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I like the idea of having some summons (not all) be mortal and not summonable if killed.

It'd make for interesting play for anyone playing a summoner to search for summon spells throughout the game and not waste them as cannon-fodder.

I think some manner of temporary (even if time-based) detriment might work better. Because, if they can die, then you're constantly facing down that "Hmm... should I use this summon in this fight? What if it dies and I lose it forever?" thought the whole time. Not to mention that something THAT permanent (especially if it occurs because of some silly chancical bad luck, despite your use of caution in the matter) almost begs for a reload. I mean, you're looking at either A) I make sure that thing doesn't die/reload and continue throughout the entire rest of the game with that summon ability, or B) I lack that ability for the entire rest of the game. That would be kind of like a Fighter breaking a hammer, and losing the ability to use a hammer for the rest of the game.

 

Which brings me to the second thing: Either you're totally and utterly fine without that particular summon (which is now dead), meaning that it was pretty insignificant in the first place (you have plenty of core summon-a-bility with things that can't die, to serve as your summoning arsenal and viability throughout the game as a summoner)... OR, you needed that thing, which makes the contrast between its life and death even MORE preposterously lop-sided. Let it die and just keep playing, effectively suffering almost a loss-of-level type penalty, or reload and ensure that it lives so that you can actually make it through the rest of the game without wielding a broken weapon the rest of the way. It would be very similar to a Wizard losing the ability to cast one or more spells, permanently. Put that together with the way builds/improvement works, and you've got a potentially crippling loss. "Wait, I've been boosting my fire magic this whole time, and now I can't cast Fireball ever again?!"

 

*shrug*. For a lot of reasons, it seems to me that a permanent loss of something is pretty extreme. But, I do think that suffering some consequences of letting your summon die (so you can't just use it as cannon-fodder and never care) is a good thing. Maybe it's that you can't summon it again for 30 minutes (so, if you lose it in the middle of a trek through some ruins, you're going to have to fight through all the rest of the stuff without it), OR maybe it just gets summoned back weaker than before, but it's weakness is on a cooldown (much like Resurrection Sickness in MMOs)? So, you CAN summon it again, immediately, but it'll be 30% weaker. Until 30 minutes have passed (just an example time, to keep in sync with the above example), at which point it will regain 100% potency.

 

I'm sure there are even more, better ways of handling it as alternatives to perma-death, so collective brainstorming is welcome, as always.

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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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I like the idea of having some summons (not all) be mortal and not summonable if killed.

It'd make for interesting play for anyone playing a summoner to search for summon spells throughout the game and not waste them as cannon-fodder.

 

As Lephys has just said, the outright and permanent death of a minion begs for reload... but I think there is a potential solution. What if the death didn't bring about the loss of a summon, but its change?

 

The change could still be somewhat disadvantageous, but perhaps welcome or endurable enough to not reload. What if the death of the Great Demon Globrubu resulted in the next time you summoned him, he was the Great Undead Demon Globrubu. This Undead Globrubu might have the disadvantage of being vulnerable to holy damage and maybe an inability to be healed, but perhaps the immunity to disease and plague cloud that follows him is worth the trade.

 

Perhaps the demonic contract for the Great Demon Globrubu is so powerful that it extends to his kin. Thus if the defeat of a very challenging boss was so challenging that it was not worth a reload, despite losing the Great Demon Globrubu, the player would be satisfied because he can still summon Globrubu II - a slightly weaker or different kind of Globrubu. Perhaps he deals less damage and has less health, but is faster.

 

I'm not sure if this idea is good or not, but I'm just throwing it out there. It would mean that if such a creature died, it wouldn't be the players first reaction to reload. Instead the player might be inclined to play further and test the new minion, maybe far enough that reloading wouldn't be worth the lost time just to restore a slightly stronger type of summon - especially if it was well spent on a very difficult boss fight.

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I like the idea of having some summons (not all) be mortal and not summonable if killed.

It'd make for interesting play for anyone playing a summoner to search for summon spells throughout the game and not waste them as cannon-fodder.

<snip> or B) I lack that ability for the entire rest of the game. That would be kind of like a Fighter breaking a hammer, and losing the ability to use a hammer for the rest of the game.

 

No, it would be kind of like a fighter breaking a hammer and losing the ability to use THAT hammer for the rest of the game.

There'd still be other hammers/summons.

It would be very similar to a Wizard losing the ability to cast one or more spells, permanently. Put that together with the way builds/improvement works, and you've got a potentially crippling loss. "Wait, I've been boosting my fire magic this whole time, and now I can't cast Fireball ever again?!"

It wouldn;t be similar, it would be exactly that, a spell which poor use can lead to it being wasted. I imagine that having other summons throughout the game, combined with other limiting factors on how many summons you can have active at any time will balance out the risk of loss.

Losing a summon is not the end of your summoning career.

IE, you may not have fireball any more, but you might still use flame elemental, fire trap, fire pit, meteor, phoenix, flame wall, breath of flame, enchant fire III, etc etc.

 

*shrug*. For a lot of reasons, it seems to me that a permanent loss of something is pretty extreme. But, I do think that suffering some consequences of letting your summon die (so you can't just use it as cannon-fodder and never care) is a good thing. Maybe it's that you can't summon it again for 30 minutes (so, if you lose it in the middle of a trek through some ruins, you're going to have to fight through all the rest of the stuff without it), OR maybe it just gets summoned back weaker than before, but it's weakness is on a cooldown (much like Resurrection Sickness in MMOs)? So, you CAN summon it again, immediately, but it'll be 30% weaker. Until 30 minutes have passed (just an example time, to keep in sync with the above example), at which point it will regain 100% potency.

 

I'm sure there are even more, better ways of handling it as alternatives to perma-death, so collective brainstorming is welcome, as always.


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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I like the idea of having some summons (not all) be mortal and not summonable if killed.

It'd make for interesting play for anyone playing a summoner to search for summon spells throughout the game and not waste them as cannon-fodder.

 

As Lephys has just said, the outright and permanent death of a minion begs for reload... but I think there is a potential solution. What if the death didn't bring about the loss of a summon, but its change?

 

Fine idea! every time a summon dies he gets permanently weakened, until after say 5 times when it actually dies.

that way, losing a summon is not an instant reload, but you're still at risk of losing it over time. By the time it finally dies, it may not be significantly strong enough for the player to be overly upset anyway.


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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How about taking this even a notch further: only heal a random percentage of the damage the minion has suffered after it is unsummoned, and have the summoner only know how it went the next time around. Once the minion's max health has dropped below a threshold, it will no longer respond to summons. Then add some -- costly -- possibilities for the caster to restore some or all of that damage. I.e., a neglected, severely damaged, or killed minion + bad luck = permanently lost minion.

 

This would motivate summoners to be a bit careful with their minions and give them ways to manage their health, and since there's no way to know whether it dropped below the "gone for good" threshold in any given fight, there would be no incentive to reload. By the time it's next summoned and it's not coming back, well hey, too bad.

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No, it would be kind of like a fighter breaking a hammer and losing the ability to use THAT hammer for the rest of the game.

There'd still be other hammers/summons.

I think we might be hitting a contextual disconnect here. Perhaps a better analogy would've been arrows. I'm thinking of each summon as a recurring summon, not a one-time thing (as a type of arrow, rather than an individual arrow). I just gathered that's the kind of summons we were talking about, since we're discussing summoning them a bunch of times (much like firing a bunch of arrows), unless they die. So, imagine using Ice arrows (your means of attack with your bow, just a summon is kind of like ammo for your... figurative summoning-bow), only, they die. Now you can't ever use Ice arrows again. How many total types of arrows can there possibly be in the game, before you're arrow-less? If there are 752 different summons, and they all simply replace one another (Oh, can't summon the Demon Cat Jargeth? Just summon the Celestial Cat Grisboth!), then that seems like an awful lot of work on the summoning system, for what amounts to mainly flavorful benefit. And, again, you could still let 710 of them die, and be extremely limited in your summoning capabilities.

 

Or, if we're talking about a reasonable number of summons, and one, among them, that's very powerful, then either its death SEVERELY detriments your summoning potency overall, OR its continued life makes it essentially over-powered (if you can get along JUST fine without it). And, if we're going to limit the death-ability of summons to only the ones that can be easily gone without, then what's the point? I gathered the point of the suggestion being "you've gotta protect the weapons that are precious to you, because if you use them carelessly, they're gone." So, I'm thinking that, who's gonna want to play the rest of the game (or even be able to) without such a precious weapon? Again, why I equated it to a Fighter losing an entire weapon type. Sure, he can use a different weapon, but if he's just going to grab another hammer, then why do we care whether or not that first hammer could break?

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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This entire thread strikes me as something between a tempest in a teapot and an answer in search of a question. Perma-death for entire categories of summoned creatures? Preposterous! That they're disposable, temporary muscle to help the party out of a tight spot is their raison d'etre, not a violation of the spirit of the game.

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http://cbrrescue.org/

 

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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Are you saying that it is inherently the sole role of summoned creatures to be consumable allies-in-a-bottle, to be used for a quick boost like potions, and that it's somehow preposterous for even a single core ability (optional or not) of a class that gets used throughout the game?


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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If you want a summon to be more than a simple pawn, make it a little like the familiars of BG2 only capable of pulling it's own weight in combat. Give it a permanent position in the party, give it dialogue and tiny interjections and even a mini-quest or two for abilities and permanent buffs.

Give characters a choice as to which kind of summon they call to fill this role; so there are several with differing capabilities and personalities.

During rest they can resummon this creature or an alternate one but the cost of changing is the loss of the previous one.

Death for this summon might annoy it and ultimately break its loyalty if it occurs frequently.  

However it adds a small boost to the summoner based upon it's nature to ensure the summoner doesn't get defeated and thus cause it to unsummon; it can at higher levels even channel a part of it's own essence to keep the mage alive, but at a drastic cost to itself in battle potential for a day.

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I think we need to split Summons into different Tiers, which is a little bit what I tried with "Low, Mid and High". Perhaps even adding an "Epic" Tier as a category in itself.

Because I am in favor of the Perma-Death Summoning (Summoned Beings that Die), but I am also in favor of a limitless stock.

Low Tier Summons - As seen in Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale etc. etc. they never run out, they don't get weaker and they don't really get stronger (unless the Wizard himself is stronger. Maybe he calls out 3 Low-Tier Summons instead of 2 when he reaches a certain level or something). Being able to name them, so you summon "Humpti" and "Dumpti" over and over again for a duration of time (or until you unsummon/dispell them) or until they fatefully die in battle. Then you lose them and you get to summon 2 new ones that you can name "Bolli" and "Holli" or whatever you want.

Mid Tier Summons - [Repeat above]

High Tier Summons - [Repeat above]

Epic Tier Summons - Quest Tier Summons. Something you have to find in the World, perhaps even do battle with and "catch" and "tame". There's only ONE of these in the world, not two, but a single one between all realms. Just like there is only ONE Main Character that you have created. So if this ONE single Summon dies when it is called, it doesn't simply "de-materialize" and disappear into some sort of void, but it gets cracked, slashed, death, it ceases to exist altogether. How would you be able to Summon something that is dead? Necromancy?

 

What I am suggesting is that Obsidian create Quest Content for Epic Summons that are "Unique" Summons in the game that could very well work as a "7th Companion" when Summoned (but for obvious reasons never be as strong or have as many abilities and can't "level up" and can't partake in any banters or whatnot).

This whole discussion brings me to some questions:

What sort of "Life" rules apply to Summons? What kind of "Soul" do they have and are they Immortal beings that only do their Master's bidding? What is a Summon and where do they come from? What happens when a Summon breaks "free" or is "let go"? Can a Summon live a mortal life in the regular plane or does it dissipate? Is a Summon a Soul? Can you kill a Soul? Etc. etc.

Edited by Osvir
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This entire thread strikes me as something between a tempest in a teapot and an answer in search of a question. Perma-death for entire categories of summoned creatures? Preposterous! That they're disposable, temporary muscle to help the party out of a tight spot is their raison d'etre, not a violation of the spirit of the game.

 

Hear! Hear! Quasi-permanent summons is a terrible idea. Summons are a spell, not a meaningful character interaction or plot device. There is absolutely no reason to develop an entire set of mechanics to give a spell superflous aspects of an NPC. In most games, summons don't even actually die. Anything conjured from another plane is simply expelled back to its home plane.

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Hear! Hear! Quasi-permanent summons is a terrible idea. Summons are a spell, not a meaningful character interaction or plot device. There is absolutely no reason to develop an entire set of mechanics to give a spell superflous aspects of an NPC. In most games, summons don't even actually die. Anything conjured from another plane is simply expelled back to its home plane.

... Was someone asking for quasi-permanent summons? If they were, I missed it. Is that what Tsuga's post was about,too? Quasi-permanent summons and their folly?

 

In the interest of clarification (of my posts, at least) I was simply referring to summons that you can summon again. Not summons that are incapable of dying. But, specifically stating "perma"death, as opposed to mere death, seemed to suggest "this is completely and utterly obliterated, and you can never summon it again." Which would be a bit silly for, say, a Wizard's Summon Celestial Wolf spell. At what point would you ever be incapable of summoning a Celestial Wolf? Or a Necromancer animating corpses. Clearly, for the Wizard's Summon Celestial Wolf or the Necromancer's Animate Corpse ability to cease functioning would be a bit silly.

 

That isn't to say you couldn't have anything summonable that could perma-die, but at that point, the importance of it would have to be such that you'd actually care about whether or not it was gone, meaning it would be much more like a pet or character than a simple summoned ally. If it IS that important, then losing it is incredibly detrimental to your repertoire of abilities. And, either way, the threat of perma-death will have you second-guessing when to use it, and over-carefully pulling it from combat at half-health, thereby diluting its usefulness even more.

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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Hear! Hear! Quasi-permanent summons is a terrible idea. Summons are a spell, not a meaningful character interaction or plot device. There is absolutely no reason to develop an entire set of mechanics to give a spell superflous aspects of an NPC. In most games, summons don't even actually die. Anything conjured from another plane is simply expelled back to its home plane.

... Was someone asking for quasi-permanent summons? If they were, I missed it. Is that what Tsuga's post was about,too? Quasi-permanent summons and their folly?

 

I suppose I did in a way. Not really a request so much as a suggested direction.

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This entire thread strikes me as something between a tempest in a teapot and an answer in search of a question. Perma-death for entire categories of summoned creatures? Preposterous! That they're disposable, temporary muscle to help the party out of a tight spot is their raison d'etre, not a violation of the spirit of the game.

 

Hear! Hear! Quasi-permanent summons is a terrible idea. Summons are a spell, not a meaningful character interaction or plot device. There is absolutely no reason to develop an entire set of mechanics to give a spell superflous aspects of an NPC. In most games, summons don't even actually die. Anything conjured from another plane is simply expelled back to its home plane.

 

Well that's appealing to tradition. Summoning traditionally has had balance problems leading to summons either being underwhelming or broken. I do like the idea of summoning spells you have to be careful with, tactically.

it adds to depth of play in combat, without adding much complexity. So what that summons used to go differently.

I'm not advocating we get rid of it entirely, rather that there is an alternative of higher level allies which are stronger but also a limited resource.

 

<snip>That isn't to say you couldn't have anything summonable that could perma-die, but at that point, the importance of it would have to be such that you'd actually care about whether or not it was gone, meaning it would be much more like a pet or character than a simple summoned ally. If it IS that important, then losing it is incredibly detrimental to your repertoire of abilities. And, either way, the threat of perma-death will have you second-guessing when to use it, and over-carefully pulling it from combat at half-health, thereby diluting its usefulness even more.

 

If there are 752 different summons, and they all simply replace one another (Oh, can't summon the Demon Cat Jargeth? Just summon the Celestial Cat Grisboth!), then that seems like an awful lot of work on the summoning system, for what amounts to mainly flavorful benefit. And, again, you could still let 710 of them die, and be extremely limited in your summoning capabilities.

 

Or, if we're talking about a reasonable number of summons, and one, among them, that's very powerful, then either its death SEVERELY detriments your summoning potency overall, OR its continued life makes it essentially over-powered (if you can get along JUST fine without it). And, if we're going to limit the death-ability of summons to only the ones that can be easily gone without, then what's the point? I gathered the point of the suggestion being "you've gotta protect the weapons that are precious to you, because if you use them carelessly, they're gone." So, I'm thinking that, who's gonna want to play the rest of the game (or even be able to) without such a precious weapon? Again, why I equated it to a Fighter losing an entire weapon type. Sure, he can use a different weapon, but if he's just going to grab another hammer, then why do we care whether or not that first hammer could break?

I'd balance it so you'd hate to lose it, but not so much that you don't want to go on. A useful but not required ally lost.

 

There would be enough summons and other abilities (including more frequent low-level summons) to not make the summoner completely useless as soon as his favourite summon is gone. Also, losing 712 summons or more than 80% of them shows a severe lack of skill in combat. If you play that poorly with summons, you deserve to lose them and suffer for it gameplay wise.

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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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This entire thread strikes me as something between a tempest in a teapot and an answer in search of a question. Perma-death for entire categories of summoned creatures? Preposterous! That they're disposable, temporary muscle to help the party out of a tight spot is their raison d'etre, not a violation of the spirit of the game.

 

That summons are simply disposable, temporary muscle pushes summoning to a very boring sideline. A very traditional sideline. It ensures that summoning will always be a bonus on the side and never a primary means of fighting.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the answer has already been found. The rest is just brainstorming for our enjoyment. Here is the answer:

 

Simply give a summoner a few core, reliable summons and treat them like his weapons and allow them to grow with him. Treat a stronger summon like a sword in a virtual hand, of which only one type can be summoned (1 strong golem, demon, beast, undead, etc). Treat a group of weaker summons like the finger knives of his offhand (5 weaker summons such as skeletons, dogs, large beetles, whatever). Finally and most importantly, make the summoner weak, helpless and basically useless. Give all the fighting prowess to his summons.

 

That's the outline of the solution. Instead of a Fighter or Wizard who has 100% of his power in himself, the Summoner should have 45% of his power in his primary summon, 45% of his power in his secondary weaker summons (9% each), and 10% of his power to himself in minor abilities that enhance his summons (such as perhaps a heal, or a curse that weakens enemies so that his summons are more effective). Imagine a NWN2 Wizard with an empty spellbook except for a row of level 1 spells. The best he can do individually is maybe cast something like Entanglement or Oil Slick so that his victims can't escape his minions. This is how weak he should be. The powers of all the other spells should all go into his minions.

 

I don't see what's wrong with this at all. With this implementation, a non summoner can still have the traditional summons if he wishes. It just means that should a player want serious summons he can have them in a fair and balanced way.

 

Dismissing this entire thread as a "tempest in a teapot" would mean that it summoning is a small event, and our ideas are blown way out of proportion. That is perhaps to an extent true... we don't want a summon to be a small event, we want it to be a primary means of combat. As for the "answer in search of a question", we don't like the way our summoning has been in previous games... so we are questioning it. If you want to be a pure summoner, then the implementation of summoning used in NWN style games is a BAD ANSWER. Like you said "Disposable, temporary muscle" that is a bad answer our vision of summoning, hence why we question it.

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How about taking this even a notch further: only heal a random percentage of the damage the minion has suffered after it is unsummoned, and have the summoner only know how it went the next time around. Once the minion's max health has dropped below a threshold, it will no longer respond to summons. Then add some -- costly -- possibilities for the caster to restore some or all of that damage. I.e., a neglected, severely damaged, or killed minion + bad luck = permanently lost minion.

 

This would motivate summoners to be a bit careful with their minions and give them ways to manage their health, and since there's no way to know whether it dropped below the "gone for good" threshold in any given fight, there would be no incentive to reload. By the time it's next summoned and it's not coming back, well hey, too bad.

 

For a spell of that nature, it could work a bit like a durability system. The creature is damaged by being used. This could be reflected by a decrease of his total hitpoints by a set amount every time it is killed in combat, based upon the biggest attack it received in the previous fight.

 

eg.

 

Imp has 500hp.

*Summons imp for the fight*

During the fight, the most damaging attack dealt to the imp was 75 damage.

*Unsummons imp. Imp now has 425hp*

*Summons for the next fight*

Biggest hit was 52 damage.

*Unsummons imp. Imp now has 373hp*

 

The trend continues until the imp is more or less worthless. I think this'd have to go with the unique contract related summons I mentioned before though, which are unique/one of a kind summons granted from a quest/plot thing.

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Summons you don't get back if they die would make it exactly one of those assets you never ever use because you might need it later for the even bigger fight. And then you just keep storing that tactical kobold past any usefulness. Still carry it around to the final battle where summoning it would take too much time and it'd die in a second anyway.

 

Just about every NWN module where you were given a summon something 3 uses item, you never use them. Or maybe you do, on a second or third playthrough where you know you can just use it on miniboss 3.

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Yeah, I think Josan's proposal works well in that respect. Give me a consumable object that summons an ice elemental with 500HP, when I know, in context, that that'll last roughly 20 battles, and I'm not going to worry so much about using it. MAYBe when it gets down to 50HP left, I'll start saving it. But, I've already used it 15-or-so times at that point. So... there's a lot fewer eggs in a single basket.

 

Of course, it kinda coincides with the health/stamina system of P:E. So, that 500HP ice elemental might only have 70 stamina. Run out of that, and it de-summons. Maybe you can only summon it once per encounter or something. So now you don't just have 20 battles worth of damage absorption at your disposal, on top of your party and all their abilities.

 

Again, you still have to factor in the effects of the inclusion of disposable summons, period, on the non-disposable bits of the summoning gameplay. If you can basically build a class as a summoner, then how does the disposable summon factor in? Is its potency/limitation somehow based on the abilities of the user, or is it simply something that's the same no matter what, and that everyone can use (Fighter can just use the consumable to summon an ice elemental)? Maybe it's much weaker if summoned by a non-summoner, and much stronger if summoned by a summoner. But it affects the total number of things a summoner is allowed to control at once? Who knows. There's just a lot of stuff to consider there.


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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Are you saying that it is inherently the sole role of summoned creatures to be consumable allies-in-a-bottle, to be used for a quick boost like potions, and that it's somehow preposterous for even a single core ability (optional or not) of a class that gets used throughout the game?

No, they could always be called up for information, too. There are plenty of examples in fantasy literature of people summoning various sorts of infernal or fey entities to trade soul, sacrifice, or service for badly needed information. I think including this in P:E is a splendid idea that deserves some consideration from Obsidian. Your "allies-in-a-bottle" comment is, however, my preferred method of handling summoned entities when it comes to combat. As was noted by someone else earlier, they're summoned via a spell and they should be temporary additions to the party that return whence they came after a period of time or when their material body is destroyed, whichever comes first. If you want a more permanent summoned creature that might grow with you, craft a figurine and let it operate under different rules than a garden variety summoned entity.

 

What I find preposterous is the idea that it becomes impossible to summon an hound archon or a marilith ever again if one of them gets killed fighting for you. Were they the only ones of their kind in the entire multiverse? Gee, it must've been rather lonely to be them...

Edited by Tsuga C

http://cbrrescue.org/

 

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

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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I appreciate the clarification. I think I understand you now, and I agree with your ideas, in general.

 

What I find preposterous is the idea that it becomes impossible to summon an hound archon or a marilith ever again if one of them gets killed fighting for you. Were they the only ones of their kind in the entire multiverse? Gee, it must've been rather lonely to be them...

There might've been a disconnect here (at least with my posts), in that the only "permanence" I'm vying for is exactly what you're referring to here. I might've had poor wording or something, but it seems that when I tried to express this very problem, people started thinking I was somehow vying for summoned creatures that could never fall in combat or go away.

 

When I talk about permanent summons, I mean something like "Lightning Wolf." I permanently possess the ability to temporarily summon a lightning wolf, however it is formed or created or teleported in from another plane. Either there are more wolves in that plane to summon in the future, or I summon the same one because it returns when it becomes weakened rather than actually perishing. OR, I simply fashion mana or whatever into the form of an electric wolf, and it maintains that form, under my power, for a duration.

 

When we talk about being able to be "a summoner," as tied to a class, or at least a class build, etc., you can't really have purely consumable abilities to simply add allies onto the field of combat. You have to have the means of summoning creatures to combat as a part of that class's capabilities. That's the permanence I'm referring to. Not that there HAS to be a summoner role in P:E. But, it would be nice, as it's usually glanced over in most other games.


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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Are you saying that it is inherently the sole role of summoned creatures to be consumable allies-in-a-bottle, to be used for a quick boost like potions, and that it's somehow preposterous for even a single core ability (optional or not) of a class that gets used throughout the game?

No, they could always be called up for information, too. There are plenty of examples in fantasy literature of people summoning various sorts of infernal or fey entities to trade soul, sacrifice, or service for badly needed information. I think including this in P:E is a splendid idea that deserves some consideration from Obsidian. Your "allies-in-a-bottle" comment is, however, my preferred method of handling summoned entities when it comes to combat. As was noted by someone else earlier, they're summoned via a spell and they should be temporary additions to the party that return whence they came after a period of time or when their material body is destroyed, whichever comes first. If you want a more permanent summoned creature that might grow with you, craft a figurine and let it operate under different rules than a garden variety summoned entity.

 

What I find preposterous is the idea that it becomes impossible to summon an hound archon or a marilith ever again if one of them gets killed fighting for you. Were they the only ones of their kind in the entire multiverse? Gee, it must've been rather lonely to be them...

 

If I may,

 

having some summons be killable does not mean all of them have to be. I like the idea of gaining unique summons whose states are remembered by the game. When they unsummon after combat, they gain a little health and stamina (perhaps based on the casting ability of the summoner) and can't be summoned for a cooldown period, let's say a day.

You'd have to be careful using these powerful allies, as losing them means losing them permanently.

 

That doesn't mean there'd be no "ally in a bottle" summons which can be used again and again.

 

I do like your idea of not using summons only for combat, but also for information. Although pacts with demons are as clichéd as it gets, and get no love from me, I can see summons taking the place of familiars, using them as scouts and thieves, perhaps giving some (like a cat) special ability to climb past obstacles to create familiar/summon only paths.

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That doesn't mean there'd be no "ally in a bottle" summons which can be used again and again.

For the sake of clarification, my reference to "ally-in-a-bottle" was in reference to single-use consumable types. I get what you're saying, though. I just wanted to make sure it was clear we were using that phrase in two different ways. 8P

 

I also like Tsuga's non-combat utility idea for summons. Maybe you can summon something that can (CLICHE EXAMPLE ALERT!) take the form of an attractive female and lure off a guard, for the purposes of access gain, or even for ambushing (so, sort of potentially combat-related). Or, you can summon things that can provide you with senses/ranges you didn't otherwise have. Or things that can read glyphs/languages you can't. Or summons that can deliver messages long distances, like carrier pigeons. The possibilities are bountiful. :)

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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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There are many brilliant possibilities for non-combat summons.

 

In D&D, there are spells like Unseen Servant (an invisible and very weak creature that can perform tasks for you, but cannot fight) and Prying Eyes (floating eyes to scout for you).

 

Anyone who played Warcraft 2 would remember that an Ogre Magi could summon an Eye of Kilrog. This was a floating eye that didn't last very long and would die to a few arrows but could fly at incredible speed. It was used for scouting.

 

In Diablo 2 the druid could summon spirits that floated alongside the druid and gave him defence bonuses or damage bonuses. He could also summon forth a plant that would devour the corpses of enemies to replentish the druids mana. Another sort could be summoned that devoured corpses to replentish health.

 

I'm sure the brilliant minds here can come up with even better ideas for P:E.

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I like the idea of unkillable summons. I don't think there's an effective method of implementing summons otherwise, they provide too much versatility.

 

The reason why summons are usually used at higher levels in 3E/Pathfinder are because they're an indirect form of healing (would you rather heal 1 to 8 points or a static 6 points?) and they provide extra attacks (invaluable at every level, regardless of the actual attack bonus). I don't know about anyone else, but to me, summons are too valuable, especially in a Vancian system where spells are typically prepared ahead of time. As it is, summons are a distraction, heal, and damage rolled in one. It's even worse if a summon can use special abilities, like psionics.

 

I think summons in P:E should be 'moving spells', which possess weaker effects over a longer time. What I mean is, one summon deals fire damage to an enemy over time while another heals nearby allies over time. In terms of creative design, maybe these summons can be 'manifestations' of the caster's Soul, like spirits they created to do their bidding, and they can't be attacked because they're intangible spirits. So, a caster might have to choose between a Fireball, which inflicts high direct damage in an area, or a Spirit Of Flame, which inflicts low damage against enemies nearby, listens to player commandscannot be targeted by enemies, and lasts for the spell's duration. I think this gives an interesting choice in combat and erases any worries about the summon's defenses. It just becomes a lower-powered spell with a longer duration and a variable area of effect. If a player wants to create a distraction, that should be a separate effect, like an illusion spell.

 

 

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I don't think there's an effective method of implementing summons otherwise, they provide too much versatility.

While ever you're thinking of summons purely within the D&D system there will never be an effective enough method of implementing them. It's like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. In order to make it fit, you have to shrink the summon to a tiny enough size that it'll fit inside, and even then it's not a proper fit which is why everyone then complains about how broken it is or how out of place it feels.

 

What you've suggested isn't really a summon. It's just a different kind of fireball. It's a fireball that unleashes its payload in small bursts rather than all at once, but it's still a fireball. It's like a Damage Over Time spell from WoW except it can change who it hurts on the fly.

 

What you have done is taken the idea of a summon, thought about it within the D&D context and realised it can't work, then changed the summon into a spell so it can work. To make it seem more like a summon, you've called it a Spirit of Flame and allowed it to move around a bit.

 

But I have a question... why would anyone use it? In most situations I can think of it'd be better to deal all the damage the spell can do in one shot (using a Fireball), than patiently waiting for damage to be dealt by its Spirit of Flame counterpart. It'd only pay off if it dealt significantly more damage over time than a Fireball could deal in one blast. Even then, it would only be useful for a one specific scenario:

 

Efficiently killing weak creatures - If there are 12 goblins in an area, but your fireball spell won't reach all of them, the Spirit of Flame could slowly and more efficiently kill them.

 

Otherwise you'd be better off not wasting time and blowing the enemy away with a fireball. You're also forgetting that since a summon can't deal all of its potential damage in one blow, like a fireball, it needs time to serve as a distraction just to justify its existence. If a summon isn't providing a distraction, then the enemy is still hitting you AND the spell hasn't paid for itself. You could well die just waiting for the Spirit of Flame to deal half the damage a conventional fireball could.

 

With all that said, I like your idea so long as not all summons were to become like this.

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