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Specifically, my question's about the wording of this sentence in LotFP's Summon Spell (Rules & Magic pg. 134-143).

500 sp worth of materials is required to invest in a circle for every +1 bonus to the caster's Domination roll, and this is consumed with every casting.

There's two ways this has been interpreted:

  1. That the circle needs 500 sp per +1 bonus (independent of the sacrifices, so that both can be combined for an additional bonus).
  2. That the circle doesn't add anything on its own and is required in addition to the sacrifices (so when the sacrifices would add a +1, 500 sp MUST be spent on a circle to capture that bonus).

Which interpretation is correct?

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You can use either of them, or both, or none

The wording in this game can be a little confusing, especially on that spell, and they had to improve clarify a few times (source) because it was so confusing.

Thaumaturgic Circles and Sacrifices are two different ways to boost your summoning, as explained under the spell (p.142):

A Domination roll is a contest resolved by an opposed roll: The Magic-User rolls d20 + caster's level + Thaumaturgic Circle Modifiers + Sacrifice Modifiers and the creature rolls d20 +Hit Dice + Number of Powers.

So, your Circle and Sacrifice could be zero (though that is unwise), but they are also unrelated to each other, you could summon with a Circle and no Sacrifices, or with Sacrifices and no Circle.

On Sacrifices:

Each full 2HD of sacrifices gives the caster a +1 bonus to the Domination roll, or 1HD for a +1 bonus if the sacrifice is the same race as the caster. To count as a sacrifice, the victim must be helpless at the time of their slaying and purposefully slain for just this purpose. Combat deaths do not count.

On Thaumaturgic Circles:

The materials used to draw and decorate the circles are crucial to communicating their information to the summoned creatures. 500sp worth of materials is required to invest in a circle for every +1 bonus to the caster's Domination roll.

So, if the interpretation that you combine the bonuses to calculate the circle's cost was correct, you also would also need a similar amount of sacrifices (2 HD per +1 bonus), which clearly wasn't the intent here.

If you check this online summon calculator for the game (aka Summon TPK), you will see that only three things matters for the spell:

  • Caster level;
  • Desired creature's HD;
  • Total bonus to the checks;
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  • \$\begingroup\$ I kinda wish I'd known about that link before, too. Is that for Grindhouse version or Rules & Magic? \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Jan 16 '19 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ We used it for the Rules&magic version (hardcover), not sure if it is still updated. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jan 16 '19 at 16:49

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