. To keep players from Navi-spamming, there's a limit of five NaviChips per folder (a deck-like structure of thirty chips), but you can increase it in various ways.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, and all its computer game adaptations, have plenty of summoning spells...although not all of the beings summoned are going to be instantly cooperative.
    • The D&D-based PC game Planescape: Torment is notable for lacking much in the way of the Western-style ally summons its similarly-based contemporaries feature, but does feature several of the Eastern-style instant-massive-damage summons, especially at very high level, where they're accompanied by spectacular CGI-video animations.
    • In games like Baldur's Gate, summoning creatures is usually an excellent way to rip medium-low level adversaries apart; however, higher level wizards tend to have spells which allow to quickly "banish" the summoned creatures, making them useless.
      • Unless you keep summoning them, in which case they very quickly run out of banishing spells. Alternatively the top level summons such as Planetar or Gate are immune to banishing spells...but totally useless, because they count as "unaligned," so you don't get Experience Points for their kills.
      • Summons were obscenely useful in the first game, since the spells summoned massive numbers of creatures, which included archers. This was noticed, and a limit of five total creature's was imposed in the sequel, as well as most spells calling only one or two at a time.
      • One major quest line in BGII focuses on a bunch of Drow seeking to summon a really powerful Demon, then bargain for its aid once it's arrived since it's too powerful for loyalty clauses in the summoning to work. Fortunately the PC steals the MacGuffin they were planning to use for leverage, with the usual consequences for team Drow.
    • Neverwinter Nights has a number of spells and items that let you summon a convenient ally to your side who'll then follow you around as basically another party member and fight for you until the spell's (generally long) duration runs out, the creature gets killed or banished, or you take your next rest, whichever comes first. Limited by the fact that you can only have one such summoned ally around at a time, although that's in addition to your usual henchman (and familiar or animal companion if your class comes with those).
  • In the Kingdom Hearts games, the summons are Disney characters from other worlds, mostly worlds that don't appear in the game. Some of them change the gameplay temporarily when summoned, like Dumbo, who makes KH's melee combat into a temporary Third-Person Shooter...er, Squirter.
    • Some types of Heartless can do this, too. The Crescendo Heartless can summon new Heartless to the battlefield. The Cresceno card in Chain of Memories even boosts the power of summon cards at the cost of disabling regular magic. The Darkside Heartless summons Shadows. The Dark Follower does the same except that the Shadow Heartless it summons have a purple tint rather than the standard blue. Bouncywild Heartless can summon Powerwilds. One of the fights against Ansem, Seeker of Darkness has him summon Bit Snipers if you stay far enough away.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon does it with traditional mythological beasts, but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has fun with it with the "Power of Sire" item, which summons an image of Vlad Tepes Dracula (the real Dracula) to attack.
    • Use the Power of Sire on Dracula himself. laughter and headaches for all!
  • Septerra Core stays firmly in the Eastern Summoning side with its card-based magic system. The Summon card, combined with elemental cards, are basically powered-up versions of normal spells. Combined with other cards, the summon often changes the card's normal effect to straight damage-dealing (with two exceptions: one, a powered-up healing spell, the other causing numerous status effects). All summons conjure beings from the in-game mythology.
  • Summoner employs both, as appropriate for their backgrounds. Monsters clearly based off of Western mythology, such as minotaurs and golems, hang around for a while to knock some heads, while the great dragons you get from the rings hidden in the ancient China-like part of the world do one thing and disappear.
    • And in Summoner 2, the main character actually becomes what she 'summons' for a short period of time.
  • Pokémon are essentially miniature summon beasts.
    • In Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs, you can draw Ranger Signs to summon Legendary Pokémon.
  • In Drakengard, your party members' pact-partners when summoned function like the Eastern version of this trope, whereas your dragon acts more in line with the Western version.
  • Lost Kingdoms has both Eastern and Western varieties.
  • Some games in the Super Robot Wars series have attacks where A unit summons mechs or weapons that aren't available for normal use (such as supporting characters). For example, Quatre in some games often has his strongest attack summon the Maguanac Corps to fight by his side for one ridiculously unfair beatdown. Super Robot Wars W has a variant with the "Support Request" ability, that allows you to call in a non-deployed character to perform an supporting attack.
  • The characters in the Xbox 360 RPG Blue Dragon have the ability to summon the creature that dwells in each of their shadows (a bat, a phoenix, a minotaur, a tiger, and yes, a blue dragon) to help them fight. This is pretty much the key mechanic of the game.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, the final spell all the character receives is a Dragon summon. However, given that all the magic in this game has extremely over the top destructive effects, this is overkill.
  • Most of the Ultima games have one or more "Summon Creature" spells, ranging from rats to insect swarms to demons. All of them followed the Western example (obviously) by creating them as friendly NPCs that fought until killed or the summoning wore off.
  • In theory, the The Elder Scrolls universe contains evocation magic (under the label of "Conjuration" as of Morrowind). These spells take a creature from somewhere else and bring it in front of the caster under their command. In practice, there are two main types of this:
    • "Creature summoning" takes a creature from somewhere else and brings it in front of the caster, under their control, for a fixed duration of time
    • "Item summoning" combines Summon Magic and spontaneous Item Crafting magic. In Daggerfall there was a spell that could create a type of weapon or armor at a random quality level, from nothing; in Morrowind, not only is there the aforesaid "creature summoning" spells but there is a spell that summons specific quality armor or weapons enchanted with the souls of a summoned creature (Daedric Armor).
    • This is repeated in Oblivion and Skyrim.
    • In Daggerfall, "Atronaches" are golems that are physically constructed and imbued with souls by a mage. The process is never explained but this is most probably a precursor to future "Conjuration" magic.
  • Enchanted weapons can be stolen here and there throughout Arcanum; aside from the usual increase-speed or deal-poison-damage modifiers, some particularly cool weapons have a chance to summon woodland beasties or even the undead. Or a naked halfling.
  • There are a number of spells for summoning temporary allies in the Exile/Avernum series. Before summoning demons, it's necessary to cast another spell to keep them from immediately turning on you.
  • Yukari of Touhou has the superpower of "altering boundaries", allowing her to teleport anything from anywhere to anywhere. During the games, she mostly sticks to summoning her shikigami, though.
  • In Diablo II, the Necromancer and Druid characters have a whole list of spells devoted to summoning multiple allies, who are always loyal and fight until killed. The Amazon and Assassin can summon a single powerful ally.
  • Deckard of Lufia: The Legend Returns is a benevolent pirate whose most powerful attacks are "White Whale" and "Sea God". Betcha can't guess what they do.
  • In Aion, Spiritmasters are exactly what you'd think they are - casters who specialize in taming Elemental Spirits of Water, Fire, Air, Fire and race-specific combination - Magma (Earth + Fire) or Tempest (Air + Water). Each one has a role varying from tanking, melee combat and aggro building, or simply DPS, melee or ranged. Spiritmasters use also special skills called Commands to make Spirit deal more damage, Crash or Stun the enemy, attract his attention or even suicide in a big explosion.
    • Also, Clerics can summon Divine Servant, which is an immobile ball of energy, aiding the caster in combat by attacking from distance, losing health with each attack.
      • During Fortress Sieges, players attacking the Gate can summon Siege Weapons to help break the first line of defense.
  • The Summon Elements in Chrono Cross are useful not only for sheer damage, but because killing enemies with them makes them drop Shiny materials, needed for Item Crafting the game's strongest weapons. Sadly, they're loaded with drawbacks: you need to have the entire field in their color (which means if you're interrupted after casting All(X Color), you have to start over) and you can only cast so many at a time.
  • In Torchlight every class has a skill tree dedicated to building your personal mook army.
  • Sieg in Chaos Legion has the power to summon Legions, powerful demons that are big as life and twice as nasty. When summoned the Legion usually forms a protective ring around Sieg, attacking of their own accord (Active Mode) or waiting for the player's input (Passive Mode). Sieg cannot run when the Legion's out, but they're a big help when surrounded by lots of enemies (which is most of the time). They can gain experience points and determine what kind of stat boosts and skills Sieg can acquire from them.
  • In NetHack, it can sometimes be a pain to get your pet(s) to follow you around the dungeon. The 'Magic Whistle' will instantaniously bring them to you, even if you're in a room with all the doors closed.
  • Tecmo's Deception allows the player character to call up monsters to either attack or daze enemies by using crystals known as Block Orbs. But first, the monsters themselves must be constructed from the remains of invaders (for instance, a Zombie is created from a Soldier, a Cleric, and a Pirate). Monsters also level up as they're used.
  • In Elemental - War of Magic, it's possible to summon a wide variety of creatures.
  • Arc The Lad has a share of characters with summon magics such as the titular character, Arc.
  • The Tome of Eternal Darkness allows its bearer to summon Trappers, Zombies, and Horrors with the Tier, Aretak and Pargon runes, as well as one of the Ancients' runes. Just don't waste your time trying to use Mantorok to fuel the spell.
  • Inazuma Eleven has notable skills that summon hands, gaint gigas, and gods out of nowhere to show how powerful the moves are: Majin the Hand, Bakunetsu Storm, God Catch. The other silly yet cool feature involves a student of world-destroying academy summons penguins of all things to attack.
    • In the sequel, summoning is so common it gets its own term: Keshin.
  • The enemy bosses of Akai Katana summon things like battleships, aircraft carriers, swarms of fighter planes, and other things.
  • The Pastamancer class in Kingdom of Loathing is able to summon pasta-themed monsters, the first of which is a piece of macaroni named "Flubberhoot".
  • Though it's not a tactic favored by many players, eleven out of fifteen classes in Dofus have at least one summon spell available before the level cap, and two classes specialize in it. Furthermore, all characters of any class receive a spell to summon a "Dopple" of their own class as a reward for reaching the the level cap. Finally, all characters regardless of class can learn to summon spiders and skeletons via quests or scrolls.
    • In the game's sequel, Wakfu, there's less emphasis on summons (and no way to learn "extra" summons), but eleven out of fifteen classes still get at least one by default. (Not the same 11 classes, and mostly not the same summons) Summoning here is split into two types: "Leadership" (for summoning living or magically-animated creatures), and "Mechanics" (for summoning or building devices).
  • The "Summon Elemental" spell in Archon is this — it brings a random elemental onto the board to fight an enemy piece of the current player's choice that's not standing on a power point. Both the Wizard (light side) and the Sorceress (dark side) can cast this spell once per game each, and regardless of the outcome of the fight the elemental disappears again immediately afterwards.
  • Churbles defines summon magic fairly loosely. The three types of "summonur" are travelurs (who summon portals through time and space and can speed up or slow down time at their leisure), beckonurs (who use portals to catch and control creatures and spawn elemental minions), and heralds (who are basically shamans who heal and buff allies with Elemental Powers "summoned" from the elemental lords)
  • The Summon tree in Avencast: Rise of the Mage is engineered the same as the other two skill trees, but summons require substantial investment and are anemic by comparison.
  • Weirdly, some (not all) of the Character cards in Metal Gear Ac!d appear to allow Snake and Teliko to summon main series characters to attack their enemies. Some which do this are Cyborg Ninja (Fixed Damage Attack on any target on the stage), Psycho Mantis (mind control on any living target on the stage), Genola (knocks out all characters on the stage), Gurlugon (slows down all characters on the stage) and the Metal Gear cards (trampling enemies, shooting them, cutting them up...).
  • In the fourth installment of the Super Smash Bros. series, Zelda, having lost her ability to transform into Sheik, gains a move where she summons a Phantom from the DS games. It's quite versatile as it can deliver a strong attack and even take hits for Zelda.
  • Warlock: Master Of The Arcane allows player to summon variety of magical creatures to serve in his or her army.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Servants in Fate/stay night and the related works. You prepare a magic circle, usually made of blood. Optionally, you can add a relic of that hero or specify them as a Berserker. Then they show up, you make a contract for a week or two throughout the Grail War. The Servant stays until either they are defeated or the Grail War ends, at which point the Grail stops helping you supply them with Prana and they go home. Except for Gilgamesh. Saber and Rider too in two of the different endings. Oh, and the magus who summons them generally has absolutely 0 chance of ever being able to beat their Servant in combat, though there are a few exceptions.
  • One of two supernatural powers present in Rewrite. Most summoners are in an organization called Gaia and they fight against an organization of superhumans.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Just about all "furniture" (Think where summons and servants collide) uses this trope. At least, in the mansion. Given that the meta-world appears to be where all the magical stuff lives (at least at this point in time), anyone magical can pop up at any time.

    Web Comics 
  • Pai from Whats Shakin, is a spirit mage; a type of mage that can gain the powers from the creatures they bind to and are able to summon their spirits in the form of "haints" aka ghosts. Of course...Pai is not able to use these powers yet.
  • Cherry, the oddly Genre Savvy elf from the now-defunct RPG World could summon with magical stones.
  • In Adventurers!, Ardam could use summon magic as well, though it usually backfired amusingly on him. Also, his Crowning Moment of Awesome hinges on an inversion: pulling an enemy into the realm of summoned creatures so they can all beat the hell out of it. This was thought to be impossible until, in the middle of battle, Ardam figured out how to do it.
  • MS Paint Adventures: Problem Sleuth affectionately parodies the one-shot-attack summon with a strange array of options: Wilford Brimley, Henry Clay, and a trio of blind jazz musicians are a few examples.
  • Done a few times in Sluggy Freelance, all involving spells found in the Book of E-Ville. Most summoned creatures are demons, who are used to grant wishes, seek vengeance, or buy beer. However, at one point Bun-Bun summons the Groundhog's shadow (yes, the one which tries to scare a groundhog every February 2nd so there can be six more weeks of winter); the spell goes wrong, and the Living Shadow ends up stuck to Bun-Bun for several years.
  • Summoned creatures in El Goonish Shive are of the instant ally variety. They are dismissed if "killed" (the same critter can be re-summoned and give a report) or the summoner is knocked out.
  • Last Res0rt has a non-magical (sorta) variant of this with the Efreet, specifically Adharia's ally, Sedja (who stays in a bottle around Adharia's neck most of the time, and has so far been "summoned" by shooting her out of a gun that the bottle happens to fit). We haven't seen much of her so far, but her first appearance is a textbook example of this trope.
    • Sedja would've stayed out longer to fight...except White Noise threatened to stuff Addy in the bottle if she didn't put Sedja back first.
  • In Crimson Flag elemental spirits can be channeled through staffs to act as allies. The religion of the Red Reyn bans this type of magic as "spirits are rivals to The Lady."

    Web Original 
  • It seems like summoning in Trinton Chronicles works very much like Western style, where the summons stay around as a new character and beat the crap out of whoever, but they aren't magic spells instead being actual supernatural powers to do the summoning although the rules of marking / making a pact with are about the same.
  • Whateley Universe: This is what makes the supervillain Devilmaster so feared. He summons, stores away, and controls all kinds of devils. Then sics them on people.
  • The fictional MMORPG in Noob has a summoner class, which is played by Gaea.

    Western Animation 
  • This is how the seeker in Huntik: Secrets & Seekers get their titans out of their amulets to battle.
  • In the French CGI series The Little Prince, this is what the powers of the Little Prince amounts to. Besides multi-usage sheeps, he can summon many fantastic creatures or items for the task at hand simply by drawing them. Strangely, despite this he's always puzzled when people call him a wizard.


Summon Everyman HeroSummoned IndexSummon to Hand
Shoot the Medic FirstAntagonist AbilitiesTrap Master
Stock RPG SpellsVideo Game Effects and SpellsSuper Mode
Stronger with AgeImageSource/Tabletop GamesSupernatural Is Purple
Stronger with AgeMagic and PowersSummon to Hand

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
126674
0