So, we’re talking about Mana and summoned creatures. I figured that any discussion about summoning “permanent” creatures (as per the normal rules of summoned creatures in Magic: the Gathering) should probably start with an examination of rules related to the summoning of creatures in Dungeons & Dragons.

For this, we’re looking at the Magic Circle ritual (5th-level binding ritual, found in the Player’s Handbook), which is traditionally used in summoning and binding creatures, and the Adjure ritual (16th-level binding ritual, found in Divine Power), which is one of the closest things I’ve found to a summoning ritual next to “Summon Demon.”

Without having conducted extensive reading on the subject, it appears as though Fourth Edition rituals approach the summoning and binding of extraplanar creatures much as they did in previous editions. The idea is to create a portal and compel a creature to come through it — you’re just no longer guaranteed to find a creature.

This actually gives us good reason to add Linked Portal, Create Teleportation Circle, Planar Portal, and True Portal to our reading (8th-, 15th-, 18th-, and 28th-level travel rituals, respectively). Creating a teleportation circle could well be a complex 15th-level Skill Challenge (DCs in the high 30s), which would discourage low-level characters.

It makes sense to me to restrict summoning creatures, using sorceries, or calling on the aid of planeswalkers — to organizations and characters of at least Paragon Tier. Scope and the permanence of these spells plays a big part in this — creatures that remain in the world, sorceries and enchantments that effect huge areas.

Let’s look at this like a major Challenge. Summon Demon (16th-level binding ritual, found in the Demonomicon) recommends learning the True Name of the specific demon you wish to summon. The demon doesn’t physically manifest in the natural world, either. It’s more like making a long-distance call.

You make an Arcana check with a huge penalty unless you know the demon’s name, and the result determines the highest level of the creature you can successfully compel to answer your summons. If the creature you’re calling on has a higher level than your die roll, it can choose to send a proxy.

Failure to successfully negotiate terms with the creature might bring it to your location (presumably because you’ve angered it), and the ritual is stated to enable and at least partially facilitate the negotiation process. You could actually look at this like you would a negotiation with a local ruler. In fact, there’s already something like this…

…If you were to, say, negotiate with a local ruler to purchase a Development Card, it would have a complexity of three. Considering how often a Development Card results in a Knight (the effect moving the bandit and stealing a resource), you might call this the basic effect of summoning and binding a Magic creature.

The primary difference is that Development Cards cost Resources stockpiled by local rulers, and Summon spells require Mana stockpiled by mage guilds when you perform fetch-quests for them. I’m going to have to keep puzzling through this.