Amber: War of the Crossings
The power of Summoning has several aspects that have interested Shadow Walkers over the milennia. The quick creation of mundane items that will survive the transition of a few shadows has always been useful, especially for those who are careless enough to fall into compromising situations. Also useful is the ability to pull in an extra person. Weave a person out of shadow who will instantly be an ally. Though armies cannot be created in this fashion, having an extra pair of hands or an extra swordsman at your back can be invaluable.
As a Summoner learns to gain more control over the stuff of Shadow, certain tricks of the mind reveal themselves. It becomes easier to control the helpers that are summoned, and the average shadow dweller must bend to the Summoner’s will as well.
Finally, total control over the minds of Shadow Dwellers belongs to the Summoner. Though potent-seeming, Summoners would be well advised to remember that the power of Summoning is a power over Shadow, not Substance. A true Lord of Chaos or Princess of Amber can never be brought low by Summoning tricks, at least not directly.
The first level of Summoning is referred to as Conjuration. It is upon this level that most of the abilities depend, as this is the part of the Power that allows the Summoner to actually weave new things out of Shadow without the need to go anywhere at all. There are two abilities of Conjuration. Conjure Shadow Shape, and Generate Shadow Dweller.
Conjure Shadow Shape: This ability allows the conjurer to produce an item with great speed, often instantly. A sword-sized item can be produced instantly, anything larger will take time, no matter how powerful the Summoner’s Psyche. The complexity of the item created also comes into play, for the same size, more complex items are slower to create. A pistol is small enough to create instantly, but an assault rifle will take some time.
There are three main limitations on the creation of shadow stuff; Psyche ability, Knowledge, and Endurance. The stronger the Summoner’s Psyche, the faster complex and large items can be created. Understanding how these items are constructed normally, and how they work will also speed things up, or rather, lack of knowledge can severely slow down a summoner. Creating a sword is easy for anyone to do, it is a simple and single-purposed tool. Creating a watch is less easy, especially if it’s to be an electronic watch. Creating a modern car, helecopter, computer, or other highly complex object is a hard and slow process. Not knowing anything about how such an object is created or works will put signifigant roadblocks in the process.
Finally, creating stuff out of nothing drains the Summoner of energy, as with nearly all Power workings. Creating a single, simple item is not too difficult, unless the Summoner wants it instantly. Returning to the example of a sword, taking five minutes to create a sword will represent a drain that is hardly noticeable. Having a sword pop instantly into one’s hand is something one notices, but won’t slow down a character of Amber rank or better Endurance.
Creating a small fleet of vehicles, even if one knows how they operate, will exhaust even a tough Amberite quickly enough. At that point it’s far better to just walk in Shadow until some vehicles can be found.
The main advantage of Conjure Shadow Shape is that items can be made available instantly, without needing to go find them. A key, a sword, a hammer, a screwdriver, a shield, a rope or even a door can all be exactly what is needed at the moment, and a Summoner always has such items close to hand. Summoners are rarely seen carrying baggage or packs, after all, they have a command over Shadow that removes the need for such contrivances.
Items created via Conjure Shadow Shape are permanent, unlike items created via the Transmutation School of Sorcery. They have no special resistance to destruction, but most Summoners are unworried about damage to or destruction of a conjured item. After all, a new one is only a few seconds of concentration away.
Generate Shadow Dweller: This ability allows the creation of a typical dweller of the current shadow. The person, demon, or creature created will be commonly found in the shadow, properly attired and equipped, and always initially well disposed to the Summoner. The Summoner cannot describe every aspect of the creature to be summoned, nor every bit of the new creature’s gear, though gear is hardly a problem for Summoners. What can be specified as far as appearance is a general look, tough, large, graceful, beautiful, and then the Shadow supplies the particulars. As far as gear and skills, the Summoner can specify a basic profession, such as bodyguard, chef, driver, servant, technician, etc.
When created, the shadow dweller will be well disposed to the Summoner, but not fanatically so. She will be loath to give up her life, especially without exploring options that might not require her to die. Abuse piled on the shadow dweller will erode the initial good will pretty quickly, while good treatment will help to build a more genuine bond. If the Summoner gives the shadow dweller no reason to mistrust him, then the Summoner can trust the shadow dweller. At least, until that shadow dweller interacts with other Summoners or Shadow Walkers. But the initial loyalty of the created person is enough to get the shadow dweller to ignore the blandishments of other shadow folk.
The Shadow Dweller, while created by Summoning, is an entire person who has memories, hopes, dreams, and emotions. Left in the shadow of his creation, the shadow dweller will come to fit in, suddenly being remembered by people who never met him before. This can be very useful if one needs an agent in a particular shadow but does not have the time to find and recruit a suitable individual. It also means that the shadow dweller is likely to be stubborn about some things.
Creating a person is by no means a fast or easy process, though it certainly will be faster than locating a trustworthy and competent individual. Best of all, the Summoner knows that this person is entirely new, and thus can be certain that no other Shadow Walker has their hooks in this person yet. The process of creation takes anywhere from twenty four to seventy two hours, depending on the Psyche of the Summoner and how hard they want to push the process. Taking it more slowly results in a lot less energy drain. Once begun, the process can be put on hold, but only for an hour or two at a time. More time than that, and the Summoner must begin again.
Conjured shadow dwellers will have mostly Human attributes, the summoner can designate one attribute to be Chaos level, though that adds additional strain and time to the creation process. It is much easier to create a Shadow Dweller with a Chaos level attribute in the Summoner’s own area of strength than where the Summoner’s attribute is more lacking.
30 points, or 15 points with Conjuration
Compelling is Conjuration taken one step further to include control over the most important part of the conjured Shadow Dwellers, their mind. Compelling makes it easy to create hyper-loyal minions with Conjuration, or suborn some important shadow person, usually someone who is an agent of another Shadow Walker.
As noted above, Compelling affects only shadow folk, Lords of Chaos and Princes of Amber are utterly immune to its powers. Even some particularly strong demons or especially long-lived Amber retainers will exhibit some resistance. There are two abilities of Compelling. Compel the Summoned, and Geas or Bond.
Compel the Summoned: By means of this ability, a person created by Generate Shadow Dweller is made much more pliable to the Summoner’s will. Once this ability is learned the Summoner need merely spend additional time and energy creating the Shadow Dweller, generally about half again the normal time. When created, the Shadow Dweller will be a fanatic follower of the Summoner, ready to die on the Summoner’s command, or attempt impossible tasks. It will be much more difficult to suborn the Shadow Dweller by means of Compelling or any other mind affecting ability, as the agent’s mind will be protected by this power.
On the other hand, Compelled agents do lose some of their flexibility. Being so focused on serving a single person leaves little room for having friends, hobbies, or creative thinking. A Compelled shadow dweller isn’t an automaton, but they are limited in how useful they can become. They will never have the personality and greatness to become a national leader, or a celebrated artist. They will not be able to influence a whole Shadow, as a carefully cultivated Shadow Dweller who was not compelled might be able to do. On the other hand, they will never betray the Summoner willingly, and it will take impressive magic to force them to betray. Even with such magic, the Shadow Walker who suborns a Compelled Shadow Dweller would never be sure of the man’s loyalty.
Geas or Bond: The power of Compelling is not limited to created persons. Any Shadow Dweller can fall under the sway of a Summoner, though this power in particular is not strong enough to break the conditioning on a person who was created already compelled.
This ability comes with two main uses, though a clever Summoner can certainly perform other tricks on a shadow person’s mind, such as implanting post hypnotic suggestions or altering some small facet of the person’s personality.
A Geas is something a shadow dweller is compelled to do. It can be specific or broad, though a specific Geas has more power. An example of a specific Geas is something like “Go to the Castle and gain audience with the Lord. When you see him, deliver this message…”. A more general one describes a behavior or job, rather than an action, acting as a bodyguard, spreading propaganda for the Summoner, maintaining the Summoner’s local business without telling anyone about it, etc.
A Bond, conversely, prevents a specific behavior, or class of behaviors. It can be as specific as, “Never salute again.”, or as general as, “Stop feeling pity for your fellow people.”.
When applying a Geas or Bond, the Summoner contests the Psyche of the person being modified. As most legitimate subjects for Compelling have a Human rank Psyche, this is rarely a problem. It is only when trying to push the envelope on a powerful Demon or Amber Retainer that Psyche becomes an issue. In that case, the relative reality of that creature also resists the command.
A Geas or Bond is usually permanent until destroyed by another Summoner, a Sorcerer, or some other Power. Mere Psyche is not enough to erase such a working, no matter how powerful the mind. Scanning the mind of a modified person will often reveal that the person has been modified, unless the Summoner has Psychic Superiority over the person doing the scanning.
Clever use of this ability can give a Summoner power over an entire Shadow, as picking the right person to modify can serve at once to give the Summoner a useful agent, and also as an object lesson to other leaders in that Shadow.
45 points, or 15 points with Compelling
High Compelling is the ultimate expression of the ability to control the minds of shadow folk. Nearly any mind manipulation can be done, but the two most commonly employed abilities are reweaving the mind of the shadow person or taking direct possession of him.
Reweave Mind: The Shadow Person’s desires, memories, and/or personality can all be modified. It is possible to turn the shadow person into a totally different entity, enough to keep a trump from working. More subtle manipulations are often more interesting, making changes to a shadow dweller such that she will still be recognized by her friends, but has changes to her mind such that she will be a pawn of the Summoner.
It takes hours to reweave one aspect of a mind. It can take days to completely rework a person so that no aspects of his mind are the same. The Summoner must have access to the person the entire time, and the person must be at least somewhat pacified, drugged, beaten, terrified or psychically dominated.