The Invoker is a bad ass.
Plain and simple.
Invokers are summoners.
This is likely the biggest departure from the AD&D version of the Invoker. Whereas invocation and evocation schools of magic were juxtaposed to that of conjuration, the 4E Invoker gets the best of both worlds. Starting at Level 1 they have access to a daily prayer, Summon Angel of Fire, that summons "an angelic figure wreathed in fire." Yeah... and it burns you to a crisp if you stand next to it. The conjuration / summoning abilities of Invokers don't end with angels either: the list of things include magic walls of light, dancing blades, angels with dancing blades, walls of blades, and walls of angels with dancing blades. OK, the last one was a joke -- but you get the idea. As an Invoker, the forces of heaven got your back.
Oh, and at Level 19... you can summon the Tomb of Magrym. Yeah. It's a tomb that pops into existence on top of your enemies. The sorry souls who are stuck inside are in for a confusing experience and have to hack their way out. Did I mention the tomb was made of stone?
The Invoker also features four Paragon Paths: Angelic Aspect, Blightspeaker, Flame of Hope, an Hammer of Vengeance. I'll leave it to you to be the final judge of these paths - but in my estimation they are all top notch and provide highly flexible options for your end-game Invoker. My favorite? The Blightspeaker.
I've always had a soft-spot for classes that blend the dark elements of death, pestilence, and decay. Some of my earliest posts here at The Core Mechanic were in fact a 4E conversion of the 3.xE Forgotten Realms Talontar Blightlord prestige class and the blightspawn monster template - both of which were core to my campaign at the time. The Blightspeaker makes their enemies vulnerable to necrotic damage, and then uses the same energy type to harvest the life from their victims to fuel their own power -- but that's not the best part. These foul characters heal themselves every time they score a critical hit.
PHB 2: More Options, No Creep
The Invoker is a welcome addition to what is now a huge variety of classes that are available. For one -- it provides you with a new controller character type for players looking for something a little different than the wizard class. Secondly, the Invoker is substantially different from the 2E wizard-specialist class -- it feels like something entirely new. It is a flexible controller class that can easily play into a secondary role of striker or leader. And, for those looking for options to use during role playing scenes (i.e. non-combat encounters), the Invoker also includes a number of utility prayers to boost your PC's diplomacy and intimidation skills.
All in all I don't feel like the Player's Handbook 2 suffers from any "power creep" -- that is, the Invoker class and the other new classes, are on par with what was offered in the PHB1. It just might take a while to get used to all the core options - but options are good in my book, and I'm very satisfied with the way they are presented in this new member of the D&D family.
Want to learn more about Player's Handbook 2? Read on...
- Atomic Array: Episode 018: Player's Handbook 2
- Game Cryer: Player's Handbook 2 Review
- Gnome Stew: A Veteran GM's Take on GMing and the PHB2
- Critical Hits: The Avenger
- Campaign Mastery: The Barbarian
- Uncle Bear: The Bard
- Critical Ankle Bites: The Druid
- Kobold Quarterly: Review: Player's Handbook 2
- The Core Mechanic: The Invoker
- Flames Rising: The Shaman
- Stupid Ranger: The Sorcerer
- Musings of the Chatty DM: The Warden