Summoners – Specialist Sorcerors with a party of their own

Summoners – Specialist Sorcerers with a party of their own

Introduction

There are multiple guides for Summoners out there.  If you’re looking for a standard Eidolon-buffing summoner, The Summoner’s Handbook is very well made.  For melee Targ’s Tag Team takes the prize.  And the Synthesist has its own guide.  This guide to playing the Summoner as a Sorcerer is something else, and is designed to go with Why work when others can do it for you? and with Summoning Information – A guide to an alternate Eidolon

Note that this guide deals with the classic Summoner and doesn’t handle the Unchained Summoner.

Introduction

Building your Summoner

Race and Skills

Summoning Monster and Building Eidolons

Feats

Mandatory Core Feats

Really useful core/APG feats

Incredibly useful non-core feats

Other useful feats

Spells

0th level Spells

Best Cantrips

Good Cantrips

You wish you had (Cantrips)

1st level Spells

Best 1st Level Spells

Good 1st Level Spells

You wish you had

2nd level Spells

Best 2nd Level Spells

Good 2nd Level Spells

You wish you had

3rd level Spells

Best 3rd Level Spells

Good 3rd Level Spells

You wish you had (L3/4)

4th level Spells

Best 4th Level Spells

Good 4th Level Spells

You wish you had (L5)

5th level Spells

Best 5th Level Spells

Good 5th Level Spells

You wish you had (L6/7)

6th level Spells

Best 6th Level Spells

Good 6th Level Spells

You wish you had (L8)

Appendix: Discounted Summoner Spells

1st level Summoner spells

2nd level Summoner spells

Core 3rd level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 3rd level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

3rd level Summoner spells

Core 4th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 4th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

4th level Summoner spells

Core 5th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 5th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer Spells:

5th level Summoner spells

Core 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Core 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

6th level Summoner spells

Core 8th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Core 9th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Other 8th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Appendix B: Eidolon-less Summoner vs Sorceror

The superficial case for the Sorcerer

The Sorcerer gets higher level spells

The Summoner lacks important spells

The Summoner has limited choices

So why is the Summoner stronger?

Even numbered levels – the Sorcerer is inflexible.

Odd numbered levels – the Sorcerer lacks power

Endurance and the Sorcerer’s and Summoner’s reserves

On the other hand neither is Tier 1

Building your Summoner

Most guides for playing a Summoner recommend building round the Eidolon and using your spells to buff your Eidolon into a mincing machine.  That is a method that undeniably works and works well.  But it’s far from the only method – if I’m being snarky, orthodox sorcerers have companions they can buff like an Eidolon – but they normally only do that in limited doses.  And if you play a Summoner like a sorcerer you have a character with more endurance (it’s very hard to run out of your Summon Monster X ability – which often either matches or exceeds the sorcerer’s best spell) and the rest of your spells are about a match for their choices.  And you can still use the Eidolon for Summoning Information – or build the Eidolon as normal and simply keep your monster summoning in reserve for really long battles.

If you choose the Summoner as Sorcerer approach you are going to fall behind at level 18 or so; you can’t match ninth level spells.  

But whatever you do, prepare in advance (the linked guide helps) and have the statblocks of all the monsters you wish to summon to hand.  The normally excellent d20pfsrd doesn’t normally calculate the 1.5*Str damage for Augment Summons for monsters with single attacks, so it’s not entirely reliable. And there’s nothing worse than stopping the game to look up your monster.  Also please don’t use the Master Summoner archetype – it’s serious overkill and you don’t need it in any sort of friendly game.

Race and Skills

Your race is a simple choice.  Anything with Charisma works well.  Anything without is average, and penalties are bad.  Humans have the edge at first level; Augment Summoning is extremely useful, and although there aren’t many Summoner feats they are all very useful.

For skills, Use Magic Device is as great as ever and Speak Language is useful if you want to communicate with all your summons rather than just using them to hit things.  For the rest, do what you can – or use your Eidolon.  Spellcraft’s fairly useful – and you need a lot of it if you are going the Spell Perfection route.

Summoning Monster and Building Eidolons

Both of these are big subjects and handled in separate guides.  I’ve an entire Monster Summoning Guide and a guide on using the Eidolon as a scout which work with the approach recommended in this guide.  Be sure to study your summons, and know where they can cover your lack of spells.  And prepare what you need so there’s little looking up in play.

Feats

Feats I’ll break down by category for their priority rather than the normal rating system; Summoners are already a focussed build, and there are quite startlingly few feats that are actually any use for a Sorcerer, never mind a summoner.

Mandatory Core Feats

If you don’t take these when you can, you aren’t trying.

The first is a prerequisite for the second.  The second is so incredibly useful  that there is no good reason to not take it.. (And Augment Summoning definitely works with the Summon Monster SLA)

Really useful core/APG feats

These aren’t so central to the build as the first two feats.  But if you’ve got the feats to play with they are really useful.

Incredibly useful non-core feats

  • Superior Summoning (Ultimate Magic).  When you summon more than one, summon more.  The more monsters the merrier.

  • Summon Good Monster (Champions of Purity).  Add some really good summons for both power and utility to your summoning list.

  • Summon Neutral Monster (Champions of Balance).  Not as good as Summon Good Monster but if you aren’t good, it’s still a good feat. You can only have one.

  • Evolved Summoned Monster (Advanced Class Guide).  Now your summoned monsters gain Evolution Points.  This plays into the core strength of the summoner – inventing solutions on the fly.  Extra attacks are always good.  You can take this feat an unlimited number of times and there is a school of thought that says that after Augment Summons, and Summon Good Monster (and possibly Superior Summons) you stock up on multiples of this.  It can be a nightmare bookkeeping as you reassign monster stats on the fly, however.

Other useful feats

  • Item Creation (Wondrous Item is the best although Craft Wand will allow you wands that no other class can make like Wall of Stone or Teleport – or make wands of Haste for about half the normal crafting price).  You’re a spellcaster.  You can make stuff in your downtime.  It’s a good money-saver.  On the other hand you aren’t as good at it as anyone with nine levels of spells, especially prepared casters.

  • Spell Perfection.  The requirements are steep – you wouldn’t normally want metamagic feats with your compressed spell list and here you need to take three (I suggest that as well as Quicken Spell you take Still Spell and Silent Spell although Persistent Glitterdust is nasty).  But the ability to throw out a Quickened Summon Monster VII (as a fifth level spell) as well as a Summon Monster 8 or 9 on the same turn is something that will end fights before they’ve started.  Especially as it doubles the effects of Augment Summoning and Superior Summons; d4+3 Bralani Azata can each throw out a 6d6 lightning bolts for two rounds running.  Evokers eat your hearts out!  (Or just use d3+2 Dire Tigers at Str and Con +8)

Other than this list you’re down to feats like Combat Casting and anything local and situational.  Spell Penetration and Eschew Materials are both weaker than on comparable casters (the first because Summon Monster and most of your attacking conjurations ignore SR anyway and the second because your summons don’t need components anyway so you are still effective in your underwear). There just aren’t that many feats designed for Summoners.

Spells

Of course for any sorcerer or quasi-sorcerer spell selection is absolutely paramount.  And it’s not just important to have good spells; a range of spells is also necessary.  For this guide I owe a lot to A Quick Guide to Sorcerer Spell Selection – probably the most practical guide out there.  

Exactly the same principles apply to Sorcerer spell selection – you are after all playing your summoner as a sorcerer.

  • Pick Spells that have a wide range of use:

  • Pick spells that are not redundant with your current list

  • Cover your bases: Buff/Debuff/Battlefield Control/Utility (Summoners don’t really blast)

  • Never pick a spell that would be just as good in a wand

  • While achieving the above – don’t forget to pick good spells

Your spell balance is at least as important as the individual spells.  And like the sorcerer spell selection guide I’m going to break the guide down into spell types:

  • Utility

  • Debuffs

  • Battlefield Control

  • Buffs

  • Multi threat

0th level Spells

Your cantrips can be cast an unlimited number of times.  Which makes them effective in a way they might not otherwise be. 

Best Cantrips

Detect Magic (CRB) – what’s magic is often critical to know.

Guidance (CRB) – +1 to any skill check.  Any skill check.  Easy to underrate

Message (CRB) – if you’re using your Summons as a scout (the Eidolon has link) keep in contact while they find things out.  Much more useful for a Summoner than other casters.

Good Cantrips

Daze (CRB) One of your actions for one of theirs is generally a good trade if your actual damage is being done by your summoned monster.  Much better than for any other class.  Utterly useless after a few levels of course – so swap it out..

Mage Hand (CRB) Telekinesis is always useful

Light (CRB) Who needs a torch?

Trap Cantrips

Resistance (CRB).  By the time you get hit by enough spells for it to be other than a waste of time you probably have a resistance bonus from an item.

You wish you had (Cantrips)

Prestidigitation.  One of the best cantrips out there – and so much fun.

1st level Spells

 Your 1st level spells are pretty lackluster – you don’t have access to either the low level fight enders or the really useful illusions that are on the first level list.  On the other hand you might not have the very best first level spells, but you have most of the rest.

Best 1st Level Spells

Grease (CRB) – a very useful spell for knocking people over (wasted actions and opportunity attacks), making an area uninhabitable (although acrobatics is trained more than balance was), and preventing grapples.  Multi-purpose, and useful at all levels – and it doesn’t allow SR

Summon Minor Monster: Utterly broken as written – see the summoning guide for why

Good 1st Level Spells

Mount (CRB) – Wall of Horse is a surprising amount better than Summon Monster 1 and you can ride it and it lasts a while.  This would be on the best spells list if there wasn’t an element of gilding the lily by adding it to your already effective summons.

Protection from Evil (CRB) – a spell that stays useful (assuming you’re fighting against evil) – and gets arguably more useful as you level to help throw off mind control.

Enlarge Person (CRB) – your best combat buff

Feather Fall (CRB) – it’s a paranoia choice and not one you need yet.  But your fastest means of travel to somewhere you haven’t been is Phantom Steed.  And it’s easy to knock those things out of the air.

Infernal Healing (ISWG) – Fast healing 1 for 10 rounds.  How worried about your DM and the [Evil] descriptor are you?  

Alarm (CRB) – helps you sleep the night if you’re paranoid.  (Did I mention I am paranoid sometimes?)

Trap 1st Level Spells

Mage Armour (CRB) – you don’t need it, your Eidolon shouldn’t need it much.  So who are you going to cast it on?  Still it’s not a bad spell – just one you don’t get much use out of.  (It’s a great spell if you are using your Eidolon as a primary combatant – but that’s a whole different playstyle)

Unseen Servant (CRB) – if you really need something to help, summon a monster.  This is wizard scroll stuff or fun flavour if you’re just running out your spell slots.

Magic Mouth (CRB) – what are you going to do with it?  And 25GP/cast.  There are times you can use this well – but not enough to make it worth a spell slot.

You wish you had

Silent Image (CRB) – make things look like whatever you like.  Incredibly useful.

Vanish (APG) – first level short duration invisibility

Sleep or Colour Spray (CRB)  Fight finishers against low level targets.  You just need to pound with your summons.

2nd level Spells

Your second level spells absolutely rock.  Starting with Haste which is normally a very good third level spell, and you actually get before the wizard.  You’re almost forced to make good choices at this level, and guided to better.

Best 2nd Level Spells

Haste (CRB) – this is discounted from 3rd level.  It’s an amazing 3rd level spell (one of the best buffs in the game) and even better for you.

Glitterdust (CRB) – it’s a great save or suck vs will that cancels out invisibility.  And it’s no SR and conjuration.  What’s not to love (other than that they will save eventually)?

Invisibility (CRB) – can you see me now?  And if you’re a summoner, Summon Monster does not break invisibility (and you have several other spells that don’t)

Phantom Steed (CRB) – you don’t want it until least level 8.  But at high levels it’s the fastest means of overland travel that doesn’t involve Teleporting.  The steeds are a little fragile.  As a summoner you get a discount on the spell level.

Good 2nd Level Spells

Alter Self (CRB) – it’s now Polyjuice.  But still can be really useful when it comes up – or if you need darkvision.

Ablative Barrier (UC) – probably your best defensive buff.  As a third level spell it’s distinctly underpowered (especially against Stoneskin) but second level feels about right for negating a few attacks.

Create Pit (APG) – Create a 10ft by 10ft pit that’s really hard to escape from if the reflex save is failed, and that has a lip that people might fall in from.  Excellent spell – the only problem is that it’s competing with other excellent spells, and at first level Grease does almost the same job.  Note that none of the other pits are remotely worthwhile – they aren’t enough better than Create Pit and you get no discount on them while higher level enemies are better at escaping.

Detect Thoughts (CRB) – Useful divination.

Levitate (CRB) – Very flexible.  I prefer real flying myself, but can see the case for this.

Mount, Communal (CRB) – Wall of Horses is a pretty useful spell for a lot of reasons – most of which are covered under Mount.

Slow (CRB) – normally a third level spell, Slow’s a good debuff with selective targets and against will.  But it’s competing with Glitterdust and suffers a little – although it gets much better at higher levels due to disrupting multiattacks and having no friendly fire issues (unlike Glitterdust).

Trap 2nd Level Spells

None really.  Possibly Cushioning Bands.

You wish you had

Minor Image (CRB) – one up on silent image

Pyrotechnics (CRB) – take over fires and blind or choke the enemy

3rd level Spells

Here you get your spells at 7th level, meaning that you are getting them at the time the wizard gets 4th level spells. The Quick Guide to Sorcerer Spell Selection rates both Summon Monster III and Summon Monster IV among the best spells.  I’ve not put Summon Monster IV there because you are  already summoning monsters.  It also rates all of Phantom Steed, Haste, and Slow as best spells – which you got on your level 2 list.  I really like the Summoner list at this point – it has almost all the useful spells.

Best 3rd Level Spells

Black Tentacles (CRB) – grapple everything.  A really good way of upsetting both opposing hordes and opposing spellcasters.  You have an anti-reflex spell in Grease (or Create Pit) and an anti will one in Glitterdust.  This is effectively an anti little monster/anti Fort spell.

Dimension Door (CRB) – Get out of dodge or short circuit a whole load of traps and bad terrain.

Good 3rd Level Spells

Charm Monster (CRB) – Making friends is always good.

Dimensional Anchor (CRB) – useful for Planar Binding and pests.  Otherwise too rarely used.

Fly (CRB) – an excellent spell all round, but Levitation has most of the utility.  A rare recommended undiscounted spell at this level.

Greater Invisibility (CRB) – Invisibility’s big brother (and discounted).  You’ll probably get more use out of Invisibility, however.

Magic Circle Against (CRB) – a third level spell.  But very useful with the right foes, or for Planar Binding.  For Magic Circle against Evil you can summon Hound Archons.

Locate Creature (CRB) – Locate Creature and Dimension Door is all you actually need for a Scry and Fry.  And you get both at the same time a Wizard does (Scry would be nice).

Mass Enlarge Person (CRB) – a perfectly good mass buff.  But not as good a buff as Haste and you seldom get time for both.

Minor Creation (CRB) – If you like the words “I love it when a plan comes together” this is a great spell.  But you’d probably be playing a wizard in that case.

Stoneskin (CRB) – Excellent defensive buff.  The mass version is probably a whole lot more useful and only one level higher.

Summon monster IV (CRB) – this would absolutely be a best spell if it didn’t double up on your Summon Monster class ability.  Great spell but doubling up is dubious.

Wall of Fire (CRB) – nothing like as useful as Wall of Ice.  But if you can get your hands on a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Dazing it suddenly becomes one of the most powerful battlefield control spells ever. If not it’s one of your few direct damage spells.

Wall of Ice (CRB) – your first genuine wall spell and excellent battlefield control.  It’s nothing like as useful as Wall of Stone will be but is very effective at its job.

Phantom Chariot (UC), Phantom Steed (Communal) (UC)  These are both Mass Phantom Steeds, and do almost exactly the same thing.  Let you phantom steed the whole party – Chariot lasts a long time but means that the party must travel together.

Trap 3rd Level Spells

Control Summoned Creature (UM) – far too situational.  You’re not even afraid of this; when you recast your Summon Monster SLA it gets rid of the old one.  Trade off actions and laugh.

Devolution (APG) – debuffs an Eidolon.  How often are you going to meet one of those?

Displacement (CRB) – you can take Greater Invisibility or Displacement at the same level.  Tough choice, that.

Fire Shield (CRB) – why are you in melee enough to make use of this?  (Again, it’s for casting on your Eidolon if you are using a combat-Eidolon)

Pellet Blast (UC) – as direct damage spells go it’s pretty terrible although a wizard can find uses for it.  And direct damage spells aren’t generally that useful.

You wish you had (L3/4)

Stinking Cloud (CRB) – A Fort save or suck helps, but there are ways (Dretches, Mephits) to cast a weak version repeatedly via SMIV and Black Tentacles covers the same ground.

Confusion (CRB) – again, an excellent debuff.

4th level Spells

You have all the best sorcerer 5th level spells on this list.  You get them at the same time the Sorcerer gets their first 5th level spell, meaning you’re still ahead on flexibility.

Best 4th Level Spells

Lesser Planar Binding (CRB) – Let’s not and say we did?  Great spell but requires a lot of attention.

Overland Flight (CRB) – Long term flight (making fly no longer terribly useful) – it isn’t as fast as Phantom Steed, but is a lot more tactically flexible.  Very useful for just about everything.

Wall of Stone (CRB) – a very sculptable wall.  What do you want?  To make the enemy irrelevant?  To build a bridge?  To stop reinforcements?  The only problem is you need to anchor this on rock.

Good 4th Level Spells

Baleful Polymorph (CRB) – Save or Lose that targets Fort (i.e. enemy casters). If your eidlon is scout – you can permanently change it to Bat = free flight and scent, +3 dexterity modifier and size bonus to stealth. Nice.  Ribbit?

Contact Other Plane

Hold Monster (CRB) – Will based save or die-after-Coup-de-grace.  Not the way I like to do things (and Baleful Polymorph is funnier) but it’s effective.

Insect Plague

Magic Jar (CRB) – Where do you want to go today?  And who do you want to make hit whom?  Slightly less useful than for a sorcerer because of all your summons and Eidolon can get odd places.

Summon Monster V (CRB) – again it’s not on your best list because you can summon without the help and it’s doubling up.

Stoneskin, Communal (UC) – preemptive damage prevention for everyone.  Much more useful than Stoneskin – and the 10mins/level (split between targets) puts this firmly into Prebuff territory.

Teleport (CRB) – So you can sleep in your own bed.  Either utterly game-changing or not very useful depending on how you play.

Transmogrify (APG) – if you know you have exhausting fights from hell coming up you might want to use this spell off scrolls to turn your Eidolon into a combat form to save on Summon Monsters or give yourself a better beatstick than they provide – and then turn it back.  But probably not.  Scrolls only.

Trap 4th Level Spells

Summon Stampede (CotR) – it might be sixth level, but just use Summon Monster to summon a herd of Aurochs.

You wish you had (L5)

Prying Eyes (CRB) – use your Eidolon for a lot of this

Polymorph (CRB) – very flexible and I’m convinced the sorcerer guide underrates it at Okay

Mirage Arcana – make the battlefield look like whatever you like.  Again, illusions are a big loss.

Persistent Image (CRB) – As usual. *Sigh*  You can’t have it all.

5th level Spells

Here’s where being a summoner really starts to bite.  Limited Wish, Contingency, Programmed Image.  And Contingency is huge.  Enough to make a wizard think twice about giving up Evocation.

Best 5th Level Spells

Greater Teleport (CRB) – Go where you want when you want how you want.  Great mobility and great at making bad guys irrelevant.

Planar Binding (CRB) – Let’s not and say we did?  As its lesser version it’s a great spell but hard on the DM and really irritating.

Simulacrum (CRB) – everyone should have a pet 10HD Solar.  You aren’t just a summoner, you’re a creator.  Utterly, horribly broken when used with creatures with abilities not tied to HD

Summon Monster VII (CRB) – for once I’m putting a Summon Monster onto the best list.  On its own it’s nice – you have some great summons – notably the Bralani Azata and the Dire Tiger – but this spell truly shines when mixed with Spell Perfection, suggested above.  Check my summoning guide for details.

Good 5th Level Spells

Banishment (CRB) – How many outsiders are you meeting.  Campaign dependent.

Greater Dispel Magic (CRB) – Does what it says on the tin.  Very useful

Spell Turning (CRB) – bounce the enemy’s spells back.  When it’s hot it’s very hot.  And it’s hot most of the time you’re facing a caster.

True Seeing (CRB) – what do you need to counter?  Campaign dependent.

Trap 5th Level Spells

Mass Invisibility (CRB) – why are you trying to have an entire invisible army?  It’s a great wizard spell but for you it’s too situational and too high level.  Useful on a scroll

Plane Shift (CRB) – this is a fifth level spell for clerics.  Only take it if you absolutely need to.

Wall of Iron (CRB) – a good wall – but not a whole lot better than last level’s Wall of Stone.

You wish you had (L6/7)

Limited Wish (CRB) – too expensive to cast all the time but an excellent ace in the hole.

Chain Lightning (CRB) – Arguably the best evocation spell

Contingency (CRB) – Get out of jail free

Programmed Image (CRB) – have I mentioned I love image spells?

6th level Spells

 Here you really suffer.  You don’t have a bad list of 8th level spells – but your 6th level spells can’t stand up to 9th level spells.  No way, no how.  And a lot of your spells like Sympathy, Repulsion Create Demiplane, and Teleportation Circle are great for a wizard who prepares a scroll and doesn’t clog their spell slots – Teleportation Circle can completely change a world’s economy, but isn’t tactically that useful.

Best 6th Level Spells

Greater Planar Binding (CRB) – Here we go again.

Maze (CRB) – Save: No.  Works on stupid monsters.

Good 6th Level Spells

Binding (CRB) – only really worth it for getting a Planar Binding, but that’s an excellent reason if you want to dive into that morass.

Discern Location (CRB) – short-circuits a lot of problems

Dominate Monster (CRB) – does what it says on the tin.  Hard to get to work properly (SR and Save).

Summon Monster VIII (CRB) – outlevelled and the choice isn’t IMO as good as SM VII.  Still, useful.

Trap 6th Level Spells

You wish you had (L8)

Polymorph Any Object (CRB) – incredibly powerful and flexible.  Pretty much broken.

Prismatic Wall (CRB) – the wall that flat out tells people to go away.

Most level 9 spells

Appendix: Discounted Summoner Spells

One obvious thing about the Summoner is that they get some spells at a lower level than expected.  In almost every case, when a Summoner gets a spell early it’s always within one level of the time the wizard would be able to choose that spell – but this list is extremely useful for people creating magic items.  In cases like Plane Shift where the Cleric gets the spell before Sorcerers or Wizards I’m using the cleric as the baseline level for the spell.  (Some taken from Ashiel’s Adventuring Guidebook).

1st level Summoner spells

Magic Mouth is a second level wizard/sorceror spell.

2nd level Summoner spells

These appear at Caster Level 4 (or a level ahead of the wizard), with all the other Summoner spells appearing at the same time as the Sorcerer.  Haste is one of the best spells in the game even without the help, and Phantom Steed is very useful at higher levels.

Core 3rd level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Haste, Phantom Steed, Slow, and Wind Wall

Other 3rd level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Ablative Barrier (UC), Ghost Wolf (ARG)

3rd level Summoner spells

These appear at Caster level 7 (i.e. at the same time as a wizard) – and other than the 25% cost discount, an important factor about these spells is that you can now turn them into potions or oils (allowing potions of Greater Invisibility, Stoneskin, or oils of Fire Shield).

Core 4th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Dimensional Anchor, Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility, Locate Creature, Mass Enlarge Person, Minor Creation, Stoneskin, Summon monster IV, Wall of Fire, and Wall of Ice

Other 4th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Control Summoned Creature (UM), Obsidian Flow (UC), Phantom Chariot (UC), Phantom Steed (Communal) (UC)

4th level Summoner spells

These are Caster Level 10 – or the same as a Sorcerer.  But the key fact about these spells is that they can fit into wands.  A Wand of Wall of Stone might not quite be an Instant Fortress but it’s more permanent and can cover a wider area.  And a wand of Teleport is useful

Core 5th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Baleful Polymorph, Contact Other Plane, Hold Monster, Insect Plague, Mage's Faithful Hound, Magic Jar, Major Creation,  Overland Flight, Lesser Planar Binding, Sending Summon Monster V, Teleport, and Wall of Stone.

Other 5th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:

Hostile Juxtaposition (UC), Stoneskin, Communal (UC)

Other 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer Spells: 

Summon Stampede (CotR)

5th level Summoner spells

Caster level 13.  There’s quite a substantial discount on a lot of these spells – the seventh level spells also have a minimum caster level 13 (as for the 6th level spells, 6*11 is 66 and 5*13 is 65 so it’s not worth worrying about).

Core 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells:  

Banishment, Greater Dispel Magic, Ethereal Jaunt, Planar Binding, Wall of Iron

Core 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Creeping Doom (actually a druid spell), Mass Invisibility, Simulacrum, Spell Turning, Summon Monster VII, Greater Teleport

Other 6th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Conjure Black Pudding (UM), Eaglesoul (Cleric) (ISM), Ice Crystal Teleport (UM), Tar Pool (UC)

Other 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Lesser Create Demiplane (UM)

6th level Summoner spells

These have a minimum, caster level of 16 – and make up almost all the Summoner L6 spell list  Teleportation Circle is over 33% off the normal price of a scroll, and the 8th level ones are just under 25% off, with Maze being a rare spell with no save meaning level doesn’t matter.

Core 8th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Binding, Dimensional Lock, Discern Location, Incendiary Cloud, Mass Charm Monster, Maze, Greater Planar Binding, Protection from Spells, Summon Monster VIII, Sympathy

Core 9th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Dominate Monster, Teleportation Circle

Other 7th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Greater Hostile Juxtaposition (UC), Walk Through Space (UC)

Other 8th level Wizard/Sorcerer spells: 

Create Demiplane (UM)

Appendix B: Eidolon-less Summoner vs Sorcerer

Look at the Summoner – and when you look at it take away the Eidolon.  What’s left?  A Sorcerer with medium BAB, nerfed casting, the ability to wear armour, and the ability to cast Summon Monster at the highest available level as a standard action lots of times per day?  Does that make them equal to a Sorcerer?

The superficial case for the Sorcerer

On the surface the answer is obviously not.  Summoners don’t have nine levels worth of spells, and this affects their spell save DCs.  They both know fewer spells and can cast fewer spells.  As I’ll show this is an illusionary weakness.  But they have actual weaknesses when pretending to be a Sorcerer.

The Sorcerer gets higher level spells

Summoners don’t get ninth level spells (other than Summon Monster and Gate), and their top level falls behind.  This is more of a paper-weakness than an actual weakness (except at levels 19-20) as the Summoner gets a discount on a lot of their spells so they cast so a lot of their best spells they gain at the same time as the Wizard or Sorcerer (see Appendix A for a list)

The Summoner lacks important spells

Silent Image.  Greater Shadow Evocation.  Polymorph Any Object.  Limited Wish.  All very nice spells on the Wizard/Sorcerer list that the Summoner can’t take.  This is mitigated by there being plenty of good spells the Summoner can take at each level, and them only getting a limited number.

The Summoner has limited choices

A summoner can’t be a blaster.  Or a non-combatant.  Or a charm-focussed Sorcerer.  This isn’t a problem.  It’s just something that is.  And because of it it’s very hard for a Summoner to make poor choices – and most of the things the summoner can’t be are relatively weak.

So why is the Summoner stronger?

First, as Sorcerer Spells go, Summon Monster kicks ass.  It’s not only powerful, but it covers the real Sorcerer weakness; flexibility.  Summon Monster as a standard action SLA is better than Summon Monster as a spell, and generally it can make the Sorcerer turn green with envy.  And the Sorcerer’s top line casting is deceptively weak.

Even numbered levels – the Sorcerer is inflexible.

At each even numbered level (except second) the Sorcerer gains a new level of spells, and can cast it four times per day (counting the stat bonus).  But they only know a single spell at their top level (which is the same level as the Summoner’s Summon Monster – and the Summoner can cast that at least half a dozen times per day).  Unless they pick Summon Monster they are going to be a lot less flexible.  And this doesn’t take into account that at every even numbered level below 18 the Summoner will have the chance to know two good spells that are the same level as the Sorcerer’s highest (see Appendix A for a listing of discounted spells).

Note that this point is slightly undermined by a few metamagic feats such as Quicken Spell – but Quickened Glitterdust needs to compete with options including an Augmented Dire Tiger for rending with extreme prejudice, a Succubus for charm DCs in the 20s, or d3 Anklysauri with DC25 dazes, or d3 Bralani Azata with lightning bolts and healing.

Odd numbered levels – the Sorcerer lacks power

This is well known.  Other than at levels 1 and 19 the Sorcerer is an entire spell level behind the wizard – and the Summoner’s Summon Monster isn’t.  So they are a full spell level up on anything the Sorcerer can do.  And the Sorcerer only knows three spells at their top level, which they can cast five times per day.  The Summoner at 4th, 5th, 7th, and 13th level can know good spells which are an entire spell level ahead of the Sorcerer.  And at 3rd, 9th, 11th, and 15th levels they can match them plus Summon Monsters the Sorcerer can’t come close to matching.

Endurance and the Sorcerer’s and Summoner’s reserves

The Sorcerer can cast a lot of spells, meaning they shouldn’t run dry ever.  On the other hand the Summoner should be able to Summon Monster at least half a dozen times per day, and normally more.  With only one set of monsters allowed out at once that’s a lot of fights they can work through; a chaff fight should never need more than a top tier Summon Monster

So unless the Sorcerer wishes to specialise in spells not on the Summoner list (and see above for some good such spells) the only significant advantages the Sorcerer has are low level spell slots and the ability to drop all their best spells into a single fight (which is normally a bad plan).  And in some cases Spell DCs because they cast spells in higher level spell slots.  Even there, the Summoner knows 34 non-cantrip spells at level 20 and the Sorcerer knows an equal number, not counting bloodlines or Summon Monster.

On the other hand neither is Tier 1

Neither Summoner nor Sorcerer can completely rework their spell list with 24 hours notice (or less because they left slots open), always having the right spell for the job.  And neither can learn spells from scrolls, and put the spells they will only occasionally need into the back of their spellbook as a scroll they can pull out on a few seconds’ notice so they have an almost unlimited depth of utility spells.  They need to make the most use out of the few spells they know.  (Note: Half Elf Sorcerers abusing Paragon Surge for Expanded Arcana to get any spell they like are tier 1. Ring of spell knowledge is also useful).

Note that an Arcanist with the Occultist bloodline crushes them both, summoning like a Summoner when necessary with more endurance and with the full depth of a Wizard’s spellbook

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