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I have found many summoner/eidolon classes. One kinda stuck out to me: is it balanced?

We are starting at level 1. Desired balance comparison is to the Wizard schools of Conjuration or Transumution. Comparison to Warlock 3 (Any Patron, Pack of the Chain)/ Wizard (Conjuration) 17 would also be of value.


The class description is quoted below, with the flavor text trimmed for length and with minor copyediting:

The Summoner

[...]

Class Features

As a Summoner you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d6 per Summoner level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + Constitution modifier per Summoner level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, scimitar, shortsword
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose 2 from Animal Handling, Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a scimitar or (b) any simple weapon or (c) a shortsword
  • (a) an arcane focus or (b) a component pouch
  • (a) a scholar's pack or (b) a monster hunter's pack
  • leather armor & a dagger

Table: The Summoner

The Summoner Table

Summoning House

As a summoner, you learned your abilities of conjuration from a magical house dedicated to summoning magic. Choose from the House of Necromancy, House of Marionettes, House of Forging, and the House of Madness. Your choice grants you features at 1st, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th levels.

Summoning

You are able to conjure up a being made out of pure magic, shaping it to your own will. As a 10-minute ritual, you may conjure up a new minion, choosing new traits and ability scores for it. If you already have a minion created in this way, you may conjure it as a 1-minute ritual. You may dismiss your minion as a bonus action. If your minion is killed, you may only conjure up a new one or summon it back after a long rest. If your minion is summoned after being dismissed instead of killed, it returns with the same amount of hit points it had beforehand. After taking a long rest, your minion is healed even if it was not summoned during the rest.

Base Minion

Your minion's starting ability scores are 16, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. They may be applied in any way. Your minion has the following traits:

  • Your minion can only take an action if you use your bonus action to command it to.
  • It cannot use its reaction unless you use your own reaction to command it to.
  • Your minion can speak all languages you know, and has the same alignment as you.
  • Your minion has a d8 hit die, and gains another die each time you level up in this class.
  • Your minion has 30 feet of walking speed, and its armor class is equal to 10 + its Dexterity modifier.
  • Whenever you gain the Ability Score Increase class feature from this class, you can increase two of your minion's scores by 1, or one by
    1. Your minion cannot gain feats.
  • Your minion has the same proficiency bonus as you do.
  • Your minion's creature type depends on your house.
  • Your minion can make a 1d6 bludgeoning damage melee weapon attack, which counts as an unarmed strike.
  • Your minion gains proficiency in all saving throws.

Minor Trait

Beginning at 2nd level, your minion gains one trait from the Minor Traits list, featured at the bottom of this page.

Spellcasting

Starting at 3rd level, your knowledge of conjuring up minions allows you to conjure up magical spells, as well.

Cantrips

At 3rd level, you know two cantrips of your choice from the summoner spell list. You learn additional summoner cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Summoner table.

Spell Slots

The Summoner table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these summoner spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know three 1st-level spells of your choice from the summoner spell list. The Spells Known column of the Summoner table shows when you learn more summoner spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the summoner spells you know and replace it with another spell from the summoner spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your summoner spells, since the power of your magic relies on your ability to project your will into the world. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a summoner spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell Save DC = 8 + your Proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell Attack modifier = your Proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a summoner spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell known. You don't need to have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus or component pouch as a spellcasting focus for your summoner spells.

Ability Score Increase

When you reach 4th level, and again at 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Lesser Trait

Beginning at 5th level, your minion gains one trait from the Lesser Traits list, featured at the bottom of this page.

Advanced Trait

Beginning at 9th level, your minion gains one trait from the Advanced Traits list, featured at the bottom of this page.

Expert Conjuration

Starting at 11th level, your conjuration skills have improved due to your constant hours of study. Any creatures you conjure, including your minion, have a bonus to their maximum hit points equal to your summoner level.

Rapid Summon

Starting at 13th level, you are able to summon creatures faster than normal. For any instances where it takes 1 hour or less to summon a creature, including your minion, you may instead summon them as an action.

Greater Trait

Beginning at 15th level, your minion gains one trait from the Greater Traits list, featured at the bottom of this page.

Concentrated Conjurer

At 17th level, your conjuration skills have focused your mind to be stronger than most. On saving throws to concentrate on a spell, you treat rolls of 9 or lower as 10.

Master Trait

At 20th level, your conjuration skills give your minion one final boon. Your minion gains one trait from the Master Traits list, featured at the bottom of this page.


Houses of Summoning

Each summoner comes from a distinctive house that taught them their ways of summoning magic. The houses typically affect what kinds of creature the summoner will conjure as their minion, as well as some other effects.


House of Necromancy

The House of Necromancy is one of the most well-known houses for summoners to come from, with many existing throughout the land. While many who come from this house have ill intentions, this is not true for all, as they may wield the might of the darkness and undead for good purposes, as well.

Necromancer

When you join this house at 1st level, your minion's creature type is undead, as you have more control over the dead than the living.

Manipulation of Death

Additionally at 1st level, your control of the dead allows your minion to shrug off fatal blows. When your minion is reduced to 0 hit points by any source of damage that isn't radiant or a critical hit, it may make a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 5 + the damage taken. On a success, your minion is reduced to 1 hit point, instead.

Dark Reaper

Beginning at 6th level, you gain the ability to bless an attack with the might of undeath. Once on each of your turns when you or your minion hits a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. When you reach 17th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Undead Subordinates

At 14th level, you gain the ability to conjure up the undead. You can cast animate dead, and it does not count towards your Spells Known. Additionally, they count as conjured creatures for any of your class features that are based on them.

Bone Lord

At 18th level, your magical reflexes are fast enough to raise the dead in a pinch. As a reaction to a creature within 15 feet of you being killed, you can raise their corpse as a skeleton, under your control. You may only have 3 skeletons under your control in this way and count as conjured creatures for any of your class features based on them. The skeletons go back to being corpses after 1 minute of being raised. Additionally, when an undead creature under your control is killed, the one that did the damage takes necrotic damage equal to half your summoner level + your Charisma modifier.


House of Marionettes

The House of Marionettes is a mysterious house of summoning, with its members commonly being referred to as puppeteers due to their skills in puppetry and their minions appearing like living puppets. Some of the most powerful puppeteers are known to be able to temporarily take control of other people, and use them like puppets.

Puppeteer

When you join this house at 1st level, your minion's creature type is construct, due to you manipulating it like a puppet master.

Pulled By Strings

Additionally at 1st level, you are able to control your minion in a more direct way. When you are within 30 feet of your minion, ethereal strings that are invisible to creatures without truesight appear from your hands, connected to your minion. As long as you are within 30 feet of your minion, it is unhindered by being blinded, incapacitated, paralyzed, or stunned, as you are directly controlling its movements with the strings.

Uncanny Stare

Beginning at 6th level, your minion is able to stare into the eyes of creatures, giving them immense fear. When you use your bonus action to command your minion to do an action, you may command it to glare in a direction. Creatures of your choice within a 30 foot cone originating from your minion must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC, being frightened of your minion for 1 minute on a failure. Creatures affected may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns. After using this feature, you must take a short or long rest before doing so again.

Change Location

At 14th level, you have the ability to instantly change positions with your minion. When you are within 30 feet of your minion, you may use your bonus action to instantly change positions with your minion. This can include through walls and ceilings, however you must have sight of your minion.

Puppet Master

At 18th level, you are able to temporarily turn those you face into your puppets. As an action, you may cast dominate monster on a creature, without a spell slot. The effect may only last for a maximum of 1 minute, and you may treat them as your minion for the purpose of your Change Location feature. After using this feature, you must take a long rest before doing so again.


House of Forging

The House of Forging is a house different from most other summoners; Instead of creating their minions magically, they build them by hand. Due to this process, their minions are typically stronger than most other minions, typically referred to as 'eidolons' by their creators.

Blacksmith

When you join this house at 1st level, your minion's creature type is construct, due to you hand-crafting them, and your minions are known as eidolons, and are created by hand. Due to their hand-crafting, they are more mighty than most other minions in their creation, giving them extra traits. Your eidolon gains an additional trait from the Minor Traits list.

Elemental Affinity

Additionally at 1st level, your eidolon gains affinity to an element. Choose one damage type from the following; fire, lightning, cold, acid. Your eidolon's weapon attacks may deal that damage type if you choose, and your eidolon gains resistance to that type.

Walking Armory

Beginning at 6th level, your eidolon has become accustomed to the tools of humanoids. Your eidolon gains proficiency in Light armor, and simple weapons, and, as a bonus action, may form a weapon it has proficiency with out of itself. Your eidolon gains an additional trait from the Lesser Traits list.

Traitbearer

At 14th level, your eidolon has become mighty enough to take on multiple traits. Your eidolon gains an additional trait from the Advanced Traits list.

Forge Royalty

At 18th level, your smithing skills have improved beyond most blacksmiths. You craft items at a rate of 150 gold pieces a day. You also ignore class, alignment, and race restriction for magic items, and may attune to an additional magic item. Your eidolon gains an additional trait from the Greater Trait list.


House of Madness

The House of Madness is a house feared for the instability of most of the members of it. They do not follow any laws involving how their minions are, typically creating beings of pure chaos. A famous member of this house created one beast known to strike fear into many; the Owlbear.

Creator

When you join this house at 1st level, your minion's creature type is monstrosity, due to you creating it out of combining other creatures.

Defend The Master

Additionally at 1st level, your minion knows its place as your guardian, and will lay down its life for you. When you are hit by an attack and your minion is within 10 feet of you, you may use your reaction for your minion to get in the way of the attack, hitting it instead.

Unstable Concoction

Beginning at 6th level, you are able to brew up an unstable potion and consume it. As an action, you may pull out an unstable potion that you have concocted, and either have yourself drink it or your minion. The one who drank it has their muscles increase in strength, but also has their insides burn, for 1 minute. At the start of the turn of whoever drank it, they take 1d8 irreducible acid damage, but each of their melee weapon attacks deal an additional 1d8 damage. You may end the effect early as a bonus action. After using this feature, you must take a short or long rest before using it again.

Maniacal Laughter

At 14th level, you gain the ability to temporarily gift yourself with magical insanity, causing you to cackle loudly. As an action, you may expend a spell slot to unleash a terrifying cacophony in a 30 foot sphere centered on yourself. Creatures of your choice within range must make a Wisdom saving throw, taking psychic damage equal to 2d8 per slot level on a failed save and being frightened for 1 minute on a failure, or half with no frightening on a success. If a creature is frightened, it may repeat the save at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.

Like Son Like Father

At 18th level, you are able to temporarily tap into what makes your minion so special, blessing yourself with it. As a bonus action, you are able to temporarily polymorph into your minion, for 1 minute. During this time, you take on all the statistics of your minion, aside from your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. After using this feature, you must take a long rest before using it again.


Traits

When you gain any of the Traits features, you may choose from the following traits to give your minion.

Minor Traits

Hardened Hide. Your minion's natural hide is thicker, scalier, or harder than normal. Its armor class is increased from 10 + its Dexterity modifier to 12 + its Dexterity modifier.
Basic Weapon Training. Your minion gains proficiency in simple weapons.
Stronger Strikes. Your minion gains better natural weapons, changing its unarmed strikes to deal 1d8 piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage, based on the new weapons. Your minion's unarmed strikes also count as magical. Your minion can use Dexterity or Strength for these attacks.

Lesser Traits

Extra Attack. Due to either an additional set of limbs, increased fighting knowledge, or heightened agility, when your minion is commanded to attack, it may attack twice instead of once.
Improved Reach. Your minion's arms elongate, its agility heightens, or it grows tentacles, and your minion's reach increases by 5 feet.
Advanced Weapon Training. Your minion gains proficiency in martial weapons.
Minor Magic. Your minion learns to cast one cantrip, and one 1st-level spell, both from the summoner spell list. It uses its Charisma modifier for the spellcasting ability, and must take a long rest before casting the 1st-level spell again.

Advanced Traits

Superior Strikes. Your minion's natural weapons improve further, growing stronger, harder, or sharper. Your minion's unarmed strikes now deal 1d12 piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. Your minion's unarmed strikes also count as magical. Your minion can use Dexterity or Strength for these attacks.
Energy Resistance. Your minion's body changes to gain resistance to some elements. Choose one damage type from acid, cold, lightning, fire, poison, or thunder. Your minion gains resistance to that damage type.
Blood Transfer. Your minion is able to channel pain through itself, to restore another creature's hit points. Your creature can choose to deal damage to itself to a cap equal to twice your summoner level, and restore the hit points of a creature within 5 feet of itself by the same amount.

Greater Traits

Colossus. Your minion's body increases in size in all dimensions, changing its size to Large. This functions like the enlarge/reduce spell.
Flying Behemoth. Your minion gains wings, jets, or some other way of flight, giving it 30 feet of flight speed.
Major Magic. Your minion learns to cast one cantrip, one 1st-level spell, one 2nd-level spell, and one 3rd-level spell, all from the summoner spell list. It uses its Charisma modifier for the spellcasting ability, casts the three spells at 3rd level, and can only use a spell once before it must take a long rest to use it again.
High Caliber Strikers. Your minion's natural weapons improve further, growing stronger, harder, or sharper. Your minion's unarmed strikes now deal 2d8 piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. Your minion's unarmed strikes also count as magical. Your minion can use Dexterity or Strength for these attacks.

Master Traits

Ultimate Strikes. Your minion's natural weapons reach their peak, growing stronger, harder, or sharper. Your minion's unarmed strikes now deal 2d12 piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. Your minion's unarmed strikes also count as magical. Your minion can use Dexterity or Strength for these attacks.
Armor Training. Your minion gains proficiency in light, medium, and heavy armor.
Energy Immunity. Choose one damage type from acid, cold, lightning, fire, poison, radiant, necrotic, psychic or thunder. Your minion gains immunity to that damage type.


Summoner Spell List

Cantrips

  • acid splash
  • chill touch
  • create bonfire
  • dancing lights
  • infestation
  • mage hand
  • poison spray
  • produce flame
  • thorn whip
  • thunderclap

1st Level

  • arms of hadar
  • create or destroy water
  • ensnaring strike
  • entangle
  • find familiar
  • fog cloud
  • grease
  • hail of thorns
  • ice knife
  • tenser's floating disk
  • unseen servant

2nd Level

  • cloud of daggers
  • dust devil
  • find steed
  • flaming sphere
  • healing spirit
  • maximilian's earthen grasp
  • misty step
  • pyrotechnics
  • rope trick
  • web

3rd Level

  • call lightning
  • conjure animals
  • conjure barrage
  • create food and water
  • hunger of hadar
  • sleet storm
  • spirit guardians
  • stinking cloud
  • summon lesser demons
  • thunder step
  • tidal wave

4th Level

  • conjure minor elementals
  • conjure woodland beings
  • dimension door
  • evard's black tentacles
  • find greater steed
  • grasping vine
  • guardian of faith
  • leomund's secret chest
  • mordenkain's faithful hound
  • summon greater demon
  • watery sphere

Multiclassing

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Summoner class, you must meet these prerequisites: Intelligence 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Summoner class, you gain the following proficiencies: light armor, simple weapons, scimitar

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    \$\begingroup\$ note to clear future possible confusion, we're starting a new campaign Friday, the previous character mentioned is not going to be used anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 28 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ this will be paired with the ratman race, another homebrew, another story \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 28 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Please edit any necessary clarifications into the question itself. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 29 at 4:30
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Almost

The class is fairly well written and shows signs of editing. Most of the problems left with it are stylistic textual errors any experienced player or GM will have no trouble correcting and the authors probably didn't notice existed (e.g "You can cast animate dead" but it needs to say "... and it is a Summoner spell for you", Major Magic should recharge when you take a long rest, not the minion, it should say you can only have one minion at a time, etc). The remaining serious issues I see are:

  • Forging is broken. You don't get proficiency with Smith's tools (or any other artisan's tools) and the class has no tool proficiency and that's dumb. More pertinently, the subclass gives you as many or more traits and abilities as any other subclass at every level.

  • The class is only balanced for 4d6 drop one stat play. Otherwise the minion's base stats are too good.

  • The minion has too many hit points. It's fine at low levels, but at high levels it will be a serious problem, especially since it gets them all back more or less every fight.

  • Blood Transfer can function as a ritual cure spell, which otherwise does not exist in 5e. This out-of-combat healing is beyond anything else seen in the system. This isn't necessarily a problem, since it helps the minion not outshine other frontliners in the party since they also heal to max between fights now, but that's still a problem for balance

  • Rapid Summon is a serious problem. You can summon a new minion with every action instead of taking 10 minutes. That means unless your minion dies in one round, you can restore it to full health if you want.

  • I'm guessing the minion moves as you direct with no action cost to you? That could definitely use stating.

  • You get extra ASIs. Those are for rogues and fighters, MAD classes with no inherent spellcasting. Why does this SAD class, which has inherent spells, get them? It shouldn't, and should instead have the normal 4/8/12/16/19 ASIs.

I think it should be fairly easy to solve these problems, though. The most important change I would make would be to make creating the minions expensive, so that players are incentivized to not reforge the minion into a completely new being after every fight. I would probably give each house a different cost, to help with the flavor of the minions being created in different ways:

Necromancers: 1 humanoid corpse per hit die. You can use beast corpses instead but it takes an hour instead of 10 minutes, and you can't use Rapid Summoning to lessen the time if you use Beast corpses.

Marionette: 10 lb/ hit die total of wood, clay, wax, and cheap dyes

Forge: 10 gp/ hit die of rare metals

Madness: two or more live beasts or monstrosities whose HD add to exactly the desired total. You can use dead beasts or monstrosities instead but the ritual takes 2d4 hours instead of 10 minutes.

The costs themselves are spitballed and should not be taken as serious suggestions. The point is that, by adding a non-trivial cost though not necessarily in gold, you limit the ability of summoners to use their summon as a freely replenishable bag of hp. They still can summon a new creature with 10 minutes of work and thus be awesome at summoning, they just have a reason to not do that all the time and to keep their minion alive and resummon it instead of a new one. This also fixes Rapid Summoning because the 10-minute timer is no longer the supposed balancing feature against creating a new minion.

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I don't think so.

The basic issue I see is that the minion seems too good. It gets radically more powerful as the Summoner progresses, is easily commanded, and can be replaced very quickly and easily with no penalty. It costs nothing to maintain. It seems very much like this class offers the ability to play with two PCs, subject to some restrictions, and the Summoner still gets access to quite a few other summoning spells.

The end result of that is that you get a minion that seriously outclasses anything that could be summoned by anyone else and which is effectively permanent. Its stats are not far distant from PC stats, and they grow with time. It's easy to use the minion in combat (you get a Bonus Action and Reaction every round, after all) while also retaining most of the Summoner's effectiveness, such as casting a spell, on that same turn. On top of all of that, the Summoner also gets quite a few spell slots to work with.

The ability to custom-craft one on a case-by-case basis from the available options means that you'll rarely, if ever, have a minion that isn't specialized for exactly what you need it to do. That already is a huge benefit over other summoners, which are restricted to existing entities with established stat blocks.

Abandoning the minion to draw fire and tank damage for a turn or two seems pretty valuable, since they are so easy to replace. The restrictions on re-summoning only after a long rest don't seem too restrictive to me, again mainly due to how useful and flexible the minion is.


Reviewing the Conjuration Wizard:

ASIs: The Conjuration Wizard gets 5, and the Summoner gets 7. Advantage, Summoner.

Class Features:

Summoning vs. Arcane Recovery: Arcane Recovery allows the Wizard to regain a few spell slots, and it gets better with more Wizard levels. That's nice, as Wizards use a lot of spells and that gives them more spell slots to use. Summoning gives a second character under the Summoner's control, roughly on par with a PC in basic stats. I'll call it a wash here, since higher level spell slots are very valuable.

Minor Trait: Minor trait is a big deal, improving AC by 20%, granting Simple Weapon Proficiency, or (the big one) changing 1d6 mundane bludgeoning damage to 1d8 magic damage in your choice of slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage. Granting magic to the minion's unarmed attacks alone is significant, especially at such a low level. And without a corresponding feature for the Wizard, the Summoner wins this one by default (even though it would be a very strong contender no matter what level 2 feature the Wizard might get).

Conjuration Savant vs. Lesser Trait: Conjuration Savant isn't amazing, only reducing the cost and time required to copy a spell into a spellbook. Lesser Trait is a bigger deal, as it grants the minion an extra attack, an extra five feet of reach, or spellcasting ability (one level 1 spell slot per long rest, plus a cantrip with unlimited uses). Conjuration Savant saves gold and downtime, while the Lesser Traits are all very useful in any combat. Advantage Summoner, by a mile.

Minor Conjuration vs. Advanced Trait: Minor Conjuration allows the Wizard to create a small, mundane object for up to an hour or until it takes any damage at all. Advanced Trait grants resistance to one elemental damage type, or allows some HP transfer, or increases unarmed minion damage to 1d12 while making those attacks magical and makes them slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing at your choice. Minor Conjuration can be useful here and there, but as with Lesser Traits the Advanced Traits are all a big help in combat. Advantage Summoner, by a mile.

Benign Transposition vs. Expert Conjuration: Teleporting is very handy in a lot of situations, even more so when you can switch places with a creature. Expert Conjuration boosts minion HP by the Summoner's level, which is helpful but can take a while (in terms of Summoner levels) to be much of a boost. I'd give this one to the Wizard.

Focused Conjuration vs. Rapid Summon: Focused Conjuration is awesome, completely preventing the Wizard from losing concentration on a Conjuration spell. Rapid Summon is pretty underwhelming with regard to the minion (which takes 10 minutes at most to summon), and is situational at best for other summons. But in those situations, Rapid Summon will be significant. Notably, the Summoner gets a feature similar to Focused Conjuration (but less good) trait at level 17. This one goes to the Wizard for sure.

Durable Summons vs. Greater Trait: Durable Summons gives conjured creatures 30 temporary HP, which is very nice. The temporary bit doesn't matter as much, since most summons don't stick around for all that long. Greater Trait, on the other hand, can make the minion Large, allow the minion to fly, grants a cantrip plus several spells and 3 level 3 spell slots, or increases the minion's unarmed damage to 2d8 (plus all the attack-enhancing features of the previous damage increase traits).

I don't know which I'd prefer, honestly, if it were just between these features alone. 30 HP is not a huge amount at level 14 (when the Wizard would get it), but it's still a meaningful amount. But given that the minion gains HP and ASIs anyways, it will almost certainly have 30+ extra HP as well as one of these traits, so I'll call this one in favor of the Summoner as well.

Spell Mastery vs. Concentrated Conjurer: Spell Mastery is awesome. Getting to cast your choice of one from each of your 1st and 2nd level spells without expending a slot is a big deal, and opens up a lot of options. Concentrated Conjurer is OK, protecting a concentration check from a roll below 10, but the Summoner doesn't depend so much on concentration spells as the Wizard does. For a level 17 feature, I think that it's underwhelming. Advantage Wizard.

Signature Spell vs. Master Trait: Tough call. Signature Spell is also awesome, granting free castings of two 3rd level spells and freeing up what are effectively bonus level 3 spell slots. Master Trait doesn't impress me, since the options are moderately increased damage dice for unarmed attacks or armor proficiency of choice. If the other damage-increasing traits were not taken for lower-level traits, then this one from Master Trait would be nice, but otherwise Signature Spell will win out every time.


So all of these explicit features may roughly balance out in terms of which class "wins" each comparison. I still feel that the Summoner is stronger, if only because it badly outstrips the Wizard in some categories it wins as compared with how much the Wizard gets out of the comparisons that it wins.

But there is a huge difference that isn't accounted for in those comparisons: the minion gets more HP every level (even if none of those features existed), and it gets ASIs, and the Summoner and minion both get more ASIs than the Wizard does. That's a pretty big deal, and is the basis for my comment (above) that the minion is essentially a second PC under the Summoner's control. And, of course, on top of those considerations the Summoner does get those class features.

It doesn't matter so much, in my view, that the Summoner gets fewer spells. The Summoner is not a spellcasting specialist, and so shouldn't be compared to a pure caster any more than a Spellsword should be. The Summoner is specialized around its minion, which is really, really strong. Again, as far as combat is concerned it's a second PC that's easy to customize on demand and basically free to replace if it dies.


Possible Fixes

The Summoner is overpowered, and a lot of that is due to the action economy implications of having an expendable, replaceable, PC-power-similar minion that can be commanded almost for free (an awful lot of turns don't see a Bonus Action or Reaction taken). Scaling that back might be helpful, and the Beastmaster Ranger specialization can give some examples of how that might be accomplished.

I also suggest calculating the CRs of the minion with different options and then limiting the minion by capping the maximum CR that can be created, possibly by Summoner level. That's more in line with how summoning spells in 5e normally work, and saves you from having to review every possible combination of minion features.

If you and your player are open to it, an agreement to adjust the Summoner during the game to address any problems you actually come across might be a good idea. As written it seems like a good base to work from, just needing some tweaks. There are a lot of things to try to balance ahead of any playtesting, enough to be a significant strain on a DM.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ remember, once it dies it requires a 10-minute ritual to resummon it, unconvential seeing as most of the martial abilities are on the minion. If it would die in combat you would need to find yourself 10 minutes, run, or relies on other, weaker summons, but there will be more multiple weaker ones... \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 28 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ another thing, as far as I see, most of the class features improve the minion not the summoner \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 28 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomDudeWithAKnife Those aren't really relevant to what I'm trying to describe. The minion is really good, and the Summoner can hold its own without it for a time (if needed). Ten minutes is no good in the middle of a fight, but trivial at any other time. And the actual time needed will often be one minute, assuming you want to re-summon a minion you've already designed. Losing the minion isn't too different from a Wizard running out of spell slots. As a solo character this Summoner might be a different story, but in a party of other PCs the Summoner won't be so at risk. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Jan 28 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, thats something that I will edit when I finalize my class and let my player use, summoning minion 10 minute ritual, designed or not, also, wizards have spells at 1st level, summoner doesn't get them until 3rd (not much of a difference though if you start at levels 3+) and the summoner is a 4/9th caster, wizard is full \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 28 at 23:30
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This class would be very hard to balance

There are three main points that worry me about this class, and I would be very skeptical of any attempt to balance them. Hit points and action economy are two concepts that are so fundamental to 5e that any attempt to balance features that modify them is hard. On top of that, there's the threat of multiclassing. If this class can be balanced, it's going to take a lot of play testing and experimenting.

Strange durability

The summoner has 1d6 HD and the eidolon has 1d8 HD. Balancing those against any normal class is going to be difficult to say the least. The summoner's net survivability is definitely significantly more than a wizard or sorcerer. It even rivals melee classes like fighter and barbarian, perhaps more so?

Worse still, any kind of control spell is half as effective since there are two targets, any kind of debuff or condition is nerfed against the summoner.

Strange action economy

The summoner can take an action, then as a bonus action instruct the eidolon to take an action. I don't think there are any other classes that can take 2 actions a turn like this. The summoner can cast a spell, then have the eidolon attack. There are all kinds of shenanigans that the summoner could pull off. Any attempt to search can be tried twice, any skill check can be tried twice, two readied actions can be made, guaranteed dedicated helper...

This departure from normal action economy would be a huge headache to balance.

Multiclassing terror

Many classes would benefit from a single level of summoner. A dedicated familiar, except better in every way. House of Madness greatly increases the survivability of anyone. Even if you are level 20, having that 'get out of jail free' card of Defend the Master to automatically dodge any attack is a huge boon.

Sidenote

I played several summoners in Pathfinder. The weakest most nerfed archetype was banned in society play. The stronger ones were parties on their own. Action economy is no joke.

Personally I would play this class, get spell casting on my eidolon, and then use find familiar on both myself and my eidolon. Now I have my own party of 4, how handy.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 2 things. 1. The things you can get via Find Familiar are basically animal companions. IIRC 2.Me and my friend play alone, so at any given time he would likely have a party of 4. \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 29 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomDudeWithAKnife That you're intending to use this class for a single player game might be worth editing into the question. Balance is already significantly affected by having only one PC, and there won't be other players at the table who might be upset at how overpowered the Summoner is. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Jan 29 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RandomDudeWithAKnife You should look at the rules for Find Familiar. It's a very powerful spell. Having a familiar basically gives you advantage on any skill check or attack, darkvision, blindsight, flying scouts, free watchmen. It's huge. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jan 29 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ In any case he would still be playing alone. \$\endgroup\$ – RandomDudeWithAKnife Jan 29 at 23:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RandomDudeWithAKnife Does balance really matter then? Balance has to be in reference to something. A normal party has several members, but if your friend is alone then if they play something overpowered you just ramp up the difficulty. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jan 29 at 23:43

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