Author Topic: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks  (Read 1608 times)

DM Cataclysm

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Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« on: September 07, 2018, 05:40:01 PM »
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! ^-^




BahamutZ3RO

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 07:59:09 PM »
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.
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Bizarro

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2018, 09:28:03 PM »
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.

Satyricon

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 04:23:59 PM »
I do agree it sounds a bit underwhelming.

I approve with the statements of the prior posts.

Soulbourne

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 06:29:44 PM »
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.

Alverin

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 05:30:58 PM »
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 totally agree with this, specifically the part about reworking summons! More on that later. In regards to the Shadow Summons, here are some tweaks that could be applied with the current system that might work well.

-Increase the amount of time the Shadow can be summoned
-Allow the shadow to be summoned alongside other summons. (possible limitation issues)'

These two tweaks would make the shadows wouldn't be a crazy buff, since the summons are killed fairly easily anyways, and are practically harmless to anyone above level 5, instead this would just allow us to roleplay with our summons without the current arbitrary limitations set in place.

As far as summoning in general, I think it'd be really cool to be able to "choose" what you're going to summon, and the tier of that summons, through reagent use.

The system would work as follows, using spiders as an example.

Killing a spider drops their ichor, the ichor is a reagent that can be used in summoning. You simply right click the reagent and use it on yourself to "prepare" it for summoning use.

Now, the next summon spell you use, dissolves the ichor and summons a spider of appropriate level. Summons Monster I might summons a spiderling, where as 3 might summons a Giant Spider and 4 can stay a dire spider. Finally Summon Monster 9 might create a Hive Mother, or something of like. Now we can have themed conjurers, which adds a whole-nother level of complexity and originality to roleplay.

You have you Shadow Conjurers, various Undead summoners, Spider Summoners, Ooze and Gelatinous summoners, perhaps even Dragon summoners.

Finally, if we could control the amount of summons summoned at a time and able to be under player control, I think it'd be really cool to have Mass Summons spells, that create multiple enemies of a mediocre level to deal with, perhaps even a roll, such as "Creates 1d4+1 spiderlings" for Mass Summons I. Just think of the escape possibilites, summoning a small group of spiders to hold off a door while you make your escape. Or just providing fodder for fighters.

I feel as though things that have an in-game stipulation against them, such as summoning and necromancy, should have a reason for this stipulation, and that reason could be simply that those types of things are a tad bit more powerful, thus harder to control and leave more room for accidents we deem "evil". That would make me more comfortable playing a Necromancer or summoner. It's a very small power bump to help balance out the in-game distaste toward such a thing, similar to guns.
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Grendel

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2018, 04:37:34 AM »
Going off of the conventions of other servers without questioning the viability of following their examples, other servers make use of dialogue systems usually initiated through books or items that allow the player to change the types of summoned creatures brought forth by specific spells; things like setting your Planar Binding/Gate spells to exclusively summon Yugoloths, Tanar'ri, etc or the Summon I-IX series to only summon various types of animals or even other kinds of undead.

In addition, weaker summons such as regular Shadows or zombies I have seen implemented as a 'swarm' type summon where multiple instances of the creature are brought forth, taking advantage of how they are a weaker creature but useful in mobs for their drain effects or disease afflictions etc. However given the repeated statement that the design viewpoint of the server is that summons have not and will not be made a viable choice to prevent soloing, despite multiple other classes and builds having that as a possibility through niche designs, will continue to prevent such an overhaul of the summon system.

Alverin

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2018, 03:52:53 PM »
Going off of the conventions of other servers without questioning the viability of following their examples, other servers make use of dialogue systems usually initiated through books or items that allow the player to change the types of summoned creatures brought forth by specific spells; things like setting your Planar Binding/Gate spells to exclusively summon Yugoloths, Tanar'ri, etc or the Summon I-IX series to only summon various types of animals or even other kinds of undead.

In addition, weaker summons such as regular Shadows or zombies I have seen implemented as a 'swarm' type summon where multiple instances of the creature are brought forth, taking advantage of how they are a weaker creature but useful in mobs for their drain effects or disease afflictions etc. However given the repeated statement that the design viewpoint of the server is that summons have not and will not be made a viable choice to prevent soloing, despite multiple other classes and builds having that as a possibility through niche designs, will continue to prevent such an overhaul of the summon system.

Okay, so we know both of the suggested idea's are possible, now it's just a matter of getting the designers to actually implement it.

If they don't want to make summoning any more powerful than it is, that's fine, we just want a more dynamic summoning system. I'd take 3 shadows over my Skeletal Chief any day. Or 2 Zombie Warriors, or 5 Skeletal Archers. Just  give us more of a choice, after all, isn't that what DnD's about?
We live in a deterministic world. Everything that will happen is measurable, though not by humans. We cannot truly control anything we do, therefor freewill doesn't actually exist.

People are not responsible for their actions as a result.

DM Cataclysm

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 11:14:24 PM »
*Thematic Thread Necromancy*

^-^ I wanted to bump this again for a consideration in a change to the final creature of the Pale Master ability, Summon Greater Undead.

As mentioned above, I believe the intended final creature is the Greater Bodak. While it has a reasonable number of HP, this creature is pretty unusable. The main feature of this summon is the Death Gaze. Since undead are immune to this and the remaining level-appropriate enemies are mostly guaranteed to succeed on a DC: 15 save, it leaves the Bodak to fight melee. Even with several of the new undead augmentation feats, it doesn't stand a chance in combat unless you're fighting something far below your level. It only has a base of 1 attack per round, no weapon, and a +8 AB.

I think the 'Vampire' from the Create Greater Undead cleric spell, would be a much more fitting summon to replace the Greater Bodak. I've placed the base stats for several creatures below, including these two creatures - along with some other summons that are accessible through spells and abilities around level 14/15, for comparison.

Greater Bodak
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 11 | CR: 11
Armor Class: 17
Hit Points: 71
AB: +8 - One attack
Damage: 1d10+2 - No weapon. Unable to increase AB through GMW


Vampire
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 10 | CR: 12
Armor Class: 17
Hit Points: 94
AB: +18 / +13 - Two attacks
Damage: 1d10+7


Summon Creature VII - Water Elemental
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 16 | CR: 11
Armor Class: 23
Hit Points: 152
AB: +19 / +14 / +9 - Three attacks
Damage: 2d10+7 - No weapon. Unable to increase AB through GMW


Mordenkainen's Sword - Helmed Horror
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 16 | CR: 16
Armor Class: 24
Hit Points: 104
AB: +19 / +14 / +9 - Three attacks
Damage: 2d6 + 10 + 5 (Fire)

As it stands, the other summons that you can gain at a similar level outclass the Greater Bodak in about every category. They also have similar immunities from being elementals or constructs. You can also further enhance the elementals through feats, as you can undead. Given that this is the most powerful summoning ability for a Pale Master - I'm hoping we can bump it up to something that stands a little better chance against the mid-level challenges on the server. I wouldn't expect this to replace a warrior or to go mowing down Pit Fiends, but something that has reasonable survivability and poses a bit more threat would be a fantastic boost!

HopeIsTheCarrot

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 06:24:10 AM »
*Thematic Thread Necromancy*

^-^ I wanted to bump this again for a consideration in a change to the final creature of the Pale Master ability, Summon Greater Undead.

As mentioned above, I believe the intended final creature is the Greater Bodak. While it has a reasonable number of HP, this creature is pretty unusable. The main feature of this summon is the Death Gaze. Since undead are immune to this and the remaining level-appropriate enemies are mostly guaranteed to succeed on a DC: 15 save, it leaves the Bodak to fight melee. Even with several of the new undead augmentation feats, it doesn't stand a chance in combat unless you're fighting something far below your level. It only has a base of 1 attack per round, no weapon, and a +8 AB.

I think the 'Vampire' from the Create Greater Undead cleric spell, would be a much more fitting summon to replace the Greater Bodak. I've placed the base stats for several creatures below, including these two creatures - along with some other summons that are accessible through spells and abilities around level 14/15, for comparison.

Greater Bodak
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 11 | CR: 11
Armor Class: 17
Hit Points: 71
AB: +8 - One attack
Damage: 1d10+2 - No weapon. Unable to increase AB through GMW


Vampire
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 10 | CR: 12
Armor Class: 17
Hit Points: 94
AB: +18 / +13 - Two attacks
Damage: 1d10+7


Summon Creature VII - Water Elemental
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 16 | CR: 11
Armor Class: 23
Hit Points: 152
AB: +19 / +14 / +9 - Three attacks
Damage: 2d10+7 - No weapon. Unable to increase AB through GMW


Mordenkainen's Sword - Helmed Horror
Spoiler: show
Hit Die: 16 | CR: 16
Armor Class: 24
Hit Points: 104
AB: +19 / +14 / +9 - Three attacks
Damage: 2d6 + 10 + 5 (Fire)

As it stands, the other summons that you can gain at a similar level outclass the Greater Bodak in about every category. They also have similar immunities from being elementals or constructs. You can also further enhance the elementals through feats, as you can undead. Given that this is the most powerful summoning ability for a Pale Master - I'm hoping we can bump it up to something that stands a little better chance against the mid-level challenges on the server. I wouldn't expect this to replace a warrior or to go mowing down Pit Fiends, but something that has reasonable survivability and poses a bit more threat would be a fantastic boost!

+1

Nemesis 24

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2019, 06:32:31 AM »
The only trouble I see with this is taking it in singularity compared to everything else a palemaster gets.  Treating it as a base caster class of Wizard for example, the popular choice.  I may need correction on this, but currently, pale master has the benefits over a wizard of the following -
-More HP per level, from d4 to d6, increasing by a further 3hp per level post level 5.
-Increased AC, by +6
-Permanent +4 strength bonus
-Immunity to paralysis, stun, critical hit
-Darkvision
-Deadly touch attack.

Yes, it gets summons on top of that, and yes, they are weaker than the equivalent level summons.  They are also however free.  They don't cost a spell slot.  They are also in conjunction with the *massive* bonuses listed above, with continued spell progression per level.  Doesn't making those free summons that don't cost a spell slot as powerful as a slotted spell on top of all the other bonuses feel a bit... much?  Especially with all the undead summon feats to make those free summons even stronger again?

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 07:41:08 AM »
The only complaint I have is you can't pick between the summons you want. Some, despite being higher level, are worse to have than the previous lower level variant which is tragic. The biggest example would probably be the ghoul king versus the vampire/greater bodak. Also vampire (level 12) vs greater Bodak (level 14). Vampires in some situations would be better utilized over a lower AB bodak despite whatever on hit effect they might have.

Undead summoning is one of the central aspects of the class's lore. It's possible to make them good summons without touching the duration on them at all which would make the feat investment some pale masters for their summons not make them go run back to the releveling crystal.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:53:17 AM by Booksarefun666 »

DM Cataclysm

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2019, 09:39:21 AM »
The only trouble I see with this is taking it in singularity compared to everything else a palemaster gets.  Treating it as a base caster class of Wizard for example, the popular choice.  I may need correction on this, but currently, pale master has the benefits over a wizard of the following -
-More HP per level, from d4 to d6, increasing by a further 3hp per level post level 5.
-Increased AC, by +6
-Permanent +4 strength bonus
-Immunity to paralysis, stun, critical hit
-Darkvision
-Deadly touch attack.

Yes, it gets summons on top of that, and yes, they are weaker than the equivalent level summons.  They are also however free.  They don't cost a spell slot.  They are also in conjunction with the *massive* bonuses listed above, with continued spell progression per level.  Doesn't making those free summons that don't cost a spell slot as powerful as a slotted spell on top of all the other bonuses feel a bit... much?  Especially with all the undead summon feats to make those free summons even stronger again?

I certainly wouldn't argue that they receive some good benefits, however - there are also a large numbers of drawbacks to playing a Pale Master. Using your example of comparison to a Wizard, the flip side of the benefits you listed:

4 fewer feats than a Wizard (also with the requirement to take Skill Focus: Lore. Most Wizards wouldn't take this, as they don't need it - effectively making it 5 lost feats)
Familiar doesn't progress on PM levels
Inability to learn spells on new levels (This is pretty big. There are some scrolls that are nearly impossible to find, especially since the semi-recent tweaks to scrolls in the treasury)
OCR issues (In terms of summoning undead, you can't pop those out whenever you feel like it or you'll be pretty short lived. Most characters aren't friendly to them)

The largest drawback, though - is definitely the fact that your 'caster level' in terms of bypassing spell resistance doesn't match that of a wizard. There are creatures on the server I didn't even realize had spell resistance until playing a PM. This starts to get really painful a few levels into being a PM - but, is just as damaging throughout levels as more creatures that you're likely to encounter have SR at higher levels. (Good luck with that 32 SR Pit Fiend or facing off against a high-level Monk)

Overall, the vampire would have less attacks, HP, AB, and damage than similar level summons. You'd still have to be extremely careful where it was summoned and who saw you do it. And - (I've never summoned one, so I'm uncertain if this system applies to them), but I'm assuming they would take damage in sunlight similar to MPC's? That would create another drawback for using them, but would ultimately give PM's something they could utilize in certain scenarios vs. something that just winds up being a flashy display and limited distraction.


Nemesis 24

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 09:46:20 AM »
The lack of spell penetration is a bad one, not going to disagree there, and one I was not in fact aware of as a limitation.  Will *somewhat* disagree on the feat loss, as no 5 feats will give anything like the bonuses a Pale Master gets to its statline - but then again, thats not a fair argument to make either, since its a class feature and they're supposed to get 'something' just like every other class. 

PlatointheCave

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2019, 01:04:27 PM »
Now that summons out of combat stick around for yonks I don't think PM summons need a bump. They're not especially useful mechanically but PMs get everything listed already, stealth skill access and detection skill access. The cost in feats and lost spell penetration is more than compensated for. You remain useful in dungeons and what you gain adds far more to your toolbox for PvP than the lost spell penetration and feats really cost you. Conjurations still ignore SR and a stealthy wizard is extremely dangerous.

The summons are used best for roleplay and I think that's fine. I do agree with Books in that it'd be neat if we could pick which undead to summon as it'd allow for a wider range of roleplay, but as far as balance goes I think PM is in a fine place.

zDark Shadowz

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2019, 01:53:19 PM »
A tool that starts a conversation dialogue to pick from a list with options viewable depending on PM level, which set an integer on the PC which the PM's animate dead script looks at to determine which undead is summoned, with the default being the highest if the integer is 0 or invalid, should be easy enough to make.

Once the tool is ready I suppose it can either be tied in to be acquired when next a palemaster logs in, or just handed out when a palemaster asks for it / gets approved for palemaster.

Or, the feat is altered to have a radial menu of undead to select from, though this might require a slightly improved additional feat each time a new undead is 'unlocked' by leveling.

One is a script option, other is a .2da/tlk/hak option.
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ForgottenBhaal

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Re: Pale Master, Summoning Tweaks
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2019, 08:37:22 AM »
The biggest issue I've noticed is that they seem to be fairly lackluster in combat, and can mainly only be used as a way to run away (Outside of RP that is). The chieftain is the best out of them so far, but for some reason its something one does not achieve until a lot later as a pale master. (It doesn't count the caster levels outside of PM for the progression of the animate dead feat, it seems like.)

The wraith is neat, and has a fear aura (I think) though the DC appears to be quite low on the level drain/aura.
Most 5+ summons actually outright wrecks the undead it seems as. Would it be possible to perhaps give the pale master the doom knight that the Blackguards get with their "create undead feat" Would be an easy, as well as great fix for the combative abilities of one of the summons.
And as the others said, it would be pretty neat if we could choose what type of undead we choose to summon. The class is ment to be a choice for Necromancers of the Arcane persuasion whom wishes to focus more upon undeath, and the creation, control and summoning of the undead.
(Perhaps a spell like ability for control undead?)