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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    eggs's Avatar

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    Default The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    Tired of summoning the same monsters? Of hearing about how radawesome Zceryll is without quite getting the hype? Of looking hopelessly at summon monster indices without knowing what the monsters do, or where even to start? That's where this guide comes in:
    The Summoner's Desk Reference
    Inspired/motivated/totally cribbing the idea from Treantmonk's Malconvoker Handbook, and mxyzplk's Legal Summonable Monster list, this thread is going to break down all the summonable monsters at each level of the major spells, providing tables of SLA access, including non-core options. The goal is to save some legwork sketching out just what all those "Summon X" spells can do exactly. (Well, not exactly – I'll be avoiding stats or complete rundowns to stay within board parameters.)

    Just to get to the point of what's worth skipping, what's worth looking at twice, I'm going to use a color code that should be either familiar or fairly intuitive:
    Bad Neutral/Average Good Real Good

    As a note, I'm only including WotC materials in this list, as to keep it at least relatively sane. And I'm recycling a chunk of my Shaman's handbook where I tried to address the need for a good, informative guide to SNA already.

    And as a second, maybe handier note, on all the SLA Tables, clicking on the heading of a column will sort by its contents.

    Post 1: Introduction and Index
    Post 2: Summon Monster 1-6
    Post 3: Summon Monster 7-9
    Post 4: Summon Nature's Ally
    Post 5: Other Summoning Spells
    Post 6: Astral Constructs

    FURTHER READING:
    Summoner's Guide: General rundown of building a summoner.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-12-05 at 03:06 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    SUMMON MONSTER

    SUMMON MONSTER 1
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: The Celestial Badger has the most attacks at the highest bonuses; the Fiendish Monstrous Spider packs an excellent debuff with its web. The Celestial Porpoise is pretty tough and has excellent sensory skills, if aquatic summons are relevant.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: The various birds have high sensory skills, the Fiendish Spider has tremorsense and produces webs that can support two small creatures. The Celestial Monkey can manipulate objects, climb, balance on things, and generally poke and prod the places you wouldn't want a party member to poke or prod. And all Fiendish creatures are invulnerable to lava, in case that ever comes up.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Dog (MM) LG Passable combatant, scent, track
    Celestial Owl (MM) LG Great Listen and Spot in darkness
    Celestial Giant Fire Beetle (MM) NG Mediocre combatant, not much else going for it.
    Celestial Porpoise (MM) NG Blindsight 120ft, Pretty tough underwater for its level, 80ft swim
    Celestial Badger (MM) CG Three attacks, rage, burrow and scent/track. Decent in melee if its rage triggers.
    Celestial Monkey (MM) CG Climb speed, high balance, decent hide. The disposable utility mook.
    Fiendish Dire Rat (MM) LE Like the monkey, but with diseases instead of opposable thumbs. Plus better-rounded stealth skills.
    Fiendish Raven (MM) LE It can talk. That's about all it has going for it.
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Medium (MM) NE Fast climb. Dex poison isn't the greatest, but it's a plus. Not something you'd summon for combat.
    Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Small (MM) NE Implausible grappler, but tremorsense, three attacks and Con poison (but its sting attacks aren't hitting anything)
    Fiendish Hawk (MM) CE Better spot and fly speed than the owl, worse hearing and low-light vision. Otherwise basically the same.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Small (MM) CE Webs are fantastic, can entangle Medium creatures. Strength poison isn't bad, plus climb speed and tremorsense.
    Fiendish Octopus (MM) CE The octopus's grapple score just isn't plausible. Ink cloud and the utility of a tentacle monster can be useful, though.
    Fiendish Snake, Small Viper (MM) CE Multiple movement modes (climb, swim) and scent. Excellent poison, if it works.

    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Fiendish Monstrous Crab, Small (Storm) NE The best summon for watching That Damned Crab get beat up in effigy; not so great for anything else; Replaces Fiendish Small Monstrous Scorpion. (The Scorpion's also pretty bad, but at least you can harvest venom.)
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Small (Storm) CE A webless spider is no spider at all; Replaces Fiendish Small Monstrous Spider
    Fiendish Sea Snake, Small (Storm) CE An improved poisoner if you trust your enemies not to move around (and that's what you'd be summoning a viper for); Replaces Fiendish Small Viper. At worst, milk the venom.
    Elysian Thrush (PlH) LG Not long enough duration for the accelerated healing. Replaces Celestial Owl or monkey. I'd say you could afford the owl (since the hawk is basically the same), but I'm not sure why you'd want the thrush in the first place.

    SUMMON MONSTER 2
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: The Kaorti has some strong combat buffs and debuffs and probably a better UMD than the party Rogue. The Wolf has trip and a decent attack. Howler wasps fly, have fairly high-damage attack routines, decent Dex poison and buff other Howler wasps on death. Fetid Fungus throws some useful debuffs around and can at least try to get its grapple working.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: Not a lot of unique options here, but the Kaorti's Spider Climb or the Clockwork Mender's minor repairs might be useful. The Spider's web is strong enough to bear 2 medium creatures' weight.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Giant Bee (MM) LG Good HD and fly speed, passable poison, but it dies as soon as it attacks. That last bit ruins it as a combat summon. At least it might be able to carry a small rider.
    Celestial Giant Bombardier Beetle (MM) NG Retributive acid damage spray, otherwise lackluster.
    Celestial Riding Dog (MM) NG Relatively tough. Track, scent
    Celestial Eagle (MM) CG No better than the hawk for utility and 1 HD does not make a sturdy combatant. Dive attack+smite and 3 attacks make it a decent glass cannon.
    Devil, Lemure (MM) LE Doesn't do anything special, but between See in Darkness and its various resistances and immunities, it's pretty robust for its level.
    Fiendish Squid (MM) LE Much upgraded octopus. Its grapple has a chance of succeeding, its speed isn't awful and it maintains the ink cloud.
    Fiendish Wolf (MM) LE Faster, frailer, trippinger, eviler version of the Riding Dog. Trip is still Good at this level.
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Large (MM) NE Large size, pretty average damage for its level, fast climb speed and a poison effect. Useful, if not great.
    Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Medium (MM) NE Still not going to work as a grappler and its poison is not much improved. If you want the Tremorsense + Con poison combo, multiple small scorpions would do it better.
    Fiendish Shark, Medium (MM) NE Not really an improvement on the porpoise, but keen scent (detect blood within a mile) could be useful.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Medium (MM) CE Webs entangle Large creatures too now, plus its attacks and poison get a nice boost from the small Spider.
    Fiendish Snake, Medium Viper (MM) CE Slightly sturdier, but not really any better than the Small version.
    Clockwork Mender (MM4) LN For if you want something a little bit poisoned, and something else very slightly fixed
    Fetid Fungus (MM5) N This is an area debuff/blindsight sensor disguised as a summon. But it's an easy mistake to make. Cleric of Zuggtmoy only
    Nerra, Varoot (FF) N If you can trick somebody into targeting your summoned mirror, then they fail the SR roll, you'll get to laugh all the way home (then feel bad about making fun of someone that obviously dense). At worst it has a wounding attack.
    Kaorti (FF) NE Solid UMD/Heal, if you want to trust ane embodiment of evil with your toys or vital organs.
    Howler Wasp (MM4) CE Pretty good poisonous attacker, and killing one just pisses off any others you've summoned.

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Alter Self (self-only, 1/day) [CL 2] |Kaorti
    Ray of Enfeeblement (1/day) [CL ] |Kaorti
    Color Spray (1/day) [CL 2] |Kaorti
    Feather Fall (1/day) [CL 2] |Kaorti
    Reduce Person (1/day) [CL 2] |Kaorti
    Spider Climb (1/day) [CL 2] |Kaorti[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Ur'Epona (PlH) N Summoning blocks its main schtick, so it's basically just something you can sit on for a few seconds; Replaces Celestial Riding Dog. The Dog's probably more useful.
    Fiendish Monstrous Crab, Medium (Storm) NE This isn't grappling anything. At least the Scorpion has poison. Replaces Fiendish Medium Monstrous Scorpion
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Medium (Storm) CE It's a spider, minus the reason you'd summon a spider. Replaces Fiendish Medium Monstrous Spider
    Fiendish Sea Snake, Medium (Storm) CE The poison's still nasty, but more Small sea snakes would probably be a better bet; Replaces Fiendish Medium Viper

    SUMMON MONSTER 3
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: The Celestial Bison and Dire Ape hit hard and can take some punishment. The Musteval isn't a fantastic damage dealer, but it's reliable and hard to hit back - just keep it burrowing up and down with its Spring Attack-clone ability while it spams Magic missiles. The Bacche and Courre have decent SLAs to throw around.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: The Small Water, Earth and Air Elementals have some distinct movement modes and the intelligence to at least communicate semi-effectively; they can make good scouts and retrievers. The Dire Bat's Blindsense, large size and resistances can make it a tough utility mount for brief transit. The Dire Badger can burrow through anything softer than solid stone.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Black Bear (MM) LG The baseline for summoned combatants. The bear's not bad, but other monsters are better.
    Celestial Bison (MM) NG This thing's a tank, plus one of the first monsters to get its template's sweet sweet resistances
    Celestial Dire Badger (MM) CG The big draw is its tunneling, but if its rage triggers, it's as nasty in melee as the bear, and tougher to boot.
    Celestial Hippogriff (MM) CG About as offensively tough as the bear, plus a fast fly speed. As a large flyer, it could make an impromptu mount for a landbound fighter.
    Air Elemental, Small (MM) N Excellent fly for utility purposes, but in direct combat, this elemental isn't doing squat.
    Earth Elemental, Small (MM) N Earth glide is excellent utility, and at least it has some power behind its hits if it's sucked into melee. It's still a poor choice to summon for combat, though.
    Fire Elemental, Small (MM) N All it has going for it is a weak offensive slam.
    Water Elemental, Small (MM) N Fast swim on a creature with Int>2 could be useful. Not a good combat summon, though.
    Fiendish Ape (MM) LE Good attack/damage, climb speed and, with those template resistances, something of a tank when it's first summoned.
    Fiendish Dire Weasel (MM) LE The Con drain can make it a useful multi-summon. Decent stealth skills.
    Hell Hound (MM) LE Passable damage, good stealth skills and humanoid-range Int.
    Fiendish Snake, Constrictor (MM) LE Too small to treat as a reliable grappler, but decent perception, hide and movement modes.
    Fiendish Boar (MM) NE Ew.
    Fiendish Dire Bat (MM) NE Large flyer with Blindsense and Fiendish resistances. Not a powerful combatant, but maybe a robust sonar station or impromptu mount.
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Huge (MM) NE Damage isn't awful, movement speed is good and pretty robust between vermin immunities, fiendish resistances and 6 HD. High grapple if it can land the initiation.
    Fiendish Crocodile (MM) CE Medium size doesn't make a great grappler.
    Demon, Dretch (MM) CE Fragile, but it's just here for the SLAs.
    Fiendish Snake, Large Viper (MM) CE Not a tremendous improvement over the Small version in anything but HP (and worse in terms of skills and armor class). Summon multiples of those if you want the Con damage to stick.
    Fiendish Wolverine (MM) CE A less tunnelly evil badger. Pass it, unless you really need the climb speed for whatever reason.
    Guardinal, Musteval (BoED) CG Hilarious for making the baddies play whack-a-mole while being peppered with Magic Missiles, or for a Cleric's invisibility.
    Bariaur (BoED) CG Three attacks aren't bad, but it's not easy to squint hard enough for the Bariaur to look good beside the Celestial Black Bear
    Eladrin, Coure (BoED) CG An Incorporeal Magic Circle that can spam faerie fire and magic missile
    Bacche (FF) CN Enchantment SLAs can be useful for utility, buffs, debuffs or save-or-suck effects. The saves aren't tough, but spam away.
    Demon, Nashrou (MM4) CE Hit baddies with four attacks, and maybe baffle them with how this thing can move around. As far as what it does, it's basically just a less climby Fiendish Ape.
    Windrazor (MM4) CE Kind of stealthy climbing/flying thing with spring attack and rend as a damage source. It's like Monk syndrome: the monster, but without the survivability.

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Scare (1/day) [CL 2] |Demon, Dretch
    Stinking Cloud (1/day) [CL 2] |Demon, Dretch
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Disguise Self (At will) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Magic Missile (At will) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Protection From Evil (self) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Invisibility (1/day) [CL 3] |Guardinal, Musteval
    Dancing Lights (At will) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Faerie Fire (At will) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Magic Missile (3/day) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Sleep (3/day) [CL 4] |Eladrin, Coure
    Charm Person (3/day) [CL 7] |Bacche
    Hideous Laughter (3/day) [CL 7] |Bacche
    Emotion (3/day) [CL 7] |Bacche[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Kalabon (FC2) LE Unless you've already got 31 more of these guys loitering around waiting to get their Power Rangers on, don't bother; Replaces Fiendish Ape; LE caster only
    Fiendish Sea Snake, Large (Storm) CE Not much reason to use this instead of multisummoning the smaller versions; Replaces Fiendish Large Viper

    SUMMON MONSTER 4
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: The Arcadian Avenger is kind of ridiculous out of the gate. Lots of good SLAs are coming into play from the Cervidal, Lantern Archon and various Mephits. The Gadacro, Dire Wolf, Lion and Howler have big attack bonuses for the level and each packs its own flavor of debuff/control. The Kalareem can do some decent area damage with its bleed cone, and be hard for enemies to manage with its Mirror Image and reflective SR.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: Cervidal does good healing and enchanting, Elemental Grues and Mephits introduce a pile of SLAs and useful abilities (the Air Elemental Grue's permanent invisibility is handy). The Aoa droplet's Dispel would be useful if you can use it in a situation where the droplet won't just get splattered.

    BASE LIST:
    Archon, Lantern (MM) LG Lots of small bonuses and abilities. It's a good combat summon, but in an indirect Magic Circling Aid-Spamming way.
    Celestial Giant Owl (MM) LG Large flyer, plus very high listen and decent spot. Passable melee. Damage can be decent with smiting dive.
    Celestial Giant Eagle (MM) CG Large flyer, slightly faster than the owl, with better vision and worse hearing. Damage can be decent with smiting dive.
    Celestial Lion (MM) CG The first focused pouncer; good DPR summon and quite stealthy with plant cover.
    Mephits (MM) N I'm not going to address all these individually. The debuffing breath weapons are useful, even though they tend to have low saves, and the Magma mephit's ooze ability can be useful.
    Fiendish Dire Wolf (MM) LE Tough with decent battlefield control and some tracking utility. Nice combat summon.
    Fiendish Giant Wasp (MM) LE It's fairly tough, it flies and it poisons, but it's generally outclassed by other summons.
    Fiendish Giant Praying Mantis (MM) NE A large flying improved grabber isn't bad, but it's not the best at any of those roles.
    Fiendish Shark, Large (MM) NE Much tougher than previous aquatic summons, but its offense isn't stellar. Keen scent still has utility potential.
    Yeth Hound (MM) NE Awesome range on its fear effect, despite the low DC. Fly+Trip could be a useful combination (despite its low strength), and it's very good at its Track checks.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Large (MM) CE I love the spiders, but this version's numbers just don't keep up.
    Fiendish Snake, Huge Viper (MM) CE Con poison is always useful, and this version is meaningfully more robust than the earlier versions. But its numbers (DC/attack/damage) just don't do a very good job keeping up.
    Howler (MM) CE High attack, decent damage, good stealth skills, and quill debuffs. The only thing that's not great is that the Howl is a bit of a dud.
    Arcadian Avenger (MM5) LG Flying, rending meleer with good sensory skills. This thing has to be mis-leveled. LG and LN casters only
    Guardinal, Cervidal (MM2) NG Its horn cures allies of nasty effects and dismisses outsiders; Decent SLAs.
    Rhek (BoED) NG For a rhino that does the splits and kicks tables in half, this makes for a mighty uninspiring meleer.
    Aoa Droplet (FF) N Nice antimagic, but fragile; multisummoning to spam the targeted dispel slams just sounds nasty.
    Storm Elemental, Small (MM3) N Weak blasting and fragile frame. Don't pay it much mind yet.
    Mephit, Glass (Sand) N Crummy breath weapon? Check. Weak attacks? Check. SLAs, but weak ones? Yup... It's a mephit.
    Mephit, Sulfur (Sand) N Knocking things out with its breath is probably something that should concern it, but not you - it's gold.
    Nerra, Kalareem (FF) N Spammable bleeding wound area effect (no save) and the expected results for anyone who shoots a spell at a monster that looks like a mirror (though its SR starts out on the low end, and only gets worse).
    Imp, Bloodbag (FF) LE Makes every attack against an enemy bleed. Also, someone who's really strapped for HP could drink its blood? Maybe if they're into that.
    Imp, Euphoric (FF) LE Melee probably isn't the place for a monster the size of a toaster, but at least it can daze things. And open locks. At worst, it gets Major image out of a level 3 spell.
    Imp, Filth (FF) LE Nauseating cloud as a special attack (clearly distinguishable from its nauseating cloud as an SLA).
    Elemental Grue (CArc) NE They screw with spells of their respective elements and have other minor abilities (the Earth and Air are at least interesting for sneak attack and permanent invisibility)
    Yugoloth, Skeroloth (FF) CE 4 claws with a sneak attack die.
    Yugoloth, Voor (MM4) CE Trap summon. 6 attacks with big beautiful bonuses, long reach and reflexes, long Blindsense, a big pile of immunities, but it's blind and only has blindsense to cover that up.
    Demon, Carnage (MM5) CE Pretty worthless without other Carnage Devils, and way too fragile for the resources to be worth summoning more. Evil caster only
    Demon, Gadacro (MM5) CE No-save blindness as melee rider effect, inconveniencing DR and mirror image. Evil caster only
    Demon, Skulvyn (FF) CE Aquatic, Slow aura (easy save), four wounding attacks per round.
    Wrackspawn (MM4) CE Blind, Long blindsight, passable melee, but relies on low Fort saves to deliver the damage.

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Aid (At will) [CL 3] |Archon, Lantern
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 3] |Archon, Lantern
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 3] |Archon, Lantern
    Blur (self, 1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Air
    Gust of Wind (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Air
    Blur (self, 1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Dust
    Wind Wall (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Dust
    Soften Earth and Mud (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Earth
    Enlarge Person (self, 1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Earth
    Scorching Ray (1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Fire
    Heat Metal (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Fire
    Magic Missile (1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Ice
    Chill Metal (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Ice
    Pyrotechnics (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Magma
    Acid Arrow (1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Ooze
    Stinking Cloud (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Ooze
    Glitterdust (1/hour) [CL 6] |Mephit, Salt
    Blur (self, 1/hour) [CL 6] |Mephit, Steam
    Acid Arrow (1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Water
    Stinking Cloud (1/day) [CL 6] |Mephit, Water
    Bless (At will) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Command (At will) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Detect Poison (At will) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Light (At will) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Hold Person (1/day) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Magic Missile (1/day) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Suggestion (1/day) [CL 9] |Guardinal, Cervidal
    Heat Metal (2/day) [CL 3] |Mephit, Glass
    Blur (self, 1/hour) [CL 3] |Mephit, Glass
    Haboob (1/hour) [CL 6] |Mephit, Sulfur
    Stinking Cloud (1/hour) [CL 6] |Mephit, Sulfur
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Bloodbag
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Bloodbag
    Invisibility (self, at will) [CL 6] |Imp, Bloodbag
    Vampiric Touch (1/day) [CL 6] |Imp, Bloodbag
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Euphoric
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Euphoric
    Invisibility (self, at will) [CL 6] |Imp, Euphoric
    Major Image CL 6 (1/day) [CL 6] |Imp, Euphoric
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Filth
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 6] |Imp, Filth
    Invisibility (self, at will) [CL 6] |Imp, Filth
    Stinking Cloud (1/day) [CL 6] |Imp, Filth
    Daze (At-will) [CL 4] |Yugoloth, Skeroloth
    Detect Good (At-will) [CL 4] |Yugoloth, Skeroloth
    Jump (At-will) [CL 4] |Yugoloth, Skeroloth
    Burning Hands (3/day) [CL 4] |Yugoloth, Skeroloth
    Expeditious Retreat (3/day) [CL 4] |Yugoloth, Skeroloth
    Earthbind (1/day) [CL 4] |Demon, Gadacro
    Mirror Image (1/day) [CL 4] |Demon, Gadacro
    Disguise Self (3/day) [CL 5] |Devil, Spined
    Produce Flame (3/day) [CL 5] |Devil, Spined
    Stinking Cloud (3/day) [CL 5] |Devil, Spined
    Command (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, White
    Disguise Self (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, White
    Scare (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, White
    Charm Person (1/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, White[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Devil, Spined (FC2) LE Minor ranged damage, a few stinking clouds and excellent flight; Replaces Fiendish Giant Wasp; LE caster only. This isn't a decision between the Spined Devil and the Wasp; it's a decision between the Spined Devil and the Abishai. Neither has unique SLAs, but this pales beside the Abishai's potions.
    Abishai, White (FC2) LE 4 mediocre attacks, flight, nice potions like Magic Fang, Mage Armor, Sanctuary and Shield of Faith, some enchantment SLAs; Replaces Fiendish Giant Wasp; LE caster only.
    Nightmare, Lesser (PlH) NE Decent damage and area attack debuff; Replaces Fiendish Dire Wolf or Howler. Both are tough exchanges, but might be worth it.
    Fiendish Dire Eel (Storm) CE While this is better damage than large shark, it replaces the Dire Wolf, which is good, but not without competition.
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Large (Storm) CE Loses web, gains swim speed; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Large. This isn't a great level for spiders, so go wild if you want to.
    Fiendish Sea Snake, Huge (Storm) CE These snakes are outliving their usefulness; Replaces Fiendish Huge Viper

    SUMMON MONSTER 5
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: The Leskylor is dominating at this level: it's a pouncer with numbers around those above most of its competition, plus most of the SLAs at this level, plus flight. The Energons are just excellent damage output. Grapplers like the Crocodile, Bear, Crab, Tiger and Scorpion are starting to work. Some of the other abilities floating around, like the Achaierai's insanity cloud and the Bearded Devil's Rage+Bleed are also useful.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: The Dwarf Ancestor's incorporeality is unique, if incredibly limited, and the Shadow Mastiff can get its stealth on prety well. Most of the other options are rehashes of previous levels. Even the Abishai's potions are boring (Darkness and Blur).

    BASE LIST:
    Archon, Hound (MM) LG Not a spectacular meleer for its level, but has the benefits of the Lantern archon on a sturdier frame.
    Celestial Brown Bear (MM) LG Decent damage plus improved grab and a pretty good grapple. Solid combat summon.
    Celestial Giant Stag Beetle (MM) NG High base damage on that bite and a trample attack, but nothing really interesting here.
    Celestial Sea Cat (MM) NG A sturdier, wetter, Good-er and offensively weaker dire ape. Can't keep up with the pouncers.
    Celestial Griffon (MM) CG It's large, it flies, it pounces. High damage and good utility (remember that dive attacks double smite damage).
    Elementals, Medium (MM) N Too small and too weak to be relevant in combat, and the small version has the same utility
    Achaierai (MM) LE SR isn't bad when it's first summonable, its damage isn't bad and Black Cloud's insanity effect is very nice.
    Devil, Bearded (MM) LE Between Battle Frenzy and the bleeding wounds, its damage is respectable, and it has enough resistances and immunities to pull off some interesting combos with Poison-, Darkness- or Fire-flavored battlefield control effects.
    Fiendish Deinonychus (MM) LE As a pouncer, it's outclassed by SM4's lion (Unless jumping is tremendously important for whatever reason).
    Fiendish Dire Ape (MM) LE Decent damage output, though it relies on rend. The slow climb speed could be conceivably useful for something, but if you're summoning this guy, it's to show up and full attack. Pounce damage just eclipses this guy, and gets to move (and occasionally fly) while doing it.
    Fiendish Dire Boar (MM) NE Respectable base damage and a lot of HP to burn through. Only one attack and not a lot of noncombat utility, so you probably wouldn't be summoning this often unless Snake's Swiftnesses are flying all over the place.
    Fiendish Shark, Huge (MM) NE Not great damage output, but a step up from the Large shark, and the first monster to hit the third level of Fiendish resistances. Keen Scent continues to be the main utility draw.
    Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Large (MM) NE Most of its numbers are fairly small (DCs, HD, attack, grapple), but with Improved Grab upgrading to medium targets, constrict coming online with it and Tremorsense/Con poison retaining their usefulness, the scorpion's starting to shape up as a summon.
    Shadow Mastiff (MM) NE Shadow Blend, trip (low modifier) and Bay (great range, low DC) are the big draws here, but none are all that valuable for a combat summon. But Shadow Blend plus Int>2 plus scent can be useful for scouting purposes.
    Fiendish Dire Wolverine (MM) CE In certain conditions, it can fight almost as well as the Bear. Even if you need an evil summon or a climb speed, it's outclassed by the Dire Ape.
    Fiendish Giant Crocodile (MM) CE The first grappling reptile worth summoning. Its base damage is high (taking well to Snake's Swiftness and Animal Growth) and its grapple modifier is scary.
    Fiendish Tiger (MM) CE The lion upgrade/evil equivalent. Good stealth, high damage output and a grapple that stands a fair chance of landing. Useful for reliable DPR and swingy control.
    Dwarf Ancestor (MM4) LG Huge DR, 1 round of incorporeality per day; mediocre damage, but uses Haste effects well; Cleric of Moradin only
    Leskylor (BoED) NG Flying Touch-of-the-Golden-Icing Tiger, but with bigger numbers, magic and a breath weapon you'll forget about while basking in the rest of its awesome

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Aid (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Hound
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Hound
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Hound
    Message (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Hound
    Blessed Sight (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Cause Fear (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Cure Moderate Wounds (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Eyes of the Avoral (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Hold Person (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Obscuring Mist (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Vision of Heaven (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor
    Command (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black
    Disguise Self (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black
    Scare (3/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black
    Charm Person (1/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black
    Suggestion (1/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black
    Wrack (1/day) [CL 5] |Abishai, Black[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Abishai, Black (FC2) LE Flight, 4 mediocre attacks, nice potions, same kinds of enchantment SLAs as the last version. Replaces Devil, Bearded; Evil caster only
    Fiendish Dire Barracuda (Storm) NE Fast, but less damage than Dire Eel; Replaces Fiendish Dire Boar
    Fiendish Monstrous Crab, Large (Storm) NE Getting to be a competitive grappling option; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Large
    Energons (PlH) N Awesome blasting disguised as a summon spell. Incorporeal creatures with 4 touch attacks at 3d6 energy damage apiece. Replaces the crappy Medium elementals.
    Energons (MoP) N Four incorporeal touch attacks with 2d8+5 positive or negative energy damage/healing 5/day, Turn/Rebuke Undead 5/day, incorporeal, small explosions on death
    Energons (web): Sketchy to implement, due to using 3.0 psionics and much weaker on the blasting/healing front than the other options, but these come with 3/day ML 15 Negate Psionics, which if updated to the nearly identical Dispel Psionics, means 3 CL 20 Dispels per summon.

    SUMMON MONSTER 6
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: SLAs are starting to be the entire point of summoning, and Artaagliths, Bralanis and Equinals do it best. The Inferno Spider gives webslingers a bit of a comeback, and the Gulthir and Corrupter of Fate throw some dual-threat melee/debuff options into the ring. The Amnizu's quickened Fireballs are fun and its melee isn't too bad on top of them.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: SLAs are providing some Mind Control illusions, healing and Animate Dead (but only at grunt HDs). Elementals are getting tough enough to fill scout roles without sacrificing combat powers.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Polar Bear (MM) LG Like the Brown bear with slightly bigger numbers and a swim speed. Doesn't scale as well as monsters, but still worth considering.
    Celestial Orca Whale (MM) NG Numerically, a bit of an improvement over the Huge Shark, but the 120ft Blindsight is just too nice to ignore.
    Eladrin, Bralani (MM) CG A bit frail, but good mobility, lots of resistances and control/healing/enchantment SLAs.
    Celestial Dire Lion (MM) CG The Fiendish Tiger, but with bigger numbers and less evil. Useful for reliable DPS and minor control.
    Air Elemental, Large (MM) N Still mainly worth considering as a utility option for its flight, but if it gets caught in melee, it's about as viable as most of the other combat options at this level. Whirlwind is starting to shape up and Intelligence is at least in the humanoid spectrum.
    Earth Elemental, Large (MM) N Still here for earth glide's utility, but it's no less tough than most melee options at this level. And Push actually has a chance of working.
    Fire Elemental, Large (MM) N Passable damage against targets that aren't fire-resistant/immune.
    Water Elemental, Large (MM) N Becoming about as useful in combat as the whales and fish, but with some intelligence to back it up.
    Genie, Janni (MM) N You're only summoning this for the SLAs. It has a decent Appraise check, though.
    Chaos Beast (MM) CN Low damage, but decent scout skills and Corporeal Instability is a game-ender if it sticks.
    Devil, Chain (MM) LE Four chain attacks as a standard action are worth passable damage, the gaze debuff doesn't hurt, and regeneration isnt a bad thing.
    Xill (MM) LE Improved Grab, five attacks and paralysis are great, but the Xill doesn't have the numbers to back them up.
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Gargantuan (MM) NE There's nothing good about its damage or various numbers (unless it can land a Grapple somehow), but it's gargantuan, so feel free to giggle a little.
    Fiendish Rhinoceros (MM) NE High base damage on a charge, but not much else going on here. One of the feline summons would make a better charger, unless DR is being a particular pain in the ass.
    Fiendish Elasmosaurus (MM) CE Better combat numbers than the orca and able to move on land, but lower speed and no blindsight.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Huge (MM) CE All the normal neat spider abilities, but the numbers just don't keep up. The Strength poison is at least decent, if the spider can land a hit and the target is vulnerable.
    Fiendish Snake, Giant Constrictor (MM) CE High grapple, improved grab and constrict. More about controlling things than the bear, but less about damage. Still has the good snake movement modes and decent stealth.
    Guardinal, Equinal (BoED) NG Low-DC Deafness attack, minor Lay on Hands and very nice control/debuff SLAs with some spammable options.
    Formian, Winged Warrior (FF) LN Weak-end flying combatant, but an interesting 2/day strength-poison volley attack
    Inferno Spider (MM4) N Tough with blasty entangle effect, spring attack, respectable fire damage and tremorsense; Ritual Required to Summon
    Nerra, Sillit (FF) N Bleed Attacks are kind of weak by now, but Reflective SR still isn't too bad. Some of the Illusion SLAs can be useful.
    Storm Elemental, Medium (MM3) N Crappy blasting and fragile melee. Pass it up for now.
    Slaad, Mud (FF) CN Crummy blasting and survival abilities; the interesting bit is a disease carried by its bite that transforms the recipient into an equally useless Mud slaad.
    Devil, Gulthir (MM5) LE Mediocre grappler, but can dominate creatures it swallows and destroy evil outiders it swallows; At worst, Ray of Enfeeblements can soften creatures up before grappling. Evil caster only
    Yugoloth, Corruptor of Fate (MM4) NE Bestow Curse rider effect on shortsword attacks, telepathy, a bunch of immunities, automatic Unluck on attackers, decent stealth skills
    Demon, Artaaglith (Ghost) CE Spells as level 5 Clerics with Evil and Undeath domains (No typical spells prepared list); Turn Undead; Desecrate and Animate Dead are hilarious SLAs.
    Windscythe (MM4) CE Flight and repectable damage (though it depends on full attack for rend or critfishing to really shine)

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Blur (At will) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Charm Person (At will) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Gust of Wind (At will) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Mirror Image (At will) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Wind Wall (At will) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Lightning Bolt (2/day) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Cure Serious Wounds (2/day) [CL 6] |Eladrin, Bralani
    Invisibility (self, 3/day) [CL 12] |Genie, Janni
    Speak with Animals (3/day) [CL 12] |Genie, Janni
    Create Food and Water (1/day) [CL 12] |Genie, Janni
    Ethereal Jaunt (1/day) [CL 12] |Genie, Janni
    Aid (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Command (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Dispel Magic (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Fog Cloud (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Light (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Magic Circle Against Evil (self, at will) [CL 6]|Guardinal, Equinal
    Magic Missile (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Slow (1/day) [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Wall of Stone (1/day [CL 6] |Guardinal, Equinal
    Disguise Self (At will) [CL 16] |Nerra, Sillit
    False Vision (At will) [CL 16] |Nerra, Sillit
    Mirror Image (At will) [CL 16] |Nerra, Sillit
    Mislead (3/day) [CL 16] |Nerra, Sillit
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 6] |Devil, Gulthir
    Ray of Enfeeblement (5/day) [CL 6] |Devil, Gulthir
    Scare (5/day) [CL 6] |Devil, Gulthir
    Animate Dead (1/day) [CL 5] |Demon, Artaaglith
    Cause Fear (1/day) [CL 5] |Demon, Artaaglith
    Death Knell (1/day) [CL 5] |Demon, Artaaglith
    Desecrate (1/day) [CL 5] |Demon, Artaaglith
    Stinking Cloud (1/day) [CL 5] |Demon, Artaaglith
    Command (At will) [CL 6] |Abishai, Green
    Charm Person (3/day) [CL 6] |Abishai, Green
    Scare (3/day) [CL 6] |Abishai, Green
    Suggestion (1/day) [CL 6] |Abishai, Green
    Wrack (1/day) [CL 6] |Abishai, Green
    Fireball, Quickened (3/day) [CL 14] |Amnizu
    Vampiric Touch (At will) [CL 8] |Devil, Pain
    Cure Moderate Wounds (3/day) [CL 8] |Devil, Pain
    Wave of Grief (3/day) [CL 8] |Devil, Pain[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Abishai, Green (FC2) LE Flight, 4 mediocre attacks, tough DR/regen, nice potions, same SLAs as before, but with more uses (not super important with Summoning durations); Replaces Devil, Chain; LE caster only
    Elementite Swarm (PlH) N Defining elemental traits in swarm form. Replaces Large Elemental. Probably worth it, but the Elementals are starting to suck less.
    Devil, Pain (FC2) LE Minor blasting abilities and possible action-stealing; Vampiric touch and cures make nice SLAs; Replaces Devil, Chain; LE caster only
    Amnizu (FC2) LE Flight, Int-damaging touch, tricky DR/regen; Quickened Fireball SLAs are a nice addition to damage output. Replaces Xill; LE caster only
    Fiendish Icthyosaur (Storm) NE Worse than Orca in most ways and worse than the Dire Eel in some; Replaces Fiendish Rhinoceros
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Huge (Storm) CE Loses web, gains swim speed; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Huge
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-12-05 at 04:33 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    SUMMON MONSTER 7
    Spoiler
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: Lots of useful combat SLAs coming from the Bone Devil, Piscoloth and Avoral. The Leskylor is back with two more heads; its breath weapon still sucks and its SLAs haven't gotten any better, but its numbers are still excellent for a flying pouncer. Elementals have hit the point where they're legitimately scary on their own.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: Movanic Deva has an insane number of healing, divining and buffing SLAs, and really steals the show. Bone Devils, Djinnis, Avorals and Ferumachs can amble along with their own SLAs, trying to keep up.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Elephant (MM) LG Fairly big combat numbers, but no special abilities to apply them. Huge strength (30 before augment)
    Guardinal, Avoral (MM) NG Flight, True Seeing, Lay on Hands, Nice SLAs, good stealth, lots of resistances and immunities
    Celestial Baleen Whale (MM) NG Gargantuan whale with big numbers (35 Str!) and Blindsight 120ft
    Genie, Djinni (MM) CG Whirlwind has a decent DC, but this is all about the SLAs. (Scout and spellcraft skills aren't bad though)
    Elemental, Huge (MM) N These are turning into genuinely powerful combat options. Their damage output is getting high, and their special abilities are getting hard to resist.
    Invisible Stalker (MM) N Natural Invisibility, high int and passable stealth skills, but not much to do with them.
    Slaad, Red (MM) CN Pounce and the area stun effect are cool, but the Slaad's numbers just aren't high enough for either to stick.
    Devil, Bone (MM) LE Low-DC fear aura, decent-DC Strength poison, awesome battlefield control/utility SLAs.
    Fiendish Megaraptor (MM) LE Weaker than last level's Lion. All the raptor has going for it is its insane jump modifier.
    Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Huge (MM) NE Starting to come into its own with a decent grapple modifier, two constricts and Con poison, plus Tremorsense
    Demon, Babau (MM) CE Decent damage dice from sneak attack, SLAs, good scout skills.
    Fiendish Giant Octopus (MM) CE 9 attacks with improved grab and constrict. Low Grapple mod for its level, but all those attacks are hilarious. Ink Cloud's area increased.
    Fiendish Girallon (MM) CE Five attacks and Rend make it a strong damage dealer if it can Get a full attack off. High climb speed.
    Deva, Movanic (FF) NG Deflect one attack or targeted spell per round; A fantastic set of SLAs, including Raise Dead, at-will Death Ward and mid-level divinations.
    Archon, Justice (MM4) LG Flight, normal Archon Auras; attacks deal as much damage as the target's biggest melee attack.
    Leskylor, Three-headed (BoED) NG Flying pouncer with three heads, improved grab, Touch of Golden Ice; Same SLAs as 1-headed version, which are still useful, but haven't aged well. Its numbers continue to be excellent for its level, though.
    Asura (BoED) NG Gah. Why is the sword a secondary attack? Anyway, Flight and pretty average combat stats; At-will True Seeing SLA is amazing for a party buffer.
    Formian, Armadon (FF) LN 4 attacks, augmented critical bite (17-20/x3), strength poison, lots of immunities, not really remarkable
    Rilmani, Ferumach (FF) N Frightening Aura, Spirited Charge; some useful SLAs like at-will Command, Silence and standard-action Phantom Steed
    Storm Elemental, Large (MM3) N Crappy blasting (though it is ongoing) and still sucks in melee
    Yugoloth, Piscoloth (FF) NE 2 decent damage attacks and 8 Paralysis attacks per round; At-will Fear is a very fun SLA.
    Demon, Arrow (MM3) CE Essentially the ranged volleyer, but its low attack bonus needs some buffing to keep up. Evil caster only

    Spoiler
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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability |Monster
    Aid (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Blur (self, at will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Command (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Dispel Magic (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Gust of Wind (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Hold Person (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Light (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Magic Circle Against Evil (self, at will) [CL 8]|Guardinal, Avoral
    Magic Missile (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Lightning Bolt (3/day) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Avoral
    Invisibility (Self, at will) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Create Food and Water (1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Create Wine (1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Major Creation (1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Persistent Image (1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Wind Walk(1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Gaseous Form (1/day) [CL 20] |Genie, Djinni
    Dimensional Anchor (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Bone
    Fly (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Bone
    Invisibility (self, at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Bone
    Major Image (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Bone
    Wall of Ice (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Bone
    Darkness (At will) [CL 7] |Demon, Babau
    Dispel Magic (At will) [CL 7] |Demon, Babau
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 7] |Demon, Babau
    Aid (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Consecrate (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Create Food and Water (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Death Ward (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Discern Lies (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Polymorph (self) (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Prayer (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Protection from Arrows (At will) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Bless Weapon (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Cure Serious Wounds (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Daylight (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Divination (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Ethereal Jaunt (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Hallow (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Holy Smite (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Neutralize Poison (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Remove Curse (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Remove Disease (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Remove Fear (3/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Commune (1/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Raise Dead (1/day) [CL 9] |Deva, Movanic
    Aid (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Justice
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Justice
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 6] |Archon, Justice
    Blessed Sight (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Cause Fear (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Cure Moderate Wounds (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Eyes of the Avoral (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Hold Person (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Obscuring Mist (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Vision of Heaven (1/day) [CL 6] |Leskylor, Three-headed
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 8] |Asura
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 8] |Asura
    Discern Lies (At will) [CL 8] |Asura
    True Seeing (At will) [CL 8] |Asura
    Holy Smite (1/day) [CL 8] |Asura
    Magic Circle Against Evil (self, 1/day) [CL 8] |Asura
    Polymorph (self, humanoid only, 1/day) [CL 8] |Asura
    Blur (At will) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Command (At will) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Obscuring Mist (At will) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Silence (At will) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Cure Moderate Wounds (3/day) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Dispel Magic (3/day) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Ice Storm (3/day) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Phantom Steed (3/day) [CL 9] |Rilmani, Ferumach
    Blink (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Fear (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Protection from Good (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Scare (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Meld into Stone (3/day) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Phantasmal Killer (3/day) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Stinking Cloud (3/day) [CL 9] |Yugoloth, Piscoloth
    Charm (At will) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Command (At will) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Disguise Self (At will) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Scare (3/day) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Suggestion (3/day) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Wrack (3/day) [CL 7] |Abishai, Blue
    Greater Command (At will) [CL 6] |Devil, Steel
    Haste (self) (At will) [CL 6] |Devil, Steel[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Abishai, Blue (FC2) LE 4 mediocre attacks and flight, tough DR/regen, nice potions; Same SLAs as Black Abishai, so the potions are the big draw; Replaces Devil, Bone; LE caster only
    Devil, Steel (FC2) LE Crappy combat abilities, weak spell-negation area; At-will Greater Command has potential; Replaces Fiendish Megaraptor; LE caster only
    Souleater (MoI) NE Aura of no-save negative levels and meldshaping hassles; The enervation aura could make it a good multi-summon; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Huge; Evil caster only
    Fiendish Monstrous Crab, Huge (Storm) NE Very strong grappler; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Huge; How good it is depends how frequently you think poison immunity will come up v. grapple immunity (keeping in mind that the latter case will leave both scorpion and crab screwed)
    Pack Fiend (PlH) NE Blindsight, Pounce, Poison, tough defenses; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Huge

    SUMMON MONSTER 8
    Spoiler
    Show
    COMBAT SUMMONS: Elementals are getting bigger and meaner - even the Storm Elemental is becoming almost relevant. SLAs from the Hollyphant, Warden Archon, Hammer Archon, Malelephant and even Vrock are pretty big deals in combat.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: Lillends pack a lot of SLAs. Granted, mostly SLAs you can get from a lower-level summon, but they're available in one package here. The Slaad's Passwall spam. Hollyphant's Raise Dead/heals and Malelephant's Polymorph are often useful for problem-solving, and the Warden Archon has some nice spammable divinations.

    BASE LIST:
    Celestial Dire Bear (MM) LG Souped-up bear with more of the usual: Good damage, improved grab, reasonable grapple
    Celestial Cachalot Whale (MM) NG A bit higher HP and damage than the Baleen whale, but no improvements that make it worth 1d3 baleen whales.
    Celestial Triceratops (MM) NG High base damage on its charge, but unless you're having trouble with DR, a pouncing cat is going to have higher output. Trample at least has a high DC.
    Lillend (MM) CG Spells as a level 6 Bard, SLAs. It has grappling abilities, but they aren't level appropriate.
    Elemental, Greater (MM) N Same principles as the Huge Elementals, but with bigger numbers. These are getting nasty.
    Slaad, Blue (MM) CN The monster was built as a bruiser, which it kind of flops at as a summon, but it has some very cool utility SLAs (saves are too crappy for them to affect combat)
    Fiendish Giant Squid (MM) LE Like the Giant Octopus, but with even more attacks (11 total) an actually relevant grapple modifier. If anything's still susceptible, this can turn grappling into a decent damage source.
    Hellcat (MM) LE Invisible in Light and good stealth skills, but stats are comparable to SM6's Dire lion
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Colossal (MM) NE It is not humanly possible to place a colossal monster onto the battle map without giggling a little. Damage isn't great, but the grapple mod is hilarious if you can stick the touch attack.
    Fiendish Dire Tiger (MM) CE Pouncing cat part 4. The numbers went up to be relevant at this level, but the base damage is getting a bit outdated.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Gargantuan (MM) CE Offense is weak and special attacks haven't improved much from the SM2 version. Unless you just really want to entangle some Colossal beastie.
    Fiendish Tyrannosaurus (MM) CE Specialized reptile grappler part 5. This one has Swallow whole, which is not a particularly nasty effect to anything it has a hope of affecting at this level.
    Vrock (MM) CE At will telekinesis + fly speed makes a hilarious combination. Stunning Screech is also pretty nice, but its save might have trouble with most monsters' fast fortitude scaling.
    Archon, Hammer (RoS) LG Earth Glide, decent damage against evil creatures, Normal Archon benefits; Wall of Stone and At-will Aid are useful SLAs; Gnome/Dwarf/Goliath only
    Hollyphant (BoED) NG Giant flying elephant can disguise as a smaller flying elephant; because that's less conspicuous; SLAs like Raise Dead, CL 15 banishment/heal and at-will invisibility make it a very powerful summon.
    Guardinal, Lupinal (MM2) NG Half-way decent stealth skills; Fly and Ethereal jaunt make it somewhat useful for backup utility casting.
    Archon, Warden (BoED) CG Normal archon features, SR that's actually level-appropriate, three attacks and rend, automatically know all alignments; Divination-heavy SLAs like Scrying and True Seeing, as well as the usual Archon list.
    Storm Elemental, Huge (MM3) N About 100 damage worth of blasting, plus a decent combat summon (strong flight, DR, passive nonlethal blasts each round)
    Malelephant (FF) LE The SECOND Outsider elephant at this level, but this one's evil (and just as awesome). Area breath weapon to disable characters' class levels, skill ranks and feats; melee abilities that would be neat if they weren't so far past their prime; At will battlefield control SLAs and True Seeing.

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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability/Spell |Monster
    Darkness (3/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Hallucinatory Terrain(3/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Knock (3/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Light (3/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Charm Person (1/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Speak with Animals (1/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Speak with Plants (1/day) [CL 10] |Lillend
    Dancing Lights (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Daze (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Detect Magic (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Lullaby (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Mage Hand (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Read Magic (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Charm Person (up to 4/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Cure Light Wounds (up to 4/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Identify (up to 4/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Sleep (up to 4/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Hold Person (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Invisibility (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Sound Burst (up to 3/day) [CL 6] |Lillend
    Hold Person (At will) [CL 8] |Slaad, Blue
    Passwall (At will) [CL 8] |Slaad, Blue
    Telekinesis (At will) [CL 8] |Slaad, Blue
    Chaos Hammer (1/day) [CL 8] |Slaad, Blue
    Mirror Image (at will) [CL 12] |Vrock
    Telekinesis (at will) [CL 12] |Vrock
    Heroism (1/day) [CL 12] |Vrock
    Aid (At will) [CL 10] |Archon, Hammer
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 10] |Archon, Hammer
    Stone Shape (3/day) [CL 10] |Archon, Hammer
    Wall of Stone (3/day) [CL 10] |Archon, Hammer
    Bless (At will) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Light (At will) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Cure Moderate Wound (3/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Protection from Evil (3/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Banishment (1/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Flame Strike (1/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Heal (1/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Raise Dead (1/day) [CL 15] |Hollyphant
    Blessed Sight (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Detect Chaos (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Detect Law (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Detect Poison (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Invisibility (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Know Direction (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    See Invivisibility (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Suggestion (At will) [CL 6] |Hollyphant
    Blink (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Blur (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Disguise Self (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Darkness (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Ethereal Jaunt (At will) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Cone of Cold (3/day) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Cure Light Wounds (3/day) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Fly (3/day) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Magic Missile (3/day) [CL 8] |Guardinal, Lupinal
    Aid (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Detect Scrying (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Locate Creature (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Scrying (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    True Strike (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Shield of the Archons (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    True Seeing (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Warden
    Alarm (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Entangle (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Gust of Wind (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Light (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    True Seeing (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Warp Wood (At will) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Blade Barrier (3/day) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Polymorph (3/day) [CL 8] |Malelephant
    Siren's Call (1/day) [CL 9] |Caller from the Deeps
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 7] |Orthon[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Caller from the Deeps (Storm) NE Slow Con damage if it can grapple anything and a weak enchantment effect; Replaces Elemental, Greater. Not worth the trade: those elementals are getting good.
    Gaspar (PlH) N 7 attacks and Powerful Charge; Replaces Celestial Triceratops or Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Colossal; Worth the spider trade (more practical, more damage)
    Limbo Stalker (PlH) CN Unreliable swift action Self-invisibility, Impossibly low skills; Replaces Slaad, Blue
    Yugoloth, Echinoloth (Storm) NE Amphibious, Bleed Damage, Rend, Tremorsense; Replaces Slaad, Blue
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Gargantuan (Storm) CE Loses web, gains swim speed; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Gargantuan
    Orthon (FC2) LE Swift Area Dimensional Anchor; Replaces Hellcat; LE caster only
    Celestial Archelon (Storm) NG Worse than the Cachalot at everything; Replaces Celestial Triceratops
    Elsewhale (PlH) NG Can carry 4 air-breathing medium creatures in its mouth, Replaces Celestial Cachalot Whale. The Cachalot isn't great, and this is a submarine... do it for sure.

    SUMMON MONSTER 9
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    COMBAT SUMMONS: Bebiliths are nasty and the Elementals just keep getting better, even the Storm Elemental. The Wastrilith has some great SLAs and decent stats, but the Rampage mechanic could be a problem for low-Wis casters. The Sword Archon, Leonal and Cuprilach are also decent canned gishes.

    NONCOMBAT SUMMONS: Just glancing at the SLA/Spells list, it should be very clear that Firre Eladrin, Ursinal Guardinals and Monadic Devas are absolutely ridiculous. The Pleasure Devil and Moondog also have some distinct options, but most of the other SLAs are rehashes of lower-leveled options. Couatls have quite a few spells and powers available, but most are accessible through lower-leveled spells.

    BASE LIST:
    Couatl (MM/EPH) LG Spells like level 9 Sorcerer, plus SLAs or PLAs.
    Guardinal, Leonal (MM) NG Pouncing in line with SM8's Dire Tiger, plus immunities, resistances, Lay on Hands and useful SLAs.
    Celestial Roc (MM) CG Big and robust with Snatch, a big grapple and whatever utility a giant bird can give.
    Elemental, Elder (MM) N Even bigger numbers than the Greater Elementals, but with the option of multisummoning Greaters, Elders start to pale.
    Slaad, Green (MM) C Nothing special here. Deeper Darkness is pretty rare as an SLA, but it's not something worth caring about. And at-will Fear's usually good, even with a crap DC, but most things are going to resist it by now.
    Devil, Barbed (MM) LE Not a great attacker, but its attacks carry Fear, grapple and bonus damage rider effects (all easy to resist, but they're something), plus SLAs.
    Fiendish Dire Shark (MM) NE Tries to do underwater combat and grappling at the same time and is shown up on both by lower-level summons.
    Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Gargantuan (MM) NE Between the enormous size, improved grab and constrict, this is a scary grappler. But no one's cared much about grappling in a while and you could probably do even better with Giant Vermin by now.
    Night Hag (MM) NE The SLAs are all that's worth worrying about.
    Demon, Bebilith (MM) CE Con poison and Rend Armor are the big draws, though the Web that affects Gargantuan creatures and totally blocks movement doesn't hurt. Climb speed and good stealth/mobility skills.
    Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Colossal (MM) CE Its damage and Poison DCs might be relevant again, but Giant Vermin does it better.
    Demon, Hezrou (MM) CE Only worth summoning for the stench, if you can find anything vulnerable to poison and nausea. The SLAs are a bit dated, and can be picked up with earlier summons.
    Deva, Monadic (FF) NG Flyer with a good array of immunities; Long list of nice SLAs like Commune, Raise Dead, Divination, and at-will Death Ward and Hold Monster. Lots of very strong abilities. Amazing.
    Archon, Owl (BoED) LG Normal Archon Traits, eye rays turn things to stone, Handy SLAs like Dismissal, Find the Path, Greater Dispel Magic and Reincarnate.
    Archon, Sword (BoED) LG Flying meleer with Insta-death charge 3/day (easy fort save, though) and normal Archon traits; At will divination spells are great, others don't hurt.
    Guardinal, Ursinal (BoED) NG Spells as a level 12 Wizard, Lay on Hands; At will Hold Monster, Polymorph and Solid Fog are fun, and Heal just rounds it out. The sheer number of spells this can access at once are fantastic.
    Moon Dog (BoED) NG Healing, Dismissing, Illusion-destroying, Fear-effecting Telepath dog; Lots of passive self-buffs, plus At-will Greater Invisibility and Fog Cloud SLAs, plus Shadow Conjuration; Strangely, does not come dressed as a Viking.
    Quesar (BoED) NG Area blindness and Disintegrate effects; nasty but low DC.
    Eladrin, Firre (BoED) CG Spells as a level 12 Cleric; Bardic Music; Wonderful spammable SLAs for a buffer/utility caster/blaster like Greater Invisibility, Persistant Image, Polymorph and Prismatic Spray.
    Formian, Observer (FF) LN Gives other formians attack bonuses for each round it watches a target; At-will Charm Monster and True Seeing, but those are done by stronger monsters also.
    Rilmani, Cuprilach (FF) N Sneaky Sneak Attacker can make a full attack as a standard action, use the good Hide in Plain Sight; good DPS for a summon; Knock and Enervation are surprisingly rare SLAs that the Cuprilach has access to (as well as other, more standard divinations and such).
    Storm Elemental, Greater (MM3) N About 130 damage worth of blasting, plus a decent combat summon (strong flight, DR, passive nonlethal blasts each round)
    Demodand, Farastu (FF) NE Continuous Freedom of Movement, Barbarian Rage and Improved Grab (but probably not the monster for the job); At will Fear and Invisibility, but doesn't keep up with some of the insane SLA lists at this and 8th levels.
    Demon, Adaru (MM5) CE Create area of no-save sickness for non-evil creatures, profane bonuses to evil creatures rolls; Burrow, Poison bite, Good stealth/intimidate/bluff; At-will Freedom of Movement is the big draw. The enchantments don't hurt though.
    Demon, Wastrilith (FF) CE Can break free of summoning and rampage (determined by opposed Wisdom); Excellent Intimidate, good stealth, Lots of nice control and debuff SLAs. Plus, the Symbol of X spell-likes, which are a bit ambiguous in their 3.5 translation, but which got a definite boost from Rules Compendium's reduced casting times.

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    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability/Spell |Monster
    Cure Minor Wounds (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Daze (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Disrupt Undead (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Light (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Obscuring Mist (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Ray of Frost (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Read Magic (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Resistance (up to 6/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Endure Elements (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Mage Armor (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Protection from Chaos (up to 7/day) [CL 9]|Couatl
    True Strike (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Wind Wall (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Cure Moderate Wounds (up to 7/day) [CL 9]|Couatl
    Eagle's Splendor (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Scorching Ray (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Silence (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Gaseous Form (up to 7/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Magic Circle Against Evil (up to 7/day) [CL 9]|Couatl
    Charm Monster (up to 4/day) [CL 9] |Couatl
    Freedom of Movement (up to 4/day) [CL 9]|Couatl
    Detect Chaos (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Detect Law (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Invisibility (At will) [CL 9] |Couatl, Nonpsionic
    Aura Sight (At will) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Cloud Mind (At will) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Detect Psionics (At will) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Read Thoughts (At will) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Mental Barrier (3/day) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Metamorphosis (3/day) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Thought Shield (3/day) [ML 9] |Couatl, Psionic
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Fireball (At will) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Hold Monster (At will) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Wall of Force (At will) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Cure Critical Wounds (3/day) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Neutralize Poison (3/day) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Remove Disease (3/day) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Heal (1/day) [CL 10] |Guardinal, Leonal
    Chaos Hammer (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Detect Magic (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Detect Thoughts (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Fear (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Protection from Law (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    See Invisibility (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Shatter (at will) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Dispel Law (3/day) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Deeper Darkness (3/day) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Fireball (3/day) [CL 9] |Slaad, Green
    Hold Person (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Barbed
    Major Image (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Barbed
    Scorching Ray (at will) [CL 12] |Devil, Barbed
    Order's Wrath (1/day) [CL 12] |Devil, Barbed
    Unholy Blight (1/day) [CL 12] |Devil, Barbed
    Detect Chaos (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Detect Law (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Magic Missile (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Ray of Enfeeblement (At will) [CL 8] |Hag, Night
    Etherealness (At will) [CL 16] |Hag, Night
    Chaos Hammer(at will) [CL 13] |Demon, Hezrou
    Unholy Blight (at will) [CL 13] |Demon, Hezrou
    Blasphemy (3/day) [CL 13] |Demon, Hezrou
    Gaseous Form (3/day) [CL 13] |Demon, Hezrou
    Aid (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Charm Monster (Elementals only) (At will) [CL 11]|Deva, Monadic
    Consecrate (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Create Food and Water (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Death Ward (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Discern Lies (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Hold Monster (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Mirror Image (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Polymorph (self, at will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Prayer (At will) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Protection from Arrows (At will) [CL 11]|Deva, Monadic
    Cure Serious Wounds (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Daylight (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Dispel Magic (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Divination (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Ethereal Jaunt (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Hallow (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Holy Aura (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Holy Smite (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Neutralize Poison (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Remove Curse (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Remove Disease (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Remove Fear (3/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Commune (1/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Dispel Evil (1/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Raise Dead (1/day) [CL 11] |Deva, Monadic
    Calm Animals (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Charm Animal (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Dispel Magic (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Faerie Fire (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Freedom of Movement (self, at will) [CL 12]|Archon, Owl
    Speak with Animals (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Stone to Flesh (At will) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Dismissal (3/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Find the Path (3/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Greater Dispel Magic (3/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Neutralize Poison (3/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Divine Power (1/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Reincarnate (1/day) [CL 12] |Archon, Owl
    Aid (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Continual Flame (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Divination (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Locate Creature (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Locate Object (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Message (At will) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Commune (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Dispel Chaos (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Mark of Justice (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Wages of Sin (3/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Touch of Adamantine (1/day) [CL 11] |Archon, Sword
    Aid (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Daylight (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Deep Slumber (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Detect Evil (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Displ Magic (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Hold Monster (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Magic Circle Against Evil (self, at will) [CL 12]|Guardinal, Ursinal
    Magic Missile (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Polymorph (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Solid Fog (At will) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Heal (3/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Neutralize Poison (3/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Remove Disease (3/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Holy Word (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Daze (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Detect Poison (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Flare (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Light (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Charm Person (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Color Spray (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Eyes of the Avoral (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Feather Fall (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Hypnotism (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Glitterdust (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Invisibility (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Locate Object (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Touch of Idiocy (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Yoke of Mercy (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (1/day) [CL 12]|Guardinal, Ursinal
    Daylight (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Elation (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Healing TOuch (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Suggestion (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Celestial Brilliance (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Confusion (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Radiant Fog (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Scrying (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Dismissal (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Wall of Fire, Purified (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Mass SUggestion (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Wages of Sin (1/day) [CL 12] |Guardinal, Ursinal
    Astral Projection (self) (At will) [CL 12]|Moondog
    Dancing Lights (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Darkness (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Ethereal Jaunt (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Fog Cloud (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Greater Invisibility (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Light (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Nondetection (At will) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Disguise Self (3/day) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Mirror Image (3/day) [CL 12] |Moondog
    Greater Shadow Conjuration (1/day) [CL 12]|Moondog
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Fireball (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Greater Invisibility (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Persistant Image (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Polymorph (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    See Inisibility (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Wall of Fire (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Prismatic Spray (At will) [CL 10] |Eladrin, Firre
    Detect Magic (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Detect Poison (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Guidance (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Mending (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Read Magic (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Resistance (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Bless (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Detect Evil (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Divine Favor (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Sanctuary (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Ray of Hope (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Shield of Faith (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Align Weapon (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Bear's Endurance (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Eagle's Splendor (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Hold Person (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Resist Energy (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Continual Flame (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Dispel Magic (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Invisibility Purge (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Prayer (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Searing Light (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Dimensional Anchor (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Dismissal (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Tongues (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Break Enchantment (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Dispel Evil (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Flame Strike (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Greater Dispel Magic (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Heal (1/day) [CL 12] |Eladrin, Firre
    Charm Monster (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (At will) [CL 12]|Formian, Observer
    Detect Chaos (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    True Seeing (At will) [CL 12] |Formian, Observer
    Detect Thoughts (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Knock (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Locate Creature (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Acid Arrow (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Misdirection (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    See Invisibility (At will) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Enervation (3/day) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Mislead (3/day) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Poison (3/day) [CL 12] |Rilmani, Cuprilach
    Detect Magic (At will) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (At will) [CL 11]|Demodand, Farastu
    Fear (At will) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Invisibility (At will) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Tongues (At will) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Fog Cloud (3/day) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Ray of Enfeeblement (3/day) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Dispel Magic (2/day) [CL 11] |Demodand, Farastu
    Freedom of Movement (At will) [CL 13] |Demon, Adaru
    Charm Monster (3/day) [CL 13] |Demon, Adaru
    Blasphemy (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Control Water (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Deeper Darkness (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Desecrate (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Detect Good (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Detect Law (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Fear (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Greater Dispelling (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Read Magic (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Suggestion (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Telekinesis (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Tongues (self, at will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Unhallow (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Unholy Blight (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Wall of Ice (At will) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Symbol of (Any) (3/day) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Unholy Aura (3/day) [CL 15] |Demon, Wastrilith
    Charm Monster (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (At will) [CL 17]|Devil, Pleasure
    Enthrall (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Morality Undone (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Polymorph (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Produce Flame (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Suggestion (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Vampiric Touch (At will) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure
    Charm Monster, Quickened (3/day) [CL 17]|Devil, Pleasure
    Trap the Soul (1/day) [CL 17] |Devil, Pleasure[/table]


    SUBSTITUTIONS:
    Devil, Pleasure (FC2) LE Control nearby enemies, Wis-poison touch attack with attack action, Flight; Unique and/or powerful SLAs like Trap the Soul, Morality undone Quickened Enchantments or Polymorph at high CL; Replaces Fiendish Dire Shark (which is junk anyway)
    Fiendish Monstrous Crab, Gargantuan (Storm) NE Hilarious grappler; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Scorpion, Gargantuan
    Fiendish Monstrous Diving Spider, Colossal (Storm) CE Loses web, gains swim speed; Replaces Fiendish Monstrous Spider, Colossal
    Fiendish Mosasaur (Storm) CE Crappy aquatic grappler; Replaces Demon, Bebilith (which is awesome)
    Celestial Plesiosaur (Storm) NG Not an awful grappler, but that tactic is long out of date; Replaces Celestial Roc; Probably not worth the exchange (unless you're strictly playing underwater).
    Unraveler (PlH) LN Nasty touch attack with a save too low for anyone to ever fail; Replaces Slaad, Green


    ALTERNATE TEMPLATES:
    These replace the Fiendish and Celestial templates found on various animals, vermin and magical beasts. Choosing to summon with these templates permanently replaces the ability to summon either Fiendish or Celestial monsters. The caster must be able to summon monsters of the alignment which is replaced.
    • Anarchic (PlH): Energy resistance to everything from the start, plus fast healing and some niche immunities, but DR is delayed (not so bad on its own, but your summons' DR is how they punch through DR; losing that can hurt).
    • Axiomatic (PlH): Summons get linked minds and slightly more Energy Resistance instead of DR. Same problem as above, but without the immunities, fast healing or eventual DR.
    • Entropic (PlH): Summons become Outsiders, gain negative energy ray and attack. This is barely worth the template, definitely not worth the extra level.
    • Vivacious (PlH): Creatures become incorporeal Outsiders with weak positive energy rays and auras.


    ALTERNATE SLAs:
    The Fiendish Codex II introduces some alternate SLAs for Devil summons. The following are the replacements which provide unique or early access to SLA effects:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Alternate SLAs (earliest access):
    {table=head]Spell |Replaces |SM |Monster
    Crushing Despair|Charm Monster |9 |Devil, Pleasure
    Detect Chaos |Detect Good |4 |Imp
    Silent Image |Disguise Self |4 |Devil, Spined
    Lightning Bolt, Quickened |Fireball, Quickened |6 |Amnizu
    Slay Living |Greater Command|7 |Devil, Steel
    Slow |Haste |7 |Devil, Steel
    Deep Slumber |Hold Person |9 |Devil, Barbed
    Displacement |Major Image |4 |Imp, Euphoric
    Dominate Monster|Morality Undone|9 |Devil, Pleasure
    Flaming Sphere |Produce Flame |4 |Devil, Spined
    Blindness/Deafness|Scare |4 |Abishai, White
    Locate Object |See Invisibility|6 |Devil, Gulthir
    Sleet Storm |Stinking Cloud |4 |Imp, Filth
    Wall of Fire |Wall of Ice |7 |Devil, Bone[/table]


    ALTERNATE SUMMONING OPTIONS

    Cleric of Wee Jas (DR#350):
    Spoiler
    Show
    This doesn't actually lose anything, which might make it seem cheesy. But clerics of Wee Jas get some extra options with their Summon Monsters.

    SUMMON MONSTER 4:
    Allip: Incorporeal and Wisdom drain are fantastic, and the insanity aura is icing. Plus, Summon Monster is a much more versatile spell to prep than the usual Summon Undead.
    Ghast: Its numbers are pathetic against other melee summons of this level. Paralysis is a pretty serious condition and area debuffs are nice, so it's not the worst thing you could summon, but this shouldn't be one of your top picks.
    SUMMON MONSTER 5:

    Mummy: Damage is low and effect DCs aren't high, but its attack bonus is the same as this level's bear and the various status effects are pretty nasty if they stick (paralysis, mummy rot).
    Wight: Look at the Wight's +3 attack bonus, then look at the CR 9+ ACs hovering in the 20s. Negative levels are a nasty effect, but those things just aren't landing.
    SUMMON MONSTER 8:

    Blue Dragon, Young: The DM is probably supposed to stat this out, but if the duty falls on the player, a build-your-own 12 HD monster summon is very versatile. If not, it's a kind of crappy combat summon with a very high speed. Relatively fast burrow.
    Green Dragon, Young: One fewer hit dice and less remarkable abilities than the Blue, but it breathes underwater and swims. Those are... something. Losing a fifth of its feats compared to the Blue does hurt its versatility pretty badly.
    SUMMON MONSTER 9:

    Bronze Dragon, Young: Not much better than the Blue. Repulsion gas is neat, but immunities and +18 and higher saving throws are going to be common at the levels this summon is an option.
    Silver Dragon, Young: An extra HD and an extra strength point over the Blue give it a marginal advantage, but at a higher spell level, it has to compete with 1d3 Blue Dragon summons (where its versatility doesn't stack up well) or alternate SM 9 summons (where both spellcasters like the Ursinal and Firre and bruisers like the Bebilith and Monstrous Scorpion show it up pretty hard.)

    Alienist (CArc):
    Spoiler
    Show
    Loses any summon without the Celestial/Fiendish templates (read: all the summons you care about), in exchange for access to the pseudonatural template. But since it's there, it might as well get a quick rundown.

    Pseudonatural Creatures (CArc): Creatures actually become outsiders, better spell resistance than Celestial/Fiendish creatures and instill a tiny penalty to attacks against them. True Strike instead of smite could be a circumstantial improvement, but usually just means less damage.

    Wild Soul (CMage):
    Spoiler
    Show
    10-level PrC is easy to qualify for, but loses a CL at level 1. The second level expands a caster's summons list with options based on the character's choice of Seelie or Unseelie path:

    Seelie
    SUMMON MONSTER 4:
    Blink Dog: Without its dimension door, the Blink dog loses most of its appeal. The blink effect combined with a decent Int might make a decent scout or retriever.
    Pegasus: Great fly speed, but its combat stats aren't much better than passable. Unusually decent Sense Motive. This is specifically a flying mount, and not a bad one.
    Senmurv (FF): Summon this once, just to make people look at that ridiculous picture and take it seriously for a couple seconds. It's a below-average combat summon, and a very poor scout, so you probably won't have a reason to summon it the second time.
    SUMMON MONSTER 5:
    Nixie: Incredibly frail at the level it's summoned. Throwing a couple charms is nice, but nothing special. It has a decent Wild Empathy score, whatever that's worth.
    Satyr (with pipes): Very weak for this level. The scouting skills aren't too bad, but this isn't helping in combat and those the pipes' DCs just aren't going to land.
    SUMMON MONSTER 6:
    Pixie (Sleep Arrows, no Memory Loss or Irresistible Dance): Permanent invisibility, flight and the SLAs are all great. With those DCs and attack bonuses, those arrows aren't doing anything at this level. The downside is that a strong breeze will kill it.
    Shimmerling Swarm (MM3): The +36 hide is the big draw. The flight, hypnosis and auto-damage aren't bad, but are a bit over-leveled.
    SUMMON MONSTER 7:
    Lillend: Even a level early, its abilities aren't remarkable. Still decent utility, though.
    Leskylor (BoED): This is normally a SM5 option, and its numbers are just outdated, even if you're picking it up from the SLA.
    SUMMON MONSTER 8:
    Bearhound (MM3): In terms of combat numbers, it's a little weaker than the Dire Bear. But it has Trip and its abilities and skills make it much better for utility - good perception, stealth, trackless step and wild empathy.
    Leskylor, Three-Headed (BoED): You could summon 1d3 of these from the normal summon list instead. Weaker in combat than the Bearhound, but still moderately useful if summoned through the SLA.

    Unseelie
    SUMMON MONSTER 4:
    Aranea: Frail in combat, but versatile: Sorcerer illusions, milkable poisons, webs and high intelligence make a well-rounded package.
    Howler: Already on the list, but not a bad choice for the SLA's combat summon.
    Redcap, Young (MM3): Good scouting skills, but really weak until it gains some HD (which Summon spells aren't exactly conductive for, even with the Redcap's accelerated HD-growth mechanic).
    Shadar-Kai (FF): Very weak combatant for this level, but moderate stealth skills and hide in plain sight.
    SUMMON MONSTER 5:
    Joy Stealer (MM4): Incorporeal, unique sensory mode, intelligent, good scout and social skills and a charisma-draining touch attack. Very useful as a scout or a multi-summoned ability-drainer.
    Shadow Mastiff: Already a lackluster option on the regular list.
    SUMMON MONSTER 6:
    Displacer Beast: Very low numbers. Displacement is cool, but with nothing backing it up, this isn't anything more than a utility summon.
    Winter Wolf: A pushover compared to SM4's Dire Wolf. At least this has decent Intelligence.
    SUMMON MONSTER 7:
    Hag, Annis: Combat abilities are about equal to SM6's polar bear, and skills aren't remarkable. The advantage is that the Annis packs Fog clouds; summon if those are useful.
    Will-o'-Wisp:Weak damage, but naturally invisible, immune to magic, 29 touch AC, perfect flight and good scout skills make an excellent utility summon (if a bit high-leveled for no SLAs).
    SUMMON MONSTER 8:
    Redcap, Elder (MM3): Again, the main combat advantage of Redcaps is the rapid-HD growth, which doesn't work well with round/level durations. But very good scout skills.
    Rejkar (MM3): Terrible combatant, but some useful SLAs, including at-will Fabricate.

    Rashemi Elemental Summoning (UE)
    Spoiler
    Show
    Applies templates to all Elemental summons with Earth and Air subtypes. Note that Storm Elementals and Elementite Swarms fall under those categories, as well as the obvious creatures.

    Orglash Creature: Applies to air-subtyped elementals. Cone of Cold 3/day at CL=HD. Multisummon for some insane blasting. Also bonus cold damage on attacks, Con boost and Fast Healing.

    Thomil Creature: Applies to earth-subtype elementals. Gain engulf attack with DC based on HD and Con (both very respectable with high-level summons). Also gains Spell Resistance, Con boost and a special defensive form action.

    Fiendish Summoning Specialist (PlH)
    Spoiler
    Show
    Feat adds an evil-aligned creature to every level of summon monster. This requires DM negotiation, but see here for a list of options. My personal suggestions:

    SM 1: (Generally CR < 1) CSkiurd (MM4): Great scouting skills, a weird multithreat Buff+minor debuff+minor blast Darkness SLA.
    SM 2: (Generally CR = 1) Kython, Broodling (BoVD): Blindsight, tough immunities/resistances, passable stealth/scouting skills.
    SM 3: (Generally CR = 2)
    SM 4: (Generally CR = 3) Demon, Rutterkin (BoVD): At-will Telekinesis is good offense, good utility. Desecrate is also a useful SLA.
    SM 5: (Generally CR = 4-5) options
    SM 6: (Generally CR = 6-7)options
    SM 7: (Generally CR = 8-9) options
    SM 8: (Generally CR = 10-11) options
    SM 9: (Generally CR = 12-13) options
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-11-02 at 08:42 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 1
    Spoiler
    Show
    Combat: The Wolf is robust with a decent control ability, and the Eagle has the best damage-per-round (remember the dive maneuver). In aquatic environments, the porpoise has high damage and excellent combat awareness.
    Outside Combat: The Owl, Small Viper and Porpoise have very good perception skills, the Wolf has scent and track, and the Monkey and Octopus provide appendages that can effectively manipulate objects.
    Options:
    Dire Rat: Distinguishing ability is a disease nobody cares about. Climb speed, scent and decent skills for its level don't hurt, but summons last a short enough time that you're usually better off summoning a specialist in one of the abilities.
    Eagle: +16 spot, fast flight and three attacks. Excellent utility and good DPS. Don't forget the Dive attack option.
    Monkey: Fast climb, variety of skills and thumbs. One of the best utility options, but isn't going to help anyone in combat.
    Octopus: Ink Cloud on its own is about appropriate for a level 1 slot. The improved grab and tentacley utility are just gravy.
    Owl: Fantastic perception skills, especially in the dark. For anything resembling a combat scenario, the Eagle's going to be a better option.
    Porpoise: Excellent perception skills, high swim speed, 120ft blindsight and a formidable slam make it a reliable option for low-levels in aquatic environments. Obviously, on land, that doesn't hold so well.
    Snake, Small Viper: Excellent skills, mobility modes and scent make it a useful utility form. The Poison DC is rather low, even with Augment Summoning, but 1d6 Con damage is still a rather powerful effect for the spell's level.
    Wolf: High speed, 2 HD and trip make it a powerful combat form for its level, and Scent+Track gives it a role outside combat. Skills are fairly lackluster, though,
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Hippocampus (Storm): Decent perception skills, good HD and an intelligence high enough to take orders. Note that the Hippocampus replaces Wolf, which makes it a bad option in all but specifically aquatic campaigns.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 2
    Spoiler
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    Combat: The hippogriff and Dire Badger are competitive for melee abilities, but the hippogriff will usually win out. The Squid is the first decent grappling option, but is limited by its aquatic tag.
    Outside Combat: The Dire Badger digs tunnels through anything softer than solid stone; the Dire Bat and Hippogriff can act as flying mounts; the Small Air and Earth elementals bring excellent mobility skills, along with the intelligence to take complex orders. The Dire Bat and Medium Shark have useful perception abilities.
    Options:
    Bear, Black: High strength, three natural attacks and decent HD, but very little advantage over the Dire Badger or Hippogriff. Its perception abilities aren't bad.
    Crocodile: Improved Grab is good, but on a medium creature, it's pretty niche. Passable damage, swim speed and perception, but nothing special.
    Dire Badger: Sturdier than the black bear, but can only match the bear's offense after taking damage. Notable in its burrow speed and in the tunnel it leaves while burrowing.
    Dire Bat: Large flying monster with blindsense and excellent perception skills. Passable in combat, but really more of a utility summon.
    Elemental, Small: Weak combat summons, but they have 4 Int, making them able to converse and understand complex orders. The Air elemental's flight and the Earth elemental's earth glide are invaluable for scouts. The Water elemental's swim speed isn't bad, but not as distinct as the earth glide or fast perfect flight. The Fire elemental is all about damage, but it is too small and weak to fill the role efficiently.
    Fetid Fungus (MM5): Area of sickness and Blindsight are nice; its more direct combat abilities and skills are basically awful.
    Hippogriff: Large, with fast flight, three attacks and high strength. The hardest-hitting damage-dealer at this level (don't forget dive maneuvers), plus whatever utility you can manage with a short-term flying mount.
    Shark, Medium: Generally inferior to SNA1's Porpoise, but the Keen Scent ability can be useful if you're searching for blood.
    Snake, Medium Viper: Not much meaningful advantage over SNA1's Small Viper. You'll usually be better off summoning one or more of the small versions instead.
    Squid: Good grapple and utility abilities (ink cloud, Jet) make it a somewhat interesting alternative to the porpoise. If not grappling, SNA1's Octopus does basically the same things for cheaper.
    Wolverine: Like the Dire Badger, but with lower defensive stats, track and a climb speed instead of the tunnels. You'd probably be better off with the badger or a wolf.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 3
    Spoiler
    Show
    Combat: The Dire wolf provides a strong tripper and the Lion provides a strong charger and the first compelling land-based grappler.
    Outside Combat: The Giant Owl has excellent perception skills and large flight; the Satyr has good stealth and passable social skills; the Thoqqua makes an excellent scout with its burrow speed, tremorsense and intelligence; the Ape's large size and opposable thumbs are useful wherever a Barbarian is.
    Options:
    Ape: A bit bulkier than the hippogriff, but not notably better than it in melee. The Climb speed is its one notable trait.
    Dire Weasel: The Constitution damage is interesting, but the weasel is fragile enough that the effect basically won't ever happen. At least it has a good way of drawing attention to itself though.
    Dire Wolf: The Wolf's trip ability, but with a modifier that's actually going to win. Decent damage and the same utility as the wolf.
    Eagle, Giant: Bulkier than the Hippogriff, and comes with a high spot modifier and evasion. Probably not worth the higher-level slot for combat purposes, though.
    Lion: Pounce means high reliable damage output and Large size+Improved Grab adds a strong control element. Not much for utility, but a strong melee option.
    Owl, Giant: Better senses than the Giant Eagle, but no Evasion. The senses are probably what you're summoning a giant bird for anyway.
    Satyr (without Pipes): The first core fey. The intelligence and skills make it interesting, but it doesn't bring much new to the table.
    Shark, Large: Your new aquatic combat summon. Lots of hit dice and high damage potential.
    Snake, Constrictor: Has the same problems as SNA3's crocodile on a similar framework. Unless the Climb speed is a dealbreaker, one or more crocodiles are probably better options.
    Snake, Large Viper: Bigger, but again, not a huge advantage over the small viper (or 1d4+1 small vipers).
    Storm Elemental, Small (MM3): Perfect flight 40ft and its blasting damage stays more or less appropriate for a level or two.
    Thoqqua: Fast burrow, 6 Intelligence, tremorsense and lots of fire damage. Not a good combat summon, but if it somehow gets caught scouting, it can at least hurt whatever catches it.
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Dire Eel (Storm): Slightly better combatant than the Large shark, though it lacks the shark's senses. But Dire Eel replaces Dire Wolf, so it's not a good option unless you plan on being underwater for your whole campaign.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 4
    Spoiler
    Show
    Combat: The Giant Crocodile is the first really exceptional grappler, the Tiger provides high charge damage/pounce and the Brown bear provides a compromise between the two. Yellow Musk creepers are just dirty, but their save DCs are rather low.
    Outside Combat: The Unicorn's SLAs provide healing and several alignment effects, and its skills provide something resembling a crappy ranger. The Xorn is an even better earthbound scout than the Thoqqua.
    Options:
    Arrowhawk, Juvenile: Some rogue-like skills, a variety of immunities and resistances, perfect flight and an electricity ranged touch attack. A bit better than the small air elemental as a scout, but much higher-level. Not a hugely compelling option of its own.
    Bear, Brown: A middle ground between the Giant Crocodile's grapple and the Tiger's damage per round.
    Bloodthorn (FF): Really low Hit Dice and attack/grapple for its level, but 4 attacks, large size, improved grab, and Constitution damage with a successful grapple. It probably shouldn't be a staple, but when it's applicable (grappleable creatures with low ACs), it's excellent.
    Crocodile, Giant: Massive grapple modifier and a swim speed.
    Deinonychus: Weaker than the tiger, but better perception skills and speed. And much better jump, if that matters. Very low hit dice for a combat summon at this level.
    Dire Ape: Strong, but less damage output than the big cats, and no other exceptional skills.
    Dire Boar: Doesn’t have much but hit points and damage, and its damage is pretty bad.
    Dire Wolverine: Decent damage output, but not as much as the big cats, and not much else. Low hit dice for its level.
    Elemental, Medium: Still too small and too few HD to be useful in combat. The Small elementals are almost as good for utility purposes, and are much cheaper.
    Salamander, Flamebrother: Good stealth skills and decent damage. The grapple modifier's way too small to ever pull off the Salamander's grapple abilities.
    Sea Cat: Like the Dire Ape, but with more Hit Dice, better damage and a swim speed. The best aquatic damage dealer of the level, if it can pull off full-round attacks (a less unreasonable expectation with summons than characters).
    Shark, Huge: Lots of hit dice and huge size. The combination of endurance, blindsense and blood-smelling is its main draw.
    Snake, Huge Viper: The poison scales poorly, and is the only reason you'd summon this at all.
    Tiger: The best charger at this level, but only marginally better than SNA3's Lion. The Lion is usually a better use of resources; or 1d3 Lions, depending how lucky you feel.
    Tojanida, Juvenile: Decent roguish skills and damage output, various resistances/immunities, good swim speed and an awesome ink cloud, but too fragile to use as a combat summon, and too low of modifiers to use in place of a higher-HD animal or elemental.
    Unicorn: Lots of useful Supernatural abilities and SLAs, various immunities, good perception skills and half-way decent damage. Too low of HD to expect longevity as a front-line fighter though.
    Xorn, Minor: Earth glide, tremorsense, four attacks and all sorts of crazy resistances and immunities make it a useful scout and a workable melee option.
    Yellow Musk Creeper (FF): Spore-based compulsion to force creatures to enter 's Creeper's space. When Creatures are inside, Yellow Musk creeper deal intelligence damage each round, until creature either turns into mindless plant zombie or dies. Also blindsight and regeneration.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability | Monster
    Magic Circle Against Evil (continuous) [Su] | Unicorn
    Detect Evil (at will, free action) [CL 4] | Unicorn
    Cure Light Wounds (3/day) [CL 5] | Unicorn
    Cure Moderate Wounds (1/day) [CL 5]| Unicorn
    Neutralize Poison [CL 8] | Unicorn[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Dire Barracuda (Storm): Worse than the Sea Cat in close combat and the Huge Shark for general use. But it replaces the Dire Boar, so you might as well pick it up as an option – at least its speed and sprint might have some niche uses.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 5
    Spoiler
    Show
    Combat: Giant Constrictor becomes the new powerful grappler, Dire Lion becomes the new charger, becomes the new middle ground. The Griffon provides passable aerial combat, and some higher-level versions of utility summons (elementals, outsiders) start to hold their own.
    Outside Combat: The Janni makes a good scout, the Elementals and Tojanida improve enough as combatants that they start deserving the higher-level summons.
    Options:
    Arrowhawk, Adult: Roguish skills are getting pretty good, but the electricity ray is still really bad damage.
    Bear, Polar: Like the brown bear, but with bigger numbers and a swim speed. Neither is a bad thing. Still hugs the middle ground between the big cats' damage and the reptiles' grapples.
    Dire Lion: Like the Tiger with bigger numbers. This is the default damage/charging option at this level.
    Elasmosaurus: A bit of a step up from the Huge Shark in terms of raw numbers, but you'd probably be better sticking to the lower-leveled shark (or 1d3 sharks). Compared to the shark, losing Blindsense and Keen Scent hurts, but being able to survive on land makes it more versatile (and in that context, its numbers are quite nice).
    Elemental, Large: These are starting to catch up to the animals numerically. The Elementals aren't the most powerful brutes yet, but they're starting to take their place as viable combatants. Some of the special attacks like Whirlwind and Vortex are actually going to work sometimes.
    Fossergrim (FF): Fey with pretty good social skills and constant true strike while attacking enemies in water. Crazy niche, but it's there.
    Griffon: The best damage from a flying summon. Less powerful than the Dire Lion, but way more usable at high levels.
    Janni, Genie: Change size, Ethereal Jaunt, telepathy, flight, high intelligence and decent skills can make it a useful scout. Kind of a crappy combatant, though.
    Rhinoceros: The Dire Lion is a better charger. The Rhino's better at punching through DR, but if that's what it's being used for, the damage isn't going to be meaningful anyway.
    Satyr (with pipes): As before, plus area mind control effects, but at a really terrible DC. Use the lower-level version.
    Snake, Giant Constrictor: Huge snake with Improved grab, constrict and a hefty grapple modifier. This is exactly what you want your grapplers to look like. The movement modes are also nice.
    Storm Elemental, Medium (MM3): It's more efficient to summon multiples of the Small Storm Elementals; let them heal each other while they let their blasts out.
    Nixie: Decent Wild Empathy and aquatic hide, but as a 1 HD creature coming out of a 5th level spell effect, it has some serious deficiencies (in both survival and skill ranks).
    Tojanida, Adult: Developing its roguish skills fairly well, and its attack routine isn't awful. You'd still probably be better summoning a small water elemental or flock of Huge Sharks for whatever you're doing, though.
    Whale, Orca: A bit better combatant than the Huge Shark. But not worth the higher level of summons.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability | Monster
    Invisibility (self-only, 3/day) [CL 12] | Janni
    Speak with Animals (3/day) [CL 12] | Janni
    Create Food and Water (1/day) [CL 7] | Janni
    Ethereal Jaunt (1 hour) [CL 12] | Janni
    Charm Person (3/day) [CL 4] | Nixie
    Water Breathing (1/day) [CL 12] | Nixie[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Elementite Swarm (PlH): Swarms with their respective elements' main traits. A swarm summon is a unique effect and their stealth skills tend to be very good. These replace Large Elemental summons, but since the Elementals still aren't the melee powerhouses that the Huge versions become, it's a fair trade.
    Ichthyosaur (Storm): Worse than SNA4's Huge Shark in almost every way. Ichtyosaur replaces the Rhinoceros, which might at least see occasional use. This is a terrible summon.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 6
    Spoiler
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    Combat: The Oread is the star of earthbound combat, with all sorts of large-scale control abilities available each round. At this level, the Dire Bear is the best all-around melee option, though Elementals are starting to be serious threats and the Girallon has very high damage potential against niche targets (no DR and low mobility).
    Outside Combat: Oreads can manipulate stone to do pretty much anything. Elementals and Xorns have been souped up a bit to be combat-relevant (Elementals especially), pixies have their permanent invisibility. The Baleen Whale reintroduces 120ft blindsight without sucking as a combatant. The Spriggan's a lot like a 5th level rogue, but with at-will SLAs to catch things on fire and break them.
    Options:
    Dire Bear: Very powerful melee summon. Little special going for it in terms of noncombat abilities.
    Elemental, Huge: Now that these have more hit dice than you and higher base attack than the party fighter, they're developing into strong combat summons as well as their movement-based utility roles.
    Elephant: All-around of crappy in combat compared to the Dire Bear, but it's Huge and it's strong – there's a good chance of utility purposes.
    Girallon: Very high damage output, but relies on full attacks. If you think you can get it those, a fantastic option for DPS. Otherwise, forgettable.
    Megaraptor: Worse combatant than the Dire Lion, in a higher-level slot.
    Octopus, Giant: Low-HD grappler with a crappy grapple score. The other abilities are still nice, but could come from SNA1's Octopus without much loss.
    Oread (FF): Earth glide and some very nice SLAs.
    Pixie (no special arrows): Constant invisibility, useful SLAs, but seriously – 1 HD? Don't expect it to weather combats against anything other than dumb bruisers.
    Salamander, Average: Still fragile, with low grapple and lagging skills.
    Spriggan (FF): Decent rogue skills, sneak attack, large/small size, SLAs.
    Storm Elemental, Large (MM3): Still a lackluster melee option, but its blasting improves enough that it's worth using a Large over a medium Storm Elemental. And worth remembering that the Storm Elemental is a valid subject for Rashemi's orlash template (for even more blasting).
    Viper Swarm (FF): The only swarm on the default summoning list. But pretty awful distraction and poison DCs.
    Whale, Baleen: Weaker combatant than the Huge Water Elemental, but 120ft blindsight and Gargantuan size.
    Xorn, Average: Still low HD, but enough attacks and resistances to be decent in combat if the situation demands. Plus the resistances, skills and various abilities that make it a decent earthgliding scout.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability | Monster
    Greater Invisibility (Self-only, Constant) [Su] | Pixie
    Lesser Confusion (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Dancing Lights (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Detect Chaos (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Detect Evil (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Detect Good (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Detect Law (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Detect Thoughts (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Dispel Magic (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Entangle (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Permanent Image (1/day) [CL 8] | Pixie
    Stone Tell (at will) [CL 14] | Oread
    Charm Monster (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Soften Earth and Stone (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Spike Stones (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Stone Shape (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Transmute Mud to Rock (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Transmute Rock to Mud (3/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Earthquake (1/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Move Earth (1/day) [CL 14] | Oread
    Produce Flame (at will) [CL 8] | Spriggan
    Scare (at will) [CL 8] | Spriggan
    Shatter (at will) [CL 8] | Spriggan[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Archelon (Storm): Worse than the Huge Water Elemental in almost every way. It replaces the Megaraptor, which might be useful once in a while. Skip this noise.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 7
    Spoiler
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    Combat: Dire Tiger is a new charging monster, Tyrannosaurus is the new grappler; Elementals are getting crazy as they break 20 HD. The Storm elemental's blasting becomes pretty respectable again.
    Outside Combat: Arrowhawk and Xorn stealth skills are getting pretty good, and their mobility is quite high. The elementals (with associated mobility modes) are becoming downright scary, and Xorns have all sorts of skills and utility abilities at levels that make all the noncasters jealous.
    Options:
    Arrowhawk, Elder: Has gotten pretty good at being a scout, but is still very weak in combat. Still more a utility summon than anything (but now it does that job well)
    Dire Rhinoceros (FF): All-around worse at melee than the Dire Tiger. But absolutely crazy hit points, if that matters somewhere.
    Dire Tiger: Same principle as the other big cats, but bigger.
    Elemental, Greater: As the Huge elementals, but more so. They're getting way ahead of the player characters in HD.
    Djinni, Genie: A bit worse than the Janni as a scout, but a different array of SLAs.
    Invisible Stalker: Weak combat summon, but the highest Tracking modifier available through the SNA line.
    Kelp Angler (FF): 100ft Blindsight, SLAs, swim speed, 4 attacks and Improved Grab. Low HD and Grapple keep it from being a great combat summon, but it's pretty robust (regeneration , and a bunch of immunities) and all the SLAs are useful.
    Pixie (with Sleep Arrows): Like the normal pixie, but with a sleep effect that will never work. If you're summoning pixies, summon more of the low-level version and spam the hell out of Entangle and Dispel (even at this level, magic items often have low caster levels).
    Squid, Giant: Strong aquatic offense (attack and grapple) and good utility (ink cloud, jet, high speed), but relatively fragile in terms of HD.
    Storm Elemental, Huge (MM3): Wraps a Huge elemental summon in with a blast. A pretty good burst of damage with a rather tough save. (24d6+8d4) and decent melee abilities after that. Plus, it's a candidate for full-CL Cones of Cold via Rashemi Elemental summoning.
    Triceratops: Worse charger than the Dire Tiger, little other use.
    Tyrannosaurus: The new grappling reptile (I know; I don't care), with swallow whole.
    Whale, Cachalot: If you're using a whale instead of an elemental, it's for the Blindsight or the size. The Cachalot isn't a slump in combat, but SNA6's Huge Elementals show it up.
    Xorn, Elder: Four attacks at Base Attack 15, plus Ranger skills? This is just here to make the fighter cry. Not great damage output, but excellent scouting abilities.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability| Monster
    Invisibility (self-only, at will) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Create Food and Water (1/day) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Major Creation (1/day) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Persistent Image (1/day) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Wind Walk (1/day) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Gaseous Form (self-only, 1/day) [CL 20] | Djinni
    Dispel Magic (3/day) [CL 11] | Kelp Angler
    Entangle (3/day) [CL 11] | Kelp Angler
    Confusion (1/day) [CL 11] | Kelp Angler
    Displacement (1/day) [CL 11] | Kelp Angler[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Caller from the Deeps (Storm): Some flashy abilities, but it really boils down to a grappler with a bad grapple modifier. Since it replaces the Elementals right when they start getting awesome, it's not worth it.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 8
    Spoiler
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    Combat: The Sporebat can fly and cast Enervation every other round. The Roc is a superb grappler and decent damage option. Salamanders and Tojanidas finally have the Base Attack and Size for their improved grabs to be somewhat functional.
    Outside Combat: Salamanders and Tojanidas have lots of skills, and the size/BA/HD to survive being dragged into melee.
    Options:
    Dire Shark: Improved Grab and Keen Scent are cool, but in combat, this is about on par with SNA6's Huge Water Elemental; it's definitely not matched with 1d4+1 of them. And in utility, SNA2 can ape the Keen scent power.
    Roc: Gargantuan Flyer with Snatch. Beside its transportation and utility purposes, this is the best grappler available. And still don't forget the Dive maneuver.
    Salamander, Noble: It's like a Fighter, but with more attacks, more skills and SLAs. Improved Grab (Huge-), Large Size and Constrict make it a decent grappler as well.
    Sporebat (FF): Flight, plant traits, constant Concealment and silence, (Su) Enervation every other round.
    Storm Elemental, Greater (MM3): Multiple Huge elementals are better options for pure blast damage. The high HD can be circumstantially useful though.
    Tojanida, Elder:Lots of skills and enough size for Improved Grab to see some use. Ink Cloud's still useful and the base attack is still hilarious.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability| Monster
    Burning Hands (3/day) [CL 15] | Salamander, Noble
    Fireball (3/day) [CL 15] | Salamander, Noble
    Flaming Sphere (3/day) [CL 15] | Salamander, Noble
    Wall of Fire (3/day) [CL 15] | Salamander, Noble
    Dispel Magic (1/day) [CL 15] | Salamander, Noble
    Enervation (every 2nd round) [Su] | Sporebat[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Mosasaur (Storm): Marginal improvement over the Dire Shark. Water Elementals will still be more useful in almost any situation. Adding this to the SNA list requires dropping the Noble Salamander, and all its abilities. You don't want to do that.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 9
    Spoiler
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    Combat: Elementals have big numbers and good mobility, Octopus Trees have some useful SLAs. Most of the rest is probably going to be ignored in combat.
    Outside Combat: Elementals get tougher; the Celestial Charger's 7 Cleric levels are always applicable somehow; everything else is terrible.
    Options:
    Elemental, Elder: Still have hilarious numbers of hit dice, though there's no huge change since SNA7's Greater Elementals.
    Grig (with fiddle): 1/2 HD are you ****ing kidding me. DCs and effects are too limited to matter.
    Kelpie (FF): Crappy combatant, crappy skills. But it's there. Emotion can be a useful SLA, but it really depends how the 3.5 translation is handled.
    Octopus Tree (FF): Lots of attacks with mediocre improved grab, interesting SLAs and Regeneration. Be sure to notice Quicken SLA as a feat.
    Pixie (with Sleep and Memory Loss Arrows): Same as the prior pixies, but with another arrow that will never do anything. Dreadful. Use a lower-level summon if you want the SLAs.
    Unicorn, Celestial Charger: Not nearly level appropriate, but it doesn't hurt to have another set of actions dropping Obscuring Mists, Air Walks, etc.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Ability| Monster
    Disguise Self (3/day) [CL 9] | Grig
    Entangle (3/day) [CL 9] | Grig
    Invisibility (self-only, 3/day) [CL 9] | Grig
    Pyrotechnics (3/day) [CL 9] | Grig
    Ventriloquism (3/day) [CL 9] | Grig
    Detect Thoughts (at will) [CL 7] | Kelpie
    Charm Person (3/day) [CL 7] | Kelpie
    Emotion (3/day) [CL 7] | Kelpie
    Diminish Plants (at will) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Entangle (at will) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Obscuring Mist (at will) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Plant Growth (at will) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Warp Wood (at will) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Call Lightning (3/day) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Turn Wood (3/day) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree
    Wall of Thorns (3/day) [ CL 14] | Octopus Tree[/table]
    ADDITIONAL OPTIONS:
    Plesiosaur (Storm): Big and grappley, but a terrible monster to add to your list for two reasons: 1. For a grappler to do anything, you'll have to find enemies who go into an aquatic environments at ECL 17+ without Freedom of Movement or Cloak of the Sea. Good luck. 2. It replaces the Celestial Charger Unicorn, which can at least occasionally be useful. And there are its low hit dice, but they're not the pressing issue.


    ALTERNATE SUMMONING OPTIONS

    Aerenal Beastmaster (RoE)
    Spoiler
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    This is a feat for players who want an elf with a baboon. It's not powerful and it's very specific.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 1:
    Baboon: It's strong, mobile and has opposable thumbs, but the Wolf's trip and track make it better in most situations that a monkey wouldn't be applicable.

    Moonspeaker (RoE)
    Spoiler
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    As well as just being an amazing prestige class, Moonspeaker adds several worthwhile Outsider summons to the SNA list.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 3:
    Triton: Summoning rules strip its most valuable racial trait (SNA IV), but at worst, it's an outsider from a low-level SNA.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 6:
    Bralani Eladrin: Awesome flight (in whirlwind form), very well-rounded social and social skills, some useful SLAs (Cure Serious, Gust of Wind, Blur, Charm Person, Wind Wall), a variety of immunities/resistances and constant Tongues.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 7:
    Nymph: Normally Shamans have to wait for SNA9 to get a 7th level spellcaster. The Nymph comes early, and comes with some decent skills and a passive save-or-lose (low DC, but no action cost).
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 8:
    Lillend: Comes with 6th level bard spells and some useful SLAs (the stars are: Hallucinatory Terrain, darkness, charm, knock).

    Child of Winter (ECS)
    Spoiler
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    A feat adds vermin summons to the SNA list. Very useful at high and low levels, with a long dry spell in between.

    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 1:
    Monstrous Centipede, Medium: Good climb speed, but otherwise nearly useless.
    Monstrous Scorpion, Small: Terrible combatant, and it doesn't do much else better than the spider. Skip it.
    Monstrous Spider, Small: Spider webs are amazing, even if they can only affect Medium and smaller targets. climb speed and tremorsense are useful too.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 2:
    Giant Ant, Worker: Terrible combat summon, but its mindlessness and climb speed can make it a circumstantial alternative to a wolf tracker.
    Monstrous Centipede, Large: Crappy poison, almost always worse utility than the Dire Bat.
    Monstrous Scorpion, Medium: Multiple attacks and the poison still has a chance of working, but it's not a great combat form, and the spider's better utility.
    Monstrous Spider, Medium: Webs affect large and smaller creatures. That's most of the opponents you're probably going to run into. This is an excellent control summon with a lot of staying power (touch ACs don't raise much) and decent utility (Climb speed and tremorsense 60ft).
    Spider Swarm: Nice poison, distraction and tremorsense from a level 2 summon.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 3:
    Giant Ant, Queen: A bit fragile, but a scent, mind immunity, large size and improved grab. A useful summon to have in reserve.
    Giant Ant, Soldier: Terrible grappler, terrible damage-dealer; don't waste your time.
    Monstrous Centipede, Huge: The first half-way decent grappler; the climb speeds nice and the poison isn't bad to have, but don't expect either to be very useful.
    Monstrous Spider, Large: Breaking out might still be a bit tricky for characters without Escape Artist ranks, but the Medium Monstrous spider (one or more) is usually a better option, economically.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 4:
    Giant Praying Mantis: This doesn't compare well at all to the giant crocodile. But the flying aspect of a grappler can be useful.
    Giant Wasp: The Giant Owl shows it up, from a lower-leveled spell slot. A mindless large flyer might be occasionally useful, but it's going to be niche.
    Locust Swarm: The distraction DC is low, but swarms can be very useful, and flight is always a plus. It shouldn't be your first impulse on a summon, but if you think it'd be decent in a situation, it's not going to be a trap.
    Monstrous Scorpion, Large: The same level as the brown bear, this doesn't compare well. Constrict and tremorsense are nice though.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 5:
    Carrion Crawler: Horribly low HD and very low save DCs on its Paralysis ability. But Paralysis is a strong ability with a good duration, and the CC can force a lot of saves. Despite the HD, this summon is useful to spam attacks, waiting for a low Fortitude roll.
    Centipede Swarm: Inconsequential distraction and poison DCs, no flight. At least Tremorsense is nice, but you could get it better from an elemental.
    Giant Stag Beetle: Not just a dumb brute, a dumb weak brute.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 6:
    Monstrous Centipede, Gargantuan: Surprisingly few HD for its size (but appropriate for the spell slot); best grapple modifier at this level. Somewhat lacking for other benefits.
    Monstrous Scorpion, Huge: Starting to become somewhat intimidating as a grappler, but its hit dice are relatively low. Tremorsense is useful for utility.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 7:
    Hellwasp Swarm: Has decent intelligence and the potential for a bizarre sort of possession (though with a short duration). At worst, that's an interesting utility ability to have on hand.
    Monstrous Spider, Gargantuan: If you're summoning this, it's for the web. This web is notable in being able to entangle colossal targets, but you can expect it to be broken with a standard action; multiple lower-leveled spiders are usually better.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 8:
    Monstrous Centipede, Colossal: The first colossal summon. Nice. Its abilities aren't all that hot, but it has a better grapple modifier than the Scorpion (if the modifier's all that matters).
    Monstrous Scorpion, Gargantuan: Scorpions are the stars of high-level vermin summons. Improved Grab, plus Constrict, plus multiple attacks, plus tremorsense, plus constitution poison make it a very nasty combat summon.
    SUMMON NATURE'S ALLY 9:
    Monstrous Scorpion, Colossal: If you're using a 9th level spell to summon a dumb brute monster, this is what it should look like. The best grappler by far (as if anyone still cared) and a very nasty poison.
    Monstrous Spider, Colossal: Tremorsense and climb speed are nice, and numbers are generally better than last level's Centipede, but one attack isn't all that hot anymore.

    Greenbound Summoning (LEoF)
    Spoiler
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    Adds the Greenbound template to any summoned animals. This is absurdly powerful.

    Greenbound Creature (LEoF): Just a hilarious array of SLAs, Natural Armor, DR, immunities, resistances, ability boosts, stealth and grapple bonuses and tremorsense.

    Rashemi Elemental Summoning (UE)
    Spoiler
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    Applies templates to all Elemental summons with Earth and Air subtypes. Note that Storm Elementals, Elementite Swarms and Invisible Stalkers all fall under those categories, as well as the obvious creatures.

    Orglash Creature: Applies to air-subtyped elementals. Cone of Cold 3/day at CL=HD. Multisummon for some insane blasting. Also bonus cold damage on attacks, Con boost and Fast Healing.

    Thomil Creature: Applies to earth-subtype elementals. Gain engulf attack with DC based on HD and Con (both very respectable with high-level summons). Also gains Spell Resistance, Con boost and a special defensive form action.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-11-02 at 12:36 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    SUMMON DESERT ALLY

    A series of spells from Sandstorm available to Druids and Sandshapers. Summons Dustform creatures (Construct template, loses its Con/Int and normal special attacks in exchange for a strength boost, bindsight and breath weapon. Most useful at low levels, before SLAs and special attacks start both working and outclassing it. At later levels, this is less about anything the Wizard or Druid would cast (other summon spells are just better), and more about what something like a Warmage dipping Sandshaper could do.

    Spoiler
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    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 1
    Dustform Baboon: We're starting off with the mobile combat option. Strength boosts push its attack and damage, and it doesn't rely on full attacks like the serval. Plus medium size, which adds a nice round 10 HP to this thing's frame.
    Dustform Badger: No better than a raging Badger, though there's something to be said for skipping the triggering part. Same Track as the dog, plus burrow.
    Dustform Dire Rat: The only appeal here is the swim speed, which
    Dustform Dog: Not a lot of reason to summon over the Badger or Serval.
    Dustform Giant Fire Beetle: Same situation as the Dog, but without Track's utility at all.
    Dustform Hawk: The dive attack with Augment summoning is 2d4 damage for a spell, plus whatever happens in later rounds. With the spot and Blindsight, could be a decent scout.
    Dustform Jackal: See dog.
    Dustform Monstrous Centipede, Medium: 25 HP, DR AC 19 and construct immunities make this a tank for its level. 40ft. Climb is useful, but its offense is lacking.
    Dustform Monstrous Scorpion, Small: Three attacks, but at lower bonuses than the Badger or Serval. The one appeal here is the tremorsense.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider, Small: No web and no poison cuts into the appeal. Only useful over the Scorpion for its climb+tremorsense combination
    Dustform Owl: As the Dustform Hawk, but with higher listen and specifically high nightvision.
    Dustform Raven: Speech is kind of useful and Dustform adds to its survival, but most of the Raven's abilities are done by the Hawk and Owl, but with bigger numbers.
    Dustform Serval: Your strongest combat option, even without pounce/rake. Its numbers by default are higher than the badger's, it's faster, and it has excellen hide skills
    Dustform Snake, Small Viper: Small, no poison, no point.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 2
    Dustform Donkey: If you're summoning a Donkey, I don't think you're expecting a combat summon. This isn't one.
    Dustform Eagle: Tougher and harder-hitting than the Hawk or Owl with 3 attacks and small size's HP bump, but less of their skill-based utility.
    Dustform Formian, Worker: One attack, small size. Not much use on its own, but you summon 3, they can cast Make Whole at will; and if you summon 8, they can cast Cure Serious Wounds each round. A bit of utility at higher levels.
    Dustform Giant Ant, Worker: A climber with Track and scent. Not much else going for it.
    Dustform Hyena: The best mobile combatant at its level, but not a huge boost over SDA1's Baboon.
    Dustform Monstrous Scorpion, Medium: Medium size's HP boost and a strength 4 points higher than before. This level's star damage dealer.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider, Medium: One crappy attack. Less crappy than before, and with a bunch more HP, but it's still only worth summoning for some combination of the Tremorsense and climb speed.
    Dustform Riding Dog: Decent attacker, despite only one natural weapon. But the Hyena's speed and the Baboon's lower level make better options.
    Dustform Snake, Medium Viper: The basic summon wasn't great at this level, and this takes away its poison draw. It's a dud, unless you just really need Medium-size's HP + a swim speed.
    Dustform Vulture: The high Survival and Track are the only reasons to summon this. Otherwise, stick with the Hawk/Owl.
    {table=head]Spell-Like Abilities |Monster
    Cure Serious Wounds (At will, requires 8 Workerss) [CL 7] |Formian Worker
    Make Whole (At will, requires 3 Workers) [C& 7] |Formian Worker[/table]

    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 3
    Dustform Ashworm: High strength, large size/HP, fast burrow, slow climb, tremorsense and evasion. Outclasses most of the summons of SDA3 and SDA4 for combat and utility.
    Dustform Bat Swarm: Construct type, Diminutive size and Con-based DCs don't really mix. The option's neat, though.
    Dustform Camel: Only appealing for its large size, and hardly unique on that front. Ew.
    Dustform Cheetah: Mediocre attack, damage and toughness. Loses its Trip, but Sprint is still a option.
    Dustform Dire Badger: Maintains its tunneling, which was the main draw in the first place; you're just starting to see Construct type's HP bonuses be eclipsed by the Con score creatures would otherwise have. Combat isn't much different than a normal Dire Badger raging (which isn't bad).
    Dustform Dire Bat: Large size gives it a nice HP boost and Large+flight remains the nice utility/impromptu mount option it is with the default creature. Combat stats are merely passable.
    Dustform Giant Ant, Soldier: Dustform strips the benefits this would have over the Worker Ant, and that was a bad summon for its level.
    Dustform Monstrous Centipede, Large: Not a very good combatant, even with the strength bump, but it triples its HP with the template, and gets DR (still potentially relevant for a couple levels).
    Dustform Snake, Large Viper: These vipers were bad with the poison, they're abysmal without it.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 4
    Dustform Ankheg: Higher damage than the Ashworm (the acid bonus and the burrow-charge stay), but otherwise similar numbers and fewer abilities. Just multisummon the worms.
    Dustform Deinonychus: Four attacks make for the best damage at this level, but no pounce or multiattack smarts.
    Dustform Dire Jackal: Numbers lower than last level's Ashworm, and much less versatile.
    Dustform Giant Ant, Queen: Large Size and a big bite make this the first Ant that's not complete junk. But that doesn't mean it's not still completely outclassed.
    Dustform Giant Eagle: Large flyer with good spot and evasion. Makes a great temporary mount, and Dustform only makes it better.
    Dustform Giant Owl: As the Eagle, but with slightly different feats and Evasion replaced with perception bonuses. A bit less useful than the Eagle as a mount under fire, a bit more useful as a flying HUD.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider, Large: Dustform toughens it up, but without the web or poison, there's no draw.
    Dustform Protoceratops: First monster to lose HP from Dustform. It's not great to begin with, and the template just makes it worse. Stick to the Ashworm or Deinonychus.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 5
    Dustform Dire Vulture: Dustform doesn't treat the vulture well. It's much tougher than the level 1 Vulture, but its abilities and skills aren't all that much better. Use the level 1 slot if you want to summon a tracker.
    Dustform Formian, Warrior: Our second outsider is actually less interesting than the first. Its numbers aren't too different from the Deinonychus as a multiattacker, but it is a definite upgrade: it has good stealth skills, four attacks, multiattack and a big pile of additional resistances and immunities.
    Dustform Lion: Loses all the special attacks that make the Lion good. Use a lower-level slot for a Deinonychus (which is actually better in this spell chain) or summon a Formian Warrior or multiple Deinonychuses/Ashworms.
    Dustform Locust Swarm: Construct+Diminutive Size+Con-based DCs is still a bad combination.
    Dustform Monstrous Centipede, Huge: The centipedes really milk Construct HP bonuses, but offensively it doesn't pack much punch unless you can get it into a grapple.
    Dustform Monstrous Scorpion, Large: Disappointing multiattacker. Skip it.
    Dustform Snake, Huge Viper: Interchangeable with the Huge Centipede, depending on whether swim speed or faster climb/better damage matter more.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 6
    Dustform Diprotodon: Three attacks at a much improved attack bonus from previous levels, plus burrow speed. It's tougher than previous levels' combat summons, but Dustform is actively hurting its HP by now.
    Dustform Dire Lion: Less tough than the Diprotodon and no burrow, but almost unnoticeably higher damage output.
    Dustform Giant Stag Beetle: Not bad, but the Hippopotamus is strictly better.
    Dustform Hippopotamus: In the absence of pounce, one big attack is the most mobile damage you're going to find. The Hippo's slow speed isn't doing it any favors, but its swim speed and maneuver feats give it a slight advantage.
    Dustform Megaraptor: Four attacks and large size, but those attack bonuses aren't holding up from the previous raptor.
    Dustform Monstrous Centipede, Gargantuan: Construct HP bonuses are getting hilarious on this guy. It's not the best combatant (hippo's numbers are just bigger), but if you can put its fast speed, climb and grapple score to good use, it can be situationally excellent.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider, Huge: Just worse than the Centipede unless you have a strange hankering for the Climb+Tremorsense combination.
    Dustform Rhinoceros: Slightly better numbers than the Hippo, but less versatile (worse feats, no swim, primary attack can have DR trouble)
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 7
    Dustform Elephant: Very hard-hitting, 34 strength before Augment. The powerhouse of your combat summons (and whatever use you can pull from a several-ton carrying capacity). Outclasses most summons from SDA7 and SDA8 for combat numbers.
    Dustform Formian, Taskmaster: The third Outsider summon, but less useful than the prior two. That Dominate Monster special attack is only there to make you pine.
    Dustform Giant Banded Lizard: Outdone by the elephant, unless incredibly slow Climb an Swim speeds come into the picture. Then it's on.
    Dustform Monstrous Scorpion, Huge: Completely outclassed by the Elephant.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 8
    Dustform Dire Tortoise: Outclassed by the Elephant or Dunewinder, depending what your goals are.
    Dustform Dunewinder: Nice numbers, Breath Weapon that does a bit of damage (terrible save, though) and potentially useful feats. This summon loses a huge amount from Dustform (just look at those special attacks), but its fast burrow and relatively high attack bonus could be useful.
    Dustform Monstrous Centipede, Colossal: This is actually a decent combat summon. High attack bonus, very high grapple, fast movement, alternate movement modes and one big attack are all useful with Dustform.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider Gargantuan: No web and no poison mean no real appeal.
    Dustform Triceratops: In combat, the only advantage over the Tyrannosaurus is AC, which we don't really care about. Out of combat, Elephants have the same strength and are cheaper summons.
    Dustform Tyrannosaurus: Pretty high attack and damage on one attack per round. Bad feats and no special attacks make it a pretty dry summon, but the numbers are good.
    SUMMON DESERT ALLY 9
    Dustform Monstrous Scorpion, Gargantuan: Three attacks, tremorsense and numbers that are offensively much higher than previous levels' summons.
    Dustform Monstrous Spider, Colossal: Also an improvement over the previous levels' summons, this time with higher numbers than the Scorpion, but only one attack. Choose this over the scorpion for increased mobility, climb and grapple at the cost of a reduced full-round attack.

    SUMMON UNDEAD

    Summoning Undead from a very limited list, available to Wizards, Clerics, Blackguards and Dread Necromancers. At very low levels, they're decent for combat summons; later on, they're mostly just the utility of a disposable body (no skills, intelligence or distinct active abilities makes these more rigid than other summon spells). Note: This refers to the latest version of the spell from Spell Compendium and Heroes of Horror, NOT the much more open-ended version in Libris Mortis.

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    SUMMON UNDEAD 1
    Skeleton, Human Warrior: At low levels with Augment Summoning, this makes a pretty decent tank with its DR and two natural weapons. And later on, it's still a very good humanlike trapspringer/disposable Mook.
    Zombie, Kobold: Lots of HP, DR and resistances, but no way to make anyone care. A smaller, sturdier and slower disposable utility mook than the skeleton.
    SUMMON UNDEAD 2
    Skeleton, Owlbear: Strong combat summon with multiple attacks at high bonuses, lots of HD, DR and a high grapple if you can land it.
    Zombie, Bugbear: Big meaty piles of HP, but nothing special to do with them.
    SUMMON UNDEAD 3
    Ghoul: The draw here is the Paralysis effect, but the DC is low and unaffected by Augment, and these guys fall over in a stiff breeze.
    Skeleton, Troll: Slightly tougher and harder-hitting than Summon Monster's equivalent-level Ape, plus Undead immunities, minus the climb.
    Zombie, Ogre: Lots of HP and good charge damage for its level.
    SUMMON UNDEAD 4
    Allip: This is the star of the entire Summon Undead line. Incorporeal + Wisdom Drain + an area effect with a passable DC for its level. Unlike most summons, it does not suffer from level/HD scaling.
    Ghast: These scaled quickly from the Ghouls, and at least have a chance of landing their rider melee effects now, and enemies at least have a chance of failing the saves. These aren't great chances, but they're at least plausible.
    Zombie, Wyvern: Large flying monsters are always good utility. Plus, these have about double the HP of most SM4 creatures and a higher attack bonus than any but the Arcadian Avenger. Very solid.
    SUMMON UNDEAD 5
    Mummy: The Fear effect has a low DC, but there's at least a chance it will take. Diseases normally aren't noteworthy, but Mummy Rot is a nasty effect to throw at someone, and the mummy's attack bonus is high enough that it could work.
    Shadow: Incorporeal + Strength Damage + Create Spawn is a very nice combination which does not age poorly.
    Vampire Spawn: The draw here is being able to spam Dominate person at things. The save is low, so it's mostly about forcing creatures to make new rolls against it until they fail. Gaseous Form can also be useful for utility purposes.
    Wight:Energy Drain is nice, but those attacks aren’t hitting anything, and much less hitting. The biggest use for this isn't combat; it's turning wight outbreaks in populations of weak creatures.

    CONJURE ICE BEAST

    These spells from Frostburn aren't technically Summoning spells, so most abilities that augment summoning do not affect CIBs. What they are is creation spells that pluck monsters from either the Summon Monster or Summon Nature's Ally list, apply the Ice Beast template and build a temporary construct on that creature's frame. This is a very powerful spell at low levels, when Construct type's size-based HP bonuses are huge, when a passive 1d6 area cold damage effect is enough to swing combat, and when +1d6 damage per attack is a big deal, but it rapidly becomes less valuable as monsters' built-in special abilities ramp up, SLAs come into play, HD*Con starts to add up, monster energy resistances become more common and summoners start picking up some specifically summon-boosting abilities.

    Since CIB draws from both the Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally lists for base creaures and isn't a great spell line in the first place, I'm not going to give an individual entry to every one of the several-hundred creature options available. Instead, I will include 5 entries at each spell level: The creature that best uses the bonus cold damage (core and noncore); the creature that best uses the engulf attack (core and noncore); and one creature selected based on general utility.

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    CONJURE ICE BEAST 1:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Badger Three attacks at a high attack bonus for its level.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Engulf (Core):
    Wolf Only medium size, but sturdy, with a decent strength to work with.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Hippocampus (Storm) Aquatic, but the only Large level 1 summon.
    Other Highlight:
    Monstrous Centipede, Medium Between the passive cold aura and 25 HP, it's a tough meat wall with good damage output and excellent mobility at low levels


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 2:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Hippogriff Even with its wings clipped, it's very mobile, has three attacks at a high bonus and benefits from Large Construct HP
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Engulf (Core):
    Hippogriff High strength and Large Size
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Water Elemental, Small Very fast swim speed is at least distinct


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 3:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Lion It's tough, it's fast, it has 3 attacks at a moderately high modifier.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Nashrou Demon (MM4) 4 attacks with reach (though at a low attack bonus), large size, Ice Beast strips its Crit-vulnerability drawback
    Engulf (Core):
    Huge Fiendish Monstrous Centipede The strength mod here is abysmal, but now we can engulf Large creatures.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Nothing Appealing


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 4:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Deinonychus Four attacks, but medium size risky in terms of HP by now.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Voor (MM4) It's kind of cheesy, but Ice Beast grants Darkvision and Low-light vision, which presumably cure the Voor's crippling blindness. So 6 attacks at a decent bonus.
    Engulf (Core):
    Giant Crocodile Huge size and 27 Strength aren't bad.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Abishai, White (FC2) Dupe some spell effects with these guys' potions. (Magic Fang, Mage Armor, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith)


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 5:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Polar Bear High attack bonuses and swim. Incidentally, flavorful.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Engulf (Core):
    (2 Giant Crocodiles) Elasmosaurus is like a Giant Crocodile with more HD, but Constructs don't worry all that much about HD.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Abishai, Black (FC2) As the White, but different potions (Darknes, Blur)


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 6:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    Dire Bear Even bigger numbers than the polar bear.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Engulf (Core):
    Baleen Whale It's a whale. Huge Strength, Gargantuan size.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Abishai, Green (FC2) More potions. (Darkness, Magic Fang, Aid, Haste, Sanctuary)


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 7:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    2 Dire Bears Yeah, there's some good stuff at this level too, but the Bears just have big attack bonuses and lots of attacks.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Yugoloth, Piscoloth (FF) 10 attacks including 8 touch attacks per round. No base damage but could stack up with Ice Beast.
    Engulf (Core):
    2 Elephants Huge strength, Huge size and can walk on land.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Abishai, Blue (FC2) I'm looking for non-special abilities that can keep up with potions, and I'm not finding any. Costlier, but worse potions than the Green. (Elixir of Fire Breath, Darkness)


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 8:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    4 Dire Bears You could branch out. Or just keep telling Snow-Bears to eat face. The latter is much more fun.
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Gaspar (PlH) 7 Attacks, good strength, huge size
    Engulf (Core):
    Fiendish Monstrous Centipede, Colossal Its strength isn't great, but it can engulf just about anything.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Nothing Appealing
    Other Highlight:
    Nothing Appealing


    CONJURE ICE BEAST 9:
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    Bonus Cold Damage (Core):
    4 Dire Tigers They're a little better than Bears
    Bonus Cold Damage (Noncore):
    Demon, Wastrilith FF Not meaningfully better than the Dire Tigers, but slightly higher attack and HP. The real bonus is summoning them without having to do the stupid Wisdom roll.
    Engulf (Core):
    Monstrous Spider, Colossal Engulf just about anything, and with a decent Strength to back it up.
    Engulf (Noncore):
    Monstrous Crab, Gargantuan Smaller than the spider, but with higher strength.
    Other Highlight:
    Nothing Appealing

    CONJURE MIDNIGHT CONSTRUCT
    Incarnum spells that again aren't summons. The high level versions aren't too bad for non-specialist summoners with essentia to spare (the niche demographic that might be). For characters without essentia or with resources invested into making actual summons better, there's no reason to look twice at these.
    Spoiler
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    LEAST CONJURE MIDNIGHT CONSTRUCT:
    Base: Low base numbers for a level 4 spell, and only one attack without a rider effect or unique abilities.

    Combat Power: It takes 2-3 points to just match SM4's Dire Wolf's attack and damage. [At a slower speed, with less DR, less HP, no trip and no skills.]
    Damage Reduction: It's level 7, so everything's going to be overcoming DR/magic, and the construct can already overcome other things' DR. This is a waste.
    Land Speed: 40ft speed is pretty fast. You won't usually need more, but on the off-chance you do, it's there.

    CONJURE MIDNIGHT CONSTRUCT
    Base: Not too bad at this level. Two attacks at high bonuses, enough HD to have a chance of weathering a full attack.

    Combat Power: Not strictly necessary at this level. The spell has decent attack power on its own, but the enhancement's useful if you want to make damage happen.
    Damage Reduction: Still useless
    Land Speed: Again, 40 feet is often good enough, and the essentia:speed increase exchange rate isn't that great.
    Fly Speed: Here's an actual advantage for this construct. Even if it's mediocre among land-bound combat summons, it's actually decent for a flyer.
    Deadly Aura: Low damage, bad save. The Construct could use a damage source or an offensive rider effect, but this isn't it.

    GREATER CONJURE MIDNIGHT CONSTRUCT
    Base: Its base attack and damage are actually better than the Greater Elementals at this level; its special abilities, DR and HP might be a ways off, but for an incarnum-using caster without many resources dedicated to summoning, this isn't an awful combatant.

    Combat Power: Not strictly necessary, but if you want to clinch the .95 hit chance with this guy, you could actually probably swing it.
    Damage Reduction: Even more useless.
    Land Speed: No one cares about land speed anymore, and the exchange rate is still not great.
    Fly Speed: By now creatures really have to be airborn or go home, and this helps.
    Deadly Aura: Just as awful.
    Teleportation: Extra mobility isn't actually that bad, at the very worst, it's a distinct feature that other summons can't copy.
    Soulburning Aura: The passive strength damage would be nice, but the DC on this is just too low to land at this level.

    SUMMON GIANTS
    Niche spell from Frostburn does just what it says on the label. Only available to Clerics, Winter Domain casters and Disciples of Thym. Level 8 for Clerics/domain casters, level 4 spell for DoTs (available at ECL12). It may be worth noting that the casting time is only a full-round action.
    Spoiler
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    3 Fiendish Hill Giants CE If you summon these into flanking positions, they do pretty good damage as a group - probably better than the Fire Giant even. Individually, they're pretty completely outclassed by now.
    2 Celestial Stone Giants N Slightly higher attack and damage than the hill giants, but not enough to make up for only 2/3 as many. The one advantage is the slightly modified Celestial smite and resistances.
    2 Fiendish Stone Giants N Like the Celestial stone giants, but without the niche smite/resistance advantage.
    1 Fiendish Frost Giant: LE A weaker combatant than the equal-leveled Dire Bear summon, but with better feats and intelligence.
    1 Fiendish Fire Giant: CE Numbers just show the Frost giant up. This giant is about as tough as the bear, with higher damage, more throwing and intelligence and less grapple. Not a bad summon.

    SUMMON GOLEM
    Funky summon from the PHB2 for Clerics and Wizards that does exactly what it says from a level 9 slot. Overall, they're a pretty rubbish batch of summons - their numbers are just too low for their spell level; especially with a special spell for them instead of a Summon Monster's flexibility.
    Spoiler
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    • Clay Golem: It has magic immunity, but its numbers are way too low to compete with Summon Monster IX
    • Flesh Golem: Ditto, but even more so. This might be appropriate for a level 5 summon.
    • Iron Golem: Alright, here's something that isn't terrible. Its numbers are still blown out of the water by Summon Monster's elementals, but magic immunity has its uses (but likely not a level 9 slot's worth).
    • Stone Golem: The numbers! They're going the wrong way!
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-12-05 at 01:54 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Feb 2012

    Default Re: The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]

    ASTRAL CONSTRUCT
    Astral Construct is the psionic flavor of minion-making. Its summons are much more versatile as bruisers and involve much less investment as trapspringer/suicide mission mooks than normal summons, but even the utility abilities of Desert Allies tend to show them up. Still, they're hard-hitting walls of astro-meat.
    Menu Options

    Spoiler
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    Menu A
    Buff (+5 HP): 5 HP is pretty meaningful at level 1. But by ECL 3 or so, you won't even notice it.
    Celerity (+10ft speed): Situational; doesn't increase damage output, but there's not a bad chance that enemies will spread out move around.
    Cleave (as the feat): If you're fighting mooks, it might be worth add up. Less reliable than INA, but potentially more damage.
    Deflection (+1 AC): You have better things to do with your menu choices.
    Fly (20ft, average): Flight's always good, especially when it's available fro level 1 on a construct that doesn't just fold over in a fight.
    Improved Bull Rush (as the feat): If you need the construct to push things around for whatever reason. Situational enough that I won't even pretend it deserves examination in a general sense. Useful when it works.
    Improved Slam Attack (+1 size on slams): Some extra damage. Does exactly what it's supposed to, but the damage increase isn't usually all that noticeable.
    Mobility (as the feat): Constructs can't tumble, but you can build them where you want them, or just not make them provoke AoOs. Odds are that this feat is wasting resources.
    Power Attack (as the feat): In the mid-teen levels, it's a decent damage boost of its own, otherwise, INA tends to outpace it.
    Resistance (5 Energy resist): Very situational, but a cheap menu option that can be useful on the off-chance that lots of small quantities of energy damage are flying around.
    Swim (30ft): If you're building the construct in an aquatic environment, you'll need this. There's not really a decision involved.
    Trip (free on slams): Nice control effect for a low-level menu slot. The only downside is that very low-level ACs don't have the strength to back it up.
    Menu B
    Energy Touch: A bit more damage than Improved Natural Attack at low levels, but has to go through energy resistance and is completely outpaced by INA when the construct hits large; not enough to justify the higher-level menu cost.
    Extra Attack: Multiply your construct's damage by 1.5 to 2, depending when you pick it up. Not bad at all.
    Fast Healing (2): Your construct isn't going to be around ling enough for this to add up to anything.
    Heavy Deflection (+4 AC): This can bump the AC up to a respectable AC. The downside is that manifesters often want monsters to attack the construct.
    Improved Buff (15 H): Extra HP doesn't hurt, but 15 HP quickly becomes too little to keep the Construct standing for even one extra round.
    Improved Critical: Too small of a boost to the Construct's damage to worry about, plus only works against certain targets and unreliable to boot.
    Improved Damage Reduction (Increase by 3): Even when DR/magic still applies, reducing 3 damage per hit just isn't as good as some of the offensive powers the construct could have instead.
    Improved Fly (40 ft, average): It's still not great flight, but it has a chance of chasing other monsters down. Situationally worth the higher-level menu slot over Fly.
    Improved Grab: Grapplers love this power. Mix it with Constrict for very high damage.
    Improved Swim (60 ft): Maybe worth the higher-level slot than normal swim, but without hearing of unusual circumstances, the lower-level option and another Menu A ability will probably be more worthwhile.
    Muscle (+4 Str): Strength is awesome for a dumb brute summon. There's a good chance some of these other powers will increase damage or utility more, but there's nothing wrong with this choice - especially when both full attacks and charges have been ruled out by terrain or other circumstances.
    Poison Touch: Con poison is a nasty effect, but even in the best case, the DC is low for its level, the save it targets is normally high, and immunities are common.
    Pounce: Dumb melee brutes love this ability, whether they're barbarians or violent brain-ghost-robots.
    Smite: You'll get better damage elsewhere (pounce, extra attack, etc.)
    Trample: Deal damage without an attack roll, but the damage is low and typed. Situational and usually lackluster.
    Menu C
    Blindsight: It comes at a high cost, but counters abilities that are very common at high levels, and can counter those abilities for the whole party.
    Concussion: It's not great because it's only 4d6, but hey - free Force damage each round. Not bad.
    Constrict: If you're using the construct as a grappler, this is a great way to quickly crank up the damage. The downside is that it relies on landing a grapple, which becomes increasingly unlikely.
    Dimension Slide: Teleporting summons are distinct, and can deal very well with some battlefield control. The move action limitation is enough to relegate this to a situational bonus.
    Energy Bolt (at will, ML 8): With the level 7 astral construct, it can be kind of worth it for a while (for something like a level 10 wilder, a nearly guaranteed 8d6+8 damage can be useful), but it ages very poorly.
    Extra Buff (30 HP): That's maybe one hit by the level it's an option. Odds are it won't matter, but a different would.
    Extreme Damage Reduction (increased by 6): It's DR/magic around level 8-10, at earliest. Even that's too late for DR/magic to be worth worrying about.
    Extreme Deflection (+8 AC): This actually puts the highest-level Astral Constructs at some very respectable ACs for their levels. The downside is that you usually don't want to discourage monsters from attacking your temporary HP-bags.
    Natural Invisibility: Good utility, effectively a simultaneous attack/defense boost and a good way to either make enemies waste resources if they want to find the construct.
    Power Resistance (10+HD): This starts high and only gets better with extensive augmentation. At higher levels, when enemies' CR starts to outscale the Astral Construct's HD, it gets less attractive.
    Rend (slams become claws; two hits rends): This is a pretty nice damage boost, but it relies on scoring two hits. That's something that can easily be assumed when it first becomes an option, but which doesn't scale well as the manifester's ECL approaches epic.
    Spring Attack (as the feat): One attack per round isn't a good way to get any damage done, and comes at a pretty steep menu cost. It's not necessarily useless, but you can probably find something better.
    Whirlwind Attack (as the feat): Situational and it specifically spreads damage around, which is about the opposite of what you normally want.

    Ectopic Forms
    Manifesters can blow some feats or levels for templated astral constructs from Complete Psionic. The menu selections tend to be poor, but they occasionally get some unique abilities. If the Ectopic Forms were free, they'd be some nifty utility or niche construct options; with the feat/level costs, they're pretty much all stinkers. But since post-CPsi Astral Construct-specialists will likely be picking up some of these feats on the way to the Ectopic Adept's capstone, you might as well survey the options.

    Since Boost Construct is better than any of these, I'm assuming any psion who grabs them already has Boost. This is important because Boost still gives extra menu choices based on the level of menu options available. This gives a bit more flexibility, but puts Ectopic Forms that select multiple low-level choices at a severe disadvantage.
    Spoiler
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    AGILE LOPER:
    Levels 1-3 effectively choose an improved Celerity as a menu choice, and get Mobility thrown in to boot; not bad, except the feat cost.
    Levels 4-6 also get actual Celerity, which stunts Boost Construct's menu access and is probably overkill anyway.
    Levels 7-9 continue stunting Boost Construct, and their Trample power has low damage despite a relatively high save.
    ALABASTER AERIAL:
    Levels 1-3 Effectively a Fly option with a crappy AC boost stacked on top; not bad, except the feat cost.
    Levels 4-6 Flight's a bit worse than the Improved Fly option, but it comes with the crappy AC boost too; Boost Construct at least advances; not bad except the feat cost.
    Levels 7-9 stunts Boost Construct's options in favor of two crappy level 2 abilities.
    AMBER TUNNELER:
    Levels 1-3 are okay - Burrow speeds could be worth a level 1 menu option; buff isn't great though.
    Levels 4-6 is still not too bad; faster burrow probably isn't worth a menu B slot, but at least Boost Construct keeps up.
    Levels 7-9 are bad; menu C options are traded away completely for burrow speed and a few HP.
    ANATHEMIS CARAPACE:
    Levels 1-3 The blast is weak, but cheap damage, and Improved Bull rush is situationally worthwhile; not a bad option to have, except the feat cost.
    Levels 4-6 The blast is still cute, but with a poor DC and stunted Boost Construct, it's a weak choice, even ignoring the feat cost.
    Levels 7-9 Bad menu choices, bad blast DC, only menu B options for Boost Construct.
    ASTRAL AQUAN:
    Levels 1-3 starts with a Menu B option, which opens menu B options for Boost Construct; nice.
    Levels 4-6 is starting to get situational, but at least it's decent in aquatic environments, and Boost Construct keeps up.
    Levels 7-9 loses its shine; granted, Improved Grab does keep this useful in melee, which is more than can be said for a lot of the Ectopic Forms, but with Boost Construct, you could get both of those and something like natural invisibility. There's no notable advantage to using this instead of a normal astral construct.
    EBONY STINGER:
    Levels 1-3, it comes with Celerity and Poison Touch (but under the name "Poison," so it's hard to make a case that it improves Boost Construct. During
    Levels 4-6 Celerity is the best ability this has. That really shouldn't happen.
    Levels 7-9 comes with the same stuff as the last levels, but also with a crappy menu B option; at Boost Construct can give something better than Trip now.
    EMERALD GYRE:
    Levels 1-3 Improved Grab is a joke at these levels, but it means Menu B options for Boost Construct. So that's neat.
    Levels 4-6 adds Celerity; between Improved Grab, Trip and whatever comes out of Boost Construct, this could still be a pretty good setup.
    Levels 7-9 isn't actually that bad, it's just a preselected option out of your Boosted Construct menu, so I'm not sure why you'd take it. With level 9's extra menu C option, the Gyre's disadvantage becomes very clear.
    IRIDESCENT SERPENT:
    Levels 1-3 aren't bad; it comes with a lot of resistances, and a menu option that might still be useful.
    Levels 4-6 again aren't bad; they come with a decent Menu B choice and some resistances, so with Boost, it's probably at a slight advantage over normal constructs.
    Levels 7-9 again destroy the thing; the resistances just don't make up for the loss of a menu C option.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-12-05 at 03:28 AM.

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