The Summoning Circle is closely related to the another, similarly unique feature: the Wizard's Fortress. In fact, at the start of the game, or after completing the casting of a Spell of Return, the Summoning Circle will automatically be placed in the town that the Fortress appears in. Moving the Fortress while the Summoning Circle is in the same town will also move the Circle with it.
Each Wizard can only have a single Summoning Circle, and it can not be destroyed by normal means. It will disappear if the Wizard is defeated or banished. It can also be moved to another friendly town using the Summoning Circle spell. This spell works like an enchantment in that it also allows setting a newly built Outpost as its target, which can be quite useful in establishing new footholds around the map.
Mankind has always been fascinated by what lies beyond the mortal realm. Even in a world filled with magic, it is not necessarily easy to open a gateway to another dimension and pull something away from there. It is certainly more difficult than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Traditionally, it requires elaborate rituals that must be carried out over a course of days or weeks, that involve the carving of intricate magical symbols over the area they are performed in.
The Summoning Circle is one such symbol. Although generally associated with the summoning of fiends and other dark entities, it is not actually limited to such. In essence, it is nothing more than a focus, or channeling device, to help the wizard performing the ritual to orient their magic power in just the right way. It is also enchanted to provide the physical anchor for the portal that the summoned being will rise through when the casting is complete.
In Master of Magic, the summoning symbol is a pentagram surrounded by a circle. It continuously glows with a faint blue light, signifying its magical nature. It is an extension of any wizard, and the first thing they create after raising their magical fortress. As long as the wizard is able to cast spells, they will always have a Summoning Circle present somewhere in the world. Similarly, being banished will remove this connection to the material realm for the duration.
At the beginning of the game, the Summoning Circle is automatically placed in the starting city of each Wizard, along with their magical Fortress. Once a Wizard researches the Summoning Circle spell, the Circle can be moved through using this spell, to any other Town under the Wizard's control. This is an Arcane spell, which means it can be researched by any Wizard.
The location of the player's Summoning Circle is always displayed at the bottom of the Magic Screen. For enemy Wizards, its location has to be manually scouted by checking out their towns.
If the Circle is in a Wizard's Fortress Town, casting the Move Fortress spell to move the seat of power will also move the Summoning Circle to the target city. Should the Fortress Town be razed or captured by an enemy (i.e. the Wizard is banished or defeated), the Circle will be removed from play. On the successful cast of the Spell of Return, it will reappear along with the Fortress in the new capital city.
The Summoning Circle provides the target location for two different groups of spells: overland Summoning Spells, and Recall-type teleportation spells.
- Main article: Summoning Spell
The main use of a Summoning Circle, as its name suggests, is to facilitate the use of Summoning Spells, or, to be more precise: Summoning Spells cast on the overland map. Fantastic Creatures of all magical Realms will use the Circle to determine their starting location. In addition, the Summon Hero and Summon Champion spells will also bring these Heroes to the Town with the Summoning Circle.
In contrast, Mercenaries and Heroes seeking Fame will always present themselves at the Fortress City for hire. Similarly, wandering Merchants and crafted items also arrive at the Fortress instead. Heroes found as prisoners, and Magical Items found as treasure, will appear at the location of the Encounter Zone they were found in (although such items can be transported to the Fortress Vault free of charge). Finally, creatures summoned during combat are brought straight into the battle, and will simply vanish afterwards.
There are two spells that can be used to instantly move a unit across the map, both of which are also anchored to the Summoning Circle. The first one, Recall Hero, can be researched by any Wizard, but is very restricted in its use: it can only be cast during combat, and can only target friendly Heroes. After the battle, the Hero will appear in the town containing the Summoning Circle (but will still gain Experience if the battle was won).
Word of Recall, on the other hand, can be cast both in combat and on the overland map. For a base cost of 20 it will teleport any unit from anywhere on the map to the caster's Summoning Circle. Although generally only available to Wizards possessing Sorcery Spellbooks, Jaer the Wind Mage (a mid-level Hero) also has this spell in his spellbook by default, and is able to cast it during combat provided he has enough Mana remaining to do so.
Banished Wizards Edit
Not possessing a Summoning Circle effectively disables all functionality associated with it. Since a banished Wizard's spellcasting is completely occupied by performing the Spell of Return, no other spells may be cast by them, either on the overland map or in combat. However, Heroes possessing the Caster ability are still able to utilize their own Mana to throw spells while fighting. Since combat summons do not require the Circle either, Heroes are still allowed to summon creatures in battle.
On the other hand, neither of the Recall spells can be cast, even if they are already researched or otherwise possessed by a Hero. Trying to cast them will result in the game displaying an error message explaining that they are not available to banished Wizards.
Known Bugs Edit
Summoning To: None Edit
There is at least one way to disassociate the Summoning Circle from the Wizard's Towns (there may also be more). To accomplish this, the Circle needs to be moved into a Hamlet with a population of 1, and then a unit of Settlers needs to be created before the Town reaches 2 population. This will effectively remove the Town from the map, but will not actually move the Summoning Circle back to the Fortress Town.
This will cause the section header text to appear on the Magic Screen. However, this will not actually disable Summoning Spells. Instead, any freshly summoned creatures will appear at the coordinates where the Hamlet used to be when the Circle was moved there. This creates a bit of a problem if there is a unit or army on this tile that belongs to another Wizard. In this situation, both armies will exist on the same tile without affecting each other in any way whatsoever. Moving off the tile and back on it will trigger combat as usual, but summoning another unit will not.
In fact, should another Wizard found an Outpost on this map square, the Summoning Circle will instantly appear in the Town, resulting in this Wizard having two Towns that have a Circle displayed in them. The Magic Screen for the player will also state the name of this Town as the one being Summoned to. However, unlike the normal behaviour, razing this town will not dismantle this Circle (since it does not belong to the owner of the Town). Furthermore, summoned units set to Patrol on the same square where an enemy City is do not count as being in a Town for any effects where this makes a difference (e.g. natural healing, Meteor Storm).
Army stacks belonging to different Wizards that are on the same map tile will not interfere with new units being created on that tile.