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Aximili
2007-03-13, 02:56 PM
I'm talking about high levels here. Is it worth being a summoner Cleric/Wizard/Sorceror at level 15+?

I'm asking this cause summon Monster VIII/IX seems to summon kind of weak monsters (CR around 10) for a high level spell. And, while (Greater) Planar Binding looks like a great spell, it's got a 10 minutes casting time. Making it useless in combat unless you previously prepared.

Saph
2007-03-13, 03:56 PM
For combat? I'd say no. The problems with summon monster:

1. The monsters are just too weak, likely to get flattened in a round or less (or worse, ignored completely).
2. 1 full round casting time. This means every enemy in the area has the chance to say 'hey, look, a wizard casting a spell! Let's kill him!'
3. At lower levels, a summon monster spell doesn't last long enough to swing a fight. At higher levels, the arcane spells you could be casting instead are much better.
4. (Applies to wizards and sorcerers only) If you're casting Summon Monster spells all the time, why aren't you playing a cleric instead?

Now some of these can be worked around. Augment Summoning makes your summons much more effective, even if it does take two feats, and if you know a fight is just about to start you can do your summoning early. But in general, I'd say Summon Monster is only really useful for gimmick effects (calling up something with spell-like abilities and telling it to use them on you, summoning a low-level monster to 'search for traps', creating a diversion or distraction, etc.)

Planar Binding and Greater Planar Binding are very different, though. That isn't 'summon a monster for combat', it's 'recruit an agent to do your bidding'. For when you want a spy, messenger, negotiator, assassin, guardian, or suchlike. In general anything your Planar Bound monster could do you could probably do yourself, but this lets you do two things at the same time.

Summoning druids, on the other hand, are much more effective, and get good even at pretty low levels (but that's Summon Nature's Ally, not Summon Monster).

- Saph

axraelshelm
2007-03-13, 04:10 PM
I say at level 11 for a wizard a summon monster 6 is a god send If a party doesn't have a healer summon unicorn thank you!
Summoners shouldn't just use summon monsters in combat a dog can track and squid can swim you broaden your skill selection by alot believe me we have a sorcerer summoner in our party and she does fine, she is a delayer against the foes until we can get our bearings.
I'm playing a wizard even though I'm great when a fight breaks out she fills the role of tracker/healer/ scout/delayer/nature survivalist.

I only take up buffer/damage dealer and partial skill monkey.

Okay she does all those thing quite well and I'm very specialised but thats the cost and i like having her in the party.

Aximili
2007-03-13, 04:12 PM
Summoning druids, on the other hand, are much more effective, and get good even at pretty low levels (but that's Summon Nature's Ally, not Summon Monster).

Yeah... =/
I asked about summon monster specifically, cause I was thinking of playing a malconvoker. I liked the idea, but it didn't seem that the abilities were good enough to compensate for the spell.

Anyway, Thanks for the very complete answer.

LotharBot
2007-03-13, 04:14 PM
I don't think it's worth focusing on summoning at any level. But it is occasionaly worthwhile to summon a creature with an aura or spell-like abilities. I once used a hound archon (magic circle vs evil) to protect a bunch of unconscious civilians from the battle raging around them.

Cruiser1
2007-03-13, 04:28 PM
I say at level 11 for a wizard a summon monster 6 is a god send If a party doesn't have a healer summon unicorn thank you!Can Summon Monster VI (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonMonsterVI.htm) summon a Unicorn? According to the SRD Unicorn isn't in the allowed monster list, although you can summon a Bralani (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/bralani.htm) with Summon Monster 6 that can do Cure Serious Wounds 2/day.

Ramza00
2007-03-13, 04:49 PM
Sometimes

A Wizard 3/Master Specialist 10 can summon a monster as a swift action with no quicken or anything (due to the Master Specialist 10 option and the UA option that gives Rapid Summoning at the expense of a familiar)

After Master Specialist 10 you go Malconvertor

Though you could instead have been a Druid with Ashbound, Rashemi Elemental Summoning, or Greenbound summmoning.

Fizban
2007-03-13, 07:32 PM
There's a few summon spells that require concentration for the duration, and summon monsters much more useful for combat. Summon Elemental Monolith, Summon Aspect of Bahamut, and a couple other I can't remember. Pretty much though, you have to be a druid or planar binder.

CASTLEMIKE
2007-03-13, 10:05 PM
SM 7 will summon a Movanic Deva from Fiend Folio with lots of Spell like abilities including True seeing, Raise Dead, Commune, Plane Shift, Neutralize Poison, cure Serious, Divination, Discern Lies..................

If you are going to play a summoner you need to know what you can summon besides the PHB and what their capablilities and strengths are along with with a good understanding of the the strengths and weaknesses of the monsters you encounter to maximize the impact of your summoned monsters. Otherwise it's like playing a FS or Sorcerer with poorly chosen limited known spells.

Kantolin
2007-03-13, 10:36 PM
4. (Applies to wizards and sorcerers only) If you're casting Summon Monster spells all the time, why aren't you playing a cleric instead?

Well, wizards get nifty spells like haste which can help out the more people you have around. If you're summoning things, you don't likely need to be capable of tanking, so that's also moot.

When you get to mid levels, a quickened summon also helps regardless of how you manage to do it. Then, of course, augment summoning. And I sense the nifty PHB2 feat that lets you attach a spell to a summon would help considerably.

As a note, though... are they really not all that tough? The Celestial Bison at SM3 seems like a fairly good pick, and starting from then up they seem to have some significant use as tanks, especially because you can get one a round (Or several a round, for mass-flanking and other targets).

Of course, I've never really used summons, so I suppose I'm mostly speaking from theory here.

PinkysBrain
2007-03-13, 10:37 PM
With arcane thesis (rapid spell) the malconvoker's two for one summoning and a single level dip in alieniest you could summon 2 monsters on your own turn which would both be able to connect with their attacks in the first round thanks to their true strike abilities.

With SM8 you could get two pseudonatural tyrannosauruses who both hit for 3d6+13 ... altogether about equal to 14d6 damage, not bad for a spell which also leaves you with 2 huge servants who will stick around for a while and who have a good chance of also gaining a grapple on their targets too (improved grab).

The magic item compendium also has an item to maximize your summons hitpoints at the cost of halving their duration.

PS. protection from evil sucks though.

PPS. on second thought, it wouldn't work ... pseudonatural creatures are always neutral (doesn't work with malconvoker). Oh well, you could get your familiar to use a rod of surge striking (DMG2) for +10 to hit instead. Less chance of hitting, but if you are fighting good creatures smite will make it hurt a hell of a lot more.

PPPS. if you don't mind a little cheese, heroics (SpC spell) combined with chain spell and the martial study feat from ToB can be a great way to buff your summons.

TheOOB
2007-03-13, 10:43 PM
Lantern Arcons have Continual Flame as a spell-like ability, thus negating the need for the material component, I think thats worth a summon spell.

Proven_Paradox
2007-03-13, 10:46 PM
I like summon monster spells to help the rogue get flanking if we're having trouble with that or lacking a meat shield, but that's usually something I reserve for clerics and druids. Arcane casters can consistantly put thier spells to better use.

PinkysBrain
2007-03-13, 10:48 PM
The important thing about the malconvoker is that he gets two monsters for each summon at 5th level though ... at two for one SM becomes a lot more interesting.

Jade_Tarem
2007-03-13, 10:53 PM
Can anyone link this malconvoker thing? I'm trying, currently, to make a Master Conjurer work.

PinkysBrain
2007-03-13, 10:57 PM
Not really, it's in complete scoundrel.

ken-do-nim
2007-03-13, 11:00 PM
Summoning can be brutal against the right foes. For instance, summon monster VIII getting 2-5 celestial dire lions, each doing a pounce on some poor schmoe. If the foe has a low armor class and is without too much dr, that can really mess him up.

I use summons for the spell-like abilities mainly. Bralanis have wind wall at will. They have a whirlwind blast that can get through dr. They have cure serious wounds, lightning bolts, blurs, etc. Blue slaad can do passwall at will. Very useful! Leonals at summon monster IX can do wall of force at will. Stuff like that.

Aximili
2007-03-13, 11:19 PM
Wow, that's a lot of ideas. I think I'm gonna go for it now. Only need to make a list of all the useful abilitiues of all the monsters I can summon ^^

What books besides the PHB have a list of summonable creatures?

Jacob Orlove
2007-03-13, 11:27 PM
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=565674

Is an *excellent* list of the PHB summonable creatures, with tips on tactics, which ones are worthwhile, and special features. Plus, type and HD if you want to Polymorph your summons (cheesy, but really strong).

Jalil
2007-03-14, 05:37 AM
What coincidence! This morning I was looking over Sorc=>Malconvoker. Sorc6 gets you in easily, with a good Cha for the bindings. Feats could be: Spell focus, Augument summoning,rapid spell=>arcane thesis, possibly Imbue summoning. After you finish Malconvoker, you have 10 levels to play with. I'm sure that was intentional to get sorcs into it. EDIT: Master Specialist needs to be wizard, doesn't it? meh.

axraelshelm
2007-03-14, 07:24 AM
Can Summon Monster VI (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonMonsterVI.htm) summon a Unicorn? According to the SRD Unicorn isn't in the allowed monster list, although you can summon a Bralani (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/bralani.htm) with Summon Monster 6 that can do Cure Serious Wounds 2/day.

Wait a minute, 3.5? We play 3.0 so they changed that spell too.

Baalzebub
2007-03-14, 07:35 AM
I love conjurers. My choices are Conjurer/Alienist or Conjurer/Master specialist. Summon Monsters spells are great, they provide so much support against enemies, and when you have fighters or rogues at your side, it's flanking time. I know, the monster may not be that though, but by experience, I can tell they are pretty usefull. Heck, I once beated two fire giants using Pseudonatural Apes.

ken-do-nim
2007-03-14, 08:52 AM
I was turned into a summon monster believer when the party druid summoned a tiger that pounced on a foe and took him out in one round. This was around 11th level, I think. I was like, "Wow, not only did that tiger just do damage equal to a sorcerer/wizard spell, but it is still around to soak up hits."

Hzurr
2007-03-14, 05:12 PM
It all depends on what you use it for. Often, it's nice just to have someone there to soak up damage, or to block off a passage.

I remember in one campaign, we were trying to escape from some guards through the fairly narrow sewer pipes. The wizard summoned a porpose, and it was large enough that they couldn't get around it, and had enough HP that it took a few rounds to kill. It bought us enough time to make our escape, and gave us a good laugh besides.

Fax Celestis
2007-03-14, 05:20 PM
Wow, that's a lot of ideas. I think I'm gonna go for it now. Only need to make a list of all the useful abilitiues of all the monsters I can summon ^^

What books besides the PHB have a list of summonable creatures?

Unearthed Arcana has rules for customized summoning lists.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-14, 06:41 PM
Lantern Arcons have Continual Flame as a spell-like ability, thus negating the need for the material component, I think thats worth a summon spell.Doesn't quite work that way...



Summoning: A summoning spell instantly brings a creature or object to a place you designate. When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from, but a summoned object is not sent back unless the spell description specifically indicates this. A summoned creature also goes away if it is killed or if its hit points drop to 0 or lower. It is not really dead. It takes 24 hours for the creature to reform, during which time it canít be summoned again.

When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have, and it refuses to cast any spells that would cost it XP, or to use any spell-like abilities that would cost XP if they were spells.
(emphasis added). If Continual Flame were instant, that'd be fine. It's Permanent, though, so when the Lantern Archon vanishes, the flames go out.

Mind you, a Planar Ally Lantern Archon, or a Planar Bound Lantern Archon can do that, as Calling spells don't have that limitation.

Collin152
2007-03-14, 09:00 PM
if you summon, take Extend spell, and many buffs. With effort, you can get them quality.

Quietus
2007-03-14, 09:04 PM
I'm seriously thinking of taking my illusionist sorceror and adding a minor secondary in summoning... So much fun. I can only imagine what happens when I summon 1d4+1 Celestial Bison, then use something like Major Image to make even more...

Collin152
2007-03-14, 09:06 PM
Celestial bison just paints an odd picture in my mind. is that where buffalo wings come from?

Everyman
2007-03-14, 09:18 PM
Yes. From the great conjurist Buf'lo, who also dabbled in fire spells.

On a side note, I've found SM to be great when used in support roles. Need to help the rogue flank? Summon a monster. Know that the enemy is really high up (flying or otherwise)? Summon a monster. Find a trap that you're too scared to disarm? Summon a monster.

Of course, I'm not sure what the ethical implications are to bring a creature into existance SOLELY for it to beaten with "t3h b4d th1ngs".

Collin152
2007-03-14, 09:22 PM
It's not like they really die. Now if you were calling said creatures...But I digress. You could conceivably summon and kill the same creature to disarm traps over and over and over again in the same dungeon! (Assuming it's a long one)

Everyman
2007-03-14, 09:29 PM
I dunno. Summoning the same thing over and over JUST to take hits for you seems a bit...not good. Not evil, maybe...but definately not good.

And with that, I shall stop talking so I do not hijack the thread.:smallbiggrin:

Collin152
2007-03-14, 10:11 PM
The fact that it can keep coming back makes it not evil!
Yay for psuedo imortality!

Aximili
2007-03-14, 10:19 PM
The fact that it can keep coming back makes it not evil!
Yay for psuedo imortality!
Ok, it comes back. But who says it doesn't feel pain?
Forcing a creature to repeatedly feel pain in your place... Well, it's definitely not good.

Dhavaer
2007-03-14, 10:22 PM
I understood it just created a sort of 'archetype', I guess, of that creature. Not a real creature.

Collin152
2007-03-14, 10:29 PM
Right, otherwise it would make an Awesome spy! Send it in on a suicide mission, summon it again, "What did you learn?"
Oh, man, how sweet it could get...

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2007-03-15, 01:03 AM
I personally, have found that it can be a good spell at later spell levels (VII and up). but is a complete waste a lower levels.

Quietus
2007-03-15, 01:34 AM
At lower levels, it's good for when you need a notable distraction. However, having to stand still for a full round while you cast it doesn't translate well into having something present for only one round. Having it around for 3+ turns, on the other hand, works well.

And if you happen to be playing a cleric with two "extreme" alignments, you can up the duration significantly. Say, for example, if you're Chaotic Good, and you take the Chaos and Good domains. Any Chaotic Good creature you summon will get a +2 total bonus to caster level... 3 turns at level one, and if you're human, you can stack augment summoning on top of that!

Harkone
2007-03-15, 02:20 AM
I found that especially at the higher levels, the creatures summoned tend to be very weak for the challenges being faced. I also noticed that monsters can be summoned with the same level summon monster spell that were widely diverse in CR. As a result, for my campaigns I completely re-worked the summon monster lists, to make the spells useful at any level. The program was this:

Summon I: summons CR <1 monsters
Summon II: summons CR 1 monsters
Summon III: summons CR 2-3 monsters
Summon IV: summons CR 4-5 monsters
Summon V: summons CR 6-7 monsters
Summon VI: summons CR 8-9 monsters
Summon VII: summons CR 10-11 monsters
Summon VIII: summons CR 12-13 monsters
Summon IX: summons CR 14-15 monsters

This format basically allows a caster to summon a monster with a CR of 2-3 less than his caster level with the most powerful summon monster spell he/she can cast. For example, a 5th level wizard can summon a CR 2-3 creature with his/her best summon spell, summon monster III. This format allows for a much wider variety of summoned monsters, allowing tailored lists of monsters for particular priesthoods or wizardly socieites (or whatever) to be created; for example, in my Realms games only high-level clerics in the priesthood of Bane would summon a Fiendish Beholder from the Barrens of Doom and Despair. This system has not only made the spells more useful in general but has led to more players using the summon moster spells, and me (the DM) using them more with NPC's.

Caelestion
2007-03-15, 06:31 AM
I personally don't think that monsters are worth it at low levels, but I do like the "summon the same individual each time" option that allows you to use your lowly celestial dogs as spies etc.

Mongoose's Quintessential Mage has a conjurer archetype that greatly powers up your summoned creatures, in return for barring three schools instead of just two. Couple that with the UA "no familiar" option and Augment Summoning and you're laughing!

Ethdred
2007-03-15, 08:54 AM
I've always found SM to be a useful set of spells. It's always useful to have another combatant around, even if they're only flanking and aiding another. As you get higher, you get some critters that have lots of HP which means they can hang around a long time and often be used as a mobile wall. OK, often it's more for battlefield control than damage, but in one low level party we decided that the celestial badger was the third most useful member of the party in a fight

Fixer
2007-03-15, 10:03 AM
There is a variant rule in the DMG (I think page 96) that allows for the summoning of specific creatures. When you cast a Summon Monster I and summon a Celestial Porpoise, you always get the same Celestial Porpoise (brought from the upper planes and not 'created'). You can name it, etc. If it 'dies' while summoned it is unavailable for 24 hours (to reduce the number of suicide scouting missions they get sent on). The conjurer prepares character sheets for each creature just like they were NPCs.

A big advantage (to the conjurer, and in part to the summoned creature) is that if you CALL that same creature to you and give it a magical item, it keeps that magical item when you send it back and each time you summon it (as opposed to call it) it arrives with that same magical item (provided it doesn't use up the charges or somehow lose it somewhere but most DMs who allow this should not be that evil unless the conjurer gives the creature something too powerful for it to safeguard).

For example.

Let's say my Conjurer has the ability to summon a Celestial Dog (SM I). He calls, not summons, the Dog (who he names Blinky) and equips it with studded leather barding +2 and a necklace (collar) of adaption. After equipping Blinky he sends it back to the upper planes.

Each time my Conjurer summons Blinky, he gets a Celestial Dog with studded leather barding +2 and wearing a necklace of adaption.

If the GM (usually because of player abuse but, one hopes not, sometimes out of sheer malice) kills off Blinky while he's out in the outer planes then the conjurer cannot summon Blinky any more and the gear is lost. When he casts the spell he may choose to change the summoned creature (especially if the GM just killed the critter out of malice).

Baalzebub
2007-03-15, 10:12 AM
Yes. From the great conjurist Buf'lo, who also dabbled in fire spells.

On a side note, I've found SM to be great when used in support roles. Need to help the rogue flank? Summon a monster. Know that the enemy is really high up (flying or otherwise)? Summon a monster. Find a trap that you're too scared to disarm? Summon a monster.

Of course, I'm not sure what the ethical implications are to bring a creature into existance SOLELY for it to beaten with "t3h b4d th1ngs".

In the case of outsiders it's not much problem, they just appear, fight, and if they get killed, they return to their plane. That they wanted to seek revenge upon you is another matter.

Good point, though.

Hzurr
2007-03-15, 12:52 PM
I had a DM once who played the "every time you summon you get the same creature rule"

It gets interesting if you use the creature only to disarm traps, because eventually, the thing is going to start catching on to you whenever you summon it.

Mage: "Ok Bob the Celestial badger, go run down that hallway."
Bob: "The last time I did that, I got hit by a fireball."
Mage: "Oh...well, that was a mistake."
Bob: "And the time before that, I fell down an 80 ft pit with spikes."
Mage: "Um..."
Bob: "And the time before that, I was crushed between two walls."
Mage: "Well Bob, just give us one more-"
Bob: "HELLS NO!" Screw you guys, I'm going home!"
--Bob disappears--
Mage: "..."

Collin152
2007-03-15, 01:52 PM
Right, cause summons can disobey you or end the spell on their own.

StickMan
2007-03-15, 02:53 PM
If you want to make monsters come out of no were then think about being a Psion (Shaper) and taking the constructor PRC on the wizards site. Just ingnore the EP's nerf like ever sane person but feel free to still use the feats from that book. Alot of people will tell you just to spend the feat to get the power but I've played a shaper/consturctor and the power list has some good stuff and psionic repair damage is nice 3d8 repair for 3 power points is good when your constructs last 1min a level or if you playing a Warforge psion.

Hzurr
2007-03-15, 04:35 PM
Right, cause summons can disobey you or end the spell on their own.

Yeah...he tweaked the rules a bit to do so.

Jack_Simth
2007-03-15, 05:12 PM
Wait... you use celestial badgers for trapfinding?

Come on - Summon Monster III, Celestial Dire Badger - leaves a useable tunnel, 5 feet wide through anything softer than solid stone. Tack on an Illusory Wall, and BAM! 100+ foot Pit Trap. Druid can do the pit with Summon Nature's Ally II... but doesn't have Illusory Wall, and needs another spell to talk to the animal.

There are some interesting things you can do with Summons

Ivius
2007-03-15, 05:23 PM
Mage: "Ok Bob the Celestial badger, go run down that hallway."
Bob: "The last time I did that, I got hit by a fireball."
Mage: "Oh...well, that was a mistake."
Bob: "And the time before that, I fell down an 80 ft pit with spikes."
Mage: "Um..."
Bob: "And the time before that, I was crushed between two walls."
Mage: "Well Bob, just give us one more-"
Bob: "HELLS NO!" Screw you guys, I'm going home!"
--Bob disappears--
Mage: "..."

I HAD to sig that. :smallbiggrin:

Aximili
2007-03-15, 07:13 PM
I understood it just created a sort of 'archetype', I guess, of that creature. Not a real creature.
I think the PHB's chapter on magic says that a monster you summon reforms over at his homeplane, 24h after being killed.
From that, I get that it's an actual creature from that plane.