Why Summoner is a Broken Class


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Just a Guess wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
If the spiritualist's phantom is any indication of Pathfinder Unchained's rewrite, then this problem (which is really the only major problem that the summoner has besides its wonky spell list) will likely go away.
I have to disagree. The summon SLA is much too strong as is. Too many uses, too short casting time, too long duration. If the summoner had either spells or the summoning SLA and stricter rules for the eidolon I might be ok with the class. But as is... no way.

The SLA can be matched by multiple other class options. Druids, Arcanists, Wizards and Clerics can all match the non-Master Summoner at summoning. A few other classes can come in a close second, like the Warpriest and Skald. Being good at summoning isn't that special. The Summoner is just more upfront about it.


Anzyr wrote:

It's worse then the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard.

If you think Summoner is unbalanced, it's because the optimization floor for the class is high, not because it's actually overpowered. Full casters... now those the truly powerful classes. Though in fairness, I would put Summoner next in line behind them.

With all due respect anyone who get's Maze, Gate SLA, Dominate monster, and create demiplane is a full caster.

The problem with the summoner is it effectively get's leadership -> Gish Fighter equal to level at level 1. If the pet did not exist it would be a powerful but fair class.


For those that do not like the Summoner, what do you think of the First Worlder Archetype? Do you think it solves any of the complaints?


Undone wrote:
The problem with the summoner is it effectively get's leadership -> Gish Fighter equal to level at level 1. If the pet did not exist it would be a powerful but fair class.

Since they don't gain HD at every level, this just isn't true.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Undone wrote:
The problem with the summoner is it effectively get's leadership -> Gish Fighter equal to level at level 1. If the pet did not exist it would be a powerful but fair class.
Since they don't gain HD at every level, this just isn't true.

Having Immortality makes up for the HD loss and combat effectiveness is at least as much as an equal level fighter usually closer to an equal level barbarian.

It doesn't matter that it's hitdice doesn't increase. Since it's defensive abilities and damage output are all that are required for it to be insane as a cohort true immortality (Oh look I'm dead for the day) and the ability to 100-0 any monster within CR +2-4 very early on makes them at least equivalent to an equal level character.

Sovereign Court

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Another point that is brought up. Summoners can use their minute summons as Trapfinders. Why bother having a rogue disarm or search for traps if you can have a summoned creature set them off? If the trap kills the summoned creature, there is only a minor loss of 1 use of Summon Monster.


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Having something that makes the rogue obsolete doesn't make you overpowered it makes you normal. ;)


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Live Bait wrote:
Having something that makes the rogue obsolete doesn't make you overpowered it makes you normal. ;)

What if you obsolete the barbarian?


The Occultist archetype for the Arcanist can spend a point per spell level to cast a Summon Monster as a standard action, which lasts 1m/level without expending a spell slot.

The ability gets prohibitively expensive at higher levels compared to the even scaling of the Summoner SLA, but being a full caster the Arcanist relies on those summons a lot less after a certain point. It's got a lot more going for it than the Conjuration Wizard and is a better point of comparison.


Gnaw on 0 level wands. At only 375 gp, it's extremely nice to have 50 points in your pocket when you need them.


Buri Reborn wrote:
Gnaw on 0 level wands. At only 375 gp, it's extremely nice to have 50 points in your pocket when you need them.

Does not work.

Consume Magic Item gives Spell Level /2 points. You get nothing for spells of 0th or 1st level. This is called out specifically in the exploit.


Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:

The Occultist archetype for the Arcanist can spend a point per spell level to cast a Summon Monster as a standard action, which lasts 1m/level without expending a spell slot.

The ability gets prohibitively expensive at higher levels compared to the even scaling of the Summoner SLA, but being a full caster the Arcanist relies on those summons a lot less after a certain point. It's got a lot more going for it than the Conjuration Wizard and is a better point of comparison.

The thing is that the Summoner basically is a full caster. It has a smaller spell list, for sure, but all of the best combat spells were cherry picked for the Summoner spell list and put at lower spell levels so you get them as if you were a full-caster.


Let's not forget the master summoner's glaring weakness: The biggest strength of the class can be severely limited by the use of a first level spell; Protection from X. Sure if you're neutral you can choose which template to apply. It's a common spell, with a low level and a decent duration, that also has a magic circle and communal variations.


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Buri Reborn wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:
Apart from that: Banning it is the best thing you can do with the summoner because it has a build in "destroy party fun" that can't be disabled without rewriting the whole class.
Conflation. I promise you you're wrong.

I have been in more than one game with a summoner pc. And every time the summoner was taking fun away.


Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:

The Occultist archetype for the Arcanist can spend a point per spell level to cast a Summon Monster as a standard action, which lasts 1m/level without expending a spell slot.

The ability gets prohibitively expensive at higher levels compared to the even scaling of the Summoner SLA, but being a full caster the Arcanist relies on those summons a lot less after a certain point. It's got a lot more going for it than the Conjuration Wizard and is a better point of comparison.

The Arcanist can compete with every summoner on SLA summons per day, but not on per encounter uses, which shouldn't ever be much more than 2 anyway. By the time you are using SM:9, you will be consuming your lower level spell slots after every encounter and out of combat to refill your pool, so you should always have the SLA available at the start of a fight.

If anything, the Occultist probably has more SLA per day than the base summoner. If you leave out bonus spells at level 20 you will have 4 spells per spell level per day.

Consumable non-bonus spell levels:
1st: 4
2nd: 8
3rd: 12
4th: 16
5th: 20
6th: 24
7th: 28
8th: 32
Total non-9th spell levels to consume: 144
Which gives you 16 extra uses of SM:9 per day just from consumption and still leaves you with your other level 9 spells.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
The thing is that the Summoner basically is a full caster. It has a smaller spell list, for sure, but all of the best combat spells were cherry picked for the Summoner spell list and put at lower spell levels so you get them as if you were a full-caster.

Really, all the best combat spells?

When did they get Phantasmal Killer? Dominate Monster or Dominate Person? Almost all of the fog/cloud spells? Web can be good when you get it.

Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.

The Summoner most definitely is not a full caster. What few of their spells are offensive have a DC that is 3 easier than a Wizard/Sorc. Lots of things they just don't do, such as most illusion and enchantment spells.


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Undone wrote:
Anzyr wrote:

It's worse then the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard.

If you think Summoner is unbalanced, it's because the optimization floor for the class is high, not because it's actually overpowered. Full casters... now those the truly powerful classes. Though in fairness, I would put Summoner next in line behind them.

With all due respect anyone who get's Maze, Gate SLA, Dominate monster, and create demiplane is a full caster.

The problem with the summoner is it effectively get's leadership -> Gish Fighter equal to level at level 1. If the pet did not exist it would be a powerful but fair class.

Having a few good spells does not make you a full caster. It makes you a partial a caster with a few good spells.


Darkfire142 wrote:
Another point that is brought up. Summoners can use their minute summons as Trapfinders. Why bother having a rogue disarm or search for traps if you can have a summoned creature set them off? If the trap kills the summoned creature, there is only a minor loss of 1 use of Summon Monster.

People were doing this to replace rogues before the summoner existed, and now people just go with other classes to replace rogues. Now I will leave this sub topic alone so the thread is not derailed. If you want more opinions on rogues being replaced there are quiet a few threads on the issue.


Undone wrote:
Live Bait wrote:
Having something that makes the rogue obsolete doesn't make you overpowered it makes you normal. ;)
What if you obsolete the barbarian?

Most eidolons are not making that happen unless there is a big difference in system mastery between the players, so that is a corner case.


BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.

Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.


Celanian wrote:
BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.
Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.

He was talking about the spell since the "full caster" idea is the subtopic, not the ability to fly. If he can fly via means that are not a spell it does not make him closer to a full caster.


wraithstrike wrote:
Celanian wrote:
BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.
Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.
He was talking about the spell since the "full caster" idea is the subtopic, not the ability to fly. If he can fly via means that are not a spell it does not make him closer to a full caster.

Eh, I'd say if you can effectively fly through the means of another spell, it doesn't really matter if it comes from the Fly Spell or a duplicate means.


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You can ghetto fly at level 3 by telling an air elemental to carry you around.


Go ahead and use your eidolon as a trapfinder.

And hope your GM never uses any traps with poison, because ability damage SUUUUUUCKS for you.


Scavion wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Celanian wrote:
BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.
Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.
He was talking about the spell since the "full caster" idea is the subtopic, not the ability to fly. If he can fly via means that are not a spell it does not make him closer to a full caster.
Eh, I'd say if you can effectively fly through the means of another spell, it doesn't really matter if it comes from the Fly Spell or a duplicate means.

But it has nothing to do with what makes someone a full caster. The fact that you can fly is not the topic. As an example if I find way to make a martial fly at level 3, and I multiclass into a bard, I am not making that bard closer to a full caster just because I can fly early in the game.

Basically early access to flight alone has nothing to do with you being able to be a full caster or not.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Scavion wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Celanian wrote:
BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.
Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.
He was talking about the spell since the "full caster" idea is the subtopic, not the ability to fly. If he can fly via means that are not a spell it does not make him closer to a full caster.
Eh, I'd say if you can effectively fly through the means of another spell, it doesn't really matter if it comes from the Fly Spell or a duplicate means.

But it has nothing to do with what makes someone a full caster. The fact that you can fly is not the topic. As an example if I find way to make a martial fly at level 3, and I multiclass into a bard, I am not making that bard closer to a full caster just because I can fly early in the game.

Basically early access to flight alone has nothing to do with you being able to be a full caster or not.

Basically if you can fake it till you make it, you're pretty much a full caster.

Yes, Summoners having early access to flight alone doesn't mean it's essentially a full caster.

Summoners having early access to MANY MANY full caster staples at about the level they obtain them is what essentially makes them a full caster.

Like Haste at level 4.


Flying is one of those things people give as an example of full caster abilities that make them more powerful than non-casters. While being able to fly doesn't make you as flexible as a full caster, it reduces their advantage by one ability. All you need then is teleportation, area damage, some battlefield control, and a few dozen other things, and full casters have no advantage over you at all!


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What's being lost here is that although the summoner gets some very nice things, they also have several huge weaknesses. These are mostly fine print things that don't show up in the statblock, so a lot of GMs are probably ignorant of this.

I think most of the fear and aggravation stems from the fact that they really are VERY good at the low levels, and most people don't wait around to watch them fall behind.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Setting aside the master summoner and the synthesist, which are their own case studies, the summoner only suffers from one problem that has 2 symptoms.

You can pick and choose every single ability a summoner and his eidolon gets. With the exception of the summon sla, which on its own is a choice from a list of options, every spell and all the evolutions you add, are a choice.

This does two things. First, it makes it painfully easy to optimize. Because everything, particularly with eidolon evolutions is a choice, its exceptionally simple to make a summoner exceedingly good at whatever the thing you want him and his eidolon buddy to be good at. Other classes would have to take great pains, digging through options to reach a similar level of optimization. So basically, in anything but the most heavy optimization group, a summoner, that is not deliberately NOT OPTIMIZED comes out waaaay ahead of the curve.

Second, with effort, a summoner and his eidolon can be better then other classes in a single area of focus (and with proper preparation can be better in many areas of focus).

The easiest point of comparison is the druid. If you gave a numerical value to all the class abilities of the druid and the summoner and added them up, they get roughly the same about of 'stuff'. The druid is probably a bit ahead depending on how you value the druid's spell list against the summoners (I personally think despite the enhanced nature of the summoners 6 level list, the 9 level list of the druid and the fact that he can prepare ANY of them makes it more valuable).

Regardless they are close to equal. What they are not, is equally able to do a given thing with an average amount of optimization. That is because the druid makes choices in bunches. He animal companion is a single choice that sets a bunch of things. If he could mix and match the best elements of different animal companions into a single companion, it would be as beastly as the eidolon.

But that isnt how any other class works. You always get somethings you may or may not want. Even fighters get bravery, druids get wild empathy and their companions get scent or whatever.

The easiest way to handle this is simply have the player not optimize, particularly with the eidolon. Make sure he divides evolutions amongst offense, defense and utility.

The more complicated way is to create 'forms' for each eidlon that dictates the progression of most of the evolution points, leaving just a few for the player to customize.


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Kolokotroni wrote:
This does two things. First, it makes it painfully easy to optimize. Because everything, particularly with eidolon evolutions is a choice, its exceptionally simple to make a summoner exceedingly good at whatever the thing you want him and his eidolon buddy to be good at.

Well, you mean attacks, really. Everything else is actually comically overpriced.

It's actually hard to make anything other than a pouncing monster eidolon that isn't pathetic.

I'll defend the class as a whole, but if there was something I'd say needs to change, it's the pricing of extra attacks vs. everything else.


Scavion wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Scavion wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Celanian wrote:
BretI wrote:


Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.
Correction. Most summoners can fly at level 4 when they can cast lesser evolution surge.
He was talking about the spell since the "full caster" idea is the subtopic, not the ability to fly. If he can fly via means that are not a spell it does not make him closer to a full caster.
Eh, I'd say if you can effectively fly through the means of another spell, it doesn't really matter if it comes from the Fly Spell or a duplicate means.

But it has nothing to do with what makes someone a full caster. The fact that you can fly is not the topic. As an example if I find way to make a martial fly at level 3, and I multiclass into a bard, I am not making that bard closer to a full caster just because I can fly early in the game.

Basically early access to flight alone has nothing to do with you being able to be a full caster or not.

Basically if you can fake it till you make it, you're pretty much a full caster.

Yes, Summoners having early access to flight alone doesn't mean it's essentially a full caster.

Summoners having early access to MANY MANY full caster staples at about the level they obtain them is what essentially makes them a full caster.

Like Haste at level 4.

Still not a full caster any more than a bard of magus is.

edit: They have a few nice spells, but overall they can't compete with actual full casters by virtue of their spells, not without a coddling GM anyway.


Just a couple observations from seeing summoners in action:

1) If the eidolon's too good to be true, audit the dang thing. Eidolons are complicated and really, really easy to get wrong.

The first step when something seems too good is make sure it's actually being run correctly.

2) Eidolons tend to have fantastic AC but garbage saving throws. If the eidolons saves are actually good, odds are that the summoner is giving up his saving throw item. (though a sufficiently wealthy summoner might have, say, an otherworldly kimono, while letting the eidolon have the cloak of resistance)

3) Summoners have a fantastic support/buff list (I'll agree that from a support stand point, it's too good; I'm still baffled they get barkskin, among other things) but get relatively few spells known and spells per day. Pages of spell knowledge are a great way to get around the spells known issue, but getting around castings per day is another matter.

Silver Crusade

pipedreamsam wrote:
Let's not forget the master summoner's glaring weakness: The biggest strength of the class can be severely limited by the use of a first level spell; Protection from X. Sure if you're neutral you can choose which template to apply. It's a common spell, with a low level and a decent duration, that also has a magic circle and communal variations.

A home GM may cause PCs to sometimes face foes who use this spell. I have.

Can anyone name even one published module where opponents are likely to use Protection from X in a way that would block an eidolon? Even if a few exist, are they more than 5% of encounters? Are they more than 1%?

I'll take a super-powerful ability, even if it has the drawback that 1% or 5% of foes can negate it ...


Just a Guess wrote:
Buri Reborn wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:
Apart from that: Banning it is the best thing you can do with the summoner because it has a build in "destroy party fun" that can't be disabled without rewriting the whole class.
Conflation. I promise you you're wrong.
I have been in more than one game with a summoner pc. And every time the summoner was taking fun away.

The same can be done with any other class.

Ryzoken wrote:
Buri Reborn wrote:
Gnaw on 0 level wands. At only 375 gp, it's extremely nice to have 50 points in your pocket when you need them.

Does not work.

Consume Magic Item gives Spell Level /2 points. You get nothing for spells of 0th or 1st level. This is called out specifically in the exploit.

Ah. Still, a level 2 wand is still affordable from not too far into a career. It's simply not "cheap."

Shadow Lodge

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
This does two things. First, it makes it painfully easy to optimize. Because everything, particularly with eidolon evolutions is a choice, its exceptionally simple to make a summoner exceedingly good at whatever the thing you want him and his eidolon buddy to be good at.

Well, you mean attacks, really. Everything else is actually comically overpriced.

It's actually hard to make anything other than a pouncing monster eidolon that isn't pathetic.

I'll defend the class as a whole, but if there was something I'd say needs to change, it's the pricing of extra attacks vs. everything else.

Perhaps a topic for another thread, but how would you restructure evolution costs? I think it would be wonderful to let the eidolon have better access to the other abilities.

I've got a summoner in one of my games, and I'd rather he didn't focus on spamming natural attacks, but as you say, it's currently where the class design will lead him.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
pipedreamsam wrote:
Let's not forget the master summoner's glaring weakness: The biggest strength of the class can be severely limited by the use of a first level spell; Protection from X. Sure if you're neutral you can choose which template to apply. It's a common spell, with a low level and a decent duration, that also has a magic circle and communal variations.

A home GM may cause PCs to sometimes face foes who use this spell. I have.

Can anyone name even one published module where opponents are likely to use Protection from X in a way that would block an eidolon? Even if a few exist, are they more than 5% of encounters? Are they more than 1%?

I'll take a super-powerful ability, even if it has the drawback that 1% or 5% of foes can negate it ...

Prot v. X style stuff explicitly doesn't stop an eidolon.

If you're a master summoner and your eidolon is cosmetic, the correct answer to Prot v. X is to start barfing out elementals. Neutral critters are handy.


Serum wrote:
I've got a summoner in one of my games, and I'd rather he didn't focus on spamming natural attacks, but as you say, it's currently where the class design will lead him.

I'd go through the evolutions and selectively increase extra attack evolutions. Definitely Pounce as well. Not all of them. The currently "overpriced" attack options shouldn't cost more... they should all be the same price.

And I would decrease the price of many other evolutions, especially the magic tracks. I think I get what they were going for, but they've shut off a number of flavorful and totally balanced options the way it's set up.


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wraithstrike wrote:
edit: They have a few nice spells, but overall they can't compete with actual full casters by virtue of their spells, not without a coddling GM anyway.

If there was a class which had every wizard spell but called 8-9th level spells 6th level 6-7th level spells 5th level and 1-4 were copied spell levels would you not call that a full caster just because the spells aren't "Ninth level"?

If you gain access to 5-10 9th level spells or get access to 3-4 particularly powerful ones you're no less powerful than the sorcerer.


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Protection from X doesn't stop an eidolon.

In addition, due to its tie to its summoner, an eidolon can touch and attack creatures warded by protection from evil and similar effects that prevent contact with summoned creatures.


Serum wrote:

Perhaps a topic for another thread, but how would you restructure evolution costs? I think it would be wonderful to let the eidolon have better access to the other abilities.

I've got a summoner in one of my games, and I'd rather he didn't focus on spamming natural attacks, but as you say, it's currently where the class design will lead him.

My synthesist character didn't have any natural attacks outside of those he got outside the class as he started as a natural lycanthrope. Once that got cured, I still took none. The class design doesn't lead anything. It's all about choice.


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Once a summoner gets Gate 10+ times a day, it pretty much is as good as a full caster.


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BretI wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
The thing is that the Summoner basically is a full caster. It has a smaller spell list, for sure, but all of the best combat spells were cherry picked for the Summoner spell list and put at lower spell levels so you get them as if you were a full-caster.

Really, all the best combat spells?

When did they get Phantasmal Killer? Dominate Monster or Dominate Person? Almost all of the fog/cloud spells? Web can be good when you get it.

Fly you get 4 levels later than the wizard. Same spell level, but much later.

The Summoner most definitely is not a full caster. What few of their spells are offensive have a DC that is 3 easier than a Wizard/Sorc. Lots of things they just don't do, such as most illusion and enchantment spells.

Wrong type of full caster. The Summoner gets all the buffing and control spells you want; save-or-suck spells are irrelevant when you're hammer, arm, and anvil all in one class. The only other class that can do that as effectively is the Cleric.


Arachnofiend wrote:


Wrong type of full caster. The Summoner gets all the buffing and control spells you want; save-or-suck spells are irrelevant when you're hammer, arm, and anvil all in one class. The only other class that can do that as effectively is the Cleric.

I feel the druid also fits this description.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
pipedreamsam wrote:
Let's not forget the master summoner's glaring weakness: The biggest strength of the class can be severely limited by the use of a first level spell; Protection from X. Sure if you're neutral you can choose which template to apply. It's a common spell, with a low level and a decent duration, that also has a magic circle and communal variations.

A home GM may cause PCs to sometimes face foes who use this spell. I have.

Can anyone name even one published module where opponents are likely to use Protection from X in a way that would block an eidolon? Even if a few exist, are they more than 5% of encounters? Are they more than 1%?

I'll take a super-powerful ability, even if it has the drawback that 1% or 5% of foes can negate it ...

That's a fair point, most of my experience is homebrew and I tend to forget about published material. As others have said the eidolon is specifically immune to protection from X shenanigans but it hits home against a master summoner, even a neutral one.

Elementals will still be unaffected... But that's one heck of a power downgrade.


pipedreamsam wrote:
Elementals will still be unaffected... But that's one heck of a power downgrade.

Summoning down to small earth elementals are the strongest summon possible until level 9 when you can superior summons down to celestial lions. With evolved summon monster small earth elementals gain even more value so I'm just going to call this one.

Additionally the master summoner at higher levels doesn't care about prot from X when you can summon the furies, dretches which instantly stinking cloud 4+ times, or archons firin mah lazorz!

Put simply Prot from X doesn't really help against most summons.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Magda Luckbender wrote:

A home GM may cause PCs to sometimes face foes who use this spell. I have.

Can anyone name even one published module where opponents are likely to use Protection from X in a way that would block an eidolon? Even if a few exist, are they more than 5% of encounters? Are they more than 1%?

I'll take a super-powerful ability, even if it has the drawback that 1% or 5% of foes can negate it ...

The Beggar's Pearl:
uses Protection from Good. I know because my paladin had to deal with it. To be somewhat fair, the BBEG had to deal with a smite evil,

As others have noted, the only time this protects is against the Master Summoner's eidolon or if Summon Eidolon spell is used.

You would be better off hitting with other alignment effects. Holy Smite, Chaos Hammer, Order's Wrath, etc. Banishment is also effective against a summoner.


Celanian wrote:
WWWW wrote:
Right, they may be better then fighters and what not, but I was already aware of that. I was wondering about a comparison to the vanilla summoner (hence the extra character's worth of actions comment) which does not seem to be directly addressed in your analysis.

The 2 big advantages of a synth over a regular summoner are:

1) MUCH more durable. The sample synth I posted would only have 26 HP for the eidolon if they were separate. That's not much when facing CR 6-8 enemies

2) No shared item slot problem. No need to divide your money over 2 entities and both entities share the benefits of each magic item.

Whether these are worth the loss of an additional action is debatable, but these are pretty sizable advantages.

The sample I posted has 59 HP, AC 28, and 4 attacks that average 20 damage each with some money unspent. A regular 5th level martial is probably going to fall short on all 3 metrics compared to the synth.

Ah, now that you mention it I can certainly see how this could depend on the group. In groups that are unable to protect their supporting casters it would be better to trade out a character's worth of actions instead of losing the summoner along with your sorcerers or what have you.


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The nice thing about summoners is that they are powerful enough to allow you to build a fairly whimsical character. You don't really need to worry about optimization at all, and you will still play OK with the big boys.

I have a PFS summoner (retired now until they come up with a new retirement arc) that is a crazy lady who imagines her eidolon to be her daughter. The eidolon is bipedal and attacks with its claws. All of the characters money goes towards protecting the eidolon (as a mother would do for her daughter). The eidolon is very well defended, but doesn't do spectacular damage (only 2 attacks, and no pounce). However it is fun to role play as the mother drives every venture captain crazy as they give missions while she asks whether or not this is a proper field trip from an educational perspective.

Of course this does leave the issue of lots of potential for over optimization to be present, but I suppose that could be said of a lot of classes. It depends on the players really.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Scavion wrote:


Basically if you can fake it till you make it, you're pretty much a full caster.

Yes, Summoners having early access to flight alone doesn't mean it's essentially a full caster.

Summoners having early access to MANY MANY full caster staples at about the level they obtain them is what essentially makes them a full caster.

Like Haste at level 4.

Still not a full caster any more than a bard of magus is.

edit: They have a few nice spells, but overall they can't compete with actual full casters by virtue of their spells, not without a coddling GM anyway.

Few nice spells? They get access to pretty much all the conjuration spells.

Last I checked, a Wizard can be incredibly powerful even if he was limited to only conjuration spells. The fact the Summoner has a bunch of class features on top of that is just gravy.

I think there may be a miscommunication.

I'm not saying the Summoner can compete with most full casters based on spell slots alone.

I'm saying the Summoner competes since he has very good spell slots in additions to a powerful set of class features. The most important of which gets him full power Summon Monster spells more than even a full caster would.


Undone wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
edit: They have a few nice spells, but overall they can't compete with actual full casters by virtue of their spells, not without a coddling GM anyway.

If there was a class which had every wizard spell but called 8-9th level spells 6th level 6-7th level spells 5th level and 1-4 were copied spell levels would you not call that a full caster just because the spells aren't "Ninth level"?

If you gain access to 5-10 9th level spells or get access to 3-4 particularly powerful ones you're no less powerful than the sorcerer.

Are you saying the summoner is as good a caster as a sorcerer? Let me be clear about this. A summoner sans eidolon can be equally effective when in the same game as a sorcerer from 1 to 20 with players of equal system mastery.

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