Improving Summoned Creatures

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kc2345
Posts: 730

Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#1 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:37 am

Hi all,

I am thinking of making summons less a waste of a spell slot - maybe this idea could be developed/explored further?

We currently have an Animal Companion code that scales the animal companion based on a pet "caster level" from 1-50. I've played with Animal Companions, and although they lose effectiveness very badly in event server (due to getting Morded mostly), overall the scaling seems rather appropriate.

Hence, why not implement the same scaling function for all the (currently) useless Summon spells (Summon Creature, Create (Greater) Undead, (Epic) Gate, etc...)

To make a dedicated summoner more useful, and open up other building options, we could re-purpose the following feats:

Augment Summoning - Makes summons/Animal companion immune to dispels (especially Mord's). This will help keep the Animal Companion relevant in high level areas.

Mirror Golem and Mastery I-III are changed to Summoning Mastery I-IV. Open this feat line to other casters (Nature/Divine/Bards/Warlocks).

At baseline, all summons will start with a " very low" value for HP/AC/Saves etc, and the exact value will depend on caster level.
Summoning Mastery I-IV pushes these values upwards (how it does so TBD).

To make the Summon spells actually feel more powerful when casting a higher level one, the type of creature summoned and potency of its special abilities (e.g. a skeleton is crit immune, a fire elemental does fire damage) should also scale with the exact summon spell being cast.

Balance Issues:
Although a scaled summon can be very powerful, getting a decent one would require significant investments in feat and caster levels.

Characters are limited to 1 summon at a time anyway, and cannot spam them. This also stands as a replacement for a Golem or an alternative to the Shadow Simulacrum rather than an addition.

You still need to burn spell slots to cast the summon, and spontaneous casters will have to give up spells known to learn summons should they want to summon.

Being a spell, re-summoning a new creature should the old one die overcomes the issue with Golems being a waste of 4 feats once it goes down. This makes it advantageous over a golem, which loses its effectiveness past Server 2 due to their re-castable nature.
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Aenain
Posts: 22

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#2 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:05 pm

I think this sounds like an excellent idea when the devs have time. It will give more variety to leveling builds.

Could augment summoning add something like 5 hp regen per turn, but applied like a set bonus?

Tom D
Posts: 35

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#3 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:07 pm

I really like this KC. Summons can be really fun.

Good points:
* Feat intensive to be really good at it - parity for other powers
* Looks like it will scale appropriately so that I can't just rely on my summons
* Really like the ability to re-summon - hate when my golem dies. :)

Questions:
* Let's consider keeping Golem instead of replacing it. Some people like the golem. :)
* Be careful labeling anything as "useless" - Create Greate Undead is very helpful for some levels. Maybe useless at L40?

MortisCorpus
Posts: 1557

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#4 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:29 pm

Points of note:

Currently a summoned creature is based on a creature ID attached to the spell. (Or feat for pet users)

So, lvl 1 summon will bring a 5? HD monster (say a wolf)

So, using a lvl 3 summon will bring in a higher wolf (15?).

Each summon is a unique creature, made to a specific HD with set feats. All a summon spell does is summon that creature ID and let’s you control it. The same concept applies to pets.

So, there are many Earth elementals. From 5-30 Hd depending on if your using a low lvl spell or 9th circle elemental swarm.

Do you guys want more / different summon options? Or are you guys wanting a separate piece of code that applies effects to your pet/summon based on feats? Or a concept that allows some feats to apply non-dispellable like effects to pets/summons based on feat specialization?
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kc2345
Posts: 730

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#5 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:01 pm

The idea is to re-use the code that Brumm developed for the animal companion/golem for summoned creatures.

This code modifies the creature's attributes (AB, HP, AC and others) via a script post-summoning, so the exact blueprint of the original summoned creature is not that important.
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MortisCorpus
Posts: 1557

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#6 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:58 pm

I could be way off but I think the whole summon beef system was a piggyback off of AGhosts summon beef-up from the initial Druid/SS set.

Totally doable but would need to work on feat IDs and tie these summon/pet/companion feats to a more substantial effect.

This is something the council should table as it would be very intensive to write (for me). I think it’s a great idea. It would make summoners a thing and perhaps bring life back to Warlocks in unforeseen ways. (Maybe to much since they can endlessly summon).
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Brumm
Posts: 2339

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#7 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:44 am

I think I can pull something like that off pretty quickly. I'll take a look at it when I get the time and make suggestions on the CAB then.

kc2345
Posts: 730

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#8 » Tue May 26, 2020 8:26 am

Current experience with Summons:
Summon Creature IX at CL 50 summons an Earth Elemental with the following stats:
AC: 87
AB: 75 (does 9 attacks, no haste)
HP: 1,880

Summon is based off the animal companion code. It has a duration of 3 rounds + 1/CL, and does not despawn on resting. It is designed to be buffed before use, as the base stats are severely lackluster otherwise.

I think having to stack multiple buffs on a summon does not quite feel RP-appropriate, as I envision a summoner more as a caster who summons their allies mid combat, and they last for the duration of the combat and have to be re-summoned for another encounter. Base stats being too low aside, the long duration and buffing requirement make them feel far too much like an animal companion rather than a summoned ally. It also poses a massive problem for warlocks, as they lack the spells to buff a summon properly unlike other caster classes.

Proposals:
1) Make the summons spells scale like the Golem instead of the animal companion, and lock duration at 10 rounds (20 with Extend Spell). The summons are immune to direct spells like the golem. This way, the summons can no longer be buffed, but spawn as self-sufficient. A 10 round duration is sufficient for 1-2 encounters, but is not so long that you can just drag it everywhere.

Summon Creature I will be about 60% of CL scaling, with every level adding 5%, so a Summon IX will do the equivalent of summoning a Golem for 10 rounds.

Special summons, like the Warlock's "The Dead Walk" or Epic Gate can have custom scaling and durations.

2) Change Golem Mastery I-III to Summoning Mastery I-III, and decouple it from Mirror Golem. Mirror Golem remains a standalone feat that effectively creates a permanent Summon Creature IX. Summoning Mastery will have the same effect as Golem Mastery, but apply to all summon spells.

This re-purposing of an existing feat means that casters who do spend the feats on the Mirror Golem aren't SOL for 4 feats once their Golem dies, as they can summon a creature as a temporary replacement. It also prevents feat bloat, as no new feats need to be taken for this purpose, and a dedicated summoner build needs to burn at least 3 feats on Mastery to summon a strong creature.
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Aenain
Posts: 22

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#9 » Tue May 26, 2020 8:36 am

kc2345 wrote:Proposals:
1) Make the summons spells scale like the Golem instead of the animal companion, and lock duration at 10 rounds (20 with Extend Spell). The summons are immune to direct spells like the golem. This way, the summons can no longer be buffed, but spawn as self-sufficient. A 10 round duration is sufficient for 1-2 encounters, but is not so long that you can just drag it everywhere.

Summon Creature I will be about 60% of CL scaling, with every level adding 5%, so a Summon IX will do the equivalent of summoning a Golem for 10 rounds.

Special summons, like the Warlock's "The Dead Walk" or Epic Gate can have custom scaling and durations.

2) Change Golem Mastery I-III to Summoning Mastery I-III, and decouple it from Mirror Golem. Mirror Golem remains a standalone feat that effectively creates a permanent Summon Creature IX. Summoning Mastery will have the same effect as Golem Mastery, but apply to all summon spells.

This re-purposing of an existing feat means that casters who do spend the feats on the Mirror Golem aren't SOL for 4 feats once their Golem dies, as they can summon a creature as a temporary replacement. It also prevents feat bloat, as no new feats need to be taken for this purpose, and a dedicated summoner build needs to burn at least 3 feats on Mastery to summon a strong creature.


I don't mind this, but Brumm has already came up with a summoning code that scales. I don't know what the stats are on the final summons, but that would probably make a good basis for this to start from.

All that said, it sounds like a good change to me.

How would a RW/Caster focused on conj affect the summons? I would assume they would have stronger ones.

kc2345
Posts: 730

Re: Improving Summoned Creatures

Post#10 » Tue May 26, 2020 9:54 pm

The code for the Golem also scales with caster level like the animal companion. The only difference is that the Golem's scaling was calibrated to work without external buffing, whilst the numbers for the animal companion were designed to work with buffs.

Another advantage is that additional power scaling with feats (Golem Mastery I-III) is already baked into golem scaling, and can be easily repurposed to be more generally useful.

Not decided on how the Inexo or Red Wizard Conjurer should affect summons, but it is something worth thinking about.
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