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Summoning Ritual

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"Do not call up that which you cannot put down."

As all witches and warlocks know, summoning creatures from another plane of existence requires a bit of ceremony. Sacrifices and exotic materials may be required along with elaborate ceremonies, but a simple geometric figure and a few candles will often be enough. A good place to do this is At the Crossroads. Of course, there may be a whole other price to pay if the ritual succeeds. Keeping trickster demons and other unworldly apparitions can take a great deal of concentration or chanting; if the protective pentagram should be disturbed... (Never... EVER... break the circle.)

If we're talking about demons, the road to summoning is not easy. You need to learn the magic circles, the true names of various demons, every conceivable precaution against the demon once summoned (as it's a rare demon who likes doing a summoner's dirty work). All told, it takes years of serious study... and heaven help you if you decide you're ready for a real demon midway through your training. Remember, Evil Is Not a Toy!

With an experienced Evil Sorcerer or Sorcerous Overlord; the relationship is a bit different. Said sorcerer is probably already going to Hell, so their soul isn't as valuable; or else they have the demon's playbook on Deal with the Devil. Thus, it becomes a contest of who can benefit more from each other. The Sorcerer gets tidbits of advice and power while negotiating; while the demon manipulates the sorcerer into doing the most evil possible (usually because Humans Are Special, it's different if a human does it) or else getting free. (Humans can usually summon Demons because of Free Will, which a Demon often feels is easier gotten past than from where they came.) ...and even if the sorcerer is perfect in their maintenance, the demon may manipulate any passing heroes into freeing them.

A good rule of thumb when dealing with things from beyond is never to call up what you cannot put down, or summon anything larger than your head. Most people seem to make the grade with just a random mortal from another plane at any rate. Mind you, even if everything goes right, you might end up summoning someone out of the shower!

The classical name for a scene in which some chthonic being is summoned up is a nekyia (νέκυια), which is to be distinguished from a catabasis {κατάβασις} or descent into the underworld.

Contrast Banishing Ritual, though sometimes banishing that which was summoned can be as simple as reversing the original ritual. And do make sure you have all the right ingredients and the stars are properly aligned before you start the chanting, or else you may end up performing an Imperfect Ritual.


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Screwing Up Summoning

    Anime and Manga 
  • In The Demon Girl Next Door, this is the cause of Mikan's curse; her father summoned a demon to protect his family and business, but did it wrong, and the resulting demon took up residence in Mikan, trying to fulfill its intended purpose by lashing out at everyone around her when it senses her agitation or distress.
  • In the Fate/stay night series, mages can summon up and form contracts with legendary spirits using a summoning circle, invocation, and, optionally, an artifact related to said hero's legend. Of course a lot can, and inevitably does, go wrong. Messing up (or deliberately screwing with) the invocation might make your hero come back wrong. Summon a shining knight under the wrong class and you might end up with a dark, twisted, aspect of their legend. And even if you do manage to get everything right, it doesn't necessarily make the resulting spirit either heroic or even loyal.
    • Zigzagged with Rin's summoning of Archer in the fifth Holy Grail War. She was trying to summon King Arthur, but instead got a strange man who can't remember his own name and doesn't know what Heroic Spirit he even is. But it turns out nothing went wrong with the ritual itself: Archer has his memories but it would be inconvenient for him to reveal his identity to Rin, so he pretends to have amnesia using the "failed" summoning as an excuse. Plus, she unknowingly had a catalyst related to him on her person at the time: a gem that she would eventually use to save the life of his present-day self and thus a viable connection for a summoning.
    • In the third Holy Grail War, the Einzberns tried to guarantee their victory by summoning Angra Mainyu, a God of Evil. Things go wrong in multiple ways: first, the Holy Grail isn't actually capable of summoning gods as Servants; and second, Angra Mainyu never existed anyway. So what they summoned was a random Mesopotamian villager who was forced to assume the ROLE of Angra Mainyu and was sacrificed by his fellow men as the embodiment of evil. Said random, nameless villager had almost no power at all and was by far the weakest Servant in that Holy Grail War.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Human Transmutation (i.e. resurrecting the dead) resembles a summoning ritual. The results are rarely pretty. It also never works. Turns out that the dead can't be brought back to life. Ever. No amount of sacrifice can overcome that basic law.
    • The anime, Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) has a different variation of this, in which a homunculus is created in place of the actual person they're trying to resurrect. This is eventually revealed to be exploited by Dante who created Wrath as a perfect homunculus that is loyal only to her.
  • Fushigi Yuugi. Depending on how strong the Miko's will is, it can be successful or disastrous.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, England gets mad at America for some ill-defined reason and decides to summon a "twisted creature of monstrous size and strength ... with the power to crush America" as revenge. What he gets is not exactly what he was hoping for.
  • Shouta from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid performed a demon summoning ritual to get a Familiar and prove to his father that he's a strong wizard. Lucoa sensed the ritual and — feeling that it would be bad if a demon showed up in the middle of a Japanese suburb — teleported herself in and formed a familiar contract with him instead. Since the ritual was specifically for demons, Shouta is convinced that Lucoa is a succubus, and her Comedic Shotacon tendencies don't exactly help her attempts to convince him otherwise.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: There are various rituals available to mages to summon different demons. One of them gets one hell of a surprise when the demon turns out be Satan himself, who was looking for a doorway to reach mankind after they had abandoned the previous world to escape its destruction.
  • Doctor Strange: Before attempting to covertly travel to the Dark Dimension, Strange summoned entities from the realm of Satannish. The idea was to expose himself to them enough to temporarily taint his aura and avoid detection. His assistant knocking on the door and interrupting his concentration turned that into a serious struggle, since he had disabled some of the protections that would normally have shielded him from their presence.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014): As last resort, Bruno and Mike attempt to summon Loki based on advice they collected off the internet and doesn't fit into standard belief systems at all. It doesn't work. But they manage to attract his attention because they to choose a place Loki keeps an eye on and the sheer ridiculousness of the attempt.
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • In Volume 1, they were fishing for Death and caught Dream. Dream claims they got lucky in missing Death, even as he provides them with a Fate Worse than Death.
    • Gets a Call-Back in The Dreaming when the Grand Magus' great-granddaughter attempts to summon one of The Fair Folk and snags Puck, then ignores her own advice about politely throwing back snared sharks.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Gahan Wilson comic has a sterotypical wizard standing in a grubby summoning circle looking at the pudgy little demon he's called up. "You use inferior materials, you get inferior demons."

  • This trope is the entire reason the plot of Star Wars: The Sith, Zero exists. Louise fails note  the Springtime Familiar Summoning and is transported to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
  • Fate/Harem Antics: Since Shirou's mother is in control of the Holy Grail from beyond the grave, she deliberately screws up most of the summonings. Rin got Francis Drake instead of the canon Archer, Sakura still got Medusa but the summoning brought the ceiling down on Zouken and allowed Sakura to escape, Zouken got Hassan of Serenity and immediately got himself killed when he made the mistake of slapping her because he didn't know she's a Poisonous Person, so on and so on. Iri deliberately makes all the Servants and Masters female under the assumption that they'll all fall in love with Shirou and she can finally get grandkids.

  • At least two demon summoners in Belgariad, sequels and prequels were stupid enough to draw pentagrams on water.
    • This is partly a means of showing off: "Yeah, I can draw letters of glowing energy on water!" It even works if the water in question is standing still. Drawing your pentagram on a river, on the other hand... that's getting into Idiot Ball territory.
    • One of the ones who drew it on still water still didn't think it through — she drew it on the sea, and got punished soundly for forgetting about waves.
    • Even without this fault, demon summoning is certain to go awry if the magician loses his concentration for even a moment. Which the captive demon will do its absolute best to make happen. Magicians have short lifespans.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones Dark Lord of Derkholm, the wizard Derk has to summon a demon to fulfill his titular role. Unfortunately he drops a syllable and accidentally calls up a much more powerful one than he can control.
  • In James Blisch's The Day After Judgment, the summoning goes horribly wrong, even tho the initial intent was for the demons to cause some chaos. Two evil protagonists contract with the most powerful evil wizard around to set loose some nasty demons, just for kicks. Trouble is, Theron Ware, the black wizard, does his job too well, and actually removes all the pre-existing restrictions on the demon's actions, literally setting loose all the hordes of hell on the mortal world, undoing the balance of heaven and hell, and directly causing the apocalypse. Which Heaven loses, as God never shows up. Oops.
  • In the Discworld novel Eric, the titular Eric — the Discworld's first demonology hacker — attempts to summon a demon. Instead he gets Rincewind. Much to Rincewind's annoyance, he's still trapped in the magic circle until he grants Eric's wishes; as the parrot puts it "If you come in through the door marked 'wossnames', you get treated as a wossname. Demon."
    • Albert became Death's manservant due to one of these. Reasoning that the Rite of Askh Ente summons Death to the caster, performing the ritual in reverse will keep Death away forever! Instead Albert(o Malich) found himself whisked away to Death's domain, while the wizards put up a big statue of him in Unseen University.
  • In The Double Shadow by Clark Ashton Smith, the wizard Avyctes is an expert at summoning every kind of spirit and demon. So when he discovers a summoning spell from a hitherto-unknown precursor race, he casts it the first chance he gets. This despite the fact that the spell (a) doesn't say what it summons, and (b) doesn't come with a matching rite of exorcism to make whatever it summons go away again. It doesn't end well.
  • In one of the first stories ever set in the Dragonlance world, Tasslehoff Burrfoot is brought to a wizard's tower by a teleporting ring. There, he interrupts the wizard's summoning of Demogorgon, allowing the Demon Prince to break free of its bindings and carry the wizard off. Turns out Demogorgon had created the ring eons ago, specifically to free it if it ever became subject to a mortal's control. Given how strong Demogorgon is, this was one of the few documented times that a kender actually felt scared.
  • A large part of several The Dresden Files books. Don't summon something you can't hold (like the Erlking almost was), or something when your enemies hear (like the demon from the first book), or repeatedly in obvious places, because Harry will sic it back on you.
    • Harry summons a bunch of entities for information over the course of the series but, unfortunately, knowledge correlates with power. Be careful.
  • The Drizzt novels have featured this a few times. One was an apprentice who screwed up the pentagram and let out a balor. Cadderly also summons up demons and kills them, which inconveniences them... somehow.
    • Pasting demons on the material plane sends them home, and prevents them from coming back on their own for 100 years — unless summoned by the person who "killed" them in the first place.
  • In the Fredric Brown short-short story Naturally, a student summons up a demon wanting to be better at mathematics, except he draws a hexagram instead of a pentagram on his protective circle...
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar novel Oathbound, a young and incompetent mage accidentally speaks the name of a major demon rather than the imp he was trying to summon. The demon seduces him into dropping what protections he does have, and then kills him slowly and painfully.
  • Joe Haldeman's short story "I of Newton" depicts a mathematician accidently summoning up a demon and then trying to get out of having his soul snatched. It was adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone (1985).
  • Night World: The Inner Circle (the ruling council of witches) use a special ritual to summon the spirits of witch ancestors on Samhain, with Thea and Blaise stating that as kids they snuck out to secretly watch the summoning. In Spellbinder Thea attempts the summoning ritual herself to call forth the spirit of Phoebe Garner, a benevolent witch she hopes will shield Eric from Blaise, but she accidentally ends up with Suzanne Blanchet instead, who is not remotely inclined to protect humans.
  • In Tales of Kolmar, demons live in their own world within the normal world. Demon summoners call them up out of it with complicated rituals, often sacrificing something to bring a demon into the circle, sacrificing more to bind it and get it to do things. Demons will quite happily escape the summoning circle and kill the summoner, then go on a rampage, if the summoner is careless. The demons can encourage this by making the summoners feel overconfident and more likely to skip steps. In The Lesser Kindred Berys decides to summon something he doesn't know how to dismiss, reasoning that he can bind it indefinitely while alive and doesn't care what happens to the world after he's dead.
  • In the Thousand Sons novel Ahriman: Exile, Ahriman and Astraeos summon a daemon through an elaborate ritual (involving ninety-nine mirrors set to float in precise patterns, complex spirals carved into the floor, and a personal blood sacrifice on Ahrimanís part) in order to gain information on Amonís plans. Unfortunately for them, Amon anticipated that they would summon this particular daemon and bound it into his service pre-emptively; it pretends to be under Ahrimanís control, then attacks him when he lets his guard down.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, Mother Gerd tells Holger she summoned up a sprite to question. Given that she warns him against praying or crossing himself, and recites the Lord's Prayer backwards, it's clearly a devil.
  • In Warlocks of the Sigil, Kole and her friends including Asim decide to summon using dark magic to get rid of the demons despite warnings against, with Kole doing the main summoning, this leads to the Dark Queen coming and taking Kole as her slave as payment for the killed demons
  • In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged decides to show off by summoning the spirit of Queen Elfarran from the dead. He succeeds, but also inadvertently calls a "Shadow", which promptly tries to kill him, then stalks him for the next several years trying to finish him off. On the bright side, it gives him the taking down a couple pegs he badly needed; on the downside, it leaves him badly scarred.

    Live Action Television 
  • In Ash vs. Evil Dead the titular hero has an ally use the Necronomicon to summon Eligos the demon so that they can question it on how to banish the Deadites. Surprisingly, the ritual works perfectly until a detective trying to arrest Ash breaks the circle and Eligos is free to attack everyone.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the second episode Anya is in has Anya tricking Willow into trying to summon her power source from when she was a Vengeance Demon. Instead, they get the Vampire Willow from the alternate universe they were trying to get the necklace from. The BDSM loving, all leather wearing, overtly bisexual, insane Vampire Willow.
    • Another episode had Giles and his group of friends screwing up summoning the demon Eghyon during Giles' teen years. The summoning was used to produce a drug-like high, but someone screwed up and Eghyon killed him, then spent the next few decades hunting down the rest of the group, jumping into various sleeping and dead human bodies.
  • In Doctor Who, the Master's plan in "The Daemons" is to do one of these and summon the Devil. This turns out to be an absolutely terrible idea.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Ye Gods", Todd Ettinger uses a spell provided by Bacchus to summon Megaera, one of the Furies, to his apartment in order to convince her to get back together with Cupid.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Booker T, upon receiving the necessary ingredients from a bokor, did successfully summon another undead being to protect himself from The Undertaker on Smackdown. However, Booker T got scared and ran off before whoever he called rose from the grave, making the whole process moot.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The backstory of Yoriko and Mike in Arcana Heart. Yoriko tried to summon a minor demon, but thanks to Lilica, her half-demon friend, playing a prank on her by tweaking the magic circle, Yoriko got the Demon King Michelangelo instead. Then, thanks to Yoriko screwing up the incantation and Kamui having secretly been ordered to seal Mike, the Demon King got summoned in the form of a kitty-staff. Now they're stuck together until they could figure out how to get rid of their strange curse.
  • An odd, possibly unintentional example in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn: A drow elf wizard near the very end of the game uses that game's version of the Gate spell to summon a Pit Fiend to fight for him. The fiends summoned by the spell will attack anyone who does not have the spell effect "protection from evil" cast on them. The wizard of course casts this on himself before doing the summoning, and a good way to beat him is to dispel it to set the devil on him. The odd thing is that sometimes, only sometimes, the Pit Fiend itself will use one of its spell-like abilities to dispel the effect. You'd think that if they were allowed to do that, they'd always do it and never get summoned.
    • This reflects a larger AI flaw with wizards in the game. While they always cast Protection from Evil, thus making whatever demon they summon unable to attack them, it still registers as an enemy. Many an fight sees a wizard summon a demon and instead of trusting it to attack their enemies and get on with blasting them itself, the wizard instead spends all their energy fighting the demon they just summoned.
  • Magus of Chrono Trigger attempted to summon the Eldritch Abomination Lavos in order to defeat it. In order to get the resources to do so, he convinced a race of Imps that he was really doing it to Take Over the World. The heroes hear this, and engage him in battle right at the point of summoning. Fortunately, this didn't release Lavos, but it did scatter the combatants through space and time.
    • It also went considerably better than the timeline in which the Big Damn Heroes didn't interfere. Turns out Magus overestimated himself and/or underestimated Lavos.
  • The events of the Chzo Mythos series are set in motion when the druid Cabadath performs one in an attempt to call the titular Eldritch Abomination into the human plane to fight off the Roman invaders. It doesn't end well for him.
  • The Envoy of Shadows in City of Heroes is said to have been summoned this way, but the Player Character only arrives in time to see the aftermath. (Oh, the aftermath...)
  • Disgaea 2 starts with one of these, with the hero and his family attempting to summon Overlord Zenon, only to get his daughter Rozalin. While it looks like a failure at first near the end of the game it turns out Rozalin is the real Overlord. It was the fake Zenon they wanted to summon, but since they didn't know he was a fake, let alone his real identity, there was no way they could've succeeded.
    • Later in the game, upon learning that the Zenon they encountered in the Coliseum was a fake, thanks to Etna easily stomping him, they decide to summon "The Strongest Demon in the World" to narrow down their target, and an ingredient for the summoning ritual was an "Overlord's Nail", though an equally strong Demon Lord's Nail would work. They track down Etna and manage to convince her to give them one of her fingernails for the ritual... only she gave them a press-on fake nail as a prank. Unsurprisingly, Etna herself gets summoned, but thanks to the fake nail she is reset to Level 1.
  • In Dragon Quest VI, a king is desperate to protect his kingdom from attacking Dread Fiends, so he calls on the bigger, badder demon Nokturnus to take care of them. No points for guessing what happens next. But Nokturnus is a Superboss; and if you track him down in his lair and prove yourself stronger then he is, then he'll do your bidding and take out the Big Bad for you. While being able to beat Nokturnus means beating the normal Final Boss would be no problem for you, it's still amusing to watch the Greater-Scope Villain beat down the Big Bad for you.
  • Rico the summoner in Duel Savior Destiny pulls both Taiga and Mia from their world to hers at the start of the story. Or at least, that's what people assume, but Taiga wasn't supposed to get dragged along as well and it doesn't seem as though she really intended to grab Mia either. Still, neither of them is evil or anything, so despite the mistake everything goes well enough.
  • The plot of Eternal Darkness consists of a massive Summoning Ritual to bring an Eldritch Abomination to Earth. The main characters also gain the ability to summon their own demons.
  • A quest in Fable II involves two guys who have summoned the legions of the undead with a book called "the Norminomicon", or "The Book of the Extremely Dead". Naturally, you must kill said legions and recover the book.
    • They don't learn their lesson. If you do that quest, you get a later one where they've summoned a banshee into Bloodstone. This time, you take them home to their mother, who takes the book. Then Fable III happens...
  • The freeware GBA RPG, Horrible Demon 2, starts with the hero and his sister, a witch, attempting to summon a demon in order to defeat it and get half the kingdom. The demon can be defeated by throwing a rock at him. Unfortunately the main character doesn't have a rock. The demon proceeds to burn down their house and kidnap the girl.
  • At the end of a linked game of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, Link stops Twinrova from completing the ritual to bring Ganon back by sacrificing Zelda. They sacrifice themselves instead, leading to a Came Back Wrong Ganon.
  • In the text-adventure The Lurking Horror, the evil professor of Alchemy traps you inside the summoning circle (which apparently acts as a force field for humans as well, as summoning a demon requires a sacrifice to be on hand when it arrives. To escape, you must use a knife in your pocket to scratch away enough of the circle to break it and then you are free to flee the room at the last second before the summoner notices. The demon arrives and devours the summoner instead before leaving.
  • Recipe for fun times in Neverwinter Nights:
    Step 1: Go to a heavily populated area.
    Step 2: Cast the "Gate" spell without first casting "Protection From Evil."
    Step 3: RUN LIKE HELL
  • In Quest for Glory IV the cultists who lived in Mordavia were trying to perform a ritual to summon the Dark One into the world, and almost succeeded before the beginning of the game.
  • The Mara summoning in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which would certainly not have gotten past the ESRB (or maybe it would have) if it had gone right. It was borderline anyway — imagine getting attacked by a giant green blob who happens to have a glans for a... head (to be fair, this is easy to miss if you don't know what SMT Mara is supposed to look like). Other summoning rituals were the Seraph summoning in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (the Angels got it done right), and Mekata attempt to summon minions from the Abyss in Shin Megami Tensei II (which somehow ended up worse than the Mara ritual). And the rarely-ocurring event of Fusion Error wrecks the original summoner's target demon and instead produces a random result, which can vary from useless blobs of protoplasm to the highest seraphs of Heaven.
  • In Sundered, a botched ritual plays a major role in the gameís backstory. The Eschaton high priestess Ishaela Bhaígor attempted to summon her god Nyarlathotep through a portal in the Cathedral in order to destroy the invading Valkyries, only for Valkyrie General Waters to interrupt her ritual. The two of them were squaring off to fight when the portal suddenly exploded, killing them both and tearing a hole in reality.
  • Vermintide II: The mission "Convocation of Decay" has a trio of Chaos Sorcerers attempt to summon daemons of the Plague God in a ritual that involves mass Human Sacrifice and a huge toxic pool. The heroes intentionally cause a Magic Misfire by simply walking into the ritual circle, which causes the magic to rebound and kill the sorcerers.
  • Poor, poor Wilfred Fizzlebang in World of Warcraft, all he intended to do was summon a mere doomguard to challenge the adventurers at the Trial of the Crusader. Instead, HE FACED JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!!!

  • Exterminatus Now: Virus sabotages Morth's summoning of his greater daemon co-conspirator, by altering the runes so it summoned a completely different daemon.
  • The spiritual barrier for a demon summoning collapsed in the third strip of Hellbound when the old guy's new apprentice distracted him. That ensured the death of the old guy (who never even got a name) and set off the events of the rest of the comic.
  • In this strip of Tales of Pylea, a witchkin had summoned a demon to answer a master vampire's question as relayed by some minions. One of the minions accidentally knocks over one of the candles, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Sluggy Freelance a botched summoning on Bun-Bun's part gets him stuck with a really, really annoying Living Shadow. When he tries to get Gwynn to summon the shadow off of him, she summons a bunch of evil, clothes-eating moths instead.
    • On account of being drunk.
  • Subverted with the ritual to summon a demon lord in The Young Protectors. The Magical Incantation, Celestial Deadline, and Human Sacrifices are the active components. The elaborate, lengthy ritual with black-robed cultists and a giant circle of bones is redundant, but a very convincing distraction.
    Sircea: Oh, sweetheart, it already was [cast] — as soon as you spoke the words, and with several minutes to spare, I might add. I have had decades to plan this.

    Web Original 
  • Curls from AJCO manages to mess up summoning not only once but twice.
    • The first time she attempts to summon a friendly spirit, and instead ends up with the former owner of the goggles she wears on her head — a vengeful bandit that she had killed several years prior. Under normal circumstances he would have been harmless, but Egg happened to be passing by and got possessed. He manages to fling Curls across the room and shoot Nights in the shoulder before being exorcised by Kaja, leaving Egg unconscious for most of the following day.
    • The second time she attempts to summon a weak demon and instead ends up with Finn — who is undoubtedly a weak demon as demons go, but is now bound to her soul and can't leave or be killed without also killing Curls. He also eats people.
  • Whateley Universe example: when Bloodworm tries to sacrifice Sara Waite for a dark boon, he gets the wrong hell, calls up the wrong demon, and ends up getting knocked into that hell dimension for a literal fate worse than death.

    Western Animation 
  • The Back Story for Count Duckula is that during his Summoning Ritual they used tomato ketchup instead of blood, resulting in a vegetarian vampire duck.
  • Robot Chicken parodies this. Linus seems to have grown tired of waiting for the Great Pumpkin and him not showing up. So, he decides to preform a satanic blood ritual to summon him to the pumpkin patch. Of course he didn't count on the Great Pumpkin being a hideous, blood-thirsty demon.

Other Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Baccano!, a group of alchemists, having been unsuccessful with the more accepted methods of seeking Immortality, perform an elaborate incantation (with magic circle) to summon a demon and ask it to grant them eternal life. The demon answers, and promptly chides them for wasting its time with such bibble-babble when it can read all their minds and just willing it to appear would have been sufficient.
    Demon: The words you use to summon me are mere trinkets... The very thought of my being brings me instantly to your midst.
  • Black Butler subverts this, which is pretty unusual since a Faustian Bargin is the focus of the show. while the exact circumstances of Ciel summoning the demon he names Sebastian aren't really revealed, he obviously did not perform a ritual. The most likely explanation seems that the cult who kidnapper Ciel summoned Sebastian using him as a sacrifice, but Sebastian found Ciel a more attractive prospect and made a deal with him, not them.
  • The Familiar of Zero: The Tristain Academy of Magic has their their second-year students summon familiars with familiar-summoning rituals.
  • The Summoning Ritual in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero. It requires a magic circle made of blood, a long incantation, and ideally a catalyst for the Servant that they want to summon — something closely connected that Servant. Even if everything goes right, though, there is a reason it is also in the 'Screwing Up Summoning' above.
    • One does not absolutely ''need' something connected to the Servant. That's useful if you want to summon a specific Heroic Spirit but technically the summoner can use themselves as a catalyst. This has the advantage that you will get a Servant with a compatible personality at the cost of not being certain to get a powerful servant.
    • Special mention must also go to the Fate/Zero version of Caster who's special ability is summoning Eldritch Abominations. Smaller ones can be summoned with a few words but larger ones take full rituals comparable to summoning a Servant.
  • In Naruto, some shinobi make contracts in blood with animal spirits, which require a small blood and chakra sacrifice to summon. Special mention goes to:
    • Naruto himself, following his mentor Jiraiya's footsteps, makes a deal with the Toads, but to win the Boss Toad's respect, has to stay on his head while the giant Boss Toad tries to throw him off. But the Toads turn out to be a good, loyal bunch, once you win their respect. They're basically a benevolent version of yakuza.
    • Tsunade can summon slugs, useless as it may seem. But it is useful when your slug companions can distribute your chakra easily to everyone else in the village and heal them quickly, especially in the middle of a tremendous attack.
    • Orochimaru and Sasuke's partners, however, the Snake family, do not seem so friendly. When Orochimaru calls the giant snake, the reptile says he'll have to serve up a hundred humans to pay for this summoning. Not that Orochimaru minds those terms.
  • This is done in Negima! Magister Negi Magi to bring forth the Sealed Evil in a Can using Konoka's power. Unlike most summoning rituals, which bring pain to the sacrifice/vessel, this ritual felt good, according to Konoka.
  • Not really summoning per se, but Third Impact in End of Evangelion might count. If one can watch it without immediately being reduced into a whimpering wreck, that is (since it's the perfect Mind Screw in a few-minute package). First, the MP Evas fly up into orbit, align themselves into a Kabbalistic Tree of Life and use the resulting anti-AT field to lift the entire geofront into space. In the meantime, Gendo sticks his right hand-fused-with-Adam into Rei. Next, Rei absorbs the arm and flies up to Lilith who absorbs her into its chest. Finally, Lilith falls down from its cross, morphs into Rei and starts growing. The MP Evas change formation to resonate their AT-fields with that of Lilith. The result is REALLY FUCKING HUGE. If that's not a big enough Mind Screw yet, the ugly bastards stab Unit 01's S2 organ with the Lance of Longinus, transforming it into the real Tree of Life then orgasmically stab themselves one-by-one, unleashing Lilith's power and reducing humanity into a Hive Mind before the Tree and Lilith merge.
  • In One Piece, during the Straw Hats' separation episodes, the villagers of Harahettania (Hungeria, in the English dub) attempt to summon Satan through a ritual to get revenge on the Longarm tribe. While the devil doesn't show up, Brook coincidentally falls exactly into the circle. Of course, they mistake him for the devil, and Brook (or "Satan-sama") helps them instead.
  • Rituals and sacrifices are part of the Duel Monsters card game in Yu-Gi-Oh!; stronger monsters can be summoned only by sacrificing weaker ones. Over the years, more and more summoning methods have been added, all with different flairs. Players will often recite summoning chants to summon their monsters.
    • Tribute Summoning is one of the most basic forms of summonings and is considered a Normal Summon. The player has to sacrifice/tribute one or two monsters (sometimes even three) to summon a monster whose Level is 5 or higher. Some monsters can be Special Summoned by tributing a number of (specific) monsters as well.
    • One of the closest examples to this trope is Ritual Summoning, that generally require a Ritual Spell Card and a number of sacrifices whose total Level match or succeed the Level of the Ritual Monster the player wants to summon. The Ritual Monster has to be in the player's hand, making it one of the rare and more difficult types of monsters to summon. In general, when a Ritual Summon is performed, we get to see the whole ritual setup on the field being performed, with magic circles, magic doors, or other magic items that would guide the sacrifices.
    • Fusion Summoning, the first type of Extra Deck Monsters, were originally literal fusions of two or more monsters, but as time went on, specific Fusion Materials aren't needed anymore, and monsters that vaguely hit certain criteria are applicable for the summon. In later installments, two or more monsters will turn into lights and form a spiral of lights that will bring out the Fusion Monster, even if it doesn't look anything like its Fusion Materials.
    • Synchro Summoning, the second type of Extra Deck Monsters, are similar to Ritual Summons, where the Synchro Materials have to match the exact Level of the Synchro Monster, with most of them requiring one Tuner Monster and one or more non-Tuner Monsters. The Tuner Monster will turn into one or several rings (the number of rings depend on the Level of the Tuner) with the other Synchro Materials flying trough the rings, which will summon a light that swallows them and bring out the Synchro Monster. Advanced forms of Synchro Summon have different requirements and different summon animations, including non-gameplay requirements, such as a Clear Mind or Burning Soul.
    • Xyz Summoning, the third Extra Deck Monster type, requires monsters of the same Level to construct the Overlay Network, which is basically a wormhole, to bring out the Xyz Monster from space. The Xyz Materials turn into light orbs known as Overlay Units and orbit around the Xyz Monster, which can use said Overlay Units to activate their own monster effects.
    • Pendulum Summoning requires two Pendulum Cards placed onto both Pendulum Zones, allowing the player to summon multiple monsters simultaneously from the hand and/or Extra Deck as long as the Levels of the monsters are between the Pendulum Scales. The cards in the Pendulum Zones are positioned within two pillars of light and they will open a portal in the sky drawn by an arc of light where the monsters will ascend from.
    • Link Summoning, the fourth type of Extra Deck Monsters, is also similar to Ritual Summons, where a circuit is created and the Link Materials will be set on the Link Markers of set circuit, with the Link Monster coming out of the circuit. Link Summoning is the easiest Extra Deck summoning method due to the fact that the material requirements aren't as strict as the previous summons. Link Monsters can also be counted as multiple materials for another Link Summon, which is often depicted with them creating phantom images of themselves.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): Some men in Dhabar summon the demon Arrakhat to assassinate their country's leader. While the summon itself goes right it eventually backfires on them when the young leader realizes the protective charm his father left him can control the demon.

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Harry has a friend use a fake one to "summon" him to further take advantage of his Memetic Badass status. However, he forgot to check how real summonings work, leading to some... implications.
    Harry: I... see. So my chant, the way I wrote it, implies that the Outer God, Yog-Sothoth—
    Quirrell: Was permanently sacrificed to fuel a ritual which but briefly manifested your presence. I suppose we will discover tomorrow whether anyone took that seriously, when we read the newspapers and see whether all the magical nations of the world are banding together in a desperate effort to seal off your incursion into our reality.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The silent movie classic The Golem has the Rabbi successfully summon the demon Astaroth.
  • Faust: Love of the Damned: A rather grandiose one is performed near the end by the satanists to summon an apocalyptic demon serpent, involving human sacrifice, an orgy, and shoving a snake down someone's throat.
  • The entirety of the movie A Dark Song revolves around a grueling, dangerous, months-long ritual to summon a woman's guardian angel. She succeeds, but the ocultist assisting her dies in the process.

  • The Balanced Sword trilogy:
    • Poplock's debut adventure in the first book involves preventing a massive attempt to summon a powerful demon, featuring many cultists, ritual movement, chants, symbols carved into the floor, and human (technically, in this case, non-human sapient) sacrifices. He manages to create a huge explosion that disrupts the ritual and sends cultists fleeing in all directions. The demon, which has manifested insubstantially in the center of the ritual circle, orders the wizard who was leading the summoning to say the phrase that will allow it to enter the physical world; the wizard demurs, pointing out that with the ritual incomplete the demon will have no limits on its actions and might just eat him on the spot. The demon approves of his caution and they negotiate terms — which gives Poplock a chance to catch the wizard unawares and render him incapable of saying anything. The demon then tries to tempt Poplock to summon it on the same terms, even telling him the summoning phrase when he points out that he doesn't know it, but Poplock rejects the temptation and the demon is forced to depart.
    • During the climactic battle in the last book, the Big Bad summons the same demon to deal with Poplock. Only the end of the summoning is shown, but it's notable that the Big Bad apparently managed it single-handed, without even any human sacrifices, a sign of how much more powerful he is than the wizard leading the earlier ritual.
  • In the first novel of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the apprentice summons the title djinn correctly but makes the serious mistake of letting him find out his name. Luckily for him, like Aahz, Bartimaeus' bark is worse than his bite.
    • In the second book, a magician messes up an incantation and is devoured by the much nastier spirit he summons. In this case, his spellbook had been deliberately sabotaged by the bookbinders for attacking their son.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Monsters: John Thomas makes up and does one in The Thing That Goes Burp in the Night, lighting a candle and reciting a bunch of words from a medical dictionary to scare his brother. Then it turns out it actually works.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Phoenix on the Sword", Thoth-amon's Ring of Power can do this, with blood and incantations.
  • Larry Niven's short story "Convergent Series" is based on the idea that people have forgotten how to properly summon demons over the years. Then a college student rediscovers how almost by accident, and scrambles to find a way to not be damned.
  • Cradle Series: This is basically what starts the plot. The Li clan manages to summon their immortal Grand Patriarch from another world (by, basically, managing to crack open the door enough for him to finish the job), and he starts slaughtering all their enemies. Suriel, Sixth Judge of the Abidan Court, throws him in prison and then reverses time so that his crime never occurred... but not before Lindon manages to impress her by standing against Li Markuth despite knowing he would die. She then shows him a vision of the future that inspires him to leave his home and become one of the most powerful people in the world.
  • Subverted in Day Watch. A series of sinister events lead most of the characters to believe that Zavulon, the head of the Moscow Day Watch is willing to resurrect a powerful deceased dark mage/dragon Fafnir. It turns out, however, that he had a different plan and simply masked its stages as preparations for the summoning ritual.
  • In Thomas Gray's The Descent of Odin (imitated from the Völuspa, the "Song of the Wise-woman" in the Poetic Edda), the eponymous god summons up the spirit of a giant-prophetess for information on the coming Ragnarök.
  • Aya Nishitani's Digital Devil Story, the origin of the famous Shin Megami Tensei franchise, came to be when the protagonist and genius programmer Akemi Nakajima realized that a summoning ritual — with all its standardized rules, incantations, and rigid procedures — could be automated and written as executable code on a computer. He then proceeds to do exactly that, creating the very first Demon Summoning Program. After successfully summoning the demon Cerberus as a guardian beast, he tries to go for broke and summon a Demon King, Loki himself, who only plays by Nakajima's rules for as long as it's convenient to him.
  • Discworld:
    • In Making Money The necromancer Professor of Post-Mortem Communications performs rites with all the dribbly candles, pentagrams and such partly because of tradition and partly because people called from beyond the grave expect ceremony and want to see that you've put the effort in.
    • Another parody of the Summoning Ritual is the Rite of AshkEnte, used to summon Death. Much is made about how the more traditional wizards want pentagrams and dribbly candles and mystical mumblings, when it could actually be done with three bits of wood and four cc. of mouse blood, or two bits of wood and a fresh egg. This is definitely done for the summoner's benefit, as Death is really quite a practical person and wouldn't be bothered by a lack of ceremony (in fact, he generally finds the ceremony annoying), but there's no point being a wizard if you do it without the dribbly candles. What bothers him is that they're always summoning him when he's right in the middle of something.
      • During Eric, the wizards try the ritual, only for Death to show up before they've even started. He only begrudgingly agrees to step into the circle just to move things along.
    • In the Adventure Game Discworld II: Missing Presumed...!?, the Death summoning ritual requires three small sticks (of equal length), 4 cc of mouse blood, dribbly candles, a vile stench, glitter, and a performance of Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). Death appears dressed in a cork hat, apparently having been on vacation.
    • A parody of this was the ritual that the witches used to summon that poor demon in Wyrd Sisters. No pentagrams or candles, to Magrat's dismay, but Granny and Nanny generally thumb their noses at that stuff. They just used the sharp and terrible copper stick, the rather old washing soda and some extremely hard soap flakes, the balding scrubbing brush of Art, and the washboard of Protection to summon a demon in a laundry boiler. Irked Granny a bit that they went through all that trouble instead of just flat out calling the demon since she felt they were pandering to it and making it feel important. And then the demon was disappointed when they didn't bother to properly banish it once they were done asking their questions, instead merely telling it to go away. Magrat was glad to oblige with the proper sequence of dramatic phrases. Note that the witches threatened said demon with being boiled when it refused to answer in a simple manner.
  • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files should really know better than to do this; he rather lucked out in his second book, Fool Moon, when the demon he summoned got a bit overeager about Harry's eternal damnation.
  • The summoning up of the demon Mephistopheles is one of the traditional features of the Faust legend, in all its various literary and dramatic treatments.
  • Grounded for All Eternity: The kids and Cassandra perform one in order to summon the soul of Sarah Good, one of the falsely accused during the Salem witch trials and someone with a personal history with Parris, to help capture him.
  • In the John Bellairs novel The Letter, The Witch and the Ring, the villain successfully masters the powers of the eponymous artifact and summons the demon Asmodai, but then (probably) falls victim to a Literal Genie — she wishes to be young and beautiful and live a thousand years, and later the heroes see a young willow tree growing in an atypical place...
  • In "The Tale of Sir Lancelot" in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D Arthur a hermit conjures up a fiend to tell him if a certain knight has been saved or damned.
  • In the final Narnia book, The Last Battle, some Calormenes decide to "summon" their god Tash as part of a big religious sham they've got going on. Notably, none of the people doing the summoning even believe Tash exists. Tash shows up anyway, to everyone's horror, and turns out to be a demon. The narration notes: "People should not call for demons unless they truly mean what they say."
  • In the Robert A. Heinlein novella "Magic, Inc." the witch named "Granny" Jennings summons up several Elemental Emobdiments, including a salamander, an undine (water elemental), and a gnome, a process that comes complete with candles, protective circles, cabalistic signs drawn in the dirt, and muttered incantations in unknown languages that the narrator can't quite hear. The salamander (a ball of flame, not anything like a newt) is quite friendly, albeit displaying a totally inhuman sense of morality, but Mrs. Jennings has to basically torture the sylph to get it to cooperate (burning it with the candle flame), and as for the gnome, she literally puts him across her knee and SPANKS him.
  • The Mortal Instruments are required to summon the angel Raziel, a ritual that can only be done once every millennium. Once they have all three, Raziel will come to them and will grant any single wish the summoner wants. Or rather, he won't smite them the moment he appears and might consider granting that single wish. Well...
  • A subversion: Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series begins with the mentor wizard of the protagonist being killed in the middle of the standard demon-summoning ritual. His death messes up the diagram just as the demon arrives, meaning the demon is free. Fortunately for the protagonist (Skeeve), the demon (Aahz) is actually quite a decent fellow. His species just has a very bad rep, deliberately cultivated for the most part. They form an alliance to get back at the guy who killed Skeeve's mentor — and Aahz's friend. The whole ritual was completely unnecessary to bring Aahz from his home dimension, and had been set up just to impress the mentor's gullible new apprentice.
  • In The Odyssey this is combined with a descent into the Underworld, as the eponymous hero must go to its entrance to summon up the spirit of the prophet Teiresias and learn from him how he can return home.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Darkness Within, the Sisters perform a ritual to summon the spirits of the Clans' recently-lost cats. The ritual itself works, but there's something else going on with the spirits: they look twisted and agonized and angry — and the terrified cats quickly banish them again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Special mention goes to Angel. A particularly unusual one would be the demon Sajhan using a ritual to release the completely human Holtz. And getting bored and looking at his watch because it wasn't happening fast enough.
  • Similarly to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which had so many summoning rituals through its run that it would be insane to list them all.
  • Subverted in Reaper: You can summon the Devil by calling him on his cell. (The area code is Phoenix.)
  • Used memorably in the episode "And The Children Shall lead" of Star Trek: The Original Series, in which the child survivors of a colony massacre pump their fists and chant to summon an evil entity (played by lawyer Melvin Belli) which calls itself Gorgan the Friendly Angel in order to win the kids' help taking over the galaxy.
  • Summoning is a somewhat common occurrence on Supernatural, as it's an accepted magical way to find or get a hold of certain supernatural beings. While summoning rituals themselves are not botched by the characters, the act of summoning can still be extremely dangerous depending on just who or what is being summoned. Even extensive prep work may not make the summoning completely safe — angels and demons can be summoned into circles of holy oil or devil's traps respectively to limit their movements and abilities, but a sufficiently clever or powerful opponent can find a way to break free. A name is also required for the summoning to work. Probably the most notable summoning in the show is Castiel's first appearance and Establishing Character Moment, when Dean and Bobby, only having a name and not knowing what to expect, spend hours painting various wards and sigils on the walls of a barn and have multiple weapons available in preparation.

    Music Videos 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Kevin Sullivan is famous for these, his most famous example being his ritual for summoning the Purple Haze.
  • The Disciples Of Synn, taking a cue from Kevin Sullivan, summoned a Leviathan in OVW.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Half of all Call of Cthulhu plots involve a cult conducting a horrible ritual to summon an Eldritch Abomination to Earth and the players have to stop them.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Divine spellcasters can cast the risk-free but expensive Planar Ally spells to summon a servant of their god or a philosophically aligned Outsider. Arcane spellcasters must resort to the more versatile but vastly more dangerous Planar Binding spells, which, among other things, involve bargaining with the summoned creature and require several other spells to stop it from escaping.
    • Downplayed by the "Summon Monster'' line of spells, which take all of six seconds (and no fancy components) to cast and produce an utterly obedient projection of the desired creature for a very limited time.
    • Fourth Edition took away general summoning spells for all caster classes, but has a few classes with the mojo, such as the invoker (a divine class that summons agents of their god), shaman (a spirit summoner), and a new build for the wizard that allows the summoning of animate spells.
    • There's also some non-core summoning rituals, such as Adjure, Summon Elemental, Summon Demon, etc, which can summon a powerful creature to fight for you. Adjure is particularly risky; if you fail the skill challenge, you have to serve the creature instead!
    • Fifth Edition has several spells where the summoned creature is either not under control at all or can break free of the summoner's control if certain conditions are met. Some of these spells have built-in properties to protect the summoner from a summoned creature gone rogue, but most do not, and none of them can re-establish control once it is lost.
  • Exalted has a whole suite of summoning spells, for elementals, ghosts and demons of varying ranks, all of which require a ritual of some kind. Necromancers have an easier time summoning ghosts than sorcerers, who in turn are better with demons and elementals (in fact, Necromacy can't call elementals at all), and thaumaturges can summon a lot of different spirits, but can't control them. Oh, and Summon Elemental takes the form of a letter to the elemental in question, who can send a subordinate in their stead if said underling is up to the task. And then there's Pattern Weaving, whose spells are tailored to the spirits of Autochthonia, and is the only branch that can reliably summon minor gods.
  • GURPS, being a properly generic system, has more than one magic system that encompasses fancy ritualistic summonings.
  • Mage: The Awakening has several summoner builds, mainly involving an understanding of the Death (ghosts and zombies) and Spirit (elemental forces and primal concepts) Arcana. There's also a set of systems for summoning beings from the Supernal Realms; unlike standard summoning magic, however, this merely serves as the means for a pact that gives the summoner a number of slight benefits as long as it holds to the terms of a bargain.
    • Its predecessor Mage: The Ascension also had access to a number of summoning rituals, mostly revolving around some aspect of the Spirit Sphere (with occasional forages into the Correspondence Sphere). Furthermore, unawakened Sorcerous Paths provided access to slightly more specific examples, with rituals existing for the summoning of angels, demons, spirits and all manner of other beings.
  • In Magic: The Gathering's Eldritch Moon expansion the Eldrazi Titan Emrakul is summoned to Innistrad, with a fairly impressive summoning circle. Controlling a titan isn't possible but there was no need to do so. Emrakul's mere presence will hideously corrupt and consume the entire world, which was the point. On the other hand Emrakul turns out to be less than happy about being tricked and provides the heroes with a method for banishing her presence.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Kheradruakh the Decapitator spent the past eight thousand years collecting skulls to perform a ritual to summon a section of the shadow-realm of Aelindrach into the Dark Eldar city of Commorragh. He finally succeeded in the dying daus of the 41st Millennium and now rules a realm of living shadow within the Dark City.
  • Summoning monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! is usually done just by playing them or tributing other monsters for them. However, there are some monsters called Ritual monsters that have to go through a specific ritual (i.e. playing a particular spell card) in order to get them out.
    • There's also an entire Archetype based around Ritual Summoning, the Gishki/Ritua Tribe from the Duel Terminal series, to the point that in-story when they revive the first Big Bad when end up joining the Verz.
    • Another Archetype based around Ritual Summons is the Vendreads, who are otherwise a parody of Resident Evil. Unlike most Ritual Monsters, their Ritual Spells are one-size-fits-all, and their non-Ritual Monsters add special effects to any monsters they're used to summon.

    Video Games 
  • In Bloodborne, The One Reborn is summoned by a group of Chime Maiden, ancient Pthumerians employed by the School of Mensis via airdrop from the Paleblood Moon.
  • In Cultist Simulator summoning rituals are the most commonly-used rituals. All summonings require some amount of Knock, the occult power of space and opening. Summonings can go wrong if the spirit resists, and there is a choice to either dismiss the spirit (which always works but means you still lose any resources consumed by the ritual) or attempt to regain control (which is not guaranteed, and can sometimes lead to bad consequences if the spirit doesn't submit).
  • Dawn of War: In the Dark Crusade Eldar stronghold, Gameplay and Story Segregation sets in to allow the Eldar to summon the Avatar of Khaine by sacrificing an Exarch. Not that while this is how it happens in the fluff, in-game he's built like any other unit.
    • From that expansion onwards, Chaos Lords can be turned into Daemon Princes and Bloodthirsters summoned from an Aspiring Champion or Sorcerer after the appropriate (and expensive) research. If they die, they need to be researched again.
    • The Dark Apostle Eliphas is brought to the planet via one of these.
    • In Winter Assault, one of the Chaos Levels has you mind control enough Guardsmen as sacrifices to summon a Bloodthirster to take out the Avatar of Khaine summoned by the Eldar.
  • In Dishonored, Sokolov tries a lot of bizarre and disgusting rituals in the hopes of summoning The Outsider to him. The Outsider is not impressed by these efforts and finds them vaguely insulting.
  • A reccuring gameplay element in FromSoftware's soulslike games (the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring) is that players can place 'summon signs', which can then be used to summon the player as a phantom cooperator (or invader, in some cases), which requires a simple ritual- in the Souls trilogy, merely touching the sign and spending humanity did the trick, while in Bloodborne you have to ring a special bell (spending Insight) to reveal any present signs, and in Elden Ring you need to use a craftable item called a Furlcalling Finger Remedy for the job.
  • In Gems of War, the thing which Ferit vaguely knows must be stopped turns out to be an attempt to raise Abhorath, an evil god-like thing. More generally, the warlocks of the region seem to have a thing for summoning ancient horrors; finding ruins where this can be done is apparently their main reason for being there.
  • In GrimGrimoire, demon summoning is just a class taught to students in the Wizarding School. You basically call low-level demons up with a rune inscribed with a pentagram.
    • Special mention goes to Lilet's final plan, which is Summoning the Big Bad Demon Lord before he escapes his prison, letting him kill the other villain trying to summon him, and then tricking him into a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Shin Megami Tensei is a long-running series — which has guested a huge variety of consoles, and also includes the Persona sub-series — is based entirely around summoning demons — or, rather daemon, entities that can be good, evil, or completely beyond human morality. A demon summoner can thus call upon Goetian demons alongside holy angels and even legendary heroes whose fame (or infamy) has given them a cult and a following. And like in its Digital Devil Story origins, most of the summoning is done by combining it with the latest technology and Demon Summoning Programs. In fact, the ceremony of summoning is so central to the games, the franchise has consistently used Seals of Solomon and pentagrams as brand logos.
  • Warlocks in World of Warcraft can summon a variety of demons to do their bidding, and can even use a summoning ritual to summon other players to their location (with help).

    Visual Novels 
  • In Contract Demon, the Visual Novel starts with Eleni doing one to summon Kamilla.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, a ritual is required to summon the Demon Tsukuyomi, in a way that's compared to an Ouija Board or Kokuri-san. Tsukuyomi is rumoured to grant wishes, and requires the summoner to burn an object of equal value to the wish in order to see it come true.

  • 8-Bit Theater has a different take on the summoning ritual:
    Garland: I should be upset, but I can't help taking this as a huge compliment. You can't summon something as powerful as hell lords without sacrificing what's most important to you in the world! This is probably the nicest thing Drizz'l has ever done for us.
    Drizz'l's note: 1. Lead morons into basement. / 2. Kill them. / 3. Summon nothing because it was a lie.
  • In the Sluggy Freelance story "Demon Summoning Week" Torg and Riff do one of these on a lark.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: A lot of Finnish magic requires reciting a spell, but the powerful summon that Onni sends the crew long-distance in Chapter 13 involves playing some Magic Music before reciting the spell.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Clergy of Artemicia summons a magic crystal from the earth during the Day of the Damned festival in the city of Reign and release the being inside it which they hope to enslave and use in the war against the Grand Alliance. The plan doesn't exactly worked out as intended because instead of releasing the Destroyer as the clergy had hoped, an amnesiac Yamatian girl appears instead although it quickly becomes apparent that the girl in fact has Laverna, the Goddess of Thieves, trapped within her body. The clergy then decides to go for Plan B and just take the girl by force and sway the goddess to side with them, but the sudden arrival of several thieves guilds and Shakkan, the God of Beasts, ends up complicating matters as they all have different plans in mind for Laverna. Ironically the Destroyer does end up being summoned after all but in a different city. It turns out that the Dwarven Triad, one of the thieves guilds, deliberately manipulated events with their moles to make the clergy believe that they were summoning the Destroyer instead of the goddess, the Triad's objective, who they ended up with.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • When faced with a berserk daemonic Magnus, Kitten, as a last resort, swipes Magnus' book and flips through it. Then upon finding something that seems reasonable he grabs a Dreadknight and a cauldron of Sororitas blood, then chants praises to the Grey Knights backwards in order to summon Kaldor Draigo. Who defeats Magnus in about a millisecond before drifting off back to the Warp.
    • In the fourth Podcast, Magnus accidentally (maybe) summons a minor daemon when discussing the "true name clause". Everyone briefly freaks out before the Emperor casually obliterates the daemon.
      Emperor: No daemons in the throne room, Magnus.
      Magnus: No promises are made.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Dreamscaperers", Li'l Gideon finds a ritual to summon a "dream demon" named Bill Cipher to journey into Grunkle Stan's mind and steal the combination to the safe where Stan keeps the deed to the Mystery Shack.
  • The Lion Guard, of all shows, has a television special wherein Janja (the series regular hyena villain) and Ushari (snake villain) summon Scar from Hell, who has become a fiery demon with the Voice of the Legion. This is in a show meant for 5 and under.See it here.


Video Example(s):


Niru and Qaedam

Even zombies have homework. So when Niru's son Daimon is having trouble with a math problem, Niru quickly runs out of options when trying to help, and resorts to summoning the inventor of necromancy and master of the undead.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FrivolousSummoning

Media sources: