You and What Army?

One of the biggest problems I encountered in 3rd edition was the ability for characters to have not just one, but several pets, summoned monsters, animated dead, rebuked undead, crafted golems, charmed/dominated creatures, followers, etc.


The Summon Monster/Nature's Ally spells allowed you to summon 1d4 + 1 monsters with a single casting, and each one was its own creature with its own entire turn, attacks (often several attacks), spells, etc. And there was no restriction against casting the spell multiple times to gain more and more monsters under your command. Sorcerers and Druids in particular had a very easy time abusing this.


The Animate Dead spell was also problematic. While there was a limit on how many creatures you could control at a time, the limit was 4 times your caster level in HD. A 10th level caster, for example, could have 40 HD of undead animated and serving him at any given time. That could be four hill giant skeletons, for example! Clerics could take it even furhter, by adding their level in HD of commanded undead.


Summoned and animated dead were in addition to any golems the character crafted, animal companions, familiars, henchmen, outsiders from planar ally/binding spells and beings the character had dominated (which lasted for days, even weeks). Between all of these things, and others, characters could have a ridiculous number of creatures under their command. 4e had its action economy to solve this problem, but I think it may have gone a bit too far in the other direction (even rangers had to share actions with their animal companions, for example).


I hope something is done to reign this in in Next, without having to go to 4e's extreme of shared actions. For example, I think that summon monster spells should usually be limited to summoning a single monster and should require concentration, preventing you from stacking them. Dominate Person/Monster should also require concentration, preventing people from having dominated monsters + summoned monsters at the same time. Animate Dead should be limited to creating one minion at a time. These are all sensible restrictions, IMO, and would at least keep things relatively sane.

but what if summoning a hoard is your charachter concept?
but what if summoning a hoard is your charachter concept?



Then pick a different character concept, one that doesn't monopolize the battlefield and doesn't give your character several turns for every one that the other players get to take. As much as I like to let people play what they want, there are limits.
A better sollution is to allow that concept, but create rules which limit the negetive affects you mentioned.
A simple fix would be no more than CHA mod, or CHA mod + level, or something like that, in controlled creatures.
Personally, I think the shared action shtick works best.
The shared action setup feels most lame when someone's trying to control a horde of creatures, because it maximizes the extent that a lot of them are doing nothing. I think the best way to make horde summoning work under shared actions is with spells like 4e's Summon Abyssal Horde, which explicitly allows you to control multiple creatures summoned by the spell with your actions. Otherwise shared actions makes horde-summoning largely pointless - more or less just a trap option.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
It's not a trap option to spend multiple turns setting up your horde to create a gauntlet of opportunity attacks, or a buffer between you and the bad guys.

Special circumstances can always break the rules and give special bonuses, but if you want multiple actions per round play multiple charachters  
Allowing peopel to summon hordes or have a coterie of followers is ideal for a module where the whole group can agree that iot's okay for one or more players to have a whole suite of actions.

But my experience is that shared actions almost always make the game feel like a board game rather than a RPG, because the justification for the limited actions never feels natural.  

Otherwise, the best way, in my experience to deal with a summoned horde is to treat it like a swarm or cloud and to make clear that the summoned creatures are not entirely natural so it's not expected that they would act like real summoned creatures. But even this can be a problem.  A druid should be expected to be able to summon real wolverines, not ephemeral wolverine-like spirits.  
In practice this was never an issue in AD&D.

Spells like Animate Dead and the ability to command undead were evil actions.   Even in ravenloft such an action would incur a powers check.   Alignment and ethos kept that sort of thing at bay in AD&D.    In fact, I don't recal any cleric on our 2e games that could justify animating the dead.   Even if the player could justify such an action it would certainly require an atonement and possibly cause the deity to revoke divine spells.    In some cases the deity wouldn't even grant such a spell.     Even if a wizard cast Animate Dead  (which was more likely)  that player might be subject to sanctions by other good aligned party members (for ethical reasons).

Another point that has been lost is that the AD&D spells list contained spells for NPCs and players to use.     Animate Dead, Magic Jar, Trap the Soul,  Inflict wounds, etc are all examples of spells typically reserved for NPCs.    Playing a necromancer or a death priest was frowned upon, but that concept was lost in 3e.   

Looking back I do recall that hirelings and henchmen were common.    Maybe 3e tried to replace them with summoning spells in 3e.     Either way D&D has always supported the concept of extended party members.        

I think I'll wait and see how followers/henchmen will work in D&D Next before I draw any conclusions.      IMO, the max followers/henchmen bonus that used to be part of charisma should return.  It would be a good way to limit summoning spells.


Great! I love summoning! I actually think that we have a place for summoning hordes. I believe we can make it balanced. But I don't know about the shared action. I wish there was another way.
But yeah, I actually like all those kind of things (familiar, animal companions, summons, henchmen, etc...) and I believe we can have them.
Looking back I do recall that hirelings and henchmen were common.


But they were crap in a fight. They were supposed to set up camp and hang out to be promoted to full PC in case a PC got killed.  (That way the player could simply play the NPC as a PC.)

Maybe 3e tried to replace them with summoning spells in 3e.


3e replaced henchmen with the leadership feat.

Either way D&D has always supported the concept of extended party members.


But not extended party members useful in combat, where they slow down the game play.  

IMO, the max followers/henchmen bonus that used to be part of charisma should return.  It would be a good way to limit summoning spells.


I'd just like that stuff ot be part of an add-on module so you can use them knowing the issues that might arise.

Yeah Wrecan's right: AD&D summons were quite limited in scope. Great for flavour - a horde of unseen servants make an awesome party, and what necromancer wouldn't want a skeletal mook to go do their laundry? But generally if you got a serious summon, it came at great price and was so dreadfully costly to lose that players often didn't want to risk it.


But to the horde of dudes question: it does seem to be sort of an exception to the rule and should be treated as such. That is to say, on a case by case basis with a variety of strategies based on the game, people, and session at hand. It should be rare enough to keep it that way.


But they were crap in a fight. They were supposed to set up camp and hang out to be promoted to full PC in case a PC got killed.  (That way the player could simply play the NPC as a PC.)



Not true at all.  I've never heard of the game being played that way and the DMG makes no mention of such a concept.       A henchman was simply an NPC who was lower level.  The DMG explicitly states that a Henchman can never be the PC's level or higher.    In other words a 5th level fighter could have a 4th level henchman.   In addition, PC's were even encouraged to equip them with magical items.

" henchman is a PC's friend, confidante, and ally."

"A henchman should always be of lower level than the player character. This keeps the henchman from stealing the spotlight. If the henchman is equal or greater in level, he could become as, or more, important than the player character. The player might neglect his own character, an undesirable result. Thus, if a henchman should reach an equal level, he will depart the service of the player character and set out on his own adventures. This doesn't mean he disappears forever. He is still present in the campaign, can still show up periodically as a DM-controlled NPC, and can still be considered a friend of the player character."

On the other hand hirelings can be any level the party can afford.


3e replaced henchmen with the leadership feat.


Which resulted in no henchmen being used at all and put more focus on the summon X spells. 

Of course, AD&D has the leadership prof.    I don't think 3e replaced henchmen with the leadership feat at all. It just turned the prof into a feat. 



But not extended party members useful in combat, where they slow down the game play.  



With AD&D combat was very fast and it wasn't ever a problem.   4e had companion characters which wasn't much different.  


I'd just like that stuff ot be part of an add-on module so you can use them knowing the issues that might arise.



Yeah, it's fine as a module.  On the other hand it's very easy to ignore.    I'm just pointing out that traditionally the game made use of henchmen and hirelings (red shirts).  




I think shared action rules can make perfect sense.

Make a rule that creatures that are summoned are loyal to you, but are more loyal to their own skin.  Meaning, they will not engage in dangerous activity unless specifically ordered to. If attacked, and not commanded to stand their ground, they will run away, or strongly attempt to defend themselves where they are.

Now it takes a large force of will to get your summoned creatures to do what you want them to do.
 
Make exceptions to this rules for creatures that are summoned as your sole summoned creature, or that are required for the class to work, or other times that the exception is needed.  The key is to make this the exception, and rather than the norm.
but what if summoning a hoard is your charachter concept?



Then pick a different character concept, one that doesn't monopolize the battlefield and doesn't give your character several turns for every one that the other players get to take. As much as I like to let people play what they want, there are limits.

just move them all on your turn.

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but what if summoning a hoard is your charachter concept?



Then pick a different character concept, one that doesn't monopolize the battlefield and doesn't give your character several turns for every one that the other players get to take. As much as I like to let people play what they want, there are limits.

just move them all on your turn.


I'm not sure how

Fighter-Summoner-Summoner-Summoner-Summoner-Summoner-Wizard-Rogue

is functionally less monopolizing than

Summoner-Fighter-Summoner-Wizard-Summoner-Summoner-Rogue-Summoner 
[

3e replaced henchmen with the leadership feat.


Which resulted in no henchmen being used at all and put more focus on the summon X spells. 




Maybe in your games....

In the 3x/PF games I play in it's not at all uncommon to see at least one, if not more, PCs making good use (both mechanicly & in-story) of the leadership feat.

Ex; In the PF game we just wrapped up?  Of the 4-5 players?  3 of us had leadership - and large contingants of henchmen/followers/etc.
The paladin - had her own fairly well optimized sub-party of adventurers in tow.
The sorceror?  Had a small fanatical cult of about 30 followers who worshiped him as their diety.  Very handy, & some were very optimized.
The psion?  Had another 20-some mind controlled thralls.  Some were from Leadership, some from whatever type of psion he was.  But whatever, 20-some extra bodies, all with stats....

In the previous game?  I ran two charaters that had the feat.
The first one?  Was a 1/2ling big game hunter - with his trusty assistant to load the extra gun & carry ammo.
Later on I ran a fighter leading a company of 25+ crossbowmen against the local giants.  Sure, most were low lv.  Lv 1 or 2.  But you know what?  25 heavy xbow shots do take their toll on the enemies, even if most miss.   
If there's something that keeps the leadership feat from seeing wider use, it's that it's so, so far and away the most powerful and game-changing feat published in 3.5 that many DMs simply disallow it. (I do, and then just let the PCs have cohorts and followers as sort of makes sense in the context of what happens in the story and who they are.) It may be literally the only single game element I've ever just baseline written out in all my years of DMing.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
when it comes to summond and animated creatures there are all kind of rules you could think of.

The first creature you summon has hitpoints equal to you the 2nd 50% of your hp the 3rd 25% and so on with a minimum of one.
meaning that if you sumon large numbers of cratures most would be minions that die in 1 hit. 

Aid Another


In melee combat, you can help a friend attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an opponent. If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10. If you succeed, your friend gains either a +2 bonus on his next attack roll against that opponent or a +2 bonus to AC against that opponent’s next attack (your choice), as long as that attack comes before the beginning of your next turn. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and similar bonuses stack.


You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character’s skill check.



...This is what hirelings and low-power summons should do almost every turn, it speeds up play tenfold
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I hope something is done to reign this in in Next, without having to go to 4e's extreme of shared actions. For example, I think that summon monster spells should usually be limited to summoning a single monster and should require concentration, preventing you from stacking them. Dominate Person/Monster should also require concentration, preventing people from having dominated monsters + summoned monsters at the same time. Animate Dead should be limited to creating one minion at a time. These are all sensible restrictions, IMO, and would at least keep things relatively sane.

I'd instead prefer an option to make armies quicker to run. At higher levels I'd like Next to easily support the idea of PC's having an army of men-at-arms, hirelings, acolytes, retainers, followers, summoned creatures, animated creatures, dominated creatures, apprentices, back-up singers, squires, etc.

The only way to do this is by making PC controlled NPC's simple.  One ability, no complexity, same initiative, no reactions (unless it's their ability), average damage, rarely use attack rolls, all their attacks against a single creature must be declared before attacking that creature, etc.

Examples:
Wizard's apprentice: does 5 damage each round with a magic missile
Man-at-arms: does 5 damage each round with a melee attack
Archer hireling: does 5 damage each round with an arrow
Acolyte: cures 5 damage each round
Bard follower: Helps (i.e. grants advantage to) a PC's attack
Squire: 'Helps' an adjacent PC's attack
etc.

Ideally, this paradigm might allow for massive wargames in D&D Next (as well as sell lots of miniatures, since players would have incentive to buy them rather than just DM's).

A man can dream, can't he?


Aid Another
In melee combat, you can help a friend attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an opponent. If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10. If you succeed, your friend gains either a +2 bonus on his next attack roll against that opponent or a +2 bonus to AC against that opponent’s next attack (your choice), as long as that attack comes before the beginning of your next turn. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and similar bonuses stack.

You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character’s skill check...This is what hirelings and low-power summons should do almost every turn, it speeds up play tenfold

fwiw, D&D next has:
"Help
You can lend your expertise to assist another creature in the completion of a task. The creature you aid gains advantage for the next relevant check he or she makes before your next turn."
Monsters act as they would normally unless ordered to do something by the character. One order takes a action. A loyal dog would therefore protect its master but without tactics until ordered to do something different.
In practice this was never an issue in AD&D.

Spells like Animate Dead and the ability to command undead were evil actions.   Even in ravenloft such an action would incur a powers check.   Alignment and ethos kept that sort of thing at bay in AD&D.



I think putting an [evil] tag on these things accomplishes very little, plus it causes its own problems. For one thing, not everyone cares about something being [evil]. Plenty of people play evil or neutral characters, so this is no obstacle to them. For another, I don't think animating the dead should even be evil. Skeletons and zombies are mindless automatons. I'd like the option to play a necromancer that's a hero (like Diablo 2). If anything, I think imprisoning an innocent elemental spirit to create a golem is a far more heinous and morally questionable act than animating a soul-less corpse. And yet creating golems isn't [evi]. In any case, not every group is going to have alignments or care about them, so that is simply not going to help balance anything.
I'd instead prefer an option to make armies quicker to run.



While I too would like to see a mass combat module, I still don't think it's a good solution to the excessive minion problem. Mass combat systems always work differently from ordinary combat. If one player has so many creatures following him that it requires the mass combat rules to be used, that forces everyone else to use that system, even though they may far prefer to use the ordinary combat rules instead.

One of the biggest problems I encountered in 3rd edition was the ability for characters to have not just one, but several pets, summoned monsters, animated dead, rebuked undead, crafted golems, charmed/dominated creatures, followers, etc.


The Summon Monster/Nature's Ally spells allowed you to summon 1d4 + 1 monsters with a single casting, and each one was its own creature with its own entire turn, attacks (often several attacks), spells, etc. And there was no restriction against casting the spell multiple times to gain more and more monsters under your command. Sorcerers and Druids in particular had a very easy time abusing this.


The Animate Dead spell was also problematic. While there was a limit on how many creatures you could control at a time, the limit was 4 times your caster level in HD. A 10th level caster, for example, could have 40 HD of undead animated and serving him at any given time. That could be four hill giant skeletons, for example! Clerics could take it even furhter, by adding their level in HD of commanded undead.


Summoned and animated dead were in addition to any golems the character crafted, animal companions, familiars, henchmen, outsiders from planar ally/binding spells and beings the character had dominated (which lasted for days, even weeks). Between all of these things, and others, characters could have a ridiculous number of creatures under their command. 4e had its action economy to solve this problem, but I think it may have gone a bit too far in the other direction (even rangers had to share actions with their animal companions, for example).


I hope something is done to reign this in in Next, without having to go to 4e's extreme of shared actions. For example, I think that summon monster spells should usually be limited to summoning a single monster and should require concentration, preventing you from stacking them. Dominate Person/Monster should also require concentration, preventing people from having dominated monsters + summoned monsters at the same time. Animate Dead should be limited to creating one minion at a time. These are all sensible restrictions, IMO, and would at least keep things relatively sane.






One idea for a solution is to make a simplified and default "character sheet" for each summon spell.

For example,
with the Summon Animal 1 you always get a creature with

STR 10 DEX 12 CON 10 INT 2 WIS 7 CHA 7
To Hit +1   Damage 1d3

And that`s the same for all creatures summoned with the Summon Animal 1 spell.
Each type of creature would then only add a simple and logical feature (an eagle can fly, a fish swim, etc). 
Insted of having to check every single summoned creature`s sheet in the monster manual.

This way you can resolve your summon`s attacks in a quick way since it`s all standard, even if you happened to summon a whole bunch of them.


Now whether having lots of summons is overpowered or not is another matter.
That could be adjusted by simply reviewing the summoned creatures` stats.
Since (according to this example) a summoned creature does not have necessarily the same stats as a normal monster of that type, you needn`t even worry about the actual monster becoming too underpowered because you "nerfed" him in the summon spell.
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