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    Canonfire :: View topic - Animal Summoning, Part 2
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- AD&D 2nd Edition
    Animal Summoning, Part 2
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2440
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:01 am  
    Animal Summoning, Part 2

    More questions about this VERY open-ended spell.

    1) The duration is exceedingly flexible, and does not give a definite duration. This is obviously both good and bad, but there has to be a maximum duration. One cannot summon animals with a ridiculously extended duration (ex: "Guard this temple from all threats until it no longer exists.")

    I offer a maximum duration of one day per level of the caster before the spell must be recast to rebind the animals once more. It should be noted that animals serving the summons must still be given enough latitude to sustain themselves, or be provided sustenance, or the spell is broken. They aren't going to starve and dehydrate themselves to death.

    Thoughts and suggestions?

    2) What if the summoning priest temporarily enters another Plane of existence while the animals are under the thrall of the spell? Does the summoning suddenly break as a result?

    Ex: a priest of Trithereon summons animals for an open-ended task of guardianship or protection, then temporarily enters the Border Ethereal, or even Plane Shifts, but returns well within the aforementioned suggested spell duration noted above. Does the summoning spell break, or not?

    thank you,

    Lanthorn
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:18 am  

    You might look at the duration given in 3.x summoning spells for guidance. Unfortunately, I find them to be uselessly short for low-level casters.

    Basically, monster/animal summoning spells have a duration of one round per caster level. By the time a caster is 10th level, that isn't a problem because most summoned monsters/animals won't survive longer than that many rounds of combat anyway. However, summoning a goblin to protect your 1st level wizard for a single round is a waste of a first level spell.

    So, I suggest you go with a more reasonable duration like 10 rounds plus one round per level of the caster, or until the summoned creature is destroyed or dismissed by the caster.

    SirXaris
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2440
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:20 pm  

    Thank you SirXaris. The specific wording of the spell is as follows with regards to duration:

    "The animals summoned aid the caster by whatever means they possess, staying until a fight is over, a specific mission is finished, the caster is safe, he sends them away, etc."

    With that as a guiding principle, I think that 10 rnds/level is too short given the description. That is why I suggested a day per caster level.

    I am still interested to hear what you think with regards to the 2nd question.

    Keep the posts coming.

    -Lanthorn
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 15, 2010
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    Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:36 am  

    Keying in on "specific mission" I would rule "guard the temple" is not a specific enough mission--an event with a time component makes more sense ie "guard the temple from the evil orc horde's attack" would suffice for me. That could last for minutes/hours/perhaps a few days until the threat passed (or vanquished the good guys!)

    Other practical examples include "escort me to the City of Greyhawk" or "protect me while I explore the Dreaded Forest of Mean Things." I don't think those nerf the spell, are sufficiently long to make the spell worth memorizing/casting, and do not imbalance the game.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 505
    From: London, England

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    Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:41 am  

    I concur with jtylerk. I think that an open-ended request like "Guard the temple." would cause the spell to fail. I think that the stipulation should also be a concept the animal could understand such as "for three winters". However, even if the caster stipulated "Guard this temple for 20 winters" I don't have a major problem with that. Animal Summoning I is a 4th level spell so it's no minor magic. The toughest creatures it can summon (4HD or less) are wolves, black bears, jaguars, hyenas. With the exception of wolves and hyenas, most of these creatures are solitary and/or very territorial so actually finding 8 within a 1 mile radius is rare. You might find, say two or three if you were lucky. Additionally, something like a wolf has a lifespan of 6-8 years in the wild so even an open-ended command can't trump death.

    Another consideration is that as a 7th level caster, having even a few 4HD guardians is only really a deterrent for weaker creatures. At best they could have 32hp which is only a few hits of a big old sword or axe.

    So basically, if a 7th level priest really wanted to have a handful of wolves or bears guarding their shrine for 6 years it's not really a big deal. If those animals are coming adventuring their lifespan is going to rapidly shorten.

    A caster who abuses the spell would incur the wrath of local druids as they decimate the local wolf pack (for example). Priests of a nature deity casting the spell also have an ethical consideration. You also need to consider - are the animals magically compelled the whole duration of service or do they serve willingly. If it's the latter, mistreatment may cause them to depart or receive a saving throw to break the obligation?


    With regards to your second point, I don't think travelling to another plane would end the spell unless it required a specific mental connection with the animals to be maintained which I don't believe it does.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3776
    From: So. Cal

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    Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:14 am  

    jtylerk wrote:
    Keying in on "specific mission" I would rule "guard the temple" is not a specific enough mission--an event with a time component makes more sense ie "guard the temple from the evil orc horde's attack" would suffice for me. That could last for minutes/hours/perhaps a few days until the threat passed (or vanquished the good guys!)

    Other practical examples include "escort me to the City of Greyhawk" or "protect me while I explore the Dreaded Forest of Mean Things." I don't think those nerf the spell, are sufficiently long to make the spell worth memorizing/casting, and do not imbalance the game.

    That sums things up perfectly, in my opinion. If you lay down such parameters to your players, and a player goes so far as to rules-lawyer up the most long term specific mission they can think of, then you can simply say the animals are not available/in range of the spell...

    DM: "The cleric casts the spell, but no animals respond to his summons."

    Player: "But my cleric is looking right at the animals he is attempting to summon!"

    DM: "Yes, he is, and he swears he just saw one of the animals look right at him and smack its lips; perhaps in derision. But he is not sure. Roll an Animal Lore check."

    Player: "I roll a 3."

    DM: "Oh yes, it is definitely smacking its lips in derision. Would the cleric like to cast the spell again?"

    Razz
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