How necessary is Augment Summoning?


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The title more or less says it all. I know the value of summoned monsters, they take up attacks, take more actions, do damage, absorb hps, and come with awesome spell like abilities. However, if you are playing a wizard, who is not focusing on summoning, but still intends to use summons (probably one or two summon spells per day), is it really NEEDED?

It is simply that it requires two feats in order to actually be useful, and if you are not going to focus on summoning, is it truly that important? A lot of wizard builds are feat starved with needing other "must haves" such as Improved Initiative and Great Fortitude and the like.

Discuss.


I don't consider wizard to be "feat starved" anymore than any other class. Indeed, they seem less dependent upon feats. Aside from Improved Initiative and Spell Focus / Greater Spell Focus, there are no feats that seem "necessary".

I would definitely consider Augment Summoning if you're predicting two summons per day minimum. That's actually quite a lot of summing, I think.

+2 Attack & Damage, plus some extra HP = Great investment.

The prerequisite is also useful even for non-conjurers. A lot of conjuration spells are useful, and many require DCs (glitterdust, stinking cloud, and cloudkill all come to mind).


It is not NEEDED, but it certainly helps. Like the poster above me, I don't consider wizards feet starved at all. You don't have to pick it up, not at all, but if you do, you will probably not regret it. Don't forget it also boosts a lot of DCs on con based special abilities, such as the stun ability of the ankylosaurus.


Augment Summoning, for me, falls in the "nice to have", rather than "have to have" category for any spellcaster who doens't intend to concentrrate on summoning. It is one of a variety of attractive options to choose from, no one of which is the "right" answer for all characters.

I agree with DM that a couple of summoning spells (cast, not just prepared) is pretty significant though. I think that if that were the way it was playing out in game for me, I'd probably take it eventually.

Sovereign Court

I play such a summoning-oriented wizard, and I have to say, Augment Summoning makes a huge difference. Particularly if you're summoning creatures like the Leopard, who get like 5 1d3+3 attacks, AS gives it +2 to hit and damage with each of them; that's pretty neat.

And I don't begrudge the Spell Focus (Conjuration) requirement, because Glitterdust is one of my favorite attack spells.

That said, there are quite a few good summoned creatures that work just as well without AS, like the Lantern Archon.

Liberty's Edge

It does add a significant degree of effectiveness to a character that summons a lot. If you summon a lot, and need to be effective, there's hardly a better feat in the book. If not...*shrug*.


I would say its nice to have, and I would say that its better then great fortitude as a feat, and as a wizard you do get some bonus feats to make up for using 2 feats.


You're not "losing" two feats, though. Feats are investments (you can't expect to be good at something without some investment). I can understand that some feats are considered "taxes", but these two are not.


Detect Magic wrote:
You're not "losing" two feats, though. Feats are investments (you can't expect to be good at something without some investment). I can understand that some feats are considered "taxes", but these two are not.

Augment summoning is probably not a tax. Spell Focus (Conjuration) is almost certainly a feat tax, though. It adds +1 to the save DC of all conjuration spells, and of course summoning spells do not require a save. I'd argue that Spell Focus (Conjuration) for a summoning specialist is almost the clearest example of a feat tax in the entire game as it offers literally nothing in support of the reason you want to take it.


Certainly doesn't enhance your summoning, but it is still useful. Other common "feat taxes" are not so useful. "Combat Expertise" or "Mobility", for example, are widely considered to be garbage. "Spell Focus (Conjuration)" benefits wizards and sorcerers regardless of their specialization, assuming they still cast the occasional DC-based conjuration spell (which include some of the best spells in the game).

Sovereign Court

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If you take the "taxed" spell focus: conjuration, at lower levels you get +1 to the DC of:

glitterdust
grease
create pit
stinking cloud

Unless you're a pure blaster wizard, that seems like a pretty good deal as those are some of the most effective spells in the game. Heck, you have 4 decent spells and 3 different saves to pick from when targeting your enemies.


The Human Diversion wrote:

If you take the "taxed" spell focus: conjuration, at lower levels you get +1 to the DC of:

glitterdust
grease
create pit
stinking cloud

Unless you're a pure blaster wizard, ...

Or a pure summoner wizard, which is the reason I would want Augment Summoning in the first place.

Basically, what you and Detect Magic just said is that the feat I am forced to take makes the character better at something that he doesn't want to do. I submit that Combat Expertise does exactly the same thing....

Sovereign Court

Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Human Diversion wrote:

If you take the "taxed" spell focus: conjuration, at lower levels you get +1 to the DC of:

glitterdust
grease
create pit
stinking cloud

Unless you're a pure blaster wizard, ...

Or a pure summoner wizard, which is the reason I would want Augment Summoning in the first place.

Basically, what you and Detect Magic just said is that the feat I am forced to take makes the character better at something that he doesn't want to do. I submit that Combat Expertise does exactly the same thing....

No one is "forcing" you to take anything. Prove us all wrong and make a good summoner without augment summoning. The beauty of the game is that people have made fun/successful builds outside of "the norm."

I was just saying that 4 of the best low-level spells happen to be conjuration spells with a DC, so spell focus: conjuration is certainly far from useless in and of itself, unless you are restricting yourself to the mindset that you only summon and do nothing else. If you're going to do that, why not just play a Summoner?


It is a tax, but it's a useful one, thus it doesn't scream "tax"!

I don't consider it a "losing" feat, because it makes you a better spellcaster, unlike say "Combat Expertise", which doesn't at all make you a better fighter. Hell, fighting defensively is often better than "Combat Expertise", which makes it redundant (and thus a further waste of a feat slot; you could make the case that you're "losing" a slot when you have to burn a feat on this garbage).


Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Human Diversion wrote:

If you take the "taxed" spell focus: conjuration, at lower levels you get +1 to the DC of:

glitterdust
grease
create pit
stinking cloud

Unless you're a pure blaster wizard, ...

Or a pure summoner wizard, which is the reason I would want Augment Summoning in the first place.

Basically, what you and Detect Magic just said is that the feat I am forced to take makes the character better at something that he doesn't want to do. I submit that Combat Expertise does exactly the same thing....

I hear what you are saying. You don't ever want to cast these spells, just summons, summons, and nothing but summons. Cool. In that case, the Spell Focus feat is just a tax.

But you don't need to be only casting "Summons" spells all the time. Even if that's your favorite thing to do, one per battle is usually enough, and maybe a pit here, a grease there, is also not a bad idea to keep the tough battles under control.

What everyone else is saying is that these spells are good. Really good. There is only one "Summon" spell at each level, unless you include some higher level stuff like Planar Ally and Gate as "Summon" spells. The OP mentioned wizard, he'll get a minimum of 4 spells of every level for free, just for leveling up. That means he really MUST learn a few spells that are not "Summon" spells.

If he's planning to be good at "Summon" spells, he might want Augment Summoning, it is really useful. Since he has to pay the "Tax" to get the Spell Focus feat if he wants Augment Summons, and since he has about 3 free non "Summons" spells to learn at every level, learning the good Conjuration spells that will one, justify the tax and two, be really useful in combat, sounds like a really good idea.

Tax? Maybe. Justifiable? Absolutely.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Human Diversion wrote:

If you take the "taxed" spell focus: conjuration, at lower levels you get +1 to the DC of:

glitterdust
grease
create pit
stinking cloud

Unless you're a pure blaster wizard, ...

Or a pure summoner wizard, which is the reason I would want Augment Summoning in the first place.

Basically, what you and Detect Magic just said is that the feat I am forced to take makes the character better at something that he doesn't want to do. I submit that Combat Expertise does exactly the same thing....

"Pure summoner wizxard" - so you just want to throw summon spells over and over again?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I recommend a Thassilonian Specialist as well, get an extra extra spell per day per level, more summons!


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I wouldn't trade augment summoning for the world. Nothing lifts the party spirits like countering a giant with a giant who's stronger and tougher :)


I would say that the only "must have" aspect to Augment Summoning (for a non-focused summoner), is to boost lower-level summoned creatures enough to withstand single attacks from enemies. When a summon does not require a full-attack to get through, whatever it is blocking gets right back in your face. From action economy, you used a 1-round action, they used a standard to kill it.


I would echo the sentiment that it's by no means necessary for the caster that only does occasional summons. However, for my master summoner, it's a feat I almost tear up over that I'm given for free. It usually translates to stronger fort save, stronger melee attacks, meatier HP, CMD/CMB and so on. A few ability DCs are also either str or con based so it improves them as well.

It's all around bags of goodness. Coupled with Superior Summons it's almost brokenly awesome in terms of across the board mechanical bonuses.


DM_Blake wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


Basically, what you and Detect Magic just said is that the feat I am forced to take makes the character better at something that he doesn't want to do. I submit that Combat Expertise does exactly the same thing....

I hear what you are saying. You don't ever want to cast these spells, just summons, summons, and nothing but summons. Cool. In that case, the Spell Focus feat is just a tax.

But you don't need to be only casting "Summons" spells all the time. Even if that's your favorite thing to do, one per battle is usually enough, and maybe a pit here, a grease there, is also not a bad idea to keep the tough battles under control.

What everyone else is saying is that these spells are good. Really good. There is only one "Summon" spell at each level, unless you include some higher level stuff like Planar Ally and Gate as "Summon" spells. The OP mentioned wizard, he'll get a minimum of 4 spells of every level for free, just for leveling up. That means he really MUST learn a few spells that are not "Summon" spells.

True. But there's no particular reason for those spells to include save-or-suck battlefield control spells, and there's quite a powerful argument against it. If you choose to focus on spells without saves, there's no need to worry about having a rocking caster stat, which in turn frees up a lot of attribute points for other thing (like Constitution). These spells can include many attack roll based blasts (e.g., Shocking Grasp, Scorching Ray), some AoE's (Stone Call), and even debuffs (Touch of Idiocy). Of course, any utility spells or party buffs will also not require saving throws.

Treantmonk described this build when applied to the druid as the "Spirit of the Beast," and it's quite an effective one when applied to the arcane caster as well. I find it can be fun to play precisely because it's less restrictive (you don't have to pick up your wizard skirts and run like a schoolgirl every time an orc looks at you funny). With a 14 casting stat, you can act like a full spell-caster up to 7th level, buy a cheap (+2) stat boost item, and spend the rest of your stat points and gold on something fun instead of trying to see how high the numbers go.

If you believe that "if you're not casting Grease, you're not a real wizard," then it's not a feat tax. But it essentially either locks you into something for arbitrary game-mechanical reasons ("Since he has to pay the 'tax' to get the Spell Focus feat, learning [my spell list instead of his own] sounds like a really good idea.") it's about as pure a feat tax as can be.

Sovereign Court

So you're saying something is a feat tax because you're locked into playing a specific build as your point in an argument where you're locking yourself into a specific build?

Liberty's Edge

Detect Magic wrote:
Certainly doesn't enhance your summoning, but it is still useful. Other common "feat taxes" are not so useful. "Combat Expertise" or "Mobility", for example, are widely considered to be garbage. "Spell Focus (Conjuration)" benefits wizards and sorcerers regardless of their specialization, assuming they still cast the occasional DC-based conjuration spell (which include some of the best spells in the game).

Combat Expertise?

Seriously?

I've seen it save the bacon of half a dozen characters, some, multiple times.

Shadow Lodge

Orfamay Quest wrote:

True. But there's no particular reason for those spells to include save-or-suck battlefield control spells, and there's quite a powerful argument against it. If you choose to focus on spells without saves, there's no need to worry about having a rocking caster stat, which in turn frees up a lot of attribute points for other thing (like Constitution). These spells can include many attack roll based blasts (e.g., Shocking Grasp, Scorching Ray), some AoE's (Stone Call), and even debuffs (Touch of Idiocy). Of course, any utility spells or party buffs will also not require saving throws.

Treantmonk described this build when applied to the druid as the "Spirit of the Beast," and it's quite an effective one when applied to the arcane caster as well. I find it can be fun to play precisely because it's less restrictive (you don't have to pick up your wizard skirts and run like a schoolgirl every time an orc looks at you funny). With a 14 casting stat, you can act like a full spell-caster up to 7th level, buy a cheap (+2) stat boost item, and spend the rest of your stat points and gold on something fun instead of trying to see how high the numbers go.

If you believe that "if you're not casting Grease, you're not a real wizard," then it's not a feat tax. But it essentially either locks you into something for arbitrary game-mechanical reasons ("Since he has to pay the 'tax' to get the Spell Focus feat, learning [my spell list instead of his own] sounds like a really good idea.") it's about as pure a feat tax as can be.

Alright, then. It's a feat tax for a fairly niche set of builds. Really though, if someone wants to be doing nothing but summon monsters in combat, he should be playing the Master Summoner archetype.


The Human Diversion wrote:
So you're saying something is a feat tax because you're locked into playing a specific build as your point in an argument where you're locking yourself into a specific build?

Yes, I'm saying that it's a feat tax if it locks me into a specific build instead of the one that I want to play.

Every character is some specific build. The question is whether it's the build I want as opposed to the build that the Paizo developers want.


Are you mixing build and play style? It seems to me like you are by your usage of the term build. Certainly, all characters are *a* build. However, you speak as if you *must* only summon if you take augment summons which simply isn't true.

Shadow Lodge

Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Human Diversion wrote:
So you're saying something is a feat tax because you're locked into playing a specific build as your point in an argument where you're locking yourself into a specific build?

Yes, I'm saying that it's a feat tax if it locks me into a specific build instead of the one that I want to play.

Every character is some specific build. The question is whether it's the build I want as opposed to the build that the Paizo developers want.

More specifically, it locks you out of a specific build, if you have to get 100% use from every feat you take.

You know what, though? Druids have the least number of DC-based conjuration spells, and Augment Summoning is still good enough that it's very tempting to take it, even though Spell Focus (conjuration) is almost definitely dead, while, as a wizard/summoner, you'd have to try not to take conjuration spells (especially if you want to be a debuffer as a secondary role, which you're espousing above).

Really, though. You've chosen the wrong class.

Scarab Sages

Unless you are focused on summoning, it is more along the lines of "nice to have." I would spend my feats raising spell DC's first.

Personally: my wizard has augment summoning, but then, he also has greater spell focus(conjuration). My summoner has none of the above, and does use her summon monster SLA.


Buri wrote:
Are you mixing build and play style? It seems to me like you are by your usage of the term build. Certainly, all characters are *a* build. However, you speak as if you *must* only summon if you take augment summons which simply isn't true.

No. I'm saying that if I want to play a relatively standard character type (it's common enough to have its own name in one of the major character optimization guides), Augment Summons is a very useful feat to use in building that type of character, but the Spell Focus prerequisite is a feat tax, pure and simple.

The fact that there are other builds that would be happy to pay it doesn't make it less of a tax.


OK, so what have we got here?

Option 1: Traditional wizard with really good INT who likes to summon but also casts some spells that force enemy saves, has a mild feat tax that opens up Augment Summoning and makes many of those enemy saves harder. Not bad.

Option 2: Non-traditional wizard with a surprisingly low INT (for a wizard) who likes to summon but will never cast spells allowing enemy saves because his low INT makes those weak. In return for this restriction, he gets the freedom of having a bunch of extra points to distribute to other, useful ability scores, making him much more well-rounded, healthy, quick, and survivable than a traditional wizard. The drawback is the feat Tax.

In the second option, you waste a feat paying the tax, but in return, you still have all those extra points spread out onto other desirable ability scores. It's "less restrictive", "fun to play", and your resources are used on "something fun instead of trying to see how high the numbers go".

Sounds like you're still coming out ahead, and that feat tax isn't so dreadful considering all the benefit you're getting out of your build.

Maybe just consider a slightly higher emphasis on summoning spells to get even more use out of Augment Summoning, so that it feels like the tax was even more worthwhile.

Shadow Lodge

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Buri wrote:
Are you mixing build and play style? It seems to me like you are by your usage of the term build. Certainly, all characters are *a* build. However, you speak as if you *must* only summon if you take augment summons which simply isn't true.
No. I'm saying that if I want to play a relatively standard character type (it's common enough to have its own name in one of the major character optimization guides)

What exactly is this 'name'?


Orfamay Quest wrote:

No. I'm saying that if I want to play a relatively standard character type (it's common enough to have its own name in one of the major character optimization guides), Augment Summons is a very useful feat to use in building that type of character, but the Spell Focus prerequisite is a feat tax, pure and simple.

The fact that there are other builds that would be happy to pay it doesn't make it less of a tax.

Erm, Master Summoner gets it for free. :D

But, yeah, there are a ton of spells in the conjuration domain that I wouldn't mind having their DC to resist/dispel increased. This seems to be a larger deal to you than it does to most people here.

Sovereign Court

Buri wrote:
But, yeah, there are a ton of spells in the conjuration domain that I wouldn't mind having their DC to resist/dispel increased. This seems to be a larger deal to you than it does to most people here.

Scroll up, I pointed out 4 that are all 3rd level or lower and can completely change the course of combat.


EldonG wrote:
Detect Magic wrote:
...Other common "feat taxes" are not so useful. "Combat Expertise" or "Mobility", for example, are widely considered to be garbage.

Combat Expertise?

Seriously?

I've seen it save the bacon of half a dozen characters, some, multiple times.

Combat Expertise Tangent:
Yes, seriously. The benefits of the feat don't outweigh the cost for many levels. At lower levels, using the "defensive fighting" option is a better choice. Further, there's a lot of feat/class support for it. "Crane Style" for instance, as well as the "Aldori Swordlord" archetype for the fighter. "Combat Expertise" just doesn't measure up.

Edit: There's only one case in which I think "Combat Expertise" is worthwhile, and that's for a "Shielded Fighter". That's the only archetype that supports the feat which grants a substantial benefit for an otherwise lackluster combat option.


You can use combat expertise AND fight defensively at the same time. It's not like the two dodge bonuses don't stack.

Silver Crusade

It depends why you want to summon. Are you using them as bodies to trigger traps? For useful spell-like abilities and such? If this is your sole interest then no, you don't need Augment Summoning.

Are you using them as direct combatants? Then you need Augment Summoning if you expect them to hit reliably and for meaningful damage, as well as being able to survive a hit or two in return.

Spell Focus Conjuration is not a 'feat tax' to classes with good conjuration spells. I play a Sorc with Grease + Summon Monster I (and Augment Summoning plus Spell Focus Conjuration), so I feel it's a feat benefit. Human Distraction and others have pointed out some good spells it works with in addition to Grease.


Augment Summoning is not merely an incredibly useful feat for anyone who does summoning, it's the prereq for Superior Summoning, which is similarly of great use.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Erikkerik wrote:
Like the poster above me, I don't consider wizards feet starved at all.

You've obviously never played a merfolk wizard. Psh!

==Aelryinth


tonyz wrote:
You can use combat expertise AND fight defensively at the same time. It's not like the two dodge bonuses don't stack.

More Combat Expertise Stuff:
For some reason I assumed that you could not. That changes things a bit. Not likely to hit anything if you use both, though. Hmm...
Sovereign Court

see wrote:
Augment Summoning is not merely an incredibly useful feat for anyone who does summoning, it's the prereq for Superior Summoning, which is similarly of great use.

Nothing like rolling high and bringing in 4+ large earth elementals to a fight.


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This is such a vague and situational question. There really is no right answer.

How often do you summon?
What else do you want to do?
What would you have to sacrifice to get those 2 feats?
What is the rest of the party make up?
What AP/campaign are you in?
What type of mobs do you usually fight?
How many mobs are in an average encounter?
How much wealth do you have to throw at the issue?
Ect, ect, ect

There isn't a clear cut answer. Its up to the individual to look at how often the feat will come in handy in the situations he will find himself and his party. That pretty much goes for half the feats in the game.

Augment Summoning is one of those for a non-dedicated summoner.


Xavier319 wrote:

The title more or less says it all. I know the value of summoned monsters, they take up attacks, take more actions, do damage, absorb hps, and come with awesome spell like abilities. However, if you are playing a wizard, who is not focusing on summoning, but still intends to use summons (probably one or two summon spells per day), is it really NEEDED?

It is simply that it requires two feats in order to actually be useful, and if you are not going to focus on summoning, is it truly that important? A lot of wizard builds are feat starved with needing other "must haves" such as Improved Initiative and Great Fortitude and the like.

Discuss.

Most of the discussion has devolved into an argument over the definition of the term feat tax. I have no interest in adding to that argument.

To the OP. Virtually nothing is NEEDED in yours or anyone elses build. yes, it can be helpful.

It is just a matter of your priorities.
If you look at summoned monsters as an add on, a distraction while you prep the important spells, second string, etc... Then no, I wouldn't bother.
If you look at summoned monsters as a major feature of what you do, serious damage dealers, primary meat shield, etc... Then yes, I would take the feats.

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