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    Default Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    As various splatbooks have come out, several of the new monsters added to the game have been put on the Summon Monster list. Summon Nature's Ally though, has been almost completely neglected. It got a couple creatures added through the Fiend Folio, a handful more from Stormwrack (although they aren't really added, since they replace other creatures on the list), and a single group of monsters (storm elementals) in MM3.

    I'd like this thread to be devoted to improving Summon Nature's ally, both by adding new creatures, and if necessary, changing the level of some of the creatures already on the list (or removing them altogether). If you're going to suggest creatures, please make sure they fit thematically, and please suggest which level of SNA they should go under.

    Below is the list of RAW creatures that can be summoned with the various SNA spells for reference. The next post in this thread will be to keep the edited list.

    Books I've looked through so far: MM1, MM2, MM3, MM4, MM5, Arms and equipment guide, Book of exalted deeds, Book of vile darkness, Cityscape, Complete adventurer, Complete arcane, Complete champion, Complete divine, Complete mage, Complete scoundrel, Complete warrior, Draconomicon, Dragon magic, drow of the underdark, DMG1, DMG2, Dungeonscape, exemplars of evil, fiend folio, Fiendish Codex 1 and 2, Frostburn, Heroes of battle, heroes of horror, libris mortis, lords of madness, MiC, Magic of incarnum, miniatures handbook, planar handbook, PHB 1 and 2, races of destiny, races of stone, races of the dragon, races of the wild, sandstorm, savage species, spell compendium.

    Summon Natures Ally 1
    Dire Rat
    Eagle
    Monkey
    Octopus
    Owl
    Porpoise
    Small Viper
    Wolf
    Hippocampus (replace wolf) - stormwrack

    Summon Nature’s Ally 2
    Black Bear
    Crocodile
    Dire badger
    Dire bat
    Small Elemental
    Hippogriff
    Medium shark
    Medium viper
    Squid
    Wolverine

    Summon Nature’s Ally 3
    Ape
    Dire weasel
    Dire wolf
    Dire eel (replace dire wolf) - Stormwrack
    Giant eagle
    Lion
    Giant owl
    Satyr (without pipes)
    Large shark
    Constrictor snake
    Large viper
    Thoqqua
    Small storm elemental

    Summon Nature’s Ally 4
    Juvenile arrowhawk
    Brown bear
    Giant crocodile
    Deinonychus
    Dire ape
    Dire boar
    Dire barracuda (replace dire boar) - Stormwrack
    Dire wolverine
    Medium elemental
    Flamebrother salamander
    Sea cat
    Huge shark
    Huge viper
    Tiger
    Juvenile tojanida
    Unicorn
    Minor xorn
    Bloodthorn - fiend folio
    Yellow musk creeper - fiend folio

    Summon Nature’s Ally 5
    Adult arrowhawk
    Polar bear
    Dire lion
    Elasmosaurus
    Large elemental
    Elementite Swarm (replace large elemental) - Planar handbook
    Griffon
    Janni
    Rhinoceros
    Ichthyosaur (replace rhino) - stormwrack
    Satyr (with pipes)
    Giant constrictor snake
    Nixie
    Adult tojanida
    Orca whale
    Fossrgrim - fiend folio
    Medium storm elemental

    Summon Nature’s Ally 6
    Dire bear
    Huge elemental
    Elephant
    Girallon
    Megaraptor
    Archelon (replace megaraptor) - stormwrack
    Giant octopus
    Pixie (no special arrows)
    Average salamander
    Baleen whale
    Average xorn
    Oread - fiend folio
    Spriggan - fiend folio
    Large storm elemental

    Summon Nature’s Ally 7
    Elder arrowhawk
    Dire tiger
    Greater elemental
    Caller from the deeps (replace greater elemental) - stormwrack
    Djinni
    Invisible stalker
    Pixie (with sleep arrows)
    Giant squid
    Triceratops
    Tyrannosaurus
    Cachalot whale
    Elder xorn
    Dire rhino - fiend folio
    Kelp angler - fiend folio
    Huge storm elemental

    Summon Nature’s Ally 8
    Dire shark
    Roc
    Noble salamander
    Mosasaur (replace noble salamander) - stormwrack
    Elder tojanida
    Sporebat - fiend folio
    Greater storm elemental

    Summon Nature’s Ally 9
    Elder elemental
    Grig (with fiddle)
    Pixie (with sleep and memory loss arrows)
    Celestial charger unicorn
    Plesiosaur (replace celestial charger) - stormwrack
    Kelpie - fiend folio
    Octopus tree - fiend folio
    Last edited by molten_dragon; 2011-09-04 at 07:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Improving Summon Nature's Ally

    Okay, here's the list so far. Monsters that come from anywhere but the Monster Manual have a notation for what book they're from

    Summon Natures Ally 1
    Dire Rat
    Eagle
    Baboon
    Octopus
    Owl
    Porpoise
    Small Viper
    Wolf
    Badger
    Manta Ray
    Caribou - frostburn
    Seal - frostburn
    Brixashulty - Races of the wild
    Chordevoc - Races of the wild
    Serval - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 2
    Black Bear
    Crocodile
    Dire badger
    Dire bat
    Small Elemental
    Small paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Hippogriff
    Medium shark
    Medium viper
    Squid
    Wolverine
    Hippocampus - Stormwrack
    Boar
    Cheetah
    Leopard
    Monitor Lizard
    Swindlespitter - MM3
    Sailsnake - MM4
    Walrus - frostburn
    Dire jackal - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 3
    Ape
    Dire weasel
    Dire wolf
    Dire eel - Stormwrack
    Giant eagle
    Lion
    Giant owl
    Satyr (without pipes)
    Large shark
    Constrictor snake
    Large viper
    Thoqqua
    Small storm elemental - MM3
    Bison
    Cryptoclidus - MM2
    Dire toad - MM2
    Dire hawk - MM2
    Fleshraker - MM3
    Wizened elder - MM4
    Dire eagle - Races of stone
    Protoceratops - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 4
    Juvenile arrowhawk
    Brown bear
    Giant crocodile
    Deinonychus
    Dire ape
    Dire boar
    Dire barracuda - Stormwrack
    Dire wolverine
    Medium elemental
    Medium paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Flamebrother salamander
    Sea cat
    Huge shark
    Huge viper
    Tiger
    Juvenile tojanida
    Unicorn
    Minor xorn
    Bloodthorn - fiend folio
    Yellow musk creeper - fiend folio
    Spriggan - Fiend Folio
    Assassin Vine
    Owlbear
    Dire snake - MM2
    Thorn - MM3
    Wood woad - MM3
    Megaloceros - frostburn
    magma hurler - Mini HB
    Dire puma - Sandstorm
    Dire vulture - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 5
    Adult arrowhawk
    Polar bear
    Dire lion
    Large elemental
    Large paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Griffon
    Janni
    Rhinoceros
    Ichthyosaur - stormwrack
    Satyr (with pipes)
    Giant constrictor snake
    Adult tojanida
    Orca whale
    Fossrgrim - fiend folio
    Vine Horror - Fiend folio
    Medium storm elemental - MM3
    Sea tiger - MM3
    Bloodstriker - MM3
    Verdant reaver - MM5
    Glyptodon - frostburn
    Smilodon - frostburn
    Cave ankylosaurus - Mini HB
    Cave Triceratops - Mini HB
    Cave Tyrannosaurus - Mini HB
    Elementite Swarm - Planar Handbook
    Diprotodon - Sandstorm
    Hippopotamus - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 6
    Dire bear
    Huge elemental
    Huge paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Elephant
    Girallon
    Megaraptor
    Archelon - stormwrack
    Giant octopus
    Average salamander
    Baleen whale
    Average xorn
    Oread - fiend folio
    Large storm elemental - MM3
    Elasmosaurus
    Tendriculos
    Allosaurus - MM2
    Ankylosaurus - MM2
    Quetzalcoatlus - MM2
    Dire elk - MM2
    Legendary eagle - MM2
    Legendary ape - MM2
    Bearhound - MM3
    Briarvex - MM4
    Vinespawn - MM5
    Djinni
    Ironthorn - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 7
    Elder arrowhawk
    Dire tiger
    Greater elemental
    Greater paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Caller from the deeps - stormwrack
    Invisible stalker
    Giant squid
    Triceratops
    Tyrannosaurus
    Cachalot whale
    Elder xorn
    Dire rhino - fiend folio
    Kelp angler - fiend folio
    Huge storm elemental - MM3
    Treant
    Forest sloth - MM2
    Legendary wolf - MM2
    Legendary snake - MM2
    Red sundew - MM2
    Mastodon - MM3
    Warbound impaler - MM3
    Burrow root - MM5
    Indricothere - Fiend Folio
    Megatherium - Fiend folio
    Wooly mammoth - frostburn
    Zeuglodon - frostburn
    Qorrashi - frostburn
    Dire tortoise - Sandstorm
    Saguaro Sentinel - Sandstorm

    Summon Nature’s Ally 8
    Dire shark
    Roc
    Noble salamander
    Mosasaur - stormwrack
    Elder tojanida
    Sporebat - fiend folio
    Greater storm elemental - MM3
    Nymph
    Greenvise - MM2
    Legendary bear - MM2
    Oaken Defender - MM4
    Dire polar bear - frostburn

    Summon Nature’s Ally 9
    Elder elemental
    Elder paraelemental - Manual of the planes
    Celestial charger unicorn
    Plesiosaur - stormwrack
    Kelpie - fiend folio
    Octopus tree - fiend folio
    Spinosaurus - MM2
    Dire elephant - MM2
    Legendary tiger - MM2
    Night twist - MM3
    Verdant Prince - MM4
    Ironmaw - Fiend folio
    Tlalusk - Frostburn
    Last edited by molten_dragon; 2011-09-04 at 07:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Improving Summon Nature's Ally

    Here I've started an analysis of what sorts of creatures are on the SNA list, and rough power levels of each level of the spell.

    The summon nature's ally spell summons 'natural' creatures. These mainly fall into the animal type, with a few elementals, fey, magical beasts (all of which are basically fantasy animals, such as the griffon or girallon), and plants (all of which come from fiend folio, there are no core plant summons) to round out the lists.

    Power levels
    I realize that CR is not the best metric by which to judge a creature's power, however it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to do so, so initially that's how I'll be judging what level spell a critter should fall under. If a good argument can be made for putting a creature in a different level because it is over/under CR'd, I'll do so. Below are the CR's of the creatures on the SNA list by RAW.

    SNA 1: Under CR 1, with two exceptions (wolf CR 1, and Hippocampus CR 2)

    SNA 2: CR 1 and 2

    SNA 3: CR 2 and 3

    SNA 4: CR 3 and 4

    SNA 5: Mainly CR 4 and 5 with a couple exceptions (Elasmosaurus CR 7, Ichthyosaur CR 6, and Nixie CR 1)

    SNA 6: Mainly CR 6 and 7, with a couple aquatic CR 8's, Pixie with no special arrows (less than 4), and spriggan at CR 3

    SNA 7: Mainly CR 8 and 9, with a couple CR 8's, and Pixie with sleep arrows (again less than 4)

    SNA 8: CR 9 and 10

    SNA 9: CR 10 - CR 13 with pixie (both special arrows) at CR 4 and grig at CR 1.
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    Default Re: Improving Summon Nature's Ally

    So before I start combing books looking for new creatures to add, I thought I'd take a look at the ones on the list and see if any of them don't fit well.

    First off, I don't see the point in the stormwrack creatures that get added to the list by replacing something else. I think it's better to just add them to the list and be done with it. However, if someone can make a good argument for the replacement mechanic, I'll listen.

    That being said, the first standout I see is the Monkey. The weakest critter (CR 1/6) on the level 1 list, it seems like it would be better replaced by the baboon (CR 1/2)

    The next is the Hippocampus, which with a CR of 2, 25 hit points, and 2 natural attacks at +5 and +0, seems to fit much better on the level 2 list.

    Next is the elasmosaurus. While it's probably borderline, it seems like it fits better in SNA 6 than SNA 5.

    Then we get to the nixie. I'm really not sure who in their right mind thought that this thing was powerful enough to be on the SNA 5 list. It's CR 1, with 3 hit points, an AC of 14, and anemic attacks. It does have DR 5/cold iron, and SR 16, and a 3/day charm person ability with a DC of 15, but I would maybe put this thing on the SNA 3 list at most. Possibly SNA 2, although the charm person ability at that level would probably be a bit overpowered. I'm tempted to just remove it altogether though.

    Next up, the Pixie, which shows up on three of the lists. It has greater invisibility at will, spell resistance 15, DR 10/cold iron, and a list of fairly impressive spell like abilities (including polymorph). However, it also has 3 hit points. Honestly, I think it might be best to just remove the pixie from the list.

    Spriggans are interesting monsters, but I see nothing about them that really justifies them being on the level 6 list. Level 4 seems a better fit (they don't do any more damage in either form than something like a brown bear, and their spell like abilities are no more powerful than something like a unicorn)

    And finally the Grig. A CR 1 monster shows up on the Summon Nature's Ally 9 list. Its defenses aren't even as good as a pixie's, and the only thing it really has going for it is Otto's Irresistible dance, but that has a save DC of 12. Just take it off the list.
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    Default Re: Improving Summon Nature's Ally

    Starting with added creatures from the MM1. There are several plants and fey, and oddly enough a few animals not on the list.

    Assassin Vine - CR 3, probably fits on SNA 4. Not as good of a grappler or damage dealer as the brown bear or giant crocodile, but plant traits, and the ability to use entangle at will make it competitive.

    Nymph - CR 7, but with level 7 druid spellcasting, and some very nice spell-like abilities. Power-wise, it probably falls slightly behind the celestial charger, so I'd put it at SNA 8 (which helps flesh that list out a bit)

    Owlbear - CR 4, and fits quite well with the other SNA 4 creatures.

    Tendriculos - CR 6, but a fantastic grappler, with a very nasty swallow whole ability. Less powerful than some of the CR 7's (tyrannosaur for example) and roughly on par with the dire bear, so call it SNA 6.

    Treant - CR 8, slightly less powerful than most of the SNA 6 creatures by itself due to relatively weak attacks and low hit points. However due to its animate trees ability, you're going to get 3 of them, so I think it fits decently well at SNA 7.

    Then we get to animals. Several from the MM were left off the list for some reason.

    Badger - odd since dire badger is on the list. A solid addition to SNA 1.

    Bison - CR 2, which is quite low given its damage-dealing ability and high hit-points. If fits quite well with other SNA 3 creatures such as ape, dire wolf, and lion.

    Boar - also CR 2, but weaker than the bison. Solid SNA 2

    Cheetah - another solid entry for SNA 2

    Leopard - Fits well with other SNA 2 critters

    Monitor lizard - another one for SNA 2

    Manta ray - It's got a lot of hit points, but not much else, I'd probably put it at SNA 1.
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Have now gone through several other books and added a bunch of new creatures. At the moment I've gone through most of the core 3.5 and 3.0 books. I haven't yet started on any campaign setting material, and I may have missed a couple core books.
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    The only reason for substituting the creatures from Stormwrack is that most of the standard creatures aren't suitable for non-aquatic campaigns. Since you can't summon a creature in an inappropriate environment in the first place, it's a rather lame excuse. I say add them instead.

    Apparently WotC never defined what a "natural" creature was. Since you can summon a hippogriff or elemental with SNA II, there's probably no reason that you couldn't summon an owlbear. It could be WotC thought that by speculating that a "demented wizard" create the first one that somehow owlbears aren't "natural." I'm not sure it is possible to define a "natural" creature in D&D terms other than by prohibiting Undead and Constructs.

    Debby
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    The only reason for substituting the creatures from Stormwrack is that most of the standard creatures aren't suitable for non-aquatic campaigns. Since you can't summon a creature in an inappropriate environment in the first place, it's a rather lame excuse. I say add them instead.

    Apparently WotC never defined what a "natural" creature was. Since you can summon a hippogriff or elemental with SNA II, there's probably no reason that you couldn't summon an owlbear. It could be WotC thought that by speculating that a "demented wizard" create the first one that somehow owlbears aren't "natural." I'm not sure it is possible to define a "natural" creature in D&D terms other than by prohibiting Undead and Constructs.

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Seems to me, that Fiend Folio takes the brokenly overpowered druid class, and then at level 11 takes the broken shards of your game and proceeds to split them at the atomic level.

    Seriously...who's idea was it to make SNA VI (which a druid can cast at 11) able to summon a fey creature (the mountain nymph known as an Oread) that can cast a big pile of Spell Like Abilities, including Earthquake - a level 8 druid spell - with CL14?

    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack217 View Post
    No undead, no constructs nothing from the outer planes (aka no demons/devils/angels/archons ect.)
    I would not call this a hard and fast rule; even Core SNA has the Celestial Charger (SNAIX) (Celestial creatures sound outer-planes-ish). I would possibly make a case for some Eladrin (the Fey-Celestial Outsiders of 3e, not the elves of 4e) belonging on the SNA list.
    Last edited by Talya; 2011-09-17 at 01:12 PM.
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Amend it to no Constructs, no Undead and no Outsiders.

    Extraplanar creatures aren't necessarily Outsiders. As mentioned before, the celestial charger is Magical Beast with the Extraplanar Subtype.

    Eladrin is Subtype in 3.5. However, in the MM3.5 the brilani and ghaele are Outsiders so they would not be able to be summoned by SNA.

    Debby
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    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    This is a fantastic resource that would make a nice handbook. Thanks so much for putting this together.

    It would be worth a moment's glance at Dragon Magazine 302, which has a nice article on expanding summoning lists, including examples of expanding SNA. I think you'd appreciate it.

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    It might be good to delve into some of the setting-specific books. I think we could expand the list more.

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Here are some Eberron Monsters to consider for SNA. I've listed the CR but I'll leave it to better heads to assist with the appropriate SNA level.


    EBERRON CAMPAIGN SETTING
    Clawfoot, Dinosaur CR2
    Fastieth, Dinosaur CR ½
    Glidewing, Dinosaur CR3
    Horrid Ape CR4
    Horrid Rat CR1
    Valnear Riding Horse CR1
    Magebred Heavy Horse CR1

    FIVE NATIONS
    Dragonhawk, CR6
    Magebred Brown Bear CR4
    Magebred Ghost Tiger CR4

    SECRETS OF XEN’DRIK
    Jungle Giant CR8 (?)

    FORGE OF WAR
    Mistling Dryad CR5

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Those are good ones from Eberron. Are those the only books you checked or should I be looking through other books?

    I was also thinking that we might add to the list creatures like Boggles from MMII (probably CR'ed right, which is uncommon for MMII). To me they're more like fey then monstrous humanoids and they have interesting abilities which could make for good role-playing in some circumstances.

    BPJ

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    I looked through most of the Eberron products, but I'm sure I overlooked good options.

    I had never thought about Boggles this way. But I LIKE IT. Going forward, in my world, boggles are now fey!!

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    What about Phantom Fungus, which seems like a no brainer to me. And it spices up the list a little. I mean, who couldn't find uses for an invisible four-legged fungus?

    BPJ
    Last edited by backpackjack; 2012-03-10 at 10:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Quote Originally Posted by ShriekingDrake View Post
    Here are some Eberron Monsters to consider for SNA. I've listed the CR but I'll leave it to better heads to assist with the appropriate SNA level.


    EBERRON CAMPAIGN SETTING
    Clawfoot, Dinosaur CR2
    Fastieth, Dinosaur CR ½
    Glidewing, Dinosaur CR3
    Horrid Ape CR4
    Horrid Rat CR1
    Valnear Riding Horse CR1
    Magebred Heavy Horse CR1

    FIVE NATIONS
    Dragonhawk, CR6
    Magebred Brown Bear CR4
    Magebred Ghost Tiger CR4

    SECRETS OF XEN’DRIK
    Jungle Giant CR8 (?)

    FORGE OF WAR
    Mistling Dryad CR5
    It's been a long time since I last looked at this thread, and I see there have been some new posts. I can try to sort these by CR, but I don't have access to all the books in question to do a real good analysis of all the critters added.
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Did anyone ever look through the Faerun books?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DracoDei's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Near Atlanta,GA USA
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    smile Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    Well, I do have one homebrew I added to the SNA lists, although I did require sword-sage levels (you can remove that requirement), and it is only for humor campaigns.
    Tittering Brick Squirrels
    Best homebrew:
    Running: Ruceeglaelsktinag IC OOC Active Map
    Power Rangers:"BIG TWIST!!" (working title) IC OOC Active Map:None.
    For everything else (including my homebrew) see: Full list of Homebrew.
    My Homebrew is meant to be used, but, if you do, PLEASE tell me how it goes.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DracoDei's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Near Atlanta,GA USA
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    Default Re: Expanding Summon Nature's Ally

    I would also search around the forums and see if you can find a skunk you like. I know Vorpal Tribble had one.

    If you don't find one that suits you, I might be able to find a print copy of one I wrote out in MS Word before I had even heard of GitP. Plus dire skunks.
    Last edited by DracoDei; 2012-10-26 at 06:43 AM.
    Best homebrew:
    Running: Ruceeglaelsktinag IC OOC Active Map
    Power Rangers:"BIG TWIST!!" (working title) IC OOC Active Map:None.
    For everything else (including my homebrew) see: Full list of Homebrew.
    My Homebrew is meant to be used, but, if you do, PLEASE tell me how it goes.

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