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On summoned enemies not providing XP.


Rules Questions


I think this question actually sits somewhere between advice and rules questions, but here it is anyways:

How would you handle the XP of summoned creatures if the one who summoned them ran off?

This question arises from a scenario that happened recently with the party. They fought a vulnudaemon, who summoned 4 four cacodaemons but then turned invisible and ran when the paladin's smite evil started getting the better of her. I'm pretty sure that by RAW that means the PCs get no XP for the encounter, but something seems wrong with the common sense of that.

I know that if the vulnudaemon had stayed and died, then the potential of her summoning things is accounted for in her CR, but since she didn't it just feels wrong to be awarding no XP for what was a fairly difficult encounter against the first enemies the PCs have faced that have DR.

So... What do people think? Would it make sense to give them the 600XP each from the four cacodaemons in a situation like this?

Taldor

Your PCs absolutely should get XP for that encounter. You don't have to kill a creature to overcome the encounter. The primary antagonist of the ecnounter fled after it started to lose leaving disposable summons behind as cover thus you award the XP for defeating the Vulnadaemon.

Now if you designed the encounter where the Vulnudaemon intended to merely whittle away at their resources by summoning minions and withdrawing in order to attack later you could consider that an actual encounter worth XP.

--School of Vrock


I would say they get no exp because it sets a nasty precedent in logic assuming that killing the vulnudaemon was the goal. If the goal was to fight it off or remove it as a factor for the plot then by all means award away.

What is to stop the caster then from sending mediocre summons after the party fighter, sincerely attempting to kill him, to give him more exp? Yes I know dm fiat. But it is contradictory logic. Eventually you'll find an asinine player and or group that gets up in a huff about it.

If I really wanted to award them some experience for it I'd find another way. I.E. two hours later they discover a crucial piece of redundant information about the plot they already know and or highly suspect and award exp then.

Edited.


By the rules the answer is no. However if the bad guy has all his summons in place it is suggest that ad-hoc XP is given out or that the CR be ad-hoc'd for the entire encounter.

This advice was given by a 3.5 dev.

Taldor

Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:


What is to stop the caster then from sending mediocre summons after the party fighter, sincerely attempting to kill him, to give him more exp? Yes I know dm fiat. But it is contradictory logic. Eventually you'll find an asinine player and or group that gets up in a huff about it.

Sending minions against the party, even if it is just to attack a single member is still an "Encounter." If the group survives they deserve XP, nothing more nothing less. Nowhere in the RAW does it say you don't give XP for an encounter where the bad guy runs away. Hell even if the PCs retreat they should still receive some manner of reward for surviving, not full XP but an Ad-Hoc award for sure as they learned of their enemies strength and abilities and will be more prepared the next encounter.

--Schoolhouse Vrock


they defeated the big bad, i would give XP for that. and if it were me, depending on the time the summons were brought, i would potentially give XP for the summons. otherwise, it's like a master summoner blowing through all his summon SLAs to summon nasty creatures to do his bidding and hiding far away while his critters do the work to cheat XP.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

King of Vrock wrote:

Your PCs absolutely should get XP for that encounter. You don't have to kill a creature to overcome the encounter. The primary antagonist of the ecnounter fled after it started to lose leaving disposable summons behind as cover thus you award the XP for defeating the Vulnadaemon.

Now if you designed the encounter where the Vulnudaemon intended to merely whittle away at their resources by summoning minions and withdrawing in order to attack later you could consider that an actual encounter worth XP.

--School of Vrock

Good points, but how would you handle the wizard casting Black Tenticles into the party immediately prior to departing? Wouldn't that have the same effect (i.e., covering the primary foe's retreat) as a summon?

I'm theoretically okay with giving xp for summons, but I think there's a lot of justification for the rule as written. I'd probably award some story xp instead or give partial xp for making the main opponent flee.


@King of Vrock. I am a big supporter of getting experience for success. Success though is determined by effect. You may have missed my edit. If the goal was to fight of the daemon or remove it as a factor from the plot or even learn its capabilities then cool award some exp and move on. But I would never award exp for killing summons. As far as I know that contradicts raw and it sets up the logic precedent that I stated.


making the opponent flee is still defeating them. the CR rules specifically say Defeat, not kill.

summons are still allies.

do you cheat players out of XP when they face an animal trainer and a bunch of trained animals?


Gluttony wrote:
They fought a vulnudaemon, who summoned 4 four cacodaemons but then turned invisible and ran when the paladin's smite evil started getting the better of her. I'm pretty sure that by RAW that means the PCs get no XP for the encounter, but something seems wrong with the common sense of that.

IIRC you get the XP for the summoner since it was defeated by being driven off.

Taldor

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
otherwise, it's like a master summoner blowing through all his summon SLAs to summon nasty creatures to do his bidding and hiding far away while his critters do the work to cheat XP.

See that's not how building encounters works. If your BBEG is a Master Summoner and you as the GM design an encounter where he uses several of his daily SLA summon monster ability you treat the summons as the actual encounter unless the Summoner is actually involved in the combat.

If you merely have the BBEG appear during the suprise round, monologue as a free action, then use his SLA to summon critters, then leave in round 1 he's not really a participant. In that case you treat the summons as a normal bunch of monsters and award XP for defeating them.

Summons don't award XP when the creature that summoned them is an active participant in the encounter. In this case they are no different than a fireball or spiritual weapon spell cast by the BBEG.

--1d4 Vrocks 50%


This is why I award XP by the adventure, not by the encounter. PCs in my home game level up by completing adventures, not by killing things.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

summons are still allies.

do you cheat players out of XP when they face an animal trainer and a bunch of trained animals?

Allies don't try to kill you by definition. As soon as they're trying they are no longer allies.... assuming survival is on your list of things you want to do.

Animal trainer and co is completely different than a summoner and summons.

Animals typically stay dead and the trainer is weakened by their loss. Of course I'm assuming that the trainer encounter CR is going down and that the goal was to kill/scare off the trainer. The summoner just comes back tomorrow with more buddies.


there are more obstacles besides things to kill.

traps

puzzles

various social encounters

structures and complexes

if killing provides XP, so should these.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
they defeated the big bad, i would give XP for that. and if it were me, depending on the time the summons were brought, i would potentially give XP for the summons. otherwise, it's like a master summoner blowing through all his summon SLAs to summon nasty creatures to do his bidding and hiding far away while his critters do the work to cheat XP.

I wouldn't say that's cheating XP. It's his whole class feature, and he's leaving himself really vulnerable to anybody who could trace the summoning back to him.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

there are more obstacles besides things to kill.

traps

puzzles

various social encounters

structures and complexes

if killing provides XP, so should these.

They do provide exp assuming success of the encounter. Although I'm not sure if I agree with you about structures and complexes. Not really sure what you mean there. Do you mean exploration? Because typically I wouldn't award exp for that.

Edit: If your dm is actively trying to prevent the party from gaining exp from encounters by using trickery for no other reason that to prevent the party from gaining exp then its probably time to find a new dm. This one is broken and or worn out. He needs a break and or a comfort hug.

Taldor

Sebastian wrote:

Good points, but how would you handle the wizard casting Black Tenticles into the party immediately prior to departing? Wouldn't that have the same effect (i.e., covering the primary foe's retreat) as a summon?

I'm theoretically okay with giving xp for summons, but I think there's a lot of justification for the rule as written. I'd probably award some story xp instead or give partial xp for making the main opponent flee.

In the case of a Wizard who has started losing to the PCs casting black tentacles as a means to escape you award XP for defeating the wizard.

When say a Conjurer uses a summon monster spell from "behind the scenes" and sends it after the group to slow them down as he continues his major binding ritual the summoned monsters are a distinct encounter. Mechanically it doesn't matter if they are summons or actual monsters save for the purpose of assigning CR (as they cannot use their own summons, teleport, and are susceptible to protection from spells.

--Technical Vrock Out


Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

summons are still allies.

do you cheat players out of XP when they face an animal trainer and a bunch of trained animals?

Allies don't try to kill you by definition. As soon as they're trying they are no longer allies.... assuming survival is on your list of things you want to do.

Animal trainer and co is completely different than a summoner and summons.

summons used by the big bad are his allies and thus your enemies.

using a summoned creature is very similar to training a pack of hounds.

one uses magic, the other uses a skill. but both provide the BBEG with allies to fight you with.

if a trained pack of hounds gives XP, then so should summoned monsters. they are both creatures. why should we differentiate the expenditure of a spell slot versus the expenditure of gold, time, and skill points. in fact, the animal trainer invested more resources than the summoner. so if the animal trainer's pack of hounds gives experience points, so should the summoned creatures from a summoner.


Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

there are more obstacles besides things to kill.

traps

puzzles

various social encounters

structures and complexes

if killing provides XP, so should these.

They do provide exp assuming success of the encounter. Although I'm not sure if I agree with you about structures and complexes. Not really sure what you mean there. Do you mean exploration? Because typically I wouldn't award exp for that.

i would beleive that exploration is worth XP. assuming you were far enough away from your initial position. such as a planehopping or globetrotting campaign.


If a rogue villain uses Knowledge (Local) to find the PCs safe house, do they get extra XP if he uses this knowledge to ambush them (in addition to the XP for defeating that opponent)? Or is the ability to use skills considered part of the basic "package" of a rogue, and included under the XP for that rogue?

Summoning allies is a class feature, which is presumably preventing that NPC from having some other class feature more useful in some other area. That said, summoned allies should be part of the total XP package for that NPC, not added on in addition.

Or, if you award extra XP every time an NPC uses a class feature against the PCs (in addition to the XP for that NPC), then do so consistently, not just for summoners.

Taldor

Kirth Gersen wrote:
This is why I award XP by the adventure, not by the encounter. PCs in my home game level up by completing adventures, not by killing things.

I use SKR's step system to advance my group in levels, but we should all know how the basics of the game work. As GM's designing adventures we essentially need to make distinctions in design that often break the conventional RAW.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Summoning allies is a class feature, which is presumably preventing that NPC from having some other class feature more useful in some other area. That said, summoned allies should be part of the total XP package for that NPC, not added on in addition.

Or, if you award extra XP every time an NPC uses a class feature against the PCs (in addition to the XP for that NPC), then do so consistently, not just for summoners.

In the case where the BBEG has used several daily abilities BEFORE facing the PCs you must adjust their CR to refect their weaker state. CR -1 or even -2 would not be out of the question when the PCs finally encounter the Summoner.

--Masterwork Vrock Picks

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

King of Vrock wrote:

In the case of a Wizard who has started losing to the PCs casting black tentacles as a means to escape you award XP for defeating the wizard.

When say a Conjurer uses a summon monster spell from "behind the scenes" and sends it after the group to slow them down as he continues his major binding ritual the summoned monsters are a distinct encounter. Mechanically it doesn't matter if they are summons or actual monsters save for the purpose of assigning CR (as they cannot use their own summons, teleport, and are susceptible to protection from spells.

--Technical Vrock Out

Thanks. We are fundamentally in agreement on the above.


Well with regards to the trained animals the question is are they equipment. That is, is their value factored into the NPC wealth of the handler or not.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:


if a trained pack of hounds gives XP, then so should summoned monsters. they are both creatures. why should we differentiate the expenditure of a spell slot versus the expenditure of gold, time, and skill points. in fact, the animal trainer invested more resources than the summoner. so if the animal trainer's pack of hounds gives experience points, so should the summoned creatures from a summoner.

Because the animal trainer is weakened and the summoner is not assuming the goal is to kill the enemy in question.

Do you award exp for the party surviving a fireball cast by a wizard who is fleeing? Do you award exp for the party surviving a shot from a retreating archer?

Edit: I can maybe see awarding experience for exploration as a plot point.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
if a trained pack of hounds gives XP, then so should summoned monsters. they are both creatures. why should we differentiate the expenditure of a spell slot versus the expenditure of gold, time, and skill points. in fact, the animal trainer invested more resources than the summoner. so if the animal trainer's pack of hounds gives experience points, so should the summoned creatures from a summoner.

It's your table, knock yourself out. The call of the question from the OP was "given that RAW says no xp for summons, are there instances where an exception to that rule should apply." You seem to be responding to an entirely different question about what activities should generate xp and whether the RAW regarding xp for summons should be abandoned entirely. Others have elaborated on the differences between summons and non-summons (opportunity cost for non-summon abilities that could influence a fight, the limitations imposed on summoned monsters relating to certain abilities, etc.) and if you don't find those to be persuasive, by all means, house rule until your heart's content.

Taldor

The trained pack of hounds are XP if you designed the encounter to be that way. If they're not a class feature and you aren't strict about the value of them as equipment they are additional XP, the trainer merely guides them as the boss monster in the encounter.

--Vrock Turtle Soup


Kirth Gersen wrote:

If a rogue villain uses Knowledge (Local) to find the PCs safe house, do they get extra XP if he uses this knowledge to ambush them (in addition to the XP for defeating that opponent)? Or is the ability to use skills considered part of the basic "package" of a rogue, and included under the XP for that rogue?

Summoning allies is a class feature, which is presumably preventing that NPC from having some other class feature more useful in some other area. That said, summoned allies should be part of the total XP package for that NPC, not added on in addition.

Or, if you award extra XP every time an NPC uses a class feature against the PCs (in addition to the XP for that NPC), then do so consistently, not just for summoners.

if Summoning is a class feature

than we can argue that in the case of an animal trainer that those ranks in handle animal are a part of his CR and that his pets are a feature of the handle animal skill. (or equipment)

the reason i would give extra XP just for "summoners" and people with "pets" is because summons and pets both add an extra combatant, which both increases the action economy and gives an extra bag of HP to track.

no other class feature (Besides summons and pets) offers an extra combatant.


Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:


if a trained pack of hounds gives XP, then so should summoned monsters. they are both creatures. why should we differentiate the expenditure of a spell slot versus the expenditure of gold, time, and skill points. in fact, the animal trainer invested more resources than the summoner. so if the animal trainer's pack of hounds gives experience points, so should the summoned creatures from a summoner.

Because the animal trainer is weakened and the summoner is not assuming the goal is to kill the enemy in question.

Do you award exp for the party surviving a fireball cast by a wizard who is fleeing? Do you award exp for the party surviving a shot from a retreating archer?

Edit: I can maybe see awarding experience for exploration as a plot point.

a fireball does not provide an extra combatant.


Is it just 3.5 where the foe fleeing gives 25% experience? I'm not familiar with the specific monsters mentioned but would 1/4 of the experience for the original monster be sufficient reward for the difficulty?

The 25% rule (which I use, whether it's PF legal or not) has led to my playing group (jokingly) suggesting that they should attack PC X until he runs away, claim the experience (1/4), then wait till he comes back and gang up on PC Y. When PC Y runs away they get 25% of her XP value and then it's PC Z's turn... Repeat till they're high enough level to face the next programmed encounter.

This is why GMs should always be willing to say "it is (not) so" when faced with "but the rules say..."


Pets don't come with the handle animal skill. Time and money has to be spent training them. Hence the statements above that they are equipment.

A druid's cr takes into account his animal companion or his domain. A summoner's cr takes into account his spells, his summons and his eidolon. Granted they add extra combatants. But those combatants are ideally factored into the power scale in comparison to classes and creatures without the ability to summon or with innate pets.

A fireball is no different than a summoned creature in regards to whether or not it is a class/creature feature and should not be treated differently according to raw.


Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:

Pets don't come with the handle animal skill. Time and money has to be spent training them.

A druid's cr takes into account his animal companion or his domain. A summoner's cr takes into account his spells, his summons and his eidolon. Granted they add extra combatants. But those combatants are ideally factored into the power scale in comparison to classes and creatures without the ability to summon or with innate pets.

A fireball is no different than a summoned creature in regards to whether or not it is a class/creature feature and should not be treated differently according to raw.

but most of the classes that recieve pets/summons are already overpowering without them. making thier pets/summons worth XP balances out the relative power of those classes compared to others when they are used.

ever wondered why almost every effective solo boss utilizes summons or pets?


Kirth Gersen wrote:
This is why I award XP by the adventure, not by the encounter. PCs in my home game level up by completing adventures, not by killing things.

Same.

It avoids the party developing XP tunnel vision and ensures they keep the focus on the bigger picture/storyline than thinking they have to hose every bad guy.

If the mission is to ensure said BBEG in fact dies then yes theres a link, otherwise no, its on objective.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:


but most of the classes that recieve pets/summons are already overpowering without them. making thier pets/summons worth XP balances out the relative power of those classes compared to others when they are used.

If you say so. However, at this point, we are no longer talking about the RAW xp system, we're talking about some new version of the xp system weighted for relative class power (however that is determined). It's also a pretty unusual way to address the problem of those classes being too powerful, because it only comes into play when fighting against NPCs with levels in those classes (and apparently without reference to monsters with inherent summoning abilities, which would be the most relevant metric for determining the power level of summoning classes used as opponents), not PCs with levels in those classes (who, presumably, are more of a concern when considering class balance), unless you go even farther off the reservation and dilute the xp award received by parties with active animal companions/summons.


Sebastian wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:


but most of the classes that recieve pets/summons are already overpowering without them. making thier pets/summons worth XP balances out the relative power of those classes compared to others when they are used.
If you say so. However, at this point, we are no longer talking about the RAW xp system, we're talking about some new version of the xp system weighted for relative class power (however that is determined). It's also a pretty unusual way to address the problem of those classes being too powerful, because it only comes into play when fighting against NPCs with levels in those classes, not PCs with levels in those classes (who, presumably, are more of a concern when considering class balance), unless you go even farther off the reservation and dilute the xp award received by parties with active animal companions/summons.

i would. the guy who used his animal companion/eidolon/other class pet to do it. eidolon/animal companion/class pet gets half the master's XP. and summons would get a divided share of the master's XP for every creature.


Fair points in regard to driving off being a form of defeating. I hadn't considered it because the vulnudaemon very much intends to come back at some point, and I was concerned about how soon that would be, and about potentially giving XP twice for the same enemy when only one award was deserved.

I think in this case I will go with the 300XP each from driving off the vulnudaemon, and assume the cacodaemons are counted among that as part of her CR then.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:

Fair points in regard to driving off being a form of defeating. I hadn't considered it because the vulnudaemon very much intends to come back at some point, and I was concerned about how soon that would be, and about potentially giving XP twice for the same enemy when only one award was deserved.

I think in this case I will go with the 300XP each from driving off the vulnudaemon, and assume the cacodaemons are counted among that as part of her CR then.

ask yourself which is more fun a battle with a recurring villain you love to hate or fighting random battles

If it is running off to recover it's resources and be as tough or worse next time then it is another cr what ever fight and worth XP

If it is a tactical retreat to hit them later in the day then by all means consider the fight not over

I find not awarding XP for fleeing foes leeds to a very blood thirst party that will go to a lot of effort to stop people running away even if it spoils there fun


King of Vrock wrote:


If you merely have the BBEG appear during the suprise round, monologue as a free action,

Monologuing is not a free action! "You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it."

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Monologuing is not a free action! "You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it."

It's driving me crazy. What movie is this from? Wait...Mastermind?


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:

If a rogue villain uses Knowledge (Local) to find the PCs safe house, do they get extra XP if he uses this knowledge to ambush them (in addition to the XP for defeating that opponent)? Or is the ability to use skills considered part of the basic "package" of a rogue, and included under the XP for that rogue?

Summoning allies is a class feature, which is presumably preventing that NPC from having some other class feature more useful in some other area. That said, summoned allies should be part of the total XP package for that NPC, not added on in addition.

Or, if you award extra XP every time an NPC uses a class feature against the PCs (in addition to the XP for that NPC), then do so consistently, not just for summoners.

if Summoning is a class feature

than we can argue that in the case of an animal trainer that those ranks in handle animal are a part of his CR and that his pets are a feature of the handle animal skill. (or equipment)

the reason i would give extra XP just for "summoners" and people with "pets" is because summons and pets both add an extra combatant, which both increases the action economy and gives an extra bag of HP to track.

no other class feature (Besides summons and pets) offers an extra combatant.

Shuriken,

If the animals are merely part of another creature's inventory, such as a warrior owning a warhorse purchased from the Core Rulebook, or someone using a Bag of Tricks Wondrous item, then they are part of that character's equipment. Potentially superior as well, since the trainer has likely used his skills to train them to maul your face. However, they are still merely part of the trainer's bought and paid for arsenal, instead of some other asset.

If said creatures were in addition to the NPC's normal wealth, and were basically completely different creatures and not part of the NPC's own resources, then yes, they would grant XP. The vast majority of the time summoned or called monsters will not fall into that category. They are simply another resource of the real enemy that you must avoid or overcome to succeed. No different than a fireball. Killing a summoned Glabrezu is worth no more XP than surviving a finger of death, which is to say you survived. Congratulations, you live to adventure another day.

Incidentally, there is also a variance based on success and failure. If the party is trying to capture an enemy mage, and the mage cuts them off with a summon spell and then makes his escape, the party likely receives no XP for the mage (they neither captured nor overcame him) and they do not get XP for the summon, just like they wouldn't get XP for being blocked by a wall of stone. Contrasted to if they were only supposed to defeat or drive him off, in which case they should get XP (probably full XP, unless he wasn't going to fight anyway, which would be plot XP instead of CR XP). Likewise, encountering an Ogre (as in noticing an Ogre is your obstacle) and then sneaking past him is still overcoming the Ogre's obstacle and worth full XP as well at the end of the session).

An exception being, I would say, when preparation places the master at an advantage. A wizard who used planar binding three days ago has his spell slots back. The fact he has a succubus minion with him when encountered is irrelevant to his capabilities. If he had called the succubus just today to stop the party, he would be out his spell slot. In this case, he is not. The succubus is effectively just another NPC standing around, and should be worth XP as well (since it is literally a free ally for the master at this point).

In a similar vein, if you encounter a resetting summon monster I-IX trap in a dungeon, you only receive XP for surviving, bypassing, or disarming the Trap; regardless of the monsters it spits out every round. The players could gain XP in this sort of environment, as they themselves get to practice their tactics. One could even go so far as to use such traps as an X-Men style "Danger Room", where traps spit out monsters on a regular basis for you to fight. You get XP for the traps though, not the summons.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
HangarFlying wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Monologuing is not a free action! "You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can't believe it."
It's driving me crazy. What movie is this from? Wait...Mastermind?

You'll feel incredible when you figure it out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This thread is rapidly moving into being in the wrong forum. The rules question was answered in the first 5 posts. All the rest is discussion, not rules questions.

My own two cents is, as others have stated, if it's part of the class or part of purchased equipment/treasure, then there's no XP. You can capture the trained animals and horses, and sell them. That makes them treasure, not XP. The summoned creatures are no different than a hold person or slow spell, they do the same thing, they slow you down. Or, if you prefer, fireball, which drops your HP (which is all that summoned creatures really do, slow you down and drop your hp).

Andoran

they defeated the encounter, they get full XP.

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