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Summon Monster for 5E

Stormonu

Legend
So, one of the things I "need" for 5E is some sort of summon monster spell to convert/rebuild some PCs/NPCs for the game. I'd like to take the spell back towards its 1E/2E roots, with a random monster summoned list, but incorporate 3E's pick-n-choose methodology by making it possible to manipulate the results some (using an obscure 1E rule, actually).

I'm still in the process of reading the base rules, so any pointers/assistance/criticism is appreciated.

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CONJURER PATH - Summoner

Conjuration Savant
As per PHB

Monster Summoner
Starting at 2nd level, when you cast the Summon Monster spell, you roll two d20's and take the preferred result.

Resiliant Summons
Starting at 6th level, any creature you summon has at least 75% of it's maximum hit points (if you are using average monster hit points, increase the hp by 50%). Likewise, if an enemy attempts to dispel your summons, you can make an Intelligence save to thwart the dispel. If you fail, your summoned creature take 1d6 damage per spell level of the enemy's dispel magic, though they are not dispelled unless they are reduced to 0 or less hit points.

Focused Summons
Starting at 10th level, you can change the duration of your summon monster spells to 1 minute + Concentration.

Durable Summons
As per PHB ability
--------------------------------------------------------

Summon Monster
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S, M (a tiny bag and lit candle)
Duration: 1 minute

You summon a creature from elsewhere to do you bidding. Roll on the table below to determine the creature that is summoned. The creature obeys your mental commands to the best of its ability, even laying down its life for you if necessary.

The spell lasts until the duration expires, you dismiss the summoned creature or it is slain. If the summoned creature dies, any of its personal possessions or traces of its existence disappear with it.

As an optional component, if you possess a bit of a creature on the summoning list - a bit of fur or scale, nail clippings, a tooth or other such bodily sample, you may summon that specific creature. The item used in this summoning must be from a still-living specimen, and the sample vanishes at the spell's end.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you may choose to cast from a higher level list, double the spell's duration or double the number of creatures summoned for each slot level above 1st. You may choose to combine several different options when increasing the spell level.

LEVEL 1 (CR 1/4)
1) Animated Object, Flying Sword
2) Axe Beak
3) Bat, Giant
4) Boar
5) Bullywug
6) Centipede, Giant
7) Demon, Dretch
8) Frog, Giant
9) Elf, Drow
10) Goblin
11) Grimlock
12) Kenku
13) Kobold (2)
14) Pixie
15) Skeleton
16) Snake, Constrictor
17) Snake, Giant Poisonous
18) Spider, Giant Wolf
19) Troglodyte
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 2 (CR 1/2)
1) Ape
2) Bear, Black
3) Cockatrice
4) Darkmantle
5) Gnoll
6) Gnome, Deep (Svirfneblin)
7) Goat, Giant
8) Hobgoblin
9) Jackalwere
10) Lizardfolk
11) Magmin
12) Mephit, dust
13) Modron, Tridrone
14) Elf Scout
15) Orc
16) Rust Monster
17) Satyr
18) Shadow
19) Worg
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 3 (CR 1)
1) Animated Object, Animated Armor
2) Bear, Brown
3) Bugbear
4) Death Dog
5) Demon, Quasit
6) Devil, Imp
7) Dire Wolf
8) Dryad
9) Duergar
10) Eagle, Giant
11) Ghoul
12) Harpy
13) Hippogriff
14) Hyena, Giant
15) Modron, Quadrone
16) Ogre, Half- (Ogrillon)
17) Scarecrow
18) Thri-kreen
19) Yuan-ti, Pureblood
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 4 (CR 2)
1) Ankheg
2) Azer
3) Carrion Crawler
4) Centaur
5) Devil, Spined
6) Elk, Giant
7) Ettercap
8) Gargoyle
9) Gibbering Mouther
10) Grick
11) Griffon
12) Intellect Devourer
13) Lycanthrope, Wererat
14) Nothic
15) Human Beserker
16) Ogre
17) Orc, Orog
18) Peryton
19) Quaggoth
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 5 (CR 3)
1) Basilisk
2) Beholder, Spectator
3) Devil, Bearded
4) Displacer Beast
5) Doppelganger
6) Gith, Githyanki Warrior
7) Grell
8) Hag, Green
9) Hell Hound
10) Hook Horror
11) Lycanthrope, Werewolf
12) Manticore
13) Minotaur
14) Nightmare
15) Owlbear
16) Scorpion, Giant
17) Winter Wolf
18) Yeti
19) Yuan-ti, Malison
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 6 (CR 4-5)
1) Banshee
2) Chuul
3) Coatl
4) Demon, Shadow
5) Ettin
6) Flameskull
7) Helmed Horror
8) Lamia
9) Lycanthrope, Weretiger
10) Naga, Bone
11) Succubus/Incubus
12) Giant, Hill
13) Golem, Flesh
14) Gorgon
15) Hag, Night
16) Otyugh
17) Salamander
18) Troll
19) Umber Hulk
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 7 (CR 6-7)
1) Ape, Giant
2) Chimera
3) Cyclops
4) Demon, Chasme
5) Demon, Vrock
6) Drider
7) Galeb Duhr
8) Giant, Stone
9) Gith, Githzerai Zerth
10) Invisible Stalker
11) Mammoth
12) Medusa
13) Mind Flayer
14) Oni (Ogre Mage)
15) Shield Guardian
16) Slaad, Blue
17) Wyvern
18) Yuan-Ti, Abomination
19) Dragon, Young Black
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 8 (CR 8-9)
1) Cloaker
2) Demon, Hezrou
3) Demon, Glabrezu
4) Devil, Bone
5) Devil, Chain
6) Dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus Rex
7) Fomorian
8) Giant, Cloud
9) Giant, Fire
10) Giant, Frost
11) Golem, Clay
12) Hydra
13) Naga, Spirit
14) Drow Assassin
15) Slaad, Gray
16) Slaad, Green
17) Dragon, Young Blue
18) Dragon, Young Green
19) Dragon, Young Silver
20) Player's Choice

LEVEL 9 (CR 10-12)
1) Aboleth
2) Angel, Deva
3) Behir
4) Demon, Yochlol
5) Devil, Horned
6) Genie, Dao
7) Genie, Djinni
8) Genie, Efreeti
9) Genie, Marid
10) Golem, Stone
11) Naga, Guardian
12) Remorhaz
13) Roc
14) Slaad, Death
15) Sphinx, Gynosphinx
16) Dragon, Young Gold
17) Dragon, Young Red
18) Devil, Erinyes
19) Human Archmage
20) Player's Choice

Thanks @mouseferatu for the Monster Sorter - it really made putting together the lists a LOT easier.
 
Last edited:

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The_Gneech

First Post
Any news on how this has worked out? One of my players has a summoner in the Pathfinder game and I'm looking at how to convert him or even if it's feasible. I was looking at the ranger's animal companion as a launch point, but it doesn't do much good to be a summoner who can't, y'know, summon things!

-TG :cool:
 

scholz

First Post
I like it! I modded it slightly to keep it in line with some of the conjuring spells and made it summon a Celestial, Fey or Fiendish version of the creature, and dropped the summon the same creature thing, not quite right for my game.
 

dave2008

Legend
I'm still in the process of reading the base rules, so any pointers/assistance/criticism is appreciated.

I really like the random tables (and the option to make it less random). However, have you looked at the "Conjure Elemental" spell? It is balanced around the CR of the elemental matching the level of the spell slot used. Thus, you might want to modify your tables to reflect that.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Thanks all! My youngest son has been using this spell in our game (he's a goblin summoner with a rat familiar and has made Droop from the starter adventure into his "butler"). While his character is only 3rd level, the spell has been working well so far, if a bit on the weak side.
 

Neyd

First Post
I really like it. I am a big fan of the random component as it encourages creative gameplay on the summoner's part. I like it a lot better than WoTC's method of "player chooses level, DM chooses monster" since it is just one roll and means far less work on part of the DM.

I will be sure to give this a bash as soon as I get the chance
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I really like the random tables (and the option to make it less random). However, have you looked at the "Conjure Elemental" spell? It is balanced around the CR of the elemental matching the level of the spell slot used. Thus, you might want to modify your tables to reflect that.

"Conjure Elemental", like "Conjure Fiend" summons powerful elementals that you lose control of when your concentration is broken. The other "Conjure" spells' creatures go poof when you stop concentrating on them. The level 3 "Conjure" spells are balanced around CR 1 creatures, and you get 2 CR 1/2 or 4 CR 1/4, so the balance the OP came up with fits the structure rather well. Of course, I only am immediately agreeing with it because I had thought of it too; just never got around to posting it.

Good job. The random tables are neat. I probably wouldn't go with random tables myself, but I like it.
 

dave2008

Legend
"Conjure Elemental", like "Conjure Fiend" summons powerful elementals that you lose control of when your concentration is broken. The other "Conjure" spells' creatures go poof when you stop concentrating on them. The level 3 "Conjure" spells are balanced around CR 1 creatures, and you get 2 CR 1/2 or 4 CR 1/4, so the balance the OP came up with fits the structure rather well. Of course, I only am immediately agreeing with it because I had thought of it too; just never got around to posting it.

Good job. The random tables are neat. I probably wouldn't go with random tables myself, but I like it.

Isn't that what makes this one a little overpowered? Compared to conjure elemental you don't need concentration and you can get a more powerful creature to do your bidding.

Conjure elemental: CR 9 max, requires concentration, 1 hr duration, & it might attack you if you loose concentration
Summon Monster: CR 12 max, no concentration, 1 minute duration, & no fear of it attacking you.

To me, Summon Monster is clearly the superior spell, which leads me to believe it is not quite balanced with other spells. The only drawback compared to Conjure Elemental is the duration as it would only last one combat. That is not enough of a balancing factor IMHO.
 

the Jester

Legend
Isn't that what makes this one a little overpowered? Compared to conjure elemental you don't need concentration and you can get a more powerful creature to do your bidding.

I noticed this when I was copying it into my spells document. I agree that this is highly problematic. I added concentration (and changed the tables up a little bit).
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I was reading this Summon monster spell as starting at CR 1/4 and going up by one step each spell level:

Level 1: CR 1/4
Level 2: CR 1/2
Level 3: CR 1
Level 4: CR 2
Level 5: CR 3
Level 6: CR 4
Level 7: CR 5
Level 8: CR 6
Level 9: CR 7

I suppose I misread. That's how I think it should be. And it should have concentration.
 

dave2008

Legend
I was reading this Summon monster spell as starting at CR 1/4 and going up by one step each spell level:

Level 1: CR 1/4
Level 2: CR 1/2
Level 3: CR 1
Level 4: CR 2
Level 5: CR 3
Level 6: CR 4
Level 7: CR 5
Level 8: CR 6
Level 9: CR 7

I suppose I misread. That's how I think it should be. And it should have concentration.
That looks about right to me, nice correction
 

Stormonu

Legend
I was reading this Summon monster spell as starting at CR 1/4 and going up by one step each spell level:

Level 1: CR 1/4
Level 2: CR 1/2
Level 3: CR 1
Level 4: CR 2
Level 5: CR 3
Level 6: CR 4
Level 7: CR 5
Level 8: CR 6
Level 9: CR 7

I suppose I misread. That's how I think it should be. And it should have concentration.

Granted, I haven't had the chance to actually try out the higher levels of the spells, but a 18th level wizard casting this spell and getting a CR 7 monster out of it seems grossly underwhelming - but that may be my 3E memory poking out. I did try to match the lists to the old 1E/2E version for what could be summoned with the spell...
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I think it's a nice spell, and I like its simplicity.

As for monsters power, it doesn't seem too powerful to me to summon up to a CR12 creature, but at the same time it should be compared with existing spells (i.e. Conjure Elementals) to say it's balanced.

The only thing that got me thinking, is the option to summon 256 creatures at once. Maybe it's not an issue, but if this was a WotC official spell I don't think it would allow that. Maybe a limit of max 3 levels increase (8 creatures) to play it safe.
 

scholz

First Post
Starting to use this. I added a couple of clarifications for my game:
1. Requires Concentration (they disappear without concentration)
2. Bonus Action to command, stand idle once it has completed its command.
3. Average Hitpoints
4. Standard Equipment doesn't include magic items (those are made non-magic items)
5. Only dead creatures can be summoned (summoning creates an echo, incarnated in flesh, but not 'real'), but you can summon it more than once, and it can remember past summoning.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Granted, I haven't had the chance to actually try out the higher levels of the spells, but a 18th level wizard casting this spell and getting a CR 7 monster out of it seems grossly underwhelming - but that may be my 3E memory poking out. I did try to match the lists to the old 1E/2E version for what could be summoned with the spell...

Eh, CR 7 is still meaningful at level 18. A CR 7 creature is worth 2900 xp. For a party of 4 level 18 characters, 4 CR 7 opponents would be worth 23,200 xp; 2900 x4, x2 for multiple monsters (3-6 monsters is x2). That is more than a medium encounter, less than a hard encounter. So in a "medium" encounter, a CR 7 summon is going to be about equal to the creature's you're facing.
 

Eh, CR 7 is still meaningful at level 18. A CR 7 creature is worth 2900 xp. For a party of 4 level 18 characters, 4 CR 7 opponents would be worth 23,200 xp; 2900 x4, x2 for multiple monsters (3-6 monsters is x2). That is more than a medium encounter, less than a hard encounter. So in a "medium" encounter, a CR 7 summon is going to be about equal to the creature's you're facing.
Yeah, what with bounded accuracy and all, a young black dragon is nothing to sneeze at at any level.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think it's a nice spell, and I like its simplicity.

As for monsters power, it doesn't seem too powerful to me to summon up to a CR12 creature, but at the same time it should be compared with existing spells (i.e. Conjure Elementals) to say it's balanced.

The only thing that got me thinking, is the option to summon 256 creatures at once. Maybe it's not an issue, but if this was a WotC official spell I don't think it would allow that. Maybe a limit of max 3 levels increase (8 creatures) to play it safe.

5E doesn't use the "double of a double is a triple" rule? Wasn't aware of that.

I'm also looking to do a revised list where the CR maxxes out at 7. May be a day or two before I have it completed.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
5E doesn't use the "double of a double is a triple" rule? Wasn't aware of that.

I am not 100% sure, but I don't think there is such a rule at least in Basic. It used to be a "safety rule" to prevent multiple effects (or multiple uses of the same effect) to skyrocket, but it might be that they avoided such rule and instead tried to use more natural language, so that when they don't want something to multiply, they'll say "add X again" instead of "double X, but see the rule about doubling twice really meaning tripling etc...".
 

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