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Synthesist Summoner - too powerful to play in a party?


Advice


My GM has said I could play a Summoner with the Synthesist archetype. Having briefly looked into it a bit as I have some confusion over how bits of it work, I came across some people saying it's broken, outshines the Fighter, that sort of thing.

I don't want to tread on toes or break the game. I don't do optimizing, my feat choices etc are for fun and specifically to fit character concepts. So bearing this in mind, will using this class/archetype still cause problems?

I really like the flavour of the class - if anybody has suggestions on how to, well, make it weaker, I could discuss those with the GM too.

We haven't had the first session yet and aren't making characters until then, so I might end up going with something else entirely to fit with the party, so this might be irrelevant, but I'm kind of slow when it comes to making decisions so I want to prepare.


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From my understanding, the primary problem with the Synthesist isn't that it's inherently more powerful than other classes, it's that it has a far higher max power level. You could pull off quite a scary synthesist on a literal 0-point buy (7-7-7-7-9-18) because the character has almost no need for any physical stats- the eidolon's overwrites them. The real issue with the Synthesist is that, in many ways, you become a fighter (that out-fighters the fighter) with 6th-level spellcasting, the ability to full attack with an insane number of natural attacks on a charge, and more.

In many ways, the Synthesist isn't much more powerful than the average summoner. It's just that, with an incredible inherent potential for min-maxing, it has a much, much higher power ceiling than it should.


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Synthesist breaks point buy, so I wouldn't have both in the same game. If you roll for stats, it's not very OP. If you use a rolling method that results in a lot of high scores, the synthesist may even begin to lag behind something like a barbarian. The synthesist is also a lot hardier than most classes in the very early levels, but this smoothes out after a few levels.


Depends on what your party is like.

The synthesist is actually one of the weaker Summoner archetypes since unlike the regular summoner you're not a caster with a pet that competes with martials in viability and unlike the Master Summoner you can't break action economy over your knee and laugh in the GM's face as you summon parties of your own whenever the gang splits up.

The primary strikes against the Synthesist are that it can cheese point buy in a way other classes can't by replacing physical stats in armor mode and that other kinds of summoners can pretend they're not doing the fighter's job but better (they absolutely are, but they can claim they're just a caster managing their minions) while the Synthesist is more honest.

This in mind, if you roll for stats the Synthesist isn't very cheesy and if you use point buy, keep yourself honest and don't minmax with the knowledge your suit will cover any physical frailties you develop. Beyond that, none of the party's martials should have a problem if you wait until late-game to take pounce, or just skip it entirely for a biped eidolon-merge. If you're not using an eidolon to stack up a bunch of natural attacks and pounce then you're just a perfectly normal gish with a great amount of utility.


most classes can out fighter a fighter if the fighter isn't min maxed to hell and back synthesist is literally one of the weaker archetypes summoner has they give up action economy for some cool abilities and being able to do stuff they normally wouldn't be able to do but thats about it


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Don't do that silly 7/7/7 for physical scores. 14 Strength qualifies you for power attack and helps if you're caught without your suit on. Same for a 12 Constitution minimum. 7/7/7 makes you look like a bit of a jackass.

Start with Lesser Rejuvenate Eidolon as one of your two spells. The suit's HP count as temporary so almost nothing else heals it. You'll want a wand of it ASAP.

Your Eidolon (assuming APG version) already has tons of extra evolutions. Consider utility or even flavorful changes. Web, Immunity, Tremmorsense, Skilled, etc. If you ever need to go Ham there's always the Evolution Surge spell line.

Edit: if your base form does not have arms, get some arms. I almost made that mistake in a home game.

Liberty's Edge

Skilled and the extra senses are great ways to round off a Synthesist without breaking them. Otherwise, they're fine as long as you exercise self-restraint - as others have said, they lose the action economy advantage and aren't so bad in the long run.

That said, in the short term... well, they're pretty nutty in the early levels. You can start with a bunch of natural attacks, reach, way more HP than anyone else, and so on.


Dαedαlus wrote:


In many ways, the Synthesist isn't much more powerful than the average summoner. It's just that, with an incredible inherent potential for min-maxing, it has a much, much higher power ceiling than it should.

Its the opposite. Regular summoner is much more powerful, synthesis starts off slightly better


Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like it should be okay as long as I don't try to make it too powerful. The reason I'm looking at Synthesist is because I had thought it would cause less problems than the original Summoner, so I'm glad I'm right about that.

We are using a point buy system, but I'll be sensible about it. :)

Rosc - thanks for the tip about the arms!


It's overpowered.

Huge bucket of hit points. Incredibly high AC, high all around stats, great spell list, great damage.

"roll for stats it's not so bad" yes if you lie about your rolls or have a rolling system that is better than the standard 4d6 drop lowest 6 times.

People saying the syntheist isn't strong if you watch what you take is like saying the wizard isn't strong if you don't take good spells.

See what the rest of the party are playing, if it's really strong builds like vivisectionist Alchemist, falsepriest sorcerer, Saurian Druid and the latest pact wizard then go for it.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
or just skip it entirely for a biped eidolon-merge.

I'm a bit confused about this having had a think about it and reading the description in the APG. If the eidolon mimics the summoner's movements, wouldn't it have to have the same limbs? Would a quadruped just stand on its hind legs to do so? Would it be impossible to have a serpentine form eidolon as a Synthesist, for example?

Can it even use attacks using limbs the Summoner doesn't possess? Like tentacles or something.

Admittedly I might just need some sleep... lol.


I think it would be more accurate to say that the Synthesist Summoner has a pretty high power floor - that is, as long as you vaguely understand how to build a good character, it's pretty hard to make a weak member of this class. Its optimization floor may well be higher than some groups normally play at.

...

Still not as good as a normal summoner, though. Action Economy is the most powerful resource in the game, after all, and Synth's lose a lot of that. XD It DEFINITELY helps if you go for something other than a pouncing murder-machine, though.


Synthesist has a higher skill/power floor but a lower skill/power ceiling. You might have a character with fewer obvious weaknesses than a standard Summoner, but the loss in action economy ultimately makes you weaker, since there is less you can do in a round.


If I had to rate Synth, I would say it is far more -broken- than the old Summoner, but it still isn't as strong for raw power. Ultimately a flavorful sidegrade.

It breaks point buy with the split between using one set of physical stats and a different set of mental stats. (Though, in my humble opinion, the extra Wisdom doesn't tie to any class features and the extra Intelligence is simply a compensation for your abhorrent number of skill points so it isn't as big of a deal.) It also breaks the hit point system by allowing you to filter your HP to the Eidolon's HP. (But remember, the Eidolon is really hard to heal.) And a shout out to having Paladin-like saves.

However, you're cutting your actions in half. You can't cast spells and attack in the same turn. You can't be in two places at once. Your skill pool is laughable compared to the original Summoner. Plus, your feat pool is more limited because you only have one body's worth.

The feats of combat prowess that make a Synth look awesome are not only possible on a vanilla Summoner but they're more efficient. Plus, Summon Eidolon gives both versions near immortality anyway.


Rosc wrote:
Don't do that silly 7/7/7 for physical scores. 14 Strength qualifies you for power attack and helps if you're caught without your suit on. Same for a 12 Constitution minimum. 7/7/7 makes you look like a bit of a jackass.

7/7/7 on physical stats and the synthesist dies the first time something gets rid of his eidolon at mid-level or higher.

It is a self-resolving problem.

As an aside: I impose a house rule on all my players. Only a single stat can be reduced to 8 and no stat can be reduced below 8, after racial mods.

*Damn well every NPC caster with Banishment or Dismissal is going to target the synthesist ASAP. At high level, NPC may very well have heard of various party members, and may have prepared objects that will give them a bonus on their DC for Banishment.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

7/7/12 would be the minimum non-suicidal stats for a Synthesist Summoner with a size Medium eidolon suit. Even a Con of 12 can be a problem if he makes the eidolon size Large or Huge.


Depending if your gm allows 3rd party stuff you could consider dreamscarred presses Aegis. I find it does the whole building your own armour theme in a much more balanced way.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/psionics-unleashed/classes/aegis/

I found the issue with the synthesis summer is they step on toes. I had one in a party once and he just totally invalidated the other characters.
So if you do play one you may have to take more care in not having the answer to every situation even if you could.


Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?


Also would it help the situation if I multiclassed as a sorcerer? (Or make it worse?)


halfing hd would just make it even more weaker than it already is


LucyG92 wrote:
Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?

Have the eidolon HP be separate (don't allow transfer of summoner HP to eidolon) and lock out spellcasting while in eidolon form.

Furthermore use unchained summoner eidolons (and the whole class in general)

If you really want the spellcasting, remove the eidolon's HP and stat replacement features. Have the form merely alter your stats and use your HD and BAB while allowing you to use eidolon healing spells.


If I were going to give the synthesist a nerf, it'd be to use the polymorph rules instead the stat replacement it currently has. If I were going to give it a major nerf, I'd limit it to only humanoid base form.


Rhedyn wrote:
LucyG92 wrote:
Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?

Have the eidolon HP be separate (don't allow transfer of summoner HP to eidolon) and lock out spellcasting while in eidolon form.

Furthermore use unchained summoner eidolons (and the whole class in general)

If you really want the spellcasting, remove the eidolon's HP and stat replacement features. Have the form merely alter your stats and use your HD and BAB while allowing you to use eidolon healing spells.

that 1) completely wrecks the archetype and you would basically be playing just a caster if you wanted spells or just a beat stick if you wanted to do combat things at which point your just doing an even more of a downgrade than what going synthesist already does to a summoner, and 2) unchained is utter garbage its a monk that doesn't care for an archetype(or the gm just says ya sure and converts an archetype to unchained for you) or rogue or a very very situational barbarian build


Rhedyn wrote:
LucyG92 wrote:
Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?

Have the eidolon HP be separate (don't allow transfer of summoner HP to eidolon) and lock out spellcasting while in eidolon form.

Furthermore use unchained summoner eidolons (and the whole class in general)

If you really want the spellcasting, remove the eidolon's HP and stat replacement features. Have the form merely alter your stats and use your HD and BAB while allowing you to use eidolon healing spells.

The whole thing is that Eidolon bodies (synth or vanilla) only really excell when boosted by spells, so I think that's going overboard.

However, I love the idea of making it work more like Wild Shape. Physical stats still matter and the balance means I could finally play one in PFS.


Rosc wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
LucyG92 wrote:
Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?

Have the eidolon HP be separate (don't allow transfer of summoner HP to eidolon) and lock out spellcasting while in eidolon form.

Furthermore use unchained summoner eidolons (and the whole class in general)

If you really want the spellcasting, remove the eidolon's HP and stat replacement features. Have the form merely alter your stats and use your HD and BAB while allowing you to use eidolon healing spells.

The whole thing is that Eidolon bodies (synth or vanilla) only really excell when boosted by spells, so I think that's going overboard.

However, I love the idea of making it work more like Wild Shape. Physical stats still matter and the balance means I could finally play one in PFS.

physical stats still do matter just not as much as the mental ones just like most casters that are mostly buffers even if the physical stats are replaced, and in some cases the replacing of stats can actually be a downgrade(i had a summoner with an 18 in dex and con if i had gone synthesist my con and dex would have actually gone down)


Rosc wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
LucyG92 wrote:
Maybe it's not a good idea after all, then... What if you halved the summoner's or eidolon's hd?

Have the eidolon HP be separate (don't allow transfer of summoner HP to eidolon) and lock out spellcasting while in eidolon form.

Furthermore use unchained summoner eidolons (and the whole class in general)

If you really want the spellcasting, remove the eidolon's HP and stat replacement features. Have the form merely alter your stats and use your HD and BAB while allowing you to use eidolon healing spells.

The whole thing is that Eidolon bodies (synth or vanilla) only really excell when boosted by spells, so I think that's going overboard.

However, I love the idea of making it work more like Wild Shape. Physical stats still matter and the balance means I could finally play one in PFS.

If his goal is to not be disruptive, then I recommend the first option.

Reworking it to a custom wildshape is the better answer, but requires more work to determine what the appropriate stat adjustments are for things like base form selection.

Synths are tanky monsters with a double scaling Con boosted health from a score not tied to your character, free AC from class features, concentrated wealth, and basically fullcasters (chained version). Things cool down at higher levels and the base Summoner is stronger in ideal conditions, but any half-way interesting DM or Adventure path is going to put PCs in less than ideal conditions and the Synth will be nearly unphased by any and all attempts to stop their steamrolling.

Making it unchained is but the first step to toning down this monster and to my experience free full Hit-point shields are just terrible for game balance.

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