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D&D 5E Is Tasha's slowing down your combat?

pogre

Legend
I have not had a chance to run a game with the new rules - I am currently running a WFRP campaign. Perusing the rules it seems like there is a lot more access to "pets" of all sorts. Those of you running games using the new rules - is this slowing down your combats?

I will be upfront and admit I am not a huge fan of pets, but I tend to run with more players at my table than average.
 

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I have not had a chance to run a game with the new rules - I am currently running a WFRP campaign. Perusing the rules it seems like there is a lot more access to "pets" of all sorts. Those of you running games using the new rules - is this slowing down your combats?

I will be upfront and admit I am not a huge fan of pets, but I tend to run with more players at my table than average.

I'll give my opinion on pets, familiars and animal companions, at least my interpretation regardless of what spells "awaken" the animal. Pets are trained but still subject to disobeying orders on instinct. Familiars and animal companions usually have a higher intelligence than the average animal but they are still animals. Players tend to forget that and expect their companions to do all kinds of things outside the scope of what an animal can do. Further on top of playing their character they tend to slow down play deciding what this animal is going to do. if they dont outright forget about them and then interrupt someone elses turn, "oh wait Sprinkles the Bear didnt go". I dont care for them, encourage they not be used, and I'll admit I've fireballed a few in my day so they ended up looking like Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. More trouble than they are worth.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
I haven't had a chance to play with the new rules yet either as we are just about to resume our Descent into Avernus campaign after a break playing something else. But I actively play to encourage my players in that game to take the Tasha's Summon spells over the PHB Conjure spells because of how much easier they are to run in comparison. As a DM I don't have to in the moment go lookup suitable stat blocks and can instead just give the player a Roll20 NPC character sheet they can edit. Also there are no multi creature options with them so it is only 1 extra creature to adjudicate rather than up to 8.

Now are there instances where a player wouldn't take a conjure spell but now may be interested in a summon spell. Probably with our great old one warlock, but I'm not too worried about it. That player is pretty on the ball with decision making.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My last game had quite a number of pets on the field. However, because I was running a table of 7 players... the main slowdown was actually the number of enemies I usually had to put on the field to present a challenge, not the extra attack of a animal companion, familiar, or summoned creature. With 7 players of 8th level AND a large number of enemies needed to present various challenges... that was a crapton of hit points to have to wade through on both sides. That's usually what would take longer, not the fox companion making a pair of bite attacks.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Only because Bob forgets his steel defender pluses. Currently I am allowing "Pets" to roll for damage. If it slows combat down to much I go with my normal rule of allies doing average damage. Also, generally with a new book it takes about 2 months of use to get use to new builds.
 

In my game, the only person with a 'pet' is the shotgun-wielding gnome artificer with his robot dog Scruffy. It hasn't slowed anything down for us because Scruffy also is serving as basically the fourth body in the party. He goes when the gnome goes, and if the gnome forgets, Scruffy has some kinda IO error and did nothing during the turn.
 

Retreater

Legend
I hate summoning and similar abilities. I'd nip that right in the bud. In future games I'm taking all summoning magic out. It's like "let's add 20+ more combatants to this battle." No thanks.
 


Gadget

Adventurer
I also cannot comment from personal experience; I'd just like to point out that the OP contains a pertinent question that the designers have worried about the last few years. Pets (or more specifically summoned/conjured aids to the PCs) caused quite a bit of a stir in 3e, as combined with ubiquitous layering of spell effects, could dominate encounters and push fellow PCs out of the limelight in the right circumstances. Since then, the devs have been very cautious with summoning in 4e & 5e, much to the disappointment of summoning fans. The whole sacrifice an action to let your pet have an action was a direct carryover from 4e and seen as a way of limiting pets from dominating the action and taking too much time.

It seems to me that the new summon spells are more specific and not as open ended in the Conjure spells in the PHB, usually offering only one summon with two or three minor variants, so that should help somewhat with the 'analysis paralysis' that can sometimes happen with these spells. Though it does add an extra participant to the combat, there's really no way around that. Overall, it seems that it is worth the increase in complexity for those who want such things, as the more strict limits on what the caster can summon and how they can enhance their pet seems to be better a design than in the past.
 
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Al2O3

Explorer
Figuring out how to put the start block in Roll20 took a bit of time, but not nearly as much time as understanding the encounter setup in the published adventure. Also, any spell with more than "roll X save for half or no damage" tends to take a similar amount of time for us the first time.

Once the token was on the board the summoned elemental hasn't slowed the game any more than a spiritual weapon would. The difference would be due to concentration checks.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I also cannot comment from personal experience; I'd just like to point out that the OP contains a pertinent question that the designers have worried about the last few years. Pets (or more specifically summoned/conjured aids to the PCs) caused quite a bit of a stir in 3e, as combined with ubiquitous layering of spell effects, could dominate encounters and push fellow PCs out of the limelight in the right circumstances. Since then, the devs have been vary cautious with summoning in 4e & 5e, much to the disappointment of summoning fans. The whole sacrifice an action to let your pet have an action was a direct carryover from 4e and seen as a way of limiting pets from dominating the action and taking too much time.
The funny thing is that "sacrifice an action to let your pet act" makes perfect sense for summoning spells--controlling the summoned creature takes your full attention--and that's the one place where it doesn't normally show up in 5E. It would make it possible to power-up summons significantly, since the summon is replacing a full PC instead of just a single spell slot.
 

I can see combat slowing down but not due to the new summon X spells.

There is a lot more dice manipulation options across the board for players so that can potentially slow the game down.
 

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