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I found this summoner class on DMsGuild, and it seems like a fun, balanced class that fills an interesting niche.

Fluff

Summoner

Standing in the dry sand of the arena, a human trainer coaches his magical beasts for an upcoming friendly tournament. This year surely, shall he triumph against his rival and win the prized scroll of the Golden Spirit.

Called forth in a last-ditch gamble to defeat an evil enchanter, a yugoloth bursts from a fiery portal and requests upfront payment in exchange of its service. A red-robed halfling hands it a king’s ransom in gold, ordering the fiend to strike down their treacherous antagonist.

Looming over a complex hexagram, a scholarly dwarf recites esoteric incantations to conjure the spirit of her ancestor. Answers she calls for, regarding the location of the lost heirloom of her clan unbeknownst by all but her long-dead great-grandmother.

Summoners are magic-users that focus their study around the summoning of spirits of all kind. They do not limit themselves to arcane, divine, or primal magic, instead learning whichever is useful in their search of allies, which they find from throughout the multiverse, always careful never to lock themselves in a pact.

Callers of Mystical Spirits

Through the study of conjuration magic, a summoner relies on the strength of the summoned creatures belonging to other planes: ghosts, fairies, elemental minions, angelic beings, and fiendish beasts, giving the magic-user privileged access to a wide range of services.

Unlikely Adventurers

While summoners are less likely to be found traveling than other spellcasters, their expertise is always a boon for parties in search of supernatural assistance. Those few that do go on adventure attract to them guardian spirits that fight and do menial tasks in their stead, leaving the summoners to direct their own efforts toward strengthening their mystical servants.


Multiclassing

  • Ability Score Minimums: Int 13
  • Proficiencies: Calligrapher's tools, 1 skill from the summoner skill list.
  • Spell Slots: 2/3 of your summoner levels (rounded up)

Table: The Summoner


Creating a Summoner

Hit points

Hit Dice. 1d6 per summoner level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per summoner level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: None

Weapons: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows

Tools: Calligrapher's Tools

Languages: Any 3

Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom

Skills: Skills: Choose three from Arcana, History, Religion, Nature, Animal Handling, Insight, Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion.

Starting Equipment:

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

  • any simple weapon of your choice
  • your choice of a component pouch or an arcane focus
  • your choice of a scholar's pack or a priest's pack
  • calligrapher's tools

If you forgo this starting equipment, as well as the items offered by your background, you start with 4d4 × 10 gp to buy your equipment.


Class Features:

As a summoner, you gain the following class features, which are summarized in the Summoner table.

Spellcasting

1st-level summoner feature

You have studied the occult arts and learned to draw arcane and divine magic from the other planes of existence, giving you the ability to cast spells to conjure forth spirits and bend them to your will, as well as to assist you in that purpose. See chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting. The summoner’s spell list can be found below.

Cantrips (0-level spells)

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

When you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the summoner cantrips you know with another cantrip from the summoner’s spell list.

Preparing and Casting Spells

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

You prepare the list of summoner spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the summoner spell list. When you do so, choose a number of summoner spells equal to your Intelligence modifier + two-thirds your summoner level, rounded up. The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you are a 5th-level summoner, you have four 1st-level and three 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 14, your list of prepared spells can include five spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell unseen servant, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of summoner spells requires time spent memorizing true names and magical formulas: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Ritual Casting

You can cast a summoner spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

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

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your summoner spells; your understanding of the theory behind magic allows you to wield these spells with superior skill. You use your Intelligence whenever a summoner 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

Summoner Spell List

Here’s the list of spells you consult when you learn or prepare a summoner spell. The list is organized by spell level, not character level. Spells indicate whether they require concentration, are rituals, or summon creatures.

The book in which they can be found is also indicated (see How to Use this Document). The Mad Leper Presents ‒ The Summoner also contains new spells in its last chapter.

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Summoning Adept

1st-level summoner feature

You learn the bolster spirit cantrip and you always have the summon monster spell prepared. Neither count against the maximum number of cantrips you know or against the number of spells you can prepare.

Additionally, when casting a spell with material components that summons a creature, you halve the spell’s cost in gp. The same applies to the material components you provide when creating a spell scroll for such a spell, but not for the creation of the scroll itself.

Mystic Callings

2nd-level summoner feature

In your study of otherworldly lore, you have unveiled Mystic Callings, powerful enhancements to your summoning magic.

Callings Known

When you gain this feature, you learn two mystic callings of your choice, choosing from the “Mystic Callings” section at the end of the class’s description. You learn additional callings of your choice when you reach certain levels in this class, as shown in the Callings Known column of the Summoner table.

When you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the mystic callings you know with a new one.

As an action, you chant words of power and choose a creature within 30 feet that was summoned by you, imbuing the target with one of your mystic callings.

The creature remains imbued with the mystic calling until it is killed or unsummoned. You can end the calling early as a bonus action. It also counts as a spell-like effect and can be dispelled as such.

A summoned creature can only be imbued by a single mystic calling at a time. If you give it another calling, the former calling is dispelled.

Some mystic callings require creatures to make saving throws. The DC for those saves is the same as your spell save DC.

Summoner Discipline

3rd-level summoner feature

Choose a specific discipline to pursue: Binder, Collector, or Thaumaturgist, each of which is detailed after the class’s description. Your choice grants you features immediately and at 6th level, 10th level, and 14th level.

Ability Score Improvement

4th-level summoner featurea

When you reach 4th level and again at 8th, 12th, 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.

Withhold Summon

5th-level summoner feature

At 5th level, you gain the ability to shunt into a pocket dimension a summoned creature that is under your control and within 30 feet of you, as a bonus action.

While shunted away in that fashion, the target is incapacitated. It can breathe normally, doesn’t require sustenance, and can take a short or long rest, assuming it has sufficient time to do so. If the target was summoned through a spell, the spell’s duration is suspended until the creature is released.

As an action, you can release a shunted creature, making it reappear in an empty space within 30 feet of you. While there is no limit to the number of creatures you can shunt away with this feature, any concentration required must still be maintained. When you complete a long rest, for each of the creatures that are still shunted away, you must choose between expending anew the resource that was used to summon it or to lose the shunted creature. For example, if a creature was summoned using the summon monster spell by expending a 2nd-level spell slot, you must expend a 2nd-level spell slot at the end of the long rest to keep the creature shunted, or the spell is simply lost. The same applies for creatures summoned through other ways, such as with a class feature with a limited number of uses.

Sidebar: Concentration

Sustained Summon

11th-level summoner feature

Through stronger incantations, you increase the duration of your summons beyond their normal limit. The duration of your spells that summon creatures is doubled.

Enduring Summon

17th-level summoner feature

You learn to give greater durability to your summons. Whenever you summon a creature, you can immediately give it a number of temporary hit points equal to its number of hit dice + your Intelligence modifier.

Additionally, as an action, you can touch one of your summoned creatures to give it that same number of temporary hit points again.

Potent Summon

18th-level summoner feature

Your mastery over conjuration magic empowers your servants. Whenever you cast a spell that summons at least one creature, the spell is upcast as though you were using a spell slot of 1 level higher.

Mystic Guru

20th-level summoner feature

You gain the ability to replace one of your mystic callings for another one whenever you complete a long rest. If the calling was currently affecting one of your summons, that calling is immediately dispelled.

Additionally, whenever you summon a creature, you can immediately give it one of your mystic callings as part of the action used to summon it.


Subclass: Collector

Collector

Some summoners revel in accumulating an assortment of thralls in their service. Those summoners, sometimes known as collectors, allocate more of their studies to keep control over multiple summons at once through the use of advanced shunting conjuration. They also become adept at catching new minions through the use of a special ritual.

You fancy yourself a collector. You aim to become the best trainer of monsters by having the largest collection. After all, what are foes if not future allies?

Seize Control

3rd-level Collector feature

Your excellence at conjuration magic enables you to capture new spirits to add to your muster.

You can perform a special 1 hour ritual in the location of a creature’s death that occurred no more than 1 minute before the start of the ritual. In place of a dead creature, you can also target a creature indigenous to another plane of existence that is willing and remains within 5 feet of you for the duration of the ritual. Either way, the creature’s CR must be no higher than your proficiency bonus.

To accomplish the ritual, you also require special incense and candles consumed by the ritual and worth a number of gold pieces equal to 10 × the creature’s CR.

Once the ritual is complete, you gain the ability to call upon that creature’s spirit through a special use of your summon monster spell. When doing so, you ignore the CR limitation of that spell, but you can’t call upon that specific spirit until you complete a long rest. When summoned, the spirit uses its original stat block.

Training Expertise

3rd-level Collector feature

Your experience in training magical beasts has given you an edge with matters of improving relations with creatures of all sort.

You gain proficiency with two of the following skills: Animal Handling, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Deception.

Additionally, choose two of the above skills with which you are proficient. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen skills.

Finally, when serving as an instructor to a training creature (see rules for Downtime Activities from the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and/or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything), you reduce the required time for the training by a number of workweeks equal to your proficiency bonus.

With your DM’s approval, you can spend your own downtime training one of your summons to teach it skills appropriate to its capabilities.

Improved Shunt

6th-level Collector feature

You learn to use your dimensional shunting to free your mind for other endeavors.

You do not need to maintain concentration on summoned creatures while they are shunted into a pocket dimension using your Withhold Summon feature. Once you release such a summoned creature from its pocket dimension, however, you must start maintaining concentration again.

If a summoning spell provides you with more than one creature and at least one of them isn’t shunted into a pocket dimension, you have to maintain concentration on the spell. However, you gain the ability to shunt away any number of creatures summoned through the casting of a single spell as a bonus action, and to release any number of them as an action.

Throng of Allies

10th-level Collector feature

As an action, you can release at once all of the creatures that are currently shunted in a pocket dimension with your Withhold Summon and Improved Shunt features, without having to maintain concentration for any of them. However, each of the released creatures that would otherwise require concentration is then released at the end of its next turn, either freeing them or dispelling them as would normally be the case.

Masterful Shunt

14th-level Collector feature

Your mastery of pocket dimensions enables you to shunt away any willing creature, such as your allies, whether or not it was even summoned, using your Withhold Summon feature. Outside of your summons, you can only hold a number of creatures in this fashion up to your proficiency bonus and, if you die, they are lost in a random location of the astral plane.


Mystic Callings

Mystic Callings

Mystic callings are magical enhancements to summoning magic, imbuing your summoned creatures with additional traits and bonuses.

If a mystic calling has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the calling at the same time you meet its prerequisites. You can’t learn a calling more than once.

If a mystic calling specifies a type of target, a creature must first meet that criteria or attempts to imbue it with that mystic calling automatically fail.

Aegis of the Pantheon

Prerequisite: 15th-level summoner

The target gains resistance to 3 damage types of your choice.

Bulwark of the Conscript

Prerequisite: bolster spirit cantrip

When you cast bolster spirit on the target, you add your spellcasting ability modifier to the number of temporary hit points gained.

Composure of the Attendant

Prerequisite: bolster spirit cantrip

When you cast bolster spirit on the target, it gains a bonus to its next saving throw equal to your spellcasting ability modifier

Everlasting Life of the Immortal

Prerequisite: 15th-level summoner

Whenever the target is magically healed, it regains the maximum number of hit points possible instead of the result of any roll that would otherwise be made.

Footfall of the Colossus

Prerequisite: 9th-level summoner

Target: large or larger

The target can move through the space of any creature that is smaller than the target’s size. When it does so, creatures that aren’t its allies must succeed on a Strength saving throw or fall prone.

Form of the Specter

As an action, the target can become incorporeal until the end of its next turn, enabling it to move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 1d10 force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

Hand of the Devoted Custodian

Prerequisite: bolster spirit cantrip

When you cast bolster spirit on the target, you also receive the same amount of temporary hit points.

Hostility of the Enforcer

Prerequisite: bolster spirit cantrip

When you cast bolster spirit on the target, it gains a bonus to its next weapon attack roll equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

Mantle of the Avatar

Prerequisite: 9th-level summoner

Target: at least one size larger than you

As an action, you can touch the target to merge into its form. Until you leave it as an action, you are merged within the target and cannot take any other action, bonus action or reaction, with the exception of actions required to give orders to any of your summons. While you are merged in this fashion, you are invisible and invulnerable to all damage, and you share the target’s space. If the target is reduced to 0 hit points, you are immediately separated from it and any excess damage carries over to you.

Might of the Champion

The target adds a d4 to its melee weapon damage rolls.

This bonus damage die becomes a d8 when you reach 10th level in this class.

Mirage of the Impostor

A duplicate of the target appears, as if it was under the effects of the mirror image spell. This mystic calling ends if the duplicate is destroyed.

A second duplicate is created when you reach 10th level in this class, and the mystic calling only ends when both duplicates are destroyed.

Passageway of the Astral Seafarer

Prerequisite: 5th-level summoner, Collector feature

When using your Withhold Summon feature, you can shunt away or release the target on your turn without using an action or bonus action.

Respite of the Veteran

Prerequisite: 5th-level summoner, Collector feature

Whenever you shunt away the target using your Withhold Summon feature, it can immediately benefit from a short rest.

Shelter of the Cerebus

When you take damage from an attack while the target is within 5 feet of you, it can use its reaction and interpose itself to take half the damage you received, giving you resistance against the damage that triggered the reaction.

Talent of the Muse

The target gains a number of skill or tool proficiencies of your choice equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

Tides of the Legion

Prerequisite: Collector feature

Target: medium or smaller

Additional individuals of the target’s kind appear around it, moving in unison and turning it into a swarm of identical creatures. They collectively have the following traits:

  • The size of the swarm is two steps larger than the size of the target (tiny to medium, small to large, medium to huge).
  • The swarm’s hit dice and maximum hit points are multiplied by 4.
  • The swarm has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • The swarm has immunity against the charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, and stunned conditions.
  • The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.
  • The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a single individual of the swarm.
  • The swarm is able to make the same attacks, but the damage dice of its weapon attacks are increased by one size (maximum d12) and the reach of its melee weapon attacks is reduced to 0 ft.
  • As long as the swarm has more than half its maximum number of hit points, it adds one extra die to its weapon damage rolls.

Veil of the Ghost Hound

As an action, the target can become invisible until the end of its next turn.


Spells

Note: If the balance of these spells is questionable, notify me in the comments, and I can move it to a new questions

Bolster Spirit

Conjuration cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 30 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: 1 minute

Classes: cleric, druid, summoner, warlock, wizard

You recite a magical formula while pointing a finger toward a creature that was magically summoned through a spell, class feature, or creature trait. The target gains 1d4 temporary hit points. Remaining temporary hit points are lost at the end of the spell.

At Higher Levels. The temporary hit points given by this spell increase by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

Summon Monster

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 30 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Classes: summoner, wizard

You call forth a monster spirit. It manifests in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. This corporeal form uses the stat block of a creature of CR 1/2 or less. The DM has the creatures’ statistics.

The creature is an ally to you and your companions. In combat, the creature shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It obeys your verbal commands (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any, it takes the Dodge action and uses its move to avoid danger.

If the creature has any of the Spellcasting, Pact Magic, or Innate Spellcasting features, you must expend a spell slot of the appropriate level for any spell it casts, while it must also expends its limited uses or spell slots.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 2nd-level spell slot, you can summon a creature of CR 1 or less. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the CR increases by 1 for every two slot levels above the 2nd.


Balance Concerns:

Ideally, an answer to this question will use the following builds for comparison:

  • A Summoner (collector)
  • A Conjuration Wizard
  • A Lore Bard

I plan to offer a bounty (probably 100 rep) when I can, as this is a big question and anyone who answers this deserves a reward.

I only listed one subclass, per Thomas Markov's guidance.

The "Withhold summon" feature will probably increase the value the summoner gets from their spell slots by 50% (because the summons can be used for more combats than their durations will normally allow). However, this seems balanced, as summoners only get 2/3 of the spellcasting progression a full caster would get.

The mystic callings seem balanced, with the exception of Tides of the Legion. If there is a viable argument for why this is balanced compared to the other callings, please provide it.

Potent Summon is powerful, but so is Spell Mastery, which a wizard would get at the same level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For clarity, there is no limit to how many times the character can perform Mystic Callings per day (or between long rests) -- am I reading that correctly? \$\endgroup\$
    – Valley Lad
    Commented May 23 at 8:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad Yes, you are. The limit is 1 calling per creature, but the summoner can apply them as many times as they'd like. \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Commented May 23 at 14:23

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