Fox’s Cunning – Summon-Dex Part 2

Last time on Summon-Dex Z: I analyzed the options for Summon Animal and the best of what Minions can offer you as a whole! This week we are looking at options for Aberrations, Constructs, Dragons, Giants and Plants! We also have to take some time to bring up the limitations and struggles of using summoned monsters in Pathfinder Second Edition. Next time we will look at character options that can help support your summoned creatures, and review some potential minions that are out of this world!

Summon-Dex Navigation:
Part 1: Summon Animal (arcane, primal)
Part 2: Abberations (occult)/Constructs & Dragons (arcane)/Giants & Plants (primal)
Part 3: Celestials (divine)/Fey (occult, primal)/Elementals (arcane, primal)
Part 4: Undead (arcane, divine, occult)/Fiend (divine)

Limitations of Summoning

While I love summoning, it isn’t the-all-end-all of character options. It has some limitations and backdraws that you need to be aware of if you want to play an effective summoner.

• Level Discrepancy: At Caster Level 3, your summon is Level 1. At Caster Level 7, your summon is level 3. At Caster Level 17, your summon is level 13. The higher your level, the fewer relevant challenges your summon will be able to take on. Attacks will miss. DCs will be low. And incapacitation effects will be nearly worthless. Summons are still fine against lower level opponents, especially distracting mooks during a big fight. And they provide neat effects that you might not otherwise have access to. But don’t expect them to outshine the fighter like they did in Pathfinder 1e. Which isn’t a bad thing!

• Minion Limitations: Minions cannot cast spells of an equal or higher level than the spell used to summon them. Likewise, minions cannot use reactions and, unless quickened without any kind of limitation, cannot use three-action abilities.

• Sustaining your Action: You do lose an action each round you have a minion, which also makes it very difficult to have two summoned minions at once!

• Lack of Pre-Combat Buffs: Minions only last one minute. So you will probably be summoning after combat begins, which means any buffs the party cast before you summoned will not be applied to the summon (unless it’s a sustained effect). Nothing wrong with asking your party buffers to wait until your round!

Sources Note: Going by Pathfinder Society guidelines, I’ve only included monsters from the Bestiary, not from Adventures. Bestiary 2 is not yet sanctioned, so there is a chance options marked B2 may not be legal for Society, but they are still more likely to be allowed by most GMs.

 

Summon Construct (Arcane)

Spell 1:
★★★★☆ Animated Broom (B1) — Good Control Tank. It’s really only going to be useful in tier 1-3, but Bristles is such a powerful ability and the attack is finesseable! It’s athletics isn’t bad and it has darkvision.

Heightened (2nd):
★★★☆☆ Homunculus (B1) — Decent Debuff Specialist. Tiny flying intelligent monsters can get into all kinds of shenanigans at this tier. The poison isn’t bad, but it has to recharge it.

Heightened (3rd):
★★★☆☆ Soulbound Doll (B1) — Decent Spellcaster. You can’t use any of the creature’s non-cantrips until you heighten the spell to 4th, but it has some spells that Arcane casters normally don’t get access to. Think of it as giving up a 4th level slot to be able to cast chilling darkness, grease, harm, heal, heroism, levitate, nondetection, vampiric touch, wall of thorns, zone of truth at a mediocre DC.
★★☆☆☆ Animated Armor (B1) — Mediocre Tank. It does have reach to help it flank and Hardness 9 means it will survive a while at this tier.

 

Heightened (4th):
★★☆☆☆ Animated Statue (B1) — Mediocre Tank Specialist. I put specialist here because you can flavor this to look like any kind of statue, which has some neat out of combat uses. But all it does is damage, and not very much. Athletics isn’t bad.
★★☆☆☆ Necrophidius (B2)  — Mediocre Debuffl. You might be able to fool some peasants or low-level paladins that it’s an undead. The paralysis is very strong, but it’s incapacitation so it will only work well against level 3 or lower creatures. But you are level 7.

Heightened (5th):
★★★★☆ Scarecrow (B1)  — Great Debuffer. The leer is incredible, inflicting at least frightened 1 to most enemies. Just having him out makes any fear build better, since you can’t reduce your frightened value below 1. And baleful glow means it might hit for some damage!
★★★☆☆ Dig-Widget (B2)  — Decent Striker. Decent base damage plus bleed plus sneak attack and a nifty grab ability that will make many enemies target this instead. Tremorsense and a burrow-speed. Plus you might be able to use it for thieves’ tools in a jam.

Heightened (6th):
★★★☆☆ Giant Animated Statue (B2)  — Decent Tank. Huge sized grabber that can automatically damage with it’s second action. 2d12+3d8+6(+1d8 persistant) probably isn’t worth the spell-slot, but if your party has enough buffs it can benefit from it wouldn’t be a terrible choice, especially if you just want a huge-sized body to get wailed on. It’s pretty easy to provoke certain creatures to attack a giant statue, since you can flavor the statue to look like a graven image or what-have-you and provoke that narrow-minded cultist into holding off on attacking you.

Heightened (7th):
No Summons At This Level

Heightened (8th):
★★☆☆☆ Spiral Centurion — Mediocre Area of Effect. Hurling blade can do 6d6 damage twice along a set path, letting you try for a full 12d6 damage to a line of monsters each turn for a full minute. Not terrible, but not great for a 6th level spell. It can use rev-up if you want to attack a single target.

Heightened (9th):
No Summons At This Level

Heightened (10th):
No Summons At This Level

 

Summon Dragon (Arcane)

Since the lowest level this spell can be cast is 5th level, many of the lowest level creatures you can summon are too weak to be helpful at the earliest tier they can be cast. They would only be useful in extremely niche situations.

Dragon Features: As intelligent summons, dragons can communicate, recall knowledge, speak neat languages and overall help the party try to round out certain missing skills or powers they might need. Most of them also fly, so there’s no point in saying it in each entry. Oh, and watch out for Frightful Presence! It can be an effective debuff, but it can also hurt your allies (but it has a low save given the spell level).

Spell 5:
★★★★☆ Flame Drake  — Good Area of Effect Tank. It flies and has draconic fury. Best of all, it can launch a fireball every 1d6 rounds. If you’re lucky, that’ll be 3 fireballs per summon. If you’re unlucky, that’ll be 2.
★★☆☆☆ River Drake  — Mediocre Area of Effect. Too low of a level. I’d only summon if the monster was extremely weak to this and super strong versus the flame drake. Even then, probably not.
★★☆☆☆ Shadow Drake — Mediocre Area of Effect.  Too low of a level. I’d only summon if the monster was extremely weak to this and super strong versus the flame drake. Even then, probably not.
★★☆☆☆ Tatzlwyrm — Mediocre Area of Effect.  Too low of a level. I’d only summon if the monster was extremely weak to this and super strong versus the flame drake. Even then, probably not.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★☆ Frost Drake — Good Control Area of Effect. It’s a fast flier with a good breath weapon that creates difficult terrain! Has some great vision and movement options in a snowy setting, including snow vision and burrow.
★★★★☆ Jungle Drake — Good Debuff Area of Effect Grabber. It can grab and haul away enemies using speed surge. It can give enfeebled 1 with its poison and has a breath weapon. Plus flight and woodland stride.
★★★★☆ Young Brass Dragon — Good Area of Effect Underground Tank.  Strong breath weapon. Swim and burrow! Tremorsense.
★★★☆☆ Sea Drake —Decent Aquatic Area of Effect. Ball lightning breath is really good. Briny wound is pretty good. Capsize is a plus in niche situations. Flies and swims.
★★★☆☆ Young Black Dragon — Decent Area of Effect Tank. Strong breath weapon. Swim and fly speed.
★★★☆☆ Young White Dragon — Decent Area of Effect Control Niche. Cool in ice. Ground slam to trip into jaws can AoE prone, but you’ll usually use this for it’s breath weapon. Worse than the other two true-dragons on this list, but better if cold weakness or an arctic terrain is involved. Flies. Snowvision. Shapes ice and snow.
★★☆☆☆ Wyvern — Mediocre Trip/Grab Debuffer. Decent poison. It can’t fly away with someone without haste. Flies.

Heightened (7th):
★★★★★ Dragon Turtle — Amazing Area of Effect (Aquatic Tank). A 50-ft cone of steam that recharges 1d4 rounds or each time the dragon turtle is hit with a crit (which will happen in this tier). It should be able to pull off two or even three of these before your beefy friend is dealt with, and it’s huge so the party will easily have cover. Capsize is a nice niche to have, and it’s surprisingly immune to fire!
★★★★☆ Young Bronze Dragon — Good Area of Effect. Repulsion Gas is incapacitation, but quite good against mobs of weaker creatures blocking your way. Water Mastery can add lots of mobility to your party. Speak with animals.
★★★★☆ Young Copper Dragon — Good Area of Effect Control. Slow gas is really good. Grease at will has some fun uses, although this is very high tier for a minute of spamming grease.
★★★☆☆ Young Blue Dragon — Medicare Niche Area of Effect Specialist. It has high skills, but only speaks common and draconic. The breath weapon is okay, but there are better. Desert Thirst might solve some puzzles, but it’s very niche. The burrow speed is nice, but it doesn’t have tremorsense. It can mimic sounds with a +22 to deception and ghost sound.
★★★☆☆ Young Green Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Control. Entangle and Charm will both have low DCs. The breath weapon isn’t bad, but it’s just damage.
★★☆☆☆ Desert Drake — Poor Area of Effect Control. It can create a cloud of concealment with its breath weapon, but that is a double-edged sword. It burrows through sand. Push isn’t bad on the tail, but it’s not good enough to make this summon worthwhile.

Heightened (8th):
★★★★☆ Adult Brass Dragon — Good Control Area of Effect. The breath weapon is great, but check out Desert Wind. Attempting to blind a cone of creatures is fantastic, and gust of wind still prevents large or smaller creatures from moving forward, and has good utility. Burrow. Tremorsense. Speak with Animals.
★★★★☆ Adult White Dragon — Good Control Area of Effect. The brass dragon’s Desert Wind is better than the White Dragon’s gust of wind at will, but if you want ice damage or are in a cold environment this isn’t bad. Dragon Chill gives it a neat AoE aura too.
★★★★☆ Peluda — Good Area of Effect Striker. A line and a cone! And the cone envenoms! And it has improved knockdown! Swim speed too!
★★☆☆☆ Adult Black Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Niche. It can ruin a lower level Alchemist’s day. Darkness at will is neat. Breath weapon is a line of acid.
★★☆☆☆ Young Gold Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Niche Specialist: I mean a minute of locate (gems only) might be necessary? But this is an 8th level slot and while weakening gas is okay, it’s just not enough to want to summon this.
★★☆☆☆ Young Silver Dragon —  Mediocre Area of Effect Debuff? Paralyzing Gas is only okay.
★☆☆☆☆ Young Red Dragon — Bad Area of Effect Striker? It can see through smoke.

Heightened (9th):
★★☆☆☆ Adult Red Dragon — Bad Area of Effect Specialist:
★★☆☆☆ Adult Blue Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Specialist: Generally not worth a 9th level spell, but it can burrow and still has a breath weapon. It can create illusory objects that last forever so you’ll get 10 totally real pipes!
★☆☆☆☆ Adult Silver Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Control: Paralyzing Gas is okay but it’s also incapacitation. Against lots of Level 13 or below creatures, go for it.
★☆☆☆☆ Adult Bronze Dragon — Bad Area of Effect: It’s kind of a tank and does have an aura of damage, but it’s just not worth a 9th level spell.

Heightened (10th):
★★☆☆☆ Adult Gold Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Specialist. It can sunburst each round, which is great against undead. The weakening gas is okay.
★☆☆☆☆ Adult Silver Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Striker. It does cold damage and has frozen environment effects.
★☆☆☆☆ Adult Red Dragon — Mediocre Area of Effect Striker. The definitive “dragon’. It breathes fire and has a heat aura.

 

Summon Entity (Occult)

Since the lowest level this spell can be cast is 5th level, many of the lowest level creatures you can summon are too weak to be helpful at the earliest tier they can be cast. They would only be useful in extremely niche situations.

Spell 5:
★★★★☆ Gibbering Mouther (B1) — Good Versatile Control Tank. Spittle gives you a decent ranged attack that can blind with Burn Eyes. The jaws cause bleed and grab, which can eventually engulf. Gibbering is incapacitation and gives immunity so it isn’t that great, but it can cause a large group of mooks to start slaughtering one another. Can hurt allies.
★★★★☆ Cloaker (B1) — Good Control Debuff. Infrasonic Moan is great. Envelop probably won’t work against stronger opponents since it’s incapacitation. It’s large and flies, so you can even use it as a flying mount.
★★★★☆ Mimic (B1) — Good Control Specialist. The adhesive isn’t bad against mooks with weapons. It can also transform into any medium sized object, which gives it lots of creative applications in and outside of combat!
★★★☆☆ Otyugh (B1) — Decent Control. It can grab, reposition and constrict. Stench will usually help, but might hurt your allies.
★★☆☆☆ Faceless Stalker (Ugothol) (B1) — Mediocre Control. Tongues. Can grab, but has a very low attack bonus.
★★☆☆☆ Rust Monster (B1) — Mediocre Specialist Lvl 3. Metal scent. Can destroy metal objects. Decent against lower level opponent’s with metal weapons.
★☆☆☆☆ D’ziriak (B2) — Poor Specialist Lvl 3. Overcomes Magical Darkness. Shadowtongue Telepathy. Creatures could crit fail against Dazzling Burst.
★☆☆☆☆ Vampiric Mist (B2) — Poor Specialist Lvl 3. Its body mist. Sense blood 60 ft.
☆☆☆☆☆ Choker (B2) — Terrible Control Lvl 2.
☆☆☆☆☆ Grindylow (B2) — Terrible Amphibious Lvl 0. Swims..
☆☆☆☆☆ Grothlut (B1) — Terrible Debuff Lvl 3. It might debuff your party too.
☆☆☆☆☆ Reefclaw (B1) — Terrible Aquatic Lvl 1. Poison. Swims.
☆☆☆☆☆ Sinspawn (B1) — Terrible Tank Lvl 2. Sin scent.
☆☆☆☆☆ Web Lurker (B1) — Terrible Specialist Lvl 3. Speak with spiders.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★★ Will-o’-Wisp (B1) — Amazing Anti-Magic Specialist. Immunity to Magic means it will devastate a lone caster. Against anyone else, this is a terrible monster.
★★★★☆ Drider (B1) — Good Caster. Look at that spell-list! clairvoyance,clairaudience, dispel magic, levitate, darkness, fireball, and invisibility are all pretty nice. The glaive and arrows can borrowed in niche situations. The web and poison are both decent. It can use arcane scrolls/wands and basically function as an additional humanoid
★★★☆☆ Skrik Nettle (B2) — Decent Tank. The venom is pretty good. It can counteract anyone levitating, which is neat but niche. It has a ton of hit-points and fast healing, but those weaknesses are going to hurt. Flying. Motionsense.
★★☆☆☆ Chuul (B1) — Mediocre Tank. It grabs with reach. The poison would be good, but it’s incapacitation. It’s pretty bulky!

Heightened (7th):
★★★★☆ Irnakurse (B2) — Good Controller. Use against big groups. Soul Scream is going to debuff quite a few enemies. And Storm of Tentacles means Mind Lash can potentially cause Stunned 2 against multiple opponents at once. And none of the effects are incapacitation!
★★★★☆ Destrachan (B2) — Good Specialist. Destra-chan is trying her best! Summon this to destroy items. Also good against creatures with weakness to sonic. Could even blast holes through some dungeons.
★★★☆☆ Denizen of Leng (B2) — Decent Caster. It has tongues. A number of nice Occult spells too, including outcast’s curse,levitate, locate, mind reading; mirror image and tongues.

Heightened (8th):
★★★☆☆ Nilith (B1) — Decent Caster. It can grab if it has to. Neat occult spells, including hallucination, mind probe, blink, confusion, dream message, nightmare, and mind reading. Mind crush is fun to yell at the table, but it’s not that reliable at this tier. Climb speed and telepathy.
★★☆☆☆ Quoppopak (B2) — Mediocre Aquatic Controller. It can make someone sickened, push and grab. Swim and water glide.
★☆☆☆☆ Ghonhatine (B2) — Poor Striker. Stench is pretty poor at this tier. It just does damage. 5d6 acid from vomit is kind of fun. Scent.
★☆☆☆☆  Gug (B1) — Poor Striker. All it does is damage, but it can attack four targets per round without increasing MAP. Climbs.
★☆☆☆☆ Ofalth (B1) — Poor Tank. It’s literally garbage. No, I mean you can spend a minute to turn it into a heap of garbage. Other than that it has a stench aura and is a beefy body that might take a couple hits.

Heightened (9th):
★★★☆☆ Gogiteth (B1) — Decent Controller. It can strike, grab and carry away three creatures. Decent for clearing the battlefield, but you probably have better 9th level spell options for that. Climb speed means you can carry the enemies off to the ceiling and they’ll drop and go prone.
★★☆☆☆ Irlgaunt (B2) — Mediocre Area of Effect Specialist. It can do a 14d6 AoE every 1d4 rounds. It can cast stone tell. And shape stone at will means you can play Minecraft!

Heightened (10th):
★★★★☆ Doprillu (B2) — Great Control Striker. Arise My Master! This beefy boy can whammu enemies 50 feet away, but mostly it just does an actually impressive amount of damage, grabbing and inflicting extra fire damage on top of its impressive fist damage. Regeneration is great. See invisibility and climb are icing on the cake.
★★☆☆☆ Quelaunt (B1) — Mediocre Specialist. Ten rounds of crushing despair and fear aren’t really worth a 10th level slot. The domains are neat but, again, not worth a 10th level slot. I suppose if you combo it with an intimidate build or something else that let’s it use feed on emotions every round it can keep inflicting Stunned 1 on someone each round.
★☆☆☆☆ Grikkitog (B1) — Poor Specialist. It can’t use implant core. All that’s left is the ability to earth glide against specific enemies you can’t otherwise follow.

 

Summon Giant (Primal)

Since the lowest level this spell can be cast is 5th level, many of the lowest level creatures you can summon are too weak to be helpful at the earliest tier they can be cast. They would only be useful in extremely niche situations.

Spell 5:
★★☆☆☆ Ogre Glutton — Mediocre Control. It has swallow whole, but only against small.
★☆☆☆☆ Troll — Bad Tank. It regenerates and has lots of hit points.
☆☆☆☆☆ Ogre Warrior — Terrible Tank. I guess it can try to trip?

Heightened (6th):
★★☆☆☆ Wood Giant — Mediocre Specialist. Earthbind is pretty good, and piercing shot has uses
★☆☆☆☆ Ettin — Bad Tank. It’s good if your GM let’s it have 4 actions, but it should only get 2.
★☆☆☆☆ Hill Giant — Bad Striker. Wide swing isn’t terrible, but it’s just damage. High athletics..
☆☆☆☆☆ Ogre Boss — Terrible Specialist. It’s good if you have ogres in the party!

Heightened (7th):
★★☆☆☆ Frost Giant — Mediocre Area of Effect Striker. Chill breath is pretty good. It’s also immune to cold damage and can actually do some melee damage, but not much.
★★☆☆☆ Onidoshi — Mediocre Caster. cone of cold, charm, gaseous form, sleep, fear and darkness. Regeneration makes it tamly, but it’s only casting each of those once. It can fly.
★★☆☆☆ Marsh Giant — Mediocre Aquatic Controller. It can drown prone targets, but you are probably only going to accomplish this if you have someone else in the party do the initial trip. It also gets mariner’s curse, augury, and obscuring mist.
★☆☆☆☆ Stone Giant — Bad Striker.It throws rocks. That’s it.

Heightened (8th):
★☆☆☆☆.Cloud Giant — Mediocre Caster & Striker Wind Strike isn’t bad, but deafened isn’t that good. It gets solid fog and at will levitate (which is normally not a primal spell).
★☆☆☆☆ Fire Giant — Bad Area of Effect Striker. AoE every turn, but it’s only a 15 foot line.
★☆☆☆☆ Troll King  — Bad Debuff Tank. Primordial Roar is nice, but that’s all it can do.

Heightened (9th):
★★★★☆ Frost Yai — Good Control Caster Tank. Ice missile will slow even on a successful save. cone of cold and wall of ice are both solid spells. It can also fly and has regeneration.
★★★☆☆ Storm Giant — Decent Caster Tank. chain lightning (x3) and levitate (normally not primal). After it zaps everyone it’ll still be there with it’s sword, and can wild swing!
★☆☆☆☆ Athach — Bad Striker. The venom isn’t completely awful. If you want a huge giant with +25 athletics, this is your choice. Otherwise, a Frost Yai has the same athletics and far more other useful features.
☆☆☆☆☆  Shadow Giant — Terrible Niche Debuff. It can potentially drain enemies. That’s it.
☆☆☆☆☆ Taiga Giant — Terrible Niche Striker. It can attack invisible creatures. That’s it.

Heightened (10th):
★★★★☆ Fire Yai — Powerful Striker Caster. Impaling push can grab and push creatures. Smoke form can sicken 3. It has a plethora of useful spells including fireball, flame strike, and wall of fire

 

Summon Plant or Fungus (Primal)

Spell 1:
★★★★☆ Yellow Musk Thrall (B2) — Powerful Melee Striker. +7 to hit with Grab and a Fascinating Pollen. The Fascinate condition has no duration, so it’s possible to completely eliminate an opponent (so long as the party agrees to let it live). The aura is free real-estate.
★★☆☆☆ Weak Leaf Leshy (B1) — Decent Support Utility. Being able to talk to trees usually requires a 4th level spell. Healing plants upon death and creating difficult terrain can help, especially if you are a leshy!

Heightened (2nd):
★★★☆☆ Sunflower Leshy (B2) — Decent Area of Effect. Free-action flat-footed/dazzle attempts and a two-action area-of-effect spray that does pretty good damage. It has the standard Leshy traits, but it’s speak with plants probably isn’t as useful as the Leaf Leshy.
★★☆☆☆ Gourd Leshy (B1) — Decent ranged striker. Can help to slow down a single incoming enemy.
★☆☆☆☆ Leaf Leshy (B1) — Poor Support Utility. Don’t bother using a 2nd level slot. It’s support isn’t affected by the Weak template. Musk Thrall is still better in combat.

Heightened (3rd):
★★★★☆ Yellow Musk Creeper (B2) — Powerful Controller. This would be five stars if it wasn’t so fragile, but the ability to fascinate in a line or cone makes this an absolute beast. With haste it can Bore into Brain at which point it gets 5 stars…assuming you can keep control of those Yellow Musk Thralls.
★★★☆☆ Slime Mold (B2) — Solid Defensive Tank. Summons are great for taking hits and this large moldy-boy has tons of hit-points. Motion sense 60 and climb will help against certain enemies. The attack won’t hit often, but the disease will cripple a single enemy.
★★★☆☆ Yellow Musk Bute (B2) — Decent Battlefield Control Striker. It can push enemies back with reach, grapple everyone around it and fascinate with its pollen! This is your go-to option if you want to rearrange the battlefield a little, even if the brute is a bit fragile.
★☆☆☆☆ Fungus Leshy (B1) — Poor Support Utility. Talking to fun-guys can be useful. But the spore cloud is more likely to endanger your allies. Persistent damage isn’t as useful against monsters.

Heightened (4th):
★★★☆☆ Snapping Flytrap (B1) — Solid Control Tank. It can attack multiple enemies (with reach) without worrying about MAP and has Improved Grab (the only way you’ll want to Grab with a summon). It’d be a solid 4 stars if minions got reactions. Tremorsense is icing on the cake.
★★☆☆☆ Dryad (B1) — Specialist Tank Caster. Not the best, but not terrible. The Dryad has very high HP and AC for its level, but lacks the reach that would make it better than the Snapping Flytrap at being a tank. It can attempt charm, suggestion, sleep and/or spam entangle until it hits someone with that DC 20 save. Yes, I said DC 20 as, sadly, the Dryad will be sickened the entire time it’s out, which is sort of cruel. Speak with plants and Nature Empathy can be super useful toolbox options too!
★★☆☆☆ Twigjack (B2) — Mediocre Area of Effect Striker. The only reason to summon this is for it’s Splinter Spray, which is a cute trick but usually not worth the 4th level spell slot.
★☆☆☆☆ Violet Fungus (B2) — Poor Medium Tank. The only reason to summon this over a Snapping Flytrap is if you have no space for a large creature. The poison is okay. Tremorsense 60 feet is useful.
☆☆☆☆☆ Assassin Vine (B2) — Poor Controller. The grasping foliage is just going to make the rest of your party hate you. There are very few circumstances wherein you’d want to summon an Assassin Vine.

Heightened (5th):
★★★★★ Basidirond (B2) — Amazing Tank Controller. This thing is a beast. Hallucinogenic Cloud is good enough to be a 5th level spell on its own. It does the most damage of any other plant in this category, and has the highest AC and HP. It even has tremorsense! Just be careful with those spores!
★★★☆☆ Calathgar (B2) — Solid Area of Effect Specialist. Weakness to cold? Summon a calathgar! Being small it won’t be much of a tank, but if the enemies are weak to ice it’ll be able to spray, take a couple hits and explode for even more damage. It even has a climb speed!
★★★☆☆ Mandragora (B2) — Solid Debuff Controller. This has a ton of great debuffs and the first time you use that scream your GM may be the one who ends up sickened. The stupefying and confusing venom is really good too! It’s very unlikely you’ll ever pull off the blood drain without haste, but it can happen. It has a unique scent and gives you access to burrow and climb, so there are some circumstances where it beats out the higher level Basidirond.
★★☆☆☆ Arboreal Warden (B1) — Poor Tank. Doesn’t do much damage, but with those resistances and a shield it can take quite a bit of punishment! I’d still only summon it if the Basidirond spores were too much of a problem.
★★☆☆☆ Flytrap Leshy (B2) — Poor Debuff. It’s flavorful and kind of fun, but its numbers are fairly low. Consider it against acid, or if you have lots of allied plant creatures for its Verdant Burst.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★★ Drainberry Bush (B2) — Amazing Healing Striker Tank. Four attacks per round with 20 foot reach without penalty with an Improved Grab on each one? What else do you want? How about healing berries for the entire party! Being able to turn your prepared summon spell into an emergency healing spell is probably unnecessary by this level, but you never know. The berries likely don’t last after the summon leaves, but the healing will! Telepathy, 120 ft of life sense and a climb speed are berries on the cupcake.
★★★☆☆ Tendriculos (B2) — Decent Huge Tank. It’s Tend-ridiculous! Ok, not quite. But it plays a role! While it’s not as beefy as the Drainberry Bush, the huge size and reach means it will clog the battlefield something fierce. It only has Grab so it’s unlikely to pull off that Swallow Whole, but the poison is pretty good.
★★☆☆☆ Scythe Tree (B2) — Mediocre Tank. Better than an Awakened Tree or Shambler and it does have lifesense, but overall it’s a pretty poor summon. It will deal a fair amount of damage with its attacks, but it has no multiattack options and the Ambush is too situational for too little payoff.
★★☆☆☆ Shambler (B1) — Mediocre Tank Specialist. It can grab and do some damage, but if you’re summoning this it’s likely because of its electricity immunity or swim speed. Electric eels better look out!
★☆☆☆☆ Awakened Tree (B1) — Poor Tank. The only reason it even gets one star is because it is still a Huge sized punching bag, but there are far better options even at this level! You are likely using this because you summoned an Arboreal Regent.

Heightened (7th):
★★★★★ Drakauthix (B1) — Amazing Control Striker. What’s better than a huge creature with 30-ft reach? How one that flies, has improved grab and can strike every enemy in reach! If you haste your balloon buddy, it can even reel in all those creatures and get your umbrellas ready. Now it is true that it can’t see in most places it can fit, but Whirlwind of Hooks doesn’t care! Just warn your teammates!
★★☆☆☆ Arboreal Regent (B1) — Mediocre Specialist Tank. The reason you are summoning this is to have it animate and command two awakened trees, which isn’t all that good at this tier and requires space for three huge creatures and a forest (or feather tokens). Especially if you’re a leshy and can convince the trees to keep helping the party afterward, but I wouldn’t fault a GM for having the awakened trees decide to make like their new wannabe king and leaf. (Or only help in a limited, non-combat capacity.)

Heightened (8th):
★★★☆☆ Giant Flytrap (B1) — Solid Mediocre Control Tank. It can focus its damage and grab targets, or lash out against multiple foes. You’ll usually just want a Drakauthix, but this has better numbers and doesn’t mess with your allies or require as much space. It has solid numbers going for it, and great speed for a plant.
★★☆☆☆ Dezullon (B1) — Mediocre Debuff Tank. The regeneration makes this a fairly effective tank, but the aura is going to hurt your teammates too. The acid glob isn’t bad, but it’s probably not worth the 8th level spell-slot if you don’t need an emergency front-liner.

Heightened (9th):
★☆☆☆☆ Viper Vine (B2) — Mediocre Tank Controller. The aura is likely more of a hindrance to your party, especially given how many enemies at this level will be immune to one of those four traits. The reach isn’t enough to grab most flyers, it has no attack of opportunity and it doesn’t even have improved grab for its constrict. The fact it uses a 9th level spell slot makes this option as unsatisfying as a once crunchy leaf in a puddle.

Heightened (10th):
★☆☆☆☆ Wemmuth (B1) — Mediocre Tank Controller. It grabs. It eats. All at levels that will underwhelm even the least prepared 20th level encounter. I’d rather turn into a Green Man. Or summon an Arboreal Regent and turn the Awakened Trees into Woody Mammoths.

Dustin Knight

Dustin has been playing and improving on RPGs since AD&D in 1999. He ran games and conventions around California while studying Graphic Design, Philosophy, English & Architecture. After developing a tabletop game seminar he began working freelance for Alderac Entertainment Games. During his stint on the East Coast, he became a Venture Lieutenant and began reviewing Pathfinder mechanics for Organized Play. After moving to Washington in 2019, he met Alex Augunas at Paizocon and developed, designed and wrote for Everybody Games LLC, starting with the Feat Cards for Everbody and Files for Everbody lines. His lifelong dream is to see more people having fun using his content.