The following is an essay by a student named Periclese Manousos. He wrote a shorter version of the same essay in 2432 while studying at the Isikoss School for Wizards. He took a course called Dealing with Olympia, taught by a visiting Ursian wizard. The essay was remarkable in that it provoked a reaction from the cleric-wizards at the school, and briefly made him famous. Sadly for Periclese, he never found the ability to cast spells, and failed to graduate. He embarked upon a lecture tour, to enlighten intellectuals in the large cities of Clarus, and began to lecture upon what he saw as the true nature of the gods, and their real motivation for dealing with humanity. He was killed by robbers, on his way back to his hotel one night, after giving a lecture in Drakhma, Sax.
The gods of Olympia profit from supplying equipment and medicine by space bridges to most of the worlds in the Celesti Sector. These deliveries are organized by pantheons and summoning agencies.
A pantheon is a corporation based in Olympia that supplies medicine and other merchandise through space bridges in the possession of clerics. By a strongly binding agreement between themselves, the gods guard their medical knowledge jealously, for it is one of their great sources of revenue and influence among humanity. The gods trust clerics not to take part in any schemes to steal the gods' medical technology. Pantheon clerics have all passed the Olympian Clerical Tests.
The gods aim to exchange healing, administered by clerics, for food, wine, art, dramatic spectacle, and devotion. Depending upon the laws governing their dealings with the inhabitants of a world, pantheons may compete with one another for the loyalty of a region, or may be awarded exclusive rights to solicit trade within their own regions. In any case, clerics cat not only as a healers, administering drugs provided by the gods, but also act to extend the influence of their pantheons into the lives of ordinary people, and into the highest spheres of government.
The term summoning in its most general sense applies also to the movement of troops from one place to another through space bridges. Troop summoning is one of the foundations upon which Olympia's domination of the Celesti Sector is built.
Because summoning is so central to Olympia's economy and power, a large part of its system of laws deals with the manner in which summoning may be used. As it stands now, the law allows for different summoning rules upon each planet in the sector, but not within a planet. There are a dozen or more standard rules that may apply to any given planet. When a god or divine corporation owns a planet, they or it chooses the rules for the planet. All planets must carry the rules forbidding time deliberate time travel through time-shifted bridges. They must also carry rules restricting who may summon which divine goods. Summoners receive a summoning grade from Olympia. The higher the grade, the greater the variety of goods they may summon.
Summoning was forbidden by the original Free World Declaration, and remains formidden on Comitor, Vagor, and Feras. In 1865 AE, Olympia introduced summoning for Clarus in response to the invasion of Idonius by orcs from Hell. Summoning was permitted provided the divine owner of the temple plot gave permission, and provided the summoning conformed to the One-Percent Rule, which we discuss in detail below. This means that the summoner must report his or her location, after determining it by some reliable means, such as the proximity of a known landmark or by measuring latitude and longitude with a chronometer and sextant. Of course, the summoner must be trustworthy in such cases, and so contracts between summoners and summoning agencies require a sworne statement from the summoner that such determinations of location will be given accurately. The only exception to the need to obtain permission from the temple plot owner is for bearers of Talismans of Summoning.
By signing a contract with a summoning agency, allowing an accredited Olympian agency to confirm their identity and planet of birth, and by depositing a minimum of $10,000 in an Olympian account, anyone can summon basic goods such as they might purchase in a sapien city. The summoning rules of the planet may restrict the summoning of such goods for other reasons, but the contract and deposit gives the summoner Grade I status in the eyes of the summoning laws regardless of the planet upon which they find themselves.
But Grade I status does not allow the summoning of divine healing serums and other pharmaceuticals the manufacture of which is a divine secret. To summon healing serums you must attain Grade II, which requires taking examinations, swearing oaths, and sponsorship by an existing Grade II summoner of at least five years standing. One you attain Grade II you qualify as a cleric.
The highest summoning grade is Grade V. Here, in brief, are the benefits of each grade. Earning new grades requires more examinations, and more service.
Grade I: signed contract Grade IS: qualified to determine location by sextant Grade II: emergency care Grade III: patient gating Grade IV: curative medicine, sterilization Grade V: longevity drugs and luxury pharmaceuticals
The Grade I is required upon any planet with localized summoning rights. One god may control summoning in one area, and another god may control summoning in a neighboring area. The summoner must pass an Olympian Navigational Test, or the Grade Is test, before an agency or pantheon will accept his or her assertions about his or her location. In the worst case, the summoner must resort to a sextant to demonstrate his location. More often, he can give his location with respect to a well-known land mark, and thus prove he is in one or another summoning region.
A cleric will most often attach himself to a corporation upon Olympia called a pantheon. The pantheon supplies him with a summoning bridge to the pantheons' headquarters on Olympia.
Often, clerics are entitled to a 5% cut of all sales made through their pantheon, and are allowed to borrow services on credit from their pantheon. There are, however, drawbacks to being a cleric. The gods are cunning when it comes to influencing the minds of mankind, and are likely to exercise such powers over their clerics.
A summoning agency is a Olympian corporation that supplies merchandise other than medicine through space bridges in the possession of its clients. The clients need have only Grade I, and there is no benefit to them of possessing a higher grade because summoning agencies are not permitted to supply divine medicine.
The clients of a summoning agency purchase a space bridge that connects them with the agency's warehouses and tuning stations on Olympia. These bridges cost about 100 gp, which covers both the bridge and the Grade I background checks, also known as the Olympian Client Test.
To summon something is to have it delivered through a space bridge. Wizards cannot make molecular bridges, so they cannot provide summoning. Any solid matter passing through the atomic space bridges wizards are able to make is atomized. The gods, however, can make molecular bridges, and even spirit bridges. Those daemons that serve the gods are able to make such bridges with ease. It is the gods, therefore, with the assistance of daemons, who provide summoning.
A summoning bridge is one half of a space bridge, the other half of which is in the hands of a pantheon or summoning agency on Olympia. Most of the time, a summoning bridge will be a finger's width across, and it will reside in a protective ring inside a pouch of some sort. One summoning agency provides a red silk pouch for their bridges. The silk is permeable to sound, so the bearer can hear calls through the pouch. Meanwhile, at the summoning agency's headquarters on Olympia, the bridges are kept in sound-proof compartments with glass covers, arranged in on the wall of an office. A red light shining through a bridge means the other half is still in its pouch, and light is shining on the pouch, but no action is required by the agency. When the light changes color, an employee of the agency, usually an elf resident of Olympia, opens the glass box, takes out the bridge and speaks into the bridge, requesting its user's name and a pass phrase. These formalities concluded, the agency and its customer can discuss summoning services to be provided.
The summoner can speak through the bridge when it is small. In order to summon anything large, however, the bridge must be expanded far beyond its normal size. Many summoners carry with them a folding copper-plated steel bridge holder. The copper surface is preferred because it seems to adhere to the sheaths of summoning bridges better than other metals. The steel frame adheres naturally to the rim of a space bridge because the space bridge acts like a magnet. At the time of summoning, the summoning bridge will push its way out of its ring. The bridge holder provides a slot for the ring, so that when the bridge moves out of the ring it slides into the bridge holder and expands. The bridge holder itself is a quarter-circle standing upon the ground with a groove on its inner surface for the bridge edge. A traveller's bridge holder might weight a kilogram and unfold to a length of one meter. To summon a horse, the bridge must be expanded to a diameter of two meters.
During summoning, the summoner must keep well back from the bridge unless he is certain that he is carrying no iron objects. Iron objects are drawn with great force towards enlarged bridges, and the bridge is likewise drawn towards them, so much so that a man standing one meter from a two-meter diameter summoning bridge and wearing steel armor will pull the space bridge towards him with a force equal to his own weight. Even objects made out of copper and brass and other non-magnetic materials will experience a force as they move about in the neighborhood of a large space bridge. Thus it is best to stay well back from the bridge during its expansion and during its contraction, allowing the bridge holder to do the work of holding and guiding the bridge back into its ring.
By setting aside all metallic objects, however, a summoner can learn to handle an expanding bridge himself, and do away with the need to carry the holder.
The only difference between a pantheon and a summoning agency is the a pantheon can distribute controlled substances, while a summoning agency cannot. The controlled substances distributed by a pantheon must, however, be delivered to a cleric, otherwise known as a summoner of grade two or higher. A cleric is someone who has passed the Summoning Council's examinations, and who has taken an oath to obey the laws of summoning that prevail upon whatever planet they perform a summoning.
Summoning bridges are brought from Olympia via conjunctions. They are enclosed in a bridge ring and kept within a flat leather pouch so as to protect them from damage. Clerics receive a summoning bridge from their pantheon when they complete their initial training. Anyone else must buy their summoning bridges from a summoning agency.
A summoning bridge is an atomic space bridge most of the time, but when a summoning is performed, it is transformed into a molecular bridge, or even a spirit bridge, to permit the requested object or creature to pass through. When large objects are requested, the summoning bridge must be enlarged as well.
The bearer of a summoning bridge initiates a summoning by taking out the bridge and speaking through it, or in some cases shining a light through it. A member of the pantheon or summoning agency's staff on Olympia will then pick up the other half of the bridge and ask for a name and code number, which he will check for validity before taking the summoner's requests.
The gods make every effort to facilitate payment for their services by the summoner. A reputable customer is billed every month at his home, and may pay in any respectable currency. To their established customers, the gods are prepared to extend credit at reasonable rates of interest. Clerics, of course, get paid a 5% commission on all the money they make for their pantheons. Here we quote prices in Olympian Dollars.
Summoning bridges cost $10,000 each, but they are given free to clerics, and are often handed out free to wealthy adventurers. The following prices are charged by pantheons and spirit agencies for tuning summoning bridges in preparation for the delivery of equipment and medicine:
|Class||Size (m)||Price ($)|
When several things are summoned at once, a single bridge tuning fee is usually adequate. For example, to summon a bugbear one must pay for the summoning bridge to be transformed into a 3-m diameter molecular bridge twice, once for his arrival and once for his departure, but each 3-m molecular bridge endures for one minute, which is long enough for twenty bugbears to come through. For medicine, one has to pay only for a normal-sized molecular bridge, but it endures for one minute: long enough to transport twenty serums.
On a few planets, notably Clarus since 1865, the One Percent of Lifetime Summoning Rule applies. This rule is enforced upon the pantheons and spirit agencies of Olympia. It states that any object summoned to a free world, with the exception of gods themselves, must be kept upon Olympia, in the exact shape and form in which it is to be delivered, for one percent of its natural lifetime before it can leave the planet.
The expected lifetimes are decided by the Olympian agency that oversees the operation of pantheons and spirit agencies. The expected lifetime of a metal sword, for example, has been decided at one million years. Thus it is impractical for gods to offer metal swords for summoning, since swords would have to be kept upon Olympia for ten thousand years before they could be summoned a first time, and another ten thousand years before they could be summoned a second time.
Under the One Percent of Lifetime Summoning Rule on Clarus, everything they bring must be perishable. To substitute for metal, spirit agencies and pantheons use a heavy, hard, wood called ironwood. Ironwood takes a long time to grow, and is exceptionally difficult to work with, but has an official expected lifetime of one thousand years, which means it need be stored for only ten years between uses. It can be made into armor, missiles, and blunt weapons that are as effective as metallic ones, but edged weapons made of ironwood are greatly inferior to those made of metal. Summoned creatures tend to wear padded or banded armor, wield maces, flails, war-hammers, javelins, or even lances, and carry bows or crossbows; but not swords or axes.
Creatures, especially hellspawn, have shorter expected lifetimes, and so are practical for summoning. A goblin, for example, has an expected lifetime of 40 years, so it need spend only five months upon Olympia before each summoning.
A molecular space bridge is adequate to transport someone from one planet to another. So let's suppose a summoner is on Clarus and wishes to escape from some place in which is captors have left him with his summoning bridge. He contacts his summoning agency and asks to be gated off the planet. Gating off Clarus is entirely consistent with the One Percent of Lifetime Summoning Rule. But the transport of creatures to Olympia is permitted only with a visa granted by the Olympian Council, so this is unlikely to be granted. There are, however, chambers on Olympia that are considered to be neutral territory, and a traveler can be carried to one of these chambers, and then step through another gate to another planet without an Olympian visa. In practice, the two gates will be flush up against one another, so the traveler will never set foot upon Olympia. Nevertheless, all of their mass exists on Olympia at some point in time, and for this a tax must be paid, which is the Gating Tax. The Gating Tax is $5k for adults, $2k for children.
Here is an example of how the gating tax is applied. A party of six people are in a jail cell on Clarus with a summoning bridge. They resolve to escape by gating to Overlook via Olympia, and once on Overlook, they will take the Jamchelk Conjunction back to Clarus. They have no magical items with them except the space bridge, so they get two molecular bridges tuned to take them to Overlook, which is $3k. They pay $30k in gating taxes. In order to get back to Clarus through the Jamchelk conjunction, they need Free World Passports, which they can obtain once on Overlook, because the authorities on Olympia know that they have come from Clarus. But these passports cost $10k each, for another $60k. All together the cost is $93k.
A standard dose of any divine healing serum is supplied in a sterile corked vial holding 10 ml, and is appropriate for an adult human. A sterile syringe is supplied with each vial. The serum degenerates within fifteen minutes of delivery unless injected into the bloodstream of a patient of the correct blood type and species. Once injected into the into a wounded or injured patient, the serum takes effect. Standard doses of all healing serums cost 10 gp each in addition to the price of tuning. This price is fixed by the laws of Olympia, and is much greater than the cost of producing the serums.
When healing serum is summoned, the pantheon must be told the blood type and species of the patient. If the creature's blood type is not known, a sample of the blood can be supplied for testing, but this will delay the delivery of the serum for fifteen minutes and cost 10 gp. Otherwise the serum will be delivered immediately to human patients, and after several minutes, or not at all, for rarer species of patient. Administration of the wrong serum can kill the patient. Most often, however, healing will still take place, but the patient will be incapacitated with a high fever for one day.
Healing serum is not available to anyone but clerics, because the Gods do not want it to fall into the hands of human chemists who might discover the secret of its manufacture. The rapid degeneration of the serum after its delivery is intended to make it still less likely that it will fall into the wrong hands.
There are many varieties of healing serum. We will describe a few of the most common varieties. The injury serum accelerates the healing of injuries so that full recovery will take place in half a day, provided the patient rests. The cut serum is designed to stop wounds from bleeding, and promote healing of the broken skin surfaces and the re-growth of tissue and internal tendons and ligaments. After taking the cut serum, the patient must rest or risk suffering a heart attack. The fracture serum accelerates the joining of broken bones. The bones must be well-set before they join, or they will re-join incorrectly and require re-breaking. The best fracture serums can heal a broken bone in two days, provided the patient rests for the entire time and does not move the bone.
Although healing serums greatly accelerate recovery from injuries, they are suspected of being responsible for premature death through failure of the heart, the occurance of sever strokes, and mental seizures. One pantheon reported that the incidence of fatal side-effects from serums could be as high as one in one hundred patients. Other pantheons claim that the risk of a fatal side-effect of their serums is less than one in a million. So far as we can tell, there would be no way to obtain compensation from a pantheon if they deceived their users about the potential side-effects of their serums.
For severe injuries, the pantheons provide surgery. The patient passes through the summoning bridge to Olympia and receives treatment from divine surgeons before being returned to Clarus for recovery. Surgery is expensive, but it can save the life of someone who would otherwise be certain of dying. We have tried to determine the cost of surgery, but it appears to vary greatly with the nature of the injury and the pantheon's policies on charging for medical treatment. These policies vary from one region to another and from one patient to the next. Nevertheless, we estimate that emergency surgery following a deadly sword wound will cost no more than $100,000.
In the presence of the One-Percent of Lifetime Summoning Rule, the question arises as to how a patient from Clarus can pass through a summoning bridge to Olympia and return a few hours later without being forced to reside on Olympia for one percent of their lifetime. When the patient passes through the bridge, he enters a neutral space. This space is on Olympia, but has a special status under Olympian law. The space is considered to be part of both Clarus and Olympia. The patient never leaves Clarus, and therefore need not wait to return. The surgeons do not leave Olympia. Anything that enters the neutral space from Olympia and leaves for Clarus with the patient must, so far as we can tell, obey the one-percent rule, but all the other tools brought to the surgery from Olympia leave the neutral space on the Olympian side.
Of all the drugs available from Olympia, the most coveted are those that bestow youth upon the aged. The most potent of these will give the receiver the strength and beauty of a thirty-year-old. The least potent will bestow the hale vigor of a seventy-year-old upon a man of ninety years. It is not clear whether the drugs bestow longer life or not. Very few people who take longevity drugs pass the age of one hundred. But they take the pain and disability out of the final years of life, and so are welcomed by all.
Longevity drugs are supplied in monthly doses. They are injected by a needle protruding from a space bridge. The Gods do not pass longevity drugs through summoning bridges in vials, but only directly into the blood stream of the person for whome the drug has been designed. The following table gives the cost of one dose, which must be repeated each month, for various strengths and types of longevity drugs.
|Equivalent Age||Cost per Month ($)||Average Lifespan (yr)|
If a woman is to preserve herself as a thirty-year-old beauty, she must begin taking longevity drugs at around the age of thirty, and no later than forty. The drugs have a limited ability to reverse aging. For a man or woman to preserve their strength and stamina at its thirty-five-year-old peak, they must start taking the drugs at around thirty also, because the drugs act to prevent cumulative damage to tendons and cartiladge.
The drugs have side effects. The more powerful the drug, the stronger the side effects. The more powerful varieties tend to bleach the user's hair and lighten their skin color. Their eyes become pale and sensitive to the bright light. Most of these side effects are insurmountable. Ointment can protect the pale skin from the sun and dark glasses can protect the eyes from bright light. But to those who know what to look for, a user of powerful longevity drugs is conspicuous. Almost all people who take the most powerful longevity drugs die of strokes or heart attacks. On average, someone taking the most powerful drugs will die ten years earlier than someone taking the weakest, and will die either quickly of a stroke or heart attack, or be crippled by one.
Some pantheons provide the weakest longevity drugs to their people for free. Although the drugs cost $1000 a month, they prevent chronic illnesses that distract healthy, younger people from work. Furthermore, the longevity drugs give an elderly person the ability to function well and apply their experience to the problems of the community. Thus it may appear generous of such pantheons to provide these drugs for free, but in the end, the pantheon does so because it sees profit in the action.
Elves do not age, but nor can they develop their strength and stamina to the same extent as sapiens. There are drugs available from Olympia that bestow upon them the same ability to build muscle and stamina as is enjoyed by sapiens. There are many variations on such drugs. Much of the labor required to provide Olympian summoning is provided by elves on Olympia, and these take a keen interest in drugs that will give them the qualities that they envy in sapiens. Elves that choose to live the life of adventurers are customers for the strongest such drugs, just as sapien adventurers are the customers for the strongest longevity drugs. Adventurers have the greatest need for such enhancements, and they have the money to pay for them. Among adventurers, the drugs that elves take are called elfroids. Their costs is the same as that of longevity drugs, in proportion to their strength.
Elfroids cause aggression, leading to previously calm and measured elves becoming angry short-tempered. In male elves, elfroids promote the growth of facial hair, which is hardly present in most elves. Another side-effect of the drugs is to decrease immunity to disease. Elf immune systems are usually more effective than those of sapiens, but when taking elfroids, they are less effective.
Soldiers can be summoned from some pantheons and most spirit agencies. On Clarus, you can summon hellspawn, and most prefer to do so because hellspawn are far cheaper to summon, and more effective. Each summoned creature has a summoning price, depending upon its species and prowess. The summoning price is the amount paid to the delivering agent for the first ten days of the monster's service. Each additional day after the tenth costs one percent of the summoning price.
If a summoned creature is killed, the summoner must pay the death price, amounting to ten times the summoning price, in addition to all other charges. The delivering agency will pay for the healing of wounds monsters suffer in the line of duty. Thus the summoner is encouraged to make sure the summoned creatures return alive but not necessarily healthy. The wounded will have plenty of time to recover on Olympia before they can be summoned again.
The table below gives the summoning prices of a variety of creatures, as well as the minimum time each creature must remain upon Olympia before it can next be summoned (in accordance with the One Percent of Lifetime Summoning Rule).
|Creature||Summoning Price ($)||Waiting Time (months)|
Summoned creatures cannot bring their own space bridges with them from Olympia, since the gods are unable turn a summoning bridge to class four, and the conjured matter sheath of a space bridge is destroyed by passage through any lower class of bridge. Thus they must return through a summoning bridge which exists already in the world to which they are summoned.
To illustrate our presentation of summoning prices, suppose some merchants summon ten kobold scouts and ten bugbear infantry to Clarus to protect their wagons as they cross through a dangerous forest. They keep the soldiers for thirteen days. On the seventh day, one kobold and two bugbears are killed in a battle with some bandits. The soldiers all return to Olympia together. They bury their dead in the forest. How much does this cost the merchants? To transport the soldiers from Olympia there is a bridge tuning fee of $1.5k (molecular bridge three meters across). For their first ten days of service the fee is $80k for the kobolds and $200k for the bugbears. The death money for the kobold is $80k, and for the two bugbears is $400k. The retainer for days eleven to thirteen is $80 a day for each of nine surviving kobolds ($3380) and $200 a day for each of eight surviving bugbears ($4800). When the monsters are returned, there is another tuning fee of $1.5k. The total is a little over $770k, with most of it taken up by the death money. If the merchants had retained the soldiers for a three months, their cost would have been close to $1M, not counting provisions.
We note that summoned soldiers are well-disciplined, well-trained, and proud. They will not turn on their summoners, but they can and will request that they be returned to Olympia if they find that their task is abhorrent to them. In that case, the summoner can dispute the summoning charge.
While the merchants are crossing the forest, suppose they come across the homes of some bandits. In the homes, the wives and children are hiding. The merchants order the bugbears to burn down the houses, which they do, but first they remove the children from danger. The merchants order the bugbears to kill the children, but the bugbears are from Clarus, and among Claran hellspawn it is unholy to kill any child, even a lamb, so the bugbears refuse. When one of the merchants moves to set fire to a house in which children are hiding, the bugbears constrain him. Under these circumstances, the merchants would be refused any refund, on the grounds that it is clear that hellspawn will not obey such orders.
The following table gives the cost of summoning mounts, not including the cost of the summoning bridge tuning itself.
|Creature||Summoning Price ($)||Waiting Time (months)|
The summoning price pays for ten days of use. Each additional day costs one percent of the summoning cost.
Perishable food costs 1 gp per portion, which is ten times the cost of the ingredients if bought from a farmer on Clarus. Each portion contains enough to feed a sapien for a day. Water, on the other hand, cannot be delivered, since it is not perishable, nor can spirits be delivered. But wine and beer perish, so they can be delivered, as can milk and pure fruit juice.
Tools and weapons of ironwood can be summoned at twice cost of their metallic equivalents.
Wizards often carry summoning bridges, and are usually qualified to at least Grade IS. They have pressed hard over the years for the development of biodegradable spell components that they can summon under duress. Such components might then be summoned to Clarus under the One Percent rule. The gods, however, have been slow to respond to their requests. Nevertheless, wizards can now summon poison cloud stones for twice the normal cost.
As we can see, the Gods interact with humanity within the constraints of their own laws. Their choice off laws for Clarus serve their own socio-economic objectives, and have been modified to mitigate the effect of hellspawn upon our world. Perhaps a single God can claim to work for his or her people, despite the divine laws, but none can claim that they are above such laws, and none can claim that it is by grace that they give to their people on Clarus. At first, our understanding of the true nature of Gods might make us hesitate to worship them, but when we give further consideration, we see that they have given the common man little choice but to worship, and so he does so, or else his family will not receive the medicine and drugs it needs in times of sickness and injury. Furthermore, even if the Gods do not hold our happiness close to their hearts, it is at least clear that they take a serious interest in our well-being and our lives, and that they must work hard to obtain profit from us in this world. We might find some solace in the fact that our Gods might need us as much as we need them.
Another conclusion we can draw is that clerics, be they good or evil, have the trust of their pantheon, and must therefore be honorable at heart and also skilled in healing. The gods are jealous of their ability to make the medicines that humanity needs, and they allow these medicines to be dispensed only by those who have both the skill to dispense them and the sense of honor to keep their promise to the Gods that they will not allow the medicine to pass out of their hands before it is administered. If we believe that an honorable man is honorable to all, then the very ability to summon a serum from Olympia marks a man as trustworthy. If the Gods trusted in the fear they inspire to stop a cleric from betraying them, then any other person inspiring fear in the same cleric might prevail upon the cleric to break faith with their god. For ourselves, we are confident that the Gods select those who are honorable for their clerics.