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Video Game / Summoner

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I am Joseph of Ciran. Joseph of Masad. Farmer, cotter, plower... Sahugani. Summoner.

In the land of Medeva, there is a legend: Every generation, a child is born bearing a mark on his right hand. The mark of the summoner. Using magical rings, the summoner can call forth powerful monsters and demons to do his bidding. Through history, summoners have used their powers to become Kings, Warlords and Sorcerers.

Joseph, born in the village of Ciran, is the latest bearer of the mark of the summoners. 9 years ago, Joseph met an old traveling monk named Yago, who gave Joseph one of the summoner's rings. He helped Joseph master his talent, until the day where raiders attacked Ciran. Joseph called forth a demon sleeping inside the ring, who slaughtered the raiders before turning on the villagers, killing everyone but Joseph and Yago. Joseph threw the ring down a well and told Yago to leave, to never approach him again. He then made his way to the village of Masad, to rebuild his life there in obscurity. That is, until a group of masked warriors from The Empire of Orenia attack the village, butchering its inhabitants in the hope of finding the one with the mark of the summoner. And that is where the adventure begins.

Summoner is an RPG released in 2000 by Volition and published by THQ for the Playstation 2 as one of the first RPGs for the system and later ported to Windows PCs and the Macintosh in 2001. The game was noted for its combat system, where characters take turns but attack in real time, with chain attacks that rely on the players timing. However, the game is better remembered for its story, set in a fully original world with four fully developed religions and its own history. The player controls Joseph, as he is joined in his adventure by 3 other characters. Flece, a thief; Rosalind, Yago's abandoned daughter and a priestess of the island monastery of Iona; and Jekhar, a medevan knight who grew up in Ciran, and has vowed to kill Joseph for slaughtering his family.

A sequel for the PS2, Summoner 2 (later ported to the Nintendo GameCube as Summoner: A Goddess Reborn) was released in 2002. It was given a more action-adventure feel, and followed a Distaff Counterpart, Maia, who is Joseph's opposite in nearly every way. Where he sought to flee his destiny and followed The Call only reluctantly, Maia embraces her destiny and seeks to fulfill it.

The game has been re-released on Steam and

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Action Commands: Chain attacks.
  • All Myths Are True: There really was a tower of Eleh. Urath did exist and he was murdered by his sister Laharah. Oh, and Joseph IS Urath. Interestingly, the humans, who are Urath's children, do not remember the myth that the Summoner is Urath reborn, instead it's the Khosani who know that.
    • All of which gets completely inverted in the sequel. The tower is now a tree, Laharah is now a good goddess with a bad reputation in Medeva and none of the gods were ever real in the first place
  • Back Stab: Flece.
  • Because Destiny Says So/You Can't Fight Fate: See Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  • Berserk Button: Do not suggest to Jehkar that his grudge against Joseph is "irrational" or anything like that. He will explode at you.
  • Big Bad: Emperor Murod, ruler of The Empire of Orenia, but he's later somewhat upstaged by Machival — The Demon of Darkness that destroyed Ciran.
  • Bonus Boss: At the end of the Tome of the Nhuvasarim quest, you fight against all of Murod's Four Riders at once. Your reward? The second summon for the Ring of Darkness.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: General Wentao looks identical to most of his subordinates.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live and it's sending an army of goons to your Doomed Hometown. Twice.
  • The Chessmaster: Machival plotted the whole thing, so Lenele would be destroyed and all four demons would be freed
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The flight back to Medeva
  • Degraded Boss: The Barbarian Fighter and the Iron Golem. The first can be fought in a normal encounter practically right after you fight him as a boss, and the Iron Golem can be found as enemy before he's a boss, if you're a glutton for punishment.
  • Dialogue Tree
  • Dual Boss: Jekhar and Rosalind against Sornehan and Galienne.
  • Doomed Hometown: Two of them. First, you accidentally destroy your beloved peasant village of Ciran in an attempt to defend it with your fledgling powers, killing your friends and family; after disowning your powers, you settle down in Masad, which years later gets burned to the ground by the Big Bad's invading army in their search for you; you then resolve to confront your past and defend the nation of Medeva, which you accidentally end up destroying as well after a suitable Big "NO!". Joseph is an overachiever.
  • Down the Drain: No, not the sewers again!
  • Downer Ending: A weird case, as the sequel's Cosmic Retcon and other story events takes the potential for an epic ending in the previous game and makes it rather depressing. If Joseph decided to become a god, and Summoner 2 says the gods do not really exist... Did Joseph end up killing himself? And the fate of Rosalind.
    • No, he was reborn into Maia. Kind of. He, too, was part of Aosi.
  • The Dragon: Murod's four riders.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Rosalind in the second game, though finding out what exactly happened is a big part of the plot.
  • Easily Forgiven: Jekhar easily forgiving Joseph, Rosalind easily forgiving Yago.
  • Easter Egg: The Dead Ale Wives' famous Dungeons & Dragons skit as acted out by the Summoner cast.
  • Elite Four: The role of Emperor Murod's Co-Dragons is filled by the Four Riders: The Serpent Rider, the Tiger Rider, the Ghost Rider and the Phoenix Rider.
  • The Empire: of Orenia
  • Exploited Immunity: One highly effective late-game tactic is to load everyone with frost-resistance items, and then have Rosalind cast Blizzard into every melee.
  • Evil Chancellor: Murod used to be one when he usurped the throne. Sornehan is one to Belias.
  • Evil Mentor: Yago, possessed by Machival
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Your three extra party members each fit into one of those classes. Joseph has aspects of all three, being Jack of All Stats.
  • Glass Cannon: Flece, who can do the most damage but is very fragile.
  • Guide Dang It!: Most of the sidequests in the game. A bunch of them are contextually timed - in that they disappear once certain story objectives are reached - and you'll get no warning of this beforehand. It's entirely possible to not know certain quests even exists, and miss out on rewards and level ups you could use later.
  • Gut Punch: In one stroke, Yago turns out to be Machival, destroys your hard-earned demon rings and burns Joseph's hand off.
  • Handicapped Badass: Subverted: Joseph loses his left hand half-way into the game. This actually does NOT make him even more of a bad-ass who has to overcome his disability. He genuinely loses the ability to use 2-handed weapons and shields, making him physically and defensively weaker for the 2nd half of the story.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Joseph, who doesn't give a damn about being a Summoner: He wants to live the life of a simple farmer. One of the endings has Joseph refusing to become a god, before turning his back on everyone and vanishing to live his life as a simple farmer, anonymously.
    • It's the main difference between Joseph and the protagonist of the second game, Maia. Maia embraces being a summoner, was raised from childhood by dedicated priests, and actively seeks out to fulfill her prophecy.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Joseph loses his left hand at the end of the first major arc, and can't use shields or two-handed weapons until it's magically regenerated most of the way through the second.
  • Jack of All Trades: Joseph. He can use most weapons and armors (Only Jekhar as as wider choice), and he has access to most offensive and defensive magics, as well as being able to summon.
  • La Résistance: The Jade Temple is the rebellion against Murod, trying to restore the rightful imperial line.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: In both games at some point.
  • Literal Split Personality/Enemy Without/Balance Between Good and Evil: The four demons, the four dragons, and Joseph are really the evil, good, and human aspects of the dead god Urath
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: When you finally confront Murod, he proves to be a feeble old man desperately grasping for power, rather than the intimidating evil you might have been expecting.
  • Mook Chivalry: Somewhat of a strange case. In the sewer boss fight against the three golems, the two brass golems don't actually start off aggro'd - only the iron golem does. This means that if you let the iron golem approach you and stay out of the brass golems' aggro range, you can fight them one by one.
  • Physical God: Emperor Murod, later Joseph himself in one of the ending, as he becomes the reincarnated god Urath
  • Point of No Return: You can never return to Orenia once you've left.
  • Plot Coupon: Most of the four demon rings.
  • Precursors: The Unseen from Summoner 2.
  • Puzzle Boss: Azha the Archlich, (unless you leveled up Dark magic to level 10).
  • Refusal of the Call: Joseph wanted nothing to do with being a summoner. One of the endings has him saying Screw Destiny and going back to live his life as a farmer.
  • Religion of Evil: The Nhuvisarum of Lahara (at least in the first game). In the second game... it's a long story (see Retcon).
  • Rightful King Returns: Flece is the rightful heir to the Orenian and Medevan throne.
  • Royal Bastard: Flece is, unknown to her, the daughter of the Queen of Orenia and the King of Medeva via an affair the two had. With both royal lines all but exterminated, this makes her the rightful heir to both thrones.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: Averted; Lenele is humongous, to the point of frustration.
    • Early in production, Sornehan was the ruler of another nation next to Medeva rather than being Belias' brother. As the game developed, a lot was cut and the two cities were merged into Lenele. Imagine TWO cities as big as that!
  • Screw Destiny: Joseph tried to do this. He only succeeds in one of the endings.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Emperor Murod hears a prophecy that a Summoner will put an end to his reign. Every action he thus takes to stop this prophecy from happening only results in it coming true, by undoing Joseph's Refusal of the Call. Joseph even calls him out for this before their final battle; Had Murod simply done nothing, Joseph would have lived the rest of his days as a simple farmer without ever knowing Murod even existed.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: in the sequel, Maia and Morbezan can both learn Control Undead.
  • Sequential Boss: Machival
  • Shout-Out: The court gossip of Medeva bears a strong resemblance to parts of A Game of Thrones, though with some of the characters shifted around: The king does not have any surviving heirs, Prince Yon was fond of climbing and fell to his death from a castle tower after likely being pushed by Sornehan (who would, in league with the queen, later betray the king), another prince was killed by a boar during a hunt, and another died of fever. In addition, the king married and came to power to conclude a civil war (though as a loyalist rather than a usurper) after which he has presided over a long peace, but while a superb fighter and military leader, tends to avoid much of his duties in the administration of the kingdom, with the royal treasury heavily in debt.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: You can fight the Four Horsemen in random encounters before the proper boss fights, but you cannot kill them, just chase them off.
  • Summon Magic: Duh. The game employs both types.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Several, all with 100% drop rates.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Death, also, arguably, most of the summons.
  • Waif Prophet: Luleva, an orphan in Lenele. She's a minor NPC, but she shows up again in Summoner 2, where she is a gladiator and therefore no longer fits the trope. It's nice that she survived though.
  • With Friends Like These...: Initially two of the members of the party are outright hostile to Joseph. Rosalind hates Joseph because her father all but abandoned her and her mother in his quest to find the Summoner and teach him, and she resents Joseph having had the attention from her father. Jehkar meanwhile is the sole survivor of Ciran besides Joseph and Yago, and swore an oath to kill the former for causing the death of Jehkar's family and the village. The only reason he's not doing it right now is because he's under royal order to help Joseph and as a knight he must obey but swears the moment they are done he'll execute Joseph. Ultimately both get over it. Rosalind realizes that Yago didn't do anything great for Joseph's life either, and Jehkar realizes that his hatred of Joseph pales compared to how Joseph feels about himself and that Joseph's responsibility over what happened isn't as great as either thought.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Joseph's first Doomed Hometown, which he destroys in his attempt to save it by summoning the Demon of Darkness to wipe out the army already doing its level best.
  • White Magician Girl: Rosalind.
  • Winged Humanoid : All humans are descended from the Sudani, who were, well, humans but with wings. They lost their wings in a squabble among gods and demons. (Not between. Among.)
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word - Used as a plot point: the Khosani call Joseph "Sahugani," a name that's equivalent to "summoner." But whose literal translation would be "Person of the Four Rings". It is however later reveal that this translation is incorrect. "Person of the Four Rings" would be pronounced as "Sahudoni". "Sahugani" actually means "Person of the Eight Rings", hinting at the existence of the 4 extra summoner's rings. Being a Cunning Linguist, Rosalind notices this discrepancy but declines to mention it when it might have mattered because she hates you.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: I got the 4 rings! I'm going to the forge! Oh, wait...