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Author Topic: Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration, Shades - Underpowered Summons  (Read 1835 times)

Impotent Collateral

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The Shadow Conjuration spell progression is an interesting concept, with lots of pros and cons. The main topic here, will be the summons that the sub-spell, "Summon Shadow", allows you to conjure. My point is, that due to poor development of these creatures, NWN-Dev side (original devs, not ours :D), nerfed possibly good summons for no reason.

Alright, starting things off:

Here's the level requirements for the summon tree:

1-7 : Shadow (Possible normal summon, Dire Spider)
8-10: Shadow Mastiff (Possible Normal Summon, Dire Bear)
11-14: Shadow Fiend (Possible Normal Summon, Elemental)
15+: Shadow Lord (Possible Normal Summon, powerful Elemental)

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Shadow Conjuration

Caster level: sorcerer/wizard 4
Innate level: 4
School: illusion
Components: verbal, somatic
Range: special
Area of effect: special
Duration: special
Save: special
Spell resistance: yes

Description: The caster conjures a shadow variant of one of the following spells: darkness, invisibility, mage armor, magic missile, or summon shadow.

For the most part, a dandy good spell, with some interesting variations. It's versatile. The main problem, is the summon that you'll first have access to.

The creature summoned:

Undead, Chaotic Evil
Undead (3)

Strength: 10 (0)
Dexterity: 14 (2)
Constitution: 10 (0)
Intelligence: 6 (-2)
Wisdom: 12 (1)
Charisma: 13 (1)

At first glance, not awful. The stats make sense, everythings fine. But keep in mind, this is a spell that would replace, say, Summon Creature IV, which summons the much stronger Dire Spider.

Now we get into the worse parts.

AC: 12
HP: 19
AB: 1
Damage: 1-3 (Critical: 20 / x2)

Fortitude: 1
Reflex: 3
Will: 4

All of the undead traits, and a tiny little bit of DR.

Over all, this summon is useless. It won't last long in any fight, and it can't do enough damage to warrant wasting the possibility of use of your other Shadow Variants.

Not the worst, the worst is yet to come.

By the time you can use it, Greater Shadow Conjuration has a much improved summon.

The Shadow Mastiff.

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Greater Shadow Conjuration

Caster level: sorcerer/wizard 5
Innate level: 5
School: illusion
Components: verbal, somatic
Range: special
Area of effect: special
Duration: special
Save: special
Spell resistance: special

Description: Allows the caster to conjure a shadow variant of one of the following spells: summon shadow, Melf's acid arrow, ghostly visage, web, or minor globe of invulnerability.


This spell has some really nice options, in addition to the summon you'll probably get.

The summon is the Shadow Mastiff, a beast with diverse talents.

Stats are as follows:

Outsider, Chaotic Neutral
Outsider (6) //It is most likely these Outsider levels that make this creature much more powerful, due to the AB it grants.

Strength: 19 (4)
Dexterity: 15 (2)
Constitution: 19 (4)
Intelligence: 4 (-3)
Wisdom: 12 (1)
Charisma: 13 (1)

Good stats, overall, but a bit inferior to the sheer munching power of the Summon Creature V Dire Bear. It's mostly just a little spice for the deal of investing a spell in another Shadow Conjuration spell. Please note, that it is not REQUIRED to purchase higher level Shadow Conjuration spells to access the higher summons. IE, the Mastiff can be summoned with the level 4 Variant. I'm approaching this with a slight Sorcerer bias, because I have bought into the level 4 and 6 varieties, now wishing I could take back the latter.

Anyway, moving on with the Mastiff.

AC: 19
HP: 51
AB: +10/+5
Damage: 1-6 + 4 (Critical: 20 / x2)

Fortitude: 9
Reflex: 7
Will: 6

Here, we can see a drastic improvement over the only-levels-ago Shadow. It has no special properties, but has an interesting Fear Howl, which can be used for some PVP. Over all, an interesting variant to other summoning options, that has some applications.

Moving on to Shades.

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Shades

Caster level: sorcerer/wizard 6
Innate level: 6
School: illusion
Components: verbal, somatic
Range: special
Area of effect: special
Duration: special
Save: special
Spell resistance: yes

Description: The caster conjures a shadow variant of one of the following spells: cone of cold, fireball, stoneskin, wall of fire, or summon shadow.

Again, we see some interesting offensive options with Shades. Two different element types, a DR buff, just some nice things for an illusionist specialist wizard.

The Summon however, takes a DRASTIC plummet.

The Shadow Fiend:

Undead, Chaotic Evil
Undead (7)

Strength: 10 (0)
Dexterity: 18 (4)
Constitution: 10 (0)
Intelligence: 12 (1)
Wisdom: 12 (1)
Charisma: 13 (1)

Already, it's evident that these stats are far inferior to the lower-level summon, the Mastiff. To make matters worse, it doesn't even take advantage of its high Dexterity, it doesn't use Weapon Finesse!

AB: +3
Damage: Attack 1/2 - 1-6 (Critical: 20 / x2)
             Attack 3 - 1-8 (Critical: 20 / x2)

Fortitude: 2
Reflex: 6
Will: 6

It has Damage immunity to Cold, Electricity, and Fire, as well as all Undead immunities. To add insult to injury, the thing is invested in Power Attack (which it has no right to, with 10 str), which lowers its AB usually to -2!

Now, the final Summon on the ladder, the Shadow Lord.

Here, we see some marginal improvement, but remember: These can be replaced by much more acclimatized summons, on the normal Creature Summon progression.

Shadow Lord:

Undead, Chaotic Evil,
Undead (10)

AC: 22
HP: 65

AB: +8
Damage: Attack 1/2 - 1-8+5 (Critical: 20 / x2)
             Attack 3 - 2-12+5 (Critical: 20 / x2)

Fortitude: 3
Reflex: 7
Will: 9

Same elemental immunities as the Fiend, but at level 15+, you can be summoning -far- more powerful Elementals.

In any case, these spells, while extremely poor in combat, make for interesting RP. My sole annoyance is, that for the level you have to be to CONJURE the things, they are a huge disappointment. If the Dev's ever get time, (Which I know isn't likely, they work so hard! :D), maybe they could take a look at improving them. This is Ravenloft after all, where necromancy is stronger.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 12:18:23 PM by Impotent Collateral »

engelfire

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I totally agree, those spells could use little facelift :) How cool it would be to summon multiple such shadows, exact number dependable on your level. For example at lv 15 caster could summon lets say, five of those lesser summons at same time. Is something like that possible to do ?
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DM Nocturne

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I certainly understand the point of that a higher level spell should result in a stronger summon, and agree that these summons could do with a slight boost.

However, Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Conjuration, Shades - the summon should have a tradeoff and be slightly weaker than the Summon Creature series, due to the fact that the former spells have casting alternatives, whereas the Summon Creature spell series is a summon only.

Not to do so would potentially null some Summon Creature series spells in favour of Shadow series. A balance issue.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 10:52:07 PM by AcidZealot »

Impotent Collateral

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 It's not that I want an overpowered monster, it's just that 3/4 of these monsters have NO use, besides being able to say "Yeah, my PC can manifest shadows into badass-looking physical form.". :P

Eledaar

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The Shadow Lord at the very least could use a boost, it seems.

At L15+ that's rather useless for anything but a quick decoy, but at that point you have better defensive spells to use, I would think.
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LoLJohnFerro

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Well perhaps you could give the shadows a sneak attack beacuse they are shadows and the pop in and out of vision so shouldnt they be able to hit you with atleas a 1d6 sneak attack?