5E Do summoned monsters alter CR? Or award XP?
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  1. #1

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    Do summoned monsters alter CR? Or award XP?

    I'm going to ambush my 4 PCs (level 4 each) when they're crossing a river. 3 Lizardfolk (CR 1/2 each) and 1 Lizardfolk Shaman (CR 2) will be chilling underwater. According to the encounter calculator, it's a Hard (1,500xp) encounter. Lizardfolk Shaman have Conjure Animals and so he'll bust out 4x Crocodiles (1/2 CR each). Shouldn't that change the difficulty? Or is that covered by the Lizardfolk Shaman's CR? Would the crocodiles give xp if killed?

  2. #2

    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)



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    good question. My gut reaction is that for encounter balancing, you wouldn't figure the summoned monsters CR because they are the direct result of the power of an included creature. This is because theoretically, the damage the summoned monsters would do is close to what an equal level direct damage spell would do, but I haven't done any math to verify this. Just a guess

  3. #3

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I remember this being a question asked to Mearls via twitter or maybe one of the articles on WoTC, I can't seem to find it on the sage advice site http://thesageadvice.wordpress.com/, so maybe it was during the playtest.

    Anyway I believe the answer is you don't account for it when building the encounter it is apart of the abilities and therefore the CR of the summoning monster, but you do take the defeated summoned monsters into the awarded xp for overcoming the encounter.

    I found the article I was thinking about here. http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/Artic...dndqa/20131220

    1. For monsters that can summon in help, like the pit fiend, do the summoned monsters count toward the pit fiends XP, or must they be accounted for separately when building encounters?
    If a monster can summon other creatures, that ability will be accounted for in the monsters XP value, so the DM wont need to make any adjustments.

    So at least back during the playtest, December of last year, it seems you don't add to the difficulty of the encounter or the XP awarded.
    Last edited by Paraxis; Friday, 3rd October, 2014 at 04:59 AM.

  4. #4

    Time Agent (Lvl 24)

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    In the Monster Manual, in the "optional summoning" sidebars (like where it gives optional rules for demons to summon other demons), it says to award full XP for them. But that doesn't work the same way as the conjure spells--in terms of concentration, for instance--so I'm not sure what it says about the situation.

    I'd be inclined to say not to count them if it's part of a creature's list of spells, but I'm having a hard time articulating why.

  5. #5

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I read that same response from Mearls as not including the summoned monster in the encounter budget but including it in rewarded XP.

  6. #6
    amerigoV
    What!?! They are killing all the fun for us GMs. One of the best reactions in the game under 3.x was to summon a bunch of monsters and then tell the players there is no XP for killing them. /ragequit

    So does that mean PCs can farm XP off of monsters summoned by a PC wizard? Sounds like a "bit of light exercise" at the end of the adventuring day - the wizard does a moderate level summons (if they have a left over spell slot or two) and the party gets some free XP.

  7. #7

    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

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    Quote Originally Posted by amerigoV View Post
    What!?! They are killing all the fun for us GMs. One of the best reactions in the game under 3.x was to summon a bunch of monsters and then tell the players there is no XP for killing them. /ragequit

    So does that mean PCs can farm XP off of monsters summoned by a PC wizard? Sounds like a "bit of light exercise" at the end of the adventuring day - the wizard does a moderate level summons (if they have a left over spell slot or two) and the party gets some free XP.
    If the encounter can be ended at any time simply by one of the PCs choosing to stop concentrating, then it isn't a challenge. And if it isn't a challenge, then it earns no XP.

  8. #8
    3 lizards men and a shaman : 1500 excounter XP
    3 lizards men and 4 crocodiles : 1750 encounter XP. Plus : the shaman is not yet dead (but your PCs probably will be in a minute)

    So definitively XP should be awarded for the crocs if they have no way to dispel or impede the conjuration.
    Last edited by Gobelure; Friday, 3rd October, 2014 at 01:29 PM.
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  9. #9

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Gobelure View Post
    3 lizards men and a shaman : 1500 excounter XP
    3 lizards men and 4 crocodiles : 1750 encounter XP. Plus : the shaman is not yet dead (but your PCs probably will be in a minute)

    So definitively XP should be awarded for the crocs if they have no way to dispel or impede the conjuration.
    So xp is based on the capabilities of the PCs? I've never heard of anything like that...

    Do you give less XP for undead encounters if the party has a cleric who can turn undead or more to parties without a cleric?

    As a DM I don't change XP for that, so not sure why I would award xp if the party didn't memorize/cast protection from evil or dispel magic vs summoned creatures.

    That said, be sure to give check the passive perception of the PC's vs all of the stealth rolls for everyone in the encounter to see if they notice the waiting ambush... Also if the shaman is trying to cast the spell the round before the crocs don't start in hiding, they appear (likely giving away the ambush) and then need to take an action to hide on their turn, or the shaman needs to spend his first round casting the summon once the ambush starts.

    EDIT: well yea, with being able to hold the concentration an hour this part is iffy... but I still wouldn't give extra XP for the spell slot expended by the monster just because it was a force multiplier. Haste on a big, nasty, hard hitting creature wouldn't make it give more xp. /Edit

    IMO, a spell is a spell and is part of the XP of the caster. Could be a heal, could be a summon, could be a damage spell... and this is why you always kill the caster first.
    Last edited by Faradon; Friday, 3rd October, 2014 at 02:12 PM.

  10. #10

    Guide (Lvl 11)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu View Post
    In the Monster Manual, in the "optional summoning" sidebars (like where it gives optional rules for demons to summon other demons), it says to award full XP for them. But that doesn't work the same way as the conjure spells--in terms of concentration, for instance--so I'm not sure what it says about the situation.

    I'd be inclined to say not to count them if it's part of a creature's list of spells, but I'm having a hard time articulating why.
    My take on that passage was it's the classic "The cultists summoned Cthulhu! Aaaieeee!!!" scenario. You don't summon Cthulhu with Conjure Old One, and he's certainly not included in the cultists' 1/8 CR. If the ceremony completes and Cthulhu shows up, the party gets the XP for encountering him, not just the piddly little XP for each cultist they fought.

    Assuming they survive the big guy's "eats 1d4 adventurers/round" ability, anyhow.

    -The Gneech

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