Iconic Design: The Devil We Summon

Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, I’ll be sharing an unchained summoner Iconic Design.

Welcome back as Know Direction’s One Hell of an August continues! One thing that I’ve always wanted to do on Iconic Design was an unchained summoner build (a class that I haven’t given nearly enough attention to). So August seemed like the perfect month to dive into the diabolical summoner! Let’s get started.

Build Concept

Here’s how we’re going to be building our Unchained Summoner.

  • Unchained Summoner: Duh.
  • Devil Eidolon: I thought hard about this one. “What eidolon to do?” So far, I’ve done two “anti-Hell” heroes for One Hell of an August, but no one that would be good to play IN Hell’s Vengeance, the second AP in Paizo’s Year of Cheliax. And the new eidolon has a devil subtype, so the choice seems pretty clear. Let’s get diabolical with some devil summoners!

And with that, time to summon some devils!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: summoner (unchained) 7
  • Feats: Spell Focus: conjuration (1st), Augment Summoning (3rd), Superior Summoning (5th), Extra Evolution (7th),
  • Abilities: cantrips, bonded senses, eidolon, life link, maker’s call, shield ally, summon monster IV
  • Eidolon Abilities: Base form (devil; claws, arms, legs), fire resistance evolution, skilled (Bluff) evolution, +4 saves vs. poison, acid resistance 10, cold resistance 10.
  • Eidolon Evolutions (6+1): improved damage: claws, tail, sting, grab, magic attacks, ANY 1.
  • Summoner 3rd-Level Spells (2): haste, fly
  • Summoner 2nd-Level Spells (4): invisibility, summon eidolon, fog cloud, barkskin
  • Summoner 1st-Level Spells (5): protection from good, shield, lesser, rejuvenate eidolon, mage armor, compel hostility
  • Summoner Cantrips (6): acid splash, arcane mark, detect magic, guidance, read magic, light

Aside from some minor rebalancing in the spell list, the summoner hasn’t changed much from the Advanced Player’s Guide to Pathfinder Unchained; there isn’t much to talk about here. Spell-wise, I decided to focus on summoning and buffing primarily, so most of my spells are things that enhance my eidolon in some manner. I especially like compel hostility on the spell list because I can force opponents to attack my scary devil eidolon (or whatever I’ve summoned) instead of me.

Most of the changes that are worth talking about come from the eidolon, however. The unchained eidolon must choose an outsider subtype, so for mine, I chose devil. Overall, the unchained eidolon gets fewer evolution points but gets a number of predefined special abilities to compensate. Overall, the unchained eidolon has more abilities, but a good number of them are thematically appropriate ones (like gaining a devil’s energy resistances) that aren’t always optimized choices.

So, the idea with this particular summoner is that he’s good at summoning minions and can summon his eidolon on the fly with the summon eidolon spell. He buffs and supports his eidolon with spells rather than enter the fray himself. Simple enough, right? Let’s move on!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: summoner (unchained) 14
  • Feats: Spell Focus: conjuration (1st), Augment Summoning (3rd), Superior Summoning (5th), Extra Evolution (7th), Extra Evolution (9th), Improved Share Spells (11th), Extra Evolution (13th)
  • Abilities: aspect, cantrips, bonded senses, eidolon, greater shield ally, life bond, life link, maker’s call, shield ally, summon monster VII, transposition
  • Eidolon Abilities: Base form (devil; claws, arms, legs), fire resistance evolution, skilled (Bluff) evolution, +4 saves vs. poison, acid resistance 10, cold resistance 10, skilled (Diplomacy), immunity: poison, DR 5/good, see in darkness.
  • Eidolon Evolutions (11+3): improved damage: claws, tail, sting, grab, magic attacks, rake, large, ANY 2.
  • Summoner 5th-Level Spells (3): teleport, hostile juxtaposition, dismissal
  • Summoner 4th-Level Spells (4): black tentacles, greater evolution surge, stoneskin, wall of ice/fire (your choice)
  • Summoner 3rd-Level Spells (5): haste, fly, heroism, stinking cloud
  • Summoner 2nd-Level Spells (6): invisibility, summon eidolon, fog cloud, barkskin, bull’s strength, spider climb
  • Summoner 1st-Level Spells (6): protection from good, shield, lesser, rejuvenate eidolon, mage armor, compel hostility, unfetter
  • Summoner Cantrips (6): acid splash, arcane mark, detect magic, guidance, read magic, light

One thing that’s very clear in building an unchained summoner is that the sheer expensiveness of the Large evolution is daunting, let alone the extra cost for the Huge evolution. Evolution points are a rare commodity, but on the plus side, a spellcasting type summoner doesn’t have much else to spend his feats on anyway.

I really like Improved Share Spells for how economical it makes spells like mage armor and protection from evil; spells that are good and last long enough that splitting the duration with your eidolon isn’t a big deal. Very good at saving spell slots and actions.

I don’t think this build is particularly complicated, although I’m sure I’ll get some comments about how I didn’t maximize my eidolon’s attacking potential. Don’t worry folks, I’ll survive the hate mail! Let’s move on to the end game.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: summoner (unchained) 20
  • Feats: Spell Focus: conjuration (1st), Augment Summoning (3rd), Superior Summoning (5th), Extra Evolution (7th), Extra Evolution (9th), Improved Share Spells (11th), Extra Evolution (13th), Extra Evolution (15th), FREE BEE (17th), FREE BEE (19th)
  • Abilities: aspect, cantrips, bonded senses, eidolon, greater shield ally, life bond, life link, maker’s call, shield ally, summon monster VII, transposition
  • Eidolon Abilities: Base form (devil; claws, arms, legs), fire resistance evolution, skilled (Bluff) evolution, +4 saves vs. poison, acid resistance 10, cold resistance 10, skilled (Diplomacy), immunity: poison, DR 5/good, see in darkness.
  • Eidolon Evolutions (11+3): improved damage: claws, tail, sting, grab, magic attacks, rake, large, ANY 2.
  • Summoner 6th-Level Spells (5): dimensional bounce, true seeing, acid fog, tar pool, whip of ants
  • Summoner 5th-Level Spells (5): teleport, hostile juxtaposition, dismissal, baleful polymorph, wall of stone
  • Summoner 4th-Level Spells (6): black tentacles, greater evolution surge, stoneskin, wall of ice/fire (your choice), greater invisibility, purified calling
  • Summoner 3rd-Level Spells (6): haste, fly, heroism, stinking cloud, restore eidolon, control summoned creature
  • Summoner 2nd-Level Spells (6): invisibility, summon eidolon, fog cloud, barkskin, bull’s strength, spider climb
  • Summoner 1st-Level Spells (6): protection from good, shield, lesser, rejuvenate eidolon, mage armor, compel hostility, unfetter
  • Summoner Cantrips (6): acid splash, arcane mark, detect magic, guidance, read magic, light

What? I really like the idea of a devilbound summoner whipping people with ants. Sue me.

And that’s all for this week’s installment of Iconic Design! What do you think? How does the unchained summoner stack up to the APG summoner? Do you think that the changes are warranted, even fun, or not? Why? GMs, which summoner do you use in your home game, if any? Leave me your comments below, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you next week as Know Direction’s One Hell of an August event continues! See you later. 😀

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

2 Comments

  1. I’m huge fan of the Summoner class and Unchained is….. thematic and fun, well made in the UC version. Admittedly I am a little spoiled by APG and the new fluff feels a bit too restrictive without more sybtypes.

    Your devil build looks pretty rad. Going for a bone devil vibe? My only concern is that Improved Damage Evolution is meant for each individual attack, not each type. May need to shuffle some points around.

    Also, I give the Skilled Evolution my highest recommendation to use the floating points. One of the strongest Evolutions and it survived the transition from APG just as strong as ever.

  2. I have a question, do you think this bui;ld could still work as described, or at least similarly, using the Devil Binder archetype for the Unchained Summoner just to add that little extra flavour?

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