The Summoner | Updated January 6th, 2024 (148k words)

Right I played this again recently, and I have to say, Willow and Caine are still my number favorites from this IF

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Considering what i seen of the synopsis and inside of the demo and the posibilitys i think i see forming in just the very early stages. I would say ether move on or adjust the way your thinking about the game because i think you might be missing what the author is trying to convey with the story.

Or i could be just be sleep deprived lol

@Kezthier on another note got the chance to play through at least once and over all i enjoyed the update and looking forward to seeing how you progress things. An i think others have covered the bulk well enough and you seem to have caught some errors yourself lol

Only thing might make mention of is the battle plan but going half to play through that section again but hopefully after some sleep. Will then give thoughts and what not. :grinning:

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I’ll screenshot my stats on a speed run and add them, but I can’t tell you anything about hidden stats as I’m not a code diver and playing on mobile (and don’t even know how to try on mobile, if it’s not somewhere in the in-game stats.) I can tell you about how I have been playing the MC and why she’s approaching (or avoiding) things the way she has been.

Basically, she is severely depressed, likely has been since her parents wasted away and died. Even though they were there as often as possible it sounds like, she’s still got some abandonment issues from their long and frequent absences and constantly being told other things were more important (to them, she would have inferred) than she was. Compounding that would be her sense of betrayal by her extended family forcing her into her initial contract and her aunt not only keeping her from running away but also telling them she’d planned to and letting them into the house to stop her. She feels as if the only thing that matters to them is forcing her to die so they can keep the comforts they’re entitled to by her dying for a war she wants no part in.

She genuinely does not understand “believers” like Cara and Zach or summoners like Willow who see it as anything other than an unjust death sentence. So she is not interested in making nice with them. She isn’t suicidal, she doesn’t want to die and that’s what’s behind her rejection of the society she finds herself in, the way she sees it, all they want is her death. Why would she choose to talk to them, be around them, interact with them any more than strictly necessary? Then, to make it all worse, she’s sent into the neighboring country on an infiltration and retrieval mission, when she hasn’t been trained in either field, specifically to steal a second level 3 contract, which will cut her life even shorter. She has no control over this either, as she knows that now contracted, she cannot run away without being hunted.

She feels that she is just as much a slave as Caine and Rei.

So, her reactions to people are generally hostile. She speaks (and I would imagine eats) as minimally as possible. She doesn’t really see any reason to care about anyone other than herself and those she can identify with, namely her contracted Spirits. But that is not suddenly going to make her chatty. I think there would be an enormous gap in understanding between she and Rei, who seems to love using fifteen words where two would do.

Has a summoner ever tried to strangle one of her contracted Spirits?

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Alright, several screenshots, so I gave them their own post.

Summary




Something else I forgot to mention above, she’s a bit overly formal with most people, to preserve distance. She is also not going to write to Ilia, and does not tend to touch people she does not trust. She hasn’t shaken anyone’s hand, and while she did pet Willow’s bird Spirit on one playthrough, on all the others (aside from the speed run) the only person she’s touched so far has been Caine. At every point possible, I have her express her desire for freedom (yes, even in front of her CO) and her hatred for and despair at her position. We haven’t really had a chance to express anything much towards the gods and their constant wars, but I’m pretty certain you can guess what her stance will be.

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For those unaware, codediving on dashingdon is very easy and you can do it on mobile. Just add “scenes” to the end of a dashingdon url, right after the “/“—or don’t! It’s full of spoilers! And throwaway comments! And shitty code! (Quite bad in the beginning, and later still bad, but maybe more logical, I am learning on the fly).

In other news, I’m very glad you guys overall enjoyed the update! Unfortunately, I’m expecting to be busier in the coming days with classes etc., so the next update will prob take a while. Exact length depends on if I’m releasing just the rest of chapter three or also a part of ch4, I dunno! In either scenarios, I’m not writing at light speed lol.


It depends on the ending you get, but some routes certainly end in death, yes. But it would only be at the end of the game, and I am planning for it to be quite possible for you to live past the end! Although MC would definitely die earlier than a non-summoner after the events of The Summoner :') Probably live longer than their parents at any rate.

I haven’t fully settled on anything yet, so I can’t say this is for sure what’ll happen!

I’m glad Willow’s not annoying to everyone as my sis so far finds her annoying as well lmao (although I do believe in being able to hate a character as the MC while being fine/enjoying them as a reader)

Yeah, I might have things be very bittersweet in all the endings, as life is full of good and bad all at once. But even so, the future can be promising for the MC even if not immediate. And the most peaceful ending would be bittersweet in the sense that MC’s just fine, but there’s a lot of unfamiliar/complicated things for them to tackle.

The only current hidden stat are the ones present in the Like stat page, so you’ve got them all screenshotted, thanks a ton.

Awesome, the way your MC perceives things is very realistic to her situation, so I’m glad the writing allowed for that to be possible. I’m not completely writing the MC as a blank slate with limitless potential(they’re sort of well spoken yet socially awkward no matter what), so it might be difficult to have them not be reciprocative to a convo, but I’ll have variations for them to be less enthused/comparatively more terse, I think. But it won’t be as nuanced as I’d like since I’m trying to prevent scope creep as a first-timer. To even write this story’s setting with my lack of experience was a bold and dumb choice on my part lol

From an outsiders perspective, MC’s parents definitely don’t deserve their attachment since while they were home when they could be, I wouldn’t say they were good enough to fully care for their child. Like those pets people get because it’s cute and then neglect when inconvenient—not explicitly out of malice, but because of a lack of care or smthn. Because it’s too much work or is boring, and going out is so much more fun.

Your aunt is definitely more of a parent to MC than them :skull:

I like how you say your MC doesn’t understand the “believers,” because I feel a certain plot element that should eventually come up may validate some of this alienated feeling. But for those who play as a reluctant follower, I just wanted to state that that stance still makes sense because indoctrination and normalisation can be influential no matter who you are.

Ah, I should clarify in-game that Caine’s a Level 2 contract, actually. Yet MC is already known to be able to contract w/ level 3s because of a minor “off-screen” detail. Does that slightly influence your MC’s worldview? Likely not haha

It’d be abusive, but abusive summoners exist, yeah :sob:

Spirits do have claws though, so I can’t say it’s advised for anyone to do that if they don’t have a death wish—not that that is known in Therra yet. Or ever? Come back to this when I finish writing.

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Ah, yes that wasn’t made clear, or at least not clear enough for me to infer that he was level two. I was assuming human-form Spirits were all level 3 while small animals like Willow’s bird are level 1 and large draft animals (or particularly intelligent animals of any size) would be level 2.

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Gotcha, I was trying to avoid info dumping in the early days, but I should attempt to find a seamless way to insert more detail. You’ve almost got it all, but the level system is def not very clear :sweat_smile:


I’m assuming the level system of spirits in relation to summoners may be confusing as well. What is everyone’s impressions of the level system with spirits and summoners? (ALSO, this is an in-game typo: “Since most of the loose ends are accounted for, we’ll march for Advaith’s sector, Viorin, in several weeks’ time. Your Level 1 should…” it’s supposed to be level 2, not 1, woops.)

Here’s some of my writing notes of the spirit & summoner level system. Most of it is unnecessary to the plot, but perhaps you’d like the extra detail stated in game? If so, I’d have them unlock like POVs to ease my writing load (rather than set out to weave it into the narrative).

Please read them after you give your blind thoughts on the above and then give me your thoughts after if you'd like to help

There is a rare subset of summoners called appraisers. The Rulers or higher ups will typically make use of them to scout out other summoners when they start to manifest abilities instead of employing them in wars. They can find out the level of summoners by touching their hand after they’ve contracted with at least one spirit. Summoners can safely manifest their abilities once they turn 17. Summoners are not plentiful, their abilities are linked to their genetics and luck. Contracts are even rarer, only a certain amount existing at any time. Established bloodlines of summoners are granted Houses which carry high prestige linked to their names depending on the level of the summoners outputed. Summoners can not only call forth their spirits, but also heal them when they sustain damage. Use of their abilities are generally innate, not needed to be taught. A spirit can’t die from their injuries no matter how severe they are, but they may be incapacitated and unable to fight, which is to be avoided. Healing will use the summoner’s lifeforce but is said to be a pleasantly comforting sensation for the spirit on the receiving end.

Level 1 Contracts are the most common with Level 2 becoming significantly more uncommon and Level 3 being the most limited of all. [redacted]. The higher the level, the more powerful and higher the stamina of the spirit. Powers vary even within levels between each individual spirit, but they can generally be assessed by their number. Their binding colors differ depending on the spirit’s level, it’s a gold color for L3s, silver for L2s and a bronze tint for L1s.

Level 1 spirits are exclusively animal adjacent and do not resemble humans in appearance. They’re unable to speak human languages but still feature a wide range of intelligence and can understand their summoner’s intent. They range in sizes from small bird-like creatures, to bear-sized felines. They tend to be very obedient and unquestioning. Making use of them draws hunger from their summoner more than the other levels of spirits. They can be found within bronze animal Contracts.

Level 2 spirits resemble humans the most visually, but often feature more unnatural hair and eye colors. They also contain higher potentials of power than Level 1, and when compared against a human, it’s clear the difference between mortal and spirits. They typically have significantly higher durability than a human, but powers and weaknesses may vary individually. Making use of them tends to physically drain their summoner. They can be found within silver abstract Contracts.

Level 3 spirits still resemble humans in many of their features, however they also very often sport an inhuman trait beyond abnormal hair and eyes. They may have wings, extra appendages, tails, patches of scaled skin, etc. They are the most powerful of all levels known and may make use of abilities only imagined by humans. Making use of them tends to physically and mentally drain their summoner more than the other levels of spirits. They can be found within gold abstract Contracts.

If a summoner can contract with a Level 2 spirit at most, they are a Level 2 summoner. If they can contract with Level 3s at most, but are only contracted with Level 1s, they are still a Level 3 summoner. If there is a person with the capability to contract, yet has never had a Contract, they are not registered as a summoner and are effectively mundane.

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Fairly straightforward, or so I thought. Each contracted spirit has a symbol that etches itself onto the skin of the summoner who contracts them.

These symbols indicate the rank through their color; bronze for level one, silver for level two, and gold for level three.

It has not been stated in-game whether there’s an obvious way to tell if the summoner’s potential is higher, or lower based on any specific features, or tells. I doubt genetics (canonically inconsistent in that it can skip whole generations of even well known summoner families) have anything to do with it.

MC is able to contract that highest known level 3 type, but could as easily have been relegated to being a lower level cap by chance if the thing that indicates a summoner’s potential didn’t tell their family that they could contract level 3s.


I was never particularly confused about this system, though I do see how a typo could throw someone off. :thinking:

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Oh! Thanks for mentioning that, that’s a holdover from the early days of the plot that I never realised was outdated until now lol. Although the change I’m making is unrelated to physical tells of a summoner’s abilities; there’s no visual way to tell if you’re a Level 1 or a Level 3.

Summoners do tend to have more unnatural eye/hair colors than a mundane w/o any traces of the ability in their genetic makeup—but I’m not gonna be very realistic w/ genetics bc that’s a lot of research ;;

EDIT:

Appraisers are accurate, so MC would only have lower level contracts if there weren’t any higher contracts available or for strategic reasons. Pretty minor detail, but maybe I should clear that up in the story, thanks for your insight!


In unrelated changes, I’ve decided to get rid of the dagger as a weapon.

I hope no one was attached to it because I’ve tried to think of multiple ways to keep it or rework it—but all of them compromise the setting. It’s too goofy as a main hand where you’re facing against mostly polearms (although in ideal battlefield cases, a summoner would more likely face an assassin—and you’d still prefer anything but a dagger against them).

I thought about changing it to dual wielding a sword/rapier & parrying dagger, but that’s hardly indistinguishable from choosing just a sword, isn’t it? Since the sword option also includes a shield, I feel it’s not worth the effort for the differences. I thought about replacing the option with something like a halberd, but I feel that’s too similar to the polearm option. And for replacing it w/ something unique like a mace, I just decided to cut my losses and not exert further energy in puzzling how fighting w/ less known weapons work :smiling_face_with_tear:

The only reason I had it in the first place is because 2 choices feels sparse and whatever, this is a fantasy setting anyway, right? Welp, it’s too illogical even for me.

I feel this is a good choice because now I can spend less time writing scenes for 3 weapons and invest that into just the 2 and whatever else. Will also be reworking the fight scenes in general to be more practical. Story’s still not gonna be entirely realistic, but I feel these changes make much more sense!

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Finally had time to finish the new demo and man!! It was soooo good, the story is coming along amazingly well, the pacing of everything is nice and steady, doesn’t feel rushed or anything. I’m extremely excited to see how you progress the story!!

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Progress update!
As I reach ~160k, I’ve become increasingly aware as to why some IFs relationship lock you lol. It’d be nice if I put an aro check earlier in the story, but I find it kind of inorganic so I’ll have to truck through until the scene where it makes sense to be placed comes up. (planned!)

Feel free to tell me if your character’s too romantic in a scene for your liking—but I hope there’s nothing I need to change ;;


Also I wonder how much people are reading this for the romance/character bonds over anything else? Please tell me your thoughts because I’m curious where my priorities should be. (Like if you’d rather more character scenes instead of idk)

Obviously you might go for multiple, but what’s the number one thing you think I should focus on?

What are you reading The Summoner for/what do you enjoy the most in it?
  • The romance
  • The friendship
  • The action (RUN. I CAN’T WRITE HIGH STAKES)
  • The lore/world building
  • Other (let me know!)
0 voters

There’s obviously not been much action yet so I imagine that’ll not get much votes lol. Does anyone read for the MC?? (they’re a wet cat, I’m sorry)


Ahh, thank you so much :face_holding_back_tears: I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed it! Pacing is something I find hard to keep in mind so it’s awesome to hear it’s going fine so far!

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Well i plan on multpile playthroughs but for now lore and worldbuilding is what draws me the most to the story the npcs intrigue me so im looking forward to seeing them all.

Far as paths go just to the nature of the world as i know it my first playthrough is geared to breaking the system as it stands how that unfolds not sure yet lol

The main thing is that MC is highly relunctant and would leave it all behind if they could.

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i adore this so much!:black_heart:

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Wow, I hope those ~3 action lovers like what I have cooking for them, but like I said, I can’t write high stakes :skull: (action means fighting and drama, right?) But neat, lore scored higher than I expected, although of course romance is the overwhelming majority. I’d vote romance too lmao


It’s always nice seeing your input on the story :smiley: And I’m glad the NPCs are intriguing to you, I hope I’ll satisfy your curiosity! Although might I ask which ones you’re most interested in? The Creators, your spirits, or some other category?

Thank you thank you, I’m happy to hear that haha

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As a collective whole all of them for various reasons the creators for how they tick and belive the way they do even if i plan on killing those who deserve it.

The npcs for how they react to the MC based on there beliefs and the actions of the MC an how that might conflict. Particularly right now the commander since thats going to be a obvious clash point since said MC would leave if could openly when in conversation with him and the newest spirit.

To the case of the spirits they will have the most interactions with us so they take the top spot for that reason alone and so far i think youve done a awesome job with setting up there personalitys.

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I can’t say the Commander sees the MC as much of a threat to the nation, but maybe that’ll change? Pantsing my writing means I honestly don’t know what’ll happen on the small scale, but I hope I’ll find places where I can give some sort of reason/resolution to most of them so their motives/character aren’t just hanging on your mind lol

But some things might just have to stay a mystery for the reader, who knows…

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Lol no worries early times yet and at this point who would exspect one person let alone the MC young as they are to be a threat?

Yet however we do get to see the commanders reaction to a MC who openly says they would leave if they could and he obviously didnt like that :: snickers :: but hey who can legitimatly exspect anyone exspecially someone as young as the MC is to be all gun ho for killing themselves for the creators and nation. When they say in the first interaction that they werent there willingly :: grins ::

Though there is something that makes them a threat and that is the newly aquired spirit cause at the moment we dont k ow just how much the commander has been told. We do however see the reaction of the one creator to the other at the mere mention of going to aquire it and the threat of the other creators should things go arwy and how the one who suggested it would bare the blame.
That hints at something very big that happened in the far far past so much so it had been so called locked away in the one nation for all that time and that nation has been at peace as well.

Those things hint at quite abit and makes me ever curious and feeling like that we are sitting on the games world of a nuke so to speak.

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You make good points, I very much agree!

Yeah, the Commander is all for the kingdom. You might’ve made your discontent apparent, but he doesn’t see the point of that beyond you being an unruly/ill-disciplined soldier lol

Ooo, good guess, I have to say Rei is certainly very important to the main plot! While Caine’s had a lot of screen time, I don’t know if they’ll have much driving force for the story, compared to Rei or you. They’ll still be present, but they’re not the go-getter type imo


Also as an aside, everyone have a sneak peek at the next update bc I think this’ll take me a while to get out.

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Just finished reading the demo. The writing was very professional and I did like the 2 spirits you encountered, a very interesting and original concept.

I will say that the pacing, plot and story has some flaws. The pacing is extremely slow for a story with 3 chapters, the story is basically the MC is a passive character and is forced to go to a war which is very simple and boring.

The plot is very thin, most of the story consists of filler “slice of life” activities like walking around and talking to your friends, there’s no drama, thrill or action, the plot doesn’t advance.

Since romance is a side plot of the story I would expect more from the main story.

The MC is also a quite boring forgettable passive MC who is strung along by the story and doesn’t have any real motivations.

Overall it bored me, while I did like the character of Cain, they’re the only reason why I stayed and played through.

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Hello everyone, I’ve just added a few things up on kofi that you might be interested in as my house really needs repairs (termites. oh no) and I’m hoping that’ll contribute even a little to my family ;;

I’ve already posted some extra content (“50 first-date questions ft. Caine, Rei, & Jackal”, “Scrapped scenarios featuring Caine & Rei with the summoner”, “Is this a Turadrake?”) but plan to add more. That tier also comes with a few other things you can read more about on kofi.

I might adjust and add more tiers as things go on, but for now, it’s just 3$ a month to get everything and you can end and resub at any time ^^ But if you’re not able to support, when I post the next update, I’ll post 50 of the 150 first date questions so you can read those at no cost :smiley:

As always, I appreciate any support you guys give, whether by engaging with discussions or giving feedback, monetarily or not. Thank you all for giving this story a chance, I hope you’ll enjoy the update when I finish it!


I’ve been told the pacing is fine, so this might be a subjective thing :thinking:

But things should become more interesting in the updates I have planned! (I’ve recognised a while ago that if I were to attribute it to a typical hero’s journey, most of what’s in the demo is before even that)

I don’t know if it’ll be enough for you since this isn’t an action or thriller imo and I won’t deny the MC is pretty passive. I can’t be sure to what degree they’ll deviate from that. Character and romance is really what I’m building up to, rather than for stakes.

Could I ask what your expectations for this story were going in and why? I may need to eventually adjust the blurb if it doesn’t fit or some other part of its presentation.

This story’s not much of an “epic”, maybe I’d say it’s more of an introspective of a floundering MC that lacks agency, but can choose to want things to change (and subsequently can contribute to that end). They’re quite an “Everyman” and not so much a hero (though they can do good things). Close to a “literary fiction”, in writing intentions but not quite.

Extra

This is sort of a coming of age story that caters to a specific audience and I can’t speak for other people, but I personally really struggle with apathy and initiative which I suppose I’m cathartically writing into this story lol. Of course, the forced to go to war trope is common and not especially original the way I did it, but I didn’t set out to revolutionize the trope.

But really, I’m writing to see what it’s like to tell and finish a story with more stakes than me recording my dreams or turning in assignments to my HS creative writing class. I also really like romance so that might be the focus. That’s all the experience I have and I haven’t been in HS since like the pandemic lol

Glad you like Caine, though. They truly might be the sole character carrying my story w readers hahaha

Thanks for taking time to leave feedback, it’s much appreciated c:

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