Advanced Feats: The Summoner’s Circle
By Thilo Graf
This is the as-of-yet longest instalment of the Advanced Feats series from Open Design, containing 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD.
As all the books of the advanced feats series, this one starts with a discussion/introduction of the class.
After that, we get the meat of the book, the 30 new feats. The feats are:
- Aerobatics:Gain flying manoeuvrability and speed
- Balanced Spellcaster: No concentration checks for motion
- Cannibalistic Casting: Lose Con to cast more spells
- Clockwork Summoning: Summon clockwork versions of the normal summons
- Controlled Charge: Charge without reducing AC
- Enhanced Scent: Double the range of the scent ability
- Enlarge Breath Weapon: Innate breath weapon Increase area by 50%
- Enlarge Wall: Double the dimensions of walls
- Fast Spell: Reduce full round spells to a standard action
- Fleet of Foot: Turn while charging
- Giant Step: Increases the size of 5-ft. steps
- Hardened Spell: +5 bonus to spell DCs against dispelling and identification
- Improved Concentration: +2 bonus to concentration checks
- Improved Multiweapon Fighting: Gain additional off hand attacks
- Improved Resistance: +2 bonus to spell resistance
- Improved Shield Ally: +1 bonus to shield ally benefits
- Multihanded Weapon: Use more than two hands on a weapon
- Raw Magic: Sacrifice spells for level bonus to d20 roll
- Shifting Wall: Walls from spells can move
- Sizeshifter: Forgo size evolutions
- Spirit of Vengeance: +1 bonus to attack and damage against last opponent that hit you
- Stay Down: Prevent opponents from standing up
- Strengthen Link: Share magic item benefit with eidolon
- Tail Tricks: +1 bonus to CMB for trip and grapple
- Toss Foe: Throw grappled opponent
- Touch of Grace: +1 bonus to all saves
- Unstable Evolutions: Adjust 2 points of evolution when eidolon is summoned
- Vampiric Summoning Spell: Drain health from summoned monsters
- Wall Mastery: Add holes to walls you create
- Weaken Link: Eidolon and summoner can both use a chosen itevm slot
Comments on the feats:
- Cannibalistic Casting: Ability damage for spell-casting. The comment admits this feat to be potentially being prone to abuse and I agree, though in another way: PCs will find it hard to to heal the damage in most campaigns, due to magic not working in healing them. What about another feat I didn’t like from “Witch’s Brew” that reduces ability score damage by 2? That would lead to unlimited 1st and 2nd level spells.
- Clockwork Summoning: As a Zobeck-fanboy, I really like this one.
- Enlarge Walls: Nice idea, as area control via walls is something I can see summoners excelling at.
- Fast Spell: Cast faster at cost of half the spell’s duration. God is this broken. How many battles are long enough for the high-level spells to actually run out during the battle? This will lead to almost ALL SPELLS that are eligible being cast like this. No way, not in my campaign.
- Multiweapon Fighting and its mini-feat-tree gets some advice on how to e.g. balance it with multiple sets of arms.
- Spirit of Vengeance: +1 to attack and damage against the last enemy who damaged you. This feat actually seems underpowered to me and I don’t really get why it’s in this book.
- Strengthen Link: I’m not sure whether this has a benefit if only the summoner and not the eidolon has the feat or vice versa. the text only mentions what happens if both have this feat.
- Toss Foe: Cool feat, but I feel it should have been a combat maneuver instead that gets stronger by using a feat like this.
- Touch of Grace: + 1 to all saves. Come’ on. NO ONE buys books due to feats like this. This is filler, plain and simple. Also, it’s a boring feat-choice. And has nothing specifically to do with the summoner.
- Vampiric Summoning: Leech the energy of your summoned creatures. good idea, solid mechanics.
- Wall Mastery: Huge possibilities for PCs to fight clever and dirty. I really like this one.
Then, we get three sample builds, the chess master, the mythic rider and the master of arms, all including eidolon builds.
Finally, as a neat bonus to this instalment, we get a 1-page Eidolon char-sheet.
I do consider the summoner-class to be quite complex and thus was not exactly looking forward to do the math for this review. Surprisingly, the signature feats for the eidolon presented herein (at least as long as you heed the balance-warnings from the boxes!) are balanced. Editing is top-notch, I didn’t notice any obvious typos. Formatting suffers from one glitch: The table of feats lists 31 feats, one of which is not in the book and actually is featured in “Witch’s Brew”, namely “Usurp Spell”. While many of the feats actually feel “Summonerish”, i.e. use his battle area control, enhance his eidolon etc. (“Vampiric Summonings” being among my favourites), some are just plain filler. “Touch of Grace” and “Spirit of Vengeance”, I’m looking at you! All in all, while most are mechanically cool, some just felt like either filler or simply not as focused on the class as I would have liked them to be.
In addition, I don’t like the cover (which more or less made me giggle…)as well as the cut-out black silhouettes throughout the book. They look somewhat amateurish.
Thus, my final verdict will be slightly lower than for “Witch’s Brew”, a good 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purposes of this platform.
Advanced Feats: The Summoner’s Circle is available from: