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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    "No, that spell is designed to summon cupcakes for you to eat. You can't create it inside your enemy's brain."

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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).

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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    "No, that spell is designed to summon cupcakes for you to eat. You can't create it inside your enemy's brain."

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by axraelshelm View Post
    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 summon a Unicorn? According to the SRD Unicorn isn't in the allowed monster list, although you can summon a Bralani with Summon Monster 6 that can do Cure Serious Wounds 2/day.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
    Last edited by CASTLEMIKE; 2007-03-13 at 10:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2007-03-13 at 10:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
    Last edited by TheOOB; 2007-03-13 at 10:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Can anyone link this malconvoker thing? I'm trying, currently, to make a Master Conjurer work.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Not really, it's in complete scoundrel.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    "No, that spell is designed to summon cupcakes for you to eat. You can't create it inside your enemy's brain."

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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).

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser1 View Post
    Can Summon Monster VI summon a Unicorn? According to the SRD Unicorn isn't in the allowed monster list, although you can summon a Bralani 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.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.
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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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."

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    Planetar

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aximili View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    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...

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD, Magic Overview, Schools of Magic, Conjouration
    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 can’t 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.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    if you summon, take Extend spell, and many buffs. With effort, you can get them quality.

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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...

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    Celestial bison just paints an odd picture in my mind. is that where buffalo wings come from?

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    Default Re: Summon Monster, is it worth it?

    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".
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