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Hello all,
In my game yesterday we had an issue come up regarding a mage taking control of a spirit he just banished.
In the core rules, it says that a mage can attempt to get services from a spirit he just banished before the spirit leaves. To do this he needs to make a summoning test. Does this summoning test take a Complex Action as regular summoning tests?
Here is the scenario that occurred so you can get a clear idea of what I am talking about.
The parties mage, Wraith, enters Astral space and is attacked by 2, Force 5 Fire elementals. We roll for Init and Wraith goes first, followed by the Elementals.
Action Phase #1
-Wraith: Wraith attempts to banish Elemental #1. Gets 7 successes. Elemental #1 rolls and gets only 3 successes. Wraiths net hits = 4, so he reduces the number of services the elemental owes by 4. The elemental only had 3 services so the elemental is banished.
- Elemental #1: He was banished so he attempts to leave.
As he attempts to leave, Wraith says that he is allowed to make a Summoning Test to attempt to get some services out of the Elemental before it leaves. He rolls and gets 6 successes and the elemental gets only 3 again. Wraith gets 3 services from the elemental.
Here is where the problem came into play. A summoning test is a complex action. I told Wraith that he had to wait until the next Action Phase because he banished the elemental, which is also a complex action. He disagreed. The thought that the summoning test should be a free action because he is not summoning the spirit, just commanding it. Furhtermore, he argued that if it was a complex action he would never be able to attempt to get services out of the elemental because regardless of who has initiative, the elemental would leave before he got a chance to get services out of it.
As the GM, I think this is a pretty powerful ability and think he should have to wait until the next action phase. To ensure that he actually gets a chance to try and gain control, I would rule that once banished, the spirit will attempt to leave once banished, but it wouldn't be gone until the next action phase or combat turn. This prevents the mage from banishing and commanding a spirit in a 1 sec action phase, but it still lets him attempt to control a banished spirit. He just has to wait until the next action phase.

What do you guys and gals think? Am I being to strict?
James McMurray
Definitely make him wait, unless you want it to be possible for him to succeed (its practically impossible to stop a spirit from leaving).
Yes, I think you're being too strict. Things in astral space move at absurd speeds, so if you force him to actually wait for his next action, he's right; the elemental will ALWAYS be gone before he gets the chance.

Do it the "full defense" way; let him do it immediately, but count it as his NEXT complex action, and disallow it if his next complex action is already used for some reason.
I like the method you propose. If I allow hom to do it as soon as he banishes the spirit, but count it as his next Complex Action, when would he get to command the spirit? In the 3rd init pass?
Banishing is already tough enough, and he's getting drain from both. Chewing up the extra Complex action isn't really needed IMO from a game perspective. For an IC explaination just make the 'summoning' option part of the banishing ritual.
Based on what occured in our game last night, Banishing and controlling the spirits was not difficult for the mage in the party. Hebanished the spirit with one try and took control over it and instant later and he didn't take more than one box of stun damage.
However, I can see how it can be dangerous. The drain he must resist is the number of hits the spirit gets on it's resistance roll x2. Correct?
James McMurray
I believe you can do both in the same action.
But must declare in advance of ANY test.
If the banishing is successful you may well have drain, which can hamper your ability to control.
The drawback is if you fail the control test, then the spirit may well decide to kick your ass for being presumptious enough to try and snatch freedom from its grasp.
This will be worse if someone around has spirit bane!
Everything comes with an element of risk.
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