Critique my Master Summoner?


Advice


Hi Everyone,
Please let me know what you think of my character for Rise of the Runelords, starting at level 1 in Sandpoint. Our party includes a Sylph Sky Druid, an Arcanist (crafter), and an Occultist (Trappings of the Warrior).

Background Story:
Akeyla Tenessen (a.k.a. Aquila - "eagle eyes") is a Noble Scion of House Tenessen of Kintargo, Cheliax. He was largely raised by a halfling nanny named Myrtle, who was one of many slaves owned by House Tenessen. His father expected him to be a warrior, but he never really took to it. He had some ability with the spear, but could never master the art of the sword or any other advanced weapons. Instead, he was much more interested in books, and especially loved the stories told to him by his nanny. It was in these stories that he learned of the Goddess Desna, and of the many exploits of her mischievous halfling friend Chaldira Zuzaristan. However, such stories were taboo in Cheliax, which venerated the Lawful Evil God Asmodeus.
When Akeyla was a youth, soldier of Lord-Mayor Barzillai Thrune came to his house to arrest Myrtle, as they had discovered that she had been working as a spy for the Bellflower Network, and organization dedicated to freeing halfling slaves across Cheliax. Akeyla rushed to the aid of his beloved nanny, fighting and slaying one of the soldiers. However, the guards quickly defeated Akelya, and he was arrested along with Myrtle. His father was able to use his influence to secure Akelya's release, but no such mercy was given to Myrtle, who was executed the following day.
Akeyla was devastated by the loss, and even more so upon discovering that his own parents had been the ones to report Myrtle to the authorities. After a short period of mourning, he decided to renounce his place in House Tenessen and seek his own fortune in the world. After losing the protection of his family name, it was not long before a warrent was issued for his arrest. However, before Thrune's soldiers could catch up to him, he was aided by one of Myrtle's contacts in the Bellflower Network, which helped him to escape the city and flee on a ship to Magnimar.
At some point he discovered that he could summon mystical animals to help him, but I haven't finished that part of the back story...

Character build: Human Master Summoner
Ability Scores were rolled with a very generous system: 6 sets of 4d6 (drop the lowest), then drop the lowest score and replace with and 18.
I ended up with: STR 14,DEX 16, CON 17, INT 12, WIZ 12, CHA 20 (including +2 Human)
1 Drawback: Overprotective
3 traits: Armor Expert, Lessons of Chaldira, and RotRL's Outlander (Exile)
1st level feats: Noble Scion (War), and Summon Good Monster.

Feats:
As I progress, I am planning the following feats:
2 (bonus): Augment Summons
3: Superior Summons
5: Versatile Summon Monster | Craft Magic Arms & Armor | Craft Wand
7: Leadership (Our GM is very generous, what can I say? See Cohort below)
9: Extra Traits (Fate's Favored, Well Hidden | Extremely Fashionable (Diplomacy | Bluff))
11:Improved Initiative | Craft Rod
13: Spell Focus (Conjuration)
15: Evolved Summon Monster
17: Evolved Summon Monster
19: Evolved Summon Monster

I also considered taking Human: Focused Study, so that I could take Eldritch Heritage (Arcane) and pick up a familiar (Greensting scorpion) for Alertness/Improved Initiative. That route also opens up Improved and Greater EH, for a nice bonus to Conjuration DC's, and a few extra spells known. In the end, I could not think of what extra spells I really needed, and I get a little higher initiative with Noble Scion so I stuck with that.

Spells:
Speaking of spells, here is what I have in mind:
1: 0-Detect Magic, Light, Message, Mage Hand, 1-Grease, Long Arm
2: 0-Read Magic, 1-Summon Minor Monster
3: 0-Mending, 1-Featherfall
4: 2-Haste, Glitterdust
5: 1-Summon Minor Monster->Protection from Evil, 2-Invisibility
6: 2-Barkskin
7: 1-Unfetter, 3-Black Tentacles, Dimension Door
8: 3-Dispel Magic (one lvl 1 or 2 swap available)
9: 3-Communal Resist Energy
10: 2-Summon Eidolon, 4-Wall of Stone, Baleful Polymoph
11: 1-undecided, 4-Teleport (another swap allowed, up to lvl 3)
12: 4-Mass Bull's Strength
13: 3-Tongues, 5-Greater Dispel, Greater Heroism
14: 2-Lesser Evolution Surge, 5-Greater Teleport (another swap, lvl4 or less)
15: 5-Spell Turning
16: 4-Overland Flight, 6-Dominate Monster, Maze
17: 3-Evolution Surge, 6-Discern Location (swap 5th lvl)
18: 6-Discern Location
19: 5-True Seeing
20: 4-Communal Stoneskin, (Swap 5th lvl)

I ignored Infernal Healing, for character reasons, as well as Planar Binding.
I also skipped Magic Jar for the same reason (seems out of character for someone worshiping a goddess of freedom)
I considered Simulacrum, and might want to bring it in...

Eidolon:
Avian (small) form
This eidolon is meant to be a scout/trapfinder.
GM ruled that a tentacle could be used for disable device. (more generosity)
Evolutions:
1: 1-Skilled (Perception), 1-Skilled (Stealth), 1-Tentacles
4: 1-Skilled (Disable Device)
6: 1-Skilled (Use Magic Device)
8: 2-Shadow Form(Su)
10: 2-Shadow Form --> Aspect, 1-Scent
12: 2-Scent --> Shadow Form(Su)
14: 1-Scent
16: 1-Skilled (Survival)
18: 3-Aspect --> Greater Aspect, 1-Fly Speed
20: 1-Fly Speed

Feats:
1: Extra Traits (Dangerously Curious, Trap Finder)
6: Skill Focus (Disable Device)
12: Skill Focus (Perception)
16: Skill Focus (Stealth)

Gear:
This is the gear that I will be working toward, according to wealth by level. I realize that things may not all go according to plan, but this gives me a nice checklist to aim for. Note that our Arcanist with get CWI at level 3, to craft for the whole party.

1. Mundane gear (name) (cost-GP), Total 70GP
Wooden Armor 20
Traveler's chlothes 0
Spell component pouch 5
Longspear 5
Sling 0
Bullets x20 0.2
Bandoleir 0.5
Signal Whistle 1.6
Earplugs 0.03
Backback 2
Waterproof bag 0.5
Bedroll & Blanket 0.7
Waterskin 1
Trail Rations x5 5
String (100ft) 0.02
Bell 1
Journal, Charcoal x2 11
Candle x3 0.03
Flint & Steel 1
Eidolon
Haramaki Barding 2
Silk Rope (50ft) 10
Grappling Bolt 1
Bandoleir 0.5
Signal Whistle 0.8
Chalk x2 0.02
Flint & Steel 1
Lamp Oil 0.1

2. More mundane gear (901 GP)
Masterwork Cold Iron Longspear (sell longspear) 307.5
Alchemical Silver Cestus 25
Durable Adamantine Bolt 61
Smelling Salts 25
Vermin Repellent 5
Antiplague 50
Stillgut 50
Alchemists Fire 20
Chain Shirt (sell wooden armor) 90
Wand of CLW /4 187.5

Backpack
Alchemical Grease 5
Holy Weapon Balm 30
Silver Weapon Blanch 5

From here on, assume that all wondrous items are crafted
3. Stagger-Proof Boots (1000GP), Cloak of Resistance +1 (500GP), Traveler's Any Tool (125GP), Goblet of Quenching (90GP), Sleeves of Many Garments (100GP), Wand/4 (750GP/4)
4. Headband of Cha +2 (2,000GP), Gloves of Reconnaisance (1,000GP)
5. Treasure Hunter's Goggles (3200GP), Eyes of the Eagle (1,250GP)
6. Mithral Breastplate +1 (1,000GP + 4,200GP - 50GP sell chain shirt)
7. Greater Hat of Disguise (6,000GP), Cloak of Resistance +2 (+1,500GP)
8. Bard: Banner of the Ancient Kings (9,000GP), Fortifying Stone (500GP)
9. Stone of Good Luck (10,000GP), Bard: Cloak of Resistance +2 (2,000GP)
10. Headband of Cha +6 (16,000GP)
11. Cloak of Resistance +4 (6,000GP), Circlet of Persuasion onto Greater Hat of Disguise (3,375GP), Goz Mask (4,000GP), Bard: Dervish Sikke (5,000GP)
12. Ring of Invisibility (20,000GP), Headband of Cha +6, Int +2 (+3,000 gp), Eversmoking Bottle (2,700GP)
13. Belt of Physical Might, Dex/Con +2 (5,000GP), Minor Ring of Inner Fortitude (18,000GP), Ring of Sustenance (2,50290GP)
14. Metamagic Rod of Quicken, Lesser (35,000GP) [Note: Craft Wand reduces this to 17500 GP, so it can be taken a couple of levels earlier]
15. Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000GP)
16. Metamagic Rod of Quicken (75,000GP)
18. Wish x5 CHA (125,000GP)
19. Wish x5 CON (125,000GP)

Need to fill in some high level items... long ways to get there, so not super worried about it now...

Also considering:
*Wand of Teleport (CL10, 15,000GP)
*Wand of Haste (CL4, 3,000GP),
Robe of Infinite Twine (500GP)
Apprentice Cheating Gloves (1,100GP)
Cracked Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone (2,000GP)
Cracked Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (500GP),
Page of Spell Knowledge (1st-500GP, 2nd-2000GP, 3rd-4500GP)
Ring of seven lovely colors (4,000GP)
Ring of sustenance (2,500GP)
Staff of the Master (30,000GP)
+1 Ghost Touch Snag Net (8,330GP, 10lb)
among others...

Skills:
Still needs to be fleshed out. Basically, 1 of each knowledge, a few languages (Auran, Ignan, Celestial), and the rest in perception, UMD, and stealth (maybe some diplomacy)

Cohort:
Halfling Bard (NPC Heroic stats):
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
13 14 14 10 8 15
Traits: Helpful (Halfling), Reactionary
Feats: 1-Combat Reflexes, 3-Bodyguard, 5-Flagbearer. 7-Vanguard Style, 11-Spellsong, 13-Discordant Voice, 15-Arcane Strike, 17-Vanguard Ward
Ability Score Increase: INT @ lvl 10
Gear: Similar Mundane gear as lvl1, with a MS (small) Longspear, a (small) Mithral chain shirt
Spells:
1 - 0: Prestidigitation, Detect Magic, Light, Message
2 - 1: Cure Light Wounds, Silent Image"
3 - 0: Spark, 1: Remove Fear
4 - 0: Summon Instrument, 1: Saving Finale
5 - 2: Mirror Image, Silence
6 - 2: Path of Glory
7 - 2: Acute Senses
8 - 1: Grease, 3: Purging Finale, Haste
9 - 3. Displacement
10 - 3: Exquisite Accompaniment
11 - 2: Contingent Action, 4: Virtuoso Performance, Dimension Door
12 - 4: Freedom of Movement
13 - 4: Heroic Finale
14 - 5: Shadowbard, Bard's Escape
15 - 2: Phantom Steed, 5: Greater Dispel Magic
16 - 5: Seeming
17 - 4: Getaway, 6: Brilliant Inspiration
18 - 6: Programmed Image
19 - 6: Hero's Feast

Tactics:

Summon Eagles! Flank with spear at 10ft reach. Cast longarm as needed
Summon Minor Monster for skunks
Later on, multiple eagles, earth elementals, giant spiders, fauns, etc.
See "Why work when others can do it for you":
https://docs.google.com/document/d/16dZ5SBQMS1Yi6531tXOkKE_rmXEwn4VFacOEQKi HA5E

Okay, so that's pretty much everything! Let me know if you have any suggesting!

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I spent the last 10 minutes typing up a bunch of things about your build, but then I realized something.

Your GM is letting you play a Master Summoner AND have ridiculous scores AND take leadership AND take magical crafting feats? He's not even making you go Unchained. Yikes.

Your build doesn't matter. You could make all the wrong choices and still be a bored god roaming the country side.

Have fun, be fair to your party mates, and good friggin' luck to your GM...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If everyone has really high stats like that, then summoner may not even be that powerful, relatively. Summons are summons no matter what your stats are. A maxed out magus or inquisitor could be way more dangerous.


Yeah, I expect our GM will adjust the encounters to be closer to CR+2~3 to keep things interesting. That was how things often went in our last campaign. It was really fun to be able to fight powerful monsters and not die :)
For the summoner, extra stats mostly means better HP and saves (as well as some secondary melee capability like a reach cleric)
I suspect our melee occultist will be quite strong too.. (basically full BAB, with bane weapons for anything)
I have never played a summoner before, so I am realy excited to try it out (I played a wizard in our last game. It was really fun, but it definitely took a few levels to grow... I had a bad habit of running into melee to color spray, which was obviously a risky tactic). I think the summoner will be really effective to keep us alive, as the summons can tank a lot of hits (especially with diehard from SGM). I have already printed out monster stat blocks, and bought some extra dice to speed things along.

I am definitely curious what improvements ZenN has in mind! I don't want to be cheesy, but I love to optimize as much as possible! How about item selection? Seems reasonable? I may have a bit of overlap on slots (I was going to give eagle eyes to my eidolon as it scouts ahead, and then wear treasure hunters goggles once we clear out most of the monsters. But the Goz mask may not work too well though...) I am on the fence about a vanishing wayfinder, and maybe a leser rod of extend... I really like the greater hat of disguise to turn into a Charau-ka, a Sewer Troll, or a Sasquatch!

I spent a while trying to come up with a thematic cohort (had to be a halfling)... I went back and forth between cleric (evangelist), oracle (spirit oracle of life) and bard... I like the Banner a lot for a summoner, and that works the best for the bard I think (sucks if it gets sundered though).


Evangelist Cleric for SURE. I'd say that the greater number of spells and the ability to restore ability damage far outweighs the morale bonuses a Bard can throw out. Skald would be the much more interesting one though: He'd be able to give all of your summons rage powers (I might recommend Spell Warrior over vanilla or totemic Skald because there's then no reason not to accept the rage, although Spell Warrior I don't believe can actually enhance summon attacks...trade-offs) and some, like Linnorm Death Curses, REALLY screw with enemies when your summons are taken out.

But frankly, with the likelihood that you'll be flung into much harder battles than you otherwise would have expected, I think summons may be outclassed (and Diehard doesn't actually do anything, as any summon that falls below 0 HP automatically returns to its home plane; but if your GM accepts it works then they are much more effective meat shields) by your opponents frankly. But you'll find out soon enough whether your projected build will work I think.

Little nitpicks:

1) Eidolons can't wear armor at all according to the rules, so no Haramaki barding.
2) I don't know how useful 1d3 Skunks or fish (let's be honest, they're the only one worth using a full-round action to summon) will be if your GM is raising the stakes. Why not Enlarge Person to use on the Occultist, or Snowball (even if you take it later than Feather Fall) for some decent ranged damage? Or Lesser Rejuvenation to restore Eidolon hit points...


Thanks JiaYou!
Good catch on the armor! Forgot they are not the same as animal companions!

You like the evangelist cleric? I wonder if just vanilla cleric might be even better? I was hung up on the Banner, but it may not be necessary. I really want to have a halfling companion for thematic reasons, but they dont seems to make ideal clerics... but we could definitely use one! (a druid lacks most of the useful restorative spells)
I am not too familiar with the skald, but I will look into it.

The skunks were only there as a neat trick for low levels (just to try it out... DC 16 nauseated, with auto sickened seems awesome), but I was pretty on the fence about it the whole time... kinda hard to justify the 1 round cast time with rnd/lvl duration when my regular SLA is already so good. Also, I can leave that for the druid.
I will probably take rejuvinate eidolon. My eidolon only has 6hp until lvl4, and I did not plan to use it for combat, but Rejuv Eid probably will come in handy anyway, if just to save wand charges.
We are using the nerfed version of snowball (no stagger), so I had not considered it... Eagles make a pretty good ranged attack anyway :)
I will have to talk to the occultist about enlarge person. My wizard loved to cast it on the ranger or paladin in our previous game! I could even cast it on myself sometimes :) (especially with longarm!)

Keep em coming!

Sovereign Court

Alright, I suppose in fairness there's no reason not to share my suggestions, in the spirit of optimization.
I'm going to put this into a spoiler because it got long.
It's also not organized as well as it could be. I kinda just went through your post and typed things up as I thought of them. Sorry.

Suggestions:

1) I don't think the plan to carry around a spear and be up in melee range to flank is a great idea, for a number of reasons. Any intelligent enemies will go for the Summoner first, part of the job of your summons is to be the ones providing flanking, etc. Generally speaking, you really want to treat Summoner as a dedicated caster.

2) Your ability score distribution seems a little off to me. Even with the plan to be like semi-melee, you'd be better off with a different arrangement. Personally, with that array, I'd probably go 12/16/14/17/12/20, or something similar. But I like skill ranks and knowledge/spellcraft bonuses.

3) Human is always a solid race choice, but you're not really taking advantage of the bonus feat. Noble Scion (War) is cool, but you've already got a solid DEX score, so you're only getting +2 init from it at this point. Instead, I highly recommend going Ifrit (Mostly Human, Wildfire Heart). This way you're getting a +4 racial bonus to Initiative, perfect racial score adjustments for a Summoner, and still count as human. And you get Darkvision.

4) Armor Expert is kinda garbage. If your GM would allow it, Finding Haleen is the go-to busted trait. I would swap that in over Outlander, and put in Reactionary over Armor Expert, so you're still getting the +2 init. Even if not those choices specifically, I definitely feel that your trait choices are subpar.

5) Summon Good Monster isn't worth it until 11 when it adds Kirin to your list of summons. I wouldn't take it until then, if at all.

6) Versatile Summon Monster is one of the best feats you can get. Make sure you choose Aerial and Aqueus. In the sky? Flying tigers! Something underwater? Aquatic tigers! Take this early.

7) Extra Traits seems like a complete waste here, especially for two meh traits on this guy.

8) False Focus is super good for any Arcane caster. There are guides out there for it, but the main takeaway is that you spend 100gp on a holy symbol tattoo, and you get a way, way better version of Eschew Materials. Combining this with alchemical power components adds some really solid bonus effects on spells.

8) Spell Focus (Conjuration) seems like a mostly wasted feat slot for a Master Summoner. Other summoners only bother with it as tax for Augment.

10) The Summoner has an insanely good spell list, and you're going to want more of those spells. With that in mind, Expanded Arcana is a fine feat for when you're trying to fill a slot. Especially considering that your provided list of spells is missing some of the best ones on the Summoner list.

11) Evolved Summon Monster is okay, but often tends to be overkill, unless you have a specific plan in mind for the evolutions you're choosing. Might be better off taking Extra Evolutions to make up for lost evo points on your eidolon.

12) We gotta talk about this spell selection. Long Arm, Mass Bull's Strength, and Greater Heroism are all mostly garbage, among some of the other spells you've chosen. You're missing some of the best spells on the Summoner list (Mage Armor, Infernal Healing, Clay Skin, See Invisibility, Ablative Barrier, Heroism, the Planar Binding line, and the higher level Pit spells, off the top of my head). You should be taking Overland Flight AS SOON as you get access to it, not all the way down at 16.

13) With the limited number of evo points your eidolon gets as a Master Summoner, and with the fact that you have access to Overland Flight at 10, using Aspect to grant yourself a fly speed is mostly just a waste. Building your lesser eidolon as a pocket rogue is absolutely the right choice. Use all the evo points to make it better at doing that. Also make to get its UMD to a point where it can never fail to use a wand.

14) As a Master Summoner, you may be tempted to summon multiple sets of things in a single combat. Don't do it, outside of special circumstances. More often than not, you'll want to keep your eidolon out while you're summoning and have it using wands of useful spells on the things you summon and the rest of the party. Even something as simple as a Wand of Bless would be great, but eventually you can get more expensive wands (Haste is an obvious choice).

15) With the amazing list of buffs on your list, you absolutely want invest in a couple of Extend rods (probably a lesser or two and a regular). You also want a mithril buckler. The rest of your gear looks fine. I might not make the same choices, but there's nothing outright bad there. I'm also a fan of Quarterstaff of Entwined Serpents, because Magic Missile is a fine pot shot for after you summon.

16) You want your Bard to take Master Performer and Grand Master Performer, probably. Also he should definitely have Good Hope. Amazing spell, Bard list only.

As a few other general tips:
-If you're an Android user, I highly recommend checking out the Master Summoner app. Makes life as a summoner so much easier.
-Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the Trample rules, because a lot of people are confused by them and there will be many times when summoning flying/swimming herd animals to trample everything will be your best option. Things with Trample are like the Summoner's version of Fireball.
-The pouncing cats will be your best options at most levels in most cases, especially with a Bard buddy and Versatile to make sure you can summon them in the air or underwater. Once you hit SM 7+, the correct answer is often just MORE Dire Tigers.


Under the equipment listing, you have: Headband of Cha +6, Int +2. Unless your GM has a house rule for it, that's not a legal combination. Bonuses from headbands and belts have to be balanced (See Headband of Mental Prowess or Headband of Mental Superiority). Even as a house rule, the cost looks low. A scarlet and blue sphere ioun stone would provide the same benefit and costs 8000gp, or 4k crafted.


Hi ZenN, Smallfoot,
Thanks for the suggestions!

I will do my best to respond to each one in order.

Spoiler:

1) I agree that the plan to be a secondary melee fighter may be risky. I was mostly thinking if this as a low level strategy, when I think the extra melee oresence can make the most difference. I feel like "reach clerics" are in a similar boat here. I will never controbute huge amounts of damage, but using AoO's and flanking to chip away seemed like it would be better than just hiding next to the arcanist (our only real frontline fighter is the occultist).

2) With that in mind, I might be beter off to swap my INT anf STR scores to get a few more skill points. Our arcanist will already have most of the knowledge skills covered, so I mostly wanted to have them as a backup, and in case I won Initiative (can't share information out of turn). I put CON over DEX because I figured that HP and fortitude saves would be more important than AC and reflex...

3) I am not too excited about the ifrit, mostly for RP reasons (an impatient, hot-headed fire elemental-type was not what I had in mind). I originally built this character as a half-elf, and swapped to human mostly for the noble scion trait... (this takes some time to setup, but ends up granting a oretty hefty Init bonus at higher levels, especially with a circlet of persuasion). My other option was the racial skill focus (Know: Planes/Arcana) to get eldritch heritage. Based on your point 10, this may be a better choice so that I can get improved and greater EH for a superior spell-focus and expanded arcana. I was planning to get darkvision with the greater hat of disguise, but that will take a while.

4)Armor expert was there so that I could wear mithral breastplate, but I was not sure how important AC eould be at higher levels (I will not be able to bring it much above 30, so it may be irrelevant). If I went back to half-elf I could take elven reflexes (+2 init), and Outlander (lore seeker) to get +1DC&CL to three conjuration spells (ex:grease, glitterdust, and black tentacles/some pit spell).
I am not a fan of Finding Haleen... it is a campaign trait from a diferent campaign, and I have heard some debate over its legality... This one edges a bit too close to the cheesy side for me (the traits should actually fit our character's story in some way).

5) According to the FAQ, Diehard from orcish Ferocious Summons works, so I assumed that ruling extended to SGM:
https://www.paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1gh#v5748eaic9qli
So, Diehard eagles at level 1 seems like a pretty significant upgrade. Die hard gets a lot less valuable at higher levels, but it still seems like a benefit to lantern archons as well. The extra summons seem like nice utility as well. I found this to be a useful discussion of the various options:
https://www.paizo.com/threads/rzs2pq0k?Summon-Good-Monster-A-Closer-Look

6) Versatile summons seems useful. I will try to squeeze it in at earliest convenience. (I tentatively put it at level 5). I was not sure how much water combat to expect (and there are actually a lot of potent aquatic summons already), but granting a fly speed to any summon seems quite valuable. I was learning toward earth of fire for the second element. (burrow seems cool and unusual, though I wonder what kind of handle animal check that would take to convince a tiger to burrow underground...)

7) Fates Favored + Luckstone seems like one of the best possible traits in the game to me! An extra +2 to pretty much all d20 rolls (aside from attacks) seems hard to beat. It does nothing until I can afford the Luckstone, so I thought it best to pick it up later. The second trait is just a bonus.

8) I am a big fan of False focus, though I think it has more utility for a wizard. I made a post about this a couple weeks ago:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42egh&page=2?Wizard-Tricks
Seems most useful for RP though (infinite traps in your stronghold). What spells do summoners have that particularly benefits from that? How often do material components come up?

8) SF: Conjuration is there just as a feat tax for evolved summons, though the +1 DC is not completely useless (definitely suboptimal). I was mostly thinking of "sticky" evolved grapplers to shut down casters, or just granting extra attacks. It sucks that it only affects one summon though. I could skip it if I have enough other feats to take instead (like greater/improved EH).

10-11) Seems like all the more reason to go back to half-elf (+1 evolution point/4 levels FCB)

12) Long arm prevents opponents from just using a 5ft step to bypass the AoO from a reach weapon. Also makes flanking easier. Though if I am not hitting super hard it may not matter... Definitely would drop it if I lower my STR. Mass bulls strengh was mostly there to buff summons (it should stack with augment summons, right?). Greater heroism seems like a nice buff, but it may be redundant with the bard companion. Clay skin seems useful (and negligible material cost!). Nice one!
I already mentioned why I did not take planar binding and infernal healing. Seems out of character for an Ex-Chelaxian. I never did get what makes it so good though (aside from rediculous genie wish shenanigans). My regular summons are already more HD than what I can get from planar binding, and they wont try to murder me later. I am sure there are some other useful SLA's that it unlocks though...
See invis is probably a good idea. I have heard great things about the pit spells, but I also heard that most high-level encounters can just fly... The regular "create pit" might be worth a pick though (though after glitterdust).

13) Overland flight is probably the correct choice. It lasts all day, and has much better speed than my simple wings. I would probably take shadow form instead, for 20% miss chance.

14) You may be right about that. This seems to be the argument in the "summoning information" guide, and actually why it recommends pure summoner over master summoner (even for a non-combat summon, you end up with a much stronger rogue, though you definitely would want to unsummon it before combat). I will keep this in mind. I had kinda assumed that the eidolon would become useless after around level 10, because it just cannot keep up with 1/2 progression. Having an "improved familiar" to use wands might be the right idea. (in this case, I wouod definitely take craft wand at level 5)

15)I will probably try to grab a rod of extend spell. most of my buffs are min/lvl, so I was not sure how often an extra 5-10 min would make (mostly just one combat anyway)
I like that quarterstaff!

16) I will have to check with my GM about master performer. This one also expects to have a certain in-game justification, which may not fit the character (a spy for the bellflower network). I had ignored good hope because it doesnt stack with Flagbearer/Banner of the Ancient Kings, but we may not always stay within 30 feet, so I many not want to rely on that too much.

-I will look for the master summoner app. seems useful!

@Smallfoot: This item is not listed in the SRD, but I believe my GM will approve because it followes the same formula for stacking items on the same slot: +50% to the price of the cheapest item. If you notice, the belt of physical might +2 follows the same formula (2000GP for +2 DEX, then 3000GP for +2 CON on the same slot - craft price, not purchase price. Though it should scale the same way).

Sovereign Court

Responses to responses :)

Spoiler:

1) It's only partly about being risky. It's more about wasted resources on splitting your attention. Don't underestimate the insane damage you're going to be pumping out with flying tigers + bard buddy. Easier to get the Quarterstaff I mentioned before. Gives you an always useful pot shot, and if you REALLY want to you're holding a +1 stick to bash things.

2) More people being good at Knowledge is never a bad thing, and if you want to be using crafting feats you're going to NEED a good Spellcraft bonus. Swapping DEX/CON is a matter of preference, mostly. Fort saves are more important than Reflex generally, but I'd rather have more AC and init over a couple more HP. Of course that scale weighs the other way if you're still set on taking Noble Scion, I guess. I will say that Noble Scion + Circlet is something very cute I hadn't considered before.

3-4) I can understand your concerns about traits and race not playing into the RP character you want to be, I guess. I generally mold my character to fit the mechanics I want to be using, rather than the other way around.

Just because you're an Ifrit doesn't mean you HAVE to be a hot headed and impatient. Especially with Mostly Human. You're still PRETTY MUCH a regular dude, even count as human, except that grandma had a tryst with a fire genie. She was wild in her youth. As a result, you can see in the dark and are a little quicker to react. And more charismatic.

I fully get not wanting to grab Finding Haleen, though. But definitely axe Armor Expert. Is garbo. You really don't NEED a mithral breastplate. You're still going to be tanky as hell for a dedicated caster (magic mithral chain shirt, magic mithral buckler, Barkskin, good DEX, DR 5/Adamantine, Ablative Barrier, buy a Ring of Prot, etc).

5) Diehard should work fine for the summons, but in my experience it's just not needed/worthwhile. You'll have enough summons per day that you'll be able to just resummon if your things die anyway. I've never felt like I needed more HP on my summons.

6) Versatile Summon Monster is beyond useful. There are some good water or air options, but they're not as good as just making your best thing work in water or air. As for the burrow thing, keep in mind that you wouldn't just be granting a burrow speed to your tiger. You're getting a tiger that is a native to the elemental plane of earth. Burrowing is just a thing it does, it's natural to it. Same goes for aerial or aqueous things with flying/swimming. You also get a decent little damage boost from the elemental templates.

7) Fate's Favored + Stone of Good Luck is fine, but you're spending a lot of money and a feat to be slightly better at some things. It's not bad, it's just not as amazing as a lot of people make it out to be. It's fine for when you're higher level and have more money than you know what to do with.

8) There are a few spells on the Summoner list that become much more useful just by having False Focus (like Pellet Blast, for example). But also there's a whole list of spells that can get improvements from various alchemical power components. Increase the resistance on Resist Energy, add Itching Powder to Glitterdust, increased caster level for a lot of things, etc). You don't really NEED to feat (especially if you're picking up a Quarterstaff of Entwined Serpents, which grants you free Eschew). It's just a nice to have option for if you're looking to fill a feat slot.

8 but I meant 9) I don't think you're going to get enough usefulness out of Evolved Summon Monster to be worth blowing feat tax on it. Or even on the feat itself.

11) Eeeeeh. You lose too much going Half-Elf, in my opinion, and don't gain enough in return.

12) Using Long Arm is eating up an in combat action for little return, and it's some of what I said before about wasting resources on splitting your focus. You're not going to be good at hitting things, don't waste actions and spells on it. You don't need to be up there flanking and making AoOs, your buffed summons are going to shred things. And no, Mass Bull's Strength will NOT stack with Augment. They are both Enhancement bonuses. Greater Heroism is a good buff but not worth a 4th level spell slot, in my opinion.

Planar Binding is a headache for some people, I don't blame you for not taking it. I don't really see infernal healing as being out of character for any character who is focused on using and exploiting extra-planar creatures, but that's just my opinion I guess. Once you can start summoning things with healing spells it kinda stops mattering anyway. As for the Pit spells, I mostly likely the idea of doing cute shenanigans with them. Like casting an Acid pit on a laid out blanket and then having two of your flying summons pick it up and fly around the battlefield scooping enemies up...

13) Overlight Flight is always the right choice. 20% miss chance is fine.

14) Grabbing Craft Wand to be able to more cheaply give better wands to your Eidolon is definitely a good idea. The skill evolutions mean that your eidolon should just about never fail a Disable Device, UMD, Perception, or [insert the skill you care most about that you can't do yourself here] check. It'll definitely still be useful after level 10.

15) You'll want to use the lesser Extend rods primarily on 10min/level+ buffs, like Barkskin, Clay Skin, Resist Energy, Ablative Barrier, etc. And normal Extend for things like Overland Flight. Keep in mind, though, that even for the lower duration spells, once you get into higher levels, getting 20+ minutes of a 1min/level buff is not nothing.


Hi ZenN,
Nice, everything in here is super useful to me!

Spoiler:

1) Makes sense. I was only really planning to melee during the first 5 levels or so, but it may not be worth giving up superior late-gane stats for that minor early-game benefit.

2) Seems like wand-crafting may be the right choice, so I will definitely need some spellcraft. I may pump up knowledge: planes a bit, and leave the rest at 1 (plus a few points in linguistics).
I may want to stick with Noble Scion for now, even though it takes some time to really become worthwile. I might swap summon good monster for skill focus though (the human trait version of course). Eldritch Heritage seems like a good idea (MOAR Initiative!)

3-4) I may swap ouf armor expert for reactionary and outlander exile for outlander lore seeker. this is almost as good as spell focus conjuration.

5-6) as it stands I may not be able to get versatile summon monster until level 9, since I will be taking craft wand at level 5 and leadership at 7. hopefully that's not too late. I could always retrain craft wand once I have made a few... I may eventually want to get extended summon monster instead of summon good monster. it seems to cover most of the same options but has a bunch more, just without the bonus DieHard feat. Stirges at level 2 seem pretty nice among others.

7) +2 to saves skills and initiative still seems fantastic to me, and well worth the price.

8) right, I think I went over the use of false focus with alchemical power components with my wizard and my GM did not approve. I thought there was a FAQ about it but I may have been mistaken. there was definitely some controversy though. GM generosity is not limitless :)

9) yeah I may give up on this and go for Eldritch Heritage instead.

11) it seems pretty close especially with fey minded replacing multi-talented to give two more class skills, in addition to perception bonuses and some minor immunities. this makes up for the loss of skillpoints in the near term. The loss of a feat is hard to replace though. The FCB is the main draw here, and seems worth considering if I was going to take Extra Evolutions anyway (though I wouod have to trade away 1hp/lvl, so its not free).

12) infernal healing is such an annoying spell to me. such a mechanically strong spell with, but with a wierd RP "drawback". I was leaning into the "neutral good worshipper of Chaldira" aspect, so I was planning to skip out on succubi, erynes, and other evil summons. So, I will probably skip the infernal healing too. This is another reason to stick to Summon Good Monster, though there are still some good neutral summons that I would use..

13) I'm sold on overland flight.

14-16) Yep, all sounds reasonable!


Thanks for all the help!


So, I am thinking about wands for my eidolon...
With my current build progression, it will reach +14 UMD by level 6, which allows pretty reliable use of wands (it could get to 17 with skill focus as its feat at that level, if necessary). I could also swap skilled (stealth) for skilled (UMD) at level 4 to get UMD+13 a bit earlier...

Wands I am considering are:
2-haste (3000gp crafted by summoner)
1-cure light wounds (750gp) [would be better as infernal healing if not for RP]
1-enlarge person (375gp crafted)
1-obscuring mist (750gp)
1-faerie fire (750gp)
1-silent image (750gp)
1-entangle (750gp)
1-ill omen (750gp)
1-remove fear (750gp)
1-protection from evil (375gp crafted)

2-invisibility (3000gp crafted) seems good, but expensive

ZenN, I noticed that you recommended mage armor... why is that? just for ghosts? or to buff summons?

A wand of Alter Summon Monster (3000gp crafted) could be good (though maybe cheesy). Basically, get multiple lower-level summons and have the eidolon upgrade them one at a time...

Thoughts?

Sovereign Court

For your particular build, Mage Armor is mostly useful for the Eidolon, or any party member who doesn't have armor of his/her own.

Using a wand of Alter Summoned Monster is a cute idea, but I feel like it would be too slow to be worth it, since it can only get one at a time. Most of the time you'll just want it to be doing Haste or something.

If you're going with the eidolon using wands plan, the sooner you can get its UMD to +19 the better. The last thing you want is to have it wasting actions on failed activations. If you choose UMD as a class skill and max out the ranks in it, and give it Skilled (UMD) you should be able to get close. You could also theoretically give the eidolon a 50gp masterwork tool to help it with activating wands with UMD (+2 circumstance bonus), if your GM will let you.


Okay, so after mulling over ZenN's advice, here is my updated build:

STR 12, DEX 16, CON 17, INT 14, WIS 12, CHA 20

Drawback: Overprotective
Traits: Lessons of Chaldira, Fate's Favored, Outlander (Exile)
(I dropped Armor Expert, and put everything I wanted at level 1 to avoid the need for Additional Traits. Considering Extremely Fashionable, but I like what I have here already)

Feats:

1: Noble Scion (War), Summon Good Monster
- I ended up keeping these the same as before. Noble Scion takes a few levels to turn on, but it ends up adding around +8 Init by level 10, thanks to +6 Cha headband and circlet of persuasion.
- I really like Summon Good Monster even from low levels. I suspect Die Hard will make a big difference at level 1, and the added summons at level 3 seem quite useful (such as Faun, Pixie, and Pseudodragon). Foo Lions seem pretty awesome too. I found this guide quite helpful:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pq0k?Summon-Good-Monster-A-Closer-Look
- The only dilemma I have is whether to take Skill Focus instead, to eventually get Eldritch Heritage. However, that is a long time to wait, and we probably will never reach that level.

2: Augment Summons
3: Superior Summons
- Not much of a choice here. Summoning 1d3+1 lower level summons during the first round of combat will probably by standard tactic from here on.

5: Craft Wand
- I was originally planning to unsummon my eidolon before combat, but on ZenN's advice I will try keeping it around to use wands. This helps curb the temptation to spam summons. Primary tactic will be to cast Haste at the start of every fight. This allows me to craft a wand of Haste for 3,000GP. I can also craft wands of CLW for 375GP with the help of any divine caster. If I can find a high level Paladin NPC, maybe I can hire them to help me craft a wand of Bestow Grace for 3,000GP...

7: Leadership
- Still leaning toward Vanilla Bard, but considering Skald or Evangelist Cleric

9: Craft Rod
- I might want to retrain craft wand at this point. This allows me to get some Extend Rods, but the main draw is to make a Lesser Quicken Rod for 17,500GP so I can afford it a level or two earlier. I noticed that Summoners take a full round to use metamagic just like Sorcerers, so I may not want any others... But the other casters in my group will likely want their own rods.

11: Versatile Summon Monster (Arial, Clthonic)
- Maybe a bit late to finally get this... (this would be my second level 9 feat if I retrained). I foresee more use for burrowing than swimming, but I could be wrong.

13: Improved Initiative

15, 17, 19: I am actually not sure what to take here... Expanded Arcana could be good... This is when I would start taking Eldrich Heritage feats. Again, hard to imagine I will ever reach this level anyway.

Gear:

This time I am explicitly including the expected wealth by level gain at each level as my budget.

1 (70GP), 2 (930GP): Pretty much unchanged. I would probably skip the masterwork longspear after dropping my strength down to 12, since I will not likely attack with it anyway. I would maybe grab some more expendable stuff like tanglefoot bags and alchemists fire... I might get some jewelry for talking to nobles too. Also, a Cold Iron Kunai seems like a nice pickup (2 lbs crowbar/piton/dagger)

3 (2,000GP): Muleback Chords onto Cloak of Resistance +1 (1250GP), Traveler's Any Tool (125GP), Goblet of Quenching (90GP), Sleeves of Many Garments (100GP), Robe of infinite twine (500GP)
- Definitely need the Muleback Chords ASAP with only 12 STR. Pretty sure GM will allow combining items while crafting for +50% on the cheaper item (hard to do without a Cloak of Resistance). Robe of infinite twine seems fun and flavorful, but it could easily be a Quickrunners Shirt or cracked ioun stone (+1 Init)

4 (3,000GP): Headband of Cha +2 (2,000GP), Stager-Proof Boots (1,000GP)
- The boots seem just better than the quickrunners shirt, for only marginally higher cost. (can use both though)

5 (4,500GP): Quarterstaff of Entwined Spirits (2,850GP), Eyes of the Eagle (1,250GP), Wand of Prot Evil (375GP)
- The Entwined Spirits seems awesome. Our arcanist will take Craft Arms and Armor, so it brings the price down. I will ask the GM if it can be made into a longspear instead of a quarterstaff, but that may be asking too much... Eyes of the eagle for the eidolon while scouting.

6 (5,500GP): Wand of Haste (3,000gp), Cloak of Resistance +2 (+1,500GP), Treasure Hunter's Goggles (3200GP/4=800GP), Wand of CLW /4 (375GP/4)
- I was going to try to convince the party to split the cost of the Treasure Hunter's Googles (anyone with an open eye's slot can wear it). Seems like a useful item to have that benefits all of us. I am also just trying to budget for inevitable cure wands.

7 (7,500GP): Greater Hat of Disguise (6,000GP), Mithral Chain Shirt +1 (1600-50GP)
- Magic Armor resizes automatically, so I can now turn into a Charau-Ka to gain +2 Dex, small size (with 30ft movement), Scent, Low Light Vision, and Darkvision. This also has enormous RP utility. Sasquach or Sewer Troll are both useful combat forms if I actually want to try to hit things.

8: (9,500GP): Circlet of Persuasion onto Greater Hat of Disguise (3,375GP), Wand of Silent Image (375GP), Wand of CLW/2 (375GP/2), Bard: Dervish Sikke (5,000GP), Cloak of Resistance (500GP)
- Finally the main payoff for Noble Scion... Dervish Sikke seems awesome for my cohort.

9: (13,000GP) Stone of Good Luck (10,000GP), Rod of Lesser Extend Spell (1,500GP), Mithral Chain Shirt +2 (+1,500GP)
- Finally the payoff for Fate's Favored. Four Leaf Clover and/or Lucky Horseshoe could be taken at an earlier level, but I already have enough other things that it does not hurt to wait.

10 (16,000GP): Headband of Cha +6 (16,000GP)
- Costs a lot, but it gives me another bonus level 4 spell at this level (28 Cha)

11 (20,000GP): Metamagic Rod of Quicken, Lesser (17,500GP), Cloak of Resistance +3 (2,500GP)

12: (26,000GP): Cloak of Resistance +4 (6,000GP), Headband of Cha+6, Int+2 (3,000GP), Belt of Physical Might DEX+2, CON+2 (5,000GP),
Bard: Banner of the Ancient Kings (9,000GP), Fortifying Stone (500GP)
- I think the fortifying stone on the banner seems like an important precaution. I will also ask the arcanist to cast hardening.

13 (32,000): Minor Ring of Inner Fortitude (18,000GP), Wand of Alter Summon Monster (3,000GP), Goz Mask into Greatter Hat of Disguise/Circlet of Persuasion (6,000GP)
- Starting to run out of critical things to purchase... Also probably reaching the end of the game

14 (45,000GP): Metamagic Rod of Quicken (37,500GP)
- Pretty much god mode at this point. I have never played at this level, but quickened spells seems like the thing to do.

15 (55,000GP): Ring of Freedom of Movement (40,000GP)
- Not sure if anyone will get Forge Ring... maybe I should get it?

16-19: No idea at this point. Definitely spending 125,000GP on wishes to buff CHA +5, and probably again to buff CON.

Spells:

1: 0-Detect Magic, Light, Daze, Mage Hand, 1-Grease, Rejuvinate Eidolon
2: 0-Read Magic, 1-Summon Minor Monster
3: 0-Mending, 1-Feather Fall
4: 2-Haste, Glitterdust
5: 1-Summon Minor Monster -> Shield, 2-See Invisibility
6: 2-Invisibility
7: 1-Unfetter, 3-Black Tentacles, Dimension Door
8: 0-Daze->Guidance, 3-Dispel Magic
9: 3-Communal Resist Energy
10: 2-Barkskin, 4-Wall of Stone, Overland Flight
11: 1-Protection from Evil, 3-X-->Y, 4-Baleful Polymorph
12: 4-Teleport
13: 3-Clay Skin, 5-Greater Dispel, Simulacrum
14: 2-Ablative Barrier, 4-X-->Y, 5-Hungry Pit
15: 5-Spell Turning
16: 4-Purified Calling, 6-Dominate Monster, Maze
17: 3-Dispacement, 5-X-->Y, 6-Discern Location
18: 6-Create Demiplane
19: 5-True Seeing
20: 4-Communal Stoneskin, 5-Greater Teleport-->Plane Shift, 6-Teleportation Circle

Did I get all the important ones? As advised, taking oveland flight at level 10, and trading Aspect for Shadow Blur.
I still want to try out the skunks for a little while at level 2-5...

Skills:

Many people seem to favor FCB to skills instead of HP, so I may try that too...
- Max out Perception, Diplomacy, Bluff, and Spellcraft
- 1 point in Fly at level 10
- I only need around 6 ranks in UMD by level 6 to use wands without fail (circlet of persuasion helps here too). With all the other increases to CHA (and luckstone), I will soon be able to cast from scrolls for free too.
- Headband of INT at lvl 12 maybe attuned to Stealth
- Probably max out Linguistics, cause it seems fun to speak every language.

Knowledges (Religion, Nature, Planes, Arcane, Local, Nobility):
- I will probably stick to one each to start, then max out planes eventually.

Eidolon is mostly the same as before, just making sure to take Skill Focus (UMD) at level 6, to reach +18 ASAP.

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