The Summoner: How do you like it now that it's live?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Perpdepog wrote:
Derivan Firelion wrote:
I really wish they had made it so you can cast self-only spells on the eidolon like the old summoner. Seems a real shame they did not.
Yeah I was bummed about that as well. It would make sense if you could, you get your magic through your eidolon, after all.

Or cast self-affecting spells on my familiar or Druid's and their animal companion.


Eh, I'm not as fussed over animal companions. They're an optional feat or style choice. Eidolons are tied into the summoner though; you can't be a summoner without an eidolon, and it literally gives you your magic, so it makes more sense for summoners.

Liberty's Edge

Is it allowed by RAW to have both an eidolon and an Animal Companion ?


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The Raven Black wrote:
Is it allowed by RAW to have both an eidolon and an Animal Companion ?

Yup. Beast master is a pretty decent archetype for a summoner with summon spells that wants a cadre of minions.


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Perpdepog wrote:
Eh, I'm not as fussed over animal companions. They're an optional feat or style choice. Eidolons are tied into the summoner though; you can't be a summoner without an eidolon, and it literally gives you your magic, so it makes more sense for summoners.

You can't be a Witch without a familiar either. And for the same reason - it is what gives you your magic.


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breithauptclan wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Which 10 HP martial class can cast any number of on-level spell slot spells? Because that is the class that Summoner would be best compared to.

To answer my own question: I think the class that would compare most similarly for martial/casting role like this would be Warpriest Cleric and maybe Wild Shape Druid. Neither of them are 10 HP martials, but they do have some martial tendencies while being casting classes.

So how does the Eidolon compare to Warpriest?

I've played one warpriest of Gorum.

The summoner does not compare well to the warpriest because the warpriest still has a role. The cleric chassis is very good at healing. It gets full casting with a large number of heal spells.

My war priest picked up a cleric focus spells called Cry of Destruction. My battle nova was usually strike once with the greatsword and cry of destruction.

The build also reached a point of being able to heal and harm spells in the extra cleric slots.

So within the group structure, the war priest did the following:

1. Healed well.

2. Had a substantial nova strike damage ability that could do quite a bit of AoE damage.

3. Full level casting.

It's maximum to hit roll was always going to be 2 less than a martial and it's AC was going to be 2 less than a martial. It had Cleric saves. For giving all this up it gains full level casting including a level 10 spell slot and Charisma number of heal/harm spell as extra slots.

So there isn't much of a comparison with the summoner as the cleric warpriest has a strong group role and can do decent damage with full casting.

But please don't confuse this with liking the cleric class. I don't like the cleric class because it's boring. Clerics are the best healers in the game and you can build an effective character with a strong role in a group that people will appreciate, but I don't personally like playing them. Same as I don't like playing bards, but I know they are mechanically great.

My problem is I like the summoner conceptually, but it's very hard to build a strong, competitive role within a group that stands out. They don't do anything particularly well. I tend to prefer classes you can build to do something really, really well. I don't like to just play a class and watch other group members around me do something super well while I just enjoy my concept and the few moments I do ok.

I have a good idea how to improve the class. I made casters a lot more fun to play in PF2 than they are in the base game. I improved the swashbuckler. I can make some improvements to get the summoner to a place I want it within the game world.


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Cozzymandias wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
It felt like a very second tier class that someone plays purely because the y like the concept, but would actively avoided by anyone looking for optimal play.

This is kinda true of every post-CRB class afaik, and I have a hard time believing it's not intentional on the part of the designers. It seems like their goal is that the classes powergamers seek out tend to be the core classes, which for the most part have a much wider thematic range of characters they can support. The idea being, I think, that people who want a specific concept can play the appropriate class, and people who want power still have a range of concepts to choose from, thus creating the biggest range of character concepts for the biggest range of playstyles.

Whether they go to far on this is up for debate, but IMO it's definitely deliberate to an extent.

Maybe it is their goal. I don't know. But the Magus is not a second tier class. The oracle is not a second tier class. The witch is more popular than the wizard in my group if only because they can be built for a variety of roles though their feats are still disliked much like the wizard.

Swashbuckler I added a feature and they seem to have improved, though they still aren't a popular class.

No one has much wanted to play an investigator. They never played one in PF1 either, so not much of a change.


gesalt wrote:

I'm kind of surprised to see it being compared unfavorably to magus.

In any serious combat, magus's poor action economy really screws it. They can't cast a real spell, strike (or big spellstrike+recharge) and keep distance without haste while the summoner can do it all naturally. I'm a little curious as to how the Inexorable iron magus here isn't being popped either by a super boss focusing him or the zerg running over him.

The top level spells are the real value of the class. Unless you're running 3+ severe/extreme encounters a day you should have enough spells to handle your needs while being able to contribute even after you've cast your real spells for the fight. Unlike a wizard or a cleric who usually fall back to just throwing electric arcs or fear until the martials finish the job.

I can see it feeling bad in lesser combats, but those don't require any thought or resources to win so at least you do slightly more there than electric arc, pass.

The magus gets one super alpha strike with cantrips a round. If they hit, they do good damage. When they critically hit, it's just brutal.

I'm not sure what you mean by poor action economy? They get the equivalent of a 3 action attack with 2 actions with only one attack roll. It feels awful if they miss, amazing if they hit.

They can go all day with cantrips. Then nova with shocking grasp.

They get strength and intelligence bonus on that 2 action damage attack because most cantrips add ability modifier damage.

I wasn't sure how the magus would perform as I didn't pay much attention to them in the playtest. Now I have 2 magus in campaigns and another guy waiting to play one because they've been so impressive in actual game play.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Summoner is a utility martial not a damage dealer. You have 4 actions, but your actions are generally worse than other classes: so find things that other classes want to do anyway, that you’re just as good at (e.g. Trip) and suddenly you’re ahead.

Wellspring is good if you can get it and your GM runs longer days, Champion archetype is also quite good (pairs decently with Devotion eidolon).

If you’re trying to compete with other classes at their thing (e.g. striking against a real martial) you will fall behind. That’s fine, you have 4 actions they have 3. If you start trying to compete with other classes at things you’re just as good at as them, you’ll start seeing the real power of the summoner.

Scarab Sages

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I always considered of the 2E Summoner as a gish just like the magus. Your magic is better than any martial with the multiclass dedication, and your eidolon is stronger than an animal companion.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I always considered of the 2E Summoner as a gish just like the magus. Your magic is better than any martial with the multiclass dedication, and your eidolon is stronger than an animal companion.

AND the magus focuses mainly on attack spells while summoner focuses mainly on save spells. They each have their weird niche.


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I want each class to be built for a few roles within the group structure. And be competitive in key metrics like damage, buffing, debuffing, defense, or some measurable aspect of the game.

Classes that have weird niches that are hard to measure I find are not enjoyable. They get overshadowed by other classes and appear to have a less dramatic effect on combat outcomes which makes the class less desirable, especially so when you have builds that have escalating damage outcomes while your escalation is muted and less extreme.

Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

So my goal for modifying the summoner will be to build into the class some unique ability that allows them to perform the base class fantasy better than any other class in the game, while not breaking the math of the game or causing them to overshadow other classes.

I think I have a good model for this with some concepts used to build the druid. I will post them soon in the House Rules forum. Then I'll test in play.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

But they do have other boosts, just because they don't get a d12 option doesn't mean they aren't moderately effective. A lot of fighter and barbarians deliberately down play to d10 to get reach anyway which you can pick up here via a feat.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

Thats a weak argument because while its true, that wizard would also not be as effectve as a wizard or it would have some major problem with its initiative or defenses. It would be like a warpriest and we know how popular they are.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

While you certainly can do this, the opportunity cost of 22 strength is high (putting your apex into strength instead of int), and you’d be extremely squishy, plus you’d be in melee meaning the multitude of reactions screw you. Also without quicken, the econ would be horrible - every round is athletics + cast, need to move and you can’t do one of these.

Summoner doesn’t have that issue. Trip+Electric Arc is only 2 actions for them. If they need to move, use tandem move.

An eidolon can also have 24 strength while the summoner doesn’t sacrifice the ability to have 24 cha.


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Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

But they do have other boosts, just because they don't get a d12 option doesn't mean they aren't moderately effective. A lot of fighter and barbarians deliberately down play to d10 to get reach anyway which you can pick up here via a feat.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.
Thats a weak argument because while its true, that wizard would also not be as effectve as a wizard or it would have some major problem with its initiative or defenses. It would be like a warpriest and we know how popular they are.

The weak argument is the one that uses maneuvers as an excuse for poor class performance in tangible metrics. They should not be used to justify inferior damage dealing, action economy, or class abilities and feats.

I have gone entire campaigns without a single person bothering to use maneuvers and seen no effect on battle outcomes whatsoever.

I even had a monk player who tried to use combat maneuvers because they thought it looked cool, but it reduced their damage so much they stopped after a while. And getting the flat-footed bonus can be done in so many ways that knocking someone prone via trip or grappling has proven to be a waste of time when the primary means for ending combat is extreme damage.

And at higher level casters have far better options for reducing AC or defenses than a maneuver-based martial.

I consider the maneuver argument as some kind of basis for arguing a class niche to be one based on inexperience or theorycrafting.

In actual gameplay, the same effect maneuvers provide can be accomplished in more efficient ways with a higher level of damage output.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Unless you have someone constantly casting Roaring Applause, and the enemies constantly fail their saves, you can’t get free reaction triggers out of inflicting flat foot through flanking or most other effects. The real strength of Trip is that, if the opponent stands, they eat attack ops, and if they stay put they’re taking a constant -2 to hit, or you can move away such that they’re in your reach but you aren’t in theirs (enemy dependent) at which point they have no choice but to stand if they want to do anything that fight.

Sure there are other ways to knock prone but they’re usually a lot more committal (Improved Knockdown) or a lot more random (Flail/Hammer crit spec).


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Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

While you certainly can do this, the opportunity cost of 22 strength is high (putting your apex into strength instead of int), and you’d be extremely squishy, plus you’d be in melee meaning the multitude of reactions screw you. Also without quicken, the econ would be horrible - every round is athletics + cast, need to move and you can’t do one of these.

Summoner doesn’t have that issue. Trip+Electric Arc is only 2 actions for them. If they need to move, use tandem move.

An eidolon can also have 24 strength while the summoner doesn’t sacrifice the ability to have 24 cha.

Trip does no damage. You use electric arc doing d4 damage while engaging a trip. Then some other class comes up and does the real damage, often rolls high enough the flat-footed bonus is irrelevant, the creature is killed with minimal effect from your action. If the trip misses, you did even less.

And also you spent all your skill ups to get Legendary in Athletics so your Eidolon would be good at tripping, while you derive a lesser if any benefit from having Legendary in Athletics. It is highly unlikely you built up your strength on your summoner to take advantage of athletics since strength is an extremely low value statistic on a caster.

Most casters I construct focus more on dexterity with an increase in Acrobatics for escape maneuvers, stealth, and reflex saving throws. Dexterity is a much higher value statistic for a caster.

Given you will have only 3 Legendary skills by lvl 19, then having to spend the skill ups for Athletics that you will rarely if ever use just to make the Eidolon good at tripping is another reason why the Summoner is a highly inefficient class.


Exocist wrote:

Unless you have someone constantly casting Roaring Applause, and the enemies constantly fail their saves, you can’t get free reaction triggers out of inflicting flat foot through flanking or most other effects. The real strength of Trip is that, if the opponent stands, they eat attack ops, and if they stay put they’re taking a constant -2 to hit, or you can move away such that they’re in your reach but you aren’t in theirs (enemy dependent) at which point they have no choice but to stand if they want to do anything that fight.

Sure there are other ways to knock prone but they’re usually a lot more committal (Improved Knockdown) or a lot more random (Flail/Hammer crit spec).

In high level play, enemies have lots of things they can do in a fight at range or avoid AoOs on top of just outright taking a player out every round.

AoOs have been most useful in lower level play against melee enemies or against casters who don't yet have the means to avoid melee engagement.
I like to use Knockdown tactics in the lower level game, but it tends to become less effective a monsters gain more options in their attack routines for other than common martial enemies.

At the same time, trip is an extremely boring action unless it can be combined with a strike like the Knockdown feat for a fighter.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

While you certainly can do this, the opportunity cost of 22 strength is high (putting your apex into strength instead of int), and you’d be extremely squishy, plus you’d be in melee meaning the multitude of reactions screw you. Also without quicken, the econ would be horrible - every round is athletics + cast, need to move and you can’t do one of these.

Summoner doesn’t have that issue. Trip+Electric Arc is only 2 actions for them. If they need to move, use tandem move.

An eidolon can also have 24 strength while the summoner doesn’t sacrifice the ability to have 24 cha.

Trip does no damage. You use electric arc doing d4 damage while engaging a trip. Then some other class comes up and does the real damage, often rolls high enough the flat-footed bonus is irrelevant, the creature is killed with minimal effect from your action. If the trip misses, you did even less.

Unless you're exclusively playing like level 1-4, a martial isn't oneshotting anything without some good rolls. At some point, even with 2 crits they aren't oneshotting anything. So what Trip does is let them make 2 MAPless attacks (which is better than 1 from you and 1 from them usually) on a flatfooted enemy.

Spending 1/3 legendary skills on athletics is whatever really, Acrobatics matters if you get tripped a lot which, while relevant for most melee characters isn't too relevant for the summoner because the thing that is actually is melee doesn't get the skill feat. Stealth is decent, but again, the Eidolon can't stealth very easily (they don't get the skill feats, and getting invis on both yourself and eidolon is far more costly).

Intimidation is still good, Diplomacy is still good.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
In high level play, enemies have lots of things they can do in a fight at range or avoid AoOs on top of just outright taking a player out every round.

Outright taking a player out of the fight every round is moreso the problem than the ability to avoid AoO - actually breaking movement rules with the ability to avoid reactions and so on is extremely rare. Martials in general become devalued at higher levels, but at least you still have a caster side.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I want each class to be built for a few roles within the group structure. And be competitive in key metrics like damage, buffing, debuffing, defense, or some measurable aspect of the game.

Classes that have weird niches that are hard to measure I find are not enjoyable. They get overshadowed by other classes and appear to have a less dramatic effect on combat outcomes which makes the class less desirable, especially so when you have builds that have escalating damage outcomes while your escalation is muted and less extreme.

Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

So my goal for modifying the summoner will be to build into the class some unique ability that allows them to perform the base class fantasy better than any other class in the game, while not breaking the math of the game or causing them to overshadow other classes.

I think I have a good model for this with some concepts used to build the druid. I will post them soon in the House Rules forum. Then I'll test in play.

You value mostly specialization, how do you expect to rate high the most versatile class in the game?


Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

While you certainly can do this, the opportunity cost of 22 strength is high (putting your apex into strength instead of int), and you’d be extremely squishy, plus you’d be in melee meaning the multitude of reactions screw you. Also without quicken, the econ would be horrible - every round is athletics + cast, need to move and you can’t do one of these.

Summoner doesn’t have that issue. Trip+Electric Arc is only 2 actions for them. If they need to move, use tandem move.

An eidolon can also have 24 strength while the summoner doesn’t sacrifice the ability to have 24 cha.

Trip does no damage. You use electric arc doing d4 damage while engaging a trip. Then some other class comes up and does the real damage, often rolls high enough the flat-footed bonus is irrelevant, the creature is killed with minimal effect from your action. If the trip misses, you did even less.

Unless you're exclusively playing like level 1-4, a martial isn't oneshotting anything without some good rolls. At some point, even with 2 crits they aren't oneshotting anything. So what Trip does is let them make 2 MAPless attacks (which is better than 1 from you and 1 from them usually) on a flatfooted enemy.

Spending 1/3 legendary skills on athletics is whatever really, Acrobatics matters if you get tripped a lot which, while relevant for most melee characters isn't too relevant for the summoner because the thing that is actually is melee doesn't get the skill feat. Stealth is decent, but again, the Eidolon can't stealth very easily (they don't get the skill feats,...

I like Acrobatics for escape. Getting grappled and constricted is extremely nasty. Some monsters have really insane reach with Improved Grab and Improved Constrict. Or you get swallowed whole. Or something similar and it's almost a death sentence for a caster.

One shotting solo is not going to happen too often. But you're often attacking as a group. So when you hit a monster for 100 points of damage on a crit like a Giant Instinct barbarian does while the fighter is also landing a few hits for 50 and the rogue is adding nother 50 with the caster adding 30 or so depending on the spell, those critical hits add up quick to the things dying.

Even AoE spells with critical fails add up to lots of damage to other classes to finish off in battle. A group of creatures is a damage pool. If you can take that damage pool down by 500 points, you kill quite a bit faster.

I do agree with you that the slow spells is extremely potent and good once you get within 30 feet. But you can also do some crazy stuff with certain classes where that class might turn invisible, set up a sustainable AoE attack at good range, and just destroy stuff before it even comes into contact with your party.

I know this isn't fun for some groups. But it's highly effective as a tactic.

I have developed a better respect for AoOs playing a fighter. Fighters are the best at using AoOs. Trip benefits a fighter more than many other classes. Champions a lot of the time focus their reactions on Champion's Reaction and Shield Block. Rogue's on Opportune Backstab. Barbarians use AoOs, but just get one they can usually activate with reach.

If you play a lot of fighters, Trip is way more valuable. Helps monks, barbarians, and rangers as well, but two-hander fighters get the most bang for the buck from AoO trips. I finally saw what you were talking about when I played one with a trip build.

Monks and rangers don't hit hard enough to be wowed by the one extra reaction attack. If the ranger got their precision damage on AoOs, it would be more impressive or monks got a flurry AoO.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I want each class to be built for a few roles within the group structure. And be competitive in key metrics like damage, buffing, debuffing, defense, or some measurable aspect of the game.

Classes that have weird niches that are hard to measure I find are not enjoyable. They get overshadowed by other classes and appear to have a less dramatic effect on combat outcomes which makes the class less desirable, especially so when you have builds that have escalating damage outcomes while your escalation is muted and less extreme.

Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

So my goal for modifying the summoner will be to build into the class some unique ability that allows them to perform the base class fantasy better than any other class in the game, while not breaking the math of the game or causing them to overshadow other classes.

I think I have a good model for this with some concepts used to build the druid. I will post them soon in the House Rules forum. Then I'll test in play.

You value mostly specialization, how do you expect to rate high the most versatile class in the game?

I value tangible effectiveness.

Druids are extremely versatile. I love the druid. But their abilities are also highly effective in a measurable way.

Monks are also highly versatile. You can do a lot with their action economy and mobility.

The summoner doesn't have much of what either of those classes offer and is not the most effectively versatile class in the game. I don't know why you think that.

I test these classes in game tracking damage and getting a gauge of effective actions including how they move, what they can do with their actions, how effective what they do with their actions is, and the like. It gives me a feel for the class and how well it works within the group structure. Then I make modifications to the class to improve its ability to operate in the group structure in an effective and measurable manner.

The way a summoner spends actions is extremely clunky. It has a lot of limiters on the class that force action choices that are not very versatile at all just to do baseline damage and effects that are better done by other classes.

It's sort of like some of the fighter builds on paper versus how they play in the game. A two-weapon warrior finds it extremely difficult to use Flensing Slice. You look at Flensing Slice and it looks great on paper, but you have to hit both times with your weapon in a round where you did not spend an action to move, stand up, escape a grapple, or what not.

That's similar to the summoner. You have an action round that looks like the following to do just ok damage:

1. Move into position.

2. Boost Eidolon.

3. Eidolon attacks.

4. Maybe Eidolon attacks again.

Once the eidolon is in position, then you have some additional flexibility in your actions as long as you are in position. If you want to use electric arc, then that means you have to be within 30 feet. So you need to make sure you moved into position as well.

Then your following round can be:

Act Together

1. 2 action save cantrip

2. Boost Eidolon

3. Eidolon attacks.

Or you can forego the boost and do the trip and then one attack or something.

Then you also have to take into account what the other party members are doing. Let's say the magus and the fighter move up, whack down the guy you just moved to.

Then next round you are back in move to next target. Moving to targets takes up a lot of actions. I've found moving to a new target to be one of the biggest throttles on class abilities in the game.

It's why I am surprised at how many underrate the ability to operate at range since range cuts down on the number of actions needed to change targets. You can move to a new target within the range of abilities without spending a move action.

I tactically employ the reality of mobility as a player and DM. I often set up enemies so the players have to move to them. And when I'm a player, I set up the group in a similar fashion because make the opponent spend actions on moving is an extremely efficient tactic with the 3 action paradigm.

With my summoner, I was spending quite a few actions moving into place. If I kept my summoner back and he got knocked down with me 100 feet from the fight, boy it took a while to get back into the fight. Fight was usually over by then.

I was tracking a lot of little issues like this to see how the summoner operates in a combat that is ever moving since I don't play in a lot of stand and deliver fights.


Deriven Firelion wrote:

The weak argument is the one that uses maneuvers as an excuse for poor class performance in tangible metrics. They should not be used to justify inferior damage dealing, action economy, or class abilities and feats.

I have gone entire campaigns without a single person bothering to use maneuvers and seen no effect on battle outcomes whatsoever.

I agree that you do not have to use maneuvers, but they are there if you want them. They are sometimes effective but not required.

If your group is designed to work with them by having AoO for trips then you get the damage back, or if you are trying to defend characters behind you.

They give you a different defence to attack. For example a Fire Giant has a reflex DC five lower than his AC, so he is pretty easy to trip. Tripping him every round is just a good way to contain him.

It is a way of shutting down enemies who are casters or otherwise need manipulated actions by grabbing them. Yes they have an easy flat check but its is something. then there is the possbility of restrained which just about kills the enemies turn.

Shoving or throwing enemies is lots of fun but if the terrain is boring them complain to your module designer.

Yes my groups tend to ignore it all and just do damage like yours because they are all experienced gamers and focus fire well. Very few enemies last more than 2 rounds.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

I want each class to be built for a few roles within the group structure. And be competitive in key metrics like damage, buffing, debuffing, defense, or some measurable aspect of the game.

Classes that have weird niches that are hard to measure I find are not enjoyable. They get overshadowed by other classes and appear to have a less dramatic effect on combat outcomes which makes the class less desirable, especially so when you have builds that have escalating damage outcomes while your escalation is muted and less extreme.

Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

So my goal for modifying the summoner will be to build into the class some unique ability that allows them to perform the base class fantasy better than any other class in the game, while not breaking the math of the game or causing them to overshadow other classes.

I think I have a good model for this with some concepts used to build the druid. I will post them soon in the House Rules forum. Then I'll test in play.

What about martials that pick up a d6/d8 weapon and a shield? Also, I'm losing the point of the thread. It appears to have shifted from asking people what their opinion of the summoner is to arguing that it's a bad class to those that view it favorably. Going back to the original thread topic, I think it's a fun and worthwhile class.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

They're apparently irreparably useless because they do 2-3 less damage.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

1. Move into position.

2. Boost Eidolon.

3. Eidolon attacks.

4. Maybe Eidolon attacks again.

Your sequence of actions seems problematic to me.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
1. Move into position.

Are you speaking of a level 1-3 Summoner only? Because if your combats are very mobile, I think you should factor in Tandem Move. Level 4 is far from high level.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
2. Boost Eidolon.

Once again, a problematic action. You have 3 ways to extend the duration of Boost Eidolon, one being easily accessible at level 1-2. So, sure, you have to use it at least once, but it can last the whole fight and as such you won't have to use Boost Eidolon again later.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
4. Maybe Eidolon attacks again.

If you don't attack twice, there's no need to Boost Eidolon for one round. Boost Eidolon is kind of a "second second attack" in terms of damage output. So if your 4th action is not an attack, then your second action shouldn't be Boost Eidolon.

One great alternate action is Demoralize as it also boosts your Eidolon damage (even if slightly less than Boost Eidolon).

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The summoner doesn't have much of what either of those classes offer and is not the most effectively versatile class in the game. I don't know why you think that.

You can fill absolutely any role but buffing (even if Bard Dedication is awesome on a Summoner). I don't say that it's the only versatile class in the game, but you won't find that many classes that are both a martial and a caster of any tradition with 4 actions per round right at level 1.

I think it's the most versatile class in the game. But we can disagree.


Squiggit wrote:
They're apparently irreparably useless because they do 2-3 less damage.

I don't think 2nd tier and irreparably useless are the same thing.

Everything is playable in PF2. Is it optimal? No, but playable.

You can play any class and combination you like and if you're having fun, you'll do fine.

And it's not 2 or 3 points less damage. It's a lot less damage more often than not. A lot of this is due to how Striking Runes scale.

A summoner main attack can max at d8 without agile. That means up to 4d8 with a single attack. Even with a 24 strength and major striking weapon with boosted, you're looking at 4d8+7+6+8 for an average 39 points in a single strike with no quality critical specialization effect for one action. Then let's say you use electric arc single target for 10d4+7 for an average 32. So you spend 4 actions for 71 points of damage if you hit and if the target fails its save.

Now take a barbarian using a greatsword. They will do 4d12+7+6+12=51 points with a single action with a critical specialization effect. If the barbarian hits twice, he does 102 or 31 points more than you for two actions.

Fighter with greatsword will do 4d12+7+8 for 41 points per single action. He will have an increased chance to hit and far more reaction attacks. So a fighter for two actions will do 82 points or 11 points more than you do with a 4 action expenditure on average.

Now the summoner can nova with a bigger spell with one of their four slots spiking their damage. That is hard to calculate as that will vary by summoner.

Suffice to say that I do not see that as good action economy or versatility when you spend a higher number of actions to do less damage. If you use your d6 weapon, you do even less damage.

On top of this Boost Eidolon is a status bonus to damage. Which means if you are with a buffing class like a bard or someone casting enlarge on a martial, then your eidolon gains no bonus from the buff other than to hit but the damage of the martials will spike up further increasing the difference in damage capabilities.

These are the kinds of issues I saw with the summoner in play which makes them second tier in the group structure the game is designed for. if Boost Eidolon were a nameless source of damage or even a circumstance bonus, it would be better.

I haven't found their action sequences to be very competitive. That in no way means someone in a standard group who just likes the concept can't make a very viable character.

This mostly applies to my (or similar) group(s) and how we play which is the pursuit of optimization. The summoner doesn't optimize very well in the group structure.


SuperBidi wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

1. Move into position.

2. Boost Eidolon.

3. Eidolon attacks.

4. Maybe Eidolon attacks again.

Your sequence of actions seems problematic to me.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
1. Move into position.

Are you speaking of a level 1-3 Summoner only? Because if your combats are very mobile, I think you should factor in Tandem Move. Level 4 is far from high level.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
2. Boost Eidolon.

Once again, a problematic action. You have 3 ways to extend the duration of Boost Eidolon, one being easily accessible at level 1-2. So, sure, you have to use it at least once, but it can last the whole fight and as such you won't have to use Boost Eidolon again later.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
4. Maybe Eidolon attacks again.

If you don't attack twice, there's no need to Boost Eidolon for one round. Boost Eidolon is kind of a "second second attack" in terms of damage output. So if your 4th action is not an attack, then your second action shouldn't be Boost Eidolon.

One great alternate action is Demoralize as it also boosts your Eidolon damage (even if slightly less than Boost Eidolon).

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The summoner doesn't have much of what either of those classes offer and is not the most effectively versatile class in the game. I don't know why you think that.

You can fill absolutely any role but buffing (even if Bard Dedication is awesome on a Summoner). I don't say that it's the only versatile class in the game, but you won't find that many classes that are both a martial and a caster of any tradition with 4 actions per round right at level 1.

I think it's the most versatile class in the game. But we can disagree.

I'm mostly looking at standard play with an opening round where movement is required to the rounds after when you set up.

A lot of people look at classes outside of the group structure. They theorycraft in a vacuum, but things work very differently once the game is played in a group with other players optimizing.

It's why I will guess at a class based on the chassis. But I'll wait to make a final determination after I see the class function in the group structure. The summoner doesn't function very well in a group structure with other optimizers making stronger class choices. It lags behind in overall effectiveness for a similar action cost and doesn't scale up very well.

I don't find versatility very valuable absent effectiveness. Groups are already highly versatile with a mix of classes with different capabilities that can draw from the group versatility pool to defeat enemies and solve problems.

Dataphiles

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I rarely, if ever, use Boost Eidolon. It's just not worth it. I believe in almost all situations it adds less damage on average than a second attack from your eidolon, and striking twice with your eidolon is already not very good. Standard Routines may go

If you need to move

Tandem Move -> Act Together (Trip, Electric Arc)

Don't need to move and you somehow fit in Swashbuckler MC

One For All / Demoralise -> Act Together (Trip, Electric Arc)

Enemy is already prone; replace the Trip with a Strike or Grapple depending.

When you get Weighty Impact and Size feats, and therefore need to move less Strike -> Knockdown may become more useful than Trip. When you get Grasping Limbs you might also spend actions on Grab.


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Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The weak argument is the one that uses maneuvers as an excuse for poor class performance in tangible metrics. They should not be used to justify inferior damage dealing, action economy, or class abilities and feats.

I have gone entire campaigns without a single person bothering to use maneuvers and seen no effect on battle outcomes whatsoever.

I agree that you do not have to use maneuvers, but they are there if you want them. They are sometimes effective but not required.

If your group is designed to work with them by having AoO for trips then you get the damage back, or if you are trying to defend characters behind you.

They give you a different defence to attack. For example a Fire Giant has a reflex DC five lower than his AC, so he is pretty easy to trip. Tripping him every round is just a good way to contain him.

It is a way of shutting down enemies who are casters or otherwise need manipulated actions by grabbing them. Yes they have an easy flat check but its is something. then there is the possbility of restrained which just about kills the enemies turn.

Shoving or throwing enemies is lots of fun but if the terrain is boring them complain to your module designer.

Yes my groups tend to ignore it all and just do damage like yours because they are all experienced gamers and focus fire well. Very few enemies last more than 2 rounds.

Yep. Lower or even level enemies don't last long.

Bosses usually have high enough defenses that you don't have a great chance to use maneuvers against them. I don't think they are never worthwhile, but they are situational and not a core class ability though good for some builds.

I have a real love of summoners. Summoning some powerful demon or elemental to fight at your command looks so cool in my mind's eye. I want the summoner class to be as effective as other classes, while not breaking the game math. It's not quite there yet, but I will get it there.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
I have a real love of summoners. Summoning some powerful demon or elemental to fight at your command looks so cool in my mind's eye. I want the summoner class to be as effective as other classes, while not breaking the game math. It's not quite there yet,

I can only get it to work like it happens in stories, if the summoner is higher level.

At the moment summoners and summoning in general use utility to get by and they do OK and contribute reasonably. There is no real strong martial power there. Especially with high level summoning spells. Which is a pity. I'd like to see it tweaked a bit more.

Liberty's Edge

Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
I have a real love of summoners. Summoning some powerful demon or elemental to fight at your command looks so cool in my mind's eye. I want the summoner class to be as effective as other classes, while not breaking the game math. It's not quite there yet,

I can only get it to work like it happens in stories, if the summoner is higher level.

At the moment summoners amd summoning in general use utility to get by and they do OK and contribute reasonably. There is no real strong martial power there. Which is a pity. I'd like to see it tweaked a bit more.

I think Synthesist Summoner might bring this to the table.

I believe we might get the Class Archetype in Dark Archive.

Horizon Hunters

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This has been an interesting discussion. The general idea of the class seems to be that you are two weaker characters rather than one strong character. It is hard to judge how much weaker the characters should be though.

My initial impression is mixed. We only played the beginner box with three players and the summoner is already thinking about remaking the character.

Personally at first glance the only thing that feels a little clunky is movement, animal companions have similar issues. If you aren't next to an enemy the player has to spend 2+ action moving into position. It almost seems like tandem movement is mandatory if you aren't using the eidolon as a mount.

I do look forward to trying out the Summoner for myself though.

Has anyone had experience at higher levels not using tandem movement and not using it as a mount? It seems like without it a lot of actions will just be repositioning.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I played one in a oneshot. It was fun to use the 4 action mechanic. It also make for a fun roleplay opportunity with your eidolon.

Nevertheless, mechanic wise, being shut down from most of the permanent magic items and bonus feels very weak (boots of bounding ? cloak of the bat ? not for you sir eidolon).

It is like playing a quarter caster and a half generic martial at the same time. It's missing something to be a full class.


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Exocist wrote:

I rarely, if ever, use Boost Eidolon. It's just not worth it. I believe in almost all situations it adds less damage on average than a second attack from your eidolon, and striking twice with your eidolon is already not very good. Standard Routines may go

If you need to move

Tandem Move -> Act Together (Trip, Electric Arc)

Don't need to move and you somehow fit in Swashbuckler MC

One For All / Demoralise -> Act Together (Trip, Electric Arc)

Enemy is already prone; replace the Trip with a Strike or Grapple depending.

When you get Weighty Impact and Size feats, and therefore need to move less Strike -> Knockdown may become more useful than Trip. When you get Grasping Limbs you might also spend actions on Grab.

I have the same vision of the Summoner: Skills are really important (and the Summoner is a hell of a skill monkey).

I like the focus you can have on Intimidation. With Act Together (Aid Another + Intimidation), at level 8 you try to trigger Terrified Retreat and at level 16 Scare to Death. It makes the Summoner the best at Scare to Death, thanks to the +4 circumstance bonus the Eidolon should grant you easily at that level. Sure, it's GM-dependent, but most GMs I've played with allow to Aid with the same skill.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I want each class to be built for a few roles within the group structure. And be competitive in key metrics like damage, buffing, debuffing, defense, or some measurable aspect of the game.

Classes that have weird niches that are hard to measure I find are not enjoyable. They get overshadowed by other classes and appear to have a less dramatic effect on combat outcomes which makes the class less desirable, especially so when you have builds that have escalating damage outcomes while your escalation is muted and less extreme.

Given the way striking runes work, a d12 weapon user will have scaling outcomes that are much better than a d8 or d6 class if they don't have some factor that boosts their damage to be in line with a d12 damage wielder like a rogue or some ability that provides a unique and useful tactical element like a Champion's Reaction.

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

So my goal for modifying the summoner will be to build into the class some unique ability that allows them to perform the base class fantasy better than any other class in the game, while not breaking the math of the game or causing them to overshadow other classes.

I think I have a good model for this with some concepts used to build the druid. I will post them soon in the House Rules forum. Then I'll test in play.

What about martials that pick up a d6/d8 weapon and a shield? Also, I'm losing the point of the thread. It appears to have shifted from asking people what their opinion of the summoner is to arguing that it's a bad class to those that view it favorably. Going back to the original thread topic, I think it's a fun and worthwhile class.

I am reading this thread to bask in the feeling that my players are awesome. They regularly use clever tactics that Deriven Firelion has overlooked.

SuperBidi wrote:
You value mostly specialization, how do you expect to rate high the most versatile class in the game?

This is the perfect response to Deriven Firelion's comment about roles. He measures classes by individual tactics. He does not factor in that if a particular tactic cannot hurt the enemy, then a versatile character can switch to another tactics and still fight well.

My own players love to nullify enemy tactics. Two game sessions ago, four 12th-level PCs defeated 15th-level Scabvistin, bugbear commander of Fort Phaendar. This was supposed to be an easy battle for them at 16th level, but they had jumped modules again and confronted him 4 levels early. Scabvisitn was murder with his pair of triblade katars: when I converted him to PF2 I gave him several abilities to support his twin-dagger combat style and he had the high numbers of a monster. The goblin champion in the party discovered this in combat, though her player's reaction was a happy declaration, "Finally! I took Quick Block at 8th level and this is the first time I have gotten to use it." The champion had the good fortune to have stolen a Greater Sturdy Shield from Stabvistin's storeroom minutes beforehand.

That battle broke up when Stabvistin learned that the rest of the party were rescuing the enslaved villagers trapped in the fort. He had to stop fighting and command the fort instead. The party avoided melee on their second encounter with him. The party was scattered across the fort, having distracted the troops from chasing the escaped slaves, but the flying gnome druid was taking potshots with Ray of Frost at Scabvistin and Scabvistin was shooting back with a +2 striking composite shortbow. Then the leshy sorcerer, transformed via Dragon Form, flew in with the gnome rogue hidden on her back and landed 60 feet away. The mounted combat rules say that a PC riding on another PC reduces both to 2 actions per turn, so in theory this is a bad tactic, but in the game it left Scabvistin in a bind.

The gnome rogue was a dedicated sniper, a build Deriven Firelion could appreciate. She had tricks to make a target flat-footed and then she used Precise Debilitation to keep the target flat-footed. And that is flat-footed to everyone, so the druid and the ranger who soon joined in both benefited from the -2 to AC from flat-footedness.

I considered Scabvistin dropping his shortbow, drawing his katars (single action to draw both, due to a special ability), and closing in on the dragon, but the dragon would just fly away with the gnome rogue (Step and Fly to avoid the AoO). Thus, he stuck to the shortbow, his secondary weapon with fewer enchantments and no special feats. He went down in a few rounds to the ranged attacks and the dragon's recharged breath weapon.

There was no summoner in this battle--Cirieo Thessadin had stayed behind to guard Longshadow--but my players' tactics demonstrate that nullification is more valuable than action economy.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
A lot of people look at classes outside of the group structure. They theorycraft in a vacuum, but things work very differently once the game is played in a group with other players optimizing.

The missing piece I notice is that Deriven Firelion has not described the enemy that the party is fighting. I presume that the enemy is an ordinary high-level melee fighter from the tactics described, rather than a spellcaster or an exotic monster.

Let's consider an exotic monster, Deinosuchus, an 9th-level crocodile. It uses aquatic ambush against the party, grabbing one by surprise in its jaws and swallowing him or her whole.

A swallowed barbarian would be in big trouble. He cannot swing his greataxe in the deinosuchus's stomach. A swallowed archer ranger would have the same problem with her bow. A swallowed rogue might have fun, making sneak attacks against the stomach wall. A swallowed cleric could keep himself alive as the others fight the deinosuchus to rescue him. A swallowed summoner would be almost as well off as the rogue, because his eidolon is fully able to aid the rescue. And a swallowed eidolon could be unmanifested, a laughably easy rescue.

Or imagine the party facing three wizards of equal level to the party protected by Fly and Mirror Image. If they can render one party member useless than they will have a fair fight. The sorcerer and ranger are glad for the ranged target practice. The melee barbarian grumbles as he pulls out his backup ranged weapon. And the summoner casts Evolution Surge on his eidolon so that it can fly up to the enemy wizards.

Specialization tactics work great in ordinary battles and fail on other occassions. Versatile tactics work okay all the time. Specialization failure is more likely to kill the party than versatile underperforming when the specialists work great.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Specialization tactics work great in ordinary battles and fail on other occassions. Versatile tactics work okay all the time. Specialization failure is more likely to kill the party than versatile underperforming when the specialists work great.

That's only true if the party were all specialized to face the same threats. I feel like what he's saying is that a party where each character does one thing, as well as PF2 allows for, will beat a party of generalists.

For example which of these parties would you rather face in open combat:

Fighter, Champion, Cleric, Druid, Bard

-or-

Swashbuckler, Monk, Oracle, Witch, Alchemist

I feel like the first team just has more impact in most battles while only struggling with edge cases and intentional gotcha-type encounters.


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Norade wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Specialization tactics work great in ordinary battles and fail on other occassions. Versatile tactics work okay all the time. Specialization failure is more likely to kill the party than versatile underperforming when the specialists work great.

That's only true if the party were all specialized to face the same threats. I feel like what he's saying is that a party where each character does one thing, as well as PF2 allows for, will beat a party of generalists.

For example which of these parties would you rather face in open combat:

Fighter, Champion, Cleric, Druid, Bard

-or-

Swashbuckler, Monk, Oracle, Witch, Alchemist

I feel like the first team just has more impact in most battles while only struggling with edge cases and intentional gotcha-type encounters.

That's an unfair comparison and you know it.

- The Druid is a generalist if anyone is. It's just a particularly powerful one.
- The Witch isn't more of a generalist than any other caster. It's just the (often accepted as) weakest caster.
- The alchemist has design issues, and requires a very particular kind of player to run at full effectiveness.
- The Bard is generally accepted as being somewhat OP overall, and with good reason. It's also at least as much of a "generalist" as the witch is - it just has the "specialist" stuff added on top of that.

You're basically taking the five strongest classes you can find, comparing them to a selection of classes that are generally accepted as relatively weak and/or difficult to play, with no particular party synergy, and saying that that should be used to judge an entirely separate class that isn't any one of them.

Also, that "face in open combat" is pretty much exactly what @Mathmuse was talking about. Yes, the specialists (because the Champion, Fighter, and Cleric are specialists, and the Bard might as well be) do better when matched up into a synergystic team, "in open combat". That's pretty much exactly what they're specialized for. If high-difficulty open combat deathmatch is the thing that your campaign tests on, then yeah, a balanced party of "most powerful classes" and specialists is what will get that done for you. As stuff gets weirder, though, that gets less true.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Exocist wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

The summoner has none of this. The ability to use maneuvers that gets used on these forums way too often is insufficient. You can literally build a wizard with a 22 strength and Legendary in Athletics good at combat maneuvers if you felt like it. That means maneuvers are not a unique class ability, but an acquirable ability that any class can build for who wants to.

While you certainly can do this, the opportunity cost of 22 strength is high (putting your apex into strength instead of int), and you’d be extremely squishy, plus you’d be in melee meaning the multitude of reactions screw you. Also without quicken, the econ would be horrible - every round is athletics + cast, need to move and you can’t do one of these.

Summoner doesn’t have that issue. Trip+Electric Arc is only 2 actions for them. If they need to move, use tandem move.

An eidolon can also have 24 strength while the summoner doesn’t sacrifice the ability to have 24 cha.

Trip does no damage. You use electric arc doing d4 damage while engaging a trip. Then some other class comes up and does the real damage, often rolls high enough the flat-footed bonus is irrelevant, the creature is killed with minimal effect from your action. If the trip misses, you did even less.

And also you spent all your skill ups to get Legendary in Athletics so your Eidolon would be good at tripping, while you derive a lesser if any benefit from having Legendary in Athletics. It is highly unlikely you built up your strength on your summoner to take advantage of athletics since strength is an extremely low value statistic on a caster.

Most casters I construct focus more on dexterity with an increase in Acrobatics for escape maneuvers, stealth, and reflex saving throws. Dexterity is a much higher value statistic for a caster.

Given you will have only 3 Legendary skills by lvl 19, then having to spend the skill ups for Athletics that you will rarely if ever use just to make the Eidolon...

The efficiency of skills goes both ways. While your summoner itself might not be good at tripping, you have 2 stat arrays you're using. You have a 18 to start with for tripping as well as an 18 in cha for intimidating. It's spread a little thin but you're still effective while doing it. Going for athletics is probably best for plant eidolons though. I wish there was better charisma array that didn't start with crappy strength. Spreading demoralize is pretty nifty with act together and getting to demoralize a target twice.


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Also why does the beast eidolon get an intimidation ability but it's arrays both start with 10 charisma?


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
That's an unfair comparison and you know it.

Both parties should be expected to overcome the exact same challenges in PFS or AP-based play. So shouldn't they be able to use their unique strengths to do that?

Quote:
- The Druid is a generalist if anyone is. It's just a particularly powerful one.

Yeah, the Druid is in the generalist slot of the specialized party. There to solve issues that the rest of the group can't.

Quote:
- The Witch isn't more of a generalist than any other caster. It's just the (often accepted as) weakest caster.

Would you like a Wizard instead, does that meaningfully change anything for the party?

Quote:
- The alchemist has design issues, and requires a very particular kind of player to run at full effectiveness.

Isn't it supposed to be just as good as every other class? Shouldn't all those alchemical items be enough to push a party over the top?

Also, if you replace Alchemist with a Summoner does party-B actually get much better at solving challenges?

Quote:
- The Bard is generally accepted as being somewhat OP overall, and with good reason. It's also at least as much of a "generalist" as the witch is - it just has the "specialist" stuff added on top of that.

Bard is the specialist party buffer which is what people claim a well-played Alchemist does. Can the ultimate generalist not find a place even in the generalist party?

Quote:
You're basically taking the five strongest classes you can find, comparing them to a selection of classes that are generally accepted as relatively weak and/or difficult to play, with no particular party synergy, and saying that that should be used to judge an entirely separate class that isn't any one of them.

It's a party that might see play at DF's table versus one that probably wouldn't, presented as a generalist vs specialist problem.

Quote:
Also, that "face in open combat" is pretty much exactly what @Mathmuse was talking about. Yes, the specialists (because the Champion, Fighter, and Cleric are specialists, and the Bard might as well be) do better when matched up into a synergystic team, "in open combat". That's pretty much exactly what they're specialized...

So what types of problems can the second group solve easily enough to make up for being terrible in battle?


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Norade wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Specialization tactics work great in ordinary battles and fail on other occassions. Versatile tactics work okay all the time. Specialization failure is more likely to kill the party than versatile underperforming when the specialists work great.

That's only true if the party were all specialized to face the same threats. I feel like what he's saying is that a party where each character does one thing, as well as PF2 allows for, will beat a party of generalists.

For example which of these parties would you rather face in open combat:

Fighter, Champion, Cleric, Druid, Bard

-or-

Swashbuckler, Monk, Oracle, Witch, Alchemist

I feel like the first team just has more impact in most battles while only struggling with edge cases and intentional gotcha-type encounters.

Your comparison is off because you either only use specialists or generalists. A party full of specialists is very strong but lacks adaptability. A party full of generalists is adaptable but lacks efficiency. The ideal party is not composed of only one of these types, but of a mix of those.

The specialists are the backbone of the party, they are the ones creating the "optimal tactic": the tactic when everything is fine.
The generalists are there as support to the specialists in nominal conditions but they really shine when something completely unexpected or out of the specialists abilities arise. Their role is to handle what is out of the ordinary so the fight gets back to something simple that the specialists can handle easily.

Now, games like PF1 and DD3 were pushing to overspecialization. But PF2 values versatility way more so specialists and generalists all have their role to play.
I play a Chirurgeon Alchemist in PFS who's a skill monkey, healer, debuffer and damage dealer. Clearly, from pure numbers, there's no way I can be competitive. Still, I've played it far enough to be sure of her potency. It's just not the classical "look at my big numbers" potency, but the "I've done the action that tipped the fight" potency. A more opportunistic style of play, but I've dealt with so many tough situations that I know my character is not the fifth wheel of the coach.


If you're going for the "optimized party" I'd say swap the druid for a rogue.


aobst128 wrote:
If you're going for the "optimized party" I'd say swap the druid for a rogue.

I'm not sure skill use and conditional melee damage beat shapeshifting and the primal spell list. Plus the bard can fill that role well enough.


Norade wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Specialization tactics work great in ordinary battles and fail on other occassions. Versatile tactics work okay all the time. Specialization failure is more likely to kill the party than versatile underperforming when the specialists work great.

That's only true if the party were all specialized to face the same threats. I feel like what he's saying is that a party where each character does one thing, as well as PF2 allows for, will beat a party of generalists.

For example which of these parties would you rather face in open combat:

Fighter, Champion, Cleric, Druid, Bard

-or-

Swashbuckler, Monk, Oracle, Witch, Alchemist

I feel like the first team just has more impact in most battles while only struggling with edge cases and intentional gotcha-type encounters.

I think that second party has way more in terms of possible synergy optimization they can get ahold of.

One possible example team:

The Blazing Saddles

Swashbuckler - Gymnast Wrestler, focused on disruption and frontlining to set up the rest of the party. Can use things like One for All and Antagonize to be more effective as a frontline.

Monk - Stoked Flame ki build, secondary frontline+dps, focused on fire damage with Stoked Flame and Elemental Fist.

Oracle - Flame Oracle, sets up allies via Incendiary Aura and Seal Fate, plus blasts and support spells.

Witch - Any non-divine witch, takes Elemental Betrayal to hex any creature affected by Incendiary Aura.

Alchemist - Bomber, provides allies with Backfire Mantles then splashes Alchemist Fire all over that Incendiary Aura to burn the hell out of the enemies.

----------------

The first group is absolutely stronger in outright brawl where the builds are made in a vacuum, but if built for synergies, the second group definitely has a chance.


SuperBidi wrote:
Your comparison is off because you either only use specialists or generalists. A party full of specialists is very strong but lacks adaptability. A party full of generalists is adaptable but lacks efficiency. The ideal party is not composed of only one of these types, but of a mix of those.

So what does the first party fail at that the second party bypasses?

Quote:

The specialists are the backbone of the party, they are the ones creating the "optimal tactic": the tactic when everything is fine.

The generalists are there as support to the specialists in nominal conditions but they really shine when something completely unexpected or out of the specialists abilities arise. Their role is to handle what is out of the ordinary so the fight gets back to something simple that the specialists can handle easily.

Are you saying that the second party can't build around the mobility of the Monk and Swashbuckler with the other classes enabling that style of play? Or are paired mobile strikers not worth the cost of steady damage and always on combat boosters?

Quote:
I play a Chirurgeon Alchemist in PFS who's a skill monkey, healer, debuffer and damage dealer. Clearly, from pure numbers, there's no way I can be competitive. Still, I've played it far enough to be sure of her potency. It's just not the classical "look at my big numbers" potency, but the "I've done the action that tipped the fight" potency. A more opportunistic style of play, but I've dealt with so many tough situations that I know my character is not the fifth wheel of the coach.

How many of those situations couldn't have been solved by a 'better' class or negated entirely by another class not putting the group in a bad spot in the first place? I get the sense that often time the Alchemist winds up solving problems that it creates for the team.


Norade wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
If you're going for the "optimized party" I'd say swap the druid for a rogue.
I'm not sure skill use and conditional melee damage beat shapeshifting and the primal spell list. Plus the bard can fill that role well enough.

Well I'm looking at it like you have 2 martials and 3 spellcasters. 2 casters is plenty in my opinion. With 2 other melee characters, assuming the fighter and champion aren't archers, rogues conditional damage is usually the only condition. Plus, skills to compensate for whatever the party lacks. I'm partial to the archetypal 4 person fighter/rogue/cleric/wizard though.


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Norade wrote:
Both parties should be expected to overcome the exact same challenges in PFS or AP-based play. So shouldn't they be able to use their unique strengths to do that?

But... this has nothing to do with the question at hand. Mathmuse says "Specialists are really good at doing the thing they do, but they're a bit more brittle, and find it harder to handle the really weird encounters or step outside their comfort zones. Generalists reward creativity." Now, he was really pretty snide abotu it in a "look how much more awesome my party is than your party. Trolololo." way, especially given what he was responding to. (Deriven wasn't complaining htat they were useless - just noting some frustrations and pain points and trying to figure out reasonable solutions to them.) Then you say something like... "Hey! I have this hand-picked party of the best classes in the game, arranged in a good configuration. I'm going to call that the specialists. I have this other party that leans heavily into the classes that are generally accepted to be pretty weak or otherwise problematic - one that has no cohesion. I'm going to call that the generalists. Obviously if you agree that the 'specialist' party is better in their area of specialty than the 'generalist' party that your argument is broken and wrong." I mean, it doesn't work that way. Nobody is arguing that a Witch is more effective overall than a Bard. The only thing that people have been talking about is how well the Summoner fills a slot... and that didn't even make it into your example at all. I'm sure you could adjust your example to fit that, but "the Alchemist, Oracle, Witch and/or Wizard have issues" is not a particularly pertinent argument to make when what we're talking about is the Summoner.


And if you look, the "Summoner" (Eidolonist) fails at most of what it's supposed to be doing.

Does it summon monsters better? No, not really.

Does it have good martial power? No, the eidolon is quite meh even if you spent all your feats on it.

Does it have a lot of combat control? No, it lacks the spells or abilities for it outside of huge plant eidolon.

Does it have a ton of customization? No, all of that was straight up removed from the eidolon.

The only thing its good at is having two bodies in the field, and even that would be done better by other classes.


I think the martial wave caster chassis is pretty solid. It's not MAD and gets good action economy. I also really like the monster tactics you can get at 10th level. My main problem is the arrays you can choose from.

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