Speculation on the unchained summoner 2


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


As the other thread got completely hijacked despite being asked to return to topic here is another one. Please leave speculations about monster literacy, necromancy and shrodinger's wizards in the old thread.


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I feel that rather than focusing on nerfs, the focus should be on simplicity. The rules for Eidolons are overly complicated and easy for people to misinterpret. Any big changes will probably be on the Eidolon side of the class.

Things that won't go away:
1) Summon Monster SLA: It probably wouldn't have been given to the Arcanist(Occultist) if it was being considered for removal. And summoners should be good at summoning, because it's in the name. They aren't eidolonists.

2) Most of the spell list. The spiritualist playtest wouldn't have copy-pasted so much of the summoner spell list if there were plans to change that spell list.


I would also like to see an attempt to equalize eidolon builds. A single bite dog-type eidolon should be able to put out similar numbers to a dragon-type eidolon should be able to put out similar numbers to a multi-armed-abomination type eidolon.

Pounce wouldn't seem so overpowered if single-attack options were roughly equivalent to multi-attack options.


Single attack dog typed ACs are not similar to pouncing ACs. I do not think that will change for eidolons.
And the spiritualist spell list looks like mostly a true 6th level list. I just noted haste as a lone offender.


It is an odd dichotomy though. For martial PCs, it's hard to make a dual wielder as good as a two-handed weapon user. For Animals, it's impossible to make a single natural weapon user as good as a multi-weapon user. Just because ACs have a similar issue doesn't mean that it's not a issue. I'd actually say that it's even more of an issue for the eidolon, since their whole thing is supposed to be about customization. And customization is worth less, when there is one clearly right answer.


I'd be all for simplification - eidolons are an enormous pain-in-the-ass to build without something like HeroLab doing the work for you.

I will note, however, that simplification would be functionally a nerf, since removing options usually weakens things.

The 3.5 Draconomicon added a feat for getting iterative attacks with natural attacks. Never seen anything like that in Pathfinder, though. Beyond the single iterative attack single attack-type animal companions get.

Spell list - while the spiritualist has a lot of overlap with summoner, note that the vast majority of spiritualist spells are at the same level a bard would get them, as opposed to one level earlier like the summoner gets them.

Scarab Sages

Melkiador wrote:
2) Most of the spell list. The spiritualist playtest wouldn't have copy-pasted so much of the summoner spell list if there were plans to change that spell list.

I would support the summoner getting 6-level access to the wizard spell list.


Artanthos wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
2) Most of the spell list. The spiritualist playtest wouldn't have copy-pasted so much of the summoner spell list if there were plans to change that spell list.
I would support the summoner getting 6-level access to the wizard spell list.

Depends on the spell. For non-summoning spells I would agree with that decision. But for summoning themed spells, the class is called Summoner for a reason.

I suppose part of the problem with Summoner is that it probably needs to be two separate classes. One class a master of summoning magic, which would be called Summoner. The other class a master of a singular powerful outsider, which would be called something more like Contractor.

Scarab Sages

Melkiador wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
2) Most of the spell list. The spiritualist playtest wouldn't have copy-pasted so much of the summoner spell list if there were plans to change that spell list.
I would support the summoner getting 6-level access to the wizard spell list.

Depends on the spell. For non-summoning spells I would agree with that decision. But for summoning themed spells, the class is called Summoner for a reason.

I suppose part of the problem with Summoner is that it probably needs to be two separate classes. One class a master of summoning magic, which would be called Summoner. The other class a master of a singular powerful outsider, which would be called something more like Contractor.

Higher level Summons would still be available via SLA, just not while the eidolon is present.


Melkiador wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
2) Most of the spell list. The spiritualist playtest wouldn't have copy-pasted so much of the summoner spell list if there were plans to change that spell list.
I would support the summoner getting 6-level access to the wizard spell list.

Depends on the spell. For non-summoning spells I would agree with that decision. But for summoning themed spells, the class is called Summoner for a reason.

I suppose part of the problem with Summoner is that it probably needs to be two separate classes. One class a master of summoning magic, which would be called Summoner. The other class a master of a singular powerful outsider, which would be called something more like Contractor.

I could see those being archetypes for the summoner version 2: one archetype that let's you trade in nonEidolon summoning spells/abilities for evolution points for those who want to focus on the Eidolon and one that let's you trade evolution points for benefits for nonEidolon summons.


Mechagamera wrote:
I could see those being archetypes for the summoner version 2: one archetype that let's you trade in nonEidolon summoning spells/abilities for evolution points for those who want to focus on the Eidolon and one that let's you trade evolution points for benefits for nonEidolon summons.

That could be done, but to a point it's been tried and failed before with the master summoner. Maybe it will work better for the version 2.

Summoner was created at an odd time in the game's life cycle. Archetypes weren't a concrete thing yet, though they had been touched upon with the Alternate classes. I suspect that if the class had not been created before now, then there would be a summoner archetype for the wizard that does most of the same summoning tricks. And maybe the Eidolon Contractor could have been an interesting new class without all of the summoning baggage.


I hope they (paizo) makes two different kinds of summoners. The eidolon one and summoning one.

For the summoning one, I think they could stand to lose spellcasting. What if instead of spellcasting and the eidolon, they had the normal not master summoner SLA and an SLA for short summons. Like what if the summoner could at will spend a standard action to use the appropriate summon monster effect, but the creature or creatures only get to perform a standard action before disappearing. Maybe later summoners could gain the ability to do this as a fullround action.

Then the modular abilities that come in on even levels could be augments to summoning. Like allowing spells not to expire with the summon or allowing summons to teleport, or augment summoning/superior summoning, or an augment summoning for mental stats, or allowing summons to go below zero hit points, or perhaps even different SLAs (summon a creature one level below the main SLA, but last for a round per level, or planar binding SLAs).


I would like to see a type of Summoner similar to the Final Fantasy Summoner.

They would have a selection of different summons to choose from (Separate from the Summon Monster spell) and the progression could work something like a Ranger's Favored Enemy, where they choose a new summon and increase the strength of an old one every time they get to choose.


Based on my previous post, I made this rewrite.


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
I hope they (paizo) makes two different kinds of summoners. The eidolon one and summoning one.

I think between turning the spell list into a real 6th level list (like the spiritualist's) and having to choose one of summoning SLA or eidolon, I think the summoner might be ok.


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Umbranus wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
I hope they (paizo) makes two different kinds of summoners. The eidolon one and summoning one.
I think between turning the spell list into a real 6th level list (like the spiritualist's) and having to choose one of summoning SLA or eidolon, I think the summoner might be ok.

I'm more interested in re-balancing than straight nerfs.


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Zhangar wrote:

I'd be all for simplification - eidolons are an enormous pain-in-the-ass to build without something like HeroLab doing the work for you.

Guess it all depends on POV. I've been a player of the HERO system since '85. Eidolons are cake to make for me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh I didn't know this alternate thread existed. Wish I'd been posting here instead!

I really loathe the existing First Worlder archetype. I use KCRift's Feydolon instead. KCRift states that it feels like someone stopped in the middle of making it, and that was my own impression too. Giving up outsider HD, 3/4 BAB, and darkvision for... nothing at all - aside for the option of choosing DR/cold iron - is pretty pathetic. Worse, I feel like the Wild Caller could have been something that either stacked with, or was the other half of First Worlder. Instead of FIXING either though, both were just put out there alone; now the First Worlder is just a significant downgrade that exists for flavor purposes alone, while the wildcaller actively prevents its extra evolutions from being used for anything but dps.

Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Based on my previous post, I made this rewrite.

Wow, I actually rather enjoy that summoner variant. The big complaint I have is that the summoner gives up all spellcasting and the eidolon in exchange for some extra feats. If nothing else, there should be at least something he gets that applies to himself and/or he can actively supply to his summons, like a heal, or a bodyguard feat they all gain or something. The minor complaint I have is that the Natural Summons/Nature's Ally/Fey Friend chain seems like it punishes more than helps, what with the requirement that they all be taken. I understand why, it just seems a bit much when most people who'd do it would be doing it for flavor purposes.


xeose4 wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Based on my previous post, I made this rewrite.
Wow, I actually rather enjoy that summoner variant. The big complaint I have is that the summoner gives up all spellcasting and the eidolon in exchange for some extra feats. If nothing else, there should be at least something he gets that applies to himself and/or he can actively supply to his summons, like a heal, or a bodyguard feat they all gain or something. The minor complaint I have is that the Natural Summons/Nature's Ally/Fey Friend chain seems like it punishes more than helps, what with the requirement that they all be taken. I understand why, it just seems a bit much when most people who'd do it would be doing it for flavor purposes.

Yes. Brief Summons solves what the summoner can do with their actions, but their stats and abilities are rather irrelevant.

Now when thinking about something to add I have to consider what is already there. At the moment this summoner effectively brings two top level spells to every fight (By using the summon monster SLA and brief summons every round). That is strong. Hence why a lot of the planar talents are more fun focused than powerful.

I was thinking about adding a system where the summoner infuses himself with the powers of outsiders to perform effects. These effects could be learned like spells(or some other method), but instead of slots being the limiting factor, it could instead be the total HD bound and how well the summoner can control the focuses he binds. These effects could have HD of particular types of outsider requirements or/and be effects that scale with the HD. Like binding fire elementals could give you blasting powers. We could have safe effects that are weaker but spam-able, and then risky effects that may cause the summoner to lose control of the outsider. Unlike planar binding, I think the downside should only be a personal loss not the outsider attacking the party. I feel like you don't want to make PKing part of a main class feature. The flavor justification is that summoners are very careful with their binding of outsiders, such that this method is closer to summoning than calling, which is also why the method is more limited (as in we could actually define what you can and can't do, unlike how planar binding the spell works). All these effects though need to never be stronger than Brief summons . Much like how using an Alchemist extract is not necessarily better than throwing a bomb.

I feel like one of the problems with the current paizo summoner is the spellcasting. We picture a summoner behaving like a fullcaster, thus the spellcasting it can do would have to have some parity of that. But at the same time if the summoner just had fullcasting, it would amount to littler more than a sorcerer/wizard variant. Thus we have the 6th level class with a 9th level list smashed in. Therefore, I don't really want to just add spellcasting back into the class.


Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
I hope they (paizo) makes two different kinds of summoners. The eidolon one and summoning one.
I think between turning the spell list into a real 6th level list (like the spiritualist's) and having to choose one of summoning SLA or eidolon, I think the summoner might be ok.
I'm more interested in re-balancing than straight nerfs.

I'm mostly interested in any new content that the "Chained" Summoner can use, since I'm pretty happy with that class. Though I'm sure a less mechanically complex summoner class could appealing as well, so I'm hoping the unchained summoner has a better explained Synthesist variant and less terrible Broodmaster variant.

And again, this better not be nerfs or re-balancing to the original classes, merely new different classes with the same theme.

Scarab Sages

The eidolon building rules are complex, and IMO unnecessarily so.
There's a lot of verbiage that could easily be streamlined, and some things that are not intuitive, could be better explained, such as;

Can I purchase a pair of limbs that take me over the max attacks threshold, if I don't use all of them? You may say 'don't buy a pair of legs, buy a single attack evolution', but I may not visualise my pet with a tail or tentacle.

does improving an attack's damage or reach affect all attacks of a similar type, or just literally one?
It makes sense for real creatures to possess some kind of symmetry, but that may not be a given, for some of the wilder aberration builds out there. If I were making a tentacled horror, it could be justified in having a mass of little tentacles, and one long one.
For more regular-shaped creatures, pairs of limbs could be different sizes, in a build like a glabrezu, or Tyranid (Warhammer 40K), but I don't really want my bipedal eidolon to have one, long, overmuscled arm, that it has to drag along. It would look silly.

If it's expected that upgrade costs should be spent on each qualifying body part, then it doesn't seem to be explicit enough, and it would explain the explosion of multi-limbed eidolons in the forums, and the resulting perception that the eidolon is far too strong for its master's level.

More sample NPC eidolons would be appreciated, so we know whether we're building them right.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Snorter wrote:
More sample NPC eidolons would be appreciated, so we know whether we're building them right.

I would GREATLY appreciate this. there are so many times that I feel a magically-linked creature+guard would fit the adventure, but I don't want to go through the effort of running one up myself. a quick-glance set of "this is an evil demonic eidolon, this is a holy eidolon, this is a shadow rift eidolon, this is an undead eidolon" would be insanely helpful for introducing summoners as more common material than simply the odd boss fight.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
xeose4 wrote:
Snorter wrote:
More sample NPC eidolons would be appreciated, so we know whether we're building them right.
I would GREATLY appreciate this. there are so many times that I feel a magically-linked creature+guard would fit the adventure, but I don't want to go through the effort of running one up myself. a quick-glance set of "this is an evil demonic eidolon, this is a holy eidolon, this is a shadow rift eidolon, this is an undead eidolon" would be insanely helpful for introducing summoners as more common material than simply the odd boss fight.

Ultimate Magic, pg 74 - 76 has a number of model Eidolons.


xeose4 wrote:
Snorter wrote:
More sample NPC eidolons would be appreciated, so we know whether we're building them right.
I would GREATLY appreciate this. there are so many times that I feel a magically-linked creature+guard would fit the adventure, but I don't want to go through the effort of running one up myself. a quick-glance set of "this is an evil demonic eidolon, this is a holy eidolon, this is a shadow rift eidolon, this is an undead eidolon" would be insanely helpful for introducing summoners as more common material than simply the odd boss fight.

I have at least a dozen summoner + eidolon ideas kicking around in my head. While it may not be official, I could whip some up for reference and comparison.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marroar Gellantara wrote:

Yes. Brief Summons solves what the summoner can do with their actions, but their stats and abilities are rather irrelevant.

Now when thinking about something to add I have to consider what is already there. At the moment this summoner effectively brings two top level spells to every fight (By using the summon monster SLA and brief summons every round). That is strong. Hence why a lot of the planar talents are more fun focused than powerful.

I was thinking about adding a system where the summoner infuses himself with the powers of outsiders to perform effects. These effects could be learned like spells(or some other method), but instead of slots being the limiting factor, it could instead be the total HD bound and how well the summoner can control the focuses he binds. These effects could have HD of particular types of outsider requirements or/and be effects that scale with the HD. Like binding fire elementals could give you blasting powers. We could have safe effects that are weaker but spam-able, and then risky effects that may cause the summoner to lose control of the outsider. Unlike planar binding, I think the downside should only be a...

That could be a brilliant idea. You could almost make it based on a particular type of outsider, the way that wizards have schools, right? Depending, even, on how many layers there might be. There could be general tracts like "Good/Evil" or "Law/Chaos" and then differentiations from there, into "Shadow" "Abyss" "Agaothion" etc. Could even just leave a "generalist" option too, to signify someone who refuses to align. Then they merge or sync or however that feature looks, and they might use certain abilities based on that? Is that what you're thinking?

I was also just thinking about the balance of the natural/fey summons line you started with, and I just thought - hey, why not just use nimble natural summons as a prereq for all three? It's a requirement for a few archetypes already. And, that way there's an actual boost that comes before adding a new spell list/spell list options to the player's summons list (rather than that person effectively summoning a different creature, yeah, but also one that's 2-3 talents behind the normal summoner... "summonist").

Anzyr wrote:
And again, this better not be nerfs or re-balancing to the original classes, merely new different classes with the same theme.

Haha, yeah, I'll be pretty irritated if by "Unchained" they meant "we watered it down with some incredibly unappealing options". I hope I'll be pleasantly surprised, but I can't say I will be at all if there are variants like "oh you give up 26 evolution points for the ability to dimension door 1/day yourself!"

Rosc wrote:
I have at least a dozen summoner + eidolon ideas kicking around in my head. While it may not be official, I could whip some up for reference and comparison.

Thanks BretI, I'll look those up. Dunno what other people are interested in, but I, at least, also love to see the alt eidolon ideas too, Rosc!


dot

Scarab Sages

Marroar Gellantara wrote:

I was thinking about adding a system where the summoner infuses himself with the powers of outsiders to perform effects....

Like binding fire elementals could give you blasting powers. We could have safe effects that are weaker but spam-able, and then risky effects that may cause the summoner to lose control of the outsider.

Some of the classes in the Psionic playtest do explore this idea, as does the Binder from the Pact Magic material by Radiance House.

The hint that a PC could hitch himself to any of the 54 Harrow Deck concepts is one that fills me with giddy possibilities, though I think they may need some work on comparable power level.

Scarab Sages

One of the problems with the Summoner, which becomes more apparent with higher level play, is the same problem that arises from the Planar Ally and Planar Binding abilities.

There are some creatures, who are too powerful to be long-term PC allies. Some might say, with justification, that they're too powerful to be on a Summon Monster list anyway, but at least before, they were limited to sticking around for a max of 2 minutes for a 20th level caster. Enemies could decide to ignore the creature, delay it somehow, because it'll be disappearing soon.
A spell-like ability that may not be a problem if used a couple of times in a battle, could become problematic if the creature hangs around several minutes before or after. And it doesn't require the summoner to use up valuable combat actions summoning it.

So I can see the duration of the SLA being reduced, while still allowing the same flavour of creatures to be available.


Maybe the summoner should just have his own summoning lists for his SLA. If one of the summons is too good for long term then cut it.

Scarab Sages

Snorter wrote:
There are some creatures, who are too powerful to be long-term PC allies. Some might say, with justification, that they're too powerful to be on a Summon Monster list anyway, but at least before, they were limited to sticking around for a max of 2 minutes for a 20th level caster.

The conjurer capstone makes the Summon Monster spell permanent.

Conjurer wrote:
At 20th level, you can change the duration of all summon monster spells to permanent. You can have no more than one summon monster spell made permanent in this way at one time.

Scarab Sages

Ouch. That's problematic.

Though I think that says much about the broken nature of that Wizard school. I wouldn't want to argue that it should be the benchmark, for the Summoner or any other class.

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