Possible ideas for PF2 Summoner


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


I've been playing a chained summoner in my friend's homebrewed adventure and been having some fun playing him and his eidolon! And while I have yet to play as an unchained summoner, the changes it offers seem interesting enough for me to consider playing as one someday.

In the case of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, I can easily see Paizo basing this summoner off of the unchained version, seeing as the whole purpose of that class was to act as a nerf to the original one, though I'd love it if they do more with PF2's summoner like give it a few more subtypes to play with and/or even a whole prestige class that basically acts like the original summoner with a few bells and whistles.

But what do any of you think they could do with the summoner? Assuming it's confirmed to return for Pathfinder 2E.


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Am worried at how hard they hit "pets" with the nerfhammer on the playtest to even imagine a fun version of this class. We'll know if minions are less of an embarassment come the Core Rulebook.

Liberty's Edge

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Am worried at how hard they hit "pets" with the nerfhammer on the playtest to even imagine a fun version of this class. We'll know if minions are less of an embarassment come the Core Rulebook.

They have explicitly made them more powerful in at least a few ways (AC going up leaps to mind as something they announced specifically).

Whether that will be sufficient is of course an open question, though even if they aren't by default, they could fairly readily give a Summoner Class enough advantages to make them worth it.

Liberty's Edge

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The easy way is have commanding a pet take an action. So it’s not adding to your total number of actions. You’re just attacking via a summon rather than casting another offensive spell.

Balancing the offensve granted by a summon and the hit points it’s soaking is also a key aspect.


I could see it as a prestige class, with eidolon acquirement and advancement using the Cavalier prestige class as a baseline from the playtest {should be noted the Cavalier will be absent for PF2 initial release and will most likely come later)

And I could see the possibility of a class feat which grants the ability to slightly increases the power of Summoned creatures {similar to the wizards 'Augment Summoning' power from the playtest.)

The one difficultly to this would be incorporating the ability to summon creatures in a class feat. Obviously this would be a key ability for the summoner. However the playtest put a strict limit on these types of abilities offered through multiclassing {for example, if you got a 'Power' from a spellcasting class of which you were not a part of, you would only be able to use that power some much as the highest level of spell you could cast from that class, meaning both further investment, and never being able to reach the max with them. If you got a non-spellcasting power it would only be half your level.) Using those rules as a baseline, it would either need to be limited and weak, or limiting the prestige class to casters {at least in the playtest all casting traditions had a version of the summon spell.) with a class feat that gives a free summon or some sort.

As far as making them there own class, I going to bow out of speculation until we see PF2 in its entirety. {Mainly to see how class powers and spellcasting will be implemented, as they will have a big impact both on possible iteration and problems with conversion.)

Dark Archive

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The summoner is, hands down, the most poorly designed class in the APG. I hope it acts as more of a negative example of what not to do in PF2, rather than a touchstone worthy of emulation.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Animal companions are feat-based features, designed as an add-on to full casting. Summoner would probably have their eidolon as their central class feature. Looking at animal companions and saying eidolons can't be fun is like looking at multiclass casting and saying Wizard can't be fun. Wizard is weaker, sure, but not to the point of the multiclass casting version.

Hypothetically: Summoner starts off with an eidolon and one focus spell. The focus spell summons a creature if you don't already have a summons (including your eidolon) active, or heals your active summons if you do have one.

Eidolon starts by picking the outsider type, like a Druid's animal companion selects an animal. It's got slightly better stats than an AC, but falls short of a Fighter's accuracy or Paladin's AC. Then, they select one additional first level ability from a menu. (Rather than points to spend, an eidolon might have leveled slots.)

Summoner dedication feat probably grants the focus spell first, and then goes to an eidolon with feat-gated leveled slots.

As the Summoner levels up, the eidolon gets more menu items and one or two upgrades from their outsider type, the Summoner gets improvements to things like how much the eidolon does without needing a Summoner action, and feats can be spent either on improving the eidolon or getting more focus spells.

My approach isn't perfect; it's leaving Summoner as more of a useless appendage than before to maintain an eidolon's strength. Maybe you can give Summoner some cantrips instead of that focus spell, and non-Eidolon summoning is a specialization and/or feat set?


I suspect you will see summoner-like feats for the sorcerer (as a way to beef up the divine bloodlines)early in the edition (if not the core rule book then in one of the first splat books).

Something like: Due to your bloodline, you have a special relationship with (pick one) demons/devils/angels, so that if you summon one, the duration of the summoning increases to X, and (2nd feat) you can add one of the following to the summoned......

That being said, I think the Pokémon-style summoner that Jester David suggested is the most likely version to make a full class. I could see some summoner priority spells that do things like "when you cast this spell, your summoned monster (to make it a little more generic) makes a melee attack and does Y extra fire damage."


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I could see a hypothetical Summoner class getting a summoning pool that works like the playtest cleric’s channeling pool. Beyond that, I’m not sure how it’ll all shake out. Could be a dedication, could be full class.

Either way, I hope the concept is broadened a bit to encompass the other pet classes, and even push past them. I could finally get a Pathfinder version of the paper golem is use as my avatar, for example (it was in one of the last Paizo dragon issues). Or a skeleton minion. Or a humanoid cohort instead of a summoned ally.


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I'd like to see the Summoner go back to the original style, not the ironically named Unchained Summoner, which is very much restricted. It's not even the same concept. I love the idea of the "shape your own creature from primal essence" feel of the original summoner, while the "You get a weaker version of a known outsider" of the Unchained version is rather uninspired in comparison.

Power-wise, I don't hold much hope. Animal companions, summons and especially familiars were hit so hard with the nerf-bat that it's not even funny. The stats are bad, you're limited to a single summoned creature of lower level (which matters a lot more in this edition, and at the higher level is often like 4 or 5 levels below when you can cast the spell, which means they'll be all but useless in combat) who vanishes if you take enough damage and they twiddle their thumbs unless you take an action to direct them, and they still end up lacking actions. Familiars doen't even really have stats, and familiars and animal companions can't benefit from magic items. The Minion trait just feels incredibly terrible and heavy handed to me. But judging from the responses from previous discussions, I don't think there's really much interest in changing that. Just possibly increasing numbers slightly, so they have a bit more HP, and slightly higher AC and to-hit rolls. The fear of giving characters more actions is just too strong to get much more than that. So no, I don't think they'll do much to ease up on that if they ever do a PF2 summoner. It seems to be a deliberate design choice, not a balance error, and apparently a popular one.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I’m in the camp with those who think a Summoner would be best expressed as a Spell Point focused class. I believe Spell Points have been renamed, but... you know what I mean. Let it get feats and class features focused on the Eidelon. Let it have a pool of points it can use to cast a very limited number of spells rather than being a full on spellcasters.

I love how the playtest Paladin could be built with spells as a focus if you wanted, building up a good raft of spells and a decent pool of points to cast with, but it is still a martially focused class. I’d like to see the same for summoner... it is about that Eidelon, but you can push into the spellcasting if you want... and, of course, at the expense of some of the class feats that would otherwise be going toward the Eidolon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I would imagine that a "pet" focused class would have the pet be a built in class feature, and I also can imagine it might be a bit powerful than a standard animal companion is now. Rangers and Druids get access to companions, but they get access to a bunch of other stuff, and so handing them a more powerful companion for free isn't very balanced.

I think there is zero chance the original summoner is coming back, but we will probably get some variation of the unchained summoner. Beyond all the balance issues with the original, I know some Paizo folks sort of hated how the "build a outsider" dynamic worked with the setting.


Ikos wrote:
The summoner is, hands down, the most poorly designed class in the APG. I hope it acts as more of a negative example of what not to do in PF2, rather than a touchstone worthy of emulation.

While I also ended up hating the class because of how difficult it was to manage at tables, I do think conceptually it's got some teeth.

I think it might be better suited to a prestige as a concept (action economy is powerful even under the new minion action system) but idk that it works as a Prestige in the new PF2 framework as it'd be a fairly strong prestige if it was.

I think I'd like to see it eaten by a larger class and become a path than exist as a standalone Class entirely.


I also would like it to be more like Unchained, with that Golarion flavor. At least it kept every Eidolon from being some crazy octopus every time.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would like the Summoner to go back to its PF1 playtest roots and be the Class with a powerful pet whatever the flavor (undead, outsider, animal, construct...). Which would IMO need to divorce it from a given spell list. But the CHA-based spontaneous multi-list caster is already there as the Sorcerer. And I am not sure prepared spellcasting would fit the concept.

So maybe the pet-centered class, formerly known as Summoner, might work best as an archetype that any Class can select (or at least any Class with a pet).


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Building a Summoner chasis shouldn't be too hard. Here is what I would do (broad strokes)

Animal Companion that automatically scales as a class feature (so don't need feats to make it adult or savage etc.)

Pact choice changes the base animal companion in some way and determines what "Summon" spells you get to cast with Focus. I.e I could pick the Infernal pact, my Animal Companion takes on a devilish mien and gains some resistences, I can Summon Imps and the like with Focus.

An improved control companion action that allows you to dismiss or conjure your animal companion to your side.

Many of the class feats will let you add more to your companion, give them wings (or more wings), extra legs, elemental damage etc, and some "Unbounded" feats that let your companion take actions without you (first feat allows it to move even if you don't command, second work together etc.)

Over class feats improve your Focus capabilities and another line is about you taking interesting actions with your Companion, e.g something that lets you swap places with them etc.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:

Building a Summoner chasis shouldn't be too hard. Here is what I would do (broad strokes)

Animal Companion that automatically scales as a class feature (so don't need feats to make it adult or savage etc.)

Pact choice changes the base animal companion in some way and determines what "Summon" spells you get to cast with Focus. I.e I could pick the Infernal pact, my Animal Companion takes on a devilish mien and gains some resistences, I can Summon Imps and the like with Focus.

An improved control companion action that allows you to dismiss or conjure your animal companion to your side.

Many of the class feats will let you add more to your companion, give them wings (or more wings), extra legs, elemental damage etc, and some "Unbounded" feats that let your companion take actions without you (first feat allows it to move even if you don't command, second work together etc.)

Over class feats improve your Focus capabilities and another line is about you taking interesting actions with your Companion, e.g something that lets you swap places with them etc.

Pretty much exactly this


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm kind of hoping for it to be a prestige class or archetype feat line that requires spellcaster and familiar class features. Each of the feats in that line would offer upgrades the familiar to an Eidolon pet and increases viability of summoning spells.

At least to keep things simple.

Though it may end up coming out as its own class entirely.


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Malk_Content wrote:
"Unbounded" feats that let your companion take actions without you (first feat allows it to move even if you don't command, second work together etc.)

I'm all for the rest of what you stated, as long as the default "at the cost of your action, your companion gets two actions" rule stays.

Among the multitude of reasons that Summoner had issues in PF1, Action Economy advantage was at the top of the list.

Instead of giving them economy, give them more potent actions with the other feats you mentioned, but do not turn the Summoner back into "Two PCs" like it was before by removing one of the best changes to pets in the new edition IMO.

Pets aren't perfect if we're speaking the Playtest, so I hope they get some love, but Action Economy advantages are not the way to do that IMO.


I was musing it could be an archetype {or subarchetype depending on how you view it) of the Conjuration specialization of the Wizard. Of course a major factor would be on the final Arcane List, though I could see powers filling minor conjuration roles the list does not include.

Liberty's Edge

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I'd never remove the requirement to spend an action commanding your companion. I could, however, see a dedicated Summoner Class having something to give your companion the full 3 Actions a PC has.

The distinction being that your companion doesn't have spells, while you likely do, making your third action a great deal more valuable than your companion's.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

I'd never remove the requirement to spend an action commanding your companion. I could, however, see a dedicated Summoner Class having something to give your companion the full 3 Actions a PC has.

The distinction being that your companion doesn't have spells, while you likely do, making your third action a great deal more valuable than your companion's.

Extremely slippery slope to dance on IMO.

For one, most spells cost 2 actions, which leaves the Summoners third action as a very ripe and valuable trade off to get 3 actions.

If they did allow it at some point, the second half of the character life would be where it should live. 5 actions is insane.

Not even going to think about the whole possibility of Haste and the other buff spells. Or the fact that Eidolon could also utilize Skills.

It really ultimately comes down to what shape the Eidolon takes, but if that shape in any way resembles a PC, and the Summoner is also as valuable as a standard PC, it's going to suffer from all the same issues as before.

This is one of those classes that has a concept, but pretty much 90% of the original implementation needs to be scrapped in favor of a new approach.

IMO of course. The class has never added anything to my games other than headaches. Almost always chosen by players that wanted something ultra strong and rarely any actual role playing associated with the concept itself.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Midnightoker wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
"Unbounded" feats that let your companion take actions without you (first feat allows it to move even if you don't command, second work together etc.)

I'm all for the rest of what you stated, as long as the default "at the cost of your action, your companion gets two actions" rule stays.

Among the multitude of reasons that Summoner had issues in PF1, Action Economy advantage was at the top of the list.

Instead of giving them economy, give them more potent actions with the other feats you mentioned, but do not turn the Summoner back into "Two PCs" like it was before by removing one of the best changes to pets in the new edition IMO.

Pets aren't perfect if we're speaking the Playtest, so I hope they get some love, but Action Economy advantages are not the way to do that IMO.

To be clear I would want it to be a "if your companion is not commanded it gets to do one of these actions" so the overall economy gains aren't increased (you get 4 actions either way) but the flexibility is.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Midnightoker wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

I'd never remove the requirement to spend an action commanding your companion. I could, however, see a dedicated Summoner Class having something to give your companion the full 3 Actions a PC has.

The distinction being that your companion doesn't have spells, while you likely do, making your third action a great deal more valuable than your companion's.

Extremely slippery slope to dance on IMO.

For one, most spells cost 2 actions, which leaves the Summoners third action as a very ripe and valuable trade off to get 3 actions.

If they did allow it at some point, the second half of the character life would be where it should live. 5 actions is insane.

Not even going to think about the whole possibility of Haste and the other buff spells. Or the fact that Eidolon could also utilize Skills.

It really ultimately comes down to what shape the Eidolon takes, but if that shape in any way resembles a PC, and the Summoner is also as valuable as a standard PC, it's going to suffer from all the same issues as before.

This is one of those classes that has a concept, but pretty much 90% of the original implementation needs to be scrapped in favor of a new approach.

IMO of course. The class has never added anything to my games other than headaches. Almost always chosen by players that wanted something ultra strong and rarely any actual role playing associated with the concept itself.

How about a rule that when the eidolon is in play, the eidolon and summoner have a pool of 4 actions, but any one of them can only use a total of 3. So the summoner could take 3 actions and the eidolon 1, both could take 2 actions, or the summoner could take 1 action and the eidolon 3 .


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Most people's issue with the action tax to command your minion is not the fact that it reduces your other actions, but how the minion is able to sit around and do nothing in the middle of a pitched battle if you don't.

The compromise I would be willing to accept is that both minion and master get 2 actions (Third one for the character automatically lost) but would continue applying even if the master falls unconscious or is otherwise unable to keep commanding the minion. I just want to avoid the super gamey scenario of the Wolf pet standing there like an idiot doing nothing, it really takes me out of the game.

Liberty's Edge

I for one would be glad to see Summoner die on the same hill as Leadership and taking 10 but that's just me.

That being said; It WON'T die because its really quite popular despite all of its problems.

I for one would support the idea that they are no longer true Spellcasters as in PF1 but instead get access to the various classic summon spells via the Spell Powers or Focus Powers feature instead of an actual spell list, this would help them get over their really strange design-space and allow them to stop playing the feeble, frail, glass cannons OR the indestructible war machines that they currently are.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:

I for one would be glad to see Summoner die on the same hill as Leadership and taking 10 but that's just me.

That being said; It WON'T die because its really quite popular despite all of its problems.

I for one would support the idea that they are no longer true Spellcasters as in PF1 but instead get access to the various classic summon spells via the Spell Powers or Focus Powers feature instead of an actual spell list, this would help them get over their really strange design-space and allow them to stop playing the feeble, frail, glass cannons OR the indestructible war machines that they currently are.

Summoner is my favorite class, but I agree that it shouldn't be a true caster. It should be focused on the eidolon. For any spellcasting, I would use the Playtest's multiclass system or something derived from it, as both an eidolon and 9th level spells are way too much.

(I should also point out that when I play a summoner, I'm mainly focused on the eidolon, the PC and their abilities are almost an afterthought.)


Malk_Content wrote:


To be clear I would want it to be a "if your companion is not commanded it gets to do one of these actions" so the overall economy gains aren't increased (you get 4 actions either way) but the flexibility is.

Ah that's far more reasonable.

ChibiNyan wrote:
The compromise I would be willing to accept is that both minion and master get 2 actions (Third one for the character automatically lost) but would continue applying even if the master falls unconscious or is otherwise unable to keep commanding the minion. I just want to avoid the super gamey scenario of the Wolf pet standing there like an idiot doing nothing, it really takes me out of the game.

I think I would be okay with it continuing to the best of it's ability to carry out the last command (if you said "attack" it would continue to attack, if you said run, it ran) or the GM straight up gets control in that scenario (effectively an NPC).

While I do see your point, I think a wolf not knowing what to do and licking the wounds of his master since he's unable to command him makes sense to some regard.

I'd rather have the weird scenario you describe than pets being action economy nightmares they were in PF1.

Quote:
I for one would be glad to see Summoner die on the same hill as Leadership and taking 10 but that's just me.

You're not alone.

Again, that was as a Class though, the concept I am certainly willing to entertain.

Liberty's Edge

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Midnightoker wrote:

You're not alone.

Again, that was as a Class though, the concept I am certainly willing to entertain.

That's what I've been thinking. Make it an Archetype like Cavalier with its own Prereq: Ability to cast Summon Monster & Cha 13, and then bolt the E on with the base Dedication and allow you to do more cool stuff to improve/evolve your E as you gain Class Feats to spend on it.

The only problem I could see with this is people who want to summon their E at first level but honestly... I don't really think it makes much/any sense to have a character with NO practical experience who is able to just magically summon a perfectly built-to-spec monster/outsider/devil/diva/angel/whatever from another dimension that serves them as a permanent plane-bound slave at level 1 anyhow.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

You're not alone.

Again, that was as a Class though, the concept I am certainly willing to entertain.

That's what I've been thinking. Make it an Archetype like Cavalier with its own Prereq: Ability to cast Summon Monster & Cha 13, and then bolt the E on with the base Dedication and allow you to do more cool stuff to improve/evolve your E as you gain Class Feats to spend on it.

The only problem I could see with this is people who want to summon their E at first level but honestly... I don't really think it makes much/any sense to have a character with NO practical experience who is able to just magically summon a perfectly built-to-spec monster/outsider/devil/diva/angel/whatever from another dimension that serves them as a permanent plane-bound slave at level 1 anyhow.

I would certainly be okay with the level 1 situation if they chose an already possessed Pet and then simply augmented it (Familiar/AC).

But I do think expecting to start level 1 with a full blown demon/angel/outsider in your service does seem out of the purview of what is available to other level 1 classes (Paladin's can't even smite at level 1, but johnny rainbow the summoner is binding other worldly beings permanently?)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

You're not alone.

Again, that was as a Class though, the concept I am certainly willing to entertain.

That's what I've been thinking. Make it an Archetype like Cavalier with its own Prereq: Ability to cast Summon Monster & Cha 13, and then bolt the E on with the base Dedication and allow you to do more cool stuff to improve/evolve your E as you gain Class Feats to spend on it.

The only problem I could see with this is people who want to summon their E at first level but honestly... I don't really think it makes much/any sense to have a character with NO practical experience who is able to just magically summon a perfectly built-to-spec monster/outsider/devil/diva/angel/whatever from another dimension that serves them as a permanent plane-bound slave at level 1 anyhow.

I’d much rather have it as a class. The folks who want the archetype still get that with the multiclass dedication. As a class, it can receive ongoing support and enough space to differentiate outsider types beyond, say, generic fiend vs. generic celestial. (As for the class flavor at level one, I’d certainly like to be able to have characters whose reason for adventuring is an outsider choosing them. Having a lesser demon pal is a bigger deal than a trained lion/tiger/bear, but I can see that gap being one of not also focusing on casting.)

Hmm. It’d be kind of cool to have the outsider type as a class path. Then you could throw in a feature or two for the Summoner off of it.


A way around the problem of level 1 summoner is to make the eidolon share hitpoints with the summoner, which would support a "there was a cosmic accident or I screwed up some advanced magic, and I got fused with this fiend/celestial/monitor/elemental" storyline. So if you send a monster summoned from a spell at the ancient red dragon, and it gets eaten, that is inconvenient, but if you do the same with the eidolon, you die too....

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