Best Summoner Archetype?


Advice


What do you think? Trying to build a summoner. Or should I not use an archetype?


I'm a huge fan of the master summoner.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
I'm a huge fan of the master summoner.

Ditto.

But I'm a pretty big fan of the standard summoner too. They play completely different, however.

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Personally, I am a fan of the Shadowcaster archetype from The Flying Pincushion. But then again, that may be because I had a hand in it.


Ragmar, what do you want your summoner to do?

TCG is setting you up for a somewhat useful eidolon (1/2 growth rate) and more opportunities to activate your Summon Monster X sla.

The other archetypes may or may not function (brood master), with synthesist being a tightly focused beast and the standard being exceptionally versatile. And then you have spells to further complement the character.

Really, who do you want your summoner to be?


If you're allowed third party try Celestial Commander found HERE

You lose the Eidolon.

In return you get a domain, Augment and(!) Superior Summoning feats by third level for free, a bonus when only when only one instance of your summoned critter(s) are out, and other goodies detailed in the above link.

You must be Good aligned.


Pure damage output.


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I rather like the Wild Caller archetype. Combine it with the favored class bonus of the half-elf race (the required race for this archetype) and you have the most evolution points possible for an eidolon, at the cost of having Summon Nature's Ally instead of Summon Monster and losing access to some nice evolutions.


The most powerful is Master Summoner, followed by Wild Caller followed by vanilla Summoner.

My favorite would be Synthesist since it lets me make an unarmed melee character that's actually good and can fly and string combat maneuvers for free off my attacks and such. Of course, wild caller and regular summoner largely get that too, it's just not them personally that's doing it...


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The advantage of the wild caller and the standard summoner is that these options focus on the eidolon. Have you ever wanted to play a monster in Pathfinder? These options let you do that, but you have to accept a summoner as the eidolon's "pet".


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I'd say it's the vanilla Summoner. He's just an all-around great class, such that any archetype is going to be trading good things and bad things. That's not to say other archetypes are bad, but the baseline is so high that none of them are going to exceed it except in specific or narrow ways.


Pure damage is probably the synthesist, though Stream is probably correct in saying the Wild Caller would be a good contender for best damage output. You are limited on your evolution choices, but it should matter all that much, frankly. If you haven't yet seen it, take a look over at the PRD or at SRD.


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It depends on level. Later on, a horde of pouncing and smiting monsters can do pretty crazy high damage. Earlier on, eidolon-focused summoners will do the most damage. DPR isn't something you need to care too much about anyway, summoner has more staying power and survivability (the latter largely b/c he's far the hell away from danger with lots of meat shields) than most classes to drudge through a long hard fight. And plenty of battlefield control spells to pin down enemies, not to mention the eidolon if it has trip, grab, or pull with reach evolution.


I love Blood God Disciple. If you go human or half elf, and take half orc racial heritage.
This summoner is that and Blacksnake.
Bgd removes summon monster, black snake removes spells.
It makes for a really fun monster/player relationship.
Eventually I'll disarm people at a distance and then feed enemies to my pet monster.


Sell me-why is Master Summoner better than Broodmaster?


Tsiron Ragmar wrote:
Sell me-why is Master Summoner better than Broodmaster?

The broodmaster gets multiple, weaker eidolons than the standard summoner. They share hit dice and evolutions, so they'll never be stronger than the vanilla summoner's eidolon. I'm not sure why anyone would ever take this archetype to be honest.

The master summoner gets a weaker eidolon than both the vanilla summoner and even the broomaster, but who cares!? He's not even going to invest in the eidolon 90% of the time in my experience. Instead, he's going to flood the battlefield with so many minions the DM gives up and goes home to play video games.

To answer the OP, my favorite is the standard summoner simply because it can do everything pretty well. It's the Red Mage of Pathfinder (to use a Final Fantasy reference). It's not the most powerful, but it's my favorite, and it doesn't make the DM cry nearly as hard as the Master Summoner.


Next question: what is your favorite race? I was thinking a catfolk, though I'm leaning towards Half-Elf...
Also: what's the best base for form for damage output?


Catfolk is good for boosted cha, and works well if you want to make your eidolon a cat and have some roleplayed connection there.
Of course half elf boosts evolution points and /could/ boost charisma, but it eats up your favored class bonus which you now only get once every four levels.
Of course this assumes you want these because of optimization.

Of course, optimization aside, I love catfolk. Aasimar is always fun for extra power.(but a little cheap) half elf is fun for the image.
Gnome is good for both. Cha boost, small size for extra caster ac, and the fun mental image of him standing on his personal behemoth's shoulder/head, grinning furiously as he lightning shocks you.
Skinwalker is another fun one, I think one of them boosts cha. Then you can also have the idea that you can model the eidolon after your animal, and even look like it yourself.(especially good for a synthesist, flavoring it as varying degrees of becoming the animal.)


Agreed there. I always make sure not to optimize too much, because I want to play a character I want to play, not a super powerful character.


Half-Elf introduces favored class bonus, Wild-Caller, *and* Paragon Surge. It also has a side boon in that you're immune to magical sleep (eidolon goes poof if you go unconscious) that is circumstantial but really nice when it kicks in. As if that weren't enough, it also gives Skill Focus for free to kick-start your path down the Eldritch Heritage tree.

Half-Elf is the best Summoner, completely and utterly. And it doesn't have many classes where it's the best choice (largely due to humans being so easily able to steal their thunder on ANYTHING with Racial Heritage feat and/or the variant to trade the bonus feat for THREE skill focus feats gained at levels 1, 8, and 16), so I'm happy for them.


Regular summoner is pretty awesome as is. One of my buddies is building one whose eidolon goes large, bull rushes, grapples, poisons, and swallows whole.

It's horrifying when it works.


Tsiron Ragmar wrote:
Sell me-why is Master Summoner better than Broodmaster?

The Master Summoner is arguably the most powerful of the Summoner options while the Broodmaster is hands down the weakest. I haven't been able to build one that I would play to be honest, though I did craft a nice one as an NPC pirate captain.

Something to consider is a mounted standard Summoner. You don't have to sit astride it all the time, and you can let it charge in without you whenever you want to hang back and cast spells, BUT, consider some of these possibilities:

A 1 level dip in Dragoon gives you full weapon proficiencies and the feats Mounted Combat and Skill Focus: Ride which you can use to protect your eidolon from harm.

You'll gain full benefit of the Shield Ally and Greater Shield Ally class features.

Your Eidolon will be able to pounce while you charge using a lance - that's some damage there.

You'll always be within touch range of your Eidolon to buff, heal or whatever.

My recommendation, as one of the most powerful and most fun characters we've ever had at our table, is a Half-Elven Wild Caller with a 1 level dip in the Fighter archetype Dragoon at 9th level, right after your Eidolon gets its first size increase. To go along with that, take the Eldritch Heritage feats (who's Skill Focus pre-req is conveniently provided by the Half Elven race) for the Orcish Boodline. That gives you a HUGE buff in Touch of Rage, a significant Strength boost and eventually a size boost as well so that when your Eidolon gets bigger, so do you.

We had someone run that character (a half-orc/half-elven bastard) in a Way of the Wicked campaign and she was absolutely brutal. If it sounds like something you're interested in and you want to see the build, just let me know.


The top two are definitely synthesist and master summoner. If u want absolute power for urself a synthesist is probably better because of the ridiculous natural armor and number of attacks that most summoned beasts couldn't overcome. That said, for group think and team work I give the advantage to master summoner. Other members of ur party can boost, heal, or otherwise help the army u summon for them AND ur eidolon can be used for utility rather than battle if u desire.


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The Summoner is almost a tier 1 class. That said he can and will outshine the other members of the party.

Master Summoner, due to action econmy breakage is the strongest.
No archetype is probably next, followed by Wild-Caller.

Synthesist can be strong, but is actually among the weakest...if played legally.
Note half-elf plus wild-caller is a ridiculous amount of extra evolutions. But you have a narrow selection.

Half-elf(with dsrkvision) regular summoner is probably the best compromise of strong without being way beyond the curve.

Course depends on your Eidolon build too.


Most of the evolutions Wild-Caller removes as options were poor ones anyway. The true pain of Wild-Caller is how much blatantly worse Summon Nature's Ally is than Summon Monster. But if you have the eidolon out all the time, that pain is only felt when actually casting the summons as spells.

Master Summoner is the strongest because even at half strength the eidolon is decent in combat (just not as a meat shield anymore; give it Martial or Exotic Prof. feat for a reach or ranged weapon) and can still serve a big use for out of combat thanks to the Skilled evolution. But the thing is, not only do you get more uses of summon monster, you can use one while the eidolon is still out, so you just have more doods running around.
That said, while most people will say Master Summoner is best Summoner, I think it gets a bit over-rated in the process. It is only a little bit better than regular Summoner and Wild-Caller, the basic Summoner is very strong itself. It's not that big of an upgrade.
The only archetypes that *are* a significant deviation in power level from normal summoner are Broodmaster, First Worlder, and Synthesist...all in the "weaker" direction. First Worlder is the bad stuff of Wild-Caller with none of the good stuff; Synthesist means losing your action economy edge; Broodmaster is just terrible. Creatures become exponentially more powerful with level in PF, getting two smaller gimped eidolons is worse than one full power one.


Hello everyone! First of all, I'm using Google translator, then any error, please forgive me! Well, I'm to start playing Rise of Rune Lords and I'm reading the summoner class, like a good build for a summoner eidolon which can be used as a fighter and protector eficiente.Fiquei interested in this combination with the dragoon archetype, it is worth sharing efforts between warrior and summoner? and half-elf is indeed a good choice? I had set up a gnome 18 of CONS and 18 CHA.Como the half-elf can overcome this? Thanks in advance!


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interested in this combination with the dragoon archetype, it is worth sharing efforts between warrior and summoner?

No, it is never worth multi-classing as a Summoner.

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and half-elf is indeed a good choice?

The Half-Elf favored class bonus grants it extra evolution points. It's a very good race choice, but there are other good choices too.

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I had set up a gnome 18 of CONS and 18 CHA

This would also be a very good Summoner!


Dasrak wrote:
I'd say it's the vanilla Summoner. He's just an all-around great class, such that any archetype is going to be trading good things and bad things. That's not to say other archetypes are bad, but the baseline is so high that none of them are going to exceed it except in specific or narrow ways.

The vanilla Summoner is just a really good jack of all trades option, with other archetypes like the Synthesist bringing in pretty hefty damage outputs. Either way, both are excellent options.

Grand Lodge

My fav from Pathfinder was my master summner Halfling that used his "pet" as his mount. Since he a was a flying mount with extra limbs for wands and a bit with reach. It easly made is so things had a hard time getting to me while my summons did a number on the enemeys or saved my party's ass.


I've had sickening levels of success with a Master Summoner in all areas of play. I'd highly reccommend Aasimar if you don't want the extra points from your eidolon from half-elf.

From what I've played or spec'ed out and solo played:

A.) Master Summoner

Pros:
1.) Nova strike with summons is a thing to behold. It's outlandish.
2.) The eidolon is a better scout and thief than any PC until mid level and totally disposable.
3.) DPS at 3rd level and above is excellent on most targets.
4.) You're very tough to kill due to being cleric robust and very hard to get to AND you possess wizard class escape spells.

Cons:
1.) You need to "wind up to win". Essentially, each round of summons you bring out before combat joins imbalances the combat grossly in the party favor. Having to choose between Haste and Summons in a surprise attack is hard.
2.) Damage reduction is a challenge at low levels.

B.) Vanilla Summoner

Pros:
1.) You are a great caster and an incredible fighter team right from the start. Actual Melee PC's will be frustrated.
2.) You can run your own PC to PC roleplay.
3.) If you get bored, you can summon better than any other non-Master Summoner.

Cons:
1.) You are a target and your Eidolon goes down if you do.
2.) That's it. A powerful balanced archetype.

C.) Synthesist

Pros:
1.) You are a better fighter than a fighter.

Cons:
2.) You are a better fighter than a fighter.


For a long time, it would have been the Synthesist, as I love the idea of wearing a suit of armor that's so customizable, but other classes fit that need better with simpler mechanics. I personally love the Shadow Summoner from Flying Pincushion games that theheadkase mentioned, despite a minor rules issue here or there with it. While the Summoner and its Eidolon were capable in melee together, the Eidolon was also great at infiltration and stealth, and the bonus darkness spells the Summoner received were always great to have on hand.


The idea of "best" is slightly subjective, and because of that wiggle room I'm going to make a case for the Morphic Savant.

The Master Summoner has the best raw power, to doubt, being able to flood the board with minions while the Eidolon has a modest career as a skill(ed) monkey and maybe take the Bodyguard feat. The Synthesist has raw power that sometimes throws off low level balance but you're cutting your action economy in half without something like Spellstrike to make up for it.

Meanwhile, the Morphic Savant maintains a cost/benefit ratio that's closer to it's vanilla baseline while still giving you plenty of options. Remember that each of your three (!) interchangable base form has its own evolutions, making it ideal for rotating parties in games like PFS. It also gives Serpentine eidolons something to do before they "come online" at around 8th level. Lessened Evo pool hurts in Unchained, but a feat makes up for that. No feat can give you three base forms.

Not a fan of the Eidolon? That's alright. Just enjoy the 50% chance of getting a Superior Summons effect that stacks with the Superior Summons feat. 1 round per level is alright when you've got a few levels under your belt anyway.


I think First Worlder is oft-maligned. No, it is not for the optimizer who wants to do the most damage, but it is very good for battlefield control as you can have your eidolon (though weaker than original eidolon) out AND summons. Just have your eidolon hang back with wands and use your summons to control the battlefield. Your summons can be gremlins, unicorns, pixies, satyrs, nymphs as well as everything else on Summon Nature's Ally lists.


I'm a big fan of the Spirit Summoner archetype. All the benefits of a vanilla Summoner with added spells and abilities tied to your Shaman spirit. As far as I'm aware, it is a straight upgrade to the Summoner.

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