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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    So, i am thinking of making a malconvoker, and i dresser lots of references about using grapple. I re-read the grapple rules, and i don't really understand the use. Outside of grappling an enemy spellcaster, i don't see much use...

    Can someone please tell me what/how to use it?

    Thanx

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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Since you're building a malconvoker I'll gear this advice toward that.

    A summoned monster grappling your enemy is one of the nastiest debuffs you can drop on him.

    Unless he has some means of easily escaping the grapple, he's severely limited in the actions he can take, he loses his dex to ac, he's probably taking damage every round, and his attacks are taking at least a -4 penalty. In the case of spellcasters, he's restricted to using spells with no somatic component (either naturally or as the result of metamagic) and if he's pinned he can't use spells with verbal components either.

    The nastiness of this particular debuff is balanced by the fact that it's generally a single-target effect. If you use the SM one or two levels lower to get a handful of grapple-monsters there's a good chance they won't be grapply enough for foes of your CR, though circumstances can make it a good idea.

    The mechanics of a grapple can be a little tricky. I'll try and explain it anyway.

    • First you use one of your attacks for the round to try and grab the enemy. Normally this is done with a melee touch attack that provokes an AoO, but certain abilities can make it a different attack.
    • If the attack to grab hits, you make an opposed grapple check. If you win that check, you move into the target's space and are engaged in a grapple.
    • Once you're in the grapple, you can't just decide to leave it. The grapple only ends if you or the opponent makes a succesful grapple check to disengage.
    • PHB gives the complete list of things you can do in a grapple, barring special abilities that specifically expand that list.


    Does that help at all?
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-28 at 12:42 PM.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Ok, so basically use it against casters to stop them from casting (i.e. effective counter spelling); and use it against others as a "debuff" (no dex, -4 to hit, no AoO) or as blockers to get through to the objective.

    Effective, but limited in use.

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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Quote Originally Posted by macdaddy View Post
    Ok, so basically use it against casters to stop them from casting (i.e. effective counter spelling); and use it against others as a "debuff" (no dex, -4 to hit, no AoO) or as blockers to get through to the objective.

    Effective, but limited in use.
    You're not familiar with the idea of action economy, huh?

    You left out limiting the enemy's actions. He can't move from the spot without making a successful grapple check, he can't attack with any weapon that isn't a light weapon. Being in a grapple when you don't want to be in a grapple is bad, and not just for casters.

    That's not the primary use for SM though. The real boon of SM is the fact that many of the monsters on the lists have spell-like abilities. This allows you to effectively call in a set of extra spells that you don't have to take any action with your malconvoker to cast. You cast SM to get a suitable demon, then you and (s)he both swing unpleasent magical effects at the enemy.

    A master of summoning is a terrifying enemy to anyone but a skilled abjurer (who can dismiss the summons or block them in the first place, and can defend himself against the summoner's other magicks pretty effectively to boot.)
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    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    It's much more than a -4 to hit. It's extremely rare for a foe to fight with a SINGLE light weapon as his main weapon AND not rely on a kind of bonus damage that gets taken away when you grapple. So it's a -4 to hit and a big drop to damage. Basically most non-casters get taken out of the fight too.

    The drawback is that you paid one of your actions to take someone else's away and the summon might die from the target's allies. Make sure it's worth the cost, either by making sure you can maintain the grapple for more than 1 round or by picking a target that's a bigger threat than you are.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    The drawback is that you paid one of your actions to take someone else's away and the summon might die from the target's allies. Make sure it's worth the cost, either by making sure you can maintain the grapple for more than 1 round or by picking a target that's a bigger threat than you are.
    What drawback is that? Summons are disposable! Even if you grapple one enemy with a summon, he damages it and his buddy finishes it off, you've still wasted both of their turns - that's almost as if you grappled them both for a round. Remember, every attack they direct at your summoned crocodile is an attack that the actual party - including you - doesn't have to spend resources and actions undoing later.

    The more actions the enemies need to take down your summons, the more valuable they are - and that's assuming they don't even get some kills or otherwise take people out of the fight by themselves. Properly used, Malconvokers can end up trading each of their turns for multiple turns worth of actions from the enemy, which is a massive net gain for the party as a whole. And the best part about summons is that you never have to worry about patching them up or dividing loot/exp with them when the fight's over.

    (Unless they're Called backup, anyway.)
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Now that Psyren mentions it; calling spells are a thing.

    There's a trick to actually using calling spells in play that the guides on planar binding tend to overlook. If you try to use them to get something for nothing, your DM will likely get agitated and "punish" you. If you want to use calling spells, be prepared to actually hash out a reasonable deal with the called outsider.

    That said, called minions are AWESOME. A number of outsiders make great semi-permanent additions to the party, as long as they're handled correctly. (read; not abused in the process of calling {in either sense of the word} or in the commands given afterward.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    It's much more than a -4 to hit. It's extremely rare for a foe to fight with a SINGLE light weapon as his main weapon AND not rely on a kind of bonus damage that gets taken away when you grapple. So it's a -4 to hit and a big drop to damage. Basically most non-casters get taken out of the fight too.
    your rogue party member will appreciate the gapple as well, because the grappled opponent is denied DEX bonus to AC, which means easy sneak attack (assuming, of course, it isn't immune to it)
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    1) Play a shifter druid.
    2) Take the 1st racial substitution level.
    3) From level 12 your summons are a standard action.
    4) Take 3+ level in the moonspeaker PRC.
    5) Now your summons have +4 enhancement to Str/Con and double duration.
    6) Take the ashbound feat.
    7) Now your summons have +4 enhancement to Str/Con +3 luck to attack rolls and triple duration
    8) Take the greenbound summoning feat.
    7) Now your animal summons have the plant type (with related immunities), +6 NA, DR 10 / magic and slashing, Fast healing 3, +4 to grapple, Cold/electricity resistance 10, Tremorsense 60ft, +6 Str, +4 Con/Cha, +2 Dex, +4 enhancement to Str/Con +3 luck to attack rolls, multiple spell-likes (including wall of thorns) and triple duration.
    9) Buy a ring of the beast.
    10) Now you can use an X level slot to cast an X+1 level SNA.
    11) Watch as your summoned creatures utterly destroy CR-appropriate encounters. Alone.
    12) ??
    13) Profit
    Last edited by docnessuno; 2012-10-30 at 08:20 AM.

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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    What drawback is that? Summons are disposable! Even if you grapple one enemy with a summon, he damages it and his buddy finishes it off, you've still wasted both of their turns - that's almost as if you grappled them both for a round. Remember, every attack they direct at your summoned crocodile is an attack that the actual party - including you - doesn't have to spend resources and actions undoing later.
    Unless his buddy goes first, or he finishes it off himself. Summons are disposable but the casting time to summon isn't. Usually you can get a pretty good deal on the action you spent and get more back in return, but it's not free and you do have to watch it. If you're fighting 10 foes for example and you briefly disable 1 it's not really worth it. And it takes 1 or more attacks to break free not a whole turn, there may be more attacks remaining. With characters who grapple this might not be the case but summons tend to have very low CR so their very low power is something big to consider when deciding who/when to grapple. If you try to summon a bear against a titanic foe he'll flatten the bear or break free and still hit your neighboring allies 5 times in the same turn.

    Things to look for in targets are low numbers, relatively small size, no natural attacks or non-melee. 2-4 of these if possible, but at least 1. But once you grapple a foe who hates to grapple then he can't do much and you're in business.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-10-30 at 12:26 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Ahh, the glory of good ol' Summon Monster III... gotta love those Fiendish Apes and Fiendish Monstrous Centipedes! Make sure you pick up a Ring of Enduring Arcana to make your summons more difficult to dispel.

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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Unless his buddy goes first, or he finishes it off himself. Summons are disposable but the casting time to summon isn't. Usually you can get a pretty good deal on the action you spent and get more back in return, but it's not free and you do have to watch it. If you're fighting 10 foes for example and you briefly disable 1 it's not really worth it. And it takes 1 or more attacks to break free not a whole turn, there may be more attacks remaining. With characters who grapple this might not be the case but summons tend to have very low CR so their very low power is something big to consider when deciding who/when to grapple. If you try to summon a bear against a titanic foe he'll flatten the bear or break free and still hit your neighboring allies 5 times in the same turn.

    Things to look for in targets are low numbers, relatively small size, no natural attacks or non-melee. 2-4 of these if possible, but at least 1. But once you grapple a foe who hates to grapple then he can't do much and you're in business.
    Thing is, if you're only summoning one critter as a Malconvoker you're doing it wrong - their whole schtick is doubling your summoning dollar. You'll also likely have tougher summons than normal since that's your likely focus. And if you're up against a titanic foe as you said, you can have each one grapple him (and even aid another besides), or perhaps more productively grapple his less-titanic backup.
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Don't forget that you can get 1d3 summons of lower level list, or even 1d4+1, with some luck you can grapple two or more enemies at the cost of a single action (you are taking the standard action summoning variant right?
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    Default Re: 3.5 how to use summon monster and grapple effectively

    Sometimes yes sometimes no... those are of course even weaker than what was already weak. If it's only a couple points of grapple modifier then go for it, whereas if you're at the border of a size category change not so much. You have to at least be able to initiate the grapple. And not dying to a secondary attack is sometimes nice too. Escaping the grapple likewise only takes 1 roll (and 1 attack) against every foe in the grapple, which could then be followed by further attacks against anyone. More grapplers is often better for a higher difficulty to escape but again if you lose too much modifier then the highest of those rolls could be lower than a single roll on a better dude.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-10-30 at 07:04 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles: Part 1, 2

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