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I also wondered if attacking someone's armor (how to target the armor - no idea) would be a great tactic since the penalty for wearing broken armor is high, it's too difficult to remove, and breaking items is easy.

Overall, I think the issue is wrapping our heads around how shields can give DR 1/turn (don't forget - if you're fighting a horde of small things, you can only block damage once per turn) but the cost is that you're going to break the shield in one or at most two uses of this. Even an adamantine, legendary shield can get broken pretty easily by a level 1 character's lucky crit or two. The problem isn't necessarily the tactic - it's that no one can believe that's how it works because it makes blocking with shields so useless. Then again, you have to waste an action EVERY TURN to gain any benefit from a shield - even when it's worn, and even though you always take the penalty from wearing it - so it's sort of par for the course.

As written, it seems like shields just negate their hardness in damage - so 8 damage would mean you take 3 and the shield blocks 5 and takes a dent. But the confusing part is the example (p.175) about taking 10 damage and the shield takes 2 dents. Does the shield negate more than 5 damage? Why would the 10 damage attack break the shield when the 8 damage attack didn't? Or is it just talking about the shield as an item, not how it is used in Shield Block? Personally I think using Shield Block means the 10 damage attack is reduced by 5 and the shield takes 1 dent - i.e. you can never take more than 1 dent using Shield Block.

Either way, shields seem extremely bad right now: massive action waste + too easy to break. Hopefully this gets addressed soon.

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I agree with the consensus that at the moment, it looks like you cast, then spend an action to "re-ready" the weapon. I also agree it seems overly penalizing, especially given what you're already giving up by using a 2-handed weapon.

In previous editions we hand-waved things like using your shield hand to hold a holy symbol to cast spells, or opening a door while you're wielding two weapons... It's just too much to track and doesn't actually make you feel good about how you're spending your actions to do otherwise. This will probably be one of those things as well.

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2.5 hrs to make a character from experienced, "18 year" players is insane - but that sounds about right compared to my own experience. Nearly 3 hours for me.

If you have 4 claws, I would definitely pick up Rend. I'm guessing your summoner is 10th level?

My own suggestion - mostly because I'm not sure about the reasoning behind your choices, which is probably sound but just approaching the game from different priorities from me - would be to remove:
2 - Dex +2
2 - Flight
1 - Imp. Nat. Armor
1 - Imp. Nat. Armor
And replace them with:
2 - Str +2
2 - Rend
2 - Str +2 or Bite and Improved Bite (take Bite twice to get 1.5 x Str)
Spell - Overland flight (extend with metamagic rod)
Spell - Mage Armor (extend with metamagic rod)
And then use Shield and the temporary evolution spell as needed. The reasoning behind this is you don't need to spend evolutions on flying if it's going to be situational and/or you can do it all day with a spell, the +Dex is definitely inferior to +Str or just having more attacks, and armor isn't too worrisome if you have spells to buff you.

Also if you haven't seen it already this thread is amazing:

cranewings wrote:
Really, a summoner losing his Eidelon for a while isn't helpless.

That's definitely true, but I think it's more true at level 7. :) I'm thinking more about level 1, when the best you can summon is a single celestial dog. (Then again, at least you can summon that dog 3+Cha times per day.)

One of the main problems I see with healing is actually at the earliest levels. A level one summoner knows only 2 spells. That means that unless you want to dedicate 50% of your spells known to healing your eidolon, it cannot heal past 1/2 HP. And for a level 1 summoner, 1/2 HP = 3 HP. By level 2, you know one additional spell, which means you can dedicate 33% of your repertoire to healing, or you can spend ~75% of your resources on a wand, but either way you still are extremely limited in your options if you want your eidolon to have more than 1/2 its HP at any given time.

Gjorbjond wrote:

There are two parts to the eidolon section.

1. If it dies it has 1/2 HP when next summoned.
2. You can't use the ritual to summon it until the next day.

The spell bypasses the second condition only. A slain eidolon will come back with 1/2 hp when summoned by the spell.

Ah, that makes perfect sense. Thank you for spelling it out for me; I didn't see that connection before.

Varthanna wrote:
But yes, there are numerous flaws with the eidolon as written. There are two different threads about eidolons and ability damage (and dont even start with if they get knocked down to 0 con)

Oh, I know. On one hand it seems like they reaaaally should have added "and all non-permanent conditions are erased" when you bring your eidolon back after being slain. Except of course, then you really WOULD want to kill it constantly just to fix it up. And then what's the point of Purified Calling? On the other hand - what are you supposed to do if your main class feature becomes ineffective before level 10 - wait it out? That just seems particularly harsh...

cranewings, I think part of my reasoning is that the -Con thing seems like it was supposed to be helping the summoner. If that was the intent of the rule (something no one will ever know), then I'd rather say thanks but no thanks. If, as you suggest, it was intentionally done to hinder the summoner and that's part of the class balance, that is a different story (or at least a different argument).

Mortuum wrote:
the problem is that the summoner is happier if his pet dies. That's just awful, thematically.

Not to mention the "kill the thing to heal it" bit, which also seems thematically awful.

Two things about eidolons make no sense: the fact that once it is below half its hit points it's more efficient at the end of the day to -kill it outright- than to heal it, and the fact that once an eidolon goes into negative HP it's actually more of a burden than if it had just died (since you have to spend a standard action to dismiss it so you can start using summon monsters).

The negative HP thing seems simple enough to fix: just house rule it so that it dies at 0 HP instead (like all other summon monsters). Problem solved. (It's unfortunate that it seems like the "death at -Con" thing was done to help summoners out, but actually it makes them worse.)

However, the "kill yourself to heal" mechanic is more problematic. I can understand that they don't want summoners using a natural healing mechanic to game damage in some way, either by having it "resting" while it's not summoned (but the summoner is adventuring) or even "resting" while the summoner is resting, thus effectively doubling the summoner's HP (at later levels especially). So, I propose that eidolon healing be changed so that when a summoner is healing naturally (resting), he may choose to heal himself or his eidolon but not both. Whatever amount of healing or ability damage he could normally heal is spread between the summoner and the eidolon as he sees fit. It even works out thematically since they share a Life Link and they are bonded so closely. (If people are worried about long-term care abuse, you could rule that long-term care cannot apply to the eidolon since it is not present, but I think that's getting a bit nit-picky.) If you're less worried about gaming the "double HP" system, you could also remove the restriction that the healing is spread between the two, and just say that while the summoner is resting, so is his eidolon.

This also has the advantage of solving the additional problem of how eidolons heal from ability damage, which is so far unaddressed. The only downside that I see is that a summoner may end up lagging the group, causing them to slow down and take extra time to rest, since ideally he would want to heal both himself and his eidolon to full - and given that the eidolon is an expendable battle resource, it will often take a while to heal it. It might be necessary to also keep the "next day it has 1/2 HP" rule intact to help with this, and/or try the variant above where both summoner and eidolon heal naturally while the summoner is resting.

Another, different suggestion would be to change Purified Calling to a 1st level spell. This would be a significant drain on the summoner's resources at early levels, which would help balance out its effectiveness. However, at later levels having a 750g wand that can rejuvenate your eidolon would be too powerful, so you'd have to set a restriction that it could only be cast once per day.

Thoughts, constructive criticism?

evilbob wrote:
That certainly would help make Life Link useful.

Actually, I changed my mind... Given than healing is typically a worse tactical choice at any given moment than nearly anything else, I think the fact that an eidolon doesn't disappear until -Con is technically a negative class feature. Someone suggested it seems more like an afterthought designed to help summoners out but actually hurts them, and I agree.

Gjorbjond wrote:
2. It follows the exact same rules as when you summon it with the ritual.

That's just the problem, though; if that were true, then summoning it via the spell when it was dead would bring it back... dead. (At which point it would disappear again.) It doesn't regain 1/2 its HP until the next day. Why put the caveat in the spell that you can use it to summon an eidolon that has died of damage when all you get is a dead eidolon? Something doesn't make sense.

Gjorbjond wrote:
3. Because of this many summoners get Diehard for their eidolons so they can still be useful at negative HP.

I've seen this suggestion and I have to say it just doesn't seem practical at early levels, when you need a solution the most. If you start at level 1, it will be at least level 3 before you can take the feat, and then level 6 before you can take a feat you actually need to make your eidolon effective (like weapon proficiency or combat reflexes, etc.). How many games even -make- it past level 6?

It's especially bad at level 1 when your eidolon has 6 HP and doesn't die until -13 HP. It's dead weight far longer than it is useful.

David Thomassen wrote:
It was Erreta'd that the Life Link works when the Eidolon's hitpoints go below zero. I will try and find a link for you.

That certainly would help make Life Link useful. It still doesn't solve the problem of having a lot of dead weight between 0 and -13 (when you can't afford to save it) and why it's more efficient to kill the eidolon to heal it, but that's great to hear.

I also have a question about the interaction between this:
"Eidolons are treated as summoned creatures, except that they are not sent back to their home plane until reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to or greater than their Constitution score."
...and Life Link. So if my eidolon gets dropped to -5, and it was coup de graced I could actually prevent some or all of the damage from taking it below -13, correct? The problem is, I would never actually want to do this because keeping the eidolon at negative HP is actually a huge hindrance for a summoner and a boon for the enemy. While the eidolon is out (but useless), the summoner cannot summon monsters with their spell-like ability; they'd have to de-summon the eidolon (a standard action) to be able to do so. (Not to mention many DMs do not typically target creatures that are no longer threats, meaning this would never likely come up.) And this is compounded by the problem above, where a summoner post-battle would do better to re-summon and kill off their eidolon in order to heal the thing efficiently!

I can see it being useful if the eidolon went from positive HP to -13 in one hit, but in that case the summoner would likely have to give up a massive chunk of HP (14 HP at least) to keep the eidolon up, and that's probably not worth it - not when you have so many summon monsters to fall back on, and damage to the summoner is technically worse (since if he drops the eidolon also drops). So I guess I just wonder: what is the point of allowing the eidolon to drop into negative HP at all, and if that is allowed, what is the point of Life Link? I'd rather house rule eidolons to work more like summoned creatures and pop at zero - that's much more useful.

Sorry if this has been asked before but I couldn't find it in a search. Specifically, I am wondering about the interaction between the following aspects of an eidolon:

"When summoned [via ritual], the eidolon hit points are unchanged from the last time it was summoned. The only exception to this is if the eidolon was slain, in which case it returns with half its normal hit points. The eidolon does not heal naturally."

So an eidolon does not heal naturally, and summoning the thing doesn't heal it either... Meaning you can only use magic to heal it. Ok, I get that. But if it dies, it can be summoned the next day with 1/2 its hit points. ...Meaning, if you have an eidolon that has less than half its hit points and it's near the end of the day, the most efficient way to heal it is to -kill it outright-?

Surely this makes for some weird role-playing interactions, at best. Plus, it doesn't really make any sense and certainly goes against the intent of the rules. Can anyone shed any light on this issue or is this something best addressed in house rules?

2nd question: Summon Eidolon. "Treat this as if you had summoned your eidolon normally" and "This spell allows you to summon your eidolon even if it has been returned to its home plane due to damage." Ok, so does the summoned eidolon return with 1/2 its HP, no HP, or full HP? And if it's not dead when you summon it, does it get summoned with the "normal" HP or full HP, especially considering the answer to the first part of this question?

Personally, I'm inclined to treat the Summon Eidolon as a summon monster-type spell, meaning it starts with full HP and dies at zero, etc., etc. - especially since it is vulnerable to protection magic and all that. But that doesn't really seem supported in the text. In fact, I have no idea what is supported in the text because you can't really summon it "normally" when it's dead. Any ideas?