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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, Inc. 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. The gameplay was somewhat clunky, though the game is better remembered for its deep 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 and the rightful heir to both the Orenian and Medevan Thrones; 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 Game Cube as Summoner: A Goddess Reborn) was released in 2002. Its gameplay was improved by giving the game 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 series contains the following tropes:
- A God Am I: Emperor Murod, later Joseph himself in one of the ending, as he becomes the reincarnated god Urath
- In the sequel, there's the main character Maia, as well as Morbazan and Iari, though they're more Precursors that are worshipped as gods by the Munari. So, basically, that's 3 gods as playable characters.
- 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.
- Correction, at least as far as the second game: All the myths have some basis in truth, but get crucial details mixed up. For example Maia is not Laharah reborn. "There is no Laharah, and there is no Urath. There is only Creation and Destruction. Aosi and the Tempest."
- Back Stab: Flece.
- Because Destiny Says So/You Can't Fight Fate: See Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
- Big Bad: At first Murod, but he's later somewhat upstaged by Machival — The Demon of Darkness that destroyed Ciran.
- One-Winged Angel: Almost literally in the latter case.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 first game contained the Dead Ale Wives' famous Dungeons and Dragons skit as acted out by the Summoner cast.
- The Empire of Orenia
- Expansion Pack World: the sequel, full stops, adds quite a few new locals, and radically alters the game's cosmology with it's story. There is no Gods. They are aspect of Aosi.
- 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.
- Five-Man Band:
- Guide Dang It: Paludal in the second game is a debatable example. If you go into the fight with Neru or Taurgis, the fight is practically unwinnable, as the duplicates of them the boss transforms into will constantly fully heal themselves.
- Game Breaker: Flece's backstab is a debatable example. Normally, it does about 10x normal damage, which is pretty good, but against unaware enemies it can do upwards of 100x damage depending on the opponent. Another of Flece's abilities, Trip, knocks an opponent over and renders it unaware, allowing her to insta-kill them without any trouble in the heat of open combat. This combo only works on relatively humanoid opponents, but that accounts for about 90% of the game's enemies. It also works on humanoid bosses (which again, is most of them). This turns most boss fights into Curb Stomp Battles that last less than 30 seconds. Even the last boss's 2nd form can be obliterated this way in 2-3 hits (doing 1700-2000 or so damage per hit).
- Glass Cannon:Flece, who can do the most damage but is very fragile.
- Gut Punch: In one stroke, Yago turns out to be Machival, destroys your hard-earned demon rings and burns Joseph's hand off.
- Healing Spring: the Pool of the Healing Twins on the Isle of Teomura in the second game.
- Hit Points
- 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.
- La Résistance: The Jade Temple
- 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.
- The Mario: 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.
- Mighty Glacier: Golem summons, Jekhar.
- Nominal Importance
- One-Winged Angel: Murod turns into a spectacularly ridiculous example.
- Only Smart People May Pass: The Trial the Khosani send you through.
- Pausable Realtime
- Point of No Return: In the first game, you can never return to Orenia once you've left. You can, however, return to the Realm of Twilight at will in the second game, although not to the wasteland, the Seige Engine or the Tomb of Githiran until the end.
- 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.
- Retcon: A BIG one, but handled skillfully, in the sequel. Laharah is an evil goddess, and her followers, the Nuvasarim, feed on agony. This is thoroughly - and convincingly - retconned in the sequel, in which Laharah is the protagonist. except that neither Laharah, nor Urath, nor any other gods exist. They are all merely parts of Aosi. What's that you say? Vadagar's giant three-headed corpse? We didn't walk through any giant three-headed corpse!
- 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.
- Averted: Thriving Ghost Town: 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 results in making the prophesy happen, by undoing Joseph's Refusal of the Call.
- 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 actually employs both types.
- Twenty Bear Asses: Several in the first game, all with 100% drop rates.
- Useless Useful Spell: Death, also, arguably, most of the summons.
- 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 translated as "summoner." Its literal meaning is "people of the eight rings." "People of the four rings," which seems more appropriate in the early part of the game, would be "Sahudoni". 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...