Author Topic: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?  (Read 366 times)

Ken14

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« on: December 01, 2019, 09:28:49 AM »
Been thinking about conjurers again, lately, which isn't really a viable build. Which is understandable, because soloing is a thing to be avoided.

But what if we could make summoning more in line with the lore of ravenloft?

Admittedly, I'm not sure if it can be coded, but here goes:

What if we do away with durations on the summoning spells, and make it so that every turn or so, the caster would need to succeed a concentration check . Which means that if you're lucky and skilled, you could indeed keep a summon around for much longer.

The DC of the concentration check would depend on the tier of the summon of course. The stronger the summon, the greater the DC.

Heck, Dread Elementals could be under the caster's control, if they're summoned, but the DC would be significantly higher then the usual elemental of that tier.

If you fail the DC, it doesn't vanish : It turns hostile.  Which, depending on the summon and what sorta buffs are on it, could be catastrophic.


ASymphony

  • Vallaki Guards
  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 331
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2019, 06:21:31 PM »
Given the way nwn/PW gearing and playing dynamics work, I do not think something like this is viable. With gearing and proper investment, any reasonable DC could simply be circumvented to become a non-issue, and if it was too high, there would be no point in trying to summon anything at all.

The Solarium

  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • A limited holdings corporation.
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2019, 08:49:34 PM »
Conjuration already has some of the best spells in the module.

Black Tentacles, Web, Grease, Acid Fog, Incendiary Cloud to name a few.

A Conjurer is very viable. A Conjurer that uses summons a lot? Also viable, with a party.

What you're suggesting only serves soloers.

No thank you.

SardineTheAncestor

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 233
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 09:37:40 PM »
In that case, let's:

  • buff mob detection
  • make invis interactions reveal the concealed party for a full round
  • introduce a fear check for failed stealth checks against AI enemies
  • Divine Power/Tenser's etc. and the majority of non-mass offensive bonuses can only be cast on others and not the caster
  • make summons not eat XP
  • summons have optional collision
  • add more non-undead summoning feats
  • let all summoners control more summons simultaneously
  • nerf damage spells across the top but leave their minimum alone
  • reduce CC durations across the board.

We don't need higher DCs or buffs to GSF Conjuration to make summoners more viable. Summons are always going to be worse than Controlled/Dominated mobs no matter what one does anyway, so we know which school is actually the best creep commander.

A well balanced DC for the spell level, with developers but glancing at all 5 or 6 Concentration items available, would be completely fine. 3 failed Concentration checks = you lose the summon on the 3rd check (or the turn after that check, with an ominous warning that the summon spell has been disrupted). With proper gear and decent odds you should expect to keep your summon near-permanently -- and why not, when you geared for it? Everyone else who gears for something gets returns. Per hour checking wouldn't work because it'd be too random, and summons already disappear too quickly, but getting 3 minutes out of a useful summon is good enough. If your odds are good enough to get you 15 minutes of your summon on average, you probably have the best gear, and this is sensible because now it's not too different from the average rest period (in terms of how long your summon is actually in combat, this is very fair, and we should keep the permanent out of combat summons as they are).
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 09:55:48 PM by SardineTheAncestor »
Esmeralda Selorn, rogue druidess from Deadwood
Shannon Linwood, heretic priestess of the Morninglord
Nikolaus Gavrilovic, farmer assassin from Novgorod

Ken14

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 124
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 01:14:37 AM »
In order:

ASymphony : Well, I'm not sure what's possibly with coding, but maybe have it be a rising DC? With lower tier summons having a lower starting DC, ect....

Solarium : When I said Conjurer, I meant someone who solely uses summoning spells with some buffs for the beasties, not just all conjuration spells, but I can see the confusion there.

SardineTheAncestor : I like a few of these:

'make invis interactions reveal the concealed party for a full round' : don't we already got something in the way of failed stealth checks while invisible? Even if so, if brief revealing could be coded in, it would balance all the invisible shenanigans.

 'make summons not eat XP' : because summons aren't and shouldn't be as good as actual party members, so why count them towards it?
 
'let all summoners control more summons simultaneously' : a horde summoner would be pretty cool, especially for necromancer types, but I'm pretty sure that would be (too) taxing on the server. And difficult to code. I've seen it done on another server, but heavens know how they pulled it off.


In hindsight, though, if it is considered, maybe it should be done for only the summoning spells that call up elementals and planar creatures. My reasoning:

1) Most of the creatures below the elemental thresholds are 'mere' animals. I don't see them fighting off any magic that calls and controls them.

2) I see it often, planar creatures, mostly hound archons, that get called up like it's nothing, which, to me, breaks immersion a little. They're supposed to be extremely pissed that you called them here. The most common explanation is that they're calling up planar beings that already reside on this plane, but wouldn't those be extremely warped and likely wanting to murder you as well?

3) I have literally never seen any PC summon elementals. Which is a shame, because we actually have feats that improve them. But the inherent danger in calling forth a dread elemental is understandable.

So...As mentioned before, why not have the elementals remain under your control for a turn, then a DC check for one more turn, with a higher DC  for the next turn, up to a point that it becomes impossible to overcome the DC.

If you call up a dread elemental, the same principle, only the DC would start off higher or would increase much more quickly, as the elemental is raging against your control.


SardineTheAncestor

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 233
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 03:05:18 AM »
'make invis interactions reveal the concealed party for a full round' : don't we already got something in the way of failed stealth checks while invisible? Even if so, if brief revealing could be coded in, it would balance all the invisible shenanigans.
We do, yeah, you are revealed for about half a second (without exaggeration - it is that short a reveal) after interacting with something while invis, but this relies on a failed stealth check. This mechanic in general is rather forgiving and can be used simply to bait enemies into more desirable locations, so making it more punishing as a baseline makes a lot of sense to me.

1) Most of the creatures below the elemental thresholds are 'mere' animals. I don't see them fighting off any magic that calls and controls them.
Fair point, if we keep the current system for them it should be okay. They only last up to 2-3 minutes in combat anyway.

2) I see it often, planar creatures, mostly hound archons, that get called up like it's nothing, which, to me, breaks immersion a little. They're supposed to be extremely pissed that you called them here. The most common explanation is that they're calling up planar beings that already reside on this plane, but wouldn't those be extremely warped and likely wanting to murder you as well?
This is iffy. I don't think the PC should know this info with certainty. I think it's very suited to Ravenloft that--without special preparation and a DM's go--whenever you Call something, it's coming from out of the Demiplane and you're trapping it here, whether that's 50-50 odds or 100% of the time, whether that's a conscious IC choice or not, whether even they realise it or not. A while ago my character had a crisis of faith regarding this spell and I would certainly feel my experience has been cheapened further beyond the other complications that prevented me from exploring it. I am always wary when I see Hound Archons summoned and quick to record & report sketchy behaviour regarding them.

So...As mentioned before, why not have the elementals remain under your control for a turn, then a DC check for one more turn, with a higher DC  for the next turn, up to a point that it becomes impossible to overcome the DC.
A rising DC sounds like a good idea, especially in the case of the Dread Elementals. I like the idea of an ominous warning appearing in the chat though, and possibly a special gray emote before it turns hostile suggesting something strange is happening and the elemental is starting to act erratically, if that makes any sense. Also, it's really nice to have some warning when something with (this is just a guess based on what level elementals come into play, and could be inaccurate) well over 250 HP and 30+ AB decides you are food, so, yeah. And if you do this, with the permanent out of combat summons as they are now, with the DCs even pausing whenever you leave combat (preventing people from waiting it out if it's getting too high, they have to engage in combat which sadly could mean hostiling each other for a moment but that's what happens when we allow PvP at all), you have what seems to be the start of a very robust system.
Esmeralda Selorn, rogue druidess from Deadwood
Shannon Linwood, heretic priestess of the Morninglord
Nikolaus Gavrilovic, farmer assassin from Novgorod

BraveSirRobin

  • Professional Blue-Coat
  • Gendarmerie
  • Dark Lord
  • *
  • Posts: 868
  • "One's own thoughts are his only prison"
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 06:13:25 AM »
I don't really see the issue with summons that are more than just a joke, to be entirely honest; Because they are.

If you know the server well enough, there's little from keeping one or two people from running a specific circuit of dungeons and more-or-less 'solo' leveling as it is. I know I've never had an issue with leveling, before, and it is a common enough practice that level 15-20 Wizards are fully-buffing low-levels to let them solo-run dungeons in their area, or maintaining their presence around a group or individual just outside of XP range so they can boost them. The XP grind isn't really an issue, never has been. Letting someone have their summons stick around, or being able to summon multiple isn't that big of a deal, when you consider it's still not going to be very popular of an option even if it does happen. It just makes it a thing that can be done, instead of wasting spell slots on summons that won't last through a decent-length encounter.

Ninjalooting is a solo act that isn't really done with a party, usually, and there are numerous factions that exist solely to ninjaloot all of the monetary rewards out of dungeons all day long. I'm not going to start a debate over the place that has here, but it doesn't really serve the whole, 'We should have everyone work together in a party to overcome these challenges!' mantra that gets spoken every time a debate about summon buffing arises.

On the other hand, one of the most archetypical and damning professions you can take up is being a Necromancer, and summoning the Undead, and the like. .. Which is hardly viable, or useful here. If not making summons more useful, I'd be down to see Necromancers get a proverbial bone tossed their way so they can command more undead, or more viable undead.

SardineTheAncestor

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 233
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2019, 06:21:43 AM »
On the other hand, one of the most archetypical and damning professions you can take up is being a Necromancer, and summoning the Undead, and the like. .. Which is hardly viable, or useful here. If not making summons more useful, I'd be down to see Necromancers get a proverbial bone tossed their way so they can command more undead, or more viable undead.

I agree, it would make confrontations with necromancers a lot more tense and chaotic than wondering if you'll survive their volley of CC/offensive spells or not. Also wouldn't mind seeing some AI necromancer types summoning stuff in dungeons, I feel like I never see enemies summon anything in general. Doesn't have to be hordes, as cool as those are, but 2-3 warriors, 1-2 archers, and a mage accompanying a necromancer PC would definitely pad out the "struggles to make friends because he can't stop making friends" problem if networking is such an enduring issue.
Esmeralda Selorn, rogue druidess from Deadwood
Shannon Linwood, heretic priestess of the Morninglord
Nikolaus Gavrilovic, farmer assassin from Novgorod

BraveSirRobin

  • Professional Blue-Coat
  • Gendarmerie
  • Dark Lord
  • *
  • Posts: 868
  • "One's own thoughts are his only prison"
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 06:37:18 AM »
On the other hand, one of the most archetypical and damning professions you can take up is being a Necromancer, and summoning the Undead, and the like. .. Which is hardly viable, or useful here. If not making summons more useful, I'd be down to see Necromancers get a proverbial bone tossed their way so they can command more undead, or more viable undead.

I agree, it would make confrontations with necromancers a lot more tense and chaotic than wondering if you'll survive their volley of CC/offensive spells or not. Also wouldn't mind seeing some AI necromancer types summoning stuff in dungeons, I feel like I never see enemies summon anything in general. Doesn't have to be hordes, as cool as those are, but 2-3 warriors, 1-2 archers, and a mage accompanying a necromancer PC would definitely pad out the "struggles to make friends because he can't stop making friends" problem if networking is such an enduring issue.

The classic tradeoff has always been that the depraved and forbidden black arts are more powerful, but in exchange for your morality, and added controversy. The only Necromancers you see anymore are Palemasters, because Palemasters are just better Wizards with less spell penetration. But you never see Wizards who just genuinely practice Necromancy anymore. It's going to estrange you, and weaken you, much like openly espousing Bane/The Lawgiver does or being a Red Wizard outside of Hazlan. The majority of PCs you're supposed to be adventuring with will probably just kill you, leaving you to a much smaller subset of allies, and ultimately, behind the curve on obtaining resources and XP. That is, unless you're a Palemaster or an evil Rogue, in which case, the server is your ninjalooting playground and you can exist in a pocket dimension of Stealth and go where you please.

Chabxxu

  • The Underworld
  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 07:55:45 AM »
Most paladins wont care that you cast necromancy spells if you aint targeting them though. They need that sweet xp from dungeoning with a mage! Who cares if he casts necromancy once in a while :) :) :)

SardineTheAncestor

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 233
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2019, 08:03:48 AM »
True, but, there is a non-stealth, non-evil route for Palemasters. As for necromancer wizards, I knew a few, and while they usually hung around shady types, some of them were around goody types too. It's pretty easy for a villain-in-waiting to make friends by acting nice, and players are generally into creepy characters with macabre senses of humour, so the only way you can screw this one up is if you summon a skeleton in front of the Paladin or you spend too much time apprenticing people who are willing to sell you out.

When this sad mistake occurs, I would find it ideal for the necromancer to be able to summon a few more bodyguards to tie his foes up/slow them down without having to take people out of play completely. Not so easy to do with a single summon... so, as you fall down that path, whether or not your allies stay with you, having extras seems like it'd be ideal for control, scenery, and a different kind of power than the polarising save-or-die combat this game offers. All without having to become an AMPC. That might lead to more necromancer wizards, even though Palemasters could be made to be better at this. If we made undead summons not disappear, but become hostile to everyone when their time is up, the circumstances may still make them more useful, since their summoner is probably not going to be attacking them to get their attention, it'll stick to the foes it was after already.

What if the DC raised by a certain amount for each active summon you have, and there are feats that reduce the DC, so you can effectively get a few more turns out of it? For example, you have a feat that takes it down by 4 across the board, and the DC increases by 2 per turn, you get two more turns out of it. If the DC goes up by 2 per active summon (without doubling, it's just a static increase), you get the same duration you'd normally expect if you summoned 2 extras. There's something for the rising DC side of the idea Ken had, as simple as it is.
Esmeralda Selorn, rogue druidess from Deadwood
Shannon Linwood, heretic priestess of the Morninglord
Nikolaus Gavrilovic, farmer assassin from Novgorod

Nemesis 24

  • Society of the Erudite
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1043
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 09:56:01 AM »
Most paladins wont care that you cast necromancy spells if you aint targeting them though. They need that sweet xp from dungeoning with a mage! Who cares if he casts necromancy once in a while :) :) :)

It is demonstrably false to accuse practically all paladins of this.  If you see it happening, screen it and report it, let the DM's deal with it.  Complaining about it and tarring all paladin players with the same insulting brush doesn't fix the problem, it only allows for more complaining and snide commentary.

EO

  • Assistant Head DM/Developer
  • Head DMs
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 15427
  • The one and only, the one everyone wants to be!
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 12:16:10 PM »
We juggled with that idea in the past but ultimately there's no efficient way to make this work, not to mention people can unsummon their summons voluntarily, meaning it'd be very easy to game that system. Additionally it would make little sense for good aligned or neutral aligned summons to just attack the summoner; in PnP it'd lead to roleplay, etc.

We've already greatly extended summons' duration by only counting active combat time, which makes them more useful in RP situations.

noah25

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 317
Re: Summoning : Riskier, but more useful?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 07:12:10 PM »
I also think its valuable to point out that this system was fixed well with elemental swarm. I love how useful the spell can be, also love that you can end up fighting four evil elementals out of greed.