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In Shadowrun, spirits are used for services and every net hit you get from your summoning roll allows you 1 service. The 3 (clearly) described are Loaned, Magical and Remote services. There's a small paragraph explaining how you can use the spirit for a physical services but it 's not clear on how they are "measured".

A continous task count as 1 service. So if I summon an air element to dust a building it would count as 1 service correct?

Would a fight count as a single service? The whole duration of the encounter would be 1 service? Do I (the summoner) control the Spirit's actions in combat or is it my GM's role and the spirit fights the best it can?

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I've heard a lot of different things based on what people want to do here; combat is a service, but you don't get every possible combat action included-if it's just fighting, you're fine. If it's doing things that outside of combat would be a service, they count as their own services. – Kyle Willey Jun 3 '13 at 20:10

I would have answered straight that "one round of combat is one service, period." But out of curiosity, I went to check Street Magic, and it seems I was wrong.

A service can either be situational (such as “Help fight these Triad enforcers” or “Put out that fire”) or power-related (such as “Sustain Concealment on me until I ask you to stop”). If a spirit is asked to perform a specific task, it will use any and all powers in its arsenal to complete that task, but will terminate those powers once the task is complete.

So it seems that asking a spirit to participate in a fight is one service, and the service will use its powers as long as necessary, and they are not included in that service.

Then, it all depends about how you formulate your services. For example, asking the spirit to "help fight those Triad enforcers" will be one service, but if some gangers arrive and join the fight, the spirit might not help unless you use another service.

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But that spirit would keep on fighting those Triad Enforcers, right? – doppelgreener Jun 4 '13 at 2:37
@JonathanHobbs Yes, as that is still its active service that hasn't been completed yet – Dakeyras Jun 4 '13 at 9:34

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