Welcome back to the continuation of the Secrets of Magic special review blog! If you missed the beginning, you can find it here! Yesterday, I read through all of the magus class feats. Today, we begin looking at the Summoner!
I really enjoyed playing a summoner in first edition. I had a couple of different builds that I tried out, but I was always partial to the Synthesis. Ever since second edition released, I have been curious to see how the summoner would work. If you happened to have read Groundbreaking much, you might remember that I wrote some canon for my Marathis’ Cradle involving a summoner and eidolon, and when I thought that the Advanced Player’s Guide would include a Summoner, I decided to write up my take on how an eidolon could work as a variant of an animal companion here and the Witch Patron for it here. I enjoyed building and playing eidolons during their playtest, and while I can’t remember specifics, I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait for the more refined, finished version. So, let’s dive in to see how it turned out.
Key ability of Charisma. 10 HP. Perception (T), Fortitude (E), Reflex (T), Will (E). Skills based on eidolon + 3 (and of course bonus from Int). Trained in Simple, Unarmed attacks, and Unarmored defense, and spell attacks and DCs for the tradition determined by your eidolon.
You are going to be very good at social encounters, but also very hardy … which is good, considering your lack of direct offense and defense options. Let’s hope your magic and eidolon pick up the slack!
Your eidolon is a powerful and otherworldly entity that you manifest through sheer force of will. This connection is also what powers your magic, and thus the tradition of your spells is determined by your choice of eidolon. While you choose a category, you do get to describe the specific details of its appearance. Your connection is so strong, that you both bear matching sigils; sigils that, when your eidolon is manifested, glow with such magic that they shine through any coverings for all to see.
Manifest Eidolon [A][A][A]
A concentrate and manipulate 3 action activity that brings your eidolon forth … and even lets it use a single action! If you become unconscious or further apart than 100 ft, your eidolon’s form dissolves and it must be manifested again.
The next couple sections about actions sorta confuses me.
Your eidolon is no mere minion. It doesn’t have the minion or summoned trait, and the two of you work together and coordinate your actions. You and your eidolon share your actions and multiple attack penalty. Each round, you can use any of your actions (including reactions and free actions) for yourself or your eidolon.
To me, this reads that you can choose which of you gets to use your actions (normal, free, or re), but then they give you the following:
Act Together [A] to [A][A][A] (usable once per round).
You and your eidolon act as one. Either you or your eidolon takes an action or activity using the same number of actions as Act Together, and the other takes a single action.
To me, this means one of you can do a 1, 2, or 3 action activity and the other one can then do a single action, thus providing up to 4 actions in a round. This is a great way to showcase the power of working in tandem … but what confuses me is that the examples only show one of them using a two action activity and the other using 1 action, for a total of 3 actions. Keeping the examples to 3 actions implies you can not get 4 actions, which means that you need this simply to split the actions between the two characters, which upends the way I read the original paragraph about sharing your actions.
That concern aside, you also get two separate exploration activities as well as constant telepathy, whether they are manifested or not, along with Share Senses. Share Senses is 1 action and lets you use your eidolon’s senses for up to a minute … or they can use it to get your senses.
The last bit they give you about your connection, is that you share a single pool of hit points. This explains the 10 for hit points! While hurting either of you depletes your HP, healing either of you replenishes it. Luckily, a single breath weapon only reduces your hit points once … although it does take the worst save between you. This opens up some interesting options for tanking (especially if you keep a cleric nearby).
Eidolons can only wear or use items with the eidolon trait, and can only invest in two items, however they can benefit from some of your items due to your shared connection:
- Item bonuses to Perception and skills
- Item bonuses to AC or saves from potency or resilient runes
- Property and fundamental runes of handwraps or an invested weapon.
I really like how this operates on a basic level, because it ensures that you aren’t chasing multiple sets of runes for offense and defense, thus keeping you from needing twice the loot of another player to maintain two characters.
Effects that alter your actions per round, from either or both of you, only affect your action pool once, using the worst of the present conditions. Luckily, one of you being immobilized doesn’t stop the other from using actions. Because you are the dominant of the pair, you can use all of the actions to avoid a confused or controlled eidolon from acting against you, however, if you become confused or controlled, you will use all of the actions to keep the eidolon from acting.
Due to your strong bond, you won’t get a full allotment of spell slots as a wizard, but the same slots as a magus (only the two highest spell levels you have access two, and max of 2 a day each). You can also replace most material components with somatic, thus you don’t need a material component pouch. Heightening and Cantrips work the same as always (and you always have 5 cantrips). You have a Spell Repertoire that is separate from your spells per day. Interestingly, you cap out at 5 spells in your repertoire, losing spells anytime you gain new ones during a level up. They specifically call out that you must always have a spell of your lowest available spell slot to ensure you don’t somehow end up with spell slots you can’t use, and I think it is a nice note for players that might not catch that little quirk of how their spells per day work. Your focus spells are called Link Spells and your refocus activity naturally involves reconnecting with your eidolon in some way, be it play, meditation, or simply
gossiping having a heart-to-heart. You start with the evolution surge link spell and the boost eidolon link cantrip.
Level Up Improvements
(ignoring standard level up features of all classes, such as class/skill/general feats)
1st- Evolution feat
3rd- Perception to Expert, Unlimited Signature Spells
5th- Eidolon Unarmed Strike to Expert
7th- Eidolon Ability (based on eidolon), Eidolon Unarmed Weapon Specialization
9th- Expert Spellcaster, Reflex to Expert
11th- Eidolon Unarmored to Expert, Simple Weapon Expertise, Fortitude to Master (success to crit success)
13th- Unarmored to Expert, Eidolon Unarmed Mastery, Weapon Specialization
15th- Greater Eidolon Specialization, Will to Master (success to crit success)
17th- Eidolon Ability (based on eidolon), Master Spellcaster
19th- Eidolon Unarmored to Master, Manifest as Single Action
It looks like the chassis of the summoner is pretty bare bones, relying on their spells, eidolon, and class feats to give them the flavor we all want. I think that lines up with most of our expectations, though.
Well, that rounds out the overview of the Summoner. Next up are all the Eidolons and I didn’t want to short them by tacking on to this post (nor did I want this to become a double sized post), so it looks like I will be giving an overview or a breakdown of them (depending on how they read and how much I have to say) before we get to the class feats. Thanks for reading along and, as always, please join us at our Discord server https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj to let me know what you think or to simply have a chat!