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I have been working on a character concept and I am trying to figure out how some things work together.

What I am working on is a druid unchained summoner who is being allowed to use the Synthesist archetype from the original summoner (The question is pretty much the same if the original summoner was being used instead of unchained). My goal is to wear the Eidolon, and then wild shape to become even better. However I have discovered that the Eidolons evolution's are Ex/Su (not counting psychic magic).

Now the thing is, you are fused with the Eidolon, which means that all those wonderful evolutions you get to benefit from are not technically based on your original form. So for example you dont lose anything if you reincarnate.

Transmutation (Polymorph)

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

Now there are some which are clearly at conflict such as having extra limbs. I am not sure how these would work. Would your wild shape form have extra limbs or would wild shape remove them?

Is my thought process on the matter correct or have I missed something?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your concept wouldn't work for a reason unrelated to your question. Polymorph effects cause your gear and armor to meld with your body. While polymorphed, you lose all of the armor's abilities except for passive bonuses (excluding armor and shield bonuses). Since a synthesist must wear their eidolon like armor, this means you lose all of the eidolon's abilities while polymorphed. \$\endgroup\$ – Cyrad Sep 15 '17 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cyrad -- applying the ol' wild modifier to the armor in question would work around that, no? \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Sep 15 '17 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to be clear, you asked the GM if you could play a druid with an eidolon instead of an animal companion and the GM said yes? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 15 '17 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any reason to believe that the answer already provided to you isn't enough? While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 15 '17 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cyrad Since you are fused/melded with the Eidolon, not wearing. The archetype is very clear about this. You are not wearing it like armor, you become a single being. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 19:49
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There is no official clarification about wild shape and synthesist on the official FAQ. But we can read both abilities to check what we can understand out of them.

From the Synthesist's Eidolon ability we have:

While fused, the synthesist loses the benefits of his armor. He counts as both his original type and as an outsider for any effect related to type, whichever is worse for the synthesist. Spells such as banishment or dismissal work normally on the eidolon, but the synthesist is unaffected. Neither the synthesist nor his eidolon can be targeted separately, as they are fused into one creature. The synthesist and eidolon cannot take separate actions. While fused with his eidolon, the synthesist can use all of his own abilities and gear, except for his armor. In all other cases, this ability functions as the summoner’s normal eidolon ability (for example, the synthesist cannot use his summon monster ability while the eidolon is present).

And from Transmutation (Polymorph):

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. (...)

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

There are three things to point out here:

  • The synthesist and the eidolon are the same creature;
  • Your armor melds into your body;
  • You lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities;

From my understanding, neither the caster nor the eidolon can be targeted separately (except for the spells listed on the class), meaning that if you polymorph yourself (Beast Shape), your eidolon is also targeted by the spell, as you are one creature while merged. Spells that are personal or target: you still have a target (the caster) and affect both the eidolon and the synthesist as they are one creature.

Similarly, if the synthesist is targeted by a Baleful Polymorph spell, he shouldn't be able to simply ignore the spell effects by still having access to all of his eidolon attacks and abilities.

There is at least one FAQ item in favor of treating the eidolon as your armor, and thus make it meld into your body when polymorphed.

Summoner: Does a synthesist (page 80) keep any armor bonuses or other benefits from his armor when he is fused with his eidolon?

No. The eidolon is, in effect, the synthesist's armor, and any armor the synthesist wears does not function while the eidolon is present. Fortunately, this doesn't mean the synthesist has to remove his armor when wearing the eidolon, and when the eidolon is banished/dismissed/killed, the summoner's worn armor immediately begins functioning again.

And since a synthesist can still gain all benefits of magic effects cast upon him, like Invisibility or Shield, it would make little sense to rule it differently for polymorph spells when no exception is given by the class. There is another FAQ item explaining what happens to penalties and afflictions.

an invisible summoner isn't suddenly visible if his eidolon disappears, nor does he become invisible again if the duration ran out while the eidolon was gone.

In other words, if you change shape, your eidolon's abilities should disappear from your character.

On the other hand, if you happen to summon your eidolon, a class ability that doesn't sound to be dependant on form (but GM fiat is required here) after you wild shape, your eidolon wouldn't gain any benefits from your wild shape, as he wasn't present when you targeted yourself with it. Considering the fact that you use your eidolon physical ability scores, there would be no benefit from doing this.

The question of whether or not the eidolon evolution abilities could be used should also require a GM judgement call, as many of those are clearly dependant on form, like claws and extra limbs. Not to mention that your eidolon must be at least the same size as your character for the merging to work, which kind of beats the point of wild shaping into a larger creature. You would have to pick an eidolon form that is already large or huge so you can turn into a tiger or something larger, which would be a 4-point evolution per increment in size, not available at first level (8th for large, 13th for huge). Until then, you would be stuck with a medium eidolon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whats preventing me from wild shaping and then summoning my Eidolon? Wild shaped druids are capable of putting on suitable armor. I do admit that when I originally asked the question I was thinking of it with Eidolon first because it lasts as long as I am awake compared to hours. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I do not disagree that having the abilities banned from working together because they are so powerful does make sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ What type of ability allows you to summon the eidolon? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 15 '17 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are two, you can use the spell or the ritual. 2nd level spell with 1 round casting or 1 minute ritual. The spell has V,S,M components. There is nothing mentioned in the ritual for what it takes beyond time. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 21:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I failed to realize that being wild shape and then Eidolon would replace any physical ability score benefits from the wildshape (and also make you dependent on size). \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 16 '17 at 15:01
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This question actually has multiple components to it.

How to determine when Ex or Su abilities are dependant on original form when polymorphing?

Your race.

Your race generally determines your original form. The polymorph rules explicitly say that any non-polymorph modifications to your form from class features and similar options carry over to your polymorphed shape.

You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function.

The rules also make it clear that you lose any abilities gained from a part of your original anatomy.

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form.

Thus, we can conclude that you lose your race's natural attacks, movement, extraordinary, and supernatural abilities as well as any abilities that relied on your original form's anatomy.

As a synthesist summoner, do I keep my fused eidolon's abilities while I am polymorphed?

  • No, when polymorphed into an animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin.
  • Yes, when polymorphed into any other creature type.

The synthesist summoner's fused eidolon is essentially a symbiotic creature that functions as armor that must be worn to have any effect. The feature describes it as such.

A synthesist summons the essence of a powerful outsider to meld with his own being. The synthesist wears the eidolon like translucent, living armor. The eidolon mimics all of the synthesist’s movements, and the synthesist perceives through the eidolon’s senses and speaks through its voice, as the two are now one creature.

This FAQ confirms that the eidolon is functionally armor.

Summoner: Does a synthesist (page 80) keep any armor bonuses or other benefits from his armor when he is fused with his eidolon?

No. The eidolon is, in effect, the synthesist's armor, and any armor the synthesist wears does not function while the eidolon is present.

According to polymorph rules, your armor and gear meld into your body when you polymorph into an animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin. You lose all of your gear's abilities except for passive non-armor/non-shield bonuses.

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form.

Since the fused eidolon is armor, you will lose access to the eidolon's abilities while polymorphed into an animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin. You will only keep passive non-armor, non-shield bonuses.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What if I summon the Eidolon after wild shaping then? Its common for druids to have allies put barding on them for that form. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering That works, of course, but that doesn't really have to do with the shaping process. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 15 '17 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer When I first asked the question, since the Eidolon can remain all day, I figured it was more likely to summon it first, and then wild shape when needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 15 '17 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any wild shape, other than Goliath Druid archetype, that changes you into shapes that allow you keep your armor? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 15 '17 at 21:50

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