Monday, June 25, 2012

Expanded summon monster lists

The summon monster spells in Pathfinder are not exactly awesome. They have long casting times, making them hard to complete, the monsters you get when do manage to cast them are more nuisance than threat and if you want to commit to being a decent summoner (as opposed to a Summoner), you have to burn a precious feat slot on Spell Focus (conjuration) (a school with very few spells for which the feat is useful) and then take Augment Summoning. Adding insult to injury, for spellcasters whose personal morality forbids them from even temporarily unleashing the denizens of the lower planes upon the world, the choices for higher level summonings (when the spells actually start to get interesting) is quite limited, Indeed, for the 8th-level version of the spell, only an elder elemental is available for non-evil spellcasters. Oddly enough, even though we have had two new bestiaries added to the game since the core books were released, no effort has been made to incorporate some of the new monsters to the lists. These are all based on CR and have not been playtested, so I propose trying them out to see if any of them are game breakers.

Summon Monster I
no new entries

Summon Monster II
no new entries

Summon Monster III
lyrakien azata - PB2
cassisian (angel) - PB2
harbinger archon - PB3
augur (kyton) - PB3
cacodaemon (daemon) - PB2
silvanshee agathion - PB2

Summon Monster IV
no new entries

Summon Monster V
vulpinal agathion - PB2
ceustodaemon (daemon) - PB2

Summon Monster VI
legion archon - PB3
hydrodaemon (daemon) - PB2

Summon Monster VII
avoral agathion - PB2
shield archon - PB2
movanic deva (angel) - PB2
leukodaemon (daemon) - PB2

Summon Monster VIII
leonal agathion - PB2
monadic deva (angel) - PB2
interlocutor (kyton) - PB3
meladaemon (daemon) - PB2

Summon Monster IX
thanadaemon (daemon) - PB2


Update: Wouldn't you know it, one day after writing this post, I pick up a copy of the newly-released Advanced Race Guide and find a section in it that deals with some of the suggestions I just made. There is a new race called fetchlings, descendents of humans who got stranded on the Plane of Shadow. One of the racial archetypes is a Summoner called a Shadow Caller which includes a revised list of choices for monster summoning. Rather than enlarged lists, there are substitutions of certain choices for other monsters with a shadow theme. Interestingly enough, one of the monsters I added, the Interlocutor (kyton) is in the Shadow Caller revision, but is part of the Summon Monster IX list, even though it is CR 12.


Obiri said...

Yes, I agree with you. Summoning monsters when you are not a Summoner is a PITA. There are actually more spells now that make use of Spell Focus: Conjuration so it's not as awful as it use to be (although it is still effectively a feat tax). I saw a statement from one of the Paizo staff somewhere that they never intend to update the summoning lists. They don't want to introduce power creep and make casters even better.

One trick is to drop an Obscuring Mist and then start calling in monsters. Really only usefull if you can quicken the mist otherwise you've just wasted another round.

Rognar said...

Well, I can certainly understand the desire to avoid power creep, but I don't really see that as a problem in this case. If anything, it's more a case of evening out the playing field between good and evil spellcasters. The bad guys have a lot more choices with all the demons and devils that are already included in the monster summoning lists.

Obiri said...

I went over your list quickly and I didn't see any real problems. I guess I'd never looked at the summoning list closely before (CRs).

I agree that more variety is good. Summon Monster is like a giant tool kit and opens up a ton of tactics. I read a post somewhere that a guy summoned a horde of lantern archons, the party paladin used the option to give his party smite and the archons annihilated any opposition. Knowing what each of your potential summons can do is tough. Playing the Summoner I was constantly flipping through the bestiary looking stuff up. Looking at a summoner type character next time?

Rognar said...

I can't say I'm overly inspired by either a summoner or a Summoner. I was just noticing how few good outsiders were available. Furthermore, the elementals in the list are almost always at the low end of the CR range for each summon monster spell (the elder elemental being the sole exception). Good-aligned spellcasters end up getting boned twice.

Obiri said...

The nature's ally list is even worse. The only thing it's good for is to provide roadblocks or maybe a critter that can do combat manoeuvres.

I've been fooling around with Druid builds but haven't found one I'm happy with yet. Unless I change my mind again, I think I know what I'm going to play in RotRL: A class I've never played before.