Initial Disclaimer: While I have bought a copy of the EA, I am putting off playing it for 8 days until my partner's birthday when we hope to play it together. As a result, this information is (currently) based on third person information - if I play the game and find the facts are different to what I have heard, I will either delete this post or modify it appropriately. However, what I have heard is sufficiently important that it felt worth starting a thread.
This is a thread about the limit of one summon per party member, and particularly with respect to the find familiar
spell. The crux of my argument will be that I think find familiar should be exempt from the summon limit. There are two specific contexts in which I feel this is important:1) Ranger Beast Master
2) Necromancers and Conjurers
- As a Ranger intending to take the Beast Master enclave option, the most thematic Natural Explorer option would be Beast Tamer.
- However, given both Find Familiar and Summon Companion count towards your summon limit of 1, and your companion beast will always be a better choice, once you reach 3rd level your 1st level feature becomes completely redundant.
- As it stands, this seems to punish players for choosing a thematic Natural Explorer option, as a Beast Master who went for literally any other Natural Explorer option will be better off in the long run.
- Given rangers always get the short straw and this game generally does such a good job of improving on the deficiencies of the PnP ranger, this makes me sad.
- While I realise these Schools are not available in EA at the moment, I am assuming the intention will be to add them before full release
- Similar to the Rangers, Conjuration and Necromancy wizards are going to be punished for taking more than one summoning spell, as they can only benefit from one at a time.
- With bulky summons this doesn't seem unreasonable - and it could mitigate the every DM's (and presumably game designer's) nightmare of the fifth level druid summoning 8 elk onto the battlefield.
- However, given familiars are traditionally a fairly central part of a wizard's character, and Find Familiar itself is the fundamental conjurtaion spell, it seems odd to force them to dismiss their baby familiar every time they want to get into a fight.
I feel the Ranger case is the more important one, but both seem pretty major flaws to the current set up in my eyes.
In terms of implementation, it depends exactly what the underlying code is but presumably each summon must be marked as a summon and/or there must be a counter for how many summons you have. Removing this marking / preventing Find Familiar from affecting that count shouldn't be too difficult.
In terms of balance, I can see the concerns that some people have aired about summoning builds getting too many attacks if you don't have an absolute summon limit. Personally, looking at the info I can find before playing, it seems like familiars are sufficiently weak that having one of these flitting around shouldn't be too much extra damage - if it is, that could easily be solved by just reducing the damage from their attacks or going closer to PnP and preventing them from attacking entirely (reducing them to a more scouting/utility role, perhaps with a 'Help' action as per PnP).