Coded blue.

Tuesday 30 July 2002

Screenshot Morrowind

A job well done: In the foreground Lycanthos the Summoner, in the background Skeletal Warrior and Ancestral Ghost. On the ground between them, one defeated Cliff Racer. (Screenshot from Morrowind.)

Morrowind Summoner

Yes, another blue entry about the hottest new RPG, Morrowind. Tomorrow it's been two months since I started playing. I am still a newbie, but then again I am always a newbie. That's the way I like it!

So a few days ago I started over with a new character. Is not because I was bored with the previous character, but this new concept was so compelling that I couldn't wait. So what was it? (Cue dramatic music) The Summoner!

Morrowind is the first Elder Scrolls game to include extensive support for summoning, and possibly has the most advanced and flexible conjuration system of any computer RPG. The local culture forbids trafficking with the recently deceased, a practice called necromancy. But the long dead spirits are open for business, as are the Daedra (chaos spirits, roughly comparable to demons). All who major in the School of Conjuration receive two spells: One to summon an ancestral ghost, and another to summon a small Daedra in the form of a magic dagger.

A small comment here: Don't try this in real life, kids! It is just a game. (And don't try to fly or breathe under water either.)


The Summoner is a magic user who uses summoned creatures instead of weapons. He still uses armor to defend himself and may wield a weapon if all else fails. Since he uses most of his magic power for summoning, he relies heavily on magic potions for healing and such. Here is how I have defined his skills:
Major: Conjuration, Block, Heavy Armor, Light Armor, Alchemy.
Minor: Enchant, Armorer, Short Blade, Restoration, Mysticism.

(Why Light Armor rather than Medium Armor? Because summoned armor is light. Summoned armor would be in character, but in the beginning of the game the Summoner will not have enough magic for that and will have to rely on heavy armor.)

A good combination for Summoner is Breton and the Apprentice birth sign. The Apprentice weakness to magic is canceled out by the Breton resistance to magic, and both race and birth sign give extra magicka. Another possibility is the Atronach birth sign for maximum magicka and spell absorption. In that case the character can not regain magicka by resting, but this is less of a problem when you can mix your own potions of restore magicka...


The Summoner has proved to be a challenging class. In all fairness, magic users are slightly underpowered in Morrowind, at least for the first part of the game. But for this class there's also the problem of missing multipliers.

Each skill in Morrowind is associated with one attribute. For instance athletics (running) is tied to speed, while blunt weapon skill is tied to strength. If during one level you several times raise skills tied to the same attribute, you will get multipliers for that attribute. So each point you invest in that attribute we count for 2, 3, 4 or even 5 points by which you can increase that attribute. For instance if you run a lot and use hand-to-hand fighting and unarmored (dodging) skills, all of these are connected to speed; my catgirl used to get 4 or 5 multipliers on speed for each level. But the Summoner rarely get more than 2 on each attribute; on the other hand he gets 2 on lots of attributes for each level, but this is little help: You only get 3 points to distribute, so you get more effect out of specializing than using five or six attributes equally.

I have tried to run around a lot to increase speed, but the Summoner just levels too fast. There is not time to run a lot in between. At the end of level 6 I spent a game night swimming to improve speed, but still got just a 2. Using the amulet of stamina made the Enchant skill rise, and so my character leveled ...

In conclusion, the Summoner is not suited as a first character. But if you replay the game looking for a slightly unusual approach, it is worth a try. The special feeling of going into battle with a small army of summoned creatures is something you're not likely to find in any other 1st person perspective RPG.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Not crazy after all those years
Two years ago: My Sunday
Three years ago: The natives are restless

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