This is going to be a rudimentary guide to Summoners for people who know nothing about how the class works in ToME, to help you start out and get a feel for the class. Introduction
Summoners, as their name should make very clear, are based around the creation of allies to do what they deign themselves too important to do, gutting humans, eviscerating bears, crushing trolls as well as taking maces, knives, and spell blasts to the face and other sensitive areas. They play very cautiously and NEVER enter into direct combat willingly, always creating and maintaining a solid living wall of terror and pain between yourself and enemies. You can summon X maximum units at anyone time where X is 10% of your cunning. 1 unit at 10 cunning, 10 at 100.
Your primary starts are Willpower, Cunning, and Constitution. Focus on getting Cunning to 30 to be able to summon a few minions before you are stopped, then concentrate on Willpower > Cunning > Constitution, if you find some health items and are feeling comfortable you can largely ignore health until willpower is capped. Ignore strength (unless you absolutely must get it for an item), dexterity and magic completely
Whenever looking for equipment early on cunning and willpower
to get your summoner off the ground and summon more creatures as soon as possible. For the whole game stay with light armor, and focus on +physical damage and status debuff (stun/freeze, confuse, pin, knockback) resistance, your pets inherit these stats from you. They inherit NO elemental resistances, and as you are going to be facing direct fire as rarely as possible, you should not focus heavily on it (that means Don't aim for the maximum 70, aim for 30 in the main ones, arcane fire lightning and cold) get some decent saves, but they are of secondary importance to other effects. If you find Garkul's Helm, wear it and love it.
When approaching enemies your first action should almost always be to summon a creature at it. The minion you create Depends on what kind of enemy it is, generally you can't go wrong with Drakes and Warhounds, for anything those two can't deal with you will have to look at the enemy and determine how best to defeat it, luminous horrors for example, you will want to send your tree hard hitting melee minions to make extremely short work of them, and for rooms full of spaced out enemies the Ritch Flamespitter is always a good choice, in narrow corridors you would want your Minotaur backed up by the hound for maximum damage per turn, with the Drake behind them. Once you get to summoning these beasts you will quickly figure out when and where to apply each one (It was the drake, with the drakelings, in every room in the house)
As a summoner you make extensive use of the Resource Equilibrium instead of mana, stamina or others. Equilibrium begins at 0 and every spell cast increases it, there is no maximum amount (that I am aware of) but as your equilibrium goes higher there is a greater and greater chance of spells failing. This can catastrophic as missing turns when you need the most can and will lead to your death. Fortunately summoners have several fantastic ways of dealing with this problem, and is almost never a problem except on the toughest and longest of fights.Race Selection
Higher - Overseer of Nations is about the only interesting talent highers get, the rest of it is superfluous to a summoner. 2/5
Cornac - Boring. Boring. Boring. You do not need, and will not find a good use for the category point. 2/5
Thalore - The blight immunity will not carry over to your pets, the damage passive may work well with summons, but have never tried it, but then again you are an elf, so there is the whole "communing with nature" roleplay aspect of it. Minus points for being an elf -2/5
Shalore - A poor choice, racials do not benefit a summoner hugely, but then again you are an elf, so there is the whole "communing with nature" roleplay aspect of it. Minus points for being an elf -2/5
Halfling - Racials that will not mix well with a summoner who stands way in the back, not recommended, there are better alternatives. 3/5
Dwarf As with all things dwarf, this is a competent combination and a great choice for beginners 4/5 (for beginners 5/5)
Yeek Your pathetic health is offset by never being attacked, your high willpower means dominate will almost always succeed, the confusion resistance is great, global speed is, as always, the most valuable stat in the game, and the wayists you can summon are not limited by the summoned unit cap which can help absorb a few hits and do some additional damage 5/5
Ghoul - It is impossible for undead to currently select wilder classes, though if at some point it were made possible (and assuming their inability to side with zigur still stands) ghouls would make poor summoners, but as ghoul classes go they would be among the better class choices certainly. 1/5 from a Summoner Perspective, 5/5 from a Ghoul Perspective.
Skeleton - As above, though skeletons would make awful summoners, none of their racials help out in any way and they have the largest exp penalty in the game. A waste of both race and class. 1/5Class TalentsWild-Gift / Summoning (Melee)
War Hound - 2/5 at level 1, 5/5 after the Ritch Flamespitter. A sturdy and damaging summon, it has an amazing area effect when combined with Grand Arrival.
Jelly - 1/5 Not very useful, can be used when your other summons die and are on cooldown.
Minotaur - 1/5 early, 5/5 after Fire Drake is maxed. A very strong melee attack and that's about it. Works great in concert with the hound, and is part of your melee triumvirate for dealing with enemies your ranged minions cannot.
Stone Golem - 1/5 early, 5/5 after Minotaur is maxed. Another simple heavy hitter, and well worth the points later on.Wild-Gift / Summoning (Distance)
Ritch Flamespitter 5/5 As soon as possible, an amazing creature early on, and continues to be a dazzling force into the late game. Extremely vulnerable early game, do not create it next to enemies before you are level 10. (Press your Ritch hotkey then 5 on the keypad and enter, it will create it right next to you)
Hydra - 1/5 Worse than useless, avoid like the plague
Rimebark - 1/5Worthless, ignore completely.
Fire Drake - 5/5 Your bread and butter as a summoner, it has absolutely incredible area attacks and is no slouch in melee either. Combined with Grand Arrival he starts showing up with drakelings to spread the chaos and distract the enemy. This will max out your unit limit very quickly, if you need or want to use other summons first then Fire Drake you can temporarily exceed your unit cap, but cannot summon ANYTHING else until you are below it.Wild-Gift / Summoning (Utility)
Turtle - 1/5 Can heal for a huge amount when used with Grand Arrival. Not useful on its own.
Spider - 1/5 Not terribly interesting, your other minions are more direct, and when it comes down to it there is not a lot of use in having a creature that can disable enemies when all you tell them to do is "Attack and never retreat!"
Frantic Summoning - 5/5 A late game spell, do not invest any point into this until you can summon 4 maximum level minions.
Summon Control - 1/5 A useful tool for opening certain doors throughout the game but not worth more than a single point.
Technique / Combat Techniques - Worthless, ignore completely.
Technique / Combat Veteran - Worthless, ignore completely.Wild-Gift / Summoning (Augmentation)
- Third Category Point
Rage - 1/5 Worthless, ignore completely.
Detonate - 1/5 to get to resilience, 5/5 later. Turns your minions into bombs, never found a use for it but it might be handy to have in a rough spot, and summoners are drowning in Class Points.
Resilience - 5/5 Makes your pets last a great deal longer as well as making them more robust, it is not critical early game but is nice to have going into the east.
Phase Summon - 1/5 A nice spell to have at any point of the game, but unnecessary as long as you can summon creatures next to you, which lets you move them between yourself and an enemy even if you are pinned. Can be used to get you out of some tough jams, but you can avoid ever getting into them by playing cautiously.Wild-Gift / Summoning (Advanced)
- First Category Point
Master Summoner - 1/5 Early, 5/5 after completing Grand Arrival.
Grand Arrival - 5/5 As soon as you get the levels. If you read the description for this ability you will see why changes so much. It turns the war hound from a mediocre single target damage dealing into a huge physical armor debuff (it isn't 10-20%, it is closer to 60-75% late game, which is HUGE) as well as granting you an additional three sponges to the drake. Which can turn the tide of any battle.
Nature's Cycle - 0/5 Don't waste your breath unless you desperately want to play with wild summons or you are drowning in Class Points (which will happen)
Wild Summon - 0/5 Sounds like a fun ability that adds a level of depth to the summoner, but by the time you can get it, your summons will already be all over the map, and any abilities they get are at best superficial. If you really love minotaurs it may be worth it for the charge, but the rest of them are forgettable.Generic TalentsTechnique / Combat Training
Thick Skin - 5/5 When you can. Not crucially important to get this early on.
Armour Training 1/5 When you find a item that requires it, don't spend any stat points on it, wear some things to get you to 16.
Combat Accuracy - Ignore
Weapons Mastery - Ignore
Dagger Mastery - Ignore
Cunning /Survival - Ignore completelyWild-Gift / Call of the Wild
Meditation - 1/5 Use this ability ONLY when you have high equilibrium in the middle of a fight, have several summons out and so can wait a few turns to make it go down. The reason for this is that it halves your damage, which halves your minions damage. A massive disadvantage. If you want to try to be more advanced use this ability at the END of every engagement, and turn it off when you next meet an enemy before you summon anything. But is not required.
Nature's Touch - 1/5 A competent heal that can be used on escorts to keep them alive, not worth more points, but if you can get them from escorts go right ahead.
Earth's Eyes - 1/5 This is why you may want to have Meditation on between battles, you can use this ability to map out areas and find hidden sections.
Natures Balance 5/5 A great ability once you have enough summons to be able to reset 4-5, can let you summon a whole plethora of minions to overwhelm even the strongest of foes.ZIGUR ALIGNED TREES
Not every summoner has to go AM, and it is perfectly possible to win without it, but they get almost no benefit from runes; they have their own phase door (Phase Summon), they have no desire to do damage themselves (all attack runes are out), do not need mana regeneration, shielding is unnecessary if you are not taking damage, and teleport while always nice, is frankly not needed when you can create an army on demand. I strongly recommend all summoners DO go the Zigur route as it provides several incredible benefits that outweigh the cost.Wild-Gift / Antimagic
Resolve - 1/5 to 5/5 based on personal preference and amount of free generics. Even at 1/5 this ability is incredible and can severely limit the amount of damage any spellcasters that break through or ignore your summons, can do.
Aura of Silence - 1/5 Not that useful as you never want to be near to anything that can cast in the first place.
Antimagic Shield - 5/5 This can turn whole swathes of enemies into a walk in the park, which is currently being set on fire by 9 Pyromancers. But you don't care because the flowers just smell so nice. Its synergy with the upcoming talents more than makes up for the small additions to your equilibrium.
Manaclash - 1/5 to 5/5 based on amount of free generics. This is a great little spell that can make a caster sit down and weep as he is turned inside out by an army of angry drakelings. Use it when you have maxxed out your unit limit.Wild-Gift / Fungus
- Second Category Point
Wild Growth - 5/5 With this ability you can play through the entire game with only 1 regeneration inscription without a care in the world. With Ancestral life and Antimagic Shield you will feel, and very nearly BE invincible between these three talents and your ever writhing ever increasing lump of dutiful fur.
Fungal Growth - 1/5 Has some synergy with Nature's Touch, but not worth anything more than the point required to get to the others.
Ancestral Life - 5/5 Every single turn you have a healing infusion on you, equilibrium drops 3 points. You ALSO gain almost your entire turn back when casting healing infusion making it a free action. Set your healing infusion to cast automatically every time it is available and watch your equilibrium and heal issues disappear. It is INCREDIBLE, there is no other way to slice it, this ability makes such a huge difference that you should get it at level 20 and not wait until 36.
Sudden Growth - 1/5 This is a surprisingly huge heal when it takes into account the constant regeneration from your infusion. A single point is enough to return you several hundred health.Prodigies
There are no incredible must have prodigies for a summoner to take, you can choose whatever you like, draconic will and draconic body are always good choices for a more basic and safer run, but if you see anything that catches your eyes don't be afraid to give it a whirl.Conclusion
Rely on the Flamespitter and the Hound to keep you safe until you can summon the drakes then use them to trample every enemy in sight into the ground. More important than that, if you remember ANYTHING from this guide at all, it should be: drakes rock. Not but really, remember to have fun with the class, and the game. Comments and feedback are welcome, but please, lets keep all of the criticism constructive and preferably unadulterated adoration. General Tips
As a general rule for every class keep your hand off the mouse unless you have to use it, make extensive use of the keypad and your life becomes easier, when summoning creatures you want near you while an enemy is off in the distance just press 5 to center the spell on you and move it away one tile, or just cast it right on you.
Never get cocky around Casters at any point and always keep yourself as close to full hp as possible. You are likely going to be vulnerable to a concentrated burst even with AM and fungus, and should always corner summon if there are more than 2 enemies who can hit you on the same turn for a lot of damage.
Return your equilibrium to baseline between every battle, failing summoning or a natures touch can end your life.Boss Specific Strategies
Room of Holy mother of Gawd - Use a summon to open the door while you are in the room to the south, summon wave after wave after wave of enemies at the door until you get the exp bump, you will notice when you do. You can do this room as SOON as you reach it, summoners have an easy time for it so long as you don't let them out of the room.
Atamathon - Keep out of sight keeping a tree or two between you and him, when he charges you teleport to one of your minions or speed inscription away (you should always have one). Summon melee to keep him in one spot, and summon the Flamespitter and the Drake off to the side to pelt him while he is busy. Don't be surprised if at some points during the fight your minions die the very round you put them down for a couple of turns, that it Atamathon being Atamathon.
Linaniil - You can't do her if you went AM like you almost certainly did, such a shame. If you did not go AM and try to take her on, I wish you good luck and suggest editing game code to make both yourself and your minions immortal. For starters.
Final Boss - You can natures touch your ally, and the turtle will heal her for A LOT with Grand Arrival. You should close every portal when your movement inscription is ready, and then have no trouble for the rest of the fight, the turtle is the key to victory here by keeping your ally alive.