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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Default The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages! Magical beasts, outsiders, eldritch abominations and other summonable creatures too!

    It's been a while since I've released a base class, no?

    I'll admit: this class straddles the line between "original creation" and "shameless retooling", because it was partly based on how Pathfinder built the Summoner class. Normally, I only focus on 3.5 material, as it's my system of preference (I don't agree with many of the changes in PF, but I'm not as vocal as many other people), but if you notice, pretty much nothing of the PF Summoner is there. I focused a bit more on a Conjuration specialist, much like the Beguiler is an Enchantment/Illusion specialist, the Dread Necromancer is a Necromancer specialist and the Warmage is an Evocation specialist.

    Or well, spontaneous specialist. BTW, that's the name I give to those classes where you automatically know all spells from your list, and cast them spontaneously. But you already know that, right?

    One of the things I really didn't like, and this is mostly because of how one of my players (in my first attempts to DM, to be precise) chose to play a Conjurer, and specifically one specialized in summoned creatures. I figured that the Summoner would like to play with more than one good creature rather than with a single, somewhat customizable one. When I saw the PF Summoner and how they tried to mimic the idea of a Final Fantasy summon monster by making it shapeless and customizable...well, it's decent, but it really doesn't shape the idea of what a summoner really is.

    I had this on the backburner for a long time, but a combination of a pal mentioning I should post it and watching this archived thread about the utility of summoned monsters propelled me to post it once and for all.

    I need to indicate one thing: this class isn't meant for those who want something simple. At the very least, you'll need to have ten or more sheets for every one of your bound summons, as you'll get the shocking amount of nine different pets, rather than one. Yes, nine. You'll see exactly why, but between the amount of spells you have to cast and how every one of your summon-able pets progresses, you'll have to make a lot of book-keeping. On the other hand, if you're capable of handling all this paperwork, I expect you'll find a very rewarding class (and by very rewarding, I mean VERY rewarding, as in "almost one-man army" rewarding).

    Honestly, if not because of its narrow focus, this may be Tier 2, just as easy. Or high Tier 3. I focus on "fun" and "interestingly complex", though, so without any further ado, I introduce to you...

    THE SUMMONER

    "Scheherazade, no! That's it! You've forced my hand, ser. If my dear Scheherazade couldn't handle you, perhaps Xyzwyvutsr will be a challenge to you!" -- Joseph, chaotic good human summoner, invoking the green slaad Xyzwyvutsr against a Kolyarut after the bound lillend Scheherazade was defeated.

    MAKING A SUMMONER
    Spoiler
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    Abilities: Summoners require great amounts of Charisma, as it powers their spellcasting and also reinforces their social skills when bargaining with outsiders. Intelligence works at increasing the amount of skill points, and Constitution allows you to remain alive, but aside from Charisma, no ability score is strictly necessary.
    Races: Sociable races are better suited to become summoners, and thus humans and half-elves make perfect candidates. Dwarves, with their Charisma penalty and difficulties with dealing with people, aren't suited to the task of managing summoned creatures in the way a summoner does. Likewise, the warlike nature of half-orcs makes them suitable for front lines, not remaining in the back as a summoner is expected to.
    Amongst the other races, planetouched (specifically aasimar and tieflings) become summoners, preferring celestial or fiendish creatures (respectively) and making bonds with celestials or fiends.
    Alignment: Any. Summoners often gravitate towards lawful and evil alignments, the former because of the discipline required to train and handle otherworldly creatures, and the latter because of their penchant for binding creatures against their will. Good summoners care for their bound creatures as if they were part of the family. Chaotic summoners are often rare, but their bonds are as strong as those of good summoners.
    Starting Age: As PHB Bard
    Starting Gold: As PHB Sorcerer


    Class Skills
    The summoner’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (N/A), and Spellcraft (Int).
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

    Spoiler
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    The summoner skill list is pretty specific: social skills, handling skills (hence, Handle Animal; s/he who handles beasts can handle more potent creatures, and knowing how to calm, rear and train wild animals end up with even more companions to assist them), and academical skills.

    Usually, classes without strong Intelligence focus often end up with no lower than 4 skill points per level, but the summoner is unique in that all you really need is a good Charisma score, so you can afford some points at Intelligence. Thus, the class is, against the usual judgment, saddled with the lowest amount of skill points.


    Hit Die: d4.
    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save
    Special
    0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st +0
    +0
    +0
    +2
    Pact (1st)
    5
    3
    2nd +1
    +0
    +0
    +3
    Augment summoning
    6
    4
    3rd +1
    +1
    +1
    +3
    Pact (2nd)
    6
    5
    3
    4th +2
    +1
    +1
    +4
    Summoning boon +1
    6
    6
    4
    5th +2
    +1
    +1
    +4
    Pact (3rd)
    6
    6
    5
    3
    6th +3
    +2
    +2
    +5
    Extend summoning
    6
    6
    6
    4
    7th +3
    +2
    +2
    +5
    Pact (4th), summoning boon +2
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    8th +4
    +2
    +2
    +6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    9th +4
    +3
    +3
    +6
    Pact (5th)
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    10th +5
    +3
    +3
    +7
    Double boon, summoning boon +3
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    11th +5
    +3
    +3
    +7
    Pact (6th)
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    12th +6/+1
    +4
    +4
    +8
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    13th +6/+1
    +4
    +4
    +8
    Pact (7th), summoning boon +4
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    14th +7/+2
    +4
    +4
    +9
    Potency boon
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    15th +7/+2
    +5
    +5
    +9
    Pact (8th)
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    16th +8/+3
    +5
    +5
    +10
    Summoning boon +5
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    17th +8/+3
    +5
    +5
    +10
    Pact (9th)
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    3
    18th +9/+4
    +6
    +6
    +11
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    4
    19th +9/+4
    +6
    +6
    +11
    Summoning boon +6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    5
    20th +10/+5
    +6
    +6
    +12
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6
    6

    Spoiler
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    So yeah: the lowest HD, the lowest BAB, and the lowest Fortitude and Will saves. The chassis isn't really meant for front-lining, and it's quite evident. Heck, it has a lot of dead levels and no capstone!!!

    ...But, if you notice carefully, there's nine slots with Pact on it, starting at first level and progressing all the way to 17th level, at exactly the same speed as its spellcasting ability. Once you realize what the "pacts" are, you'll suddenly stop worrying so much and understand why the summoner has lots of low things.

    At least the summoner has good Will saves. I mean, someone who summons a lot of nasty creatures shouldn't be mind-controlled that easily, no?


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the summoner.
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Summoners are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a summoner’s gestures, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.

    Spoiler
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    If you hadn't figured out that they're not meant for combat, this should be enough to dispel those thoughts. That said, they have simple weapon proficiency instead of the wizard's weapon list, which is arguably better than the wizard's fighting capabilities. No armor and no shields means you're definitely remaining on the back, while your summoned creatures dish all damage at front.


    Spells: A summoner casts arcane spells which are drawn primarily from the summoner/wizard spell list. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or a cleric must (see below).

    To learn or cast a spell, a summoner must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a summoner’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the summoner’s Charisma modifier.

    Like other spellcasters, a summoner can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Summoner. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score.

    A summoner’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A summoner begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of your choice. At each new summoner level, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Summoner Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a summoner knows is not affected by her Charisma score; the numbers on Table: Summoner Spells Known are fixed.) These new spells must be spells chosen from the schools of abjuration, conjuration, divination and transmutation. At every level the summoner gains access to a new spell level, she automatically learns the corresponding summon monster spell of the spell level.

    Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered summoner level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a summoner can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the summoner “loses” the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level summoner spell the summoner can cast. A summoner may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level.

    Unlike a wizard or a cleric, a summoner need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level. She does not have to decide ahead of time which spells she’ll cast.

    Table: Summoner Spells Known
    Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st
    4
    2+1
    2nd
    5
    2+1
    3rd
    5
    3+1
    1+1
    4th
    6
    4+1
    2+1
    5th
    6
    4+1
    2+1
    1+1
    6th
    7
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    7th
    7
    5+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    8th
    8
    5+1
    3+1
    3+1
    2+1
    9th
    8
    5+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    10th
    9
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    11th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    12th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    13th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    14th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    15th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    16th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    3+1
    2+1
    17th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    3+1
    2+1
    1+1
    18th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    3+1
    3+1
    2+1
    19th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    3+1
    3+1
    2+1
    20th
    9
    5+1
    5+1
    4+1
    4+1
    4+1
    3+1
    3+1
    3+1
    3+1

    Spoiler
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    So yeah: not only you get a weak chassis for the summoner, you get the same progression as the Sorcerer in terms of spellcasting, except for one extra spell per level, aside from the forced Summon Monster spell (which is necessary for one reason). Not only that, you get a more limited list from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. So far, without the core concept of the class, you're basically looking at a specialist Sorcerer, essentially specializing in Conjuration while getting Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion and Necromancy as prohibited spells. Why so? Well, let's wait for a bit more.

    As for not making it a spontaneous specialist, the main reason is that the spell list would be pretty large. The idea behind focusing only on four schools is that those contain a large deal of useful spells, and because of the long list of spells that Summoners may find useful.

    Abjuration, for example, is a purely defensive school but contains the way to banish called or summoned creatures. A summoner may specialize in calling or summoning creatures, but if it doesn't know the basics of banishment, it's asking for trouble. That, alongside the ever-useful Dispel Magic, the absolutely necessary Magic Circle spells (else, how are you gonna use the Planar Binding line?), the also-useful Break Enchantment spell, and various protective spells for your summoned creatures make nearly all spells of the school invaluable.

    Conjuration, obviously, is your bread and butter. You already know the Summon Monster line in its entirely, but you're probably also looking for the Planar Binding line, the Gate spell and the Teleportation subschool. As an added bonus, the Orb of X spells are part of your spell list, so while it may be difficult to add it to your list, it nevertheless remains a valuable choice.

    Divination may seem odd, but it's still useful for many reasons. The one that's most particular is Scrying, but some non-Core spells may assist you on knowledge of particular creatures to call, so it makes sense, if only flimsily.

    Transmutation, finally, holds another great deal of buffing spells, including Haste, the ability score enhancers, Fly, Blink, etc. Denying summoners access to this class is pointless at best.

    Now: based on these choices, is making the Summoner a spontaneous specialist viable? Note that, while it'll have a larger spell list, it'll be comprised mostly of Core spells; unlike the Warmage and the Healer, this class has no D&D counterpart (and I'm pretty specific on this one). Choosing a smaller amount of spells but granting almost limitless access rather than a large list but no access to non-Core spells (aside from a few choice bits of Advanced Learning, of course).


    Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: While a summoner can cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own, she may only call or summon creatures that are within one step of her alignment. Thus, a lawful good summoner may summon lawful good and neutral good creatures, but not chaotic good creatures or any evil creatures. As usual, casting spells with a specific alignment is considered an act of said alignment, and may cause her alignment to change.

    Spoiler
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    This seems to be pretty specific, but reasonable. The summoner will only accept calling or summoning monsters close to its alignment, unless it becomes a Malconvoker, because the idea of unleashing something outside its control and against its alignment is either a challenge or folly.


    Pact: At 1st level, a summoner learns how to make pacts with specific creatures. The pact allows the summoner to magically enhance the specific summoned creature, increasing its fighting capability and endurance.
    To make a pact, a summoner must make a short ritual. The ritual begins at the moment the creature is summoned and ends at the moment the summon monster spell ends its course (a summoner may not voluntarily dismiss the creature or lower her caster level to reduce the spell’s duration; the spell must run its course for at least the summoner’s unmodified caster level). During that moment, a summoner and the summoned creature must refrain from doing any action, while remaining adjacent to each other. Once the pact is finished, it does not need to be repeated again for the same creature except if the summoner wishes to break the pact. A summoner can only do one pact per each spell level she gains access to (except 0 level spells).

    A pact-bound creature is always summoned with full hit points and none of its special abilities consumed when it is summoned for the first time during the day; at subsequent summons, the creature is treated as fully healed, but it does not recover any special ability it has already consumed for the day (for example, spells or spell-like abilities with daily uses) until the summoner rests for the day (in which the creature is assumed to rest as well). A summoned creature always recognizes its pact-bound summoner, even if the summoner is under a spell that changes her form.

    When a summoned creature dies, the summoned creature returns to its home plane and may not be summoned again for a period of 24 hours; however, the summoned creature usually does not die because of this, as normal summons. The only exception is when the creature is prevented from being dismissed by any means (such as by a dimensional anchor spell) and slain while under said effect; were that to happen, the summoner immediately loses the link with her summoned creature and may initiate a new pact with another creature.

    As the summoner advances in level, the creature with which she has a pact increases in power as indicated on the table. This advancement only applies to creatures summoned by summon monster I; creatures with pacts summoned by spells of higher level are treated as if she was a summoner of a lower level. The effective summoner level for creatures summoned by summon monster spells of higher level are as follows:

    Summon Monster II: summoner’s level -1
    Summon Monster III: summoner’s level -2
    Summon Monster IV: summoner’s level -3
    Summon Monster V: summoner’s level -4
    Summon Monster VI: summoner’s level -5
    Summon Monster VII: summoner’s level -6
    Summon Monster VIII: summoner’s level -7
    Summon Monster IX: summoner’s level -8

    A summoner may cancel her pact with any summoned creature simply by summoning the creature and make the bonding ritual once again, then dismissing the creature at any point. If a summoner changes her alignment to one that does not allow to summon the creature anymore, any pacts that she may have with creatures of that kind are immediately broken.

    Spoiler
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    And finally, what makes a summoner suffer all these vicissitudes: the pacts.

    To understand this properly, here's how it works. Take one creature from the Summon Monster I list, and treat it as if it were an animal companion or a familiar, progressing in HD and power as you gain levels. Most creatures summoned by a Summon Monster I spell are 1-HD creatures with a template tagged in; just by taking one level, they become 2-HD creatures with some minor benefits. By 20th level, all of them will be 13-HD creatures with +16 deflection bonus to AC, a +8 to Strength and Constitution, and a load of class features; since all of them are either Celestial or Fiendish creatures, their template ALSO advance damage reduction, spell and energy resistances. They'll be pretty strong, of course, though perhaps not as strong as you may want to.

    Now, apply the same logic to creatures from the Summon Monster II list, which include 2-HD and 3-HD creatures, and notice that they advance as if you had 1 less level in Summoner. Thus, they end up being 14/15-HD creatures with roughly the same benefits. Now, apply similar bonuses to one creature from each of the lists of Summon Monster spells, up to SM IX.

    That means you have nine pets, all with advancements to Hit Dice, increased deflection modifiers to AC, increased Strength and Constitution, and a bunch of benefits on top of their own. Because they're summoned creatures, they're never at risk of dying, and will always be the same creature.

    Now, think of yourself as a Pokemon Trainer and switch monsters every few levels (which restore their HP to full; you did notice that, did you?), summon two or three pact-bound summons at once, and even summon them on top of a bunch of other summons! But wait, there's more! How about having your summoned creatures summon even MORE creatures of its kind?

    This is why I didn't bother much with the size of the HD, its BAB, its skill points, its Fort or Reflex, and even on its spellcasting. In essence, you build an army of creatures to do the job for you.

    Of course, this incredibly powerful class feature can become even MORE powerful, but only if your DM allows it; remember that you can exchange monsters from your summon-able monster lists if you find it viable, and this influences your potential choices.

    Now you might understand why they learn all Summon Monster spells automatically and why the skill list and the inclusion of Divination are necessary. The Planar Binding line (and eventually the Gate spell) may eventually overcome the worth of these creatures, but at least you won't have to spend the time required to call them, and they will be absolutely loyal to you (and they'll get a larger set of benefits as well).


    Augment Summoning: At 2nd level, a summoner gains Augment Summoning as a bonus feat.

    Spoiler
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    Pretty straightforward: a permanent +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Constitution to all summoned creatures, including your pact-bound summoned creatures, essentially for free. What's not to like?


    Summoning Boon (Su): At 4th level, the summoner learns to imbue her summons with some of her magical power. When she uses any spell from the calling or summoning subschool, she grants any summoned creatures a +1 bonus from the following choices as a free action.
    Aggressive: competence bonus to attack rolls and damage.
    Defensive: competence bonus to AC and Reflex saving throws
    Endurance: competence bonus to Fortitude and Will saving throws.
    Resistance: energy resistance equal to twice the granted bonus against fire, cold, electricity and acid spells. If a summoned creature has energy resistance already, increase all existing resistances by the granted bonus.
    Vigor: fast healing equal to granted bonus

    At 7th level, and then every three class levels after that, the granted bonus increases by one. A summoned creature may only gain the benefit of one boon once it has been summoned (but see Double Boon, below).

    Spoiler
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    Now, here's something that makes your pact-bound summons and any creature you summon or call (i.e. the Planar Binding line, or the Gate spell) even more powerful. Summoning Boon allows you to provide a small, but eventually meaningful bonus that can be customized according to your needs. You require a creature that's essentially a meat-shield? Summon one with a load of AC and place a Defensive or Vigor boon on top of it. Need someone who can hit well? Aggressive boon. THE anti-trap creature? Defensive and/or Resistance. And so on.

    By the moment you reach 10th level, your summons can stack two boons, so they can become slightly more varied. Aggressive and Defensive on top of your pact-bound summon or creature with Lesser Pact Binding can make those creatures much harder to kill. A single SM I or SM II creature with Defensive and Resistance can be used to search and tag traps. With Imbued Summoning as a feat, you can stack buffs on your summoned creature and make it incredibly resilient like a boss.


    Extend Summoning (Ex): At 6th level, the summoner retains her summoned creatures for a much longer period of time. All summon monster spells, as well as any spells of the summoning subschool are extended as if using the Extend Spell metamagic feat, without expending a higher level spell slot. The summoner cannot use this ability to qualify for feats that require metamagic feats, nor the Extend Spell feat.

    Spoiler
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    You'll definitely want a summoned creature to last for a pretty long amount of time, so it makes perfect sense that you'll want to extend the duration of the spells for as long as necessary. Thus, doubling their duration is pretty straightforward, even though it appears slightly late.


    Double Boon (Su): At 10th level, a summoner grants two boons instead of one to any creature she summons with a spell of the calling or summoning subschool.

    Spoiler
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    Mentioned on Summoning Boon, but here's again in case you missed it: now, when you call or summon a creature, you can buff it with two pretty decent bonuses as a free action, at virtually no cost to you. One thing I forgot to mention is that it applies to all summoned creatures, so if you use a SM spell of higher level to summon more than one creature of a lower-level list, you provide that boon to ALL summoned creatures. Nifty, huh?


    Potency Boon (Su): At 14th level, a summoner may grant her summoned creatures the ability to make all of their attacks more difficult to resist. Any of the summoned creature’s saving throw DCs, as well as save DC’s of all spells and spell-like abilities increases by half of the creature’s summoning boon bonus (rounded up). If the summoner uses this ability, she may not add any other boon for the remainder of the spell’s duration.

    Spoiler
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    Close to a capstone, but gained pretty early. If you're willing to sacrifice your boons, you can make the spells, SLAs and supernatural abilities of your summoned creatures (including pact-bound summons) are much harder to resist. With pact-bound summons, the increase in HD AND the increase in saving throw DC implies that lower-level characters can have their poison DCs, or their attack DCs, become veritable threats. Stack, say, Ability Focus on top, and you're looking at a 1/2 HD bonus +5 increase to the saving throw DC of your pact-bound summoned creatures.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-08-16 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Fixing tables

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    PACT-BOUND SUMMONS
    A summoner typically uses a summon monster spell to invoke one of her pact-bound creatures. The summoned, pact-bound creature is often unique and tends to be a stronger version of a typical creature of its kind, as shown below:
    Class Level Bonus HD Deflection Adj. Str/Con Adj. Special
    1st-2nd
    +1
    +0
    +0
    Empathic link, share spells
    3rd-4th
    +2
    +1
    +0
    Mettle/evasion
    5th-6th
    +3
    +2
    +2
    Devotion
    7th-8th
    +4
    +3
    +2
    Multiattack
    9th-10th
    +5
    +4
    +4
    Speak with summoner
    11th-12th
    +7
    +6
    +4
    Enable summoning, spell resistance
    13th-14th
    +8
    +8
    +6
    Permanence
    15th-16th
    +9
    +10
    +6
    Improved mettle/evasion
    17th-18th
    +10
    +12
    +8
    Improved devotion
    19th-20th
    +12
    +16
    +8
    Summon creatures of its kind

    Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the pact-bound summoned creature’s kind, but make the following changes.

    Class Level: The summoner’s class level. The summoner’s class levels stack with levels of any other classes that are entitled to a familiar for the purpose of determining the pact-bound summoned creature’s abilities.

    Bonus HD: Extra Hit Dice as appropriate for the creature’s race, type or subtype, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal. Remember that extra Hit Dice improve the pact-bound summoned creature’s base attack and base save bonuses. Refer to the Monster Manual for purposes of determining how an increase in Hit Dice affects the pact-bound summoned creature, including base attack bonus, saving throws, size and abilities. A pact-bound summoned creature gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monster’s Hit Dice.

    Deflection Adj.: A pact-bound summoned creature gains a deflection bonus to Armor Class equal to the amount stated here. If a creature already has a deflection bonus to AC, it adds this bonus to the score.

    Str/Con Adj.: Add this value to the pact-bound summoned creature’s Strength and Constitution scores. This stacks with the Augment Summoning feat and any bonus to ability scores.

    Spell Lists: If a pact-bound summoned creature has the ability to cast spells as a class that prepares spells (cleric, druid or wizard, for example), the creature is assumed to know all spells that it has prepared as if it had the Spell Mastery feat. If the creature has the ability to cast spells as if a spontaneous caster (bard or sorcerer, for example), it is assumed to know all the spells it has. The creature is treated as a NPC with caster levels equal to its original effective class levels plus any acquired Hit Dice for purposes of determining caster level, highest spell level which it can cast, and spells it may learn. A creature may not learn more spells than it knows except as mentioned before. This does not apply to spell-like abilities, unless the creature may acquire more spell-like abilities based on Hit Dice progression.

    Empathic Link (Su): The bind between the summoner and the summoned creature allows each of them to hold a potent link to each other for up to one mile. A summoner can issue mental commands to the creature as a free action; if the creature’s intelligence is low, the creature will attempt to obey the command to the best of its ability (thus, it will understand a command to attack a certain creature, but it may not understand a command to attack with a specific ability for example). If the creature summoned is reasonably intelligent (for example, an outsider), the creature will be capable of fully understanding the command if the creature understands the summoner’s language; even then, a summoned creature may not fully obey the given command. The summoner and the creature may communicate their thoughts, but they can only relay emotional content.

    Share Spells: At the summoner’s option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts on herself also affect the pact-bound summoned creature. The creature must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit.
    If the spell or effect has duration other than instantaneous, it remains affecting the summoned creature until it is dispelled, dismissed, banished, or the summoning spell expires. Additionally, the summoner may cast a spell with a target of "You" on her summoned creature (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself.
    A summoner and her pact-bound summoned creature can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of its type.

    Mettle/Evasion (Ex): If a pact-bound summoned creature’s highest base saving throw is either Fortitude and/or Will, the creature gains the mettle ability. If the creature’s highest base saving throw is Reflex, then the creature gains the evasion ability. If the creature has all base saving throws high, or Reflex plus either Fortitude or Will, the creature gains either mettle or evasion treating the highest of the saves including modifiers. If the creature’s saves (with modifiers) are equal, choose either of the two options. Once chosen, it is permanent (even if the creature’s saving throws change somehow)
    If a creature already has evasion or mettle, it acquires the opposite ability as well.

    Devotion (Ex): A pact-bound summoned creature gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects.

    Multiattack: Any pact-bound creature that is summoned is treated as if having the Multiattack feat if it three or more natural weapons. If the creature already has Multiattack or has less than three natural weapons, it gains an extra attack with its primary weapon, but at a -5.

    Speak with Summoner (Ex): If the pact-bound creature does not speak, does not speak the summoner’s known languages, or understand (but not speak) any of the summoner’s languages, a summoner may communicate with it verbally as if having a common language. Other creatures cannot understand this communication except for magical means. If the pact-bound creature can speak and understand a summoner’s language, it automatically understands all of the summoner’s languages; equally, the summoner understands any of the languages a summoned creature can speak. This effect only works with pact-bound summoned creatures, not with any other summoned creature.

    Enable Summoning (Sp): If a pact-bound summoned creature has a summoning ability of its own, the creature may use its summoning ability as if it were called. This is an exception to the rule that summoned creatures cannot use summoning abilities of their own. Creatures summoned by the pact-bound summoned creature do not bestow any of its acquired abilities or the summoner’s boons, and they are treated as if summoned by the creature, not by the summoner, for all means. All creatures are dismissed if the pact-bound summoning creature is dismissed or banished, or if the summoning spell’s duration expires.
    If a creature does not have a summoning ability, this ability has no effect. This ability does not allow the creature to summon others if it cannot otherwise do so (such as being under the effects of dimensional lock)

    Spell Resistance (Ex): A pact-bound summoned creature gains spell resistance equal to its Hit Dice+10. If a creature already has spell resistance, it uses the better of the two.

    Permanence (Ex): A pact-bound summoned creature is treated as a called creature whenever it enters an antimagic field. If the creature dies while on an antimagic field, it “twinks” out of existence as usual. A creature does not gain the benefits of its summoner’s boon while on an antimagic field.

    Improved Mettle/Evasion (Ex): A pact-bound summoned creature gains improved mettle and/or improved evasion, depending on whether it already has mettle or evasion. If the creature somehow has already improved mettle or improved evasion, this ability has no effect.

    Improved Devotion (Ex): A pact-bound summoned creature becomes immune to charms and compulsions. As well, any attempt to turn the creature against its summoner automatically fails.

    Summon Creatures of its Kind (Sp): A pact-bound summoned creature acquires the ability to summon 1d4+1 creatures of its own kind once per day. Treat this as if a spell of a level equal to the spell level of the summon monster spell used plus two for all purposes.

    Spoiler
    Show
    As you can figure, the list of benefits a pact-bound summoned creature acquires as it gains levels is essentially based on the druid's animal companion, with some traits from familiars toppled in.

    As you may have also noticed, the HD progression is pretty rare, with huge boosts at around 9th level and 19th level. This is almost exactly the progression of animal companions, but slightly faster and better spread out; you gain 4 more AC (and deflection bonus, to boot!) than the animal companion, and you gain a higher Strength and Constitution bonus than an animal companion.

    If you need a comparison: a druid can, as a choice at 13th level, elect a dire bear as an animal companion. At 20th level, it can only get 4 HD, +4 natural armor bonus, a +2 adjustment to Strength and Dexterity, evasion, devotion, and any buff a Druid can provide. Note that this is a pretty brutal creature, essentially a Fighter on its own (though somewhat weakened). The summoner can, two levels later, bind a Celestial dire bear with the same HD, 1 less AC than the druid's animal companion, the same Strength adjustment as the druid but replacing the Dex adjustment with a Con adjustment, and the same abilities as the 20th level druid's dire bear but with Multiattack to boot. And that's at 15th level; that is, five levels earlier than the Druid. By 20th level, the summoner's Celestial dire bear has 20 HD, a deflection modifier of +6 (note that this applies to touch attacks, which makes the Celestial dire bear even MORE dangerous), a +4 adjustment to Strength and Constitution, spell resistance of 30, DR 10/magic, resistance 10 to acid, cold and electricity, the ability to smite evil once per day as a 20th level paladin...oh, and did I mention the dire bear is now HUGE sized...or rather, was HUGE sized about 3 levels ago?

    This is why I mentioned the class could easily be tier 2 if built correctly: you get the ability to spontaneously summon monsters that are more powerful than the norm, summon very powerful monsters as your allies, and have a nice amount of spellcasting. The only thing you'd need is basically to have Wild Shape, and you might end up with a high Tier 2 character pretty easily in terms of power. Considering that you can, with the right choices, you can end up with monsters that can cast spells on their own (which improve their spellcasting as you gain levels), you can end up with a much larger and wider spell list than you have.


    ALTERNATE CLASS FEATURE: Natural Summoner
    Your magic allows invoking, binding and granting boons to the creatures of nature. You may not revere nature as a druid does, but you respect the power it beholds.

    Level: 1st
    Replaces: See below
    Benefit: You gain a series of abilities that allow you to summon animals and other natural creatures, as well as nature-themed abilities.

    First, you gain Knowledge (nature) as a class skill. However, you no longer treat Knowledge (the planes) as a class skill.

    Second, at each level in which you would gain summon monster spells, you gain the ability to cast summon nature’s ally. All of these spells are treated as if arcane spells, including for the creation of scrolls; however, these spells are considered part of the summoner’s spell list and not of the sorcerer/wizard spell list, so a wizard cannot scribe it into its spellbook. A summoner may choose the summon monster spell relevant to its level as usual.

    Finally, a summoner may only do pacts with creatures summoned by use of her summon nature’s ally spells. A summoner’s pact benefits remain the same, except the creature’s natural armor increases instead of gaining a (or increasing their) deflection bonus to AC.

    Spoiler
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    Just in case you didn't felt Druid-y enough with spellcasting, Polymorph/Shapechange, nine "animal companions" and the ability to summon creatures at will, here's an ACF that totally ramps up the feel. Now, you get nine animal companions (or fey, or magical beasts, or even elementals!) to bind and summon to your leisure!


    ALTERNATE CLASS FEATURE: Necroconjurer
    Your magic allows invoking, binding and granting boons to the undead. You acquire deep insight into the power of necromancy, but not to the extent of a specialized master of necromancy.

    Level: 1st
    Replaces: See below
    Benefit: The summoner gains a series of abilities that allow her to summon undead creatures, as well as abilities related to necromancy and knowledge of necromantic spells.

    First, the summoner gains Knowledge (religion) as a class skill. However, she no longer treats Knowledge (the planes) as a class skill.

    Second, at each level in which she would gain summon monster spells, the summoner gains the ability to cast summon undead. A summoner may choose the summon monster spell relevant to her level as usual. After 11th level, a summoner can use a spell slot of 6th level to summon two undead with summon undead V or 1d4+1 undead with summon undead IV, or a spell slot of 7th level to summon 1d4+1 undead with summon undead V. At 15th level, a summoner gains create greater undead as a bonus spell on her list of spells known, and at 17th level she adds plague of undead to her list of spells known.

    Third, the summoner may choose spells of the school of necromancy along with the rest of schools to which she has access. However, her choice of spells is focused and limited; along her summon undead spells, the summoner must choose one other spell exclusively from the school of necromancy, and only from the spells of the sorcerer/wizard spell list that belong to the school of necromancy.

    Finally, a summoner may only do pacts with creatures summoned by use of her summon undead spells. A summoner’s pact benefits remain the same, except the creature’s natural armor increases instead of gaining a (or increasing their) deflection bonus to AC (incorporeal undead being the exception), and the creature gains the following extra hit points instead of an increase to the Constitution score:

    Class Level Bonus Hit Points
    1st–2nd 0
    3rd–4th 5
    5th–6th HD
    7th–8th HD +5
    9th–10th HD x2
    11th–12th (HD x 2) +10
    13th–14th HD x 3
    15th–16th (HD x 3) +15
    17th-18th HD x 4
    19th–20th (HD x 4) +20

    The amount of bonus hit points does not stack, but rather overlaps as it progresses; thus, a 4th level summoner grants its pact-bound undead summoned by summon undead I a total of 5 bonus hit points, while a 6th level summoner grants its pact-bound undead summoned by summon undead I a total of bonus hit points equal to the undead creature’s base hit dice (plus bonus hit dice acquired from the pact).

    Spoiler
    Show
    And, here's the version for undead creatures, just in case you'd like to see how this works with Dread Necromancer. Because there's only five Summon Undead spells, they get virtual extensions to the creatures they summon, and eventually they create strong undead in their service (though they don't end up as powerful as your summoned monsters or natural allies). In exchange, you get the whole of necromancy as an available school (thus, you can play with Enervation if you want; no Desecrate or Unhallow, though), even if you need to spend one of your spell slots on a Necromancy spell.

    Finally, your undead are much more resilient, as while they lack Constitution to resist some attacks, they get a large amount of hit points in exchange. Just to put this in perspective: a lowly undead summoned by the Summon Undead I spell can easily get over 60 extra hit points, in addition to the extra hit dice, and a massive amount of natural armor AC. Those few incorporeal undead you can summon get a lower amount (probably over 40) but a huge bonus to their deflection AC, which with their Charisma becomes a virtually untouchable creature. This is obviously specific to Summon Undead V and the Shadow, unless you arrange for a slight exchange in your undead summoning lists.


    So, as usual: questions? Comments? For all that's good and holy, why you give an already decent class the equivalent of NINE animal companions? I'd prefer to have one useful summon than nine sucky ones? I was expecting a Tier 1 class, but you failed on the task, you homebrewer reject!?

    ...Self-deprecation aside, critique is welcome, as usual. Not sure if I really jumped the gun on how weak the class' chassis is, and still have my doubts on whether it's best to make the Summoner a spontaneous specialist (and a powerful one at that) at the expense of the veritable wealth of non-Core spells sieved through Advanced Learning. An actual capstone is welcome too, and I'd love ideas to cover those unfortunate dead levels.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-08-16 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Fixing tables and replacing the Pact-Bound Summons table
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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    I know you need to use Summon Monster to bring out beasties and make pacts with them, but how do you summon them once you've made said pact?

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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just to Browse View Post
    I know you need to use Summon Monster to bring out beasties and make pacts with them, but how do you summon them once you've made said pact?
    Shouldn't be hard to see, but if you haven't, the "Pact-Bound Summons" section indicates that you use a Summon Monster spell. The part that's not entirely clear is that you cast the same spell that would summon the creature in order to summon it: thus, a bound Celestial Fire Beetle or a bound Small Fiendish Monstrous Spider are summoned through a Summon Monster I spell. Thus, you technically get an extra monster to summon for each spell level, which is your pact-bound summon, in addition to the list currently present.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Questions:

    In terms of power levels, how did you intend for this class to compare to:

    Low-Op Summoner (Say, Sorc 20)
    Mid-Op Summoner (Say, Sorc 5/Mindbender 1/Malconvoker 9/Paragnostic Apostle 3 with Dragonblood Sorc substitution level, Infernal Sorc Heritage Feat and Quicken SLA)
    High-Op Summoner (Say, Conjurer 3/Master Specialist 2/Incantatrix 10/Halruaan Elder 4/Malconvoker 1, with Enchanced and Rapid Summoning ACFs, Summon Elemental and Residual Magic)

    From my extremely quick perusal, you're aiming for parity with the low-op from a casual player and a ceiling of the mid-op with an experienced player?

    Edit: Also, what's the spell list? That would change balance a whole bunch.

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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    [...]what's the spell list? That would
    change balance a whole bunch.
    Any abjuration, conjuration, divination or transmutation spell from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. Thus, they have half of what a typical Sorcerer would cast, but with basically three of the most powerful spell schools available.

    Questions:

    In terms of power levels, how did you intend for this class to compare to:

    Low-Op Summoner (Say, Sorc 20)
    Mid-Op Summoner (Say, Sorc 5/Mindbender 1/Malconvoker 9/Paragnostic Apostle 3 with Dragonblood Sorc substitution level, Infernal Sorc Heritage Feat and Quicken SLA)
    High-Op Summoner (Say, Conjurer 3/Master Specialist 2/Incantatrix 10/Halruaan Elder 4/Malconvoker 1, with Enchanced and Rapid Summoning ACFs, Summon Elemental and Residual Magic)

    From my extremely quick perusal, you're aiming for parity with the low-op from a casual player and a ceiling of the mid-op with an experienced player?
    In terms of low-op, the Summoner is superior to the Sorcerer in terms of the power of its summoned (or called) creatures, because of Summoning Boon applying to all summoned creatures. Anything beyond that, the Sorcerer has the edge; the Summoner can fly, travel to distant planes, conjure extremely powerful creatures through Gate, and so forth, but a properly made Sorcerer 20 can be more versatile. Essentially, if the Sorcerer attempts to play with the Summoner's forte (basically, calling and summoning creatures), it'll fail horribly. However, if the Sorcerer is a Mailman, then they're different enough, and the former could overcome the latter (though the Summoner can dabble in Mailman, due to its full access to Conjuration)

    Going to mid-op, it's evident that what you want is to summon evil creatures (Malconvoker allows this, Infernal Sorcerer Heritage allows your creatures to last for a longer time) and add Call to Worlds to mimic the effect of Summoning Boon (Vigor), and the second substitution level at level 4 (pardoning the redundancy) to end up with Summon Monster IX as a SLA, which is then quickened (and Telepathy to communicate with your summoned creatures secretly AND get access to Mindsight). Deceptive Summons is your answer to the Summoning Boons, alongside Call of Worlds; thus, most of your creatures will be roughly similar in power to those from the Summoner, and you can potentially draw from a longer list, not to mention pulling that faster than usual. Against a normally summoned monster from the Summoner, the mid-op summoner-specialized Sorc will fare decently, but this ends once the Summoner uses a called creature (Call to Worlds doesn't work on called creatures, nor the boons of Deceptive Summons; Summoning Boon explicitly includes Calling subschool spells) or when it summons one of its pets (which has better benefits overall). The mid-op summoning-specialized Sorc still wins due to utility (and because its spell list isn't restricted to certain creatures). On the other hand, a Summoner that dips into Malconvoker, while it sacrifices the power of some of its creatures, gains access to a whole lot of creatures it can potentially bind, which ends up affecting the ace in the hole the mid-op summoning-specialized Sorcerer brings. The Summoner edges out ahead, but when the time comes for the Sorcerer to use spells away from the former's area of expertise, all bets are off. At most, the Sorcerer will probably attempt to extend the battle and end up with a creature for a longer time than the Summoner does.

    Going into high-op, the theme is probably mixing complete metamagic reduction with circle magic shenanigans to invoke and bind the biggest, strongest creature you can call, not summon. By this level, you can call a balor or pit fiend (or solar, if you're good aligned) before a Summoner can even have access to Gate. Spell-wise, you're as limited as the Summoner, but being a Conjurer means you're a Wizard, and thus you can prepare any spell in your spellbook; since you can''t drop Divination, that opens a lot of possibilities, and you end up with a single school over the Summoner (which is most likely Illusion or Necromancy). Just by reading Snatch Spell, I believe the purpose of the high-op Conjurer is to let the summoner invoke one of its pact-bound summons, and snatch the spell to end up with a powered creature of its own. Note, of course, that I'm using the variant that appears in Player's Guide to Faerun, which is the closest to 3.5, the original FR version or the one that appears in Magic of Faerun are completely different. It's hard to compare to that, though I feel the second level of Master Specialist wasn't that necessary because the 5th level of Halruaan Elder is exactly what you want (become a Circle Leader); it's necessary because it gives something over the Wizard and also because you need 3rd level spells to enter, but if you do things right, you can skip that level and enter MUCH earlier (though it depends on your cheese tolerance and how close you wish to remain to practical optimization rather than theoretical optimization); Malconvoker is there obviously for the expanded spell list. Just with Incantatrix and Halruaan Elder I could say that the high-op Conjurer wins, but not necessarily BECAUSE it overpowers the Summoner on its own league, but because by that level you overpower EVERYTHING on your path. Note that you're comparing a class that could reach Tier 2 easily with a build that by its own is Tier -1; in essence, that's two levels higher than the Summoner. Note, also, that the Summoner is at the same potential at all levels, aside from the slight note of adding 1 or 2 levels of Malconvoker, sacrificing the power of pact-bound summons and some spellcasting for the ability to call, summon and potentially BIND evil outsiders in conjunction with those closer to your level.

    Now, based on your observation, you're ignoring that the casual player will probably avoid this class like the plague, if only for the massive book-keeping (however, this is purely intentional). An experienced player will probably play a CG character and bind the Lillend, or a LG character and bind the Couatl for the expanded spell lists and pad the spells they're missing (or NG and bind BOTH). A Natural Summoner will also probably go NG or CG for the Celestial Charger and nab Cleric spells, so the mid-op summoning-specialized Sorcerer is toe-to-toe with the Summoner until these guys come around, and a Natural Summoner could mix this and a Solar (note that Planar Binding and Gate are not forbidden to these guys) and end up with chain-gated Solars AND a Celestial Charger providing Planetars of its own. Aside from the lack of Circle Magic AND Improved Metamagic, toying with that gets them pretty darn close to Tier 1 (particularly as the Celestial Charger, despite not having 8th level and 9th level spells, by virtue of being a pact-bound summon means you can alter its spell list to what you desire). Thus, I'd say that a casual player will require some time to handle the Summoner as it should, but it'll end up over (not in parity) the low-op Sorc 20, and an experienced player will end up just slightly below the high-op Conjurer until Circle Magic, Improved Metamagic shenanigans and Snatch Spell come into play, in which the Summoner is grossly overcome.

    I'd compare it, though, with the Druid, because of the similarities I mentioned before. The only reason it doesn't reach Tier 1 is because of its spell list and spellcasting method, as it's nearly impossible that spontaneous spellcasters reach Tier 1's depth of versatility. Someone who plays a Summoner and a Druid well can definitely exploit a Summoner to its maximum expression, so I'd say the optimization ceiling is slightly higher.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Any abjuration, conjuration, divination or transmutation spell from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. Thus, they have half of what a typical Sorcerer would cast, but with basically three of the most powerful spell schools available.
    So this class is basically tier 2 before we get to its class abilities, due to access to 90% of the most powerful spells in the PHB. Fair enough. Generally when I see/design homebrew summoners, they shoot for tier 3.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    In terms of low-op, the Summoner is superior to the Sorcerer in terms of the power of its summoned (or called) creatures, because of Summoning Boon applying to all summoned creatures. Anything beyond that, the Sorcerer has the edge; the Summoner can fly, travel to distant planes, conjure extremely powerful creatures through Gate, and so forth, but a properly made Sorcerer 20 can be more versatile. Essentially, if the Sorcerer attempts to play with the Summoner's forte (basically, calling and summoning creatures), it'll fail horribly. However, if the Sorcerer is a Mailman, then they're different enough, and the former could overcome the latter (though the Summoner can dabble in Mailman, due to its full access to Conjuration)
    Honestly, the Summoner sounds like a Sorc minus 5000 bad spells and a dozen good ones (contingency springs to mind, plus some nice illusion/necro/enchantment spells up to around level 3). I expect the summoner could pull similar tricks to a sorcerer at high levels, and if both were summoning by trade, the sorcerer could make up some of his deficiencies through buff spells in the enchantment school, although transmutation contains most of them. The sorc's only real edge would be ACFs that the low-op player wouldn't know to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Going to mid-op[...] The Summoner edges out ahead, but when the time comes for the Sorcerer to use spells away from the former's area of expertise, all bets are off. At most, the Sorcerer will probably attempt to extend the battle and end up with a creature for a longer time than the Summoner does.
    Sadly, the Sorc ACF only allows you to SLA spells up to max level-1, so he's Quickened SLAing SM VIII instead. However, any evil summons he casts get free extend and twinned (Malconvoker), augmented, +2 HP/HD, +2/Will, Fast Healing 5, and +2 Damage. He's casting evils at CL 24 (normal summons at CL 22) and gets an additional +2 CL for dispels.

    The Summoner would win without question were it not for the Twinned summon. As is they both have plusses.

    If a Summoner were to dip malconvoker 5 for twinned summoning, how would that interact with their specially buffed pact creatures? I assume it would pull a non-pacted twin from the aether. That said, summoner with malconvoker is rather limited, as they'd have to be LN or CN and have a very limited subset of creatures from which to choose.

    I'd make a note that a summer can't summon a pacted creature while it's already out anyway, since Twin Spell is a thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Going into high-op, the theme is probably mixing complete metamagic reduction with circle magic shenanigans to invoke and bind the biggest, strongest creature you can call, not summon.
    I built it for summoning, but by virtue of being a tier 1 class it can do both. I don't have too much experience building tricked out arcane casters so I worked backwards from "here's who spells good".

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    [...] though I feel the second level of Master Specialist wasn't that necessary because the 5th level of Halruaan Elder is exactly what you want (become a Circle Leader); it's necessary because it gives something over the Wizard and also because you need 3rd level spells to enter, but if you do things right, you can skip that level and enter MUCH earlier (though it depends on your cheese tolerance and how close you wish to remain to practical optimization rather than theoretical optimization);
    You're probably right about Master Specialist 2 not being necessary, but it was hard to qualify for any other fun things at level 5.

    This is my "play with cheese" build, not my "build with cheese" build, which was an Illumian Wizard 1/Druid 1/Mystic Theruge 3/Wildrunner 1/Arcane Heirophant 10/Contemplative 1/Mystic Theruge +3 and ended up casting SM prepared arcane (Wis) and divine (contemplative, Summoner Domain), as well as Arcane Spontaneous (Nexus Domain) and SNA prepared and Spontaneous (Druid casting). I'd never use Improved Sigil for early qualification in a real game. Also note that this build doesn't work by RAW, but I got my co-competitor to drop the Elf prereq for Wildrunner, so it's sketchy even as TO.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Malconvoker is there obviously for the expanded spell list.
    That, and Malconvoker 1 gives free Extend when summoning evil creatures. If used with an Extended Summons, they "D&D Multiply" to triple duration. A Shifter Ashbound Moonspeaker can summon at triple without increasing spell level, which is as hilarious as it is largely useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    when Just with Incantatrix and Halruaan Elder I could say that the high-op Conjurer wins, but not necessarily BECAUSE it overpowers the Summoner on its own league, but because by that level you overpower EVERYTHING on your path. Note that you're comparing a class that could reach Tier 2 easily with a build that by its own is Tier -1; in essence, that's two levels higher than the Summoner. Note, also, that the Summoner is at the same potential at all levels, aside from the slight note of adding 1 or 2 levels of Malconvoker, sacrificing the power of pact-bound summons and some spellcasting for the ability to call, summon and potentially BIND evil outsiders in conjunction with those closer to your level.
    I think ACF Summoner with Greenbound and Ashbound Summoning, plus imbue spell, beckon the frozen, and residual magic, could help a lot.

    Alternatively, depending on how Summon Elemental interacts with pacts (a glance says legal) - you could pact your elemental pet, then take Rashemi Elemental Summoning and Beckon the Frozen + Augment Elemental, you can take on a Druid's Animal Companion all day. The only issue is that it goes non-special for 24 hours when it dies, which is solved by pacting multiple. Not necessarily the most powerful trick but damn hilarious.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    [...]I'd compare it, though, with the Druid, because of the similarities I mentioned before. The only reason it doesn't reach Tier 1 is because of its spell list and spellcasting method, as it's nearly impossible that spontaneous spellcasters reach Tier 1's depth of versatility. Someone who plays a Summoner and a Druid well can definitely exploit a Summoner to its maximum expression, so I'd say the optimization ceiling is slightly higher.
    The biggest annoyance I see with the Summoner is that it has no way of getting around full-round summons, short of Quicken and Rapid. Wizards and Druids both can, but the Summoner is stuck with the Sorc: applying Rapid Metamagic 3 times per day and hoping for the best. 2 Rounds to apply Imbue Spell defeats the action economy advantage, etc. Spontaneous casters are limited as hell when it comes to metamagic.

    I might write up my progress in making a Tier 3 Summoner - my spell list involved stripping any spell that requires an attack-roll or a non-harmless save. It's difficult, since summoning in general is tier 2, mostly due to planar allies and Gate, but probably doable.

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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    It appears to show how you summon up the monster to make the pact (calling it and doing a ritual) but I can't find somewhere in there that specifically says you must use summon monster to bring the summonling out.

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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    So this class is basically tier 2 before we get to its class abilities, due to access to 90% of the most powerful spells in the PHB. Fair enough. Generally when I see/design homebrew summoners, they shoot for tier 3.
    Based on how my 'brew has been judged, I usually gravitate between Tier 3 and Tier 4, but I prefer another method of balance (the balance point), which generally means all classes are usually High (akin to the tools a well-played Rogue, Beguiler or Bard can bring, but nowhere near the stuff a Wizard can pull). Warmage and Healer are usually my "no gloves" 'brew, and with Summoner, I decided for a similar approach: don't care for the target tier, instead focus so that the summons are just great.

    Honestly, the Summoner sounds like a Sorc minus 5000 bad spells and a dozen good ones (contingency springs to mind, plus some nice illusion/necro/enchantment spells up to around level 3). I expect the summoner could pull similar tricks to a sorcerer at high levels, and if both were summoning by trade, the sorcerer could make up some of his deficiencies through buff spells in the enchantment school, although transmutation contains most of them. The sorc's only real edge would be ACFs that the low-op player wouldn't know to use.
    The buffs from the Enchantment school are somewhat debatable, based on your choice of party. On a party without a dedicated buffer (say, a Bard, or in odd cases a Marshal or Crusader), Heroism, Good Hope and Greater Heroism can be pretty awesome. Otherwise, the Bard provides better morale-based buffs, and the Sorcerer can't buff itself with Cleric spells unless it brings a character that does, OR uses Limited Wish. Enchantment is better used for charm and compulsion spells, which is somewhat counter to the philosophy of a Summoner (you conjure creatures to assist you, not control the people around you; the Beguiler is far better on that one).

    Trick-wise, the ACFs are a mixed bag. Dragonblodded Summoner, Instant Metamagic and others are pretty decent so as long as you're not attached to your familiar and you're either focused on one aspect of your build or know how to pull utility. In that sense, the Sorcerer edges out with someone who knows how to draw utility from its spells. That said, I agree with what you mention; the Summoner can mix its strong summons with something akin to a Mailman build (probably with Orb of Force for good measure) and deliver large amounts of damage while letting the summoned creatures deal with those who wish to get close. Though, not all ACFs are good for summoners (Battle Sorcerer and Complete Mage's Stalwart Sorcerer hurt a bit, and are better for gishes, which neither a summoning-specialized Sorcerer nor a proper Summoner focuses at). The Necroconjurer ACF for the Summoner adds another layer of power to the Summoner by re-introducing Necromancy spells to what's essentially a Sorcerer chassis, which brings up again the Twinned, Split-Ray, Empowered Maximized Enervation bit (with Arcane Thesis on top), so the Summoner with use of ACFs isn't out of edge either.

    Sadly, the Sorc ACF only allows you to SLA spells up to max level-1, so he's Quickened SLAing SM VIII instead. However, any evil summons he casts get free extend and twinned (Malconvoker), augmented, +2 HP/HD, +2/Will, Fast Healing 5, and +2 Damage. He's casting evils at CL 24 (normal summons at CL 22) and gets an additional +2 CL for dispels.

    The Summoner would win without question were it not for the Twinned summon. As is they both have plusses.
    Technically, you don't get a Twinned Summon Monster spell, you only get one extra monster from the same kind. While it's for all effects a Twinned Spell when you summon a creature from the same level, it's not the same when you summon a creature from one or two lists lower, which nets you more than one summoned creature but not twice the amount (you get 2 creatures from your list, 1d3+1 creatures from the lower list or 1d4+2 creatures from the list two levels lower). You get more than usual, but not exactly twice the amount (which would be the effect of Twin Spell).

    Minor inconvenience aside, the pact-bound summon is by far superior to the two creatures from the mid-op Malconvoker, as it gets most of the same benefits (Augmented, Fast Healing from Vigor, extra damage from Aggressive) plus the bonus Hit Dice. Some exceptions abound (two Colossal Monstrous Spiders with 32 HD might be more powerful than a single Colossal Monstrous Spider with 37-39 HD, as the 7 HD + 3-4 deflection bonus to AC + 2-4 bonus to Str/Con isn't enough to compensate; barely a +1/+2 boost to CR), but generally the pact-bound summon will push ahead (compare two 10-HD hezrous to one 15/17-HD hezrou with the same boosts; particularly if you can distract the other hezrou with 4-40 dretches).

    If a Summoner were to dip malconvoker 5 for twinned summoning, how would that interact with their specially buffed pact creatures? I assume it would pull a non-pacted twin from the aether. That said, summoner with malconvoker is rather limited, as they'd have to be LN or CN and have a very limited subset of creatures from which to choose.

    I'd make a note that a summer can't summon a pacted creature while it's already out anyway, since Twin Spell is a thing.
    Regarding the extra creature, you'd get a non-pacted twin, as you mentioned. You make pacts with only one creature per spell level. It'd be the same as using a higher-level Summon Monster spell to summon your pact-bound creature and an entourage of non-pacted creatures with the same package.

    As for Summoner + Malconvoker, note the main benefit of Malconvoker 1 and Unrestricted Conjuration: you could be a NG character and, because Unrestricted Conjuration essentially negates your summoning limitation, you could summon LG creatures, NG creatures, CG creatures, N creatures (one step away from NG, note), and all evil creatures. In essence, Unrestricted Conjuration removes the limitation from the Summoner, as while a normal Summoner doesn't risk invoking a creature too far from its alignment, a Malconvoker essentially counts on it. A NG Summoner with Malconvoker can summon and bind from essentially ALL creatures in the list.

    I built it for summoning, but by virtue of being a tier 1 class it can do both. I don't have too much experience building tricked out arcane casters so I worked backwards from "here's who spells good".

    You're probably right about Master Specialist 2 not being necessary, but it was hard to qualify for any other fun things at level 5.

    This is my "play with cheese" build, not my "build with cheese" build, which was an Illumian Wizard 1/Druid 1/Mystic Theruge 3/Wildrunner 1/Arcane Heirophant 10/Contemplative 1/Mystic Theruge +3 and ended up casting SM prepared arcane (Wis) and divine (contemplative, Summoner Domain), as well as Arcane Spontaneous (Nexus Domain) and SNA prepared and Spontaneous (Druid casting). I'd never use Improved Sigil for early qualification in a real game.
    Oddly enough, I wasn't thinking about Illumian at all. I recall Sanctum Spell + Acorn of Far Travel was another method. Being a Circle Leader is important, though, because once you get Gate, you can summon a 80-HD creature (which is, essentially, anything in ANY book, including the Epic Level Handbook) and bind it into your service for an amount of rounds equal to twice your (modified) caster level, which is essentially 8 minutes of action, without repercussions. Illumian isn't the only way you can do early entry with spellcasting that I recall of, and being capable of boosting your spellcasting when preparing spells or adding free Empower and Maximize to the few actual attack spells you cast (or stuff like Time Stop, for example) is far better than a single spell. I understand why you did the Master Specialist 2 dip, but it feels like it could have been done better. In fact, since you don't go any further in Malconvoker, the "free Extend" from the PrC seems kinda pointless compared to Circle Magic, period, and you retain full spellcasting from it.

    That, and Malconvoker 1 gives free Extend when summoning evil creatures. If used with an Extended Summons, they "D&D Multiply" to triple duration. A Shifter Ashbound Moonspeaker can summon at triple without increasing spell level, which is as hilarious as it is largely useless.
    See above. Conjurer or not, Circle Magic >> "free" Extend, which requires Bluff (which, as I recall, the Wizard doesn't get; the Sorcerer, on the other hand...) and is opposed by the creature's Sense Motive, which at times is non-existent but when dealing with social fiends, it nullifies you. Halruaan Elder 5 is just incredibly good.

    I think ACF Summoner with Greenbound and Ashbound Summoning, plus imbue spell, beckon the frozen, and residual magic, could help a lot.
    Hmm...Natural Summoner with Greenbound template (turns it into a plant and grants a huge lot of stuff), +3 luck bonus to saves, cold subtype with an extra 1d6 damage, an imbued spell of 3rd level or lower and able to cast a similar spell of the actual level without raising the spell's level, PLUS Summoning Boon on any animal? Just the Greenbound template gives me shivers. And that's just the normal creature, not the pact-bound one. Yeah, building for Natural Summoner can end up with a pretty potent character, and the feats are great for a normal Summoner too.

    Alternatively, depending on how Summon Elemental interacts with pacts (a glance says legal) - you could pact your elemental pet, then take Rashemi Elemental Summoning and Beckon the Frozen + Augment Elemental, you can take on a Druid's Animal Companion all day. The only issue is that it goes non-special for 24 hours when it dies, which is solved by pacting multiple. Not necessarily the most powerful trick but damn hilarious.
    It's fair play for Summoning Boon, but not for Summon Elemental. While it acts as per Summon Monster, it's not an actual Summon Monster spell. It can be outfit with Defensive and Resistance boons for a superb trapbuster, though.

    Those are really strong ideas with which to play with, though. It really helps to gauge the actual power of the Summoner when mixed with all toys other classes get, and help illustrate the optimization ceiling of the class (and the optimization ceiling of the ACFs; as it stands, Natural Summoner seems to be much better than normal Summoner as it stands).

    The biggest annoyance I see with the Summoner is that it has no way of getting around full-round summons, short of Quicken and Rapid. Wizards and Druids both can, but the Summoner is stuck with the Sorc: applying Rapid Metamagic 3 times per day and hoping for the best. 2 Rounds to apply Imbue Spell defeats the action economy advantage, etc. Spontaneous casters are limited as hell when it comes to metamagic.
    I know that, but the Sorcerer has more ways to get swifter metamagic (with and without ACFs). Note, though, that the class has a few dead levels that could be padded, and while Extend Summoning helps with the duration, the lack of accelerated summoning definitely hurts. 8th level and 12th level seem to be fair places to reduce the casting time of Summon Monster spells, and 16th level could easily do the same for Planar Binding and Gate (that is, the calling spells). Sorta like 8th level lets you cast summoning spells 1 step faster (10 minutes -> 1 minute -> 1 full-round action -> 1 standard), 12th level lets you do the same for calling spells, and 16th level quickens only Summon Monster spells (whether to summon your pact-bound creatures or normal creatures). That'd leave the capstone and 18th level empty, but it helps a LOT with the Summoner's trouble of conjuring (even if until 8th level the summoner basically spends 1 round conjuring its super-creature).

    I might write up my progress in making a Tier 3 Summoner - my spell list involved stripping any spell that requires an attack-roll or a non-harmless save. It's difficult, since summoning in general is tier 2, mostly due to planar allies and Gate, but probably doable.
    Trying to tie back a summoning class into Tier 3 is kind of folly, because pushing it too far may end up taking it into Tier 4. You should focus on setting the optimization floor and optimization ceilings, and retain what you find necessary for the Summoner. For example, a good summoner which could do Tier 3 easily (though not necessarily WILL be Tier 3; it could easily be low Tier 2) should be easy enough for casual players, not have that many toys to let optimizers have it reach high Tier 2/low Tier 1. Spell list-wise, padding the spell list with mostly buffs makes for a superb buffer, so you may want to raid the Cleric's (or the Druid's) spell list for it. That said, it should have at least one or two attack spells, or at least crowd-control spells: Glitterdust may seem powerful enough, but since you're unsuited to attack them directly you'll definitely want your monsters to have it easier, and Glitterdust helps immensely on that. Don't try to do the same as the 3.5 Warmage, where it holds a lot of spells focused on attacking but no crowd control to make its blasting better (or cover for its weaknesses); with some choice crowd control spells (which are, fortunately, Conjuration spells), you can pad up some of the Summoner's weaknesses while letting your summons steal the spotlight.
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    Default Re: The Summoner: do nine pets overcome one eidolon?

    Summon Monster is inherently more powerful than SNA, because monsters get spell-likes at higher levels that animals can't dream of. There are a few exceptions, such as Unicorn being amazing, but compare the SNA 8 and 9 lists to SM 8 and 9 and you'll notice one is made up of all CR 10-12 outsiders with spelllikes, and the other is made of animals without high-level utility, CR1-2 creatures with moderate utility, elementals, and Unicorns.

    It's partially due to spell-likes of summoners, and partially due to Planar Ally and Gate - a common source of campaign-ending power - that summoning is tier 2 all by its lonesome. You only have to do one thing so long as your summons can do everything. As long as you can summon unicorns, you are a healer - and when you can summon 1D4+1 of them, you can break action economy enough to efficiently heal midcombat if you have to. And as long as you can call solars and balors, you can do what they can do as well.

    My design for a summoning class may include animal companion-style buffing, but to mitigate my risk of rebuilding what you just made, I think I'll take a cue from Summon Elemental and keep it to 1 permasummoned creature at a time instead of one from each level.

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