Playtest Feedback: Problems With Summoning


Combat & Magic

Liberty's Edge

I don't think this has been addressed yet, and has come up a couple of times in my bi-weekly game. This is about a power discrepancy. The party consists of a melee-oriented fighter, a two-weapon wielding ranger, an unfettered (from Arcana Evolved), a rouge, a druid and a sorcerer. The problem lies between the druid and the melee classes; namely the fighter, and ranger.

The druid has recently gained access to Summon Nature's Ally IV, and what we discovered is that a couple of the available critters are about equal in combat to the fighter or the ranger, most notably the giant crocodile or the dire ape. Given that the druid can summon both in quick succession, that both creatures are skilled at grappling and melee, and that the druid can then act fully in conjunction with his summoned allies in following rounds, he has very easily taken to replacing the role of the normal melee combatants entirely.

Similarly, as I was combing through the summoning spells for some kind of solution, I found that not all of the creatures which are summonable are even close to equal to one another in capability.

Has anyone else encountered something similar to this? What thoughts can we put together about reworking the way summoning is handled? Can we unify summoning in some manner to balance it with a party and itself?


The giant crocodile is good, but I find 1d3 dire wolves are usually better than 1 dire ape. ;-)

It is a bit disappointing to be outclassed by a spell, I admit. I'm not sure what the best solution is; maybe you could have more enemies with access to Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil, etc.

Liberty's Edge

hogarth wrote:

The giant crocodile is good, but I find 1d3 dire wolves are usually better than 1 dire ape. ;-)

It is a bit disappointing to be outclassed by a spell, I admit. I'm not sure what the best solution is; maybe you could have more enemies with access to Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil, etc.

Yeah, the players are complaining that it steals their spotlight, and truthfully, they're right. As a DM, I can create a solution, for sure. What I'm looking for is a solution within the framework of the rules which won't require me to have an enemy with Dispel Magic as a part of every single encounter. Similarly, I don't like having to go to one of my players and say, "I know that you like summoning, but this part of the rules is too powerful. We need to nerf your character." No matter how diplomatic I am about it, it's not a fun thing to do.


But giant crocodile and dire ape have poor AC, can't pass DR by their own means, and stay for only one fight (and Dire Ape has few hp)).

Yeah, they have a good range, but the wizard/sorceror can cast Enlarge Person at this level.

I think it's a good palliative for groups without figthers/barbarian/pala !


I'd recommend a more subtle approach. Because the summoned critters are NPCs, the GM rolls for them, not the player. Also, unless the druid casts speak with animals, all they do is attack; the player has no special control over them outside of that. So shift them out of focus a bit, downplay their drama. Let the fighter's player announce what cool combat maneuvers he's using, and go nuts describing the awesome splash of blood when he connects with a solid attack. Then roll some dice behind the screen and say, blandly, "... and the crocodile keeps chewing on that last orc... Next character! What do you do?"

See, you can keep the summoned critters' usefulness, but also ensure that they don't steal the spotlight from the melee guys. It just takes a careful touch.

Liberty's Edge

Thathane wrote:

But giant crocodile and dire ape have poor AC, can't pass DR by their own means, and stay for only one fight (and Dire Ape has few hp)).

Yeah, they have a good range, but the wizard/sorceror can cast Enlarge Person at this level.

I think it's a good palliative for groups without figthers/barbarian/pala !

IF the sorcerer or wizard takes that spell, which reduces their blasty-power. Consider how to handle it in a group WITH a fighter, barbarian, paladin, etc.


I dunno, certainly summoning is considered to be one of the weaker spells, its far more common to see threads wanting to power it up.

First off, summoning takes a 1 full round (not a full round action, 1 full round of initiative); that means the druid has to spend both his/her move and standard action to cast it. Even so, it doesnt come in right away, the monster comes in on the druid's next initiative count. Often times this delay is enough to make it so the battle is already decided before the druid can summon any, let alone two, creatures.

But not always, so here's something you can do as a DM. Hit the guy between when he starts casting his spell and when the ally comes in, that's a pretty tough spellcraft (concetration) check to do to maintain the spell if he gets hit for a decent amount of damage.

As DM you can take control of the creatures. Have them fight like animals would fight. Attack, don't screw your druid out of his abilities or anything, but realize that a crocodile is not going to be smart enough to move to get a flanking bonus. He's just going to attack the closest guy to him.

As far as the creatures themselves, again, not sure what the problem is. A giant crocodiles attack is +11. If your druid is casting Summon IV, you must be at least 7th level, the fighter should probably have better than that, certainly a higher AC and more hit points.

Or, throw in more combats per day, I assume the druid is summoning with his highest level spell slots, so he can't have too many of those. A few more combats per day and he will (if he chooses to keep summoning) be forced to start useing vastly inferior creatures.

Liberty's Edge

awp832 wrote:


First off, summoning takes a 1 full round (not a full round action, 1 full round of initiative); that means the druid has to spend both his/her move and standard action to cast it. Even so, it doesnt come in right away, the monster comes in on the druid's next initiative count. Often times this delay is enough to make it so the battle is already decided before the druid can summon any, let alone two, creatures.

[...snipped...]

Or, throw in more combats per day, I assume the druid is summoning with his highest level spell slots, so he can't have too many of those. A few more combats per day and he will (if he chooses to keep summoning) be forced to start useing vastly inferior creatures.

Actually, the summoned creature gets to act immediately on the round it's summoned. 1 full round spend casting the spell gets the creature summoned it's own full-round worth of actions. A second full round summoning gets another summon a full round action, in additon to the first summoned critter's actions. On the third round, both summons act (or multiple if the summoner summoned many things from a lower level), in addition to the caster himself.

There are a couple of issues with this, and none of them have to do with how to handle it as a DM, or who controls the creatures. I can easily put together encounters to balance the issue; what I'm talking about here is that I don't want to HAVE to put together special encounters just to balance it.

I don't want to HAVE to make extra encounters, or add extra enemies, to a module - let's say a Pathfinder module for the sake of my point - I want to have it be balanced WITHOUT doing the extra work it takes to balance these extra things.

In addition, the extra combatants slows down the flow of combat. The player's turn who summoned things takes a good deal longer to resolve than the other combatants, simply because there are so many more creatures acting on his go. This, in effect, gives that player more stage time than the others intrinsically, by virtue of the mechanics of the class he chose, not the actions his character takes.


Skyler Brungardt wrote:
There are a couple of issues with this, and none of them have to do with how to handle it as a DM, or who controls the creatures. I can easily put together encounters to balance the issue; what I'm talking about here is that I don't want to HAVE to put together special encounters just to balance it.

Did you actually read my suggestion? It seems to resolve most of the issues in your last post.

If I understood why it wouldn't work for you, I might be able to help more.

Liberty's Edge

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Did you actually read my suggestion? If I understood why it wouldn't work for you, I might be able to help more.

I did read it. It doesn't apply, and here's why:

1. Casting a summoning spell takes "1 round", which is the same as a full round action. In effect, this means that the caster (the druid in this case) spends a full round casting his summon spell. At the end of the spell, the creature is summoned, and gets to act at the beginning of his next turn; thus, it takes its own actions while the caster is free to do something else. However, casting the spell only takes the caster's full round - which is to say that the caster isn't casting while other characters go in that same round. As such, there's really no time to "hit the caster in between", since it all happens on his round. But then, even if an enemy has a readied action to his the caster as soon as he starts casting, any caster worth his salt has many ranks in Concentration and can likely make the save, if he's even struck at all.

2. I'm not talking here about the creatures using tactics like flanking or fighting defensively. In the case of the giant crocodile or dire ape, I'm talking specifically about grappling. Both are fantastic grapplers, and are easily able to dominate the melee by simply neutralizing the opponents in a grapple from which the opponents can't escape. Similarly, the dire ape is Large and the giant crocodile is Huge; a big advantage in a melee, particularly in a grapple. Toss in the Augment Summoning feat, and the issue becomes exacerbated. And that's not all; other summoned creatures have their own imbalances.

3. Having to add more encounters in a day's worth of adventuring, particularly if I'm running through a module, just to balance out a character having the ability to summon creatures, isn't work I should have to do. The classes should be balanced without having to add this.


OK, so I gather it's not the "spotlight" that's the issue, but the effectiveness of the critters in combat. Is that more correct?

EDIT: If so, you can still work it out if you control the critters. Have the crocodile grapple the nearest wimpy mook, and proceed to tear him apart and then eat the remains for the remainder of the duration. You don't even need to roll, then. The crocodile isn't weaker, it just isn't dominating combat, because it's got an Int of 1. The druid can still speak with animals and tell it to attack someone else, but if so, same deal. This fails in BBEG fights with no mooks, but otherwise it minimizes the headaches for you.

Liberty's Edge

Kirth Gersen wrote:
OK, so I gather it's not the "spotlight" that's the issue, but the effectiveness of the critters in combat. Is that more correct?

Well, both really. The summoned creatures are so good at what they do, they they're able to do what other classes are designed to do in their entirety, which takes the "spotlight" away from those players.

EDIT: (Response to your edit) Sure, I could control them and force them to do that, and the elephant in the room is why they're not attacking the biggest, meanest, most threatening target available.

EDIT Again: You addressed my first edit in part (heh, we're editing at the same time). You're right, with the BBEG it doesn't work. And I can just fudge rolls all I want to solve it, but I like to minimize the fudging I have to do. The game's supposed to be balanced in a way that doesn't require fudging, so...


[Ninja'd edit] The croc isn't that smart; it just attacks the easiest prey, which is what crocs do. [/Ninja's edit]

In an even fight, just assume the croc kills a critter of equal CR, but that it takes the whole summoning duration. For BBEG's you're on your own, but the smart ones will certainly trun their attention to disrupting a full-round spell in progress!


Skyler Brungardt wrote:
1. Casting a summoning spell takes "1 round", which is the same as a full round action. In effect, this means that the caster (the druid in this case) spends a full round casting his summon spell. At the end of the spell, the creature is summoned, and gets to act at the beginning of his next turn; thus, it takes its own actions while the caster is free to do something else. However, casting the spell only takes the caster's full round - which is to say that the caster isn't casting while other characters go in that same round. As such, there's really no time to "hit the caster in between", since it all happens on his round.

Not to sidetrack the conversation, but "1 full round" casting spells actually do work differently:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#castingTime

"When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell."

Another thing to note is that in Pathfinder the size advantage to grappling is much lower -- +1 for Large and +2 for Huge (as opposed to +4 and +8).

Liberty's Edge

hogarth wrote:
Skyler Brungardt wrote:
1. Casting a summoning spell takes "1 round", which is the same as a full round action. In effect, this means that the caster (the druid in this case) spends a full round casting his summon spell. At the end of the spell, the creature is summoned, and gets to act at the beginning of his next turn; thus, it takes its own actions while the caster is free to do something else. However, casting the spell only takes the caster's full round - which is to say that the caster isn't casting while other characters go in that same round. As such, there's really no time to "hit the caster in between", since it all happens on his round.

Not to sidetrack the conversation, but "1 full round" casting spells actually do work differently:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#castingTime
"When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell."

Another thing to note is that in Pathfinder the size advantage to grappling is much lower -- +1 for Large and +2 for Huge (as opposed to +4 and +8).

Good point, thanks for clearing that up!

I think the issue still stands, however, since I think most casters will make their conentration checks.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
hogarth wrote:

Not to sidetrack the conversation, but "1 full round" casting spells actually do work differently:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#castingTime

"When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to just before your turn in the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell."

I was just about to post the same thing (ninja-war, denied!); it is perfectly possible to nail the summoner before the critter appears, and this is why Spellcraft checks are so very, very useful, both to realize what's coming and to, in Pathfinder, manage to cast even after you get thumped...


Run longer days, if you only run 1-2 encounters per day then casters don't have to manage their resources and they will dominate the game. After the 2nd encounter your druid will not have any 4th level spells to use for summoning. The game is designed and more balanced if you have 4-6 encounters per day.

-- dennis

Liberty's Edge

Dennis da Ogre formerly 0gre wrote:

Run longer days, if you only run 1-2 encounters per day then casters don't have to manage their resources and they will dominate the game. After the 2nd encounter your druid will not have any 4th level spells to use for summoning. The game is designed and more balanced if you have 4-6 encounters per day.

-- dennis

Again, I'm talking about modules here, which very often have implied legnths of the day, based upon how dungeons or encounters are setup. (You can look at RotRL#1: Burnt Offerings as an example.) Yes, *I* can solve it as the DM. And my point is that I shouldn't *HAVE* to solve it. It shouldn't really ever come up, if it's designed properly.

Hence why I think we should redesign it.

Sovereign Court

A Fighter of 7th level should be able to perform as well as a summoned Giant Crocodile, if not better. Having two attacks and a better BAB than the crocodile does, the Fighter should have a damage output that is at least equal to the crocodile's. But the Fighter will also have better AC, a player controlling him (which leads to more intelligent choices than an unintelligent crocodile), and a bunch of magical equipment to top it all off.

The 1 round casting time and the limited duration as well as the limited times / day that it can be used seem like good enough balancing factors to me. 1 round casting times are dangerous; I rarely let PCs get by using those without being attacked by someone. You need good Concentration to get away with these spells.


Skyler Brungardt wrote:
Hence why I think we should redesign it.

Shy of nerfing all 4th level offensive spells I don't see a way to solve the problem you are having. The wizard has 4+ spells which can more effectively end most combats. Once you get past 4th level if your casters have access to their highest level spells in every combat then your casters are going to dominate the game... that's D&D 3.5.

4th edition fixed this by essentially making everyone a caster, under 3.5 the 'fix' is making the players manage resources. I don't see how Paizo can fix this without breaking backwards compatibility in a huge way.

You say you shouldn't have to solve it but this is the role of the DM. I've never used RoRL but I can tell you that in my Red Hand of Doom game we are playing I've revamped almost every single encounter in the module to make things better for my PCs. Generally just upping the number of enemies because I have a huge group but making other changes also.

-- Dennis


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I suspect the problem is not summoning per se but the presence of a few creatures which are anomalously good for their CR. Every collection of monsters is just about guaranteed to have a few of these. But when they get onto summoning lists (or PCs become able to shapeshift into them) they cause much more trouble than they did when they were simply foes.

Grappling creatures are often a sore point. In our Arcanus Unearthed game, the weakest PC in the party gained the ability to summon a giant snake with DR and grapple, and suddenly became the strongest PC in the party. Nothing close to the PCs' power level could survive being grappled by that thing: it was a near-automatic kill of anything vaguely similar in CR. We got very tired of seeing all significant battles decided by the snake: I was also very uneasy about the fact that an NPC summoner could have wiped out the PCs with it.

Were you using the revised Pathfinder grapple rules? They reduce the advantage to large grapplers significantly.

I don't think that "force more encounters every day" is necessarily going to be a satisfying solution. It will make the modules hard to use; it will frustrate spellcaster players significantly; it will increase the lethality significantly; and it's a lot of work for the GM.

Better would be to test the CR of any creature you're going to allow onto a summoning list very, very carefully, and disallow them if it's dubious. If you think this is an issue with Summon Animal, wait till you see Planar Ally. My group has had to develop a gentleman's agreement not to use this spell to its full capacity, because otherwise the endgame of every AP becomes purely a matter of summoning something that can solve all of your problems, and agreeing to pay it whatever it asks for. (Yes, I know the GM can refuse this. But if a spell always has to be refused, why not fix it instead?)

I would strongly recommend that Paizo list the creatures Planar Ally can summon, not "every extraplanar of a certain HD or less". Any spell that gives PCs access to every critter in the available range of monsters is guaranteed to cause trouble (Poly Self is a classic example) because sooner or later a monster author will introduce a power you don't really want in PC hands, or at least not at that level. Monster authors aren't thinking "What if a PC could do this?" when they create creatures. So spells which put monster abilities in PC hands are going to break things.

I don't regard "Let the GM fix it" as a useful response, or why are we bothering to playtest in the first place?

Mary


Mary Yamato wrote:
I don't regard "Let the GM fix it" as a useful response, or why are we bothering to playtest in the first place?

You are assuming that the problem is with this one single spell but it is not. There are a bunch of spells in the wizard's spell list that are equally encounter stealing. Black Tentacles can end a multi enemy encounter in a heartbeat and the fighters don't get to participate at all.

As for 'force more encounters every day', that's not something I just drummed up, it is the way the game is designed. Casters are generally just flat out more powerful than non-casters and the fewer encounters you have in a day the more off skewed the equation gets because the casters are able to use their highest level abilities every single round.

This is one spell, the problem is game wide. Are you suggesting that all 4th+ level spells get nerfed? What about 3rd level spells? Fireball has ended many encounters in our group.


I'm not sure you can use the "just use more battles" argument in balancing the spellcaster.

The issue I see is that at level 7 and higher, unless the spellcaster is there, most encounters simply aren't possible for a standard party (and yes, I do consider rogue with UMD as a spellcaster)


I don't think my problem is so much that summoning can happen and that the summoned creatures are quite powerful (relatively speaking anyway). My problem is that I have played in a game where a druid summoned a bunch of creatures and then next round summoned more, then next round summoned more.

This mentality led to some of us getting bored because the druid player was obviously hogging the spotlight and wanted to become a one-man army and not let us help do our jobs.

I have seen this same mentality as a DM, as well and have seen the fighter roll his eyes when it happens. My house rule now is that a caster can only have 1 summoned creature out at a time. This lets summoners be summoners without unnecessarily hogging the spotlight.


Spotlight wise, there's been suggestions on this back when they had the "Economy of Actions" thread where 4e decided to cut all summoning completely.

An idea I had been thinking was to flesh out and expand the "swarm" rules a bit.

I had already been looking at this kind of thing for a more zombie influenced game, where larger creatures (medium size or even larger) put into groups would act together and act more like a swarm than a group of individuals (hitpoints, ac, attack rolls, etc).

To put this towards summoning, essentially you'd treat them as groups of creatures that take up an area and attack everyone within that area at once on their turn, on direction of the Druid.

The concept is basically that a single person, no matter how intelligent, would be incapable of directing that many creatures at once AND still be able to do a full round of actions himself.
So as a comprimise he just tells "the group" to go "that way" and "attack", with maybe a bit of extra stuff like "grapple" or "trip" tossed in.

Summoning more creatures just increases the numbers involved, and certain creatures may give extra bonuses on certain things (crocodiles and grapple, flying creatures can attack flying targets, snakes add poison damage).

One attack roll, everyone "saves" or whatever for the damages done. Turns take less time, less humming and hawing over where to place this or that chess piece of an animal on the battlefield, etc.

The druid could still summon animals to do his "bidding" outside of combat normally. Individually assign things like scouting, etc, works because he has time to communicate. It's the in-combat that can get simplified.

...

As for the level of power...

It's a spell. There are other things that Melee combatants can bring into the game beyond strictly damage. Skill checks, human interaction, a wider assortment of combat options, potentially magical acoutrements (items, paladin/ranger spells, etc).
An equal level Fighter has the money and magic items to have a much wider impact on daily combat, and outside of combat.

Perhaps with playtesting the numbers for attack/damage and bonus to attack actions may need to be tweaked to be more in line with an appropriate level spell.

However if it works similar to Cloud Kill, and you don't have a problem with that spell, then this should be a decent "fix" so to speak.

Liberty's Edge

Kaisoku wrote:

Spotlight wise, there's been suggestions on this back when they had the "Economy of Actions" thread where 4e decided to cut all summoning completely.

An idea I had been thinking was to flesh out and expand the "swarm" rules a bit.

I had already been looking at this kind of thing for a more zombie influenced game, where larger creatures (medium size or even larger) put into groups would act together and act more like a swarm than a group of individuals (hitpoints, ac, attack rolls, etc).

To put this towards summoning, essentially you'd treat them as groups of creatures that take up an area and attack everyone within that area at once on their turn, on direction of the Druid.

The concept is basically that a single person, no matter how intelligent, would be incapable of directing that many creatures at once AND still be able to do a full round of actions himself.
So as a comprimise he just tells "the group" to go "that way" and "attack", with maybe a bit of extra stuff like "grapple" or "trip" tossed in.

Summoning more creatures just increases the numbers involved, and certain creatures may give extra bonuses on certain things (crocodiles and grapple, flying creatures can attack flying targets, snakes add poison damage).

One attack roll, everyone "saves" or whatever for the damages done. Turns take less time, less humming and hawing over where to place this or that chess piece of an animal on the battlefield, etc.

The druid could still summon animals to do his "bidding" outside of combat normally. Individually assign things like scouting, etc, works because he has time to communicate. It's the in-combat that can get simplified.

...

As for the level of power...

It's a spell. There are other things that Melee combatants can bring into the game beyond strictly damage. Skill checks, human interaction, a wider assortment of combat options, potentially magical acoutrements (items, paladin/ranger spells, etc).
An equal level Fighter has the money and magic items to have a much wider impact...

I like those adapted swarm rules. Restricts the casters from summoning single creatures, though.

I think the issue is systemic. Really, if we look at the giant crocodile as an example, most of it's stats are sub-par with a fighter of equal level. However, it has an excellent grapple check; probably better than a summonable creature of that level should have. Which ties in with the fact that not every creature of the same CR is actually necessarily equlivalent in power.

Maybe we should re-work the summonable creatures, to something like a stock list. Let's say a caster can summon a "Ranged attacker", a "Melee attacker", and maybe one or two kinds of "Utility summons". And then we put together some generic stats for it, sort of like what the Player's Handbook II does with the variant Druid abilities. Generic, well-balanced stats, that allow the player to assign whatever flavor he wants. Want to summon a wolf? Use the melee creature stats. An-imp like critter? Utility stats, or maybe ranged, depending on what it's to be used for.

Make sense?

Sovereign Court

Skyler Brungardt wrote:

I like those adapted swarm rules. Restricts the casters from summoning single creatures, though.

I think the issue is systemic. Really, if we look at the giant crocodile as an example, most of it's stats are sub-par with a fighter of equal level. However, it has an excellent grapple check; probably better than a summonable creature of that level should have.

Maybe we should re-work the summonable creatures, to something like a stock list. Let's say a caster can summon a "Ranged attacker", a "Melee attacker", and maybe one or two kinds of "Utility summons". And then we put together some generic stats for it, sort of like what the Player's Handbook II does with the variant Druid abilities. Generic, well-balanced stats, that allow the player to assign whatever flavor he wants. Want to summon a wolf? Use the melee creature stats. An-imp like critter? Utility stats, or maybe ranged, depending on what it's to be used for.

Make sense?

It makes sense!

I'm just not sure if I like it. I'm sort of worried about cookie-cutter summoned monsters if we go the route you're proposing. I think limiting the list of summoned monsters to monsters that are balanced for a given spell level is not a bad choice. Also, as was noted above, I'm not sure the Giant Crocodile will be a problem in the Pathfinder RPG because, as you say, its greatest strength is its grappling ability. It will be significantly nerfed in PfRPG due to the lowering bonus to Large creatures grapple checks, as well as the high CMB DC to beat in general.

However, I'll take another good look at this once the Beta comes out. Who knows what changes will happen then?

Liberty's Edge

Nameless wrote:

It makes sense!

I'm just not sure if I like it. I'm sort of worried about cookie-cutter summoned monsters if we go the route you're proposing. I think limiting the list of summoned monsters to monsters that are balanced for a given spell level is not a bad choice. Also, as was noted above, I'm not sure the Giant Crocodile will be a problem in the Pathfinder RPG because, as you say, its greatest strength is its grappling ability. It will be significantly nerfed in PfRPG due to the lowering bonus to Large creatures grapple checks, as well as the high CMB DC to beat in general.

However, I'll take another good look at this once the Beta comes out. Who knows what changes will happen then?

I think we're saying the same thing. I simplified it when I spoke of it, but let's look at it a little more in-depth.

Picking monsters, or making monsters, which are balanced for the appropriate spell level could risk being cookie-cutter as long as the number is small. Heck, if we reduce the current list, it's going to be cookie-cutter as it stands now, simply by the fact that there aren't a lot of choices.

So what I think would solve that is to create a number of different "balanced creatures" roughly equivalent to the number of creatures available now. (I think there are something like a a dozen for each spell.)

We could even model them after the character classes, so that each summon is sort of like a "backup fighter" or a "backup cleric", and so on. Not good enough to outshine the class itself, but able to more clearly fill the role in a party.

Sovereign Court

Protection from X/Circle of Protection from X (both of which can be hung in a Hallow/Unhallow spell) completely blocks the summoned critters.

Problem solved.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Skyler Brungardt wrote:

Actually, the summoned creature gets to act immediately on the round it's summoned. 1 full round spend casting the spell gets the creature summoned it's own full-round worth of actions.

But those actions don't come until the creature has been summoned. And that does not happen until the spell is completed which is on the summoner's next initiative.


Summon Nature's Ally, in general, also way out-classes the Summon Monster spells in its first few levels.


Suggestion:

Use the psionic summon construct menu list.

Dark Archive

Summons are really tough. I have been toying with ideas to fix them for awhile now and have not found anything I am happy with. I want casters to be able to summon strong creatures, I want them to be able to get multiple weaker creatures with a higher level spell. The closest compromise I can think of is to limit every caster to having a single spell of the Summoning or Calling types active at any given time, and creatures called AND summoned do not have the ability to summon creatures themselves.

I think there needs to be a fix. I don't want to just keep nerfing everything the Wizard does though. Right now on these boards there are threads advocating the nerfing of damage dealing spells, summon spells, enchantment spells, and on and on. We keep this up and eventually the Wizard will be a weaker fighter that can do very minimal damage every now and again with their blaster spells. I don't want Wizards changed that much. Or Clerics or Druids or any caster for that matter. Hopefully Jason will have some ideas that I can't think of.

Sovereign Court

I have always used guidelines and customized summoning lists. Give a Challenge Rating range for each level of spell and some templates or guidelines. Sure this can be open to abuses if not delineated carefully, but it does have the advantage of not being uniformly bland.

IMC I used the alignment templates for clerics (Fiendish, Celestial, Anarchaic and Axiomatic), elemental templates for wizards (Auran, Terran, Ignan and Aquatic), as well as certain Outsiders. This really opened the door for unique summon monster lists.

Another "fix" for the master summoner is to have a HD cap on the total number of summoned critters you can control at once, say 2 or 4 HD per CL.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Just curious, but did you beef up that unfettered to match the fighter?

Unfettered were supposed to be balanced against 3.5 fighters. They weren't, of course (3.5 fighters sucked), but they still aren't as good as a PRPG fighter.

Neither are PRPG rangers, for that matter, but we needn't go there....

Also, I'm looking at that giant crocodile, and not seeing how he could be better than a 7th level warrior type under any system. Especially in Pathfinder where his grapple bonus should only be +15. You could built a barbarian- actually, scratch barbarian, just a half-orc fighter could have a +15 grapple bonus at level 7.
Plus the DC to start a grapple is 15 + enemy's CMB. Grappling got a lot weaker in 3.p.

To those saying the croc's defenses are a mitigating factor though, they really aren't (he's disposable; if he dies, the druid doesn't care). And I agree that not all summoned creatures are created equal. There are definitely a few superstars on each list.

Scarab Sages

Twowlves wrote:


I have always used guidelines and customized summoning lists. Give a Challenge Rating range for each level of spell and some templates or guidelines. Sure this can be open to abuses if not delineated carefully, but it does have the advantage of not being uniformly bland.

IMC I used the alignment templates for clerics (Fiendish, Celestial, Anarchaic and Axiomatic), elemental templates for wizards (Auran, Terran, Ignan and Aquatic), as well as certain Outsiders. This really opened the door for unique summon monster lists.

Another "fix" for the master summoner is to have a HD cap on the total number of summoned critters you can control at once, say 2 or 4 HD per CL.

yea that is what i did i got 2 summoners in 1 group, a psion and wizard(and i removed the 1 astral summon since didnt seem fair that wizards could summon mult) so far its keep it in check and not once has both summon a creature, mult arrows fly towards them when they start casting 1 round spells, no one likes to see a wizard cast a 1 rd spell :)


I like the limit on HD of summoned creatures.

But would 8HD/lvl be more appropriate? That is the given number for clerics and specialist necromancers.

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