Fox’s Cunning – Summon-Dex Bestiary 3 Update Part 1

Bestiary 3 is here! And that means a slew of new additions to our summoners’ menageries. Which of course means an update to our Summon-Dex, my biased reviews of which monsters to call, and which drop the ball. Bestiary 3 will be a two-part update. Each Bestiary 3 article will only rate monsters from Bestiary 3, but the original “Summon-Dex” pages will be updated with these monsters so you can compare them with the options from Bestiary 1 & Bestiary 2. In addition, I’ll include a bit on my favorite Bestiary 3 monster from each summon spell!

Summon-Dex Navigation:

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

Bestiary 2 Errata

Make sure to check out the errata for bestiary 2, as many of our favorite monsters have been tweaked.  The biggest change? A number of monsters have become uncommon! The Culdawen, Drainberry Bush, Denizen of Leng, Stygira can no longer be summoned. In addition, the Specter has lost 1-star due to errata. Other monsters have been buffed and nerfed, but not enough to deserve a significant change in rank.

Dustin’s Personal Picks

There are so many good monsters in Bestiary 3 that it can be a challenge to pick only one from each summoning spell to highlight. These choices are not the “best”. They are merely entries that caught my eye that I wanted to bring attention to. Many of these monsters are too high level to be effective combatants at the tier in which they can be summoned, but still offer a niche utility that can make them the cornerstone of a very memorable story!

Summon Animal: Empress Bore Worm
First appearing in Ironfang Invasion, the worm isn’t going to tip the scales of any combat encounters like the Skunk or Squirrel Swarm at level 1 & 2. But higher-level summons like this are made for utility, and the bore ability is an absolute game-changer. Whether it’s sneaking past an encounter, or looking to set up an ambush behind enemy lines, being able to tunnel the entire party beneath the earth is such a powerful ability that I’d recommend you bring it up with your gamemaster at least a level in advance so they can be prepared for your shenanigans. Special shoutout to the Fading Fox for being both a decent single-target striker and, you know, a fox!

Summon Construct: Animated Trebuchet
Why would you summon anything else when a trebuchet can launch a 90kg stone projectile over 300 meters? In all seriousness, being able to yeet creatures across the battlefield makes this entry incredible. I hate that I had to give it only two stars. But that is common for summons requiring a 9th-level spell slot.

Summon Dragon: House Drake
The only common dragon in Bestiary 3 is too low of a level for most players to want to summon with a 5th-level spell. But it’s such a cute monster that I couldn’t just leave them out! And the little guys are perfect if you are trying to befriend or distract a dragon-inclined creature without initiating a fight!

Summon Entity: Blood Painter
The Blood Painter is one of the few minions that can “summon” other creatures since illusory creature is not itself a summon spell! The fact you get a single-action “Dab” is just icing on the cake. Illusory creature is one of my personal favorite spells since it’s so fun to personalize. Giant nine-tailed foxes? Copies of your opponents? A talking clam!? One spell. Unlimited possibilities. Now with blood!

Summon Giant: Tomb Giant
A large striking scythe and the ability to spam harm isn’t the worst. The combination of a relatively high stealth score and throw rock is my favorite part about the only giant in Bestiary 3.

Summon Plant: Cactus Leshy
A 2nd-level summon with an AoE burst isn’t anything to write home about. But it’s a cactus leshy! I have to include it somewhere on the list. It might not be the most powerful summon in its tier, but it’s low-level enough that you aren’t jeopardizing the party picking it over a slime mold. And if the party has a couple of plants, you’ll still benefit from that verdant burst! Special shoutout to the Arboreal Reaper for giving us a powerful 7th level summon to replace our errata stricken Drainberry Bush.

Summon Animal (Arcane, Primal)

Spell 1:
★★★★☆ Monkey (B3) — Good Specialist. Attack isn’t bad. Grab and Go makes it an excellent specialist at Stealing. Climb speed.
★★★★☆ Skunk (B3) — Good Striker Debuffer. Spray Musk is quite effective and can be attempted each round. Great high attack and damage for this tier. Scent.
★★★☆☆ Common Eurypterid (B3) — Decent Striker. Attack bonus and Poison DC are low, but it is medium sized with Grab. Swim speed and wavesense.
★★★☆☆ Pufferfish (B3) — Decent Aquatic Tank. Toxic Body and Inflating Rush means it can envenom multiple opponents in the same round. The save is pretty low, but the effects are excellent (flat-footed and paralyzed).
★★★☆☆ Three-Toed Sloth (B3) — Decent Striker. Attack and damage are pretty good, and Rend is great. But if the opponent moves even a little the Sloth will be spending entire rounds trying to catch up. Scent and (slow) climb speed.
★★★☆☆ Weasel (B3) — Decent Niche Controller. It can squeeze, grab and constrict, but it’s only grabbing tiny creatures. That’s really good against tiny creatures, though! Scent.
★★☆☆☆ Red Fox (B3) — Mediocre Striker. I wish I could rate it higher, but it’s just barely better than the guard dog if you are looking for scent, and even that is debatable. Scent.
★★☆☆☆ Trilobite (B3) — Mediocre Aquatic Striker. It can run away and hide. The attack bonus and damage aren’t bad, but there are better aquatic options.

Heightened (2nd):
★★★★☆ Giant Skunk (B3) — Good Debuffer. Strikes aren’t bad, but you’ll be using this for the 15-foot cone of Sickened 3 that it can spray every round. It’s large, so theoretically you could ride it I guess? Scent.
★★★★☆ Squirrel Swarm (B3) — Decent Debuff Swarm. Each round you get to attempt to make all enemies in the swarm Clumsy 1 or take 1d6 damage. Resistances aren’t as good and it’s not doing as much damage as the vampire bats, but don’t discount clumsy. Climbs. Scent. SQUIRREL!
★★★☆☆ Camel (B3) — Decent Tank Mount. Large size and high athletics make this a beefy boy. Not as fast as a horse at only 80 feet per round, but it can spit to make someone dazzled (and even sickened).
★★☆☆☆ Kangaroo (B3) — Mediocre Striker. It can Push, but the attack bonus is lower than most and the damage is nothing to write home about. I wish Claw were agile.
★☆☆☆☆ Ringhorn Ram (B3) — Poor Striker. Low stats. Charge isn’t as useful on a summon. Can move on difficult terrain caused by ledges, so maybe as a mount for small PCs?

Heightened (3rd):
★★★★☆ Giant Opossum (B3) — Good Control. It can grab and carry away Tiny creatures like the Giant Ant.
★★★★☆ Giant Porcupine (B3) — Good Bleed Striker. Passive bleed damage against unarmed attackers is great. Rearward Rush with good stats means it can easily quill at least once per round.
★★★★☆ Monkey Swarm (B3) — Good Swarm Specialist. The way monster blocks are written makes taking a “random item of negligible Bulk” often “take that one McGuffin the party needs” or “take something the monster needs to function”. Large swarms with passive anti-auditory effects are great. Climbs.
★★★★☆ Terror Bird (B3) — Good Striker Mount. Fast with reach, bleed damage, and a Knockdown attack. 50-foot speed!
★★★☆☆ Fading Fox (B3) — Decent Specialist Striker. It can stealth really well and gets sneak attack damage, but its stats aren’t great for combat. Great stealth. Scent.
★★★☆☆ Giant Flying Squirrel (B3) — Decent Striker. Very high attack bonus and decent damage. Can fly and glide.
★★★☆☆ Rat Snake Swarm (B3) — Decent Striking Swarm. Bites twice a turn. Scent. Climbs and Swims.
★★★☆☆ Rosethorn Ram (B3) — Decent Striker Mount. Can deal persistent damage with a high attack bonus and a climb speed.

Heightened (4th):
★★★★☆ Narwhal (B3) — Good Aquatic Mount. 60 foot swim speed and an impaling grab with great stats. It also has precise echolocation.
★★★★☆ Platecarpus (B3) — Good Controller. Not Aquatic, but needs water or only two stars. Good stats. Aquatic Drag lets you pull those pesky air-breathers away from the party. Strafing chomp eats attacks of opportunity. Swallow whole is icing on the cake. Good athletics and stealth. Swim speed. Scent.
★★★☆☆ Giant Vulture (B3) — Decent Debuff Mount. It flies. It beaks. It vomits and sickens (once). It’s large enough to ride too.
★★★☆☆ Megalictis (B3) — Decent Control Striker. I love my giant weasels! Grabs. Lower attack than a Giant Mantis, but Constrict makes up for that. Can squeeze and scent.
★★★☆☆ Moose (B3) — Decent Striker Debuff Mount. Moose are super scary. Thundering Charge can very easily Stun. It has great stats. Kick Back is okay; You’ll probably want to use it after a combat maneuver with that high athletics skill. Scent.
★★★☆☆ Piranah Swarm (B3) — Decent Swarm Striker. Deals damage twice a round with bleed. Causing that already decent Reflex save to lower on a fail makes this a very potent summon. Blood scent.
★★★☆☆ Wolliped (B3) — Decent Niche Debuff Mount. It flies. It can throw up like a vulture, but it moves across ice really well instead of flying. Scent.
★★☆☆☆ Giant Seahorse (B3) — Mediocre Aquatic Tank. Not as good as a Bunyip. Camouflage can help you disguise the fact you are mounted. Anchor has some niche utility, such as severe weather or a tsunami.
★★☆☆☆ Trilobite Swarm (B3) — Mediocre Aquatic Swarm. They bite. It’s hard to give a swarm a lower score than this. Wavesense is neat.

Heightened (5th):
★★★★☆ Terror Shrike (B3) — Good Deuff Striker Mount. Would be a 5-star if it had Creature 5 stats. The screech can stun multiple enemies and doesn’t have the incapacitate trait, but watch out since it’ll affect the party. Sudden charge is great on a mount.
★★★☆☆ Amphisbaena (B3) — Decent Deuff Striker. Would be a 4-star if it had Creature 5 stats. Being able to strike two creatures without suffering MAP, inflict enfeebling poison, and blind on a critical hit makes this a pretty good summon. It also climbs, swims, and has tremorsense. But the DC on the poison and attack bonus isn’t the best.
★★★☆☆ Bore Worm Swarm (B3) — Decent Debuff Swarm. Sickened 1 and acid damage. Also a burrow speed and tremorsense.
★★★☆☆ Giant Hermit Crab (B3) — Decent Amphibious Control Tank. Grab and constrict. Pretty good stats, but that’s not too useful at this tier. Grab can be deadly on an amphibious creature, though. Retract is only worth it if enemies are focused on the crab since it can’t react as a summon.
★★★☆☆ Giant Pangolin (B3) — Decent Debuff Niche Tank. Summon this against swarms. Emite Musk is a decent sickened aura. Roll Up could let it survive an extra hit if you can get an enemy to focus on it. But you will mostly summon this for a devourer of swarms. Burrow and climb.
★★★☆☆ Megatherium (B3) — Decent Debuff.  A cloud of sickened isn’t bad. Knockdown is great too. Climbs and has scent. Isn’t so slow that enemies can just run away like against the sloth, and it has reach which works great with knockdown.
★★★☆☆ Spiny Eurypterid (B3) — Decent Control Striker. It grabs and uses enfeebled poison. It swims and has wavesense. Chitinous Spines means it will damage each round it can keep something grabbed, and amphibious grabbers are super effective against air-breathers when you have a source of water.
★★☆☆☆ Hermit Crab Swarm (B3) — Mediocre Amphibious Swarm. You shouldn’t be summoning for damage at this tier. Even with persistent damage, tremorsense and a swim speed.
★★☆☆☆ Viper Swarm (B3) — Mediocre Swarm. You shouldn’t be summoning for damage at this tier and the stats of the creature aren’t good enough to expect the poison to reliably go beyond stage 1. The spritz is pretty neat if you can enhance the venom somehow. Climbs and swims.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★☆ Empress Bore Worm (B3) — Good Niche Debuff. It deals acid damage and sickens. So why four stars? Because it can create tunnels with its 40 foot burrow speed, potentially digging a 800-foot tunnel your party can use that will without a doubt stay behind after the empress leaves. Tremorsense.
★★★★☆ Zetogeki (B3) — Good Tank. It can grab and mangle. It can get resistance to all physical damage while it chews on enemies. Probably not worth a spell-slot unless you’re facing multiple enemies trying to deal physical damage that you can block using a large lizard. Climb speed.

Heightened (7th):
★★★★☆ Khravgodon (B3) — Good Niche Controller. Solid stats. Can reduce AC with Crush Chitin. Grasping Tail is the MVP here, letting you haul away bothersome opponents (or allies who don’t want to be rescued for some reason). Has a burrow and climb speed, so can theoretically use its tail to drag people underground with it.
★★★☆☆ Tylosaurus (B3) — Decent Amphibious Controller. Gargantuan creature with grab and aquatic grab. A little less effective at this tier, but has use against lower level enemies you want to drag under a sizable body of water.

Summon Construct (Arcane)

Heightened (2nd):
★★★★☆ Animated Silverware Swarm (B3) — Good Control Striker. It’s a large swarm with construct immunities and hardness. Stick a fork in your enemies and keep them from moving, then snipe them from a distance.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★☆ Levaloch (B3) — Good Striker. The net and trident combination is going to deal 2d8+3d6 damage per strike, with a good attack bonus and range.
★★★☆☆ Tupilaq (B3) — Decent Area of Effect Controller. It’s basically three 3rd level fireball spells as a 6th level spell. When it runs out, it can claw and grab small creatures.
★☆☆☆☆ Terra-Cotta Soldier (B3)  — Bad Tank. Without attack of opportunity or shield block, the terra-cotta soldier just comes up short. It does have some arrow sand can shoot from rather far away, but isn’t doing anywhere near the damage of the giant animated statue, and range generally isn’t an issue for most summons. The common weakness is pretty bad too.

Heightened (7th):
★★★☆☆ Animated Furnace (B3) —Decent Area of Effect Controller. It can sprew fire each round, or grab and swallow whole.

Heightened (9th):
★★☆☆☆ Animated Trebuchet (B3) — Mediocre Niche Controller. I can’t in good conscience give a single-star rating to an animated trebuchet that grabs and yeets people. It will only be flinging minions (or very brave allies), but they will effectively be out of the combat for a good two or three rounds. The damage isn’t that good. The range eisn’t even that effective. But it’s such a memorable summon that I’m sure someone will find the perfect use for it.

Heightened (10th):
★★☆☆☆ Animated Colossus (B3) — Mediocre Niche Controller. Okay so probably not worth a tenth level slot for most creatures, but being able to grab two creatures and still move with Improved Grab and Constrict is pretty cool.

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.

Spell 5:
★★☆☆☆ House Drake (B3) — Mediocre Caster.  Too low of a level. I’d only summon to cast obscuring mist, see invisibility, alarm, or soothe.

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:
★★★☆☆ Penanggalan (B3) — Decent Control. It can grab and give someone a disease that will be a problem in a week. Fly 40 feet. Spewing bile is a one-time area damage when it takes slashing damage.
★★★☆☆ Scalescribe (B3) — Decent Spellcaster. Lvl 3. The poison isn’t bad against a low level caster. It can cast secret page, comprehend language (x3), and dispel magic.
★☆☆☆☆ Cobbleswarm (B3) — Poor Swarm Controller Lvl 2. It can knock everyone in it’s squares prone, burrow, and has tremorsense.
☆☆☆☆☆ Flumph (B3) — Terrible Debuff Lvl 1. Flies. It wants to do its best!

Heightened (7th):
★★★★☆ Blood Painter (B3) — Good Spellcaster. It can deal bleed damage. It can use blood to charge up some potent illusion spells that it effectively casts a separate single action, which makes using the spells far more doable since you will probably cause bleed damage and #dab in the first round, freeing you up to spend each following round casting one of these spells again and again and again. Especially potent if you have any other way to make anyone else in the battle bleed, or if a party member is already bleeding! Remember the painter does have to spend an action to sustain illusory creature, but because of how it “casts”, even with only two actions per round it can have two illusory creatures attacking the third round! Bloodsense.

Summon Plant or Fungus (Primal)

Heightened (2nd):
★★☆☆☆ Vine Lasher(B3) — Mediocre striker. Does a little more damage than anything else at this level, except yellow musk thrall. The more plants in your party, the more powerful leshies become thanks to verdant burst.

Heightened (3rd):
★★☆☆☆ Cactus Leshy (B3) — Mediocre Area of Effect Striker. It can only use prickly burst once a day. Spiny Body is good against creatures desperate to grab. The more plants in your party, the more powerful leshies become thanks to verdant burst.

Heightened (4th):
★★★☆☆ Seaweed Leshy (B3) — Niche Amphibious Debuffer. Dazzled isn’t bad. Blinded isn’t too likely, but possible when Sea Spray is only a single action. It’s nice to have a plant you can use underwater, and seaweed is super common in aquatic environments so that speak with plants can be useful. The more plants in your party, the more powerful leshies become thanks to verdant burst.

Heightened (5th):
★★☆☆☆ Myceloid (B3) — Poor Controller. If you want to spend multiple spell-slots, you can potentially use some combination of illusion magic and spore domination to take control of a target’s mind affected by purple pox, but the pox itself has a 1 minute onset and spore domination has the incapacitation trait. It’s also potentially an evil act.

Heightened (6th):
★★★★★ Arboreal Reaper (B3) — Amazing Striker Tank. Great defensive stats, decent damage, a knockdown or bleed effect, plus the leech moisture ability potentially doing 10d6 every couple of rounds. It can also catch vampiric touch.

Summon Giant (Primal)

Heightened (9th):
★★☆☆☆ Tomb Giant (B3)  — Decent Striker. The claw giving doom each time it strikes isn’t terrible. Catch rock is very niche. It is large with reach and has lifesense. It can cast bind undead and harm as 5th level spells (x3 each).

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. He has since published work with Rogue Genius Games and Paizo. He can be found on the Know Direction discord where he goes by the username "KitsuneWarlock".