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Summoner Character Profile: Part One

"We chat with writer Jason Scott about two of Summoner's main characters, Joseph and Jekhar."

Any fan of the genre will tell you that a role-playing game is only as good as the story driving it. Oftentimes, developers of role-playing games work hard to ensure that the characters and the environments look good and that there are plenty of special effects, but the end result is a neglected storyline that fails to deliver a compelling experience. Hoping to avoid such an occurrence with the PC version of its upcoming role-playing game, Summoner. Volition not only dedicated resources to create a detailed and complex world, but it also made an equally strong effort in developing an engaging story with dynamic characters.



Summoner's story focuses on a young man named Joseph who, as a boy, is indirectly responsible for destroying the village of Ciran and killing most of its inhabitants. Before the destruction of the village occurs, Joseph spends his time tending the fields on the farm owned by his father, but, regardless of his otherwise normal life, controversy always surrounds Joseph because of a strange mark on his hand. Yago, an old man with a wild-eyed look, eventually makes his way into the town of Ciran, befriends Joseph, and reveals that the mark on Joseph's hand means he's a summoner. To help Joseph understand his powers, Yago gives him a black ring carved from obsidian. The ring enables Joseph to summon monsters at any time, but Yago warns Joseph that he must not summon using his full abilities--if he does, he won't be able to control the summoned beast. Unfortunately, Joseph doesn't heed the warning.

Marauders attack Ciran and its peaceful inhabitants. Witnessing the carnage firsthand, Joseph realizes his village needs help, so he looks toward his powers and summons a powerful demon. However, the demon is too powerful--Joseph can't control it, so it aids in the destruction of the village and kills many of the residents. The old man and Joseph flee to a nearby village, where they are both safe from retribution for Joseph's disastrous actions.



One of Joseph's closest friends in Ciran is Jekhar, a descendant of Husofi--which is an old term for hawk children. Jekhar's and Joseph's backgrounds are vastly different: Jekhar grows up in a strict warriorlike environment, since his father was a huntsman for the local lord. Of course, this gives Jekhar an excellent opportunity to hone his abilities, and, almost immediately, word of his skill in combat makes him popular with the master of arms, but other residents of Ciran begin to fear him--except for Joseph. The two quickly become friends, but just as quickly as that happens, Joseph kills most of Jekhar's family when he summons the demon to protect the village. Jekhar never forgives Joseph, and when the two encounter each other at a later point, the only reason Jekhar doesn't kill Joseph on the spot is that he doesn't want to ruin his reputation as a soldier.

In part one of this two-part Summoner feature, we speak with Summoner's scriptwriter, Jason Scott--whose previous work includes FreeSpace 2--to learn more about the characters in Summoner as well as what it was like to write a role-playing game script for the first time.

Posted on Feb 07, 2001