Ambiguous Gender: Coral is explicitly this, as a direct result of Schrödinger's Gun. When the Dragon Child is first met, the protagonist is asked by another character what the Dragon Child's sex is. The response options are "male", "female", and "I don't know". Coral is the result of choosing the third option. Gameplay and Story Integration keeps this up as Coral ignores sex restrictions on equipment and can be used in both the Undead Ship Captain and Dryad collaborative summons, which requires 4 male characters and 4 female characters respectively.
Anti-Grinding: Free battles grant less experience and money than story battles. Furthermore, Brave Clears impose a level ceiling meaning if you want to try for them, you can't level up too much.
Cap: Magic healing and damage is subject to this. In general, this number is four times the power of a summon's skill.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In Summon Night 3, there are four possible students to be your companion. Each of them is dressed in the color matching the summonite corresponding to their summoning affinity.
Combination Attack: Certain summon attacks require a specific set of characters within a certain range of the summoner.
There is also a non-summon combination attack in Summon Night 4.
Crossover: Sort of. Unlike many RPG series, all the games in the main series take place in the same verse, but at different times and different places. The second and third games feature an extra story with characters from the previous game meeting with the characters of the current game, all aged accordingly. The fourth game overdoses on this, featuring many characters from all three previous games. Some of them even get big roles. The first four spin-off games, the three Craftsword Monogatari games and EX-These, also share the same universe but they don't get referenced as much. Thus, a more straight case would be the bonus bosses in the fourth game.
Contractual Boss Immunity: Most named enemy characters in story battles have this. It's a bit toned down in Summon Night 4, where most of them only have immunity to charm and possession effects and are just highly resistant to everything else.
Critical Hit: Determined by the difference in TEC between attacker and defender. This difference also determines physical hit/evade rate. Certain status effects will also modify the likelihood of getting a critical hit.
Chinese Girl: Mei-Mei and Xiao-Mei. They're both the same person.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Reckless Summoning ability. It increases the power of a summon skill (and raises the cap as well), but there's a chance to shatter the summonite, rendering you without that summon for the rest of the battle (you can always make a new one and re-equip it after battle). It's available as part of the protagonist's Deadly Upgrade/Super-Powered Evil Side in Summon Night 3 but is enemy exclusive in Summon Night 4.
Down the Rabbit Hole: The protagonists of the first game. Interestingly, every game in the main series has at least one character from the Nameless World who has this happen to them. Summon Night 2 has Leonard, Summon Night 3 has Genji, and Summon Night 4 has Kentarou.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Averted. Summon magics are aligned by their origin, except for those of the Nameless World. Nothing is weak to any particular origin, but all can be resisted either slightly or greatly. Creatures with a tie to a certain world have great resistance to summons of the same origin.
Enemy Summoner: Enemy summoners are finally capable of Western-style summoning in Summon Night 4.
Excuse Plot: Subverted with the first game of Swordscraft Story. At first, it seems like your typical To Be a Master tournament plot, but as the game goes on the story slowly evolves into a tale of corruption, lies and betrayal.
Fantasy Gun Control: Lampshaded and justified in Summon Night 3. When Sonolar asks Mei-Mei if she has any guns for sale, she responds by saying that she has an agreement with the residents of the Forgotten Island to not carry them. This is repealed when the residents see that the imperial forces have guns.
Karma Meter: Requisite for certain optional characters and endings.
Lady of War: Azlier. She comes from a military family and is a squad captain of an imperial naval force.
Lethal Joke Summon: Denchi-Man in Summon Night 3, who as his name implies, is a battery. Sure, his animation is laughable and damage is pathetic. But he has a huge range and is the lowest cost paralysis inducing summon in the game. Then again, by the time you obtain this, you are most likely at the end of the game, where just about every enemy is immune to paralysis. It does makes subsequent playthroughs much easier as you can have Aldyria safely and easily lockdown most non-boss enemies early in the game.
Leaked Experience: Experience received is stored in a shared pool. Thus it's easy to level up characters without them participating in battle much. The easiest way to do this is to simply rack up experience with your core group, enter a free battle with the characters you want to level up, retreat, and level them up at the level up screen.
Lighter and Softer: If you look hard enough, it is possible to make an argument for the setting as a Crapsaccharine World. The Summon Night games are by far Flight-Plan's lightest and softest games. Note these games are also the only Flight-Plan developed games not to really feature religion.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Does a somewhat good attempt at averting it. Magic has 100% accuracy, great range, awesome control potential, not subject to height and facing, and more enemies have lower magic defense than physical defense. However, magic cannot generate a critical hit, is subject to a damage cap, can be resisted, and MP can rarely be replenished. Warriors, on the other hand, can get more attacks by tanking and using counterattack. And because they can continually deal good damage without worrying about MP, warriors are great for cleaning up any enemies that have been paralyzed by your casters. In the end, you'll definitely want to load up on casters, but warriors have their uses.
Mascot: Most of the recurring instant ally summons fall into this.
Master of None: Lucian. There are ways to make him less mediocre, but they are rather roundabout and still fail make him stand out. At best, he is capable but is left in a position that doesn't mesh easily with everyone else.
May-December Romance: Ribiel towards Lucian hinted when she tends to him and stays only by him despite others also suffering from the Soul Rot Disease caused by the black snow. Maybe considered Shotacon and/or Puppy Love. Ribiel is certainly older than Lucian in terms of chronological age, but is seemingly younger in terms of mental age.
Mini-Game: Plenty of them in each game, with prizes changing each chapter. The button mashing fishing minigame is present in every entry.
Multiple Endings: There are only a few endings concerning the overall plot, but loads of character-specific epilogues.
Mythology Gag: Summon Night 4 does this for the Summon Night series what Final Fantasy IX did for the Final Fantasy series. Summon Night 4 has the added bonus of sharing the setting with the earlier games. Unlike Final Fantasy IX, Summon Night 4 did turn out to be the last game in the main series... at least until Namco Bandai unexpectedly announced Summon Night 5.
In the first game, Wizell forges a powerful magic sword for the protagonist. He does the same in Summon Night 3.
New Game+: Many differences occur on a second playthrough, revealing more about the plot. A few endings require a second playthrough. Also, Summon Night 2 and Summon Night 3 have a gaiden where you play as the characters from the directly previous game.
Nintendo Hard: As expected of Flight-Plan. Summon Night 3 is notable for being a bit blatant about this due to fan complaints about one of Flight-Plan's earlier games, Black/Matrix 2, being too easy.
No Export for You: Not surprising given Flight-Plan's lack of distribution capabilities. SCEA following Bernard "Bernie" Stolar's policy of disparaging 2D games and RPGs in the PS1 era likely didn't help.
Non-Elemental: Summons related to the Nameless World are null aligned. They are not subject to origin resistances but are still affected by generic anti-magic abilities. It is far from being an Infinity+1 Element, though. Most of these summons are indirect support abilities that bring forth an object onto the battlefield. The few summons capable of directly attacking are inefficient in terms of power to MP cost. Also, in Summon Night 4, none of the null summons can be upgraded.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: Played almost straight in the first Summon Night. Except for Hayato, all the other protagonists have very similar stat growths. Averted in subsequent games, where the male and female protagonists have different stat and ability growths.
Relationship Values: As a character-based game, this determines the character-based part of the endings.
Road Cone: Mostly averted. The gaiden crossovers allow the player to choose the protagonist of the previous game while the current game's protagonist might be loaded from a clear save file or not be mentioned directly. Summon Night 4 doesn't mention the previous protagonists.
The materials outside the games play it straight. The Summon Night 4Drama CD features the male protagonist and the ambiguous gender Dragon Child. The Summon Night 3 novel (受け継がれし炎) released in the wake of the game's re-release features the female protagonist and the machine-aligned student.
Robot Girl: The named Mechanical Dolls in Summon Night 4. The generic mechanical dolls in the series appear to be robot maids as well.
Schrödinger's Gun: Used when choosing a partner character. The games usually don't make it clear to you it's doing this. From the second game on, you also get to answer a more obvious question that determines whether the protagonist is a warrior or caster.
In Summon Night 3, this is also used to determine the which of the two sub-arcs you will follow. Naturally, it's not made obvious. After meeting the guardians for the first time, you are given the choice to speak with one of the four. Speaking with either Falzen or Ardylia will lead to the Hainel sub-arc and speaking to Yaffa or Kyuuma will lead to the Rikku sub-arc. The one you spoke to will be given a more sympathetic point of view within the chosen sub-arc.
Squishy Wizard: Most summoners/casters are this. Most have surprisingly good magic defense and can tank magic attacks until the enemy runs out of MP.
Summon Magic: Seriously, it's in the title. All in-battle magic is based off this. As such, almost all are the Eastern variety, but a few can double as the Western variety. The latter requires a special ability, though. It's also how the protagonist ends up in Lyndbaum in the first game.
Updated Re-release: The first two games have been re-released on the NDS. Both have the party skill system introduced in the third game added into it. The next two games have been re-released on the PSP and on PSN. Both take the puppet/dummy system introduced in the fourth game up to eleven.
Awesome, but Impractical: The final attack spells on summon beasts, for the most part. They look extremely flashy, have really cool names and can basically destroy any random encounter in any of the games when cast—but they take a ridiculously long time to charge (during which they are interruptible) and still deal rather underwhelming damage against bosses.
Back-to-Back Badasses: The player and Varil do this while Varil takes on two Deigleyan soldiers and the player takes on Craftlord Lubert.
Badass Teacher: V.E from Craft Sword Story Hajimari no Ishi so much. Especially when she saves the main character with an absolutely badass flying kick in one of the villains.
Bag of Holding: The prominent sheath thingy worn by the main character of the first game is able to hold weapons bigger than it.
A lot more areas resembling the ones you traveled through the game in the second and third.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Although not too difficult, these enemies are much more powerful than the normal enemies found in the area.
Borrowed Catchphrase: In the first game, Varil explains his presence in one scene by mentioning Sakuro told him about the situation and told him to not "underestimate the ability of a Craftlord to gather information", a play on Varil's regular claims about the Gold Guild's (headed by his father) ability to gather information when asked how he knows about events he wasn't involved in. The significance of this line is easily lost because Varil's use of the statement is restricted to walks at night, when most players spending this time with the girls.
Breakable Weapons: While weapons are breakable, it takes a lot to make them break. In some games, the weapons repair after combat, but in others, you need to use your forge or use items to repair them.
In Swordcraft Story breaking your opponent's weapon is the key to winning the one-on-one battles, especially since doing so teaches you the technique of the weapon in question.
Butt Monkey : Velveron in the third game is a weak, useless Summoner that gets often abused by the main cast. Creaving for power, he lets himself be absorbed by the Evil Sword, and becomes the Final Boss !
Captain Ersatz: GUNVALD is most definitely an original creation... The funny thing is that Banpresto was partially owned (now entirely owned) by Namco Bandai at the time of release.
Cast from Hit Points: In the third game, the Summon Beasts' special attacks require hit points to cast.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Sugar in Swordcraft Story who gets upset nearly every time the protagonist talks to a woman.
Cool Big Sis: V.E is the sister (treated as such anyways, technically the former master's summon beast) AND master of the main characters of Craft Sword Story Hajimari no Ishi, the third game.
Continuity Nod: In the second game, an NPC mentions asking Blaire to forge them a new ladle so they can make curry, referring to the first game.
Crossover Ship: invoked At the end of the cameo appearance of the Summon Night 1 protagonist, Sugar accuses Pratty of liking them more than her, to which she claims (of they were set to be female) "That's not true. We're both girls.".
Eleventh Hour Superpower: Your weapon is infused with your Guardian Beast in order to allow you to damage the Final Boss of the first game. You can choose if you'll sacrifice it or not if don't choose to you'll have to pick the fourth sword making you craft a "downgraded" version of the weapon
In the last fight of the second game you gain a stronger version of the gem morph.
Fragile Speedster: Enki, the fully animal Guardian Beast in the third game. Fast, spammy, but doesn't do much damage per hit, and his HP and Defense leaves something to be desired. The player character can be one of these in all three games by focusing on Knuckles.
Fill It With Flowers: In Swordcraft Story, Razzy wants to turn Wystern into a city of flowers if she wins the tournament and becomes one of the city's Craftlords.
Also what Guren Goura wanted to do the the main hero in Craft Sword Story 2.
Half-Human Hybrid: Apparently, sometime in the distant past Wystern was invaded by the forces of Silturn. Although the humans of Wystern won in the end, many oni settled down in Wystern and had children. People with names like Rondeau and Shintetsu are descended from these oni. And since Pratty is Shintetsu's child...
This would explain why Pratty has a helmet design with two holes in it. She has tufts of hair stick out of them, but it was probably originally designed to accommodate horns.
Happiness in Slavery: Most of the summon beasts seem fine with being your partner. However, a lot of them naturally dislike being taken from their homes and enslaved to a human, and it's indicated that summons unlucky enough to belong to someone other than the main character/s are often mistreated.
The fact that there are so many "stray" summons as Random Encounters is...troubling. These were Summons that were definitely not happy.
Heroic BSOD: EXeLD has a bad habit of literally BSOD-ing whenever something occurs that he deems "impossible".
Also, Nina Nina and Passeau while still in Nina's body
I Never Said It Was Poison: After obtaining the first Daemon Edge during the walk with Gabriel he mentions it was the first Daemon Edge, something he wasn't around to learn. While he manages to fool Aera with an excuse, the look on his face and injury to his arm make his status as the black swordsman clear.
In the third game: This is how Tram found out about Anise true self.
Internal Reformist: One late game conversation with Kenon has him give this as his reason for remaining in the Gold Guild.
In the first game, rescuing Sanary from soldiers has her attempt at cooking attack you in a Boss Battle.
Lethal Joke Item: The Red Hot Ladle is actually the best weapon at breaking enemy weapons so that you can forge them yourself. Yes, even better than the Infinity+1 Sword created by the Eldritch Abomination possessing someone. It has an endurance of 200, and you can max your skill in it's use to 255, and even if you don't need it for that, melting it down produces more of the notoriously rare Mystic Ore than it takes to produce it. Fridge Logic makes it even funnier in that the lesson in creating a ladle was one of patience being its own reward. The Main Character is so convinced it has to be more than that that they can make a super-weapon out of it.
Lightning Bruiser: Third game, robot buddy Run-Dor's true form. Loses the jump prohibition, gains a good chunk of movement speed, his special becomes a powerful projectile, he maintains his excessive amounts of HP and Defense, and he hits even harder than before. Ouch.
Master of None: The Guardian Beast Rufeel, the green one wearing a summer hat, in the third game is an all-around GB who can use all kinds of spell but she isn't the strongest with any of them.
May-December Romance: Maybe. Depending on just how old you think Pratty and Sakuro are, and if you interpret their plot as romantic. Possibly including Main Character x Any Summon, verging into Mayfly-December Romance if you consider that the summons are angels/demons/ect and likely to live much longer than a human.
Mighty Glacier: Run-Dor, the orange robot Guardian Beast in the third game. Can't jump, very slow. Has tons of HP and Defense, and hits like a truck. The player character can also be one of these in any of the games if they focus on Axes.
Multiple Endings: Has one for each characters you can possibly meet during the end of the day conversations.
Muscles Are Meaningless: Chaves has a large muscle bound frame four times the square area of any other human opponent. He is stupidly easy to beat, and the second time you fight him, he can be killed in a few hits. To make things worse, his BFS is no harder for the player character to use than a basic axe.
Nintendo Hard: Those who don't come prepared to the final battle will find themselves having a hell of a time defeating the string of final bosses. With limited item and magic use, it makes it harder.
Go to the Bonus Dungeon with no proper level and preparation, also the bosses doesn't helps even a bit.
Breaking opponents weapons in the third game even with the right skills is not very easy and you did it? They might have a second. Have fun.
Loki, Dinah (at least half of her) and Lynn, Ryouga in the second game.
Killfith in the last game.
No Export for You: The third game did not get a North American port due to the Japanese original being released, in typical Flight-Plan fashion, late in the Game Boy Advance's life (2005). Then there's the fact that game systems in Japan tend to have a longer lifespan. Atlus deciding not to port it due to worries about low sales was indeed well justified.
Only One Name: The second game's PC has a last name ("Colthearts"), it just gets mentioned a grand total of twice, both the in same conversation, to which people react with surprise. Played straight for everyone else but Nina Nina and Gedharm Camcarossa (also mentioned very rarely).
Parental Abandonment: The protagonists in both games, as well as a good amount of supporting characters.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: Actually averted in the first game, where a lot of the dialog varies based on the player character. Played straight in the second.
A villager in the item shop in Swordcraft Story 2 does this as well.
Script Breaking: In the first game an event starts after the creation of your first weapon... unless it isn't a "Novice Knife" (You don't get any more recipes at this point, but completing the sidequests will get you two, dependent on your Guardian Beast, and the materials to make them). To progress you need to grab more materials and make a Novice Knife and watch everyone claim it is your first weapon.
Shout-Out: At one point in the game, you are asked if you've heard rumors about a hero from a land in the south. Your choice of answers (male/female, followed by a choice of two personalities) each corresponds to one of the four playable main characters from the original Summon Night, and depending on what combination you pick, that character will show up in the story rather shortly afterward.
This also happens in Craft Sword Story 2, with the heroes from Summon Night 2 making a guest appearance.
Sore Loser: Chaves in the first game. He claims your victory was because of your Guardian Beast, despite the fact that he didn't summon his. Bonus points if you didn't actually use your Beast in this battle.
Squishy Wizard: Killfith, the purple-haired demon Guardian Beast in the third game. None too powerful fighting himself, but his Magic rating is leagues ahead of the other three. Late-game, he can one-spell encounters, and on top of all this, he gets the most and the strongest heals, including a revive.
Tag Team: The third game finally lets your Guardian Beast tag in for you with one of its spells, and will do so automatically if you die with that spell in your active spells list.
The Unfought: You hear a lot about how powerful various characters are, but you never actually get to do battle with most of them. The game sort of allows you to gauge their strength by comparison—you get to fight two Craftlords directly throughout the course of the game, Lubert and Ureksa. It's also somewhat implied that the average Craftlord is about on the same level as Sanary in the tournament. However, it's still only guesswork—a lot of the fighting involving Craftlords tends to take place off-screen. Varil also invokes this in the game's ending, but you can still fight him in the post-game exhibition matches.
To Be a Master: Particularly in the first game. Everyone wants to be a Craftlord.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: After you beat the first game, you're able to fight all the major tournament opponents again in post-game exhibition matches. However, none of them are any stronger than they were when you first fought them, meaning that with your endgame stats, you can floor most of them with as few as one or two hits. This is particularly jarring for opponents you fought early on like Razzy and Chavez. In Razzy's case, she actually accompanies you later on in a dungeon filled with creatures that are way higher in level than her level in the tournament (and she apparently handles herself just fine). In Chavez's case, he is actually fought again after his tournament match and has about three times his original health—but goes back down to his original strength when you fight him a third time in the post-game. May also be an example of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: An oddity for the series, Gran-These has one. Coincidentally, it follows the cycle from Fire Emblem. That is, Light → Dark → Anima → Light. Anima also has its own internal cycle of Water → Fire → Air → Earth.
Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: In Gran-These, Lost uses a sword while Millet uses a gun. EX-These has a lesser version: Leonus uses a two-handed sword while Ainna uses a rapier.
Schrödinger's Player Character: Notably averted considering the rest of series (except the first Summon Night due to Early Installment Weirdness) follows it. The choice of protagonist in both EX-These and Gran-These is a POV thing. You can switch protagonists in EX-These with the press of a button.
Spell My Name with an S: EX-These has been rendered as "Ecstasy" and "EX-Thesis". To be fair, it was a change from Flight-Plan's usual Gratuitous English where a transliteration could easily be found in the game or the website. Only various books related to the game had it until the series' 10th anniversary celebration. Even there, it was hidden in the background image of the commemoration site. Not to mention the site's navigational display was obscuring it. This meant to see it, one had to stop the page before it finished loading; no easy feat as Japan has the best overall internet speeds in the world. The updated commemoration site has since changed to make it more easily visible.
夜明けの翼 (the subtitle of EX-These) is sometimes erroneously transliterated as "youaku no tsubasa" rather than the correct "youake no tsubasa". This likely has its origin in the scene release group GANT, whose release had the error (along with the "EX-Thesis" spelling), and spread as P2P copied it. GameFAQs had the error at one point, but was later corrected.
Like Brother and Sister: Aldo and Reiha, despite him being a Summon Creature summoned by her. However, they were raised as brother and sister for the past seven years. Can be subverted to Not Blood Siblings depending on the ending you get (and how you interpret them).