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Author Topic: Summoning Handbook  (Read 77209 times)
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chaos_redefined
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« on: February 26, 2011, 02:44:04 AM »

Ported over here from 339, since someone requested it in that thread and I check it every couple of months or so...

Summoner's Guide
This guide is designed to help people create a caster focused on summoning creatures to aid them both in combat and in social situations. I do appreciate that the best casters are generally good at lots of things, and focusing on one is suboptimal. However, focusing on one can be more enjoyable. Also, there are a large number of guides about which monster to summon. Because there are several different spells that can be used to summon, I will include links to some previous links, but will not be including them myself. This guide is intended to be useful regardless of your summonable creatures.

What has Come Before?

There have been several works on summoning done, but these have had most of the focus on the Summon Monster list. This guide focuses on other aspects, such as feats, prestige classes, tactics, etc… Previous work done includes:
Ready to Summon Monsters - A list of all the Summon Monster creatures, and all their statistics.
The Comprehensive Summoning Thread - Rather good, but also thoroughly outdated.
The 3.5 summon monster list - a list of popular creatures on the Summon Monster list.
Mastering the Summoned Monster - a comprehensive guide - a detailed listing of creatures that can be summoned with summon monster, and the reason that you may consider summoning them.
Best uses of Planar Ally/Binding? - As the title says, it's a list of what can be summoned with planar ally and planar binding. Didn't get too far, unfortunately.
Druid Handbook Revived - The only link that I have found that examines anything from the Summon Nature's Ally list.
Mastering the Malconvoker - Looks into the Malconvoker prestige class, which is a nice summoning prestige class.
The Conjurer's Handbook - not specifically about summoning, but if conjurer's are up there in the list of best summoners, and the occasional fog spell or what not can really help you out.
Legal 3.5 Summonable Monster List - List of all summonable creatures from MMIII, MMIV, MMV, and a bucketload of other books. Summon elemental Reserve Feat: Optimization Request - A list of uses for the summon elemental reserve feat, covering both in-combat and out-of-combat use. This feat is a major boost to your versatility, and is definitely worth looking at.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:07:09 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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Posts: 28


« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 02:44:55 AM »

Well, the main reason you might consider summoning is because you think it’s cool. If this isn’t the case, then summoning isn’t the best option for you. But obviously, summoning has to offer some advantage over other spells, right? Well, here are some:
  • Summoned creatures almost always work. There is no concern about saving throws, spell resistance, hitting allies, etc… You summon, and the creature starts bashing. Or whatever else it wishes to do.
  • Summoned creatures can take the hits your allies would be taking instead. This means that your healer is less strained; your tanks are less in danger, and so on.
  • Summoned creatures can die, and you won’t care that much. This means that you can send them to scout for traps and the like, and, if they die, you can summon another one.
  • Summoned creatures offer versatility. Depending on your opponent, different creatures might be helpful in different situations. For example, if your opponent flies, you would most likely summon an air elemental rather than an earth elemental, even though the air elemental is physically weaker. Also, there are a large number of spell-like abilities, even of the same level as the summon spell. The versatility available through this is very potent.
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chaos_redefined
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 02:45:57 AM »

There are a variety of options available for where you pull your spell lists from. I probably haven’t touched upon all of them here. But, in no particular order, the most common options for summoning include:
  • Wizard PHB: The wizard has a large number of variant class features available to it, allowing it to summon as a standard action, gaining augment summoning for free, etc…
  • Cleric PHB: The cleric is physically stronger than the wizard, and can wear armor. Since summoning is a full-round action, the ability to avoid some hits is exceptionally useful.
  • Druid PHB: The druid has natural spell + wildshape to help avoid being hit, spontaneous casting of summoning spells, allowing the preparation of other spells, and better summons, due to the greenbound feat. The druid is often considered the best summoner available.
  • Psion XPH: The psion is often considered a rather good summoner, comparable to the druid. While I consider the druid to be better, the psion is still rather effective. Unless requested, I am omitting psion-based feats and prestige classes from this guide.
  • Sorcerer PHB: Spontaneous version of a wizard. Doesn’t get the substitute levels to make it viable, except for some at high levels, but at this point, you are better prestiging out.
  • Favoured Soul CD: Spontaneous version of a cleric. Doesn’t get domains or anything similar, but it does still get the ability to wear armor. Domains don’t make that big a difference at higher levels, so this is a viable option for those who like spontaneous casting. However, at level 1, a cleric can get +3 to CL, which means an extra 3 rounds.
  • Spirit Shaman CD: Spontaneous version of a druid. Druids already get spontaneous casting of the summoning spells, but the spirit shaman also gets the spirit guide, who can focus on the concentration-based spells while you cast more. There is some belief that spirit shamans are better summoners than druids, based on the larger amounts of spells that can be cast per day, and the spirit guide’s ability to concentrate on spells. At the very least, it is a better caster.
  • Archivist HoH: Archivists have the option of learning any divine spell. So they can make use of spells like summon monster, planar ally spells, summon nature's ally spells, etc. They don't get any other class features, but SNA is good for the lower levels, and SM/planar ally is good at the higher levels.
  • Dread Necromancer HoH: Dread Necromancers make good summoners at the lower levels, due to the summon undead chain, however, since this chain stops at Summon Undead 5, they aren't as effective at later levels.
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chaos_redefined
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 02:46:35 AM »

Feats
There are many feats available to summoners, allowing them to improve the creatures summoned. There are several available only to those who summon using Summon Nature’s Ally, specifically Greenbound and Ashbound. If you are making a druid or spirit shaman who can use these feats, they are both exceptionally good. It is also important to point out that Greenbound and Rashemi feats are campaign specific and are broken. When I looked them up I realized that by RAI they're supposed to be DM's rewards to the players for doing something awesome. Talk to your DM if you want them!

General Feats
These are feats available to all summoners, and will always apply (or, in the case of Beckon the Frost, can be applied when appropriate at no cost).
  • Augment Summoning PHB: This is a must for any serious summoner. The only reason not to take it is if you get it for free somewhere else. (requires Spell Focus(Conjuration).)
  • Beckon the Frozen Frostburn: A small boost to the damage your summons deal, and the cold subtype. It is optional to use, which is very important when fire is about. Also note that the extra damage is ignored if the opponent has any noteworthy cold resistance. (requires Spell Focus(Conjuration) and Augment Summoning.)
  • Summon Elemental CM: The ability to spontaneously summon something as a standard action. Useful as a trap monkey, flank buddy, and a potential polymorph target. As written, these benefit from all your other Summoning Feats, however, you may wish to check with your DM. (requires the ability to cast 4th level spells.) (Thanks to BenSan for pointing out that, RAW, they benefit from your other summoning feats)
  • Extraordinary Concentration CV: There are a couple of nice summon spells that rely on concentration. The cream of the crop is Summon Elemental Monolith. The ability to summon one of these, and then cast another spell is exceptionally handy. Ideally, you want to get this to a swift action, since summoning spells generally involve full-round actions. (requires concentration 15 ranks.) Note: This is kind of weird. It specifies that you can't keep concentration on two spells at once, which would indicate that you can still cast another spell, but can't concentrate on it. However, in the SRD, it specifies that you can't cast a spell while concentrating on another. RAW, you shouldn't be able to cast another spell, but RAI might suggest otherwise. If going by RAI, keep it as blue. If going by RAW, it changes to red.
  • Rashemi Elemental Summoning UE: Makes your Earth Elementals and Air Elementals scarier. Summoning air elementals can now act as a blasting spell, thanks to the cone of colds. This can do considerably more than Meteor Swarm, the typical level 9 damage spell. (no prerequisites.)
  • Augment Elemental Magic of Eberron: Your summoned elementals get a +2 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls, and temporary HP equal to twice their HD. For combat purposes, this is basically a second Augment Summoning on your elementals. Easy prerequisites (a few ranks of K: Planes). Suggested by BenSan.
  • Dragonmarked Summoner Dragonmarked: Not really all that great, but it is a summon-enhancing feat. Summoned creatures get a small deflection bonus to AC based on the strength of your dragonmark. Very much Eberron-specific for obvious reasons. It's okay if you're already playing a dragonmarked character, but still not a top priority. Suggested by BenSan.
  • Demon Mastery Fiendish Codex I: +1 caster level for summoning demons, +2 to Charisma checks for planar binding and similar spells involving demons. Might be useful for Malconvokers. Or maybe not. Suggested by BenSan.
Metamagic Feats
There are several metamagic feats that boost summoning abilities. Most of these have low level adjustments, meaning you can still get decent summoned creature.
  • Imbued Summoning PHB II: +1 level adjustment to give a free buff spell. Unfortunately, buffs that work off enhancement bonuses (i.e. Bull’s Strength) if you have Augment Summoning. (although dex-based, and mental buffs still work) (requires Spell Focus(Conjuration) and Augment Summoning.)
  • Extend Spell PHB: +1 level adjustment to potentially carry the summoned creature into the next battle. (no prerequisites)
  • Rapid Spell CD: +1 level adjustment to summon as a standard action. (no prerequisites)
  • Sudden Maximize CA/Miniatures Handbook: Summon more of the lower list creatures. Usable 1/day. (requires any metamagic feat)
  • Metamagic School Focus CM: Reduces metamagic costs, as long as you stick to one school. How about conjuration? You will most likely meet the prereq of SF(Conj), since it is also a prereq for Augment Summoning. (requires Conjurer level 1 or Spell Focus(Conjuration))
  • Rapid Metamagic CM: For spontaneous casters who wish to summon with metamagic. (requires the ability to cast spontaneously, Spellcraft 12 ranks)
SNA-specific Feats These feats have the prerequisite of being able to spontaneously cast Summon Nature’s Ally. This is limited to druids and spirit shamans.
  • Greenbound LEoF: Makes animals that you summon a lot stronger, but you can’t use animal buffs on them. It is ridiculously good, until you get Animal Growth. At this point, greenbound is comparable to animal growthed summons. Once elementals start to appear Rashemi Elemental Summoning is superior. (requires the ability to spontaneously cast Summon Nature's Ally)
  • Ashbound ECS: A bonus to hit, and a free extend effect. Allows summons to be useful earlier on, and allows them to last into the next battle later on. This is marked so high because of the free extend effect, making a druid summoner useful a lot earlier. (requires the ability to spontaneously cast Summon Nature's Ally)
Arcane-specific Feats These feats have the prerequisite of being able to cast arcane spells. As a result, it is limited to wizards and sorcerers.
  • Arcane Thesis PHB II: All your metamagic feats involve a +1 level adjustment. This negates that. Only applies to one spell though. (requires the ability to cast arcane spells and 9 ranks in spellcraft)
  • Arcane Disciple CD: The summoning domain adds some very useful spells to your spell list. Sorcerers may be better off taking the Domain Access alternate class feature from Complete Champion. Allows qualification for the Thaumaturgist. (requires the ability to cast arcane spells, knowledge(Religion) 4 ranks, spellcraft 4 ranks, and an alignment that matches your deity's alignment. The only deity that has this as a suitable domain is Thritherion, who is Chaotic Good.) Thanks to Chando for this suggestion.
  • Infernal Sorcerer Heritage PHBII: +2 caster level for summoning evil outsiders. Can be taken at first level, but only by sorcerers. Suggested by Bonzai.
  • Celestial/Fiendish Summoning Specialist Planar Handbook: Work with your DM to find another creature to add to your summon lists. Note that you are limited to one set of heritage feats, so choose carefully. Suggested by Bonzai.
  • Nexus Method Dragon #319, lets a Wizard swap out non-Conjuration spells for a Summon Monster of the same level or lower. It's wizards-only, and you have to be from the Solnor Compact in Greyhawk (But that can be changed). Suggested by Taeldrin Laesrash
[size="4"]Domain-specific Feats[/size] These feats require a domain. As a result, they are pretty much exclusive to the cleric, although if you are using Complete Champion, a sorcerer can use them as well.
  • Domain Focus Complete Divine: Domain spells you cast have a +1 CL. A level 1 Cleric can end up with summons that last 4 rounds with this feat and the right domains. Thanks to Bonzai for suggesting this.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:04:31 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 02:47:46 AM »

Prestige Classes
There are a few prestige classes available for summoners; however, you may wish to just take a prestige class that boosts a caster’s abilities in general. The minimum level entry is the earliest level that you can take a level in this prestige class. For example, assuming the prerequisites are set up properly, a characters 6th level can be alienist.
  • Alienist CArc: Don’t do it. You give up the ability to summon a lot of rather nice things, such as elementals. In return, you get the psuedonatural template instead of the fiendish/celestial ones, and an extra slot. The slot is nice, but the templates are roughly equal. Minimum level entry: 6
  • Mindbender CArc: This is a 1-level dip only. The ability to telepathically command your summons without notifying your opponents what you’re doing is very helpful. Minimum level entry: 6
  • Master Specialist CMage: Rather nice bonuses. Combined with the Rapid Summoning from Unearthed Arcana, the last ability means 3 quickened summons per day. Also grants some extra hit points and makes them harder to dispel. Minimum level entry: 4
  • Wild Soul CMage: I haven’t tried this once, nor have I heard any opinions on it, but it adds some extra creatures to the Summon Monster list. One of these is the unicorn, which is a mini-cleric. So, it definitely has some use. Also allows the spontaneous casting of a bunch of spells, including Time Stop. minimum level entry: 6
  • Paragnostic Apostle CChamp: The Call of Worlds ability grants fast healing to your summons, and there are a few boosts to any buff spells you cast on them. minimum level entry: 6
  • Thaumaturgist DMG/SRD: Boosts summoning, and gives a planar cohort. Contingent Conjuration seems rather useful. Pretty much entirely for clerics. Minimum level entry: 8
  • Malconvoker CScou: Removes the restriction of what clerics can summon, and makes it easier to summon evil things with Planar Binding. Also provides extra fiendish creatures when you summon them. Minimum level entry: 6
  • Moonspeaker Races of Eberron: Offers some bonuses to druidic summoning, but gives up some wildshaping. Can be taken by clerics, but will require the Education feat or something similar to get past the prerequisites. Minimum level entry: 9
  • Shadowcraft Mage Races of Stone: This is a variation of the normal build. With the third level ability, you can emulate Conjuration(summoning), Conjuration(creation) and Evocation spells with certain spells such as silent image. Look at the shadowcraft mage handbook for more advice on this prestige class. Minimum level 8
  • Constructor link: Suggested by Tealgorthian, this prestige class gives additional forms for Astral Constructs to take, bonuses to their AC and features, and the ability to turn them, effectively, into visible unseen servants. Minimum entry level: 7
  • Fiendbinder Tome of Magic: Suggested by Klode-me, this prestige class allows you to summon from a small selection of demons. I'm not too sure how good the class actually is, so, all I can really do is link you to the handbook: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=709926. Minimum entry: 7.
Also, there are some prestige classes that add some summoning spells to your spell lists, such as the Hathran (Player's Guide to Faerun). However, other than this feature, they do not offer any benefit to your summoning powers. In some cases, they add spells not normally available to you. Hathran allows for Druidic and Arcane Thaumaturgists. Thanks to Chando for this point.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:00:53 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 02:48:45 AM »

Strategies
The most obvious way to use a summoned creature is to get it to attack the opponent. However, this is only one method, and several other methods take advantage of the sheer versatility available to a summoner. Also, summon spells are quite usable outside of combat.
  • Scry ‘n’ Die: Use some scouting method, either with a rogue looking ahead or a scrying spell. Figure out the weaknesses of whatever you will soon be facing. You can then plan according to those weaknesses. A lot of summonable creatures can take advantage of specific weaknesses quite easily.
  • Aiding/Flanking: Summoned creatures of sufficient size can aid another, or flank. Flank means rogues get sneak attack. Aid another means allies get bonuses to hit or bonuses to AC.
  • Skills/Spell-like Abilities: The skills of some summoned creatures will be helpful to the party, especially if a key member of the party is currently down. Also, a lot of higher-level summons have spell-like abilities, which may even be comparable to spells of that level.
  • Meat Shield/Trapmonkey: Summon something that can take a beating and let the party do other things while your enemies beat up on the summoned critter. In a similar vein, let the summons trigger all the traps, while your party walks through unscathed.
  • Grapple/Trip: A lot of summonable creatures are going to be big and have really good strength. This makes them excellent grapplers and trippers.
  • Polymorph: This opens up a much larger number of options. By summoning, say, a small elemental, you can then cast polymorph on it and turn it into another elemental with an ability that you want. If anyone can find some uses for this that are not mentioned below, mention them, and I’ll (eventually) add them. Currently no options have been submitted, and I haven’t found any.
  • Scouting: Summons can be used as scouts, if the spell has a long enough duration. Especially useful with the higher level spells that use concentration, but don’t offer a maximum length to the valid time. Chain of eyes or tongues, can help this immensely. It is highly beneficial to know Terran, Aquan, Ignan and/or Auran, as elementals often serve as good scouts, and being able to speak their language allows you to save a spell. A dip in Mindbender gets around this, though.
  • Transport: Even at lower levels, you can find some flying/swimming mounts that allow forms of transport that are otherwise unavailable to the party.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:00:21 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 02:49:21 AM »

What to summon?

There are a variety of creatures available to summon, and there are a large number of lists to choose from. Between Summon Monster, Summon Nature's Ally, Astral Construct, Summon Desert Ally, Summon Undead, Summon Swarm, and so on, the amount of possibilities of what you can summon is ridiculously large. So, rather than give individual lists, I have decided to include a list of what to look for. It is highly recommended to have sheets containing all the information about the individual summons. This will involve some additional paperwork, and some research before showing up.
  • High skills: These make great back-up rogues, or party nightwatchmen, or whatever else you need. The nightwatchmen thing has obvious limitations, due to the short duration of most summoning spells.
  • High Strength + Size bonuses: These make great grapplers, allowing them to easily remove opponents from combat. Ideally, these guys should also have large amounts of natural armor, and reasonable hit points, as they lose their dex while in a grapple.
  • High Strength + Large numbers of attacks: These make great damage-dealers. Once again, they should have reasonable armor and hit points, since they will probably take a few hits while they are on the field. Ideally, these creatures should have pounce, in case the opponent decides that he doesn't want to face them.
  • High Defensive Capabilities: These make excellent tanks to hide behind. Good constitution, good AC, damage reduction, energy resistance, etc… all help this role. The damage-dealing capabilities of these is less important, since they are designed to take damage, as opposed to dealing it.
  • Spell-like abilities and similar: Druids don’t get meteor swarm. Instead, they summon d3 storm elementals, and have them use their Thunder and Lightning ability. Similar, they don’t prepare any healing spells at level 4, instead they summon a unicorn. Spell-like abilities makes your summon spells a lot more versatile.
  • Any other unusual things: Earth Elementals have the earth glide ability. What’s the point of that, you might wonder… Well, an Earth Elemental can have a look through the dungeon wall to see what’s on the other side, come back, and tell you.
  • Large HD: Allows you to use the polymorph trick mentioned above.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:59:49 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 02:49:54 AM »

Alternate Class Features/Racial Substitution Levels

There are a large number of boosts for wizards that make him a reasonable summoner, and a few racial substitution levels available to druids that boost their summoning power. These abilities aren't necessary, but they do help.
  • Rapid Summoning UA: Summons as a standard action. It’s like rapid spell being applied to your summoning spells, but without the cost. Requires you to be a conjurer, and does not allow the immediate magic option from Player’s Handbook 2, since both require you to give up your familiar. Originally suggested by Bonzai.
  • Enhanced Summoning UA: Gain the augment summoning feat instead of the scribe scroll feat. Also give up the 5th level feat for a +2 boost to resist attempts to dispel your summons. You may prefer to take Master Specialist at level 4, since the gain at 5th isn’t entirely notable, especially since you gain a bigger bonus at Master Specialist 7. Requires you to be a conjurer.
  • Spontaneous Summoning UA: Allows you to give up a spell to cast a summon monster spell of a lower level. The lower level thing is kind of harsh, so you may prefer just to keep your extra spells. Requires you to be a conjurer, and give up your extra spell slot.
  • Focused Specialist CMag: Allows you to cast more spells per day. But, it requires you to give up another school. Depends on how comfortably you feel casting from fewer schools. Remember that you need Conjuration (for obvious reasons), Transmutation (for spells like haste), Abjuration (for dispel magic) and Divination (‘cause you can’t give it up anyway). That leaves Evocation, Illusion, Enchantment and Necromancy. You will want to keep either evocation or illusion, so you can cast contingency. If you give up 3 schools, you will probably have to give up enchantment and necromancy. The remaining one will be either illusion or evocation. Requires you to be a specialist mage. I suggest Conjurer.
  • Domain Access CChamp: You give up 1 spell known/spell level to gain access to a domain. You can only cast each domain spell once per day, but you still gain some different spells, as well as a boost to your caster level. Requires yo uto be a sorcerer.
  • Metamagic Specialist PH2: Gain the ability to cast metamagic on the run, without increasing the casting time. Limits on times/day, so the rapid metamagic feat might be preferable, but you only give up your familiar.
  • Immediate Magic PH2: While not related to summoning, this deserves special mention. The ability that a conjurer gets from this is very powerful, however, the ability to rapidly summon is often considered better for a summoner. You can only have one.
  • Beast Spirit Races of Eberron: Gains the ability to give a boost to a summoned creature as a move action, and the ability to summon as a standard action. Also gives a couple of other handy features. Only available to shifter druids. Costs you your animal companion though.
  • Augment Nature’s Allies Races of Destiny: Gain the effects of Augment Summoning. However, you don’t actually get Augment Summoning and it doesn’t stack with Augment Summoning. The feats have the advantage of acting as prerequisites for other feats. In any case, the fact that you lose 1 wildshape/day hurts until you have enough to last all day. If you are really worried, use one of the feat slots you saved to get Extra Wildshape. Only available to Half-orc druids.
  • Elemental Bond Races of Wild: You give up access to earth spells, but gain early access to air elementals. Earth elementals make great scouts, and great warriors, so the drawback can be pretty noteworthy, however, the early access to air elementals is probably worth it. Only available to raptoran clerics.
  • Elemental Bond Races of Stone: You give up the ability to summon elementals except the earth elemental, but moves the earth elemental up in the list. At higher levels, air elementals are the best fliers available, storm elementals can act as druidic meteor swarms, and water elementals are the best things to summon when you are underwater. If you are OK with sacrificing those abilities, than this ability is great. There are a few other creatures that he gives up, and a few other creatures that he gains access to, but these are the main ones. Only available to goliath druids.
  • Spontaneous Planar Summoning PlH: Effectively, you add the Summon Monster spells to your spell lists, in exchange for only being able to summon certain things off the list, and one 6th level spell known. This wouldn't be too bad, except there are better things to be doing than taking your 6th level of sorcerer, yet alone 13th. If it was back at 8th level, tops, then I would consider it, but as is, you give up too much from prestige classes to make this worthwhile. Only available to sorcerors.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:58:42 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2011, 02:50:19 AM »

Items
Elhonna's Brooch CC: Dirt cheap. Gives your summons +1 hp/HD. You must worship Elhonna.
Nature's Children CC: Dirt cheap. Gives you +1 CL for summoning. You must worship nature. Metamagic Rod of Extend Spell: Extend Spell is one of the best metamagic feats out there effectively double the power of your duration spells. This is especially true for summons.
Ring of Mighty Summons CM: 3/day, max hit points, but half duration. If your DM allows, use this to summon summon a bunch of smaller critters.
Ring of the Beast CC: Your Summon Nature's Ally spells are treated as one level higher (III as IV, for example).
Strand of Prayer Beads: If you're a divine caster, the Bead of Karma means +4 or +8 rounds to the duration of your summons.
Summoner's Totem MIC: This item makes Imbued Summoning PHB2 redundant. Although, while your DM may rule that Imbued Summoning copies the buff when you summon several smaller critters, Summoner's Totem explicitly states that it works only on single summoned creatures.
Worldmeet Glade CMag: This is actually a magical location, but it gives a large number of bonuses which stack with everything else.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:54:08 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 02:51:17 AM »

Builds
Conjurer 1 / Druid X Take Rapid Summoning and Enhanced Summoning alternate class features for the Conjurer, then just go regular Druid. RAW, this doesn't work, but you may be able to convince your DM. If you're allowed Precocious Apprentice trick then go...

Human Conjurer 1 / Druid 6 / Arcane Hierophant 10 / Mystic Theurge 3 and pick Precocious Apprentice and Education as your 1st level feats. Buy Summoner's Totem and surprise your enemies with invisible bears.

Conjurer 3/master specialist 4/thaumaturgist 4/malconvoker 9 These are generally the best prestige classes available for a conjurer. Saru has put this forward as a good balance between the multiple classes.

Cleric 7/ Skypledged 3/ Contemplative 1/ Skypledged +7/ Contemplative +2 http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13399678&postcount=75
Summons large amounts of rocs at higher levels, and has some suitable options at low levels. Focuses more on air elementals and birdies, so not for the type of campaign with low rooves.

Conjurer 3/master specialist 4/thaumaturgist 4/malconvoker 9 Posted by Saru. Hopefully self-explanatory. Conj 2/Sor 1/Conj +2/UM 10/Mast Spec 5 http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13367932&postcount=67 An attempt at using Ultimate Magus. This is probably not the best idea, but if people want to try and make an Ultimate Magus summoner, then here is a starting point. If people do try it, and it turns out to be good, please tell us. My opinion on this is entirely based on a theoretical standpoint. Although I would probably go Arcane Disciple (summoning) and Thaumaturgist instead of Master Specialist. You've already lost some CL from going UM, so malconvoker isn't so good.

Changeling Conjurer 3 / Master Specialist 4 / Recaster 5 (Races of Eberron) / Thaumaturgist 5 / Master Specialist 5-7 http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13520747&postcount=85 Uses Recaster to qualify for Thaumaturgist. And also gets nice little bonuses such as sudden extends and sudden maximizes. Definitely a good lead-in. Simple Moonspeaker Shifter Druid 8/Moonspeaker 12 -or- Shifter Druid 9/Moonspeaker 11 with Shifter Racial Sub and the Natural Bond feat to gain Rapid Summons for free http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14790361&postcount=134 Exchanges wildshape for better summoning abilities.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:56:02 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 02:51:50 AM »

Noteworthy Summons
I was originally avoiding talking about specific summons, since it begins to make the guide favor one style of caster over another. I already felt guilty about not giving psions any love. But, there seems to be some demand for it, so here goes.

Unicorn: This is a nice little mini-cleric, allowing you to cast a bunch of nice little healing spells when you need them. Appears on the Summon Nature's Ally IV list, and is added to the Summon Monster IV list by the Wild Soul prestige class.

Earth Elementals: As stated earlier, these guys can ignore walls, allowing you to find out what is going on behind that door without going there yourself. Requires the ability to speak Terran, or some form of Telepathy, or Chain of Eyes. This can also be used to search for hidden passages, pit traps, and to act as a nice surprise for the enemy. (Summon some Earth elementals, get them to earth glide to underneath the enemy, and pop out at the beginning of the fight.) Earth Elementals appear on the Summon Nature's Ally, and Summon Monster spell lists, at various levels. Thanks to Jason_Synder for the additional ideas on how to use them.

Creatures with large numbers of attacks: Jason_Synder suggests the use of these against Mirror Image using opponents. They make good summons anyway.

Fire Elementals: Allows you to attack wooden structures. Thanks to Jason_Synder for this idea. Fire Elementals appear on the Summon Nature's Ally and Summon Monster lists.

Pixies: Repeated, although weak, dispel magics. Best used on an opponents items, or against low-level casters. Appears on the Summon Nature's Ally VI list. Soltares puts forward the following advice: (Bold added by me)

Quote
Thoqqua particularly rock in any sort of underground adventure. Doors, walls, etc. become meaningless as your lava beasties burn a new tunnel straight to your objective. Want to modify terrain in a hurry (to make traps, escape chutes, prepare a massive cave-in?), they're the ones for the job. Plus they do some nice damage for their level, if you want to just throw them at mobs.


The Thoqqua appears on the Summon Nature's Ally III list. These guys speak common, so you don't need to worry about knowing their language. (Anything that doesn't have a language specified, and has an intelligence of 3 or greater knows common by default)

BenSan has been kind enough to go through all the books that list monsters, and provide this list. It is rather long, and he has mentioned that he will possibly go through and cut all the stuff out that is irrelevant at a later date
Quote from: BenSan;13177998
I gave all my sourcebooks a quick skim looking for monsters that are explicitly tagged as summonable with Summon Monster. Since I was looking mainly for things which bear further examination for spell-likes, I did not note animals which can be Fiendish/Celestialed (they only appear in PHB and Stormwrack, anyway) and since I was doing it for a binder I didn't take notes for Summon Nature's Ally. So, here it is. [sblock] PHB: SM2: Lemure (devil) SM3: Small elemental, Hell hound, dretch (demon) SM4: Lantern archon, mephit (any), yeth hound, howler SM5: Hound archon, medium elemental, achaierai, bearded devil, shadow mastiff SM6: Bralani eladrin, large elemental, janni, chaos beast, chain devil, xill SM7: Avoral guardinal, djinni, huge elemental, invisible stalker, red slaad, bone devil, babau demon SM8: Lillend, greater elemental, blue slaad, hellcat, vrock SM9: Couatl, leonal, elder elemental, green slaad, barbed devil, night hag, bebilith (demon), hezrou (demon) BoED: SMIII: Bariaur, Coure Eladrin, Musteval Guardinal SMIV: Cervidal Guardinal, Rhek SMV: Leskylor SMVI: Equinal SMVII: Asura, three-headed leskylor SMVIII: Hollyphant, lupinal guardinal, warden archon SMIX: Firre eladrin, moon dog, owl archon, quesar, sword archon, ursinal guardinal MM3: SMIV: Small storm elemental SMVI: Medium storm elemental SMVII: Arrow demon (replaces babau), large storm elemental SMVIII: Huge storm elemental SMIX: Greater storm elemental MM4: SMII: Clockwork Mender, Howler Wasp SMIII: Windrazor SMIV: Wrackspawn, Voor (yugoloth) SMV: Dwarf Ancestor SMVI: Inferno Spider, Corruptor of Fate (yugoloth) SMVII: Justice Archon Complete Arcane: SMIV: Elemental grue Fiend Folio: SMII: Kaorti, varoot (nerra) SMIII: Bacchae SMIV: Aoa droplet, Skulvyn (demon), bloodbag imp, euphoric imp, filth imp, kalareem (nerra), skeroloth (yugoloth) SMVI: Winged warrior formian. sillit (nerra), mud slaad SMVII: Movanic deva, armadon formian, ferrumach (rilmani) SMVIII: Maelephant, piscoloth (yugoloth) SMIX: Farastu (demodand), Wastrilith (demon), monadic deva, observer formian, cuprilach (rilmani) Ghostwalk: SMVI: Artaaglith (demon) [5th-level cleric casting, spell-like Animate Dead] Magic of Incarnum: SMVII: Souleater (replaces huge fiendish scorpion) Planar Handbook SMI: Elysian thrush (replaces celestial owl or monkey) SMII: Ur'Epona (replaces celestial riding dog) SMIV: Lesser nightmare (replaces fiendish dire wolf or hoowler) SMV: Energon (replaces medium elemental) SMVI: Elementite swarm (replaces large elemental) SMVII: Pack fiend (replaces Huge fiendish scorpion) SMVIII: Elsewhale (replaces celestial cachalot whale), Gaspar (replaces celestial triceratops or Colossal fiendish centipede), Limbo stalker (replaces blue slaad) SMIX: Unraveler (replaces green slaad) Anarchic, axiomatic, entropic, vivacious can replace celestial/fiendish Sandstorm: None specifically named, see below regarding: SMIV: Glass mephit, sulfur mephit Stormwrack: Several new animals to template SMVIII: Caller from the deeps (replaces greater elemental), echinoloth (yugoloth) (replaces blue slaad) [/sblock] Two special notes bear mentioning. First is that the PHB lists "mephit (any)", so while there are no new summons explicitly granted in Sandstorm, the new mephits may be summonable depending on DM. The other is that formians and imps were summonable in 3.0 but were removed from the list in revision. The result is that technically the odd variant formians and imps in Fiend Folio are summonable (because they are marked as such in their entries and were never reprinted without it) but normal formians and imps are not (because the only tag for them as such was in now-superceded 3.0 text.) Individual DMs may reasonably feel differently about this. On a personal note, I miss having formians on the list; as a result of their removal there are no core summonable LN monsters. It's my intention to give these a more leisurely trawling and mark up unusual or valuable abilities on these creatures, but I can't promise when.


Treantmonklvl20 points out that summoning a fiendish centipedes generally have more HD than other creatures of the same level. This is exceptionally handy with polymorph, allowing you to get, for example, a Bebelith with a 6th level spell and a 4th level spell. If you want to do it in the same round, you will need either Quicken Spell and an 8th level slot, or the Master Specialists 10th level ability.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:57:48 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 02:52:28 AM »

Summoning Spells There are many spells that can be used to summon creatures. This section will cover the noteworthy ones.
  • Summon Monster PHB: Summon Monster is the bread-and-butter spell for wizard/sorcerer/cleric summoners. With a nice range of versatility in what can be summoned, you will always be able to find something appropriate.
  • Summon Nature's Ally PHB: The bread-and-butter spell for druids and spirit shamans. Once again, you will generally find something useful on it.
  • Summon Desert AllySandstorm: A replacement for Summon Nature's Ally, these guys get nice little features such as a breath weapon, damage reduction, and all those nice construct traits. I personally prefer Summon Nature's Ally.
  • Summon Undead Spell Compendium: Only usable through low levels, since it stops at level 5, there are some useful critters on this list.
  • Conjure Ice Beast Frostburn: Converts any of the creatures from the Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally list into constructs. Has the annoying problem of being Conjuration(Creation), therefore not benefiting from all your nice feats, but still, a nice boost to have.
  • Summon Dire Hawk Races of the Wild: This doesn't have the versatility of other spells, however, it does have the nice feature of lasting for minutes/level. It is available to druids as a second level spell, and to clerics with the sky domain, as a second level domain spell.
  • Summon Swarm PHB: More powerful than most of the other 2nd level summon spells, but it does have duration concentration, so you expect it to be. Also, remember that you don't have direct control over the summon. However, it does have swarm traits, such as immunity to criticals, and being mindless, and immune to a fair few spells.
  • Summon Elemental Monolith Complete Arcane: Go look at the Elemental Monolith stats, then continue reading, because you would have already figured out why it's good. If the concentration is worrying you, then cast Sonorous Hum or be a spirit shaman. If your DM allows it, use extraordinary concentration.
  • Summon Elementite Swarm Planar Handbook: Summon Swarm, but make the swarm better, and make it listen to you.
  • Gate SRD: Summons whatever you need, almost. A lot more research required than for the other options, since you have a lot more options.
  • Planar Binding SRD: A very potent summoning spell, but you will need to do your homework before using it. This includes the lesser and greater versions as well.
  • Planar Ally SRD: Divine version of above. Once again, includes the lesser and greater versions. I do want to look into what to summon with these spells, since very little has been examined on the matter.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 02:58:11 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2011, 03:04:05 AM »

Quote from: snizor
Anyways, I've got a Raptoran Cleric/Skypledged summoner build for this thread that i've been working on for a while now.


Name: Flockmaster
Race: Raptoran
Build: Cleric 7/ Skypledged 3/ Contemplative 1/ Skypledged +7/ Contemplative +2

Feats:
1. Spell Focus: Conjuration,
3. Augment Summoning
6. Domain Sponteneity (Summoner)
9. Rashemi Elemental Summoning
12. Quicken Spell
15. Augment Elemental
18.

Racial Sub Levels/Alt. Class Features:
1st. Raptoran Cleric
1st. Spontaneous Domain Casting (Sky)
3rd. Raptoran Cleric
4th. Planar Cleric

Domains:
1st. Sky
1st. Summoner
11th. Windstorm

Design note:
1. I have a personal aversion to Divine Metamagic so DMM cheese is not present.
2. The planar Cleric sub level is completely unnessesary for the main point of the build
3. One must either have the Sky or Air domains in order to take the Raptoran racial sub levels, so I chose Sky.

Summoning Tactics:

Level 3: The Flockmaster begins to earn his name with the Summon Dire Hawk spell from the Sky domain. The benefits his spell has are: a duration in minutes/level, telepathic commands as a free action, and an overall strong form. A dire hawk is absolutly vicious at this level with Augment Summoning (42 hp, +9 attack, etc). You also never have to prepare this spell due to the Spontaneous Domain Casting alt. feature.

Level 6: Now you can spend turning attempts to spontaneously cast summon monster since this build isn't using them on DMM or similar. This advantage lasts for the majority of your carear, though weakens slightly when summoner domain gives planar ally/gate spells instead of summon monster X

Level 9: You're not so much of a flock master now as an Air Elemental master with Large Orglash Air Elementals from SM V. Air Elementals will now serve as the mainstream of your in-combat summoning life until, well..., forever

Level 17: This level gives us an out-of-combat summoning spell, Summon Devoted Roc, that allows for the creation of what I like to call a Flock o'Rocs. See, the spell has a duration of hours/level, which (along with a Greater Rod of Extend and Greater Consumptive Field) allows for summons that have a duration in excess of 48 hrs (60 with GCF and MM rod at lvl 20). The routine goes as follows:
Flockmaking
Day 1: Cast Summon Devoted Roc 3 times using a Greater Rod of Extend

24 hrs later: Repeat Step one

24 hrs later (48hrs used of original summon duration): Adventure with 6 Rocs at your side. I recommend using your Divine Spellpool to access Animal Growth

For those that prefer, Summoning can be switched for Planning to give you Extend Spell, a rather nice feat.  
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:23:59 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2011, 03:23:16 AM »

Quote from: Gakochun
Hello,

I was planning for a backup charakter, a summoner, when i stumbled onto this gem off a guide. Verry nice !

Human
Conj 2/Sor 1/Conj 2/UM 10/Mast Spec 5

Lvl 1 Rapid Summoning (UA)
Lvl 1 Enchanced Summoning (UA)
Lvl 1 Conjuration Specialist
Lvl 1 Focused Specialist (PHB II)
Lvl 1 Meta Magic School focus (conjuration) (Comp. Mage)
Lvl 1 Extend Spell (+1)
Lvl 3 Divine Companion (Comp. Champ)
Lvl 3 Practiced Spellcaster (sorc)
Lvl 6 Augement Elementals (eberon)
Lvl 9 Repeat Spell (+3)
Lvl 10 Open

Anny ideas ?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 03:25:06 AM by chaos_redefined » Logged
chaos_redefined
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2011, 03:24:37 AM »

Quote from: Cromulent
Build I'm looking at now:

Race: Changeling
Conjurer 3 / Master Specialist 4 / Recaster 5 (Races of Eberron) / Thaumaturgist 5 / Master Specialist 5-7

At Conjurer 1, take both the Rapid Summoning and Enhanced Summoning variants from UA. Thaumaturgist will eventually give you Augment Summoning for free as well, so if you're starting at high level, skip Enhanced Summoning.

You want to be at least character level 7 when you enter Recaster, so Master Specialist 4 is a great choice. The minor spell esoterica grants your summons bonus hit points, and you get GSF: Conjuration for free. You return later on to pick up the CL boost and the second esoterica, which makes your summons very difficult to dispel.

Recaster is a 4/5 progression class which grants you lots of instant metamagic options. You get the option to apply Extend and/or Maximize as sudden metamagic a couple times a day, which is great for summons. You can also shape spells, which can help keep your teammates out of your clouds (cloud spells are critical for Conjurers). Also important, if you can cast 5th level spells when you take Recaster 4, you can add lesser planar ally to your spell list for free, thus satisfying the pre-req for Thaumaturgist with no Domain Access gymnastics.

Thaumaturgist is great for reasons already discussed.

I'm wondering if this is an improvement over existing builds. You have to be a Changeling to take Recaster, so you lose Fire/Sun Elf racial benefits. You also lose a level of spell progression. But you get neat instant metamagic and shaping abilities, and you get access to Thaumaturgist for free.
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chaos_redefined
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2011, 03:26:04 AM »

Quote from: Yogo
The simple Moonspeaker-build should be added:

Shifter Druid 8/Moonspeaker 12
-or-
Shifter Druid 9/Moonspeaker 11 with Shifter Racial Sub and the Natural Bond feat to gain Rapid Summons for free

Pro's:
-Augment Summoning for free
-Extend Spell always applied, stacks with the Feat "Extend Spell"
-Gate and Planar Ally Spells added (the Moonspeaker 12 version)
-Extended SNA List
->Triton (Summoner, Swimmer)
->Bralani Eldarin (Defense, Spells)
->Nymph (Healer, Blinder)
->Lillend (Caster)
-Great Abilities overall

Con's:
-Loss of 4 Levels Wildshape

Imo one of the strongest summoners available.
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chaos_redefined
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 03:26:30 AM »

Reserved, in case something makes me want to add an extra post.
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 03:37:31 AM »

Damn, nice compilation. You blitzed it I see. Looking over it more thoroughly now and in the future.
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2011, 09:07:44 AM »

Meteor Swarm, the typical level 9 damage spell.
Umm...
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2011, 04:24:02 PM »

Meteor Swarm, the typical level 9 damage spell.
Umm...
The Air elementals get cone of cold 3/day. Dice-wise, that's capable of doing 45d6 of damage (over 3 rounds, mind you, and assuming HD is 15)
Meteor Storm does 4 spheres of 2d6+6d6, which deals 32d6 of damage in one spell.
It's a repost from 339, but by summoning a single air elemental and having it cone of cold constantly, you can get more mileage out of your spell compared to, say, Meteor Swarm. Summoning multiple elementals makes this even better, of course.

I'm pretty sure that's what that little note meant.
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