"Take him my slaves! Drag his soul back to your dark masters!"-Argyll Te'Shea, servant of Pelor and malconvoker Quote from Complete Scoundrel
THE MALCONVOKER is a prestige class from Complete Scoundrel that specializes in Summon Monster spells and Planar Binding spells.
Entry requirements: Alignment: Any non-evil. Skills: Bluff 4 ranks, Knowledge (The planes) 4 ranks. Languages: Celestial, Infernal Feats: Augment Summoning, Spell Focus (Conjuration) Special: Ability to cast Summon Monster III
The standard concept of the perpetual war between good and evil is cliched to some: a black-and-white vision of reality, suitable only for religious sermonizing. A few who understand the complexity of the battles that rage throughout the planes have taken up a dangerous path, entering into powerful pacts with the foulest abominations of the Lower Planes to turn evil against evil. These daring Summoners are Malconvokers, and they bargain with their lives.
- Complete Scoundrel
First – all Malconvokers should check out these threads:
The Conjurer's Handbook- not a summoner's thread - but if you are entering Malconvoker through the Conjurer, this can give you a nice guide of spells avaible and feats to consider.
Second:Why should I play a Malconvoker?
Consider looking through your new splatbook. You see a PrC for casters that looses a caster level. Already you think "This better have some great class abilities.", you are ready to turn the page.
The first level ability has a +1 metamagic added to spells for free. You think "That's not enough to make this worthwhile" - if you weren't bored you would have already gone to the next PrC.
The fourth level ability effectively doubles one of your specialty feats. You now think "Still not enough."
The fifth level ability then adds +4 Metamagic to spells for free (thats +5 levels of metamagic for free). You read it again - yes - thats +5 metamagic levels to spells free.
You must have been reading the Malconvoker.
There are many advantages to playing a Summoner, but if you are willing to focus completely on summoning - nothing beats a Malconvoker. You may not have the best HP, BAB, AC, or be as good at the other spells - but when it comes to Summoning - you will be king.
Up to the time I looked at the Malconvoker I was of the opinion that you should never consider a PrC that reduces your spellcasting level. The Malconvoker does this at level 1.
However, level one of the Malconvoker gives an extend spell effect on all Summon Monster spells where you summon evil creatures as long as you beat their sense motive with a bluff (free action bluff)
The fourth level of the Malconvoker gives a +2 to damage on all attacks and +2 HP/HD to any evil creatures which were summoned with the first level ability.
The fifth level of Malconvoker adds an extra creature when you summon an evil creature. That's basically a free Twin Spell. If you use a Summon Monster to summon lesser level creatures, it works out closer to an empower spell (still very good).
If you are a Wizard/Cleric who pops off the occasional Summon Monster spell – this isn’t a worthy trade. If you are a Wizard/Cleric who specializes in Summon Monster spells – this is just too good to pass up.
Third:How many levels should I take?
The Malconvoker is a 9 level PrC. The first 5 levels will focus primarily on Summon Monster spells, the final 4 levels focus more on Planar Binding spells. It is a decent choice for full 9 level progression – but there are options.
The best ability the Malconvoker gets is Infernal Legion at level 5, this makes level 5 an ideal breaking point if you want to pick up some different PrC levels.
Level 6 gives you (IMO) the best Planar Binding ability with Deceitful Bargaining. This gives a decent break point with lots of Summon Monster specialization, and decent boost to Planar Binding.
Levels 7-9 are decent - nothing spectacular, but you aren't losing spellcasting levels either - so it's still solid.
Fourth:Which class should I qualify with?
Which class to choose for qualifying for the Malconvoker:
Red:Very strong choice Blue: Good choice Green:Fair choice
Cleric: Not a bad choice if you start with the Summoning domain. You will give up the wizard’s alternate class features in exchange for a better AC and BAB. Take this if Summoning isn’t your only focus. (Actually, one tactic that can be excellent for Cleric/Malconvokers is to use Twin Spell or Repeat Spell metamagic along with Divine Metamagic for extra conjurations. It is a feat hungry build - but by high levels this can add up to quite a few creatures - at least comparable with the Master Specialist 10 option for Conjurers - thank you Sigfried for the suggestion)
Also - there is an alternate class ability in the Planar Handbook for Clerics at level 4 that allows turning of summoned creatures (which could be handy for failed bluff rolls) at a penalty of -3 levs for turning undead. This seems to me like an easy choice.
Wizard:This is my favourite option. Especially when using the various alternate class features which can improve Summon Monster spells. Obviously, you should specialize in Conjurer. If your DM does not allow the Rapid Summoning alternate class feature from UA – go with Cleric or Archavist instead. It is that one option that makes the Wizard shine as a Malconvoker.
Wizard Class Variants to take/not to take:
Focused Specialist: I would not recommend this for most wizards going into high level campaigns, but since you will be memorizing at least 3 Summon Monster spells per level - this is actually a no-brainer. You do have to give up one more spell school (which hurts) - but alternate casting is the secondary purpose of your character. Enhanced Summoning: You get Augment Summoning as a free feat at first level instead of Scribe Scroll. This is a no-brainer. If you continue Conjurer to level 5, your summons are harder to dispel (+2 caster level check). If you continue to level 10, your Augment Summoning bonuses improve to +6/+6. Feel free to jump ship early on. The first level ability is the best. Rapid Summoning:This is a must have. Yes, you must sacrifice Immediate Magic (which hurts), but you have no choice. You are a summoner first and foremost. Standard action Summon Monster spells are what makes the Conjurer Summoner better than the Cleric summoner Spontaneous Summoning:This is a bad option. No need for spontaneous summoning - just memorize it. Your spells lose a whole level by using this variant - definitely not worth it at any level.
Archivist:: This is a pretty strong entry choice. You will be able to cast both Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally (of course none of your Malconvoker abilities will extend to Summon Nature's ally - but your Summoning feats/items will). You will need to take one of the other methods to make your summoning rapid (Feats/magic items). This just means more options when summoning - and options are always good. Dark Knowledge has excellent Synergy with Summoned Creatures.
I think flavor-wise this is also a good option. A very nice mix with Malconvoker.
Wu Jen: Not a bad option. You are looking at less spells to cast then a specialist wizard, and there's no Rapid Spell variant, however, your DM might consider allowing Rapid Spell as an applicable spell secret since it's a 1 level metamagic enhancement. This would have to be houseruled though - because in the RAW it isn't offered.
The most attractive part of the Wu Jen would be the ability to reroll initiative rolls. That can be a big boost for a Summoner. (only if you are using Rapid Metamagic though)
Sorcerer:Can’t qualify until level 7, and since you will be casting the same spell most of the time – spontaneous casting is less of an advantage. (you will actually have less castings than a focused specialist conjurer as well). However, Bluff is a class skill, and CHA will be high – which is an advantage to Bluff and to Planar Binding spells. (Bonzai also points out that Sorcerers can get the summoning domain with a 5th level substitution level in CC. This gives all the spells of the domain and the +2 CL for Conjuration (Summoning) spells). The thing to think about with the sorcerer/wizard choice is this: Do I want the CHA, or the Rapid Summoning? My personal preference is for the standard action castings - but there is definitely a counter-argument to be had.
Other Options: Some other options exist in the Splatbooks (such as favoured soul) – none are particularly better suited than the above. If you choose one of the non-conjurer options, or your DM does not allow Unearthed Arcana material (Rapid summoning variant in particular). Then take the Rapid spell feat, use Metamagic School Focus (Conjuration) to power it 3 times/day. At higher levels, Arcane Thesis can give you unlimited uses with SM IX and VIII for example.
What NOT to take (Just because you "can" doesn't mean you "should")
Bard: Yep, the Bard can qualify by level 7. However, you won't get many summon spells per day, you will get lower level summon spells, and you will never get access to Summon Monster VII, VIII, or IX. Buffing abilities aside, this makes the Bard a sub-par summoner.
Beguiler/True Necromancer/Warmage etc: This applies to any arcane caster that does not have Summon Monster III on their casting list. The "trick" of course is to take Arcane Disciple feat with the Summoning Domain which will give access to SM III. Of course you won't get access to SM VI, VIII, or IX - and the rest you can only cast once per day. Always a terrible option.
Fifth:Should I go into another PrC?
What other PrC’s mesh nicely with Malconvoker? The answer is any that boost Summon Monster/Conjuration/Planar binding.
Thaumaturgist(DMG): Extend spell metamagic on all Summon Monster spells for free is nice (but not huge at high levels)
Master Specialist(CM): The 4th level grants your caster level to HP of summoned creatures, level 10 allows you to quicken 3 standard action spells/day. If you have the Rapid Spell conjurer variant – that’s your Summon Monster spells
Paragnostic Apostle(CC): Can give all your summons Fast Healing
Fatespinner (CA): Have your summoned creature reroll its Sense Motive with "fickle finger of fate", or you could just reroll your Bluff with "resist fate"- or, if necessary, both. Works for opposed CHA rolls for Planar Binding spells too. Furthermore - you can add spin to your Bluff checks too. Break at level 4 for maximum synergy.
Archmage (DMG): Originally I didn't think so - then I thought of using every High Arcana to switch the Malconvoker's highest spell slots for Summon Monster SLA's. With 2 uses per day each - that's a whole lot more SM VIII's and IX's. Qualifying for the PrC is easy enough. A dip into MS gets you Skill Focus (Spellcraft), you already have Spell Focus (Conjuration)...
Sacred Exorcist (CD): Too easy to qualify for, irregardless of base class. A nice scaling unnamed bonus to various rolls against evil outsiders that includes BLUFF. First level gives you Turn Undead - allowing the non-clerics to take the various divine feats and such. Some other nice features too. Worthy for a 1 level dip - or a 10 level marathon swim.
Not as good as it sounds:
Nar Demonbinder (UE): Unfortunately, although the flavor of this class is perfect, the mechanics for spellcasting hurt you too badly to be worth it. You will give up 9th level spells completely, and you will get 1 casting of an 8th level spell. When you go back to your previous class - you are building on your spellcasting from before you took the PrC - making 15th level your best spellcaster progression. Ouch!
Ultimate Magus (CM): You can actually combine Ultimate Magus with Nar Demonbinder to make a half decent summoning build. I've actually charted out the spellcasting for this build - and although it holds its own - it isn't your best bet. If you are in love with the Ultimate Magus (many are) - it is do-able.
Never take: Alienist: You just removed all evil Summons from your Summon Monster list. Now you suck.
Also avoid any PrC’s that remove additional spellcasting levels (you’ve already lost one).
Sixth:What race should I be?
Race Choices: Rather than listing all the good races that could work – let me give you a few guidelines:
Good: Anything with bonus feats, bonuses to Int, bonuses to Cha, bonuses to Con
Bad: Anything with a level adjustment. Or minuses to the above stats without a bonus to another of the above stats.
(Reneshat points out that an illumian has up to two levels of "practiced spellcaster" type effect for free - so might save a feat later, also a +2 to CHA checks is good for Bluff checks for your deceptive summons ability..)
Seventh:What skills should I take?
Bluff: Obviously. Get enough to qualify for Malconvoker – then Max it out.
Languages: Infernal and Abyssal, plus Ignan, Terran, Auran, Aquan and Celestial. Languages are important for communicating with your summoned creatures. You will get Infernal and Celestial to qualify for Malconvoker - but I would suggest adding Abyssal and Terran as an absolute minimum. If you have a high INT build - get all the extraplanar languages.
Knowledges: The Planes and Arcana. A bit of knowledge in what you do.
Spellcraft: Good for any caster. Especially for you - it fortifies your Magic Circle for planar binding spells.
Concentration: Also good for any caster. If you don’t have the Wizard – rapid spell variant – then this is twice as important.
Eighth:What Feats should I take?
Feat Choices: See the Summoning Handbook thread above. In addition: Summon Elemental (CM): Any summoner should take this Reserve feat as soon as it's available (CM). This grants a standard action Elemental Summoning. The Elemental will be Small, Medium or Large depending on the level of the summoning spell you use to power it - and will last 1 round/level per level of the spell used to power. See my "Fun with Summon Elemental" rant at the beginning of the Summon Monster section.
Improved Initiative (PHB): is nice to have in conjunction with Rapid Summoning. It gives your boys a better chance to hit the enemy flat footed.
Practiced Spellcaster (CA): Get that spellcasting level you lost back
Cloudy Conjuration (CM): Nice ability - summon the creature beside the opponent and cover your opponent in sickening smoke for free. Keep in mind that you just granted them concealment (though the right summons ignore that).
Demon Mastery (FC I): Gives +1 CL for summoning demons and +2 on the CHA check on Planar Binding spells. By RAW the +2 should apply to all Planar Bindings whether they be demon or not - but best make sure your DM understands that before you take the feat. (Thanks to Sir Agenon for the suggestion and to Nanshork for pointing out the +2 bonus is good for any Planar Binding by RAW)
Fiendish Summoning Specialist (PH): Allows you to add one evil creature per level to your summon monster spells. It will require you to be of non-good alignment though (restricting you to the neutral alignments). (Planar Handbook) - (thanks to Roccu for this suggestion - very good!)
Item Familiar (UA): This feat is a variant from Unearthed Arcana. It allows you to "invest" 3 skill points into a magic item, in return the item grants a +1 unnamed bonus to any skill you choose (How about "Bluff"?). You can keep increasing the bonus up to your actual rank in the skill - so that can create a HUGE bluff score if you are willing to sacrifice your other skills. (Thanks Neomikelch for this suggestion)
Divine Metamagic (CD): If you are a Cleric - and combine this with Twin or Repeat spell - (or potentially both) you can get alot of summoned creatures onto the board. If your DM allows Nightsticks - this is easily as good as the other DMM/Nightstick abuses. Without nightsticks - it is still viable on a lesser level. An Archavist could qualify if Sacred Excorsist levels are taken.
Divine Accuracy (LM): Any Cleric or Malconvoker that has multiclassed with Sacred Excorcist can easily qualify for this very impressive feat that will allow you to exchange a turn attempt for re-rolls on missed attacks by you and your allies. Since summoned creatures sometimes have a decent miss chance - and you have multiples on the map - this becomes exceedingly good.
Chain Spell: Can't be used for summoning - but can be used for Buffs - an Archivist might consider chaining a Magic Fang spell for example.
Rapid Spell: (CD) If you don't have Rapid Summoning - this is the way to get Standard Action castings. You will need to combine it with DMM or Metamagic School or some other trick to be used without decreasing spell level though.
Metamagic School: (CM): Reduce the cost of Metamagic to conjuration spells by one three times/day. No minimum level increase - so works with Rapid Spell. However - also useful with extend at low levels.
Obtain Familiar: (CA): Pick up a snake for an easy +3 to bluff checks.
Ninth:Aren't Spirit Shamans and Druids better summoners?
The belief comes from the comparison of Summon Monster vs Summon Nature's Ally.
The two spell chains have different strengths:
Summon Natures Ally: Most offense and HP as soon as possible
Summon Monster: More defense (DR/resistances), more INT, more SLA creatures, more choices.
You will see many creatures on the Summon Nature's Ally list show up on the next level of Summon Monster (For example - the wolf appears on the Summon Natures Ally I list, but on the Summon Monster II list). The only difference is that the Fiendish/Celestial template is added.
This template adds to neither TO HIT or to DAMAGE which means that in combat - well - you do the math.
It does add to INT however (makes INT 0, 1 or 2 animals/vermin into INT 3 magical beasts). This means the creature can understand the summoner (by RAW they understand common)- allowing the summoner to issue direct commands; "Attack that guy", "Grapple", "Grab that weapon off the ground", or "Come defend me."
Animals from Summon Natures Ally can be directed with "Animal Handling", but this requires a skill check, doesn't occur until the next round, and has a limited list available. Even with Speak With Animals, it is likely the DM will restrict you to the normal actions an animal can be directed to do, though you should be able to avoid the skill check.
However, if you go to the higher level spells - this ceases to happen. In fact - you will see Summon Nature's Ally lists become smaller and smaller.
In either Eberron or FR (not greyhawk) there are also more feats available to enhance creatures summoned with Summon Natures Ally. Greenbound (FR) is especially potent at low levels - making animal summons much thougher than there Summon Monster counterparts.
At higher levels these feats become less of a factor. Greenbound only works with animals (there are less and less available at higher levels) and prevents some of the better buffs (such as Animal Growth).
Here's the basic truth behind Summoners: At low levels, Spirit Shamans and Druids are your best summoners. If you go Malconvoker though, at level 10 the Malconvoker build makes the better summoner.
My suggestion is that a Summon Monster specialist hold off on summoning until Summon Monster III is available, focusing more on their other spells. From levels 5-9, summoning will be good - but not great. At level 10, it will become great - and remain so for the rest of the campaign.
Of course with an Archivist you get the best of both worlds - as long as you can get the Summon Nature's Ally spells into your prayerbook.
So - if your campaign is going to level 9 and that's it - then you are better off focusing on Summon Nature's Ally - beyond that level - Summon Monster is where it's at.
As an added note - Fiendish creatures that previously had an INT score of 0 (vermin) recieve Feats and Skills. There is no set way to determine what these feats and skills should be. Ask your DM - they should probably choose those feats (if they let you pick - welcome to broken stinky cheese).
Tenth:What's so great about summoning anyways?
There are many reasons to play a malconvoker. First and foremost - maybe you like the flavor. I love the very idea of the Malconvoker - playing a dangerous game with dark forces of great power. But let's forget that - these are the Char Op boards. So in the context of that - this is why summoning (specifically with a Malconvoker) is great:
1. A Malconvoker can substitute for a party fighter-type: The casting should be a standard action - and then you have huge expendible blobs of HP blocking you and your precious caster allies from the baddies.
2. Malconvoker's are masters of Battefield control - Whether you want to Grapple, Bull Rush, Sunder, or Trip - there is a summoned monster that can do it. How's a grapple score of +52 sound to you? You can get this with a summoned monster - without any buffing at all. Oh yeah - and you get two of them.
3. A Malconvoker can substitute for the party scout: At mid to high levels - those low level Summon Monsters have to be good for something. You can summon creatures with excellent Hide/Move silently/Spot/Listen and search checks. Many also have tremorsense or blindsense for picking up invisible foes. Have them check stuff out for you - then report back. You've got great durations. Oh yeah - can your party scout glide through walls? You should have gotten the malconvoker to send an earth elemental through - have him come back and report.
4. A Malconvoker has spell versitility: Really you do. Check out the lists below for some of the Spell Like Abilities available to summoned monsters. Summon the one you need - and have it cast the spell for you. For example - how many Walls of Ice can a 14th level Conjurer cast? If you said 2/round for 15 rounds for a total of 30, you would be wrong (if that conjurer happens to be a Malconvoker)- because the Malconvoker does that with one SM VII (Bone Devilx2), and he has 3 memorized - so 90 would actually be the correct number.
Oh - wait - I forgot Deceptive Summons. Make that 180. That's without any magic item enhancements.
And the SLA's available are nearly endless - and since you don't have to pick which creature (S) you are summoning until you cast the spell - that's spell versitility.
5. A Malconvoker can check for traps: While the term "trapmonkey" is normally a metaphorical term - to you it's literal. Oh those poor celestial monkeys.
6. A Malconvoker saves the Cleric healing spells: There is no way to get an opponents attention off you than to grapple him with a summoned creature. The enemy attacks the creature - and at the end of the combat - if the creature is still alive - you dismiss it.
7. A Malconvoker can do great damage to opponents: Check out the Fiendish tiger. Now pretend you summon 2 with Fiendish legion at level 10. Buff them both up with Augment/Infernal fury. Summon them on either side of your opponent - and have them both charge - gaining 5 attacks each (one with flanking bonus). Work out the damage. Yeah - it's huge. Next round they'll keep attacking and the damage will keep coming.
8. Malconvokers are good against all opponents: If the opponent is a flyer - summon 2 Giant Wasps, if the opponent is Aquatic, summon 2 giant sharks, if the opponent is burrowing, summon 2 Dire Weasels, If the opponent is a spellcaster, summon high SR creatures, etc etc etc. The Summon Monster list is big at all levels. Lots to choose from for any occassion.
The two main focuses of the Malconvoker:
Summon Monster Spells
The Malconvoker’s abilities most strongly work to enhance these spells. Deceptive Summons at level 1, Infernal Fury at level 4, Infernal Legion at level 5, Resistance at level 7, and Safe Summoning at level 9.
Hint: When using Infernal Fury you can place both creatures anywhere in your range. Use them to flank your opponent and both full attack – with flanking bonuses. Or even better – have the critters on opposite sides of your opponent – but have one of them 10’ away. Have the one that is 10’ away charge (getting charge and flanking bonuses) and the other just attack (with flank).
Obviously you should take all 9. Always have many of these spells memorized – no spell is better for you than this one.
Because of the nature of the Malconvoker – evil creatures tend to be your best summon. After 5 levels in Malconvoker – Evil creatures will almost always be your best bet.
Planar Binding Spells:
These are great spells I would suggest that a Malconvoker use even if they break from the class at level 5.
However, there are some major considerations you must make. Especially if you are a Conjurer/Malconvoker:
You must have access to Abjuration in order to use Planar Binding spells (For Magic Circle against evil)
Enchantment school is very helpful (multiple spells will help you in your opposed CHA check - some might help you avoid it altogether)
Necromancy school has similar bonuses to Enchantment (although less so)
So if you play a Specialist wizard or a Focused specialist wizard - never give up Abjuration or Enchantment. Necromancy is less important, but still helpful.
So I said in the Feat section you should definitely take this. You want it in your level 9 feat slot - so plan for it. Why is it so great anyways?
All reserve feats tend to work in a specific way - they tend to copy the spell they are powered by, only much less potent, and often less versitle. However - they can be used over and over again - as a SU ability. In order to make a Reserve feat worthwhile - you must exploit the "infinite use" part as much as you can.
Now, when you use the feat - the elemental will be neutral - so you won't get Infernal Fury, Infernal Legion, Deceptive Summons etc. It does however benefit from your Augment Summoning ability - this is quite useful.
It does have a lot going for it for a "non-spell" if you think about it. Both for Combat Use as well as Ulility Use.
When you first get the feat - you will be powering it with a level 4 summon spell (Um - probably SM IV). It will be a standard action to use - last for 4 rounds, be a small elemental, and you can only have one at a time. So what do you do with that?
1) Use the Earth Elemental to glide through the walls, floor, or ceiling if they are rock and report what's on the other side. 2) Use the Earth Elemental to open any doors/chests etc you think might be trapped. 3) Use the Earth Elemental to test hallways you think might be trapped. 4) Use the Water Elemental to check out the "Murky Water" that seems to be in every dungeon. 5) Use the Water Elemental's Drench ability to put out fires and magical fires 6) Use the Fire Elemental to start Large fires 7) Combat: Use any elemental to flank 8) Combat: Use the Earth or Air Elemental to "Aid Another" on attacks or AC (90% to succeed) 9) Combat: Use the Earth Elemental to Bull Rush - with a touch attack it will likely hit - the Bull Rush is a long shot of succeeding though - but the chance isn't that bad (Total Bull Rush +2) 10) Combat: Use any elemental to provoke the attacks of opportunity from your enemy - now your allies and summoned creatures are no longer in danger unless the enemy has combat Reflexes. A way to open up your enemy for a Grapple Attempt by a summoned creature.
Once the Spell that Powers the Feat is 6th level or higher - the Elemental becomes Medium Sized:
1) The Bull rush of the Earth Elemental becomes reasonably good. (Total Bull Rush +8) 2) Chance to Aid Another is now 95% (fails on a one only)
Once the Spell that powers the Feat is 8th level or higher - the Elemental becomes Large:
1) Bull Rush now pretty good (+14 modifier) 2) Elemental now has DR 5/- 3) Technically - you can use an Air or Water elemental to do the vortex/whirlwind and move enemies. In more drastic situations - you can have it move you - though you will take a bit of damage from this manouver.
In all cases the Elemental will not be an overly impactful combatant - it's just too weak for the level in which you are when you get it. However - lots of useful things to do with them - both inside and outside of combat. Not a feat for use when you are fighting the BBEG - but against his minions - this can save you spells while still giving some Battlefield control, minor buffing, as well as attracting enemy attacks.
Your "To Hit" will never be high enough to use these elementals for straight combat - in many cases you will need a 20 to hit. If you do want to make "attack" manouvers - attempt Trips and Bull Rushes. The touch attack makes it much easier for you to hit, and opposed STR checks give you a chance of success (on things like Grapple or Disarm where BAB is added - you have no realistic chance). Remember - your STR and CON are higher than the MM version by 4 each (Augment Summoning), this will give a measurable boost.
Summon Monster I
For non-core summonable creatures - please check THIS out.
Things to know about SM I:
Combat: A dog or a badger are decent combatants when you are levels 1 or 2, but at higher levels they are more for flanking/aiding another.
(A nice tactic is after your original summons are engaging the enemy – cast a SM I, pick Dire Rat, have them flank your summons opponent, and have them “Aid another”. That’s +4 for your main summon to hit.) Their own damages will be too small to have any effect.
Avoid summoning these against opponents with Cleave!
A small monstrous spider can web a medium creature. Even though the webs aren’t strong – they take a standard action to remove. That has use even at high levels (provided they can hit).
Outside Combat: At mid-high levels the SMI spell ceases to be much use in combat beyond aiding/flanking (and with malconvoker 5, your summoned creatures are probably already flanking)– however there are other uses.
The main ones are probe/trap monkey. Monstrous Spiders have tremorsense and can detect invisible foes for you. Celestial Monkeys make trapmonkey a non-metaphorical term, as they can turn handles and open chests. Poor celestial monkey. Dire rats are excellent scouts with hide/move silently/spot and listen.
Mixed with the malconvoker: The Spiders will be most useful to you in combat (as a secondary spell) bring them in to flank or to web. Tremorsense find hidden foes. Use Dire rats for scouts or aid/flank buddies. With Deceptive summons they should have time to do the job.
Treantmonk’s favourite: The Fiendish spider – it’s OK off the bat – webbing remains good for a few more levels. Tremorsense will be useful for a long time.
They wasted our time with: The Scorpion. It can improved grab tiny creatures – has terrible stats, and has a -3 to hit with poison tail. How did this make the list?
All entries at this level assume you have Augment Summoning
(Bracketed) #'s are Sense Motive totals for evil creatures (for deceptive summons reference)
Celestial dog - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:8, to hit +4. Not quite as good as the badger for combat.
Celestial owl - 1 HD Tiny magical beast, HP:6, to hit +5. Only good as a low-light scout
Celestial giant fire beetle - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:6, to hit +3. Slightly inferior combatant. AC is a little better though.
Celestial porpoise - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:15, to hit +4. Very good aquatic summon.
Celestial badger - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:10 (raged), to hit +4. Good combat summon due to Rage and 3 attacks.
Celestial monkey - 1 HD Tiny magical beast, HP:6, to hit +4. Literal trapmonkey.
Fiendish dire rat(+1) - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:7, to hit +4. Not bad combatant – after Malconvoker Lvl 4 this is your best choice. Also a good scout.
Fiendish raven(+2) - 1/4 HD Tiny magical beast, HP:3, to hit +4 Pretty much a worthless summon until Malconvoker (go owl instead), after malconvoker extended duration makes this a decent scout in low-light.
Fiendish monstrous centipede, medium(0) - 1 HD Medium magical beast. HP:6, to hit:+2 Very weak.
Fiendish monstrous scorpion, small(0) - 1 HD Small magical beast. HP:8, to hit+2 Very weak.
Fiendish hawk(+2) - 1 HD Tiny magical beast, HP:6, to hit+8 Daylight scout: Spot +14
Fiendish monstrous spider, small(0) - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:6, to hit:+4 Webs, best bug combatant at this level.
Fiendish octopus(+1) - 2 Small HD magical beast, HP:13, to hit +5 Decent aquatic summons.
Fiendish snake, small viper(+1) - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:6, to hit+4 Save DC 12 poison – otherwise useless.
Tidbits: You can now summon your first outsider – the Lemure. It blows, but might have some use if fighting within a darkness spell, inside a fire, or against a poisonous foe.
Combat: Your best two combatants at this level are the riding dog and the wolf. The riding dog does a bit more damage/better to hit, the wolf has trip. The large centipede has a not bad grapple if grappling is what you want to do (it will provoke an AoO). Medium spiders can web up to large foes.
Outside Combat: Not much here unless you are out of SM I, in which case the medium spider can fulfill the roll of the small easy enough.
Mixed with the malconvoker: The wolf becomes the best combatant, but purely secondary compared to what you can summon with higher level spells. The wolf (augmented) has a +5 to hit and a +3 trip modifier. If you think this can help – throw them in as a secondary summons.
Treantmonk’s favourite: The Fiendish wolf. The first battlefield control summons. Wolf’s trip ability saves an otherwise poor SM level.
They wasted our time with: The Celestial giant bee. It dies if it hits with its attack. For a penalty like that – the rest better be great – it isn’t.
Celestial giant bee- 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:19, to hit:+4 If you need a flyer – go with the eagle.
Celestial giant bombardier beetle - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:17, to hit +4 Fire a 10’ acid cone for 1d4+2 damage. Otherwise, not much here.
Celestial riding dog - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:17, To hit:+5 Before SMIII this is your best combatant for straight stats. Not too bad actually.
Celestial eagle - 1 HD Small magical beast, HP:7, To hit:+3 Not a very good combatant – but the best you have at this level. Also, being small size they are large enough to threaten/flank/aid another.
Lemure(0) - 2 HD Small outsider, HP:13, to hit:+4 Pretty bad. Can see in magical darkness and has immunity to fire and poison though.
Fiendish squid(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:19, to hit: +6 So-so aquatic choice.
Fiendish wolf(+1) - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:17, to hit:+5 2 less damage per attack than the riding dog and one less AC, but gets a free trip with every hit. Probably your best combat choice.
Fiendish monstrous centipede, large(0) - 3 HD Large magical beast, HP:19, To hit:+5 +9 to grapple isn’t bad for a 2nd level summons. Will have the best HP (slightly), not a bad combat summons overall.
Fiendish monstrous scorpion, medium(0) - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:17, to hit:+4 +4 grapple with improved grab (+4 to hit), damage is OK and 3 attacks/round. One of the scorpion’s better appearances. Don’t expect to hit with the tail (and therefore the poison) though.
Fiendish shark, medium(+1) - 3 HD magical beast, HP:22, To hit:+5 So-so aquatic choice.
Fiendish monstrous spider, medium(0) - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:15, to hit:+4 Scorpion is better combatant at this level – but can web up to large creatures.
Fiendish snake, medium viper(+1) - 2 HD Medium magical beast, HP:13, to hit:+4 Still not a great summons, but poison DC is 13 and it has a better chance to hit with it than the scorpion.
Tidbits: Now you can summon your first outsider that isn’t poor. A Dretch doesn’t match up to a fiendish ape, but it can cast a stinking cloud and then scare, and then enter combat – with 3 attacks/round. This is the first level that elementals become available. Summon Monster III is one of the best Summon Monster spells for its level.
Combat: Before malconvoker, the Celestial Bison is a star. Afterwards, Fiendish ape. If you want improved grab, you have two options at this level – the croc is usually the stronger choice of the two. At this level some creatures have DR 5/magic and some don't. The ones that do are the Celestial Bison, the Fiendish Ape, the Fiendish Huge Centipede, and the Fiendish Dire Bat. Keep this in mind when thinking about HP of your summons.
Outside Combat: Earth elementals can glide through walls, come back, and tell you what they saw. If you have pyromaniac tendancies, the fire elemental/Hell hound burn stuff real good.
Mixed with the malconvoker: Got to like the fiendish ape. Great chance to hit, 3 attacks/round, good HP. If you want size, the centipede is HUGE, this is your strongest bet for pure grapple score. Constrictors and Crocs both get improved grab if you don’t want to provoke an AoO. The Crocs stats are better, but the constrictor does better damage once the grapple is in place.
Treantmonk’s favourite: The Fiendish ape. Why do I like the ape more than the bison? Well, statistically it’s almost as good (HP suffer a bit), but you get 3 attacks, it can pick up stuff, and it’s evil. (Better for after Malconvoker levels)
They wasted our time with: The Fiendish Boar. This doesn’t nearly stack up to the Bison or the Ape – what were they thinking?
Celestial black bear - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:25, To hit:+8 Not very impressive – go with the bison or ape. If you need a swim speed – go with the crocodile.
Celestial bison - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:47, To hit:+10 A very good tank. HP, to hit, and damage are unequalled at this level, plus DR 5/magic. However, the fiendish ape will get more attacks.
Celestial dire badger - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:40 (raged), To hit: +8 (raged) Has a burrow speed – otherwise not great. Go with the wolverine.
Celestial hippogriff - 3 HD Large magical beast, HP:31, To Hit:+8 100’ move rate flyer.
Elemental, small - 2 HD Small elemental. HP:13-15, To hit:+3-+7 Purely utility at this point.
Fiendish ape(+1) - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:37, to hit:+9 King of the tanks of SM III. Slightly worse HP and to hit than the bison, though it still gets the DR 5/magic, what arguably makes it better than the bison is the 3 attacks per round and that it's evil.
Fiendish dire weasel(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:19, to hit:+8 As a secondary combatant these can attach and drain con. To hit is only a +6 though. HP are poor too. Could be useful against a BBEG with low AC.
Hell Hound(0) - 4 HD Medium outsider, HP:30, To hit:+7 Has a 2d4 10 foot cone fire breath. They also have scent and immunity to fire. Not your best combat choice unless fighting something where fire is good.
Fiendish snake, constrictor(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:25, To hit:+7 on a +7 grapple. The only advantage of the snake over the crocodile is constricting damage.
Fiendish boar(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:31, To hit:+6 Take the ape – if space is an issue, take the croc or the wolverine.
Fiendish dire bat(+2) - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:38, to hit:+7 This is actually a very strong summons. DR, blindsense 40 ft. Good HP, DR 5/magic, attack +7 (1d8+7). Has hide/move silently/listen and spot.
Fiendish monstrous centipede, huge(0) - 6 HD Huge magical beast, HP:45, to hit:+7 Grapple is +17 (no improved grapple though). HP are good (not much better than ape or bison though), including the ever-valuable DR 5/magic. To hit +7
Fiendish crocodile(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:28, to hit:+8 Improved Grab with grapple +8, +8 to hit. Use for improved grab or aquatic, otherwise go with the Fiendish Ape.
Dretch(0) - 2 HD Small outsider, HP:17, to hit:+6 The SLA’s are mentioned above – once those are used you have a creature with 3 attacks/round. Not a lot of HP though, only summon if you have use of the SLA’s, or need the telepathy.
Fiendish snake, large viper(+1) - 3 HD Large magical beast, HP:19, to hit:+4 Poison is pretty weak – not great in melee. Not much here.
Fiendish wolverine(+1) - 3 HD Medium magical beast, HP:40 (raged), To Hit: +8 (raged) Not as strong as the ape in melee, but is med size (if size is an issue) and has burrow.
SLA's available with SM III:
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/day) *Works on “self only”
Tidbits: SLA’s and Su abilities are becoming more of a factor. For straight combat SM IV does not shine above SM III as it did over the previous level.
Combat: For charging the celestial lion is terrific. Dire wolves get trip (with a decent score) and good HP. Howlers get the terrific quills (and they are stackable). Against one BBEG, the howlers are the way to go. Against multiples – the dire wolf is better. If DR of the opponent is a problem – Lantern Archons ignore it.
Outside Combat, or non melee combat aids: Lantern archons are stuffed with useful SLA’s, and if summoned close can protect your party with aura of menace and magic circle against evil. If you are approaching large groups of enemies – a yeth hound can be sent 305’ ahead and bay. That’s a 300 radius spread!
Mixed with the malconvoker: Summoning 2 dire wolves that begin in flank and both are making trip attempts is huge. Even after SMV is available this is a strong option. If the opponent is very large – then go with howlers. The quills stack, and those -1’s add up.
Treantmonk’s favourite: The howler. Once you can summon 2 at a time those quills add up. I love that they lower saves too.
They wasted our time with: The Celestial Giant Owl. This is on par with the Dire Bat of the previous level – how did it ever make SMIV?
Archon, lantern - 1 HD Small outsider, HP:6, to hit:+2 The SLA’s and “always on” abilities (Circle against evil, tongues, aura of malice, Aid) are the big draws. The attack only does 1d6 and has a not great chance of hitting (2 per round with full attack), it is ranged however and ignores DR. Against a high DR critter this could be a good summons – but don’t count on the +2 attack to hit very often. More of a defensive choice (for the magic circle and the aura) than an offensive one.
Celestial giant owl - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:34, To hit:+9 Go with either the giant eagle or the giant wasp. If you need the night vision, consider the dire bat from SM III. Celestial giant eagle - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:34, to hit:+9 This has flyby attack – and evasion. Certainly better than the owl (unless you are flying at night)
Celestial lion - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:42, To hit:+9 First 5 atttack charger available. Rake, Pounce and improved grab – pretty good.
Mephit (any) - 3 HD Small outsider, HP:19-25, to hit:+6 to +9 These are about the SLA’s. Wind wall, Gust of wind, Heat metal, Chill metal, Glitterdust, Blur, Melf’s acid arrow, pyrotechnics.
Fiendish dire wolf(+1) - 6 HD Large magical beast, HP:57, to hit:+11 Great HP, Good attack, trip. Strong choice.
Fiendish giant wasp(+1) - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:42, to hit:+8 Only flyer on current level that has evil alignment and is half decent in melee. Poison isn’t impressive, however, 60’ fly (good) is. For pure attack, not a great choice.
Fiendish giant praying mantis(+2) - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:34, to hit:+8 Improved grab with grapple of +13. 2 attacks/round. To hit isn’t great (+8 with Augment). Not that impressive overall. If you want improved grab though – this might be your best SM IV bet.
Fiendish shark, large(+1) - 7 HD large magical beast, HP:52, to hit:+9 Pretty good aquatic summons.
Yeth hound(+2) - 3 HD Medium outsider, HP:25, To hit:+8 Bay ability, flies. Only summon if you have use of bay, otherwise go with the giant wasp or the dire wolf (depending whether you need fly)
Fiendish monstrous spider, large(0) - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:30, to hit:+6 Now you can web huge creatures. For melee this is weak.
Fiendish snake, huge viper(+1) - 6 HD Huge magical beast, HP:45, to hit:+8 Poison is DC 16 (with augment), not bad. HP are decent, only any good if you think the poison will hold.
Howler(+2) - 6 HD Large outsider, HP:52, To hit:+12 The advantage of the howler over the dire wolf is quills. These work better against a single more powerful opponent since they stack.
SLA's available to SM IV
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/summon) *Works on “self only”
Now I’m assuming Augment Summoning, a Ring of Mighty summons and Infernal Fury for evil creatures
Things to know about SM V:
Tidbits: SLA’s are less of a star here – but now the star is grapple.
Secondly – assuming at least level 10, it is time to buy a ring of mighty summons (14,000 gp). It gives your creatures Max HP for their HD, but ½’s the duration of your spell. Since you get deceptive summons – that’s still 10 rounds (or more, depending on your feats). Long enough for most combats. The ring can be removed if you aren’t sure.
Combat: Fiendish Giant Crocodiles. They are huge, good attack, improved grab. The brown bear is just as good, but you already have malconvoker – this is no choice. If you’re charging the tiger is good, and bearded devils get frenzy which is nice.
Outside Combat: Not much here.
Mixed with the malconvoker: Flank with the crocs – both attack, both get grapple attempts – pin and kill. Against big/strong opponents this tactic can still work. Leaving the flank provokes AoO, once again bringing improved grab into play. Eventually the grapple will hold. These things have great HP too.
Treantmonk’s favourite: Fiendish Huge Crocodiles. Love to flank with +23 grapple attacks
They wasted our time with: Fiendish deinonychus. Why is this even here? The stats blow for SM V. This should have been a SM IV. Same goes for the Fiendish Dire Ape.
Also: you now have Fiendish legion for certain. No point summoning non-evil creatures unless there is a specific ability you are after. If there isn’t some specific reason to summon a non-evil creature – I’ll simply point it out to you with the prime replacement summon.
Archon, hound - 6 HD Medium outsider, HP:54, To hit:+10 If you want the SLA’s – get the Lantern Archon cheaper. This guy is more durable if you are worried about that though.
Celestial Brown Bear-6 HD Large magical beast, HP:72, to hit:+13 Summon 2 Huge crocs instead. If huge is too big for your environment, then go with 2 fiendish tigers.
Celestial giant stag beetle - 7 HD Large magical beast, HP:91, to hit:+12 Trample is the only reason to summon.
Celestial sea cat - 6 HD Large magical beast, HP:90, To hit: +11 Summon 2 huge sharks instead.
Celestial griffon - 7 HD Large magical beast, HP:105, to hit: +13 The best flyer you can summon at this level (air elemental only other choice). To make use of Fiendish Legion – if you need flyers you will need to go with 1d3+1 Fiendish Giant Wasps (SM IV)
Elemental, medium (any) - 4 HD Medium elemental, HP:48-52, to hit: +8-+10 Earth elemental gets improved bull rush (can bull rush up to large creatures. Very strong/quadruped creatures may be hard). Use smaller elementals for the utility stuff – they are much cheaper.
Achaierai(+11) - 6 HD Large outsider, HP:84, to hit:+11 As a combatant the Archaierai aren’t too bad, but the Black Cloud ability makes this a strong summons against multiple foes. Throw both into the middle of your enemies and release the clouds (make sure they are more than 10 feet away from you) Note that the DC is Con based, and therefore a 17 with Augment Summoning.
Devil, bearded(+9) - 6 HD Medium outsider, HP:102 (raged), to hit:+13 (raged) For combat the croc is better, but the Glaive of the devil is considered evil aligned and law aligned (which might be good for getting past DR), and they have telepathy as well. Circumstances can easily make this your best combatant.
Fiendish deinonychus(+1) - 4 HD Large magical beast, HP:64, to hit:+8 The tiger is just better – unless the 60’ move is going to be a big factor. Yes – this is the Raptor from the Jurassic Park movies – though even with the fiendish template it won’t be as smart.
Fiendish dire ape(+1) - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:73, to hit:+10 Not all that much better than the Fiendish Apes available with SM III, except for rend perhaps (At this point reg Fiendish apes have HP:59). You are better off with 1d4+1 of them. This should have been a SM IV summons.
Fiendish dire boar(+1) - 7 HD Large magical beast, HP:104, to hit:+14 Should have over 100 hp, and fights to -10. That’s really its best feature. Not a terrific combatant overall.
Fiendish shark, huge(+1) - 10 HD Huge magical beast, HP:140, To hit:+12 Very tough aquatic combatant.
Fiendish monstrous scorpion, large(0) - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:110, To hit:+8 A lot of creatures will easily save vs the poison (if it even hits) – only time you want to summon this – if size is an issue, so you can’t summon the croc, and you want improved grab. That’s pretty much it.
Shadow mastiff(+1) - 4 HD Medium outsider, HP:60, to hit:+9 Better combatant statistically than the yeth hound, and still gets bay (higher DC), but no fly. If you aren’t using bay – summon 1d3 dire wolves instead.
Fiendish dire wolverine(+1) - 5 HD Large magical beast, HP:93 (raged), To hit: +12 (raged) If you aren’t charging, and want lots of attacks, a raged dire wolverine is your best choice.
Fiendish giant crocodile(+1) - 7 HD Huge magical beast, HP:112, to hit +13 Improved grab with a grapple of +23 with Augment. Powerful single attack.
Fiendish tiger(+1) - 6 HD Large magical beast, HP:84, to hit:+11 The best charger in the SM V list. 5 attacks on a charge and improved grab.
SLA's for SM V:
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/summon) *Works on “self only”
Now I’m assuming Augment Summoning, a Ring of Mighty summons and Infernal Fury for evil creatures.
Things to know about SM VI:
Tidbits: Elementals have just become a combat summons possibility, lots of SLA’s available at this level. Not a huge level for combat tanks.
Combat: If you are charging – the Rhino does great damage and can take a beating. If you carry around extra chains (you should), the Chain Devil has good offense. If you have room – the centipede has the best HP and grapple score. The constrictor snake is now your best all round grappler though (for the first time).
Outside Combat, or non melee combat aids: Lots here. Bralani have lots of SLA’s, for a few more, check Janni’s. Chain devils can create an effect that gimps your opponents (-2 mods)
Mixed with the malconvoker: Chain devils can get a lot of attacks (4/round) all with reach. The giant constrictor is a good grappler and does constrict damage. The Centipede is gargantuan. As you would assume, that means a heck of a lot of HP and a great grapple score. Treantmonk’s favourite: Chain Devil. Dancing chains rocks.
They wasted our time with: Janni. Who thought that this was an equivalent summon to the Bralani?
Tip: If you carry some different kinds of chains (silver and cold iron) you can use chain devils to attack creatures that might normally have a DR hard for you to penetrate. You can carry 4 of each for only 16 lbs (not you of course – that’s what planar binding is for)
Celestial polar bear - 8 HD Large magical beast, HP:112, to hit:+15 Get the constrictor snake instead
Celestial orca whale - 9 HD Huge magical beast, HP:138, to hit: +14 Fiendish Elsasmosaurus is better.
Bralani (eladrin) - 6 HD Medium outsider, HP:68, to hit: +13 SLA’s: Charm person, gust of wind, mirror image, wind wall. 2/day: lightning bolt, cure serous wounds. All CL 6. Immune to electricity, has a pretty good ranged attack (good aligned). Have innate tongues ability.
Celestial dire lion - 8 HD Large magical beast, HP:104, to hit: +15 Strong charger – puts tigers on previous level to shame. However, the Fiendish Dire Tiger is just around the corner.
Elemental, large (any) - 8 HD Large elemental, HP:104-112, to hit: +12-+14 Earth elementals can now bull rush up to huge. An air elemental can now pick up med creatures in the whirlwind (or water elementals in the vortex). These are starting to get good.
Janni (genie) - 6 HD Medium outsider, HP:66, to hit:+11 SLA’s: 3/day: invisibility (self), speak with animals. 1/day create food and water, ethereal jaunt for 1 hour. Telepathy, Enlarge/reduce person. Not nearly as good as the Bralani overall.
Chaos beast - 8 HD Medium outsider, HP:101, To hit:+12 Only a decent choice if your opponent has a decent chance of failing a DC 17 Fort save – if they do, they’re screwed, if not, the Chaos beast isn’t good for much else.
Devil, chain(0) - 8 HD Medium outsider, HP:112, to hit:+12 Immunity to cold. Did you bring those chains? Get them within 20’ of the devil, and within 25’ of the enemy. That’s 4 attacks, +12 to hit, 2d4+6 damage each – crit range 19-20 (with infernal fury). Oh yeah – one skill these guys don’t have (unlike most devils) – sense motive.
Xill(+8) - 5 HD Medium outsider, HP:70, to hit:+9 4 attacks – not great for combat – but does have an SR of 21, which is stellar for this level.
Fiendish monstrous centipede, gargantuan(0) - 12 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:156, to hit:+13 Decent combatant – poison DC now 19. Best feature is a grapple of +29
Fiendish rhinoceros(+1) - 8 HD Large magical beast, HP:136, To hit:+15 Charge +17 for 4d6+30 damage. After that – still OK.
Fiendish elsasmosaurus(+1) - 10 HD Huge magical beast, HP:186, to hit: +15 Good aquatic choice. Can move on land too (20 feet).
Fiendish monstrous spider, huge(0) - 8 HD Huge magical beast, HP:112, to hit:+11 Can web up to gargantuan. Not great combatant though at this level.
Fiendish snake, giant constrictor(+1) - 11 HD Huge magical beast, HP:146, to hit:+15 Grapple is +25, Huge size. This is finally the premier grapple choice for its level. (Centipede has slightly higher grapple score – but no improved grab).
SLA's for SM VI:
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/summon) *Works on “self only”
Now I’m assuming Augment Summoning, a Ring of Mighty summons and Infernal Fury for evil creatures.
Things to know about SM VII:
Tidbits:We are now at the point where SLA’s and (Su) abilities are as important as the combat abilities. More of the summons are for the former than the latter. Tailoring your summons to your specific opponent becomes more important than ever.
Combat:Bone devils are great – not just for combat specs, but also for all the SLA’s that can be used in combat. They also have great saves. If pure HP are what you are after – the elementals have it.
Outside Combat, and non melee combat abilities: I can’t even touch on all the SLA’s available at this level. The Avoral has a million alone. Bone devils are also very good (wall of ice at will – nice!). Babau demons dispel magic at will.
Mixed with the malconvoker: The Bone Devil is your best all round combatant, they are also good battlefield controllers (2 walls of ice/round is very good). Babau demons get SA if used to flank. They also get dispel magic at will. That's two dispel checks per round against enemy spells. (thanks to Ancillary for pointing out that they can't be used to counterspell though. Oops.)
Treantmonk’s favourite: Bone Devils. For a summon monster VII these are a huge bargain. They outshine everything else at this level.
Chicken? Among the great abilities of Bone Devils are a high sense motive score – if this is a concern – A pair of Fiendish Girallon’s will get 10 attacks on your enemy – then Rend him. (the lower to hit score bothers me a bit though). The other option is to simply summon the bone devil without Deceptive Summoning – you might want to remove your Ring of Mighty Summons to keep a decent duration. They will still rock. They wasted our time with: The Fiendish Megaraptor. For the same reason the Raptor sucks, so does its big brother. Tigers are just better – much better.
Celestial elephant - 11 HD Huge magical beast, HP:171, to hit:+18 Summon for utility if 34 STR will be of use. Avoral (guardinal) - 7 HD Medium outsider, HP:105, to hit:+15 SLA’s at will: Aid, Blur (self), Command, detect magic, dimension door, dispel magic, gust of wind, hold person, light, magic circle against evil (self), magic missile, see invisibility. 3/day: lightning bolt. CL 8. Immune to electricity and petrification. Lay on hands for 21 healing. Fear aura and true seeing (standard actions each). Flies. Has all knowledges at +12, good hide/move silently, and a spot of 21. Good utility summons.
Celestial baleen whale - 12 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:198, to hit:+19 Go with the octopus against med or smaller – this is good against big stuff.
Djinni (genie) - 7 HD Large outsider, HP:84, to hit:+12 Major creation is permanent if used to create vegetable matter – All craft skills at +12. SLA’s also include wind walk, persistant image, create wine, create food and water, invisibility (self). Can assume gaseous form and whirlwind form. Immune to acid, telepathy.
Elemental, huge (any) - 16 HD Huge elemental, HP:224-240, to hit:+19-+21 Air elemental now a strong flying choice. Earth elementals can bull rush almost anything. A water elemental has a CL of 16 to dispel magic fires. These are very good combatants now.
Invisible stalker - 8 HD Large elemental, HP:80, to hit:+12 Not particularly strong, not evil – only summon if improved invisibility is really needed. Tracks at +13.
Slaad, red - 7 HD Large outsider, HP:91, to hit:+13 Immune to sonic. Has pounce and stun attack. HP aren’t great for a combat selection though.
Devil, bone(+15) - 10 HD Large outsider, HP:170, to hit:+16 Fear aura DC 17, Poison(Str) DC 22, At will SLA’s: Dimensional anchor, fly, invisibility (self), major image, wall of ice. CL 12. SR 21, Good combatant, all knowledges at +15, Move Silently +18, Search +15. 3 good attacks.
Fiendish megaraptor(+2) - 8 HD Huge magical beast, HP:139, to hit:+11 This is actually not much better than the fiendish tiger you could summon with SM V. This should be a great charger – but you are better off with 1d4+2 Fiendish tigers (sad). Speed is 60 if that’s a factor.
Fiendish monstrous scorpion, huge(0) - 10 HD Huge magical beast, HP:150, To hit:+13 +23 grapple with improved grab (Actually worse than the constrictor last level – but 2 chances to hit). Summon if tremorsense is going to come into play.
Babau (demon)(+1) - 7 HD Medium outsider, HP:119, to hit:+14 Sneak attack +2d6 (on 3 attacks), SLA’s: Darkness, dispel magic, see invisibility. CL 7. A slime coats this creature that does 1d8 damage to weapons that strike it (ignores hardness). Also, no sense motive.
Fiendish giant octopus(+1) - 8 HD Large magical beast, HP:107, to hit:+12 8 arm attacks - +17 grapple each. Good aquatic choice against med or smaller opponents.
Fiendish girallon(+1) - 7 HD Large magical beast, HP:118, To hit:+14 5 attacks/round + rend attack. For pure damage offense this is OK. That’s it though.
SLA's for SM VII:
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/summon) *Works on “self only”
Aid – (2nd)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Blur* - (2nd)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Command – (1st)(Avoral)(8/14)(at will) Create Food and Water – (3rd)(Djinn)(20/x)(at will) Create Water – (0)(Djinn)(20/x)(at will) – creates wine instead of water Darkness – (2nd)(Babau)(7/x)(at will) Detect magic – (0)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Dimension Door – (4th)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Dimensional Anchor – (4th)(Bone Devil)(12/x)(at will) Dispel Magic – (3rd)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Dispel Magic – (3rd)(Babau)(7/x)(at will) Fly – (3rd)(Bone Devil)(12/x)(at will) Gaseous form* – (3rd)(Djinn)(20/x)(1/day) – duration 1 hour Gust of wind – (3rd)(Avoral)(8/15)(at will) Hold Person – (3rd)(Avoral)(8/16)(at will) Invisibility* - (2nd)(Djinn)(20/x)(at will) Invisibility* - (2nd)(Bone Devil)(12/x)(at will) Light – (0)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Lightning bolt – (3rd)(Avoral)(8/16)(3/day) Magic Circle Against Evil – (3rd)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Magic Missile – (1st)(Avoral)(8/x)(at will) Major Creation – (5th)(Djinn)(20/x)(1/day) – vegetable matter is permanent Major Image – (3rd)(Bone Devil)(12/15)(at will) Persistent Image – (5th)(Djinn)(20/17)(1/day) See Invisibility – (2nd)(Avoral)(8x)(at will) See Invisibility – (2nd)(Babau)(7x)(at will) True Seeing* - (6th)(Avoral)(14/x)(at will) – 1 full round casting time Wall of Ice – (4th)(Bone Devil)(12/x)(at will) Wind Walk – (6th)(Djinn)(20/x)(1/day)
Now I’m assuming Augment Summoning, a Ring of Mighty summons and Infernal Fury for evil creatures.
Tidbits: More combat options here. Again, the SLA’s are too numerous to mention.
Combat: Well, I have to mention that you can now summon a colossal creature (Centipede), you need lots of room for this guy – but his HP are great, as is his grapple score. Fiendish Tyrannosaurus offers great offense/defense. A gargantuan spider can web any size creature. Vrocks are excellent combatants, and can fly.
Outside Combat or non-melee combat abilities: Can’t even get into all the SLA’s, however check out the Blue Slaad – some very nice ones there.
Mixed with the malconvoker: Very interesting option if you are willing to cast 2x. That gives you 4 vrocks – one to attack your enemies, and three to do a dance of Ruin – thats 20d6 damage – that is not energy damage (no resistances). Vrocks also get stunning screech, spores, 3 attacks – lots of options.
Treantmonk’s favourite: The Vrock. Good SLA’s, good combat stats. It is a Flyer. (honourable mention to the Fiendish T-Rex though)
Chicken? If the Vrock’s Sense Motive frightens you – The Fiendish T-Rex has lots to love too. They wasted our time with: Hellcat. Sorry – invisibility is not worth 120 HP and +7 to hit. (the difference between the hellcat and the Fiendish dire tiger)
Celestial dire bear - 12 HD Large magical beast, HP:171, To Hit:+21 You will find the Dire Tiger the better offensive choice – and still get improved grab.
Celestial cachalot whale - 12 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:207, to hit:+19 Not much better than the Baleen whale last level. The giant squid gives a good evil summons for aquatic at this level. Celestial triceratops - 16 HD Huge magical beast, HP:284, to hit:+22 It is surprising how a triceratops is as tough as a T-Rex. However – you can go with multiple Rhino’s instead for a similar effect.
Lillend - 7 HD Large outsider, HP:84, to hit:+13 SLA’s: not very impressive (Hallucinatory terrain is at least fairly unique). Bard spells (CL 6) all levels 1 & 2. Diplomacy +16 is a nice feature.
Elemental, greater (any) - 21 HD Huge elemental, HP:294-315, to hit:+23-25 The Earth elemental now has improved sunder, HP have passed the 300 point barrier – they are benefiting more from your ring and Augment a great deal. As with last level – these are now good combat summons. Unfortunately they aren’t evil, so unless you need a specific manouver (sunder/bull rush), or movement type – you are still better off with the evil combat choices.
Slaad, blue - 8 HD Large outsider, HP:112, to hit:+15 SLA’s at will: hold person, passwall, telekinisis. 1/day: Chaos hammer. CL 8. A bit weak in melee for the level though. The passwall at will is the premier feature here.
Fiendish giant squid(+1) - 12 HD Huge magical beast, HP:162, To hit:+17 Statistically, this is a far superior summons than the octopus last level. +31 grapple check.
Hellcat (devil)(+2) - 8 HD Large outsider, HP:120, to hit:+15 I want to like this – but the Dire Tiger is SO much better. The invisibility has been overrated IMO.
Fiendish monstrous centipede, colossal(0) - 24 HD Colossal magical beast, HP:312, to hit: +20 Yes – it’s colossal. You can now grapple with a +44. HP are very good. Attack is OK (tiger is better). Poison DC is now 25. Not your best melee option – but the grapple score is great (you can now hope to succeed grappling huge opponents).
Fiendish dire tiger(+1) - 16 HD Large magical beast, HP:240, to hit:+22 This is a nice charge summon. With large size it will only grapple Med or smaller opponents – but 5 charge attacks – 4 of them will be +24 to hit. Not your best choice against high DR creatures though since the attacks are spread out so much.
Fiendish monstrous spider, gargantuan(0) - 16 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:224, To hit:+17 Can web any size creature now. Otherwise a so-so choice.
Fiendish tyrannosaurus(+2) - 18 HD Huge magical beast, HP:315, To hit:+22 Lots of HP. Single strong attack. If the DR is a problem for the Dire Tiger – this guy can probably pound through it. Yeah – that’s 630 HP of summons in one spell – nice.
Vrock (demon)(+16) - 10 HD Large outsider, HP:190, To hit:+17 5 attacks/round. SLA’s: mirror image, telekinisis. 1/day: Heroism CL 12. Spores are free action every 3 rounds. DC 24 30 foot radius stun attack. 3 Vrocks can attempt dance of ruin (3 rounds) 100 foot radius 20d6 blast.
SLA's for SM VII: (Actual spells included as well)
Spell Name – (spell level)(Creature who has it as an SLA)(CL/DC)(# times/summon) *Works on “self only”
Chaos Hammer – (4th)(Blue Slaad)(8/14)(1/day) Charm Person – (1st)(Lillend)(10/15)(1/day) Dancing Lights – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Darkness – (2nd)(Lillend)(10/x)(3/day) Daze – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Detect Magic – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Hallucinatory Terrain – (4th)(Lillend)(10/18)(3/day) Hold Person – (3rd)(Blue Slaad)(8/13)(at will) Knock – (2nd)(Lillend)(10/x)(3/day) Light – (0)(Lillend)(10/x)(3/day) Lullaby – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Mage hand – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Mirror Image – (2nd)(Vrock)(12/x)(at will) Read Magic – (0)(Lillend)(6/x)(up to 3 times/day) Charm Person– (1st)(Lillend)(6/15)(up to 4 times/day) Cure Light Wounds– (1st)(Lillend)(6/15)(up to 4 times/day) Heroism – (3rd)(Vrock)(12/x)(1/day) Identify– (1st)(Lillend)(6/15)(up to 4 times/day) Sleep– (1st)(Lillend)(6/15)(up to 4 times/day) Hold Person– (2nd)(Lillend)(6/16)(up to 3 times/day) Invisibility– (2nd)(Lillend)(6/16)(up to 3 times/day) Passwall – (5th)(Blue Slaad)(8/x)(at will) Sound Burst – (2nd)(Lillend)(6/16)(up to 3 times/day) Speak with Animals – (1st)(Lillend)(10/x)(1/day) Speak with plants – (3rd)(Lillend)(10/x)(1/day) Telekinisis – (5th)(Blue Slaad)(8/15)(at will) Telekinisis – (5th)(Vrock)(12/16)(at will)
Tidbits: It’s weird – usually level 9 spells are surprisingly better than 7-8 level spells, not so with SM. Dissapointing really. You might want to summon 1d3 SMVIII’s for combat. (Except I always roll a one!)
Combat:Because of malconvoker you want to stick with evil. However, elementals would otherwise be your best bet. For evil – if you have room, colossal spiders are good, as are gargantuan scorpions. Bebiliths get rend armor which is always good. Hezrou’s get stench and improved grab.
Outside Combat or non-melee combat abilities:Leonal’s wall of force at will is worth individual mention.
Mixed with the malconvoker: Bebiliths become your best combat choices unless you have lots of room (in which case, go with your bugs). HP aren’t as great as they might be, but mixed with Augment, Infernal Fury, and a ring of mighty summons – the HP will be multiple hundreds anyways. (Assuming Caster level 20, Bebilith has 260 HP). If space is an issue – the Barbed devil is a decent combatant for a medium creature (HP will be around 220), and has a nice fear effect (will save 20)
Deserving special mention: If you have the room – a Colossal Spider summoned with infernal fury (so easy at this level), a ring of mighty summons, and at least 4 levels of Master Specialist by a 20th level caster (your caster level for summons may be higher than this at 18th level) will have 468 HP. You can summon 2 with one spell – that’s almost 1000 HP of creature summoned with one spell. This puts summon elemental monolith to shame.
Treantmonk’s favourite: Fiendish Colossal Monstrous Spider – The spider starts and ends the list. They tend to be a weak choice inbetween – but look at it this level – that’s tough. Colossal size can be a problem though. Still, when you get the opportunity to summon a pair of these – it will be worth the wait.
They wasted our time with:Couatl, Green Slaad, Night Hag. What are any of these doing in SM IX? Night hag should be SM VII!
Couatl - 9 HD Large outsider, HP:108, To hit:+14 Use magic device +15 – that’s about the best of it. Some SLA’s and spells, nothing you haven’t seen with lower level summons.
Leonal (guardinal) - 12 HD Medium outsider, HP:180, To hit:+22 Actually a decent combat choice (except its non-evil alignment!). Decent protection choice (Protective aura 20’, +4 deflection, +4 resistance – both vs evil, lesser globe of invulnerability, magic circle against evil.) SLA highlights: At will: Wall of force, polymorph. 3/day: Cure critical wounds, neutralize poison, remove disease. 1/day: Heal. CL 10. Has Roar ability: 60’ cone holy word spell.
Celestial roc - 18 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:306, to hit:+23 Obviously a possible all-party transport (if you need it at this level). Otherwise, go air elemental for air combat.
Elemental, elder (any) - 24 HD Huge elemental, HP:336-360, To hit:+27-+29 all that much better than the greater elemental choices. More HP, slightly better to hit chance.
Slaad, green - 9 HD Large outsider, HP:126, to hit:+16 Not much here to brag about.
Devil, barbed(+17) - 12 HD Medium outsider, HP:216, to hit:+20 Any creature it hits makes DC 20 will save vs fear. Has improved grapple (grapple +24) – does extra damage in grapple.
Fiendish dire shark(+1) - 18 HD Huge magical beast, HP:282, to hit:+20 Not as good as you might think – but does have swallow whole ability (large size or smaller).
Fiendish monstrous scorpion, gargantuan(0) - 20 HD Gargantuan magical beast, HP:300, to hit:+23 Now a DC 25 fort save for poison. Attack scores aren’t bad for claws, improved grab with +39 grapple check. (Constrict damage is 2d6+12). Not bad at all. Improved grab + Gargantuan is a nice combination.
Night hag(+13) - 8 HD Medium outsider, HP:128, to hit:+14 Can’t see one reason to summon one. You’ve seen all the decent SLA’s and special abilities with cheaper SM’s.
Bebilith (demon)(+16) - 12 HD Huge outsider, HP:240, to hit:+21 The Bebilith’s web (which can trap up to gargantuan creatures) allows no movement at all. Rend armor is good against heavily armoured foes (If you can hit them at all – claw attacks +16 – you must hit with both). Poison is DC 26 and delivered with the +21 bite attack. Not a bad combat choice.
Fiendish monstrous spider, colossal(0) - 32 HD Colossal magical beast, HP:448, To hit:+28 Poison DC 30 (Str 2d8 loss) is very strong. Grapple is best of entire list at +52. 30’ reach. HP will be highest you can get too (896 HP on one summon spell). These are a lot better than the centipedes of last level. Great melee choice – if you can find the room.
Hezrou (demon)(+2) - 10 HD Large outsider, Sense Motive , HP:213, To hit:+16 Stench is a good ability. DC 26 Fort or be nauseated (any creature within 10’. Otherwise – with a +16 primary attack – you are in trouble if AC is decent.
SLA’s for Summon Monster IX (Also included regular spells, psionics that imitate spells, and Su abilities that imitate spells)
Spell Name (Spell level)(Creature that uses spell)(Caster level/DC)(times/day) *Means self only
Blasphemy-(7th)(Hezrou)(13/21)(3/day) Chaos Hammer –(4th)(Green Slaad)(9/15)(at will) Chaos Hammer-(4th)(Hezrou)(13/18)(at will) Charm Monster– (4th)(Couatl)(9/17)(up to 4 times/day) Cure Critical Wounds-(4th)(Leonal)(10/16)(3/day) Cure Minor Wounds– (0)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 6 times/day) Cure Moderate Wounds– (2)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Daze– (0)(Couatl)(9/13)(up to 6 times/day) Deeper Darkness–(3rd)(Green Slaad)(9/x)(3/day) Detect Chaos – (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Detect Chaos – (1st)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Detect Evil– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Detect Evil-(1st)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Detect Good– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Detect Good-(1st)(night hag)(8/x)(at will) Detect Law– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Detect Law-(1st)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Detect magic–(0)(Green Slaad)(9/x)(at will) Detect Magic-(0)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Detect Thoughts– (2nd)(Couatl)(9/15)(at will) Detect Thoughts-(2nd)(Leonal)(10/15)(at will) Detect Thoughts–(2nd)(Green Slaad)(9/13)(at will) Dispel Law–(5th)(Green Slaad)(9/16)(3/day) Disrupt Undead– (0)(Couatl)(9/13)(up to 6 times/day) Eagle’s Spendor– (2nd)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Endure Elements– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Ethereal Jaunt– (7th)(Couatl)(16/x)(at will) Etherealness-(9th)(Night hag)(16/x)(at will) Fear–(4th)(Green Slaad)(9/15)(at will) Fireball-(3rd)(Leonal)(10/15)(at will) Fireball–(3rd)(Green Slaad)(9/14)(3/day) Freedom of movement– (4th)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 4 times/day) Gaseous Form– (3rd)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Gaseous Form-(3rd)(Hezrou)(13/x)(3/day) Globe of Invulnerability, lesser*-(4th)(Leonal)(12/x)(always on) Heal-(6th)(Leonal)(10/18)(1/day) Hold Monster-(5th)(Leonal)(10/17)(at will) Hold Person-(3rd)(Barbed Devil)(12/16)(at will) Invisibility– (2nd)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Light– (0)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 6 times/day) Mage Armor– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Magic Circle Against Evil– (3rd)(Couatl)(9/16)(up to 7 times/day) Magic Circle Against Evil*-(3rd)(Leonal)(12/x)(always on) – includes +4 to saves and AC Magic Missile-(1st)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Major Image-(2nd)(Barbed Devil)(12/17)(at will) Neutralize Poison-(4th)(Leonal)(10/x)(3/day) Obscuring Mist– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Order’s Wrath-(4th)(Barbed Devil)(12/18)(1/day) Polymorph*– (4th)(Couatl)(9/x)(at will) Polymorph-(4th)(Leonal)(10/x)(at will) Polymorph*-(4th)(Night hag)(8/x)(at will) Protection from Chaos– (1st)(Couatl)(9/14)(up to 7 times/day) Protection from Law–(1st)(Green Slaad)(9/x)(at will) Ray of Enfeeblement-(2nd)(Night hag)(8/12)(at will) Ray of Frost– (0)(Couatl)(9/13)(up to 6 times/day) Read Magic– (0)(Couatl)(9/13)(up to 6 times/day) Remove Disease-(3rd)(Leonal)(10/x)(3/day) Resistance– (0)(Couatl)(9/13)(up to 6 times/day) Scorching Ray– (2nd)(Couatl)(9/15)(up to 7 times/day) Scorching Ray– (2nd)(Barbed Devil)(12/x)(at will) – 2 rays only See Invisibility–(2nd)(Green Slaad)(9/x)(at will) Shatter–(2nd)(Green Slaad)(9/13)(at will) Silence– (2nd)(Couatl)(9/15)(up to 7 times/day) Sleep-(1st)(Night hag)(8/12)(at will) True Strike– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day) Unholy Blight-(4th)(Barbed Devil)(12/18)(1/day) Unholy Blight-(4th)(Hezrou Demon)(13/18)(at will) Wall of force-(5th)(Leonal)(10/x)(at will) Wind Wall– (1st)(Couatl)(9/x)(up to 7 times/day)