Skyrim Special Edition
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About this mod

Replaces the mana cost of Atromancy/Summoning conjuration spells with a soul gem requirement based on their tier.
(Petty = Novice, Lesser = Apprentice, Common = Adept, ect)

Permissions and credits
Replaces vanilla Conjuration spells with variants that need a corresponding filled soulgem to cast instead of mana. The soulgem is returned on the summon dispelling, with an empty variant or soulgem fragments being returned if the summon is killed. Along side additional quirks to encourage diverse summon use. 
I've got a couple reasons behind doing this:

  • Despite all the diverse summons you can get through mods, there isn't much reason to vary up what you're using unless an enemy has a resistance to the damage type of the elemental summon. Leading to conjuration players just picking whatever the strongest, most reliable summon is, and throwing it at the enemy in infinite numbers. The classic strategy of spamming dual Dremora Lords comes to mind, which is how I played my first run of Skyrim. In attempting to fix this, the strongest summons need a filled soulgem, with each summon potentially risking the loss of the soul stored within, and possibly shattering the soulgem at worst, leaving nothing but fragments.

  • It should encourage a more proactive/supportive playstyle. Most spell pack mods include ways of enhancing/healing your summons, my main gripe with these is that they're not worth it due to the innate disposability of the summon, where they can be instantly recast, costing nothing but mana, which is ultimately a resource you should have plenty of outside of earlier levels. Now when a summon is killed, an empty variant of the soulgem used to summon them is returned, or soulgem fragments. Effectively limiting how many summons you can send to their deaths, which should ideally incentivize the use of support magic on them.

  •  I also think it fits thematically. Conjurers deal with Oblivion, the undead and the trapping and binding of souls to their will through Soul Trap. Only problem is that souls & filled soulgems are never used outside of one system separate to conjuration, this being Enchanting. This links soul trap and soulgems back into Conjuration instead of an entirely different system, and gives more use to weaker souls outside of grinding gold and enchanting XP.  

My hope is that by turning summons into more of a resource and less something that can be thrown out and killed without any care, players will be more hesitant to throw out their strongest card and neglect every other summon in their spell list. 
Or it could just be a poorly conceived frustrating experience all round as you're left unable to use the magic school you into speced into and are unable to enchant stuff properly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Quirks and changes from vanilla 

  • I've disabled the ability to "recast" non-master level summons, so you can't just instantly recast to reposition and heal a summon if it's about to die.

  • The three master level elemental thrall spells use Black souls and can never shatter on death.

  • Familiars have a chance to retain their Petty soul on death to encourage their use as cannon fodder  friendly wolven companions.

  • Most ranged summons such as Flame Atronachs are more likely to shatter their soulgems on death, due to being squishy ranged glass cannons. 

  • Dremora Lords have a chance to not return the Greater soul used to summon them on dispelling. This is based on their remaining health at 3 tiers. 

100%-75% Greater soul guarantied.
75%-50% Greater soul has a 25% chance not to be returned.
50%-25% Greater soul has a 50% chance not to be returned.
25%-1% Greater soul has a 75% chance not to be returned.

       I'm reconsidering this feature and may or may not add it back once I get to playing Skyrim again to see if it's too frustrating.

I'll probably add to, remove or tweak these in the future as I update this.


GIST/Genuinely Intelligent Soul Trap

More of a soft requirement used to get over the issue of Player filled soul gems not being the same as "normal" filled soul gems you'd find in the world or buy. Thereby making them unusable by this mod (Thanks for pointing this issue out, Simon Magus)
It's also a fairly handy mod overall, with it allowing for the "displacement", "relocation"  and most importantly, the "shrinking" of larger souls into smaller gems. 

Compatibility & Load order 

This mod's load order should be below anything which edits the vanilla Conjuration Spelltomes. Like Mysticism. Otherwise, the Soul Summoning tomes won't appear. I'll see if I can learn to make some patches in the meantime.

The No recast Variants of the main file are incompatible with any mod that changes the player's summon limit/commanded actor limit. I'll make a patch for Ordinator soon as because it's what I use. 

If using the Mysticism Patch, the order should be Mysticism, Summons need Souls, then the patches.

Recommended mods

Other things and features which may or may not be a good idea

  • Creating yet another soulgem fragment crafting mod for my exact tastes.
  • Rebalancing the Quirks that some summons have, either changing them around or removing them. 
  • Adding compatibility with other mods such as Atronach Friendly Fire.
  • Making Grand soul summons actually feel worth risking a Grand soul. Because as it stands now, the actual value of a soul does not match the value of a summon. 

This mod doesn't (well, shouldn't. This is my first time using the creation kit) change any vanilla spells, it just creates edited copies of them and then has you learn them from vanilla spell tomes. So you can still get the vanilla spells if they're added from something other than a tome. (Bretons get Conjure familiar as a starting spell for example)

This also means, that if a Spell isn't taught via tome, it won't be affected by this mod.
So in this case, Summon Arniel's Shade, Flame Thrall and Summon Flaming familiar aren't included due to the actual spell being given to the player at the end of their respective quests and not a Spell tome.
Ash guardians are exempt due to the heart stone system they're linked to.

Thanks to Revenant0713, Arctal and the Enairim discord for giving me advice on how to get this basic mod to work.