[RPG] I found a homebrew summoner/eidolon class online; is it balanced

balanceclassdnd-5ehomebrew-reviewsummoner

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

Best Answer

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.