Summon Creature - Worth Spell Slot?


Advice


So reading the summon creature spell from Alien Archive and I can't help but feel summoning got nerfed to the ground.

For those that haven't seen it yet, Summon Creature is a variable level spell usable by both technomancers and mystics.

Level 1 - Tiny CR 1/2 Elemental - Melee +5 1d6+3
Level 2 - Small CR 1 Elemental - Melee +9 1d6+5
Level 3 - Medium CR 3 Elemental - Melee +12 1d6+7
Level 4 - Large CR 5 Elemental - Melee +15 1d6+10
Level 5 - Huge CR 7 Elemental - Melee +18 2d6+12
Level 6 - Elder CR 11 Elemental - Melee +24 4d6+11 multiattack (don't understand this line, usually multiattack shows you the multiple attacks you're doing)

When you learn the spell you can pick 4 grafts to apply to your creatures, each graft tweaks the monster, and there are alignment/class restrictions. You get to choose from among the four basic elementals, and all sorts of different summons like angels, devils, azatas, archons, etc.

The grafts range from just changing damage types, to adding ranged attacks, adding abilities, giving different skills, languages, etc.

There are also a very small number of actual creatures you can summon that have stat blocks in the alien archive.

The spell lasts 1 round per character level and for the higher level versions you can either get 1 creature of that level or 3 creatures of a lower level.

Anyway, I did some comparing and I'm having a hard time justifying actually taking this as a spell known. I loved being a conjuration wizard in Pathfinder but the starfinder version seems extremely nerfed. Curious what others think.

Two grafts that jumped out at me were the Protean for its 60ft fly speed and grab attack and the Azata with it's good ranged attack. I didn't do too much math but I think it might always be worth casting one level below, like at level 7 for summon creature three you could get 3 Proteans all in melee taking opportunity attacks and attacking for +9 1d6+5 and maybe grabbing people. Or summon three Azata and ranged attack for +9 1d6+1 at 120 ft. Or you could cast Explosive Blast and do 9d6 fire damage in a 20 foot radius...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Honestly it seems reasonable good to me. The to hit values seem solid. The damage scaling is a little weak. But for at its base it seems superior to baseline Summon Monster X. The if you are summoning the top tier or two of creatures they should actually be able to hit your target.

You are losing most of the flexibility of Spell Like abilities... but I think it's probably still worth a spell slot or two.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You don't get 4 grafts either. You get to select 4 creatures which will come with an appropriate graft or two. For example if you summon a large devil, it gets the summoning graft and the devil graft.


Judging by initial observations, it definately looks like something fun to play around with. I just hope some of those grafts give spell-like abilities, becouse that's been a pretty major boon to summoning for as long as I've played d&d. Without that though, even just being able to summon an extra body that can hurl ranged attacks either form air or from cover seems quite worthwhile.

Dark Archive

Summon monster is always good in my opinion. Also don't forget the duration if your combats last a few rounds summon monster gets better and better. 3 rounds is 9 attacks at +9 or +11 with flank if all hit that's 9d6+45. If your foe targets them congrats your now the best combat healer >_>. Use them for cover, use them to find traps, use them to intimate lost children the options are endless. And at The Start of starfinder having a spell that can flex to fit the fight you have and not the fight you want helps I think.


mike roper wrote:
Summon monster is always good in my opinion. Also don't forget the duration if your combats last a few rounds summon monster gets better and better. 3 rounds is 9 attacks at +9 or +11 with flank if all hit that's 9d6+45. If your foe targets them congrats your now the best combat healer >_>. Use them for cover, use them to find traps, use them to intimate lost children the options are endless. And at The Start of starfinder having a spell that can flex to fit the fight you have and not the fight you want helps I think.

Yup even if their damage is not stellar having extra bodies to help flank and take attacks from players is extremely useful. Every shot they take is basically a healing spell being cast on your party.

At lower levels the damage seems very much in line with what it should be. At higher level it tails off a bit but they also become better meat shields and still are providing soft cover/flankers for your party.


I'm very happy the this initial data on summons.

Consider that max to-hit is 28, a 24 is pretty damn good


Looks like I can bring my summoner magus back into the works finally.


What class can cast this?


I think they're plenty strong enough to keep it viable.

I will most likely have it as one of my spells known.

I'm not a big fan of direct damage spells, so I'm really happy to see this option coming back.

Once you get a few levels under your belt I can cast one of these and then get to work with my own laser rifle. I can use the summons to pull agro (by placing melee enemies right on top of the enemy) and that can harass them. Seems like a very solid option.


Kalderaan wrote:
What class can cast this?

It's on both the Technomancer's and Mystic's spell lists.

Dataphiles

Overjoyed to hear summoning spells are in the game after all! I don't have AA yet but based on OP's description the spell sounds pretty good to me. At least as good if not better than PF's Summon Monster. My Mystic will absolutely be taking this spell.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Kalderaan wrote:
What class can cast this?
It's on both the Technomancer's and Mystic's spell lists.

Awesome, thanks!

Wonder when they'll approve this guide for SFS...


Mystics desperately need this, their core options are dire against things immune to mind affecting.


There are no grafts that give spellcasting. I haven't looked closely but I saw another reader say there is only one summonabke monster with a spell (augury) but since it costs a reserve point to use the summon can't use it.

I think for me the big gap is loss of think like the Anklyosaurs with his stun attack or any if the cats with their charge pounce and 5 attacks on hit. No tripping monsters, just grab. Even the poor earth elemental won't be as effective since it requires contact with a planet or astroid and most combat will be on ships or inside on metal flooring.

Everyone's point regarding tying up the battlefield, flanking, taking hits, etc. are very relevant but I felt like a lot of the good summons from Pathfinder are gone.

Will have to play test to see how it goes.


I'm sure once some of the outsiders make it into the game like Erinyes and Naunets they'll be added to the summon lists. I'm also sure that creatures that fill those niches like Arsinotehrium's brutal charge and tramples will be made and added as well, just with a different name and more sci-fi themed then prehistoric.


Summoning is at worst a situational ability.

There is probably also an attempt not to make the same over-power mistakes of PF summoners.

If you can bring up a flying creature to fight a flying creature when your party is weak at ranged combat then it's a good spell.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And given the way the duration scales, you probably don't want to take this spell at 1st level. Later on, it is definitely worthwhile.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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It's also a scaling spell, so if you take it as a 3rd level spell known, you can also cast it as a 2nd level spell or a 1st level spell.

Normally you won't want to have a much-weaker creature in combat, but it does broaden the situations when having it might be useful.

"I think this corridor is trapped to explode."
"Really? Okay, lemme send a celestial skittermander whelp to check it out..."
>>BOOM<<


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Patryn- wrote:

There are no grafts that give spellcasting. I haven't looked closely but I saw another reader say there is only one summonabke monster with a spell (augury) but since it costs a reserve point to use the summon can't use it.

I think for me the big gap is loss of think like the Anklyosaurs with his stun attack or any if the cats with their charge pounce and 5 attacks on hit. No tripping monsters, just grab. Even the poor earth elemental won't be as effective since it requires contact with a planet or astroid and most combat will be on ships or inside on metal flooring.

Everyone's point regarding tying up the battlefield, flanking, taking hits, etc. are very relevant but I felt like a lot of the good summons from Pathfinder are gone.

Will have to play test to see how it goes.

I'm kind of glad the "good summons" are gone. It was super s$~@ty that my druid basically had a spell called "Forever Trip."


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

It's also a scaling spell, so if you take it as a 3rd level spell known, you can also cast it as a 2nd level spell or a 1st level spell.

Normally you won't want to have a much-weaker creature in combat, but it does broaden the situations when having it might be useful.

"I think this corridor is trapped to explode."
"Really? Okay, lemme send a celestial skittermander whelp to check it out..."
>>BOOM<<

HEY!

... well they do like to help...


Finally, a use for Skittermanders!


The have plenty of uses!


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I took a closer look at the book and there are a few interesting abilities you can get from the summons that aren't the basic elemental/summoning grafts:

Level 2
Security Robot: 2 Stickybomb Grenades (Entangle DC 10)

Level 3
Crest-eater: every attack drains one Con DC 13
Haan: Balloon attack, raises enemy into the air 30 ft each round, DC 14. Firespray 30 ft cone 3d6 DC 14 half

Level 4
Mountain Eel: Paralyze 1 round DC 14. Trample 1d8+11 DC 16
Orocoran: Projectile Vomit +16 1d10+6 plus confusion 1d4 rounds DC 16. Constant see invisibility. Augury (but can't use due to reserve point rule)

Level 5
Surnoch: Acid Jet +18 3d6+9 Line 60ft. Also has constrict style grab damage but its attack doesn't grab so not sure how useful that would be.

All six levels
Air Elemental: Whirlwind (can suck people in and do damage to them and cause them to be grappled, off-target, and flat-footed). Sidenote, anyone know how to calculate the DC for whirlwind? I don't see it listed anywhere for air elementals.
Water Elemental: Vortex (same as whirlwind) but in the water so not as useful.

The most exciting option to me is the Orocoran. It's no Bralani Azata but confusing a bunch of enemies seems fun.


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Patryn- wrote:
Even the poor earth elemental won't be as effective since it requires contact with a planet or astroid and most combat will be on ships or inside on metal flooring.

Ah, how I miss the battle in the steel shrouded forests of Endor, the raids on the plastic coated deserts of Tatooine, and the weekly fist fights of Captain Kirk against monsters from new planets who inexplicably teleported onto the bridge of the Enterprise.

Silver Crusade

Patryn- wrote:

I took a closer look at the book and there are a few interesting abilities you can get from the summons that aren't the basic elemental/summoning grafts:

Level 2
Security Robot: 2 Stickybomb Grenades (Entangle DC 10)

Level 3
Crest-eater: every attack drains one Con DC 13
Haan: Balloon attack, raises enemy into the air 30 ft each round, DC 14. Firespray 30 ft cone 3d6 DC 14 half

Level 4
Mountain Eel: Paralyze 1 round DC 14. Trample 1d8+11 DC 16
Orocoran: Projectile Vomit +16 1d10+6 plus confusion 1d4 rounds DC 16. Constant see invisibility. Augury (but can't use due to reserve point rule)

Level 5
Surnoch: Acid Jet +18 3d6+9 Line 60ft. Also has constrict style grab damage but its attack doesn't grab so not sure how useful that would be.

All six levels
Air Elemental: Whirlwind (can suck people in and do damage to them and cause them to be grappled, off-target, and flat-footed). Sidenote, anyone know how to calculate the DC for whirlwind? I don't see it listed anywhere for air elementals.
Water Elemental: Vortex (same as whirlwind) but in the water so not as useful.

The most exciting option to me is the Orocoran. It's no Bralani Azata but confusing a bunch of enemies seems fun.

Unless I am mistaken all the summon that are based on the elemental stat block use the table on page 129 for ability DC.


In pathfinder the whirlwind dc was 10 + half hit dice + ability mod.

I imagine it'd be similar with cr instead of HD?


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:


Unless I am mistaken all the summon that are based on the elemental stat block use the table on page 129 for ability DC.

Ah yeah that would make sense, thank you!

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