Out of Combat Spellcasting.


Homebrew and House Rules


OK, so I love to play Pathfinder because of how open ended and creative you can be. I also love the spell casting classes for this as well but while playing I sometimes feel that I am more restricted out-of-combat then I am in combat, at least in terms of magic.

Take summon spells for instance. they are balanced to last just long enough to make a decent contribution in combat but outside of combat they barely last any time.

I was thinking you can make a feat or something like

Out-Of-Combat Casting: Conjuration

Summoned creatures last for minutes instead of rounds. Creatures summoned this way have 1HP and -5AC.

Id leave attacks along so creatures could still sunder walls and do other useful things that aren't killing.

You could even increase casting time and it wouldn't matter much out of combat.

Any other ideas?


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How about this:
1)A feat that would allow to cast summon spells as higher level spells, with the only difference being the time this summon is active? Rounds would become minutes.
2) Add a new template to summoned creatures, instead of fiendish or celestial. Call it "ward of peace", that forbids them from attacking or taking hostile actions, and any hostile action against them immediately drops the ward, making it a standard templateless summon or even banishes them. This creature could stay around for longer, say minutes instead of rounds.


If you want to keep a summoned creature for long, there are already rules for that, and you don't need to be a summoner.

Planar Binding (arcane)
Planar Ally (divine)

They have lesser and greater versions, or at least Planar Ally does. (I'd love a druidic version of Planar Ally.)

These are effectively long casting time, long duration summons. (Gate is pretty similar for some uses, but Gate is much higher level.)

The monsters in Summon Monster are specifically intended for combat anyway. Non-combat-useful monsters can be summoned with other spells (Mount, Eagle Aerie, etc) although there is a far smaller variety of such spells in the books.


None of the non-combat summons are very fun or inventive. I think opening things up to the full list is a much better idea.

The roof is becoming unstable! Summon squid to hold the beams in place!

In fact squid are incredibly useful in a lot of situations. Squid can compress through incredibly tiny spaces! They could be great for carrying a message if your trapped.

I imagine using an earth elemental to help you climb up a rockface or a water to help you swim or even an air to help propel your boat.

It's just duration makes it almost a waste.

Planer binding is just such a steep cost. Level 6 spell? Even lesser is lvl5 (lvl4 for summoner but their spell progression is much slower.)

I guess I just don't see the harm in low levels having longer lasting summons as long as they are not useful in combat. I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.


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GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.

I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat


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Simple solution in my home games: The duration of summoning spells is increased to (concentration+normal duration). The timer only starts ticking once the caster stops concentrating on sustaining the spell. That way you can have out-of-combat summons for utility and fun and don't screw the balance in combat, because what character above 2nd level will waste his/her actions on sustaining a summoning spell? This would only happen in situations where the caster can not contribute anything else to the fight and then it gives them something to do. Also, it makes summonings at low levels worthwile.

I have the houserule that while you still can't attack while concentrating, you can use your skills at a penalty, so a character can, for example, summon a creature, sustain it and at the same time use handle animal at a penalty to make it do something.

(Skills tied to mental attributes take -5, those tied to physical ones -10)


Kalridian wrote:

I have the houserule that while you still can't attack while concentrating, you can use your skills at a penalty, so a character can, for example, summon a creature, sustain it and at the same time use handle animal at a penalty to make it do something.

(Skills tied to mental attributes take -5, those tied to physical ones -10)

No houserule needed really. Concentration is a standard action, leaving a move action for handling, etc.

I like the Concentration houserule - may implement. Perhaps an 'or' instead of + (so conjurers don't walk around with pre-summoned critters).


Wow that's a really elegant way to sole the issue. Thanks


Well, if they want to move around with one measly pre-summoned creature and give up half their actions every turn for it (just like the character with constant detect magic or evil), they are welcome to do so. The whole party will have to wait for them, they can't do ANYTHING that requires a standard action and are, at least in my games, generally pretty "absent". I usually tell my players that they can do anything while concentrating that they could also do while reading aloud from a book without faltering or making errors.

My other summoing-related houserule is that the caster can exchange summoning one creature of a certain level for 1d3 of the next lower level, and keep doing so until he arrives at "summon minor monster/ally". That way, my summoner player called 1d3*1d3*1d3 (ended up with something around 20) Chickens into exinstence with a summon monster 3 to act as a diversion for the partys escape from the town guard.
We have an agreement that creatures that have been called in that manner by lowering the spell more than one level, will be handwaved in combat. Of course this works only if your players are comfortable with gm calls and don't start rules-lawyering.

IF that is the case, these two rules can make for wonderful and creative roleplaying.


I like the concentration solution, but I would add something to it as it could allow someone to concentrate for 16 hours strait, and that's a little silly. Every duration x must make a fort save DC y+spell level or lose concentration, add one to fort save after the first save and another every subsequent save. You can decide the values of x and y to suit your tastes as GM.


I think since spellcraft replaced concentration then it should probably be a spell craft check


thats why I love evolutionist summoner... an all day pet that looks like whatever you like.

1q. but wait! it doesnt have tentacles today and I need tentacles!!!
1a. evolution surge!
2q. ah but it cant fit under the locked door because its skull is too large!
2a. it's made of phlebotinum... who's to say it even has a skull...

Looks like a horse, can squeeze under doors like a housecat.
Now THAT's an easy way to tell it's not really a horse. (for gms that are picky about such things)


I never needed the limitation on the time a PC can concentrate. First, everything that would normally causa a concentration check while spellcasting causes one to keep concentrating on the summoning. If you look at the table, that is quite a lot of things, for example every reflex save, every bit of harsh weather, every vigorous motion, every spell the character is affected by, all damage he takes... The list goes on. If you wanna make a player drop his concentration as a GM, you can without trouble.

Secondly, I am blessed with players who use some common sense. After my Summoner had to keep up a summoned dog to track a scent for 3 hours, she roleplayed having a headache from the strain for the rest of the day.

If you want to put it into rules, you could just say that this concentration can only be kept for casterlevel x 10 minutes or the character is fatigued afterwards.


Roberta Yang wrote:
GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.
I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat

This has to be sarcasm.


Hogeyhead wrote:
I like the concentration solution, but I would add something to it as it could allow someone to concentrate for 16 hours strait, and that's a little silly.

At the very least, the rules call for taking standard actions and move actions to be considered hustling, leading to fatigue and non-lethal damage.


Majuba wrote:
Hogeyhead wrote:
I like the concentration solution, but I would add something to it as it could allow someone to concentrate for 16 hours strait, and that's a little silly.
At the very least, the rules call for taking standard actions and move actions to be considered hustling, leading to fatigue and non-lethal damage.

That's a very good point, I feel they should have to suffer the effects of a hustle (essentially constant forced march I guess) and need to make saves periodically to maintain concentration. Also they should not be concentration checks. They should be saves will or fort, depending on your point of view. (concentration checks would be too easy for some, and unjustly difficult for others, like rangers say)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Roberta Yang wrote:
GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.
I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat

You must be joking. You seriously must be joking. Where were you with all the other threads about this exact same complaint about Fighters?


LazarX wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.
I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat
You must be joking. You seriously must be joking. Where were you with all the other threads about this exact same complaint about Fighters?
Zhayne wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.
I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat
This has to be sarcasm.

It's Roberta. You can usually assume it is.


Zhayne wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
GM Gabboge wrote:
I think it opens up creativity and makes the caster more of a Doctor Who and less of just a boomstick.
I agree, the problem with the casting classes is that they have too little to do out of combat
This has to be sarcasm.

You are perhaps not familiar with Roberta Yang's most preferred method of communication. I too fell victim to this my first time seeing her post.


Hogeyhead wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Hogeyhead wrote:
I like the concentration solution, but I would add something to it as it could allow someone to concentrate for 16 hours strait, and that's a little silly.
At the very least, the rules call for taking standard actions and move actions to be considered hustling, leading to fatigue and non-lethal damage.
That's a very good point, I feel they should have to suffer the effects of a hustle (essentially constant forced march I guess) and need to make saves periodically to maintain concentration. Also they should not be concentration checks. They should be saves will or fort, depending on your point of view. (concentration checks would be too easy for some, and unjustly difficult for others, like rangers say)

I feel like that would be an enormous boost to warforged or undead casters (or other non-fatigueing characters). Full casters are already drawn to the constitution bonus, I don't think being able to maintain a summon for 16 hours straight is appropriate for a racial trait:)

I'd go with a flat limit on how long they could concentrate on it for...how does a 1 minute/level maximum sound?


how about:

Task Pact Summon (new feat):

Spoiler:

Prerequisites: Augment Summon, ability to cast Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally
Benefit: Whenever you cast a Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally, you may choose to increase the casting time of the spell in order to increase the duration of the spell. If you increase the casting time to 1 minute, the spell lasts for 1 full hour. If you increase the casting time to 1 hour, the spell lasts 1 full day.
If the creature summoned using this feat takes damage from any source, the spell prematurely ends.
Special: You may only have a single task pact summoned creature in play at any one time. While you do, you may not cast either Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally until you dismiss the creature or the spell ends.

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