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Druid vs. Summoner


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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I have been racking my brain to try to figure out why someone would play a Summoner over a Druid and I really can't see a reason. Perhaps I am simply missing something, and someone can explain it to me. So, I will make a table, to see.

-------------------Druid-------------------Summoner
Hit Die____________d8______________________d8
Gold_______________2d6x10__________________2d6x10
Skills_____________4+int___________________2+int
Saves______________2 good, 1 bad___________2 bad, 1 good
Spell progression__Wizard__________________Sorcerer
Spell levels_______0-9_____________________0-6
Spontaneous________Summon N. Ally__________All spells

Number of times each can summon monsters without memorizing summon spells.
___________________# of spells_____________3+ Cha modifier.

Shape Changing_____Level 4 and beyond______Level 20

Armor______________Non-metal_______________Any
Armor_______________Light and Med__________Light

Shared item slots__No______________________Yes

Class Features
Most of the Druid class features revolve around increasing the number of times the druid can wild shape, most of the Summoner class features revolve around letting him summon better monsters.

The rules for the Summoner are still in flux with large arguments about what is and is not valid. (Most arguments end up not being in favor of the summoner.)

The rules for the Druid are pretty well hashed out.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

(Assumption, noting has been done to increase the Animal companion/Eidolon's Intelligence)

-------------------Animal Companion--------Eidolon
Max Hit Die________16______________________15
Hit die____________d8______________________d10
Saves______________2 good 1 bad____________2 good 1 bad
Starting saves_____+3 good_________________+2 good
Skills_____________2/Hit Die_______________4/Hit Die
Max Natural Armor__+12_____________________+16
Max Str/Dex bonus__+6______________________+8

Max Ability Score increases at Character level 20
___________________+4______________________+3

Animal Dies________24h prayer______________24h of waiting
Ability to heal____Yes_____________________No
Subject to banish__No______________________Yes

Armor/Barding______Yes_____________________No
Feats______________8_______________________8

Starting Stats_____Varies__________________Varies
Starting Max Str___18______________________16
___________________(Camel)_________________(Biped)
Size Advancement___Yes 4th/7th level_______No (Use evolutions (4 pts))
Max Evo pts._______0_______________________26

# of base forms____65 and counting_________4

Vanishes if Master is asleep/dead
___________________No______________________Yes

Max Nat. Attacks___Varies__________________7

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Essentially I see the Summoner as a Druid who is lacking in almost all ways, and the Eidolon is simply an animal companion, that isn't as good as an animal companion. The only clear win that the Eidolon has over the animal companion is the number of natural attacks, but I don't think extra attacks is worth sacrificing level 7-9 spells.

The lack of spell levels for a Summoner also means that Metamagic feats are somewhat useless. (Can't utilize an upper level spell slot, not enough spell levels)

Can anyone think of a good reason to play a Summoner over a Druid other than flavor?

Edit: This chart looked so much better when I was typing it up, I will see what this looks like.


Almost forgot,

The Druid's casting Ability score is in Wisdom.

The Summoner's casting Ability score is Charisma.


It depends on the role they want to play in the party. They have different spell lists, different class abilities, and different motivations. The summoner is the ultimate pet class, while the druid is much more of a mixed bag of abilities.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly, it looks like you started thinking Druid was better and made the list based off of that. How many times can the Druid Create Demiplanes? None.

Different spell list.

Ability to easily change your companion.

Much better summoning list (Summon Monster is FAR better than Summon Nature's Ally. It's not even close.)

Supreme versatility. Want to have a good radar? Just have the Eidolon spend 1 evolution point to get +8 to perception. And still have amazing stats elsewhere. You just can't do that with animal companions.

You can heal your Eidolon.

All of the "Foo Animal" spells affect animal companions, but not Eidolons. Seems a bit disingenuous to say eidolons can be banished, but say nothing about specific counters to animal companions. It's also pretty disingenuous to say that animal companions have more base forms when Eidolons have many, many, more combinations. I don't know why you just listed base forms, and not combinations.

Don't need to figure out what to do with your companion when you go into town. Just unsummon him. Don't need to tie him up out of town (especially if you have a Lion) leaving him to fend for himself.

Want a companion that can breathe fire, fly, grapple opponents to pick them up and then drop them in mid air? Good luck finding that in an animal companion.

Plus you're not tied to that silly nature hippy theme.


Nope, the summoner got taken down too much from beta, it is now just a fluff class, it is simply worse at its niche role than other classes.


xJoe3x wrote:
Nope, the summoner got taken down too much from beta, it is now just a fluff class, it is simply worse at its niche role than other classes.

Ah no.

In a decent player's hands it's pretty competitive with any class in the game.

Also, it's pretty much winning the DPR olympics now, and damage isn't even really its strong point.


The druid is a tier 1 class, and hard to compete with, but there are several things the summoner can do better.

First the Summoning SLA itself. While the summoner is probably only going to be able to do 7 to 9 times a day. When he does it, its good. SM has better critters than SNA. Its a standard action not a full round one. It last 1 minute per level, not 1 round, so they are going to be around for awhile. It is also at the highest level. The druid only gets their top summons a couple of times and is burning spell slots to do it.

The eidolon may only have 4 base forms, with evolution points and spells like evolution surge, it can be modified it a variety of ways that animal companions cannot, and as mentioned before if it is inconvenient to have around you, can send it back where it came from, and not have to worry about it.

Spell casting. The summoner does struggle here, having to pay a spell tax in order to keep their Eidolon healthy, but they do have several nice spells at a rather low level. Slow and Haste before anyone else does. Oh, and Summon Eidolon. Yes it is a full round to cast, but lasts 1 minute per level, and it does not matter what condition the Eidolon was in, its back at full strength. The level does not scale up with the caster, so even a very high level summoner, can summon their rather powerful Eidolon with just a 2nd level spell.

While a lot of people treat charisma as a dump stat, having a high charisma can in some campaigns come in very handy.


Cheapy wrote:

Honestly, it looks like you started thinking Druid was better and made the list based off of that. How many times can the Druid Create Demiplanes? None.

Different spell list.

The druid has the better spell list as a full caster.

Quote:


Ability to easily change your companion.

He can change it when he levels, a druid can change his companion whenever he feels like it with a 24 hour cerimony.

Quote:


Much better summoning list (Summon Monster is FAR better than Summon Nature's Ally. It's not even close.)

One of few things.

Quote:


Supreme versatility. Want to have a good radar? Just have the Eidolon spend 1 evolution point to get +8 to perception. And still have amazing stats elsewhere. You just can't do that with animal companions.

Then hope you like that choice until you level. Animal companions do just fine, yes picking abilities is fun, but not enough to make up for the discrepancies.

Quote:


You can heal your Eidolon.

And druids can heal all of their companions.

Quote:


All of the "Foo Animal" spells affect animal companions, but not Eidolons. Seems a bit disingenuous to say eidolons can be banished, but say nothing about specific counters to animal companions. It's also pretty disingenuous to say that animal companions have more base forms when Eidolons have many, many, more combinations. I don't know why you just listed base forms, and not combinations.

Dismissal and banishment are quite a bit worse. Oh also don't fall asleep or get knocked out.

Quote:


Don't need to figure out what to do with your companion when you go into town. Just unsummon him. Don't need to tie him up out of town (especially if you have a Lion) leaving him to fend for himself.

A very small issue.

Quote:


Want a companion that can breathe fire, fly, grapple opponents to pick them up and then drop them in mid air? Good luck finding that in an animal companion.

Plus you're not tied to that silly nature hippy theme.

Summoners simply got nerfed into being noncompetitive. If someone wants to play one I suggest they try and get their DM to play it with its abilities from beta.


The summoner is fine for what it is designed to do. The druid is a fun class, but takes a lot of work to get all of its parts to work with each other. The summoner is a solid support spellcaster who can have one or more pets that no one else can match, making it good for someone who likes that kind of character, but not the complexity of a druid. The druid's animal companion can keep up at certain levels, but overall, the eidolon is a much more versatile, adaptable pet. And don't underestimate the ability to send it back to it's home plane when you don't want it around. That is a big liability for many of the so called "better" druid choices.


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xJoe3x wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

Honestly, it looks like you started thinking Druid was better and made the list based off of that. How many times can the Druid Create Demiplanes? None.

Different spell list.

The druid has the better spell list as a full caster.

Quote:


Ability to easily change your companion.

He can change it when he levels, a druid can change his companion whenever he feels like it with a 24 hour cerimony.

Quote:


Much better summoning list (Summon Monster is FAR better than Summon Nature's Ally. It's not even close.)

One of few things.

Quote:


Supreme versatility. Want to have a good radar? Just have the Eidolon spend 1 evolution point to get +8 to perception. And still have amazing stats elsewhere. You just can't do that with animal companions.

Then hope you like that choice until you level. Animal companions do just fine, yes picking abilities is fun, but not enough to make up for the discrepancies.

Quote:


You can heal your Eidolon.

And druids can heal all of their companions.

Quote:


All of the "Foo Animal" spells affect animal companions, but not Eidolons. Seems a bit disingenuous to say eidolons can be banished, but say nothing about specific counters to animal companions. It's also pretty disingenuous to say that animal companions have more base forms when Eidolons have many, many, more combinations. I don't know why you just listed base forms, and not combinations.

Dismissal and banishment are quite a bit worse. Oh also don't fall asleep or get knocked out.

Quote:


Don't need to figure out what to do with your companion when you go into town. Just unsummon him. Don't need to tie him up out of town (especially if you have a Lion) leaving him to fend for himself.

A very small issue.

Quote:


Want a companion that can breathe fire, fly, grapple opponents to pick them up and then drop them in mid air? Good luck finding that in an animal companion.

Plus you're not tied to that silly nature hippy

...

The druid has a different spell list. Can a druid teleport? Nope. Do they have Haste? Nope. Displacement? Nope. Enlarge Person? Nope. Invisibility? Nope. Plane shift? Nope. These are all extremely powerful spells that the Druid can't get. The summoner also gets many spells at earlier levels. Any possible advantage of the druids getting 9 spells levels is offset by the fact that Summoners are arcane casters, which means better spells all around, and that they get many spells at lower spell levels, meaning their 6 levels doesn't hurt much.

The summoner? He's missing out on Earthquake, Control Plants, Atavism, Control Weather...Heal... Other than Heal and maybe Control Weather, I'd rather have Teleport, Displacement, Haste, Slow, Plane Shift, etc.

Changing your animal companion is limited to what would naturally be in the area, and since you can't teleport around, you're pretty much stuck with what's in the area. Evolutionist archetype can change them with 24 hours anyways, and since you have to choose an animal companion over a domain, I see no reason to say "archetypes don't count", since you're just choosing class abilities anyways. Plus, there are Evolution surge spells which can shore up any weakness in a pinch. Just grab a few scrolls of 'em.

Figuring out what to do with the companion is *not* a very small issue. Is it a huge issue? No. But neither is "being stuck with +8 to perception for a level". Let's say you're having talks with some dude, and the talks go sour. That's cool, the Summoner can just summon his eidolon into the room. The druid who focused on the animal companion? Well, hope you enjoy not having one of your big class abilities.

Need to make your way through a narrow cavern, which is too wide for your lion / bear / whatever to fit through? Well, sucks for the druid.

You're giving summoners far too little credit.


Actually I think they are giving the Druid and Summoner exactly the credit that they deserve, but then again I am a little biased.

Summoner: Disturbing lack of offensive spells.

Druid: Entangle is just as amazing as Enlarge person can be.

My Favorite Druid spell has always been Elemental Swarm. Finger of Death is another. Animal growth is nice though it is a 5th level.

Cheliax

Cheapy wrote:
Need to make your way through a narrow cavern, which is too wide for your lion / bear / whatever to fit through? Well, sucks for the druid.

The rest of this stuff is arguable (I'll concede you both have your points and probably try both classes at some point to see.) but isn't there a spell to reduce the size of an animal?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
EntrerisShadow wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
Need to make your way through a narrow cavern, which is too wide for your lion / bear / whatever to fit through? Well, sucks for the druid.
The rest of this stuff is arguable (I'll concede you both have your points and probably try both classes at some point to see.) but isn't there a spell to reduce the size of an animal?

Yea, forgot about that. Scratch that from the record!


Mogart wrote:

Actually I think they are giving the Druid and Summoner exactly the credit that they deserve, but then again I am a little biased.

Summoner: Disturbing lack of offensive spells.

Druid: Entangle is just as amazing as Enlarge person can be.

My Favorite Druid spell has always been Elemental Swarm. Finger of Death is another. Animal growth is nice though it is a 5th level.

Summoners aren't offensive casters, they're buffers. Haste Is a great spell and the great thing about a Summoner is that he brings an extra ally automatically to benefit from it.

The Summoner has some limitations, but it's pretty well established that they and their eidolon can compete with anyone in the DPR category, plus they have access to a decent number of the versatility spells on the arcane list.


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Mogart wrote:
I have been racking my brain to try to figure out why someone would play a Summoner over a Druid and I really can't see a reason. Perhaps I am simply missing something, and someone can explain it to me.

Maybe it is a flavor reason, and the Eidolon is better than the animal companion. The fact that summoners lose out on spells does not really have anything to do with the "pets" features.

A well built Eidolon can keep pace with a fighter. An animal companion won't.

With all that said I don't care for them because the rules exceptions allow for too many mistakes.


Reduce Animal works fine for certain situations, but there are still plenty of situations you won't be able to have your animal companion, period. Between his charisma and the ability to summon, and as necessary dismiss, either his eidolon or other support quickly, the summoner will do quite well in social situations; the fighter will likely not have his main weapons, and the druid will frequently not have his companion. It comes down to the campaign details. If you're in a city environment most of the time, the summoner is better than the druid; in the wild, the druid will be able to bring his full suite of ablities to bear, giving him an edge. In a dungeon, it could go either way.


The one thing I never liked for Summoners is that the 7 or so uses of summon monster they get makes the eidolon vanish for the duration. It would be like having the druid's animal companion vanish for using wildshape (or maybe casting summon nature's ally).


I'm just surprised this si even a thread.

First, an animal companion is not the defining feature of a druid. A summoner's eidolon is hence summoner. How does this comparison work if, say we decided to take domains instead of an animal companion? Or if I was a synthesist?

I will say that in terms of versatility they are about equal with the summoner coming out a bit on top. That eidolon can actually be a workable face for the group. Yes, my pet is the party mascot. Your bear is awesome but he's still a bear. My angel of vengeance with alabaster skin and wispy transparent wings of golden light can do anything i need it to do in one spell not twenty four hours. Ever hear of Evolution Surge?


TarkXT wrote:

I'm just surprised this si even a thread.

First, an animal companion is not the defining feature of a druid. A summoner's eidolon is hence summoner. How does this comparison work if, say we decided to take domains instead of an animal companion? Or if I was a synthesist?

I will say that in terms of versatility they are about equal with the summoner coming out a bit on top. That eidolon can actually be a workable face for the group. Yes, my pet is the party mascot. Your bear is awesome but he's still a bear. My angel of vengeance with alabaster skin and wispy transparent wings of golden light can do anything i need it to do in one spell not twenty four hours. Ever hear of Evolution Surge?

Let me see, you are right the animal companion is not the defining characteristic of the Druid, this is true, but I did find it odd that in many ways the animal companion is equal to if not in some cases better than the Eidolon. (More stat bonuses, ability to wear armor, not disappearing)

The reason I wrote the comparison with respect to an Animal companion druid and not a Domain Druid was because I was looking at a Summoner and not a Cleric.

Many of the buffing spells that the Summoner can learn to cast the Druid has access to. The difference is that while the Summoner is a buff caster with a pet, the Druid can cast many of the same spells or their equivalents without having to know them they are simply on his list. The Druid is considered to be a jack of all trades with a tough animal companion, and in this case the animal companion has better stats than the Eidolon, if not more attacks. Whereas the Summoner is

Every time a new animal is published the Druid animal companion base form gets better. I am just wondering why the summoner was created as a tier 2-3 class, a gimpy druid if you will. That was the point of my original post, I couldn't see why you would ever play a Summoner over a Druid.

GM: Do you want to play a Summoner or a Druid?
Player: Which has a pet?
GM: They both do.
Player: Which Pet has better stats?
GM: Numerically the Druid, but eventually the Summoner pet can have 7 attacks.
Player: Which class has better spells?
GM: Do you want to do a lot of buffing or damage?
Player: Can I do both?
GM: If you are a Druid you can.
Player: Can the Summoner heal?
GM: The summoner can heal.........his pet.
Player: Can the pet wear armor?
GM: The Druid's can.
Player: Can my pet wear magic items?
GM: As a Summoner, you and your pet share magic item slots but not the benefits of the items. Druids don't have to share slots.
Player: Can my Druid summon creatures to help me get away in combat?
GM: Yes, he can also turn into a bird and fly away if things get too rough.
Player: Can the summoner fly away?
GM: If you spec for it, you can give yourself wings at level 10.
Player: When can a Druid Fly?
GM: Probably at level 4 when you first get the ability to shape change.
Player: Why would anyone want to play a Summoner?
GM: I don't know, flavor?


Mogart wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

I'm just surprised this si even a thread.

First, an animal companion is not the defining feature of a druid. A summoner's eidolon is hence summoner. How does this comparison work if, say we decided to take domains instead of an animal companion? Or if I was a synthesist?

I will say that in terms of versatility they are about equal with the summoner coming out a bit on top. That eidolon can actually be a workable face for the group. Yes, my pet is the party mascot. Your bear is awesome but he's still a bear. My angel of vengeance with alabaster skin and wispy transparent wings of golden light can do anything i need it to do in one spell not twenty four hours. Ever hear of Evolution Surge?

snipped for space

Which class to play also depends on what you want to do. If you want to play a buff/support character that has a pet the summoner is a good choice. The idea of building a character around a pet/monster/etc has always been something people have wanted to do. The Eidolon power makes it a good choice. The druid companion might have better stats(I am not sure), but I do know that the Eidolon can be a beast in combat, no pun intended.


Why would anyone want to play a Summoner?

I dont know, how about the ability to custom build a companion to your very exact specifications and almost any concept you like.

And one that isn't terrible at that!


wraithstrike wrote:
The Eidolon power makes it a good choice. The druid companion might have better stats(I am not sure),

They aren't they have slightly better stats in some cases (not all) but after you invest evolution points there's no competition. One gets the idea he looked at the base forms and compared them to some base animal companions.

Personally I find the whole argument absurd.


TarkXT wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The Eidolon power makes it a good choice. The druid companion might have better stats(I am not sure),

They aren't they have slightly better stats in some cases (not all) but after you invest evolution points there's no competition. One gets the idea he looked at the base forms and compared them to some base animal companions.

Personally I find the whole argument absurd.

The big advantage of the Druid animal companion, from a power standpoint, is that the animal companion doesn't have to compete for magical items with the Druid.

And since you're generally looking at more than doubling the cost of an item between each additional point of bonus (IE, a +2 costs more than two +1's), both a druid and his companion can be reasonably well equiped; the same can't be said for a summoner and his eidolon.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An eidolon is much more intelligent than an animal companion. If it spots a ninja sneaking up on you it can say "Hey, there's a ninja sneaking up on you". Also, it's going to have a lot more skills and can be really good at them with the skilled evolution.

With a biped form and a few ranks in disguise, it can follow you around town without raising a ruckus. Many cities won't let animals in unless their a commonly domesticated animal, in a cage, or at least on a leash.


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You forgot the most important comparison

Druid Summoning: Full Round = easily interrupted, often comes too late

Summoner Summoning: Standard Action = I win Pathfinder

There is lots of other stuff you ignored too. For example, consider 10th level characters with 18 in their primary stat:

Druid Summon Natures Ally V: 3
Summoner Summon Monster V: 7

That's twice as much right?

How about this one?

[quote}Number of times each can summon monsters without memorizing summon spells.
___________________# of spells_____________3+ Cha modifier.

Number of spells left afterwards:

Druid: Zero
Summoner: All of them

Or this one?

Quote:
Spell levels_______0-9_____________________0-6

Summoner SLA max equivalent level: 9

There's much, much more, but I have to go to work.

Look at the spell lists though...


Gjorbjond wrote:
An eidolon is much more intelligent than an animal companion. If it spots a ninja sneaking up on you it can say "Hey, there's a ninja sneaking up on you". Also, it's going to have a lot more skills and can be really good at them with the skilled evolution.

The value of both intelligence and hands cannot be overstated; I had an Inquisitor dominated by a Succubus, who nearly two rounded our party Druid. The animal companion went to stop her, and its options were limited by both its physical abilities and its intelligence; the result was a dead Inquisitor.

An Eidolon would have been much more flexible in such a situation.

Cheliax

As Treatmonk has said many times, the Eidilon is the overfocused part of the summoner. The real beauty is an amazing "bards wish they could do this" spell list (haste at 4, Black Tentacles and Dimension doors that are eligible for enhancement by lesser meta-magic rods), coupled with standard action "on level, for minutes" summon creature spells. When coupled with the spell summon eidolon, which allows the Eidilon to benefit from augment summon), you have lots of cheap minute-per level summons, and both the best suPport spells and control spells at the same level a wizard would get them (and again, your tentacles are the only ones that can be lesser meta magic widened).

But in terms of being straight combatants, yeah, Druids are best. But by the standard rules of DND (control > straight damage), summoner wins every time.


Obviously, there are things that a druid does better than a summoner. But I don't really see how the summoner can be viewed as simply a druid-lite.

If I was interested in building a character who relies primarily on summoning monsters for its offense, I would choose a master summoner over a druid any day of the week. 18 Cha=9 SLA summons right out of the gate, plus your standard allotment of spells. At level two, you get Augment Summoning for free, without having to take Spell Focus (Conjuration) (which is crap for a druid). That means at level 3, you can take Superior Summons, which from that level onwards allows you to conjure multiple monsters if a crowd is what you need.

That's some pretty good stuff, and I don't see how the druid can keep up with it. Now, going this route means that the druid will end up with a vastly superior animal companion in melee combat, definitely. But the summoner's eidolon could be reliably using Use Magic Device earlier than basically anything else (don't remember the numbers offhand, but +8 skill evolution plus class skill plus skill focus plus a rank at each level gives you +15 from day one, which is a pretty good start). So I think the summoner and his eidolon can most definitely be built to do things that druids and their companions can not.


One thing an eidolon can do that a druid pet never, ever can is cast spells. And as has been mentioned earlier, the eidolon can also take use magic device, and with the combination of the two the summoner can effectively cast two spells every round. Although only for a limited amount of time.

Now if only there was an option to shrink the eidolon down in size and/or take some alternate form options. After reading this I'd love to make a master summoner concentrating on celestial summons whose eidolon is basically a lantern archon. Or a fist worlder archetype (fey style eidolon and summon nature's ally) with a pixie if the master summoner is in play or a sylph/nymph if it is not.


Jason Ellis 350 wrote:

One thing an eidolon can do that a druid pet never, ever can is cast spells. And as has been mentioned earlier, the eidolon can also take use magic device, and with the combination of the two the summoner can effectively cast two spells every round. Although only for a limited amount of time.

Now if only there was an option to shrink the eidolon down in size and/or take some alternate form options. After reading this I'd love to make a master summoner concentrating on celestial summons whose eidolon is basically a lantern archon. Or a fist worlder archetype (fey style eidolon and summon nature's ally) with a pixie if the master summoner is in play or a sylph/nymph if it is not.

Oh no, we aren't opening this can of worms again. An eidolon can't cast spells at all. As explained to me by the Developers, an eidolon has spell like abilities, and though you can use spell like abilities to help create magic items, you can not use a spell like ability for a spell trigger. In short, the eidolon can help make a wand of cure light wounds or magic missle, be he has no way to use the wand without a use magic device check.

But as far as use magic device, he can be a beast at it.


Mogart wrote:
Oh no, we aren't opening this can of worms again. An eidolon can't cast spells at all. As explained to me by the Developers, an eidolon has spell like abilities

Semantics.

The opposing forces that are hit by the spell-like-abilites of an eidolon (or the magic items from a use magic device check) aren't really going to care that they aren't truly spells.

Andoran

If you want to focus on your pet, the Summoner can invest in many feats that will make his Eidolon better. There are very very few feats that a Druid can take to improve his Animal Companion.

Qadira

Saying that an Animal Companion has better stats than an Eidolon completely ignores the whole evolution point thing which, you know, is kinda' a big deal.

The stuff you summon with Summon Monster spells, once you're a few levels in, often get spells and SLA of their own which you, having summoned them, can direct them to use. A few of the Summon Nature's Ally ones do too (elementals, mephits, etc.) but it's just not in the same league. Plus the whole 'one minute per level' thing means you can get so much more utility out of the critters too. Just look at some of the stuff a mere lantern archon can bring to the table, for example.

The only thing a Druid gets which keeps them in the running with a Summoner at all is Wildshape... which is fine - they're different horses for different courses.

GM: Do you want to play a Summoner or a Druid?
Player: Which has a pet?
GM: They both do.
Player: Which Pet has better stats?
GM: The Summoner, hands down - and they have spells which can boost and change 'em around really easily too.
Player: Which class has better spells?
GM: Do you want to do a lot of buffing or damage?
Player: Can I do both?
GM: Sure - both classes can do that. You did say 'damage' and not 'blasting', right?
Player: Can the Summoner heal?
GM: The summoner can heal... his pet who is tanking for the whole group; plus he can eventually summon critters to do the healing for him. Also his pet can easily spam a Wand of Cure Light Wounds, if that's important to you.
Player: Can the pet wear armor?
GM: The Druid's can, the Summoner's doesn't need to.
Player: Can my pet wear magic items?
GM: As a Summoner, you and your pet share magic item slots but not the benefits of the items. Druids don't have to share slots. How many magic items do you think you're getting this campaign anyway?
Player: Can my Druid summon creatures to help me get away in combat?
GM: Yes, he can also turn into a bird and fly away if things get too rough. The Summoner can summon better creatures, quicker, which hang around 10 times longer, and can summon more of them too.
Player: Can the summoner fly away?
GM: Sure - he's an arcane caster in Pathfinder, he'll find a way...
Player: When can a Druid Fly?
GM: Probably at level 4 when you first get the ability to shape change.
Player: Why would anyone want to play a Summoner?
GM: I don't know, power levels so high it verges on breaking the system?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ahhh...done work.

Here's the big point. Comparisons like this are bogus. Do a like comparison with Clerics and Wizards and you will see that Wizards SUCK compared to Clerics.

The problem is that most of us recognize that Wizards DON'T suck compared to Clerics, in fact, popular opinion is that Wizards are potentially the most powerful class in the game.

Druids are better than Summoners at the things they should be.

The Summoner however, is better at Summoning. Much, much, much better.

Being that's the name of the class, it shouldn't be surprising.

Oh, by the way, summoning is good. Actually, summoning is great.

The Summoners ability to summon using the SM list (which as pointed out earlier is better than SNA), with a standard action, with 10 times the standard duration, at max level more times per day than any other class in the game alone makes the Summoner a powerful class.

The actual spellcasting (off a great list), the Eidilon, and everything else are all up and above what is potentially the most powerful ability in the game.

Power-wise I would put the Summoner top 5 at least, and potentially top 3. (As it happens, I would put Druid top 2, but hey, that's beside the point)


So what happens to all of the summoner's good creatures when your opponent casts protection from good? Should the Summoner rely on his vast array of offensive spells?

I also think the ability to heal naturally is a huge plus, Animal Companions can, Eidolons can't.
(Hit points and Ability damage)

Pop an eidolon with anything that hurts ability scores and he is useless until he gets restoration cast. For a mere 100g a pop.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Mogart wrote:

So what happens to all of the summoner's good creatures when your opponent casts protection from good? Should the Summoner rely on his vast array of offensive spells?

I also think the ability to heal naturally is a huge plus, Animal Companions can, Eidolons can't.
(Hit points and Ability damage)

He beats the opponent to death with his Ubermensch Eidolon which isn't hedged by such trivial magic. Or maybe if he's feeling cross he drops you into his acid pit spell.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mogart wrote:
So what happens to all of the summoner's good creatures when your opponent casts protection from good? Should the Summoner rely on his vast array of offensive spells?

Man, you really refuse to be convinced, don't you?

What happens when the animal companion has Hold Animal cast on it?

Ignoring silly attempts at one upping the other with spells that are specifically meant to counter the other side's companion...

You have them use their manufactured weapons. You're not always summoning creatures when you have many powerful outsiders to choose from, are you? That's just stupid, and you may as well use the weaker Summon Nature's Ally.

Or you can cast Haste, quite possibly the best offensive spell in the game due to the extra attack it generates, on your group. Or you could cast Create Pit to trap enemies, taking them out of the battle. Or maybe Aqueous Orb, one of the better battlefield control spells. Or buff up your fighter with Enlarge Person, so he can full attack non-adjacent enemies. Or Slow your enemies (give a wand of slow to your Eidolon for fun!).

You're a spellcaster that is supreme at battlefield control and buffing. Do that! Those are usually vastly more useful than doing a piddly 10d6 (average of 35 damage! Fighters can do that at more consistently and better. Especially if you Haste them. Which you can. At level 4.).

Congrats, you just doubled the damage output of your party! Isn't that great?


I've seen an eidolon get hit by this:

Ray of Enfeeblement
A coruscating ray springs from your hand. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to strike a target. The subject takes a penalty to Strength equal to 1d6+1 per two caster levels (maximum 1d6+5). The subject's Strength score cannot drop below 1. A successful Fortitude save reduces this penalty by half. This penalty does not stack with itself. Apply the highest penalty instead.

A 6 was rolled and the eidolon was knocked down to 7 strength. The summoner is hoping to get this cured before he reaches level 4, but as he is currently level 1 there is very little hope. The DM has ruled that since the eidolon can't heal all that tends to happen is that the Summoner summons and buffs Summoned creatures that can't attack.

The caster in question had 2 spells that he used on us, Ray of Enfeeblement and Protection from Good. The Summoner is useless until level 4. The next 3 levels are going to be very difficult.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why is he summoning celestial creatures if it's being countered? Anyone can summon plain, entropic, or resolute animals.


Cheapy wrote:


Man, you really refuse to be convinced, don't you?

I am fairly hard to convince. I just don't see the justification for losing 3 levels of spells and being almost as good as something that does the exact same thing as I do.

I would also consider the casting of protection from good, a far more common occurrence than hold animal.


Cheapy wrote:
Why is he summoning celestial creatures if it's being countered? Anyone can summon plain, entropic, or resolute animals.

A link where the entropic and resolute animal template can be found would be greatly appreciated.

Seriously the DM has given us the option of Celestial and Demonic/infernal creatures, that's it. I would love to show him that more templates exist.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mogart wrote:
Cheapy wrote:


Man, you really refuse to be convinced, don't you?

I am fairly hard to convince. I just don't see the justification for losing 3 levels of spells and being almost as good as something that does the exact same thing as I do.

I would also consider the casting of protection from good, a far more common occurrence than hold animal.

Well, I've never seen either cast before, but that doesn't mean much and in a theoretical sense, I agree that Protection from Good will probably show up more often.

However, the summoner can still summon untemplated monsters, entropic monsters (protection from chaos is probably rarer than protection from good), and resolute monsters (Prot From Law is probably even more rare than that!).

Also, Ray of Enfeeblement isn't permanent. It lasts for rounds per level. The Eidolon is now at full strength, unless the session ended before he could get it back. Unless of course the GM ruled that despite RoE explicitly being a penalty not damage, the spell is permanent. In which case the GM is a bit stupid.

The animal companions aren't "almost as good" as the Eidolon. The Eidolon is far, far better. The summoning options are far, far better. The action and duration of the summoning is far, far, FAR better. Summoners get a better spell list, and you don't miss much from higher spell levels since so many of them were shifted down levels for the summoner. Only 6 spell levels is not as huge a problem as you're making it out to be due to the spell list.

It would appear that you're seeing someone playing the class badly, and judging it based off of him.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mogart wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
Why is he summoning celestial creatures if it's being countered? Anyone can summon plain, entropic, or resolute animals.

A link where the entropic and resolute animal template can be found would be greatly appreciated.

Seriously the DM has given us the option of Celestial and Demonic/infernal creatures, that's it. I would love to show him that more templates exist.

Resolute

Entropic.

They were introduced in the Bestiary 2. You may summon entropic or resolute versions of creatures that you could normally apply fiendish / celestial to.

Note that you can also summon the new elementals in the Bestiary 2. This include (off the top of my head) Ice elementals, Lightning, Magma, and Mud. They are just more options to summon when you try to summon an elemental.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You can find Entropic here in the PRD. Scroll around for Resolute too.


Perhaps. Right now it is the little things, we fought a creature that did ability damage with each hit. The eidolon can't heal at all. The DM ruled that Augment Summoning doesn't work for the Summoner at all, because it doesn't specifically say spell like ability. The DM suggested that the Summoner learn to cast Summon monster spells so that augment summoning will work.

The party doesn't like to take the time to let the Summoner dismiss and resummon the Eidolon every 10 minutes, to take advantage of some feat.

Basically it is an extreme cluster, and I am trying to convince the DM to just let the Summoner scrap the character, the DM said no.

Right now the best feat that the Summoner has is improved initiative followed by toughness.

The guy playing the summoner tried to commit suicide via Life Link, since it only works on an eidolon about to die at its negative constitution score, usually while unconscious. The summoner hit 0 hp, the eidolon vanished and the cleric healed him.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mogart wrote:

I've seen an eidolon get hit by this:

Ray of Enfeeblement
A coruscating ray springs from your hand. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to strike a target. The subject takes a penalty to Strength equal to 1d6+1 per two caster levels (maximum 1d6+5). The subject's Strength score cannot drop below 1. A successful Fortitude save reduces this penalty by half. This penalty does not stack with itself. Apply the highest penalty instead.

A 6 was rolled and the eidolon was knocked down to 7 strength. The summoner is hoping to get this cured before he reaches level 4, but as he is currently level 1 there is very little hope. The DM has ruled that since the eidolon can't heal all that tends to happen is that the Summoner summons and buffs Summoned creatures that can't attack.

The caster in question had 2 spells that he used on us, Ray of Enfeeblement and Protection from Good. The Summoner is useless until level 4. The next 3 levels are going to be very difficult.

Yeah...this is a penalty, not damage. It expires when the spell runs out. Even for Eidolons. So, no. Not a problem for the Summoner (beyond the battle the spell hits the Eidolon in, anyway).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mogart wrote:

Perhaps. Right now it is the little things, we fought a creature that did ability damage with each hit. The eidolon can't heal at all. The DM ruled that Augment Summoning doesn't work for the Summoner at all, because it doesn't specifically say spell like ability. The DM suggested that the Summoner learn to cast Summon monster spells so that augment summoning will work.

The party doesn't like to take the time to let the Summoner dismiss and resummon the Eidolon every 10 minutes, to take advantage of some feat.

Basically it is an extreme cluster, and I am trying to convince the DM to just let the Summoner scrap the character, the DM said no.

Right now the best feat that the Summoner has is improved initiative followed by toughness.

The guy playing the summoner tried to commit suicide via Life Link, since it only works on an eidolon about to die at its negative constitution score, usually while unconscious. The summoner hit 0 hp, the eidolon vanished and the cleric healed him.

I'm not really going to try to convince you that Summoners are a fairly powerful class. If you're not convinced by now, you probably won't be. I can say that your DM is being a bit nitpicky, and should allow the Summoner's feat selection to be changed if he (or she) didn't make the limitations on cetain feats clear (as they pertain to that DM's game). That's kinda uncool. As for the ability damage thing, yeah, that's RAW and it a lousy deal, and yeah, an animal companion would be able to heal from such a thing. I find, however, that most DM's are pretty lax on just how much effort it should take to properly control an animal companion. So, I think that Cheapy is right, you're judging the class based on bad play and a stingy DM.


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Mogart wrote:
So what happens to all of the summoner's good creatures when your opponent casts protection from good? Should the Summoner rely on his vast array of offensive spells?

Really 2 questions here, but the first point you make requires an extensive answer, so I will deal with the second part first and get it out of the way:

The summoner's spell strength is in Battlefield Control, this is not a weakness.

OK - back to the main question:

Protection from Good protects a caster from the melee attacks of a "good" subtype creature. That's it. I think you are missing how great this ability is:

1. A summoner is not limited to good subtype creatures. If the protection from X spell is put up first, avoid it. If it's put up in response to your summoned critter, then you've made them use up a spell, and an action without removing your summoned critter, which can potentially change targets, block, use SLA's, or ranged attacks. If they have SR (which most of them do), they can also potentially bypass the protection spell with every attack.

2. Summoned Monsters aren't just damage batteries. Summoned Monsters act as impromptu walls, use SLA's, block movement, hunt, aid another, etc. Protection from X stops none of those things.

3. Summoned Monsters give you spell versatility. You don't just have the Summoners spell list. You also have the SLA's of all the monsters on the Summoned Monster list.

For example, if we look at Summon Monster IV alone, it gives the Summoner access to: Detect evil, Magic circle against evil, Aid, Continual Flame, Gust of Wind, Blur, Wind Wall, Soften earth and stone, heat metal, scorching ray, magic missile, chill metal, Pyrotechnics, Acid Arrow, Stinking Cloud and Glitterdust

Once the monster uses the SLA needed, you still of course have the monster.

Since you don't pick what you need until you use the ability, it's essentially spontaneous.

4. And yes, there is damage. If protection is a worry, then don't worry - just summon something that is neutral, or has a weapon. Worry solved.

Here's the thing about Summon Monster. In 3.5 SM were good spells, but in Pathfinder they beefed them up by making the lists better. This is in contrast to pretty much every other spell in the game which were either kept the same or toned down.

A 17th level Wizard is really powerful...he may be able to cast Summon Monster IX 3 times per day! (if he's specialized and has an Int score of at least 28.

A summoner of the same level with the same primary ability score can use Summon Monster IX 4 times more often. In addition he casts as a Standard action and has 10 times the duration.

How could a class that has that kind of power be considered anything but top tier?

Quote:

I also think the ability to heal naturally is a huge plus, Animal Companions can, Eidolons can't.

(Hit points and Ability damage)

Animal companions are not the primary ability of Druids, and Eidolons are not the primary ability of Summoners, so let's be clear we are comparing secondary abilities here.

That said, natural healing is pretty much obsolete by mid level anyways. This is hardly a big advantage. The Eidolon build is far more flexible than the AC which blows away natural healing any day.

The primary drawback of the Eidolon has nothing to do with healing though. Let me help you out here: AC is better than Eidolon because a Summoner who has an Eidolon summoned isn't using Summon Monster as a standard action, and therefore isn't using what is potentially the most powerful ability in the game.

When the Summoner was finalized, I really thought the uber-power of the Summoner was self-evident. I never expected people to think the Summoner was middle of the pack...it actually astounds me to see multiple threads suggesting the Summoner is underpowered.

Play standard action summoning. It is astonishingly powerful, even broken. I have experience in this area, honestly.


Mogart wrote:

Perhaps. Right now it is the little things, we fought a creature that did ability damage with each hit. The eidolon can't heal at all. The DM ruled that Augment Summoning doesn't work for the Summoner at all, because it doesn't specifically say spell like ability. The DM suggested that the Summoner learn to cast Summon monster spells so that augment summoning will work.

The party doesn't like to take the time to let the Summoner dismiss and resummon the Eidolon every 10 minutes, to take advantage of some feat.

Basically it is an extreme cluster, and I am trying to convince the DM to just let the Summoner scrap the character, the DM said no.

Any class sucks when the DM dislikes it and makes hard on them. My suggestion is for the summoner player to ask again, and when he is told no to leave, saying he will be back when he gets to play something fun.


P.S.

This is my advice to your friend playing the Summoner:

1) Check out the Summon Monster possibilities. Do some work when you aren't playing at pre-stat them with Augment Summoning bonuses (at least the big stuff like HP, attack bonuses, and damage)

Not to self-promote, but my Wizard Guide has some pointers for Summon Monster spells that he may find helpful.

2) Get off the Eidolon crutch. Eidolon's are a bit of a trap. Summoned Monsters don't need healing, they can be replaced in one action, they have the abilities/movement modes/attack types you need, when you need them. Eidolon's don't have this flexibility. Eidolon's are OK, but don't use them exclusively, then you really are just a lousy excuse for a Druid.

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