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Matt Colville's Retainers and Summoning Spells

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
So in an earlier post I posited that several problematic issues of D&D 5e (Class-Granted Beast Companions and Summoning Spells) might be able to be improved. Specifically, instead of using specific stat blocks for creatures presented in the MM, your could use retainers and reskin them to appear as the desired creature. I personally think this helps streamline and speed up the use of these spells in the game, reduces complexity, allows their effects to be more standardized. And so, I put my money where my mouth is and attempted to recreate the existing Conjure / Find / Summon spells using retainers. Of course, to fully understand these new spells, you would need Matt Colville's Strongholds and Followers book to be able to access the retainer rules.


Conjure Animals
3rd-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon a fey spirit that takes the form of a beast and appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The beast is a level 1 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of the beast. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned beast can be small, medium, or large size. It has a speed of 50 feet, and advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell. You can choose from the following retainer options for your beast: Reaver, Spirit Warden, or Sword Master.

Your beast is also considered fey, and it disappears when it drops to 0 health levels or when the spell ends.

The summoned creature is friendly to you and your companions. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to it, the summoned beast defends itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise takes no actions. The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful beast. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the beast’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 3rd.

Conjure Celestial
7th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon a celestial, which appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The celestial is a level 3 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of the celestial. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned celestial can be medium or large size. It has a speed of 30 feet, fly speed of 90 feet, true sight out to 120 feet and telepathy out to 120 feet. It is immune to radiant damage, psychic damage, and bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons. All its attacks count as magical for the purpose of damage reduction. You can choose from the following retainer options for your celestial: Exorcist, Stormspeaker, or Battle Priest. In addition to its normal actions, the celestial can cast cure wounds and lesser restoration at will. The celestial disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

The celestial is friendly to you and your companions for the duration. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you), as long as they don’t violate its alignment. If you don’t issue any commands to the celestial, it defends itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions.

The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful celestial. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 8th level or higher, the celestial’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 7th.

Conjure Elemental
5th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S, M (burning incense for air, soft clay for earth, sulfur and phosphorus for fire, or water and sand for water)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You call forth an elemental servant, which appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The elemental is a level 3 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of the elemental. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned elemental is medium or large size. It has a speed of 40 feet, as well as an additional movement type depending on the nature of the elemental. It is immune to poison damage, and is resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons. All its attacks count as magical for the purpose of damage reduction. In addition, choose Air, Earth, Fire, or Water. This choice determines the type of damage dealt by your elemental’s signature attacks and special actions, additional damage immunities, and additional movement types possessed by your summoned elemental.

Air – Immunity to lightning, attacks deal lightning damage, and gain fly 30 feet.
Earth – Immunity to thunder, attacks deal thunder damage, and gain burrow 30 feet.
Fire – Immunity to fire, attacks deal fire damage, and gain fly 30 feet.
Water – Immunity to cold, attacks deal cold damage, and gain swim 30 feet.

You can choose from the following retainer options for your elemental: Acolyte of the Way, Elemental Acolyte, or Diabolist.

The elemental disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

The elemental is friendly to you and your companions for the duration. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to the elemental, it defends itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions.

If your concentration is broken, the elemental doesn’t disappear. Instead, you lose control of the elemental, it becomes hostile toward you and your companions, and it might attack. An uncontrolled elemental can’t be dismissed by you, and it disappears 1 hour after you summoned it.

The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful elemental. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level or higher, the elemental’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 5th.

Conjure Fey
4th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (one holly berry per creature summoned)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon a fey creature that appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The fey is a level 2 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of the fey. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned fey can be size tiny, small, or medium. It has a fly speed of 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, and advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects, and its attacks count as magical for the purpose of damage reduction. You can choose from the following retainer options: Troubadour-Warrior, Knight of the Green Order, or an Exarch. In addition to its normal actions, the celestial can cast invisibility on itself at will.

Your summoned fey disappears when it drops to 0 health levels or when the spell ends.

Choose one of the following options for what appears: Troubadour-Warrior, Knight of the Green Order, or an Exarch.

The summoned creature is friendly to you and your companions. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don't issue any commands to it, the fey will defend itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions.

The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful fey. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the fey’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 4th.

Find Greater Steed
4th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You summon a spirit that assumes the form of a loyal, majestic mount. Appearing in an unoccupied space within range, the spirit takes on a form you choose. The creature is treated as a Cavalier retainer with a level equal to half your level (rounded down), as per the retainer rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. At the time you first summon your mount, you can choose if it is a beast, celestial, fey, or fiend, as well as whether its size is medium or large. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your mount has a speed of 60 feet, fly speed of 90 feet, darkvision 60 feet, and advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell. It can understand any language you can speak.

You control the mount in combat. While the mount is within 1 mile of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. While mounted on it, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target the mount.

The mount disappears temporarily when it drops to 0 hit points or when you dismiss it as an action. Casting this spell again resummons the bonded mount, with all its health levels restored and any conditions removed.

You can’t have more than one mount bonded by this spell or find steed at the same time. As an action, you can release a mount from its bond, causing it to disappear permanently.

Whenever the mount disappears, it leaves behind any objects it was wearing or carrying.

Summon Fiend
4th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (a vial of blood from a humanoid killed within the past 24 hours)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You utter foul words, summoning fiend from Hell or the Abyss. The fiend appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The fiend is treated as a level 2 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of the fiend. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned fiend can be small, medium, or large size. It has a fly speed of 30 feet, darkvision 120 feet which can see in magical darkness, advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects, immunity to fire and poison damage, and its attacks count as magical for the purpose of damage reduction. You can choose from the following retainer options: Justicar, Thaumaturgist, or Alienist. In addition to its normal actions, the fiend can use its action to teleport to an unoccupied space within 120 feet.

Your summoned fiend disappears when it drops to 0 health levels or when the spell ends.

When you summon the fiend and on each of your turns thereafter, you can issue a verbal command to it (requiring no action on your part), telling it what it must do on its next turn. If you issue no command, it spends its turn attacking any creature within reach that has attacked it.

At the end of each of the fiend’s turns, it makes a Charisma saving throw. The fiend has disadvantage on this saving throw if you say its true name. On a failed. save, the fiend continues to obey you. On a successful save, your control of the fiend ends for the rest of the duration, and the fiend spends its turns pursuing and attacking the nearest non-fiend to the best of its ability. If you stop concentrating on the spell before it reaches its full duration, an uncontrolled fiend doesn’t disappear for 1d6 rounds if it still has health levels.

As part of casting the spell, you can form a circle on the ground with the blood used as a material component. The circle is large enough to encompass your space. While the spell lasts, the summoned fiend can’t cross the circle or harm it, and it can't target anyone within it. Using the material component in this manner consumes it when the spell ends.

The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful fiend. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the fiend’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 4th.

Summon Monster
3rd-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: VS
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You summon a creature that appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The monster is a level 1 retainer per the rules presented on pages 69-81 of Strongholds and Followers. You can choose the cosmetic aspects of your summoned monster. In addition to the normal retainer statistics, your summoned monster can be small, medium, or large size and has a speed of 30 feet. You can choose from the following retainer options: Shadow Priest, Knight-Sorcerer, Tracker, Executioner, Evoker.

Your monster disappears when it drops to 0 health levels or when the spell ends.

The summoned creature is friendly to you and your companions. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to it, the summoned monster defends itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise takes no actions.

The DM has the retainer’s statistics.

Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots you can summon a more powerful monster. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the monster’s retainer level increases by 1 for each slot level above 3rd.
 

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