5E Do summoned monsters alter CR? Or award XP?

Delandel

Visitor
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?
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
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
 

Paraxis

Visitor
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/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dndqa/20131220

1. For monsters that can summon in help, like the pit fiend, do the summoned monsters count toward the pit fiend’s 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 monster’s XP value, so the DM won’t 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.
 
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Mouseferatu

Visitor
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.
 

Tormyr

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

Guest
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.
 

MarkB

Hero
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.
 

Gobelure

Visitor
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.
 
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Faradon

Visitor
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.
 
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The_Gneech

Visitor
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 :cool:
 

Delandel

Visitor
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.
I plan on having the lizardfolk shaman keeping watch in croc form amongst reeds and plant debris on the other side of the river bank. His eyes and a bit of snout poke above the murky brown water's surface. The other lizardfolk are underwater, coming up only once every 15min for a breath of air. Once the PCs are spotted, they wait until the PCs are halfway through the river before swimming underwater over to them. I plan on making it a DC 20 Perception, since spotting a hiding croc like this would be extremely hard, especially if you don't know what to look for.

The summon croc spell will be after the other lizardfolk, so they can block the melee from interfering with the cast.
 

Faradon

Visitor
if you are trying to embrace the 5e you might consider just giving advantage to the crocs/lizardmen, but still having them all roll. They easily could come up for air at the wrong time, splash some water with a tail, move in a way that stirs some scum on top of the water, etc. There are plenty of chances for failure still present. You could also do it as a group check.

Just remember that stealth is normally being measured against passive perceptions, so by just setting a static number you already know if it is automatic surprise rather than rolling to give them a chance to notice something amiss.
 

Delandel

Visitor
if you are trying to embrace the 5e you might consider just giving advantage to the crocs/lizardmen, but still having them all roll. They easily could come up for air at the wrong time, splash some water with a tail, move in a way that stirs some scum on top of the water, etc. There are plenty of chances for failure still present. You could also do it as a group check.

Just remember that stealth is normally being measured against passive perceptions, so by just setting a static number you already know if it is automatic surprise rather than rolling to give them a chance to notice something amiss.
Hmm. I agree to an extent. I think this patrol would have worked out an optimal hiding location and appropriate times to surface, so I like the DC 20. I don't think it's something you'd passively notice unless your perception is supernaturally keen. A cautious group of PCs would make an active perception check to spot anything in the water before hopping in, so it's not an auto-fail. They're in the jungles of Chult and should be on their toes, plus anyone with Knowledge Nature should know what things could potentially lurk in the waters, further prompting caution.

I'd also like to give anyone who has knowledge of crocodiles a bonus to their active perception check if they're looking for one. After all, they'd know where to look -- spots where the croc can be concealed, and they'd more easily identify the snout amongst some debris. I'd give a PC with such knowledge an advantage on Perception to find the lizardfolk.

But when they move towards the PCs, I'd make a group stealth check with advantage versus the PC's passive perception. Creeping up on something is riskier than staying put in a perfect hiding spot. As you say, the PCs may catch a glimpse of what's approaching.
 

Scorpio616

Visitor
Make the crocs actual trained animals instead of summons and give the shaman a different spell to cast. Solves any XP questions.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Hmm. I agree to an extent. I think this patrol would have worked out an optimal hiding location and appropriate times to surface, so I like the DC 20. I don't think it's something you'd passively notice unless your perception is supernaturally keen. A cautious group of PCs would make an active perception check to spot anything in the water before hopping in, so it's not an auto-fail. They're in the jungles of Chult and should be on their toes, plus anyone with Knowledge Nature should know what things could potentially lurk in the waters, further prompting caution.

I'd also like to give anyone who has knowledge of crocodiles a bonus to their active perception check if they're looking for one. After all, they'd know where to look -- spots where the croc can be concealed, and they'd more easily identify the snout amongst some debris. I'd give a PC with such knowledge an advantage on Perception to find the lizardfolk.

But when they move towards the PCs, I'd make a group stealth check with advantage versus the PC's passive perception. Creeping up on something is riskier than staying put in a perfect hiding spot. As you say, the PCs may catch a glimpse of what's approaching.
I would suggest not giving better than advantage to them. The giant octopus gets advantage for stealth underwater, and it stays under all the time.
 
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dco

Guest
It's one spell, if you give XP for using conjure animal you could give XP for any other spell casted, or give less XP to the party if they use spells.
 

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