Here I go again .... I just can't leave well enough alone.
While I was researching a possible summoner NPC, and perusing the XPH, I realized that I was dissatisfied with the Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally lines of spells.
Hows about just having each of those being 1 spell (i.e., summon monster
is just 1 spell, and SNA
is just 1 spell)?
And have the creatures available to you be dependent upon what level slot you use to cast it.
This does 2 things:
1) makes summoning actually viable for sorcerers -and- opens-up spellbook space for wizards/archivists
2) opens summoning up to some real metamagic abuse.
The first one is the intended result. The second is an unfortunate side-effect (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it
With MM abuse in mind, I also thought of another glitch -- I can already foresee players being like "well, then, why can't I cast other spells in higher level slots to get better effects?"
The fix for this would be simple: require Heighten Spell to get the bigger monsters. This "fix" covers two things:
1) the feat tax helps to curb severe MM abuse, but is not overly abusive to the feat economy
2) quiets the cries of "fairness"
But then that gets me to thinking -- there should surely be some
sort of benefit to casting in a higher level slot without Heighten. What I've come up with is simply giving +2 HP and +1 to hit, damage, and AC per increased spell level.
You could even mix/match. For example, you could Heighten to 4th level to get a 4th level creature, and then cast it in a 6th level slot to get +4 HP and +2 to hit, damage, and AC.
**side note: for those already seeing DMM abuse, I must go ahead and let you in on my group's standing houserule ... at our table, DMM can only be used on spells that you would normally be able to use the given MM feat. For example, the highest level spell that a 10th-level cleric could DMM-Maximize would still be a 2nd-level spell. Incidentally, we've, in turn, also made it so that you only have to take DMM once
and can be used on any/all of your MM feats.**
If you don't like the DMM houserule, then you could always simply rule that DMM-Heighten cannot be used on these newly-revised summon spells; or that if you do use it, you only get the non-heighten benefits.
Come to think of it, that should probably be done anyway, regardless of which version of DMM you use.
So, what do you think?