Last time on Summon-Dex Z: I analyzed the options for Summon Construct, Dragon, Entity, Giant and Plant! This week we are going to look into character options that enhance summon spells and review the remaining summon spells: Summon Celestial, Summon Elemental, Summon Fey, and Unseen Servant! Next week? We turn to the power of the dark side! (And get a biased nifty summary of all the most powerful summons you can cast at each level.)
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)
Summoner Character Options
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. Note that you can get some of the class-specific feats listed below with multiclass devotions!
• Druid: Call of the Wild (Feat 2) let’s you replace spells you’ve prepared into Summon Animal/Plants & Fungi. Primal Summons (Feat 12) let’s you use the focus spell Primal Summons (Focus 6) to give your summons a special perk! Air grants a fly speed (great for creatures with grab or trip), Earth gives it a burrow sped (incredible for creatures with haul), Fire gives it fire resistance and extra damage (not bad for creatures who attack multiple creatures at once), and water gives it a swim speed and the ability to attempt a shove that ignores multiple attack penalty!
• Sorcerer: Primal Evolution (Feat 4) give’s sorcerers a free slot to cast summon animal or summon plants and fungi at their highest level. This is a really nice feat, as you will rarely want to prepare this spell below it’s highest level and it opens up two slots in your spell repertoire
• Wizard: Conjurers get a free spell and the powerful Augment Summoning spell, which gives your summoned minion a +1 status bonus on all checks! It can be hard to use Augment Summoning since it takes an action after you use the spell. Since you are also likely to spend an action commanding your minion, you will be reduced to a single action the turn after you summon.
• Tupilaq Carver: Human heritage feat. A free spell in your spell list is nice, especially for spellcasters with a repertoire. +4 to perception isn’t too shabby.
• Equipment: Staff of Conjuration will let you cast summon construct and summon elemental spells, or burn the charges on spells like stinking cloud and black tentacles! Animal Staff nets you summon animal. Elemental Gems lets you summon a specific elemental for only two actions, but none of them are that good (still makes a fun consumable treasure to find in a dungeon).
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 Celestial (Divine)
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.
★★★★☆ Gancanagh (Passion Azata) (B1) — Good Spellcaster Tank. The damage isn’t terrible, but also not great. It has suggestion, heroism, heal, and tongues. After you use heroism it can use invigorating passion to give mini-heroisms! It can use Mirror image (at will) to try to tank.
★★★☆☆ Horned Archon (B1) — Decent Mobile Healer. It can heal 30 HP twice (or more) with a single action and 35 foot speed. Achon’s door is amusing against bosses trying to flee. It can also cast dimension door (x3), animal messenger, charm (animals only; x3),and tongues. Menacing Guardian is fun free debuff. Their melee attack has a Push.
★★☆☆☆ Hound Archon (B2) — Mediocre Striker. It gets two attacks without MAP. It can also turn into a large canid and get Knockdown. It gets dimension door and tongues and can use the dimension door to chase a fleeing boss down, but only 1/day.
★★☆☆☆ Cassisian (Archive Angel) (B1) — Mediocre Niche Spellcaster. Detect alignment (at will, evil only), heal and know direction. Repository of lore is pretty neat, but of questionable usefulness. You can wear it as a hat for a +1 status bonus to AC and saves against evil creatures.
★★☆☆☆ Lantern Archon (B1) — Mediocre Niche Spellcaster. Detect alignment (at will; evil only) and heal are both neat. Fusing them isn’t worth 8 level five spells from multiple characters. The +1 damage bonus isn’t bad, but not worth a 5th level spell slot.
★☆☆☆☆ Lyrakien (Wanderer Azata) (B1) — Terrible Niche Spellcaster. Detect alignment (at will; evil only), heal, and illusory object all have uses despite only being low level spells. The attacks and special ability are pretty worthless at this level. I suppose it can fly for help if every square in the map prevents movement, since it has freedom of movement at will and a 50 ft fly speed.
★★★★★ Lillend (Muse Azata) (B1) — Amazing Spellcaster. It has Counter performance, hallucinatory terrain, heal, inspire heroics, sound burst, suggestion, sleep; darkness, invisibility, inspire competence, inspire courage, tongues, speak with plants, and speak with animals! It also has a +1 longsword if your fighter loses his only weapon. 45 ft fly speed.
★★★★☆ Choral (Choir Angel) (B1) — Good Spellcaster. Can remove negative abilities and do sonic damage. Decent at inspiring, but not as good as the Lilend. It has heal, remove curse, remove disease, remove fear, sound burst; invisibility, inspire competence, inspire courage and tongues. +2 to sonic damage to all allies isn’t all that useful but it’s better than nothing.
★★☆☆☆ Bralani (Wind Azata) (B2) — Mediocre Niche Spellcaster. It blows. With wind. Whirlwind blast isn’t bad, but also isn’t great. Fair competition is a pretty flavorful use of this summon and a unique effect. It has heal, lightning bolt, wall of wind, calm emotions, gust of wind (at will) and tongues. 80 feet fly is really fast!
★☆☆☆☆ Legion Archon (B1) — Poor Striker. It does damage (and with True Strike). It can debuff, but unlikely. Dimension door hunter like the other archons. Tongues!
★★★☆☆ Balisse (Confessor Angel) (B1) — Niche Spellcaster. It has a really nifty zone of truth and detect alignment (at will, evil only), plus divine wrath, heal, paralyze, remove curse, remove disease and remove fear. It’s best ability is brand of the impenitent, which debuffs an enemy with -1 to AC and saves, -2 to its resistances and weakness 2 to good damage. Remember that in addition to clerics and champions, monks can use ki strike to easily get good damage! Large!
★★★★★ Shield Archon (B1) — Amazing Tank. So good! It’s a summon that can use shield block to defend its allies unlimited times per round! It also gets shield other (3x) with it’s pool of 125 HP. True strike means it might actually do some damage, but you’ll likely use the actions for courageous switch instead, letting it switch places with allies as dimension door. It can also follow fleeing enemies with dimension door and has tongues. Menacing guardian is a free debuff.
★★★☆☆ Movanic Deva (Guardian Angel) (B2) — Decent Spellcaster. It’ll cure what ails you. Aura of vitality gives your allies +1 to saves, resistance 10 to positive and negative energy, plus negates the otherwise horrid effects of those planes. Dispelling field can help counteract any number of negative effects your party might have. It also comes equipped with divine wrath, remove curse, remove disease, remove fear, create food, heal (×3), detect alignment (at will; evil only) and tongues.
★★★★☆ Ghaele (Crusader Azata) (B1) — Decent Spellcaster. Great against 12th level or lower animals. It can walk through walls and use divine decree as a single action once per enemy. It can also use chromatic wall, dispel magic, heal, prismatic spray, banishment, heal (x4), invisibility (at will; self only, great while walking through walls to scout), restoration, mind reading, detect alignment (at will; evil only), illusory disguise (at will) and comes equipped with see invisibility and tongues.
★★☆☆☆ Monadic Deva (Soul Angel) (B2) — Decent Controller. You use this against lots of enemies so you can spam rebuke soul once against each of them. Is it incapacitation, so it’s only good against 12th level or lower creatures which you could probably fry with a different 9th level spell. It also has divine wrath, heal, paralyze, remove curse, remove disease, creation, remove fear, detect alignment (at will; evil only) and tongues. Note that creation will take the entire minute of the summon, so you’re probably better off using another 9th level spell.
★☆☆☆☆ Trumpet Archon (B2) — Poor Controller. Not worth the 10th level spell. Trumpet Blast can stun everyone, but affects allies too. The DC is so low no one is going to be failing against it unless they weren’t a threat. Kind word has some niche value against emotion effects. It can cast heal, sound burst, heroism, zealous conviction, banishment; 3rd circle of protection (against evil only; ×2), and has tongues. Note that it cannot use breath of life since that is a reaction and this a summon.
★☆☆☆☆ Astral Deva (Emissary Angel) (B1) — Poor Niche Specialist. Travelers aura might help you get past some strange niche “exotic dangers” in your 20th level intraplanar travel, but there are likely better options that don’t use your 10th level spell slot. It can use blade barrier, divine decree, divine wrath, heal, remove curse, remove disease, remove fear, detect alignment (at will, evil only) and has tongues.
Summon Elemental (Arcane, Primal)
★★☆☆☆ Air Mephit (B1) — Mediocre Area of Effect Scout. Breath weapon does slashing damage. It gets gust of wind. 40 foot fly speed is nice.
★★☆☆☆ Earth Mephit (B1) — Mediocre Area of Effect Scout. Breath weapon does bludgeoning damage. It can enlarge itself and meld into stone if you heighten. It can burrow, fly and has tremorsense.
★★☆☆☆ Fire Mephit (B1) — Mediocre Area of Effect. Breath weapon does fire and persistent fire damage, then it can spam daze or swing with a decent melee attack. Flies. Smokevision.7
★★☆☆☆ Water Mephit (B1) — Mediocre Area of Effect. Breath weapon does acid damage, but caonly use acid arrow if you heighten. It can swim and fly.
★★★☆☆ Mudwretch (B2) — Decent Controller. It can grab and constrict. The ranged attack isn’t terrible. Muddy field creates an aura of difficult terrain. Swims.
★★☆☆☆ Living Boulder (B2) — Mediocre Specialist. Earthglide is really useful in the right environment. Tremorsense is good too. Knockdown isn’t bad.
☆☆☆☆☆ Ember Fox (B2) — Terrible Striker. It does a little persistent damage.
☆☆☆☆☆ Icicle Snake (B2) — Terrible Striker. It does a little persistent damage. Climbs.
☆☆☆☆☆ Spark Bat (B2) — Terrible Striker. It does a little damage. Flies.
★★★☆☆ Brine Shark (B1) — Aquatic Control Specialist. It grabs a creature and drags them far away from the party, assuming you are in the water but not at the bottom.
★★★☆☆ Cinder Rat (B1) — Decent Specialist. It causes enemies to become sickened and conceals everything around it in smoke. This is a specialty tool for characters who can see through smoke, as it’s like having a mobile, living smokestick that flanks. Party will hate you.
★★☆☆☆ Sod Hound (B1) — Mediocre Specialist. You summon this to find hidden gems. There’s a chance a hidden enemy might have gems on them too. It has burrow and earthglide.
★☆☆☆☆ Zephyr Hawk (B1) — Poor Mobile Striker. Circling attack is cool on paper, but it’s only 1d8+4 damage. It flies.
★★★★★ Mist Stalker (B2) — Amazing Controller. It grabs and constricts. It creates a 15 foot cloud of mist it can see through. But best of all? For a single action it can attempt to immobilize a creature within its cloud! Super solid if you have mist vision. Climb sand swims.
★★☆☆☆ Janni (B1) — Mediocre Spellcaster. A neat toolbox that can cast create food, invisibility (x3) and speak with animals. It can also shrink or enlarge an ally. It also comes with an assortment of languages and telepathy.
★★☆☆☆ Living Thunderclap (B2) — Mediocre Controller. It can push and deafen. Flies.
★★☆☆☆ Living Waterfall (B1) — Mediocre Niche Controller. It can push or pull and creates difficult terrain in a 30 foot aura. It can also drench out fires which isn’t bad.
★☆☆☆☆ Filth Fire (B2) — Poor Area of Effect. You’ll summon this for Noxious Blast. There are just better things to do with a 5th level spell. But it can try to sicken in a cone with toxic fumes. Smokevision.
★☆☆☆☆ Living Wildfire (B1) — Poor Area of Effect Striker. It has smoke vision, does persistent fire damage and explodes when it dies. Smoke vision.
★☆☆☆☆ Living Whirlwind (B1) — Poor Controller. It has push and swim. Flies.
☆☆☆☆☆ Earthen Destrier (B2) — Terrible Striker. Best abilities can’t be used as a minion. Has burrow, earthglide and tremorsense.
☆☆☆☆☆ Living Landslide (B1) — Terrible Striker. Has burrow, earth glide and tremorsense.
★★★★☆ Belker (B2) — Good Disabling Striker. It smokes inside someone’s lungs, immobilizes them and then slashes from inside. Stronger enemies will be able to cough up the belker, but against many fliers they will still may fall to the ground having been immobilized. Fly speed. Smoke vision.
★★☆☆☆ Quatoid (B1) — Mediocre Controller. Aquatic. But Elementals don’t have to breathe. Calming bioluminescence is a neat niche against emotion effects. Hydraulic push every round.
★☆☆☆☆ Salamander (B1) — Bad Controller Tank. It grabs and constricts.
★☆☆☆☆ Invisible Stalker (B2) — Bad Niche Specialist. It’s always invisible, so can scout and track. But it only knows Auran. It flies.
★☆☆☆☆ Sand Sentry (B2) — Bad Striker. Earthglide and blinds on a critical hit.
★☆☆☆☆ Xorn (B1) — Bad Striker. It can strike three times against multiple targets, but mediocre damage. Tremorsense and Earthglide can be useful. Speaks common and terran.
☆☆☆☆☆ Blizzardborn (B1) — Terrible Striker Specialist. It can see through snow. Ice burrow.
☆☆☆☆☆ Striding Fire (B2) — Terrible Controller. Only knocks prone on a critical failure.
★★★★☆ Firewyrm (B1) — Good Area of Effect Striker. Intense heat, a good breath weapon and explosion make this a great AoE choice. The melee attack does good damage. Huge and fast.
★★☆☆☆ Storm Lord (B1) — Mediocre Niche Controller. Creating a huge aura of difficult terrain for flying creatures isn’t useless, and it can push. Great fly speed and large.
★☆☆☆☆ Magma Scorpion (B2) — Bad Controller. Grab and enfeebled poison. Climbs.
★☆☆☆☆ Stone Mauler (B1) — Bad Controller. Spike stones creates an aura of difficult terrain. Pushes. Earth glide. Tremorsense.
★☆☆☆☆ Granite Glyptodont (B2) — Bad Controller. Incapacitation makes the calcification pretty lame, but not useless. Earth glide and tremorsense.
★☆☆☆☆ Tidal Master (B1) — Niche Aquatic Controller. Push or pull 10 feet. Has a 10-foot drench against fires. Makes swimming difficult. Swim speed.
★★★★☆ Elemental Hurricane (B1) — Good Mobile Area of Effect Controller. Breath weapon can push 20+ feet. Attack pushes too. Creates difficult terrain for fliers. Huge. 100 foot fly speed.
★★★☆☆ Elemental Avalanche (B1) — Decent Controller. Huge size and a 10 foot aura of stone spikes can warp the battlefield in your favor. Earth glide and tremorsense.
★★★☆☆ Elemental Inferno (B1) — Decent Area of Effect Striker. Heat aura, explosion and inferno leap are all solid AoE damage. The attack isn’t bad. 70 ft speed on a huge creature.
★★☆☆☆ Elemental Tsunami (B1) — Mediocre Aquatic Area of Effect Controller. It pushes and damages with surge plus drenches as a huge sized creature. Swim 100 ft.
★☆☆☆☆ Icewyrm (B2) — Mediocre Niche Area of Effect. It has a breath weapon and explosion, but not aura like the elemental inferno. Cold damage with ice burrow and a swim speed.
☆☆☆☆☆ Melody On The Wind (B2) — Terrible Niche Controller. It has a limited fascination effect at a low DC and pushes. Summons can’t use reactions. Fly 100 ft.
There are no elementals at this level.
★★☆☆☆ Uthul (B1) — Mediocre Area of Effect Controller. Lightning crash is incapacitation, so probably won’t work. You will be using this for whirlwind form, which let’s you sweep up multiple creatures, damaging them and then flinging off in random directions. It’s not terrible, but it’s probably not worth a 10th level spell-slot.
Summon Fey (Occult, Primal)
★☆☆☆☆ Mitflit (B1) — Mediocre Striker. Normally it can make requests of arthropods, but it can’t speak with animals unless you heighten the spell to level 3. It does hav ea climb speed and can cast prestidigitation.
★☆☆☆☆ Sprite (B1) — Mediocre Striker. Fly 40 feet at level 1 has exploits. Luminous spark isn’t bad, but isn’t great. It can cast dancing lights, daze and detect magic.
★★★★★ Pugwampi (B1) — Amazing Debuff. Unlucky aura is an amazing ability that will remain relevant even into level 6 or 7 (against a low Will save). Even better if Paizo releases a playable gremlin or gnoll! It also doesn’t affect animals, so ranged druids can let their companions fight while the Pugwampi tries to stay alive. It can also cast Prestidigitation.
★★★★☆ Grig (B1) — Good Debuff Striker. Fiddle is a fine debuff. Dissonant note is a good source of ranged sonic damage. It also has illusory disguise if you want it to turn into a different tiny creature for some reason.
★★★☆☆ Brownie (B2) — Decent Control. Baffling Bluff can work well against multiple enemies. It can cast ventriloquism.
★★★☆☆ Vexgit (B2) — Decent Niche Striker. The snare will probably disappear when the summons does, as per the rules for valuable treasure. Rusting grasp isn’t bad. Destructive smash means this little fella is good against shields and objects. It can also disable devices for you if your party needs a rogue. Casts alarm.
★★☆☆☆ Nixie (B2) — Mediocre Spellcaster. Charm (×3) and hydraulic push. Wild empathy for aquatic/amphibious animals. Grant desire instantly makes this a 4 star summon, but requires 3 actions.
★☆☆☆☆ Naiad (B1) — Bad Niche Spellcaster. Casts charm, create water, tidal surge and a constant speak with animals. It has wild empathy.
★☆☆☆☆ Jinkin (B1) — Bad Striker. Sneak attack and prestidigitation.
★★★★★ Leprechaun (B2) — Amazing Caster. Casts illusory creature, illusory object, invisibility (self only), color spray, shillelagh, ventriloquism. dancing lights, ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation, and telekinetic projectile. Get’s a +11 attack modifier and DC 20 if the action “deceives, tricks ro humiliates” a creature. Create object has a bunch of incredible uses, including caltrops, marbles, and potentially bombs. Lots of table variation here. Gold Lore!
★★★★☆ Nuglub (B2) — Good Controller Striker. Hits pretty well. Grabs. shatter, grease and shocking grasp. Climbs.
★★★★★ Unicorn (B1) — Amazing Spellcaster Niche Striker. Your mount can cast (3rd) heal (x2), neutralize poison and detect alignment (at will, good only)! Powerful charge is pretty good, especially against evil creatures doing 1d10+3d6+4 ghost touch! Wild empathy and scent.
★★☆☆☆ 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.
★★★★★ Satyr (B1) — Amazing Spellcaster. Can stride while casting charm, fear, sleep, suggestion, inspire competence, inspire courage, and triple time. Wineskin gives +1 to will saves (+3 vs fear effects) for the next hour.
★★★☆☆ Redcap (B1) — Decent Striker. Use if you can make enemies prone. Blood soak is totally worth it given MAP. Be careful of divine revulsion if you have a divine caster in the party.
★★★☆☆ Grodair (B2) — Decent Niche Controller. It can knockdown and push, plus create difficult terrain. Death flood is pretty decent. If you heighten (6th), it gets control water.
★★★☆☆ Pixie (B1) — Decent Spellcaster. It gets dispel magic, entangle, and faerie fire. It’s bow let’s it use charm (except it can direct the charm to an ally), memory loss (5 minutes), sleep or 4d6 mental damage. You’ll probably be going for sleep or memory loss, but having an invisible pixie charming people isn’t bad either!
★☆☆☆☆ Grimstalker (B2) — Bad Spellcaster. It gets earthbind and entangle. It’s poison is kind of lame. It can climb.
★☆☆☆☆ Lurker In Light (B2) — Mediocre Niche Spellcaster. Blindness and searing light are neat. It might be able to pull off a mote of light against a weakened opponent. Summons cannot summon.
☆☆☆☆☆ Kelpie (B2) — Terrible Controller. It can grab. Captivating Lure takes a whole turn to set up with change shape, and is incapacitation so will usually just stupefy. Swims
★★★★★ Culdewen (B2) — Amazing Control Striker. It strikes with a hook and reels enemies in, running off with them never to be seen again (or until the spell wears off). Swearing is a fine debuff (sickened). It has a swim speed.
★★★★★ Stygira (B2) — Amazing Caster. Stone curse causes slowed and gem gaze can cause frightened. It can also cast shape stone and earthbind. They also have true seeing using gemsight, but note the summon doesn’t speak common. Gem lore.
☆☆☆☆☆ Elananx (B1) — Terrible Striker. Without it’s reaction, it’s not very good.
★★★☆☆ Nuckelavee (B2) — Decent Area of Effect Striker. The strike is okay against animals and plants thanks to the disease. It has a pretty good breath weapon. Be wary of its frightful presence. It can cast control water and stinking cloud. Swims.
★★★☆☆ Rusalka (B2) — Decent Control Striker. It can grab up to eight enemies with its hair, using improved grab and constrict. Moving creatures around with its hair is okay, but it requires a check and it arguably worse than the haul ability on animals like the elephant. Shameful touch is really good for sickened and possibly stunned, and is not incapacitation. Beckoning call is okay against lower level foes (but it is incapacitation). Casts control water (at will), invisibility (at will), obscuring mist, and always has water walk. Also has a 50 foot swim speed, which makes me wonder why you’d want water walk.
★★☆☆☆ Marrmora (B2) — Mediocre Fire Striker. Fascination of flame is great support for a spellcaster who uses fire magic. Igniting assault effectively does 10d6+14 Fire plus 1d6 persistent. Casts fireball, volcanic eruption, wall of fire and can turn into a huge fire elemental. 30 ft fly speed.
★☆☆☆☆ Ankou (B2) — Bad Striker. It basically just does damage, and not much. Casts prismatic spray, true seeing; darkness (at will), dimensional anchor; silence and ray of enfeeblement. 75 ft fly speed. Lifesense 120 ft.