Summoner, Variant (3.5e Class)

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Summoner[edit]

Summoning an underling to do your bidding has long been a favored trick of spellcasters everywhere. Nonetheless, summoning a creature is rarely the main focus of even a conjurer wizard, since so many powerful options are available. Not so with summoners: they've mastered the art of calling creatures from beyond the world to such an extent that their minions are the only tool they need. They call on races unheard of by lesser conjurers, and bolster their summons with ingenious specialties, in exchange for variability.

That's not to say a summoner can only summon creatures. Thanks to their focus, summoners can call on their servants even while wearing armor and wielding weaponry, allowing them to become warriors themselves and lead from the front. Few can stand the onslaught of an armored summoner smiting from the front while simultaneously being flanked by the summoner's varied minions. The exotic creatures a summoner can call on also allow them to fulfill more roles than just a monster factory.

Making a Summoner[edit]

A summoner can either support with their varied summons or take to the front, depending on feat and item choices. A summoner wearing heavy armor and shield can tank, while a two-hander wielder can be a damaging threat - and they don't need help flanking foes. Summoners themselves need a bit of support for survivability, and since they can't cast spells, a sorcerer or wizard is a godsend.

Abilities: Charisma provides a summoner with extra summon spells per day, but other than that, the choice of ability scores is yours. If you want survivability, go for Constitution and Dexterity; if you want to bring the hurt, Strength is important; and Intelligence is good for a skill-based summoner.

Races: Dwarves seem to have an unexplained love for summoning creatures - perhaps it has to do with the control inherent in the art. Most other races have summoners as well, and each race customizes their summons to their culture: elves go for animal and fey creatures, goblins love their vermin, and monstrous summoners often summon related beasts.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp (125 gp).

Starting Age: As wizard.

Table: The Summoner

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Summon per Day
Fort Ref Will I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Exotic summoning 3
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Summoner's knack 4
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Exotic summoning 5 3
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Summoner's knack 6 4
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Exotic summoning 7 5 3
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Summoner's knack 7 6 4
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Exotic summoning 8 7 5 2
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Summoner's knack 8 7 6 3
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Exotic summoning 9 8 7 4 2
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Summoner's knack 9 8 7 5 3
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Exotic summoning 9 8 6 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Summoner's knack 9 8 7 5 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Exotic summoning 9 7 6 4 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Summoner's knack 9 8 7 5 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Exotic summoning 8 7 6 3 1
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Summoner's knack 9 8 7 4 2
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Exotic summoning 9 8 7 5 3 1
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Summoner's knack 9 8 6 4 2
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Exotic summoning 9 8 7 5 3
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Summoner's knack 9 7 6 4

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (None) and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the summoner.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A summoner is proficient with all simple weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Summoning: A summoner is, as the name implies, a master of summoning creatures both mundane and magical to her aid. A summoner can use the summon monster family of spells at increasing power as they gain levels, starting with summon monster I at 1st level and working their way up from there. This is a (supernatural) ability that takes a standard action to use, does not provoke attacks of opportunity and has an effective caster level equal to your summoner level.

A summoner's daily allotment of summon monster spells is given on Table: The Summoner; ∞ on the table implies that the summoner can cast that level of summon monster as many times per day as she likes. In addition, she receives bonus summons per day if she has a high Charisma score, exactly as if she were a spellcaster and gained bonus spells per day.

Exotic Summoning (Ex): Summoners are far more varied with their minions than the average spellcaster: they can call on forces a sorcerer or wizard couldn't even dream of. At every odd-numbered level, a summoner can add an extra creature to the list of creatures of every level of summon monster she can use. For example, a summoner who reaches 5th level can add a creature to her summon monster I, summon monster II and summon monster III lists.

A creature to be added to a list can't have a CR greater than that spell's level. For example, you can add eight-headed hydra (a CR 7 creature) to your summon monster VII list, but not to your summon monster VI list.

Furthermore, you have to get approval for the creatures to be added from your DM. This is not to restrict your choices and tie you down, but rather in the interest of balance: repeat (even at-will) ability to summon creatures with certain abilities can be backbreaking to the integrity of a game. As a DM, be wary (although not automatically dismissive) of: instant-death abilities, powerful continuous abilities (gazes and the like), extremely strong spellcasting, and unconventional abilities easy to abuse - summon abilities don't count, since a summoned creature can't itself summon more creatures. Remember that the later levels can and should allow for strong creatures - just look at the couatl of summon monster IX.

If you have access to summon monster spells from sources other than the summoner class, the creatures added to your lists can be summoned with those spells as well.

Summoner's Knack (Ex): As masters of their trade, summoners bring forth creatures superior than their mundane counterparts. At every even-numbered level, a summoner can select one knack from the following list. All creatures he subsequently summons with summon monster spells and abilities (whether from this class or from other sources) gain that knack's benefits for the duration of the summoning effect.

Some knacks are level-restricted; the ones that are state so in their description. You can't gain the same knack twice unless the knack specifically states so.

Muscular: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Strength.

Agile: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Dexterity.

Stout: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Constitution.

Smart: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Intelligence.

Sagely: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Wisdom.

Graceful: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to Charisma.

Murderous: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a +2 bonus to damage rolls. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Tough: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect increases its natural armor bonus by +1. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Resistant: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Heavyweight: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains +5 hit points. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Liquidator: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect can make a sneak attack like a rogue, dealing an extra 1d6 points of damage whenever a foe is denied his or her Dexterity bonus, or when the creature is flanking. This stacks with any sneak attack the creature might already have. A summoner must be at least 4th level to gain this knack.

Blind-Fight: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains the Blind-Fight feat. A summoner must be at least 4th level to gain this knack.

Multiattack: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains the Multiattack feat, even if it doesn't meet the prerequisites. A summoner must be at least 4th level to gain this knack.

Fast: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +10 feet bonus to one of its movement modes. A summoner must be at least 6th level to gain this knack.

Potent: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect adds +2 to the DC for all saving throws against one special attack the creature possesses (you choose the ability). You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack. A summoner must be at least 6th level to gain this knack.

Improved Initiative: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains the Improved Initiative feat. A summoner must be at least 6th level to gain this knack.

Sorcerous: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect has its effective caster level for spells, supernatural abilities and spell-like abilities increased by 1. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack. A summoner must be at least 8th level to gain this knack.

Mauling: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect has the damage of one of its natural attacks increased by one step: 1d2 to 1d3 to 1d4 to 1d6 to 1d8 to 2d6 to 3d6 to 4d6 to 6d6 to 8d6 to 12d6. You can gain this knack multiple times. Each instance must affect a different type of natural attack. A summoner must be at least 8th level to gain this knack.

Impervious: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains damage reduction 5/magic. This doesn't stack with any damage resistance the creature might already have. A summoner must be at least 10th level to gain this knack.

Resilient: Choose acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic. Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains resistance 5 to that energy type. This doesn't stack with any energy resistance the creature might already have. You can gain this knack multiple times. Each time you take the knack, it applies to a different type of energy. A summoner must be at least 10th level to gain this knack.

Shielded: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains spell resistance 5 + that creature's HD. This doesn't stack with any spell resistance the creature might already have. A summoner must be at least 12th level to gain this knack.

Bound: Any attempts to dispel creatures you've conjured with any summon spell or effect has its DC increased by 10. A summoner must be at least 12th level to gain this knack.

Massive: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect changes its size category to the next larger one, if you so choose. This functions exactly as a enlarge person spell, but can't be dispelled. A summoner must be at least 14th level to gain this knack.

Miniscule: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect changes its size category to the next smaller one, if you so choose. This functions exactly as a reduce person spell, but can't be dispelled. A summoner must be at least 14th level to gain this knack.

Immune: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects). A summoner must be at least 16th level to gain this knack.

Undying: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect has fast healing 5. This doesn't stack with any fast healing the creature might already have. A summoner must be at least 16th level to gain this knack.

Epic Summoner[edit]

Table: The Epic Summoner

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
21st Exotic summoning
22nd Summoner's knack
23rd Exotic summoning
24th Summoner's knack, bonus feat
25th Exotic summoning
26th Summoner's knack
27th Exotic summoning
28th Summoner's knack, bonus feat
29th Exotic summoning
30th Summoner's knack

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Exotic Summoning: The summoner adds new creatures to his lists on every odd-numbered level (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th).

Summoner's Knack: The summoner adds a new knack to his creatures on every even-numbered level (22nd, 24th, 26th, 28th and 30th). Furthermore, a few extra knacks become available to a summoner on epic levels.

Brawny: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Strength.

Lithe: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Dexterity.

Corpulent: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Constitution.

Brilliant: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Intelligence.

Astute: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Wisdom.

Exquisite: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +4 bonus to Charisma.

Bloodhungry: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls and a +4 bonus to damage rolls. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Stalwart: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect increases its natural armor bonus by +2. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Impervious: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains a +2 bonus to all saving throws. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Enormous: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains +20 hit points. You can gain this knack multiple times. Its effects stack.

Awesome Blow: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect gains the Awesome Blow feat, even if it doesn't meet the prerequisites.

Augmented: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell or effect has one of its natural attacks threaten a critical hit on a natural attack roll of 18-20 and dealing triple damage on a successful critical hit. You can gain this knack multiple times. Each instance must affect a different type of natural attack.

Bonus Feats: The epic summoner gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic summoner bonus feats) every four levels after 20th.

Epic Summoner Bonus Feat List: Additional Magic Item Space, Energy Resistance, Epic Leadership, Epic Prowess, Epic Reputation, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Will, Great Charisma, Legendary Commander, Polyglot, Superior Initiative.

Dwarf Summoner Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Longspear, 5 javelins.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Bluff 4 Cha
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Handle Animal 4 Cha
Heal 4 Wis
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Use Magic Device 4 Cha

Feat: Spell Focus (conjuration).

Gear: Scale mail, backpack, waterskin, bedroll, three bags of caltrops, two vials of acid, 5 days worth of trail rations.

Gold: 4d4 gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Summoner[edit]

Religion: Summoners can be as religious as they want - the practice itself doesn't particularly draw or push someone away from faith. A prestigiously powerful (or just thoroughly deluded) summoner can think that they're a deity, seeing their ability to "create life from nothing" as proof. Those who summon creatures of the natural realm might worship nature gods, while an aberrant summoner seeks stranger powers to bow down to.

Other Classes: A summoner typically does one thing well, meaning they benefit immensely from a well-balanced adventuring group around them: quantity has a quality all its own, but a fire beetle just doesn't compare to a level-equivalent PC character.

Combat: Both the frontline and the back row are possible options for a summoner, depending on feats chosen and gear worn. A summoner can even (attempt to) be the group's main warrior, if they've got the money to spare. Just remember: your summons are your main ability, so use it at every opportunity.

Advancement: While the available summons improve by level, a summoner can quite easily multiclass into some other - perhaps more martial - role. It all depends on how much you want to concentrate on being the taskmaster and how much you want to lead by example.

Summoners in the World[edit]

Outnumbered? Gentlemen, I'm never outnumbered.
—Bellog Quint, gnome summoner

Thanks to the plethora of abilities a summoner can bring to bear through her underlings, a summoner can usually find gainful employment anywhere he goes. Just watch out for lands where the counjuring arts are seen as strange, scary, or even heretical.

Daily Life: Summoners gravitate to different lives depending on their personalities, histories and quirks. Some spend their entire lives secluded away in swamps, entertaining only guests they've summoned themselves; others live precarious, in-your-face lives in the hearts of metropolises. There is no norm for the summoner as a whole.

Organizations: Since the summoner has her art refined to a ridiculous extent, they rarely participate in arcane colleges or the like: the resident conjurers tend to view them poorly, and accuse them of choosing practice over theory. Some summoners have organizations or clubs of their own, and many cults see the abilities of a gifted summoner as important enough to coax into service.

NPC Reactions: Summoners who display their abilities openly face equal amounts of childlike wonder and envy-tinged fear. Those who can afford their services and are not afraid of strange beasts often seek to indulge summoners in the hopes that they can trust on their services later on.

Summoner Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research summoners to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (arcana)
DC Result
10 Summoners are a specialized variant of conjurer whose one single ability is conjuring powerful creatures.
15 Unlike other conjurers, a summoner can summon wave after wave of monsters. The most powerful never run out of minions.
20 Don't be surprised if you see a summoner call up a creature you've never seen summoned before: they specialize in exotic creatures.
25 Even a mundane-looking creature summoned by a summoner is likely to be stronger than others of its kind.

Summoners in the Game[edit]

As has been said before, summoners can fill a variety of roles. The class fits those who want to micromanage groups of creatures - as an aside, you should only have summoners in your game if your group is alright with the relative complexity that repeat summons can create.

Adaptation: If you want to further customize the class, you can create more focus summon lists as the basis of your summon monster abilities. Another option is to replace summon monster with summon nature's ally, or a similar line of spells.

Sample Encounter: Bellog Quint is not so much evil as he is disgustingly indifferent. To him, everyone is either a servant or an obstacle, and he's more than happy to remove obstacles using violence. He's currently residing in a small hamlet, the guard of which is utterly unable to so much as scratch him. He feasts on the hamlet's larders, sleeps with its maidens and pilfers its stockpiles, and intends to leave the moment he's sucked the place dry.

EL 9: Anyone who disagrees with Bellog's despicable abuse of the hamlet will have to face the gnome's gathered forces. The summoner is properly paranoid, having thwarted attempted assassinations before, and seeks to know of enemies before the fight. That way, his strongest summons are already up when the fight begins

CR 9

Male gnome summoner 9
NE Small Humanoid (gnome)
Init/Senses +/Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Common, Dwarf, Gnome, Undercommon
AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 22; +4 dodge bonus to AC against giants
(+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 shield, +9 armor)
hp 58 (9 HD)
Fort/Ref/Will +5/+6/+9
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee masterwork morningstar +8/+3 (1d8)
Base Atk/Grp +6/+2
Atk Options +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids
Abilities Str 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 14
SQ gnome traits
Feats Alertness, Augment Summoning, Iron Will, Spell Focus (conjuring)
Skills Bluff +14, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Knowledge (the planes) +14, Listen +3, Sense Motive +13, Spot +3, Use Magic Device +14
Possessions masterwork morningstar, +1 mithral full plate, masterwork heavy steel shield, potion of haste
Summoning (Su) Bellog can use summon monster I 9/day, summon monster II 8/day, summon monster III 7/day, summon monster IV 4/day, and summon monster V 2/day.
Exotic Summoning (Ex) Bellog has added the following creatures to his lists: ghoul, giant bee, grimlock, hyena and pseudodragon to summon monster I; choker, crocodile, homunculus and thoqqua to summon monster II; cockatrice, flamebrother salamander and shadow to summon monster III; minotaur and owlbear to summon monster IV; and wraith to summon monster V.
Summoner's Knack (Ex) Belloq has the following summoner's knacks: muscular, liquidator, potent, and mauling.

Belloq prefers to start fights with one or two wraiths already summoned, hiding within walls and ready to ambush foes. As soon as the fighting begins in earnest, Belloq conjures a big, beefy monster (usually a minotaur or an owlbear) to hold the front, then uses summon monster III to repeatedly summon 1d4+1 giant bees - he takes delight in seeing the creatures mass on a foe, sting them to poison them, and then drop dead.


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