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A whole summoning game could be fun though, where you can add defeated opponents to your "summon pool".

Defeat a minotaur? Suck it's body and soul into your pokemon-ball, ready to be unleashed against new opponents.

Maybe have one storage slot per level? Time to throw away that old goblin and replace it with a fresh basilisk.

Can we please reopen the kickstarter and try to fund a Pokemon Master class?

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In general, Power/effectiveness of the summon should be the inverse of it's duration & quantity.

 

Like the Inverse Property of Ninjas! Ever notice how the strength of a ninja is directly, inversely proportionate to the number of ninjas? 1,000 ninjas... they're all easy. 2 ninjas? Quite challenging (and usually twins, for some reason...). Only one ninja? He's a deity.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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hey guys.

i am very interested in this discussion, because i like to play as a Necromancer as well and enjoyed the summons back in BG2 etc. 

what came to my mind is a little different approach on the ressurection oder animation of dead.

 

what do you think about a permanent summon, which can grow stronger while you gain XP?

that creature can gain certain level. for example it starts like a simple skeleton at level 1. with level 2 it is able to wear armour and weapon... and later it might be able to spit fire and becomes a demon in shape.

 

that would be only 1 summon, but could be tactically very interesting. If your "demon" dies, it would be a hughe loss.

apart from that you should be able to summon "other" minor or weaker pets. because this permantent summon would take too long to fully develop its skills.

 

what you think?

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Well traditionally rangers and druids can have animal companions, which are exactly like that. I don't think its been implemented often in video games besides MMO's, but I think it would work well in this type of game. If there is going to be a familiar system for Wizards, I would like to see them grow as you level up and become much more powerful. Usually they just float around and don't do much in D&D, which is lame.

Every time a visual change happens to your minion it requires more artwork to be created, so that would need to be limited. 

 

I think this could work for a group of minions as well... like the way your imps in Overlord slowly get better weapons and armor as you loot the environment. 

 

In terms of necromancers, I would love to be able to simply re-animate killed enemies and NPCs, even if it only lasts for a few minutes. I think it would be awesome to get a zombie warrior in full plate to be your meat shield in a tough fight. 

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What are your thoughts about that issue?

You should enroll at Miskatonic University. They offer a specialty summoning curriculum that sounds perfect for you: Minor: Summoning; Major: Hors d' Oeuvre. :p

 

I support the idea of a summoner option for wizards that allows a useful number of creatures to be called, say three to five. Calling forth more than this will likely tax our computers and make effective management of said summoned creatures difficult. We'd spend more time in pause mode issuing individual commands than in actual realtime play mode if we were capable of summoning a dozen or more creatures simlutaneously.


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Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

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I understand the fun of summoning massive armies to do the work. Personally, it comes from years of playing RTS games like Starcraft 1/2 and Age of Empires.

 

For PE, I have hopes that pets/summonings will be more personalized. For necromancy, I would love to summon a character like Morte or bind a former enemies or allies to my service.

 

It would be interesting if summoned units were treated a bit more like RTS units. Often, such as in Icewind Dale 2, if you build out your party with the right summoners you can just summon everything you have, and just barf them at the enemy until they die. It would be nice to still have tactical considerations play into it, even if you can summon a dozen skeletons at once.

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Summoning should be implemented very carefully. The summoner and his summons together still represent only one character in the party and their combined power should reflect that. If a summoner can conjure up five ogres to do his bidding, then what incentive is there to have a fighter in the party instead of just another summoner?

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It's not so much about the number of summons, but what they can do I think. In theory you could use them for practically everything; distractions, lures, scouting, trap triggering, avoiding damage (which would be extra important due to lack of real healing), dealing additional damage, engaging enemies, etc.

 

So they either need to be very weak (stats, duration, reuse) or they need to restrict their range of usefulness. Rather than lowering their stats I'd go with giving them various "disabilities". Maybe the AI mostly ignores them or they temporarily blink out after getting hit/dealing damage/getting out of range. Maybe you can't control them individually or with complex commands. Maybe they're just slow moving. It would also be interesting to make them good at "feeding" certain powerful enemy abilities, so that you'd need to be careful when and how to use them.

 

Another idea would be to just have stuff disguised as summons, for example an area DoT attack could be pictured as a swarm of some kind of spiders jumping on everyone in the area. Or a disabling spell could instead be a small group of 1hit skeletons being raised and engaging the target, where one more is raised every time one is destroyed, until the duration expires.

 

And one more thing I'd point out is that the summons should probably be fairly simple, ability wise, so as to not overly raise micromanagement requirements or require UI adaptations.

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What if... the summoned creature could only act while the Wizard channeled? I mean, the Wizard could break channeling to move about, and/or cast other spells, etc, but in this fashion, summoning would almost be like a Druid's animal form, only different (you'd summon completely different things than the animal forms, and you'd have the extra utility of being able to switch back to control of your Wizard, at a completely different location, at any time).

 

Granted, the summoned thing would still have a duration and all that. And your Wizard would, naturally, be much more vulnerable when standing there channeling.

 

Another idea is that summoned creatures could spring forth with only a certain number of actions before their link to the current plane weakened and they dissipated/returned to whence they came. Rather than only being here for 5 minutes, they'd be here for 15 actions or something.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The old IE games had great summoning mechanics and the system was fun.  If a player didn't like those mechanics, nothing forced them to use summoning.  For those who wanted to be summoners, you could literally have all summoning spells in every spell slot.  

 

I have very fond memories of Edwin maxed out with gear with damn near 100 summoning spells over his 9 spell levels.  And some of my favorite BG games were as a solo summoner.  I distinctly remember pummeling Sarevok with wave after wave of summoned monsters and cloudkills.  And that was 15 years ago.  I can barely remember last week!

 

I would also prefer a good mix of summoning spells.  Some would be summon off specific level tables (Summon Monster BG2), some might scale with level (Animate Dead ID2), and some could have unique effects in summoning (like contest of wills in Summon Elemental, dancing weapon Mordenkainen's Sword, and magic eating Summon Hakeashar).  Plenty of spells means plenty of choices, and in a fighting RPG, more spell choices is always a good thing.

 

If any limits are going to be imposed, use good old D&D as your guide.  That pretty much states - summon away boys, but everything has a duration.

 

My ideal spell lists would look a lot like D&D spell lists:

  • Summoning Spell at every level that allows single summoning or several lower level summonings.  All creatures available are on specific non-scaling tables.  Bonus points if caster can choose creatures to summon from the table. Duration scales with caster, but is fairly low overall.
  • Binding Spells that start at mid tier levels.  Starting with low level outsiders that do not scale.  Availability can be on tables, or perhaps only creatures caster has encountered or read about/researched.  Requires protection spells and bargaining to be effective.  Duration dependent on bargaining.  With no bargaining, creature goes about normal behavior for short duration and is unsummoned.
  • Animate Dead for zombies and skeletons.  Scales with level and allows higher level hit dice to be reanimated at higher levels.  Creatures are not automatically controlled, or caster can only control a certain number of hit dice.  Indefinite duration.
  • Greater Animate Dead at mid to late levels.  Allows creation of higher level undead.  All available undead are on specific non-scaling tables.  Bonus points if caster can choose animations from the table.  Creatures are not automatically controlled, or caster can only control a certain number of hit dice.
    Indefinite duration.
  • Wide range of utility spells such as summon floating eyes, decoys, simulacrum, flame walls, illusory walls, summon dancing weapons, summoning unique creatures like Hakeashars, Invisible Stalkers, etc)

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I've got a lot of fun memories playing summoners in a variety of games, the bg and iwd series being up there.

What I'd love to see is actually a bit like the system used in the naruto anime (haha don't judge me, been watching it with my little bro in law) where each summoner had to form a "contract" or relationship with the summon type (like naruto with his toads). Implement it via a skill/talent/background that the wizard picks on creation, either with some pre-generated story/background or the ability to write your own to RP the character well.
This way you couldn't have a necromancer focused summoner suddenly pulling out an army of orcs when fighting a cleric, for instance. That'd help with balance, as the summoner might be stronger in situation a, but totally suck in situation b. Then summoning could be implemented as a special ability, not a spell, with various strengths (ie lots of weak, a couple of medium or one strong) but it comes at the cost of some memorized spells due to the energy and focus required to summon whatever it is. I wouldn't put a time limit on it, but rather have them hang around until the end of the battle they've been summoned in.

This system could work well because you can still summon some powerful summons, feel totally ripped, but it'd also introduce some specific weaknesses with summons so you couldn't just use them for every battle; you'd need to keep the party tank etc around.

obviously it needs some padding out, but what do you all think?

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specialisation is I think something you can encourage by offering greater rewards at greater specialisation. IE: yes, you could stay a generalist summoner, you can summon more, but weaker creatures. Or, you could be specialised, in which case you can summon the Mist Elemental which cannot be damage except by acid, and lasts until slain or dispelled by caster.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Summoning should be implemented very carefully. The summoner and his summons together still represent only one character in the party and their combined power should reflect that. If a summoner can conjure up five ogres to do his bidding, then what incentive is there to have a fighter in the party instead of just another summoner?

 

This is my main concern with summoning.   Tossing an additional ally onto the battlefield, even if all it's doing is soaking up attacks, is immensely valuable.

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^That's how I trudged my way through the entirety of Baldur's Gate 2 the first time I played it. 12 years old, barely knowing English :D.

 

Still loved it.

 

To be fair, unless you have a complete understanding of D&D mechanics, and knew where to find the items you needed, having summons to soak up damage/one hit kill spells was fairly necessary in many an encounter.

Edited by mstark

"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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I don't see how having a particular ability that is temporary and with limited castings unbalances the game any more than any other classes abilities. Summon some cannon fodder for rounds or Horrid Wilting 10 mooks at once? Seems like a wash.

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It depends on the actual effect of the ability.  If it's the de facto caster tactic (as mstark described), either the comparable abilities should be stronger or the summons themselves should be weaker.  Most high-end caster tactics (in 3E, anyway) rely very little on direct damage spell and instead go for summons or extreme status effects (often Will-based, since most melee-type characters have little chance to defend against them).

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It depends on the actual effect of the ability.  If it's the de facto caster tactic (as mstark described), either the comparable abilities should be stronger or the summons themselves should be weaker.  Most high-end caster tactics (in 3E, anyway) rely very little on direct damage spell and instead go for summons or extreme status effects (often Will-based, since most melee-type characters have little chance to defend against them).

 

Perhaps, as you do with most other things in the game, there can be a sort of give and take between summoning multiple monsters and summoning a singular monster. For example, as you increase your monster numbers, the levels of your monsters decreases. So, for example, if you have 20 levels worth of monsters you can cast, your caster can either control 5 level-4 monsters, or 2 level-10 monsters, or 1 level-1 monster. You can try casting above your "level limit" but then the chances of losing control of your monster and it turning on you increases. I can see several interesting tactics developing with variable monster limits. Some battles might be better served with multiple targets with lower levels, and others might be better served with a singular target that hits harder. It's like in starcraft: you can zergling rush your opponents or bring in the single ultralisk. They might cost the same in resources, but swarming has its advantages as does bringing in the big guns.

 

This can probably be explained from a lore perspective in this way: as each caster has to draw upon their own soul's ability to control another creature, this becomes tougher with stronger monsters. The ability of a caster to summon and control monsters is based upon how fully realized their own soul is (level based). As they increase in level, their souls are able to control either individual higher leveled monsters or multiple lower leveled monsters equal to some equation based on their own level.


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http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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This is just a thought... But I've recently picked up the Conan d20 rule set and have only played a handful of times with it. its practically 3.5 but magic is handled with power points which are paid as currency to cast spells. The summoning issue came up one time as one of our scholars picked up the Raise Corpse spell and was able to raise a little army after one encounter. The duration was fairly short, something like 1d6 rounds, but it was certainly enough to overpower the rest of the group making some of them feel useless, especially our melee characters. I've been concocting a house rule which after a summon dies the conjuror would suffer subdue damage equal to 1/2 of the summons actual hit points. We haven't play tested this yet, but in theory this should help limit summons without ever capping them. Of course our wizard is going to take a gamble if he takes more subdue damage than he actually has (Which would become lethal).

 

Figured I'd toss my two cents in and any other suggestions on this would be great! I've read through some of the post and have gotten some other ideas and im interested to see what Eternity dose with summons. :yes:

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Summoning should be implemented very carefully. The summoner and his summons together still represent only one character in the party and their combined power should reflect that. If a summoner can conjure up five ogres to do his bidding, then what incentive is there to have a fighter in the party instead of just another summonner?

 The great thing about Baldur's gate 2 though was that although you could summon a whole bunch of monsters (making it seem OP) there were certain spells (wail of the banshee?) that automatically killed all summoned creatures without a dice-roll. While it may seem like a RPS type game at that point, that was basically what mage battles were in bg2 and why so many people loved it: a sort of chess-battle between two mages. This would be a decent "counter" to a summoner and would make fighters important in battles. Perhaps we can have similar spells but at lower levels for mages in PE? A sort of counter for the summonner, necromancer?

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I don't see how having a particular ability that is temporary and with limited castings unbalances the game any more than any other classes abilities. Summon some cannon fodder for <x> rounds or Horrid Wilting 10 mooks at once? Seems like a wash.

 

The problem stems from the fact that that temporary ability with limited castings possess its own hit points AND acts as a target that you don't really have to care about, not to mention the offensive capabilities it possesses.

 

Summons are generally unique in having all those properties, as most other abilities don't attack AND shield you AND beef up your HP AND use further abilities or produce status effects upon attacking, maybe lead foes into a clump or wherever you want them so that you can Horrid Wilting 10 of them at once, etc.

 

It's just something to be considered, is all.

 

 

For what it's worth, I think an interesting idea would be to treat summons like a controllable spell. Imagine if you launched a fireball, but then you could control its movement to an extent, and it could strike 4 foes before burning out. Almost like a channeled spell, you know? Except you're not channeling to keep the fireball in existence. You're channeling to control it to make it do more than just a launched fireball would do.

 

I don't think summons should actually BE fireballs, but I think it might be cool if they acted more like the caster's current "weapon" at the time, and providing a unique-but-temporary set of skills/capabilities for the duration of the summon (which probably wouldn't be very long, in this case). Obviously, this could simply be ONE type of summon among others.

 

Maybe you have lesser summons, multiple of which can be maintained at one time, and they act on their own (while perhaps accepting minor commands?) as basically reinforcements to your fight, temporarily. Then, you have greater summons, which are significantly more powerful, but cannot be maintained alongside any other summons (summoning one will instantly dismiss your lesser summons), and/or they must be directly controlled by the caster, or they'll just stand there and stare blankly around. Basically, they're stronger, but you can't just summon them, let them run amok alongside you while you run amok casting other spells and smiting things like normal, with basically your very own same-level tank you just brought into the world for a minute. You might could relinquish control to reposition your caster or cast other spells, then re-assume control of the greater summoned thing, so long as it remains in existence. *shrug*

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Lephys has basically just described the say summons work in 4E D&D. If the summoner wants the summoned creature to attack, they must spend their own standard (attack) action to make it happen. Otherwise it will act on it's own, usually by attacking the nearest creature. There are also usually additional consequences for not directly controlling it's actions e.g. Summoner is slowed.

 

I haven't decided if I'm a fan of this or not, it seems overly punitive but the summons are powerful and of course still maintain a separate health pool. It made some sense though that the summoned creature was angry at being yoinked from it's existence to serve and would lash out at the summoner given the chance.

 

I loved the link between casting Gate and Protection from Evil in BG2.

 

Even better, I loved that a wild magic surge in Watcher's Keep could potentially summon any creature from the game. I once managed to summon Tolgerias in there, things got messy :)

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Crit happens

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Ahh. I haven't really read any of the 4th Ed stuff yet. Didn't know I was describing it, :).

 

I was just thinking, it's a good method of making the ability unique. The problem with just-plain summoning reinforcements (even temporarily) is that it's almost the same thing as an ULTRA-powerful buff. Someone else casts a spell or uses an ability that lasts 30 seconds, they get +2 to attack rolls or +5 damage for the duration. You summon a creature, you get an entire 'nother entity on your side of combat, and all the utility, hitpoints, and damage that come with that, all while you're going about your business with using other spells and abilities with your caster, since the summon was performed and now requires none of his concentration.

 

That's the problem to be addressed. So, you've either got to keep the summoned creatures relatively weak (to represent the fact that they're just one of your abilities affecting the battle for a duration), OR you've got to make them quite strong while giving them a trade-off. It's almost like... if you use a two-handed weapon, you lose your shield, since both hands are on the weapon.

 

Yet, it remains different from a shape-changing/transformation ability, because the controlled, summoned creature is still a separate creature from your caster. Maybe it has its own abilities, even, that are unique to it, and is quite strong in ways DIFFERENT than those of your caster. And, if the creature dies, you don't die, because it wasn't you. You've just sort of wasted some mana/a spell there, if you don't make good use of it and keep it alive long enough for it to be effective.

 

Obviously, we don't HAVE to have powerful summons. But, I think the whole "They kind of only work effectively whilst you directly control them, thus preventing you from tag-teaming everything alongside them" thing works pretty well to balance that, mechanically.

 

It fits into lore, too, because, how is it that anything's a challenge for you anymore if you can summon a freakin' frost dragon AND have it do your bidding, all with a simple spell cast, then just forget about it? It's not like you phoned a friend. You're SUMMONING this creature, so it's understood that you're controlling it via magical force (or intimidation, at the very least). And if it's intimidation, then why doesn't everything else you come against simply bow down to you in fear of your awesome might? It just seems like if it's as easy as channeling for 10 seconds, then you've got a huge, awesome ally for a minute or two WHILE you help it fight everything like normal, then how is anything else difficult? No matter how magic works, it seems like you're pretty much omnipotent at that point.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Summoning should allow similar feats as the Baldurs Gate series; so choosing between specialized or mass summons and they have to be as powerful as the other magic spells of the same tier or otherwise useful or there is no point in investing in summon spells when you have destruction spells. Perhaps a staggering on stamina regen based on how many summon you have out; limiting your big spells to longer times per summon spell active, or something to that effect with an option to instantly dismiss them for the remaining cost of their summoning restored? Switching to a more useful summon or spell becomes less prohibitive that way. Unusual summons with perks and drawbacks would also make things interesting (demon summoning spells for example).

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In the IE games, it wasn't really a question between summon and non summon spells. It was rather so that it always made sense to summon some creatures for aid before a big fight (within a fight, they weren't necessarily a better choice than damagespells or crowdcontrol). But you could only summon a certain amount of creatures, and after that you had plenty of opportunity to cast other spells.

 

Of course it would be legit to have enough spells that are equally useful as summons for preparation, so that you can do without summons without weakening your party, and use other strategies. This however I imagine is not so easy to achieve. Especially when you have mass-buff spells, that also affect your summons, thus making them even more useful. Very powerful weapon. 

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However summon spells tend to linger; having some kind of counterbalance allows for more powerful summons at a price. I did not say that this was a mechanic in the Baldurs Gate series, however it could be used to allow summons of higher power without compromising the difficulty of the game. 

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