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My players stay out, please.:
I'm running a Pathfinder-modified version of the Dungeon #90 adventure Elfwhisper (3.0, I believe), and the final boss encounter is set up to be a TPK against my party. I'd like to avoid that.
The party consists of a lvl.7 diviner with virtually no offensive spells (for house rule legacy reasons), a lvl.7 bow ranger, a lvl.6 antipaladin (who I'm allowing to smite evil for story reasons, with the use of hero points and some good RP), a lvl.6 shadow sorceror (with a shadow raven familiar), and a lvl.6 NPC cleric (their rogue is currently missing). They don't have a great deal of magical or alchemical equipment - only the ranger and antipaladin have low-grade magic weapons. They do have the aid of a dying lvl.4 NPC bard, who was attacked by the boss, and the antipaladin is being protected by elven spirits as though he were under a stacking mage armor effect. The party has proceeded to attack the boss over a harp of charming it has.
The boss is an advanced half-fiend shambling mound with some odd powers. It has fire resistance 30 and cold and acid resistance 20, a fairly high AC and attack as well as hps, and the thing that concerns me most: its spell-like abilities, which it uses as a 14th level sorceror. The one that concerns me most is blasphemy. That one, cast at such a high CL, could be a TPK on its own. If you have the magazine, you can see the others, but they don't concern me as much (except maybe for unholy aura, which would grant it SR 25 vs good spells/spells cast by good creatures once cast!). Honestly, the spells appear to be chosen out of a hat full of "let's destroy the party." On top of that, the boss is supposed to be able to use the harp of charming, which might conceivably take out the party's main firepower/muscle if they fail their saves. Its main concern is to kill the sorceror, who is an elf. She has currently gotten too close, and is grappled. Did I mention that it has a reach of 20'?
I don't want to nerf the encounter entirely, as it should be hard, but obviously I don't want to slaughter the party. On top of that, they've been grumbling about not succeeding at their other quests, so they probably will be unhappy even if they survive this unless they defeat the boss somehow. Since the game is supposed to be fun for them, and we've been playing a long time (pbem) without what they consider significant victories, I want to make it possible for them to defeat the boss - but I don't want to make the boss a pushover, either. I hinted earlier in the game that the boss could be controlled by the harp it now has, but a) they don't seem to think they can get the harp without killing the boss, though the familiar is holding it along with the boss, and b) they don't seem to have realized that the boss IS the boss I hinted about.
Since they aren't carrying much in the way of offensive power that can defeat the mound, especially with its fire resistance (which might as well be immunity when it's that high), their choices are to simply run away and come back better equipped, which they don't want to do because they're in the middle of tracking down the missing rogue, or abandon the harp entirely, which they don't want to do because they think it's important to the plot. OR... we're looking at TPK material. Or I DM fiat that they win somehow, which is a pretty hollow victory.
- the boss has, in the story, been killing off elves in the region for a long time. Not just once long ago, but continuously since it arrived; it just arrived so long ago that, combined with general hostility towards elves in the area, most of the killing was long ago, and no one worries about a missing elf here or there now. The harp is instrumental to keeping it under control, and the boss knows that the harp can do that. The boss is actually the pawn of a greater power, the true villain of the campaign, which the party doesn't know about yet (though the missing rogue does).
- there is an escape hatch nearby (within the clearing): a fairy ring that leads to the outer part of the forest. I've described a desecrate effect on the dead tree as the Weave unravelling into wild magic just around it, again for story reasons. (The diviner can see this.)
- I do allow hero points to be used to get hints on how to deal with situations.
So... is there a way to save this situation without being extremely heavy-handed with hints and cheating in favor of the PCs? They do have plenty of hero points (due to an old house rule that removed the limitation of max.3), so they can avoid insta-death, but... well, they haven't come up with anything clever and neither have I. Best-case scenario at the moment is that the boss crushes the elf, then drops her and leaves her for dead (though with judicious use of hero points she wouldn't be) and... I don't know, goes away for some reason. Maybe they even sever the branch holding the harp before it can use it (the ranger severed the vine it used to grab the harp before, but no one got to it before the boss picked the harp up again - not sure why she thinks it won't work again), and grab the harp. But I doubt they'd let it go (or use the harp to control it, since they don't seem to have understood that this is the boss the harp was meant to control, and with the bard dying and no one inclined to help him, no one can play it anyway), and if they did, they'd be unhappy about another "defeat." Quandary!
TL;DR: The boss is too tough for the party (with their limited resources) to win at the moment, but I don't want to nerf it too much. I would prefer that they have some sort of victory, even if they don't manage to destroy the boss. Ideas on how to achieve this? I'm no good at building monsters, which is why I used a published one in the first place. I suspect a story solution is called for, I just can't see the forest for the shambling mound. :P
KFRO players stay out!:
I'm running a semi-homebrew game in which the PCs are going to discover that there's a link between the elves of Faerûn (1345 DR) and the Sidhe/Unseelie of legend, and the campaign is going to revolve around that and an Unseelie invasion. I have one elven PC, a star elf, who was enslaved from birth by an evil wizard in the Moonsea. She escaped him by joining the Church of Shar (in my version of the Moonsea, the Dark Gods (led by Bane) more or less rule, in that they are worshipped largely unopposed), whose main purpose in keeping her is to avoid adding her power to the Brotherhood of the Cloak, a guild of mages who are supposedly under their control, but in reality are a faction that vies with the Church and the nobles of the Moonsea. The PC doesn't know anything about who she really is, or where she came from, or how she came to be enslaved.
I've decided that star elves have an even closer link to the Sidhe/Unseelie than the other elves of Faerûn, but I could use some input for interesting ideas as to who this PC should really be, or how she ended up enslaved from infancy. She shouldn't be a Sidhe/Unseelie herself, as I have special plans for them, but... I'm kind of ramming my head against the wall when I try to come up with new ideas. Total brain burnout. Can anyone help me?
I always think of asking the forums about 3 seconds before I need to get to sleep. Please don't be offended if I don't respond to great ideas right away!
My players (KFR0) stay out, please.:
I'm running a 1345DR FR pbem game in which one player has given his character a level of antipaladin in service to Bane. He has agreed with me on a character arc that has his antipaladin eventually rise to become a normal paladin, though he hasn't chosen another god (and I'm kind of hoping he won't for metaplot reasons, so that he can gain his new powers from a new force I'll be introducing, though this would hopefully be a surprise, so I can't tell the player about it now).
Other background: his PC has a serious crush on another PC from the same area, who is ostensibly a follower of the same dark pantheon as himself (I gathered a handful of deities and made them a new pantheon under Bane), but who in reality is a follower of Mielikki. I'm thinking she could help advance the antipaladin's character arc, but I haven't made any agreements with her player yet.
Other other background: The campaign will have a strong fey presence. Also, it being a pbem, we're a pretty RP-heavy group.
So far I've just been sending the PC nightmares about an upcoming event, with urgings to commit dark deeds in preparation for standing against it - but with a slender ray of light offering another path, referencing his long-gone parents. I was hoping I could get some more ideas of how to encourage the PC to make a decision between good and evil, ramping up the intensity until the change takes place. I've considered having him find an intelligent weapon belonging to the new force (and making it the source of the light in his nightmares), but I'm not sure if that would be too railroady. Then again, since we've agreed on his arc, I'm not sure railroady is a problem.
So, any fun ideas? Or lacking that, any interesting metaphors I could place in his dreams?
I'm wondering if a glitterdust spell continues to affect anyone who walks into it after it has been cast, or if it only affects those caught in its radius when it is cast?
My friend is saying that only emanations have an effect that continues to affect those within its area after it has been cast, and glitterdust is a spread, not an emanation. Does this hold water?
I'm running Burnt Offerings for play-by-email on Yahoo Groups, and player dropout has left some openings. I'm looking for one or two people either willing to take over an existing character (female half-elf rogue or female half-elf barbarian) or to create a new character using only core races/classes, who has been captured by the goblins of Thistletop and will be released shortly by the party.
Again, this is for pbem, NOT pbp.
Preference will be given to players who can spell and punctuate correctly. If you're interested in one of the existing characters I can tell you more. If you want to make a new one, right now I'm just looking for a short background/concept - don't go to all the trouble of making a whole sheet.
The current composition of the party is:
female half-elf rogue (up for grabs)
I've been playing on and off in a long-lasting solo game. In the beginning the DM said, "make your character anything, any level," so I came up with a munchkin character and for a while we had a blast. We didn't use the rules (2nd Ed. back then) as anything but a stepstone for ideas, and though the plots were cheesy, the DM was really good at NPC characterization and we had a lot of fun.
Within the last few years, though, his tendency to take away the control of my character, have him do something bad, then say something like, "Suddenly you're back in control of your body" and have me deal with whatever s@!~ situation he's come up with has increased to the point where half the time I'm not responsible for anything the character does. On top of being held responsible for it anyway, his NPCs have taken to insulting my character on a regular basis, my character can't deal with anything above a lvl.5 challenge (I either get my ass handed to me by DM fiat or told that my solution flat out won't work - only for his DMPCs to come in and say/do something similar that saves the day), he never gives me enough information to act on without me having to pull it out of him like I'm pulling his teeth (but if I do something wrong because I didn't know what my character should be able to see, LOL SRY TOO BAD), and he's completely screwed over my character's backstory with his current plot. He also penalizes my character for my own lack of charisma/tactical knowledge/whatever.
I'm starting to feel like an unwelcome extra in his DMPC-focused story extravaganza. The problem is that he's really touchy, and any criticism can set off a tantrum where he threatens to take his ball and go home. He views himself as a great DM (and he really used to be one!), though has never actually played IN a game, so I don't think he understands how frustrating this s&@* is. I offered to de-munchkinize my character in case it was getting too hard to deal with, but I immediately regained all my powers by his doing. He seems willing enough to play the game on the occasions we meet, and I try hard to go with the flow of the story even when it's borking my character up, so the vibe I'm getting is that he thinks it's fun to do this - not for me, but for him.
At this point I'm really attached to the characters and invested in the story, but playing is a gorram frustration. I can't discuss it with him frankly because he'll blow his top, but I don't want to give up on the game. Maybe someone with better charisma than me can explain how to let the DM know he's not being as great a DM as he thinks?
My DM is running us through the War of the Burning Sky AP, and I have a greatsword-wielding fighter that just hit 2nd level. His feats are Cavalry Errant (a background feat from WotBS), Dodge, Weapon focus: greatsword, Mobility and Power Attack. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what feats I should take through lvl.20? Obviously I'll be taking the weapon specialization and focus tree, and I'd like to take improved critical and weapon supremacy (from PHB2), but other than that I don't know. The DM said I probably won't need the mounted feats.
Any 'official' source is probably OK.
I need some new players for our RotR play by email campaign. The group is still in the beginning of the first module (just entered the Glassworks), and currently consists of a human half-Varisian cleric of Shelyn, a human Ulfen ranger, and a halfling bard.
I'd like to recruit people who can write well (so we'll have a fun story to read when it's all done) and who can post at least daily.
We're using the Pathfinder rules, but only Core races and classes (archetypes are probably OK, but please check first). You get two traits, and in addition one of the feats from the Player's Guide if you're a Varisian native. 25-point buy for abilities.
You don't need to post any crunch here, just a concept and character background. If you get picked, there's an RTF sheet to fill out on our Yahoo group under Files. Our website is here.
I'd like to run the Freeport adventures in Golarion with the Pathfinder rules, and I want to offer some cool campaign traits. I'm aware that KQ has some, but they appear to mostly presuppose that the PCs are from Freeport, while the adventure states that the PCs should just have arrived from elsewhere. I'm an uncreative lump at the moment, so tell me: what do you think would make good campaign traits for newcomers to Freeport?
Yesterday I made a post about this that got shunted into Suggestions/Homebrew/Whatever for some reason, never to see the light of day again, so this time I'll keep it short and sweet.
I need advice/ideas on how to challenge a low-level party that has to climb the tallest mountain(s) in the world (infested with rocs) and then travel through a forest full of über-dire wolves. I don't want to TPK them, but challenge them with these foes (and possibly some abberations) - preferably in a way that doesn't need to lead to combat. Puzzles of some sort would be nice, and ideas of how to make the trip fun and memorable.
Suggestions on aberrations to use are also welcome.
In any case, I'd like to start my very first fully-homebrew game with an all-human Neanderthal Epic 6 story. I'm not doing anything mechanically to differentiate Neanderthals from regular humans; instead I plan to alter the Cro-Magnon a little. But that's a tangent, sorry.
I've been brainstorming all day, and I've come up with a story that seems okay, I think... but now comes the part where I have to translate it into actual scenarios with opponents and game mechanics. Yech. Which finally brings me to my point: is anyone interested in helping me come up with a fun scenario for the first adventure?
The gist of the first adventure is: The Bird of Thunder clan has seen something strange far to the north, where the frost never touches. Having journeyed to the top of the tallest Sky Mountain to see this for themselves, the party must go there through the forest of the Ur-Wolves.
I want the challenge to have something to do with the rocs that live on the Sky Mountains and of course the Ur-Wolves in their forest, but I'm drawing a blank as to a fun thing to do with them. I don't want it to be just some hackfest, but to maybe have a puzzle or something. Maybe the Ur-Wolves are semi-intelligent, and let the PCs pass if they save a pup in trouble, or something. Any ideas, anyone?
I'm running a homebrew where one of the PCs is looking for her long-lost sister. I decided to make the sister one of the minor BBEGs in the campaign, which is about a fey invasion. The PC will have a chance to 'convert' the sister, or they'll have a showdown and (I expect) the sister will die, perhaps whispering a few clues for later and setting the PCs against the evil fey. In the meantime, I've set it up so that all the cannon fodder for the evil fey army (goblinoids mostly) are terrified of her, and due to how she's been talking up her sister the PC, they're afraid of the PC too.
The sister has been abducted by the fey to their realm for a while, where a lot of time has passed, allowing her to become more powerful than the PC(s). I've decided that this was because of her mixed human and fey blood making her a good go-between for minor villains used by the main BBEG. That's why I'm thinking she should be a feyblooded sorceror, circa level 10 (the PCs are currently level 6).
I could use some advice on her build - feats and spells, mostly. I want to emphasize how badass she is to scare the cannon fodder like that, preferably with fey-themed abilities (dreams, shadows, animals, phantasms, etc.). Or if someone has alternate class/prestige class ideas, I'd like to hear about them, too.
If anyone has any bright ideas about how I could extend the fey blood theme to the PC somehow, that'd be great too. I thought about offering her a bonus fey feat, but thought that'd be unfair to the other PCs. I also thought about making a special prestige class to offer her, but I have no experience doing that, so it'd probably end up unbalanced.
I'll say it up front: I suck at tactics.
The party has just cleared the thistle maze and more or less all resistance on the first level of Thistletop, capturing Ripnugget (they captured Gogmurt too, but let him go). They haven't yet discovered the dungeon levels, but when they do, I think they'll turn back to Sandpoint to restock and recover.
My question is: with the goblins wiped out, what would Nualia & Co.'s response be? Surely she wouldn't just keep on researching as though nothing had happened? How would they set up a defense of the fort without the goblins if they have a day or more to prepare?
Where would they set up to cause the most grief to trespassers? Any specific tactics they might use would be welcome.
If it helps, the party has just hit 3rd level. One of them is a paladin of Sarenrae who used to know Nualia. I imagine a chance for her to redeem Nualia if she plays her cards right.
I've joined a campaign that has gotten to 16th level, which is by FAR the highest level I've ever played. At first I built a camel-riding paladin, but the setting and general uselessness of the paladin (can't even convert anyone, that's taken care of by the cleric) has convinced me to switch characters.
Now I'd like to try an elven rogue in the hope of actually being useful for a change. Elven due to campaign concerns, rogue because we already have a fighter and a ranger and I'm nervous about remembering all the options at this level for other classes. But I've never really run a high-level character besides the fiasco that was the paladin, so I could really use some advice on an awesome build, from stats to feats to magical equipment. OR an alternate class build if the rogue turns out to be a bad choice.
Can anyone help me out? Most splatbooks are acceptable I think, assuming either I or our gaming club have them (which is likely). The new adventure starts on Monday. Piles of internet cookies for everyone who helps! :)
We've lost the player of our dwarf ranger, and we need a replacement. I'd prefer that someone just take over the dwarf ranger, but I'll consider interesting new concepts, too.
The group is currently assaulting Thistletop, so any new character will be found there, probably as a captive of the goblins. Everyone is lvl.2, core classes and races only. Concepts please, not stats.
If you'd like to take over the existing dwarf ranger (yay!), here's some info on him:
The rest of the party consists of:
I'll wait a week or so for volunteers before choosing. Cheers!
Our RotR pbem game stagnated due to lack of posting, and now we're looking for people committed to frequent posting and entertaining writing. You can take over one of the old characters (a Shoanti druid, gnome frost sorceror or halfling rogue) or make a new character that has a reason to go adventuring with the Heroes of Sandpoint.
The party is 1st level and has just defeated a goblin raid on the town of Sandpoint the day before yesterday. Now they're investigating a goblin lair, where they might find the new party member(s). 25-pt buy, no evil characters, core material only for class and race (though I'll usually accept archetypes). The current party includes an Ulfen ranger, a Shoanti monk and a cleric of Shelyn; we could use a rogue or arcane caster. I'd like to see some basic concepts here before you go to the work of statting out a character.
Our group on Yahoo Groups is rotrdk, with a link to our website on it.
Can anyone recommend a 1st-lvl adventure where there's little combat and mostly roleplaying? It can also be 3.5 and even something from Dungeon; I'm planning on running a pbem game for total RPG newbies, and I find it best to restrict combat severely. However, I feel too shaky as a DM to design an adventure myself, so any recommendations are really, really welcome.
The pregen characters at the back of WBG includes an alchemist, but I'm a little uncertain about the extracts he has. Specifically their number. As far as I can tell, he should only have 4 at lvl.1(2+2 for Int), but he has 6. What have I overlooked? Could someone please explain this discrepancy to me?
In the pbp game I'm in, when I post as my alias Patch Cullen, I get the message that I can only post 10 times before the name becomes permanent, which I never got with my other aliases. The only other time I've seen it is when I first posted on the boards. Is there something weird going on here, or does that message show for all aliases now? I'd rather not change my original alias to Patch Cullen!
I've got a non-optimized 15th level desert paladin (complete with divine warcamel mount) that has proven to be far too squishy, mainly because I didn't outfit her very well. Now I've been encouraged to cheese her up equipmentwise (within the means of a 15th level character), and I need some advice.
Due to her desert background she's leery of metal armor, so she has bracers of armor and some homebrew "spidersilk" armor that stacks with them, but her AC still sucks. I'd like a non-plate armor method of beefing up her AC. Losing the spidersilk is not a problem.
She's specialized in using a glaive or, at closer quarters, a falchion. However, the ones she has aren't magical and basically suck. She deals something like an eighth of the damage of the other combat characters in her party. Somehow I don't think her god is impressed with her nearly dying every fight she's in.
I can probably argue for anything found in an official 3.5 splatbook, and possibly even non-official splatbooks, but I've never played such a high-level character before and just don't know HOW to cheese her up. Any advice is appreciated!
I'm doing a bachelor project on gaming (game literacy and social ties that bridge the digital divide), and it would really help me out if as many online roleplayers as possible would answer a few questions for me within the next few days. I've made a short questionnaire with just 10 questions here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FF8WYHB
If you have any questions, post them here and I'll do my best to answer. Thanks in advance for your help! :D
Has anyone converted the domains from the Forgotten Realms to Pathfinder? The closest thing my search turned up was this.
If not, I'd appreciate suggestions for the Hatred, Tyranny, Pestilence, Suffering, Undeath and Retribution domain powers (and spells, if you're feeling generous). I'd like them to be dissimilar to existing domain powers while remaining balanced - balance is my big Achilles' heel.
Of course, if FR isn't your thing, feel free to post conversions of other domains in this thread, too! :)
I'm playing an AP with two groups of 6 PCs who aren't particularly optimized. I've nearly wiped them out by adding extra opponents due to the extra PCs, so now I'm just maxing the hps of the opponents already mentioned in the AP. My question is, should I increase the CR of the hp-maxed opponents (for XP purposes)? Should I just rule that they get the same amount of XP each as they would have as a party of 4? Or is there a better solution I haven't thought of?
I'd rather not have to run too many side quests to keep them where they ought to be XP-wise in the AP, as I'm pretty wobbly on designing appropriate foes.
I'm running a Rise of the Runelords pbem game that, due to some players having trouble with logging into Yahoo Groups, has had a slow start. The Yahoo problems have been fixed, but we seem to have lost a player, and I'm looking for a replacement.
Our posting rate isn't expected to be too hectic, as the players are busy people - maybe twice a week, or more according to how much time people have.
Our Yahoo group is called rotrdk, and on the front page there's a link to our homepage with the character generation rules. If you're interested, please post a short character concept here, and within a week or so I'll pick the one that seems to fit in best.
For the curious, our party consists of:
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
I'm going to be running Rise of the Runelords as a pbem on Yahoo Groups, a Pathfinder Core game (no APG) that will probably have a fairly easy posting rate. So far I have a Shoanti druid, a Varisian bard and a frost sorceror gnome. I'd like to see some warrior or cleric types as well, from players who haven't read/gone through the AP before. I'd like three more players - good concepts, so it's not first come, first served.
For those who don't know: The adventure takes place in Varisia, a frontier setting. We'll begin in a little town called Sandpoint, where the Swallowtail Festival is about to take place.
1) I'd like the characters to know one another at the start of the game to avoid, "Hello total stranger, let me entrust my life to you" syndrome. Tell me your background and I'll see how to work it in with the others'.
2) Lone wolf characters bad, teamwork good.
3) No evil alignments.
Just quick concepts please, nothing statted up. If you can keep it in third person, past tense, I will be extra happy.
I have two questions:
1) If you use the Agile Feet domain power, can your character ignore an area with caltrops?
2) If a monster has two attacks that are poisonous (for example, claw/claw/bite with poisonous claws), do you roll for poison damage for each attack that hits, or just once for that round? What about when saving against its secondary effects - if it hit and poisoned with both attacks, do you have to roll two separate saves to avoid the secondary effects?
I have a barbarian in my game who took a rank of Craft: traps. Unfortunately, I'm very fuzzy on how to make and use traps. For instance, she wanted to make a snare trap out of a rope on the fly to catch a boar. Or she might want to make a pit trap. I don't think those things would take a whole week...? Or cost even as much as 250gp? I'm very confused. How do you deal with Craft: traps? What should they cost if their CR is less than one?
Take the snare trap. What should it cost, and how long would it take to make? How do you determine the DC of a Reflex save to avoid it?
I hope this is the right forum for this. If not, sorry!
Our group (4 lvl.13 characters: a shapeshifting sorceror, a paladin, an elven cleric and a fighter) is about to go into battle together with about 400 NPCs (a large number of which are a hastily drummed up militia of farmers) under our command, against a force of orcs on giant boar mounts, ogres and trolls (and some siege machinery) that's about two or three times our size. We have a little hill to defend, with a stream running behind it to the west, a forest beyond that, and some broken terrain/bog to the south (the enemy is approaching from the east). Our own forces are magic-shy, so we have to try doing this without any flashy magic, and the enemy forces have sneaky troops that are good at infiltration.
We could really use some help coming up with tricks or tactics that would help confuse, demoralize or outright kill the enemy so that we don't get slaughtered. So far we've come up with:
- casting Control Weather and turning the ground they have to approach on to mud so (hopefully) their machines get mired
- planting sharpened stakes along the eastern half of the hill (all we have time for)
- putting up lots of extra standards so it looks like our forces are larger than they are
- overturning our supply wagons to use as cover for our ca.70 archers
- trying to create a funnel with an open space in the stakes to encourage them to attack where our forces are strongest (veterans)
- possibly leaving some barrels of beer in their path in the hope that some of them will get too drunk to fight
Any and all suggestions appreciated. The fight is on for Monday! :)
Under the Spellcraft skill entry it gives you the DC to identify magic items using detect magic. Is it possible to identify items without casting detect magic? I'm thinking of an alchemist being able to identify potions, or a sage/shopkeeper able to identify items. If you don't need to cast detect magic, what might identifying an item cost?
When a monster like, say, the sinspawn in RotR is listed as having 2 claw attacks and a bite attack, does it get all three attacks in a full-round action, or is there a limit of two attacks at that low a BAB? If it only had a standard attack, would it only get one claw attack? Did I misunderstand the 2 claws=2 attacks thing completely? I'd like to be 100% sure.
Sorry if this is too noob a question, but if a druid takes the animal domain as his nature bond, and gets Summon Companion that stays until dismissed, does that mean the druid essentially can have an animal companion picked from the Summon Nature's Ally list that's "permanent" until dismissed? Or does it only stay for the duration of that spell OR is dismissed?
The other way seems like it makes getting a normal animal companion pointless, since with Summon Companion you can "upgrade" your choice all the time and still have your animal around with you all the time. Am I making sense?