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Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks

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DM Cataclysm:
Iíve been playing a lot with the Pale Master summons lately. The update to duration that doesnít count time outside of combat has been great! I wanted to see about the possibility of some other small tweaks that would help PM summons become a lot more viable.

For reference, I have: Necromantic Might | Necromantic Presence | Deadly Chill.

1) I think the biggest change I would like to see would be with the final creature for Summon Greater Undead. Since this was recently updated to recognize up to caster level 15, this will give access to the Greater Bodak. By the time you gain access to this creature, itís special abilities wonít have an adequate DC for enemies youíre facing (death gaze will be ineffective against undead and only has DC: 15. This means the remaining living enemies such as Trolls, Demons, and Salamanders wonít be effected either). That leaves you relying on the bodak for physical combat and it isnít really suited for that. It has a base +8 AB, so even with wards and feats - it will be drastically underpowered. I was hoping we could switch this creature with the Vampire Warrior? It is a similar HD and CR - but would be much more suited to appropriate challenges. It is still significantly lower HD and CR than anything in the Summon Creature VII - IX spells and would be in line with the Summon Greater Undead progression since the Vampire Rogue is achieved at caster level 12.

2) I know itís been discussed that the Pale Master class ability for Animate Dead has kept the same progression because it currently matches 3.5 rules, but it would be really helpful if we could tweak this. Currently, youíre stuck with the Tyrantfog Zombie until level 11. This creature has a base AB of +3, 10 AC, and 30 HP. When youíre dealing with this creature at level 8 or 9, the animation to summon it literally takes longer than it does for enemies to destroy it, even with some extra feats and wards. If you have it flank - the AB is too low to be effective and it has to roll a 20 to hit almost anything. For reference, these are the levels that classes using this ability progress:

5 - A Cleric gains this spell at level 5 and immediately has access to the strongest summon, the Skeletal Chieftan

9/10 - A wizard or sorcerer gains access to this spell at level 9 and 10 respectively and immediately have access to the strongest summon, the Skeletal Chieftan

15 - A pale master using the class ability for Animate Dead does not count other arcane levels in its progression and has an overall slower peogression than the spell. Assuming pale master levels are taken as early as possible, it requires character level 15 to achieve the Skeletal Chieftan, making this the weakest Animate Dead ability by far.

While I donít think it needs to be on par with the Cleric version, it would really help to be able to count total caster level instead of just PM level. This would still put it at the slowest progression, as the feat requires caster level 10 vs caster level 8 with the spell, but currently using the tyrantfog zombie into these levels is more for show than anything useful.

3) Like I mentioned with the durations - theyíre much better since outside of combat time doesnít count. Summoning spells can be enhanced with extend spell, but the class feats arenít adjustable. Iím wondering if we could add an additional feat to extend the duration of summons. Even if it didnít double the duration (so that stacking with extend spell for spell-based summoning wouldnít make insane durations) an extra 10 rounds would really help to get a creature a little further into a fight and make it a little less painful to use wards on it.

Whew. Sorry that was so long! ^-^

Yeah, I really wish we could see some of the more fun/interesting summons. :( I really think the team needs to sit down and rethink their approach toward summons in general, particularly given that now you can brew potions for nearly every buff. It's skewing things in one direction quite badly.

I think one thing that makes the skeleton captain so good is also the fact that it does what a spellcaster need, it's basically your portable warrior. And i agree on the fact that the last summon should be something like that. About the 3.5 rules, the undeads you create on PnP have a fairly low power level because you are supposed to have more than one, if we can summon only one single creature it's CR should be a little higher than the one on PnP? I didn't check them, so maybe they are.
But i also feel like that the Bodak as a last summon is a bit underwhelming.

I do agree it sounds a bit underwhelming.

I approve with the statements of the prior posts.

I do not really have anything constructive to add to what has been said other than I agree with the posts above. They are already a taboo to summon, but I find I never use these simply because they are not all that useful on their own to merit using them on my own and risking being seen.


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