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Summon Good Monster: A Closer Look


Advice

Silver Crusade

24 people marked this as a favorite.

Foreword: Please DON'T quote this entire post if you have something to respond to. It's just not a good idea with an opening post this size.

Champions of Purity introduced the Summon Good Monster feat, which expands the Summon Monster list to have a variety of new holy-themed creatures and grants Diehard to many (not all, but many) of them as well as some already available summons. This post is meant to promote analysis and discussion of the new options. It is not comprehensive, as I do not feel I have enough experience in high level play to gauge the summons from those lists and this will be long enough as it is. Each section will be divided into three sections. 'Negative RAW' will discuss how the list is affected if one uses the 'negative' interpretation of summons disappearing at 0 HP and thus making Diehard not work at all. 'RAI' assumes Diehard works for them, and points out how certain existing monsters particularly benefit from it. 'General' discusses each new creature in detail, then a short conclusion leads us to the next summon list/section.

I want this to be a good discussion, and I'm probably not an all-knowing authority on our PCs' new allies. So feel free to chime in with different interpretations, corrections, and general opinions! With that said, let's begin with how I feel about Summon Monster I through IV under this feat.

Summon Monster I

Important: Despite how it looks, you're not getting Diehard for the entire existing SM1 list. Only six of the eight do, as Dire Rat and Poisonous Frog are left off the list. This is not a huge loss as you were unlikely to use either of them outside very unusual corner cases anyway.

Negative RAW: The feat actually does nothing for Summon Monster I at all in this case, because it only grants Diehard to an otherwise unexpanded list.

RAI: Summon Monster I normally suffers from being hard to use; it's basically useless at caster level 1 unless you find a way to get +1 to caster level, so the summon won't even stick around long enough to do much. Not all casters can conveniently pick it up at caster/class level 2. It starts to be obsolete by level 3, and is almost completely outclassed by level 4. How do you fix that?

Adding Diehard to most of them helps significantly. Your main fighters are Dogs, Eagles, and Dolphins (water only); they can now hang on a little longer and remain relevant against foes that would otherwise be killing them in one shot by level 3-ish. The Pony becomes a decent tank at this point as well, provided enemies are willing to spend time fighting it (they're not a huge threat, admittedly). Everything else gains no serious benefit from the extra durability and were niche-case summons anyway; that doesn't change.

It's a little sad you're not getting any new creatures here, but that's not too bad. If you play by RAI, the existing choices gain enough durability to remain meaningful (not great, but not terrible either) until you can pick up the next spell in the series.

General: Nothing of note; this list's benefits entirely rely on whether you're going by 'negative RAW' interpretations, or RAI.

Summon Monster II

Negative RAW: Under this interpretation, you only gain three new summons of note but they're actually good ones. A little fragile, and none of them are good brawlers, but they all offer something useful.

RAI: Going this route has some interesting balance implications in that two of your existing summons get some nice upgrades. They are...

Octopus: The extra durability gives this creature options as a watery tank, in contrast to the more aggressive Squid. It was already a decent choice, but now it's a genuinely strong contender in water combat for its level.

Wolf: Is rescued from obsolescence. Normally inferior to the Hyena in almost every way, you now have your choice of a little more offense (Hyena) or notably more staying power (Wolf with Diehard). This has the odd side effect of making the Horse less valuable in the tanking role, but the Horse retaining its Large size means they now serve different functions.

General: We get three new options that are not good direct fighters, but offer special abilities well worth considering.

Faun: A well-rounded choice, the Faun fills multiple roles capably but not superbly. It's an okay melee fighter, and at the lower end of acceptability for an archer. Ghost Sound is a useful spell when employed creatively, and Hideous Laughter can shut an opponent's offense down for a few rounds. The Panpipes will bring their DCs up to acceptable totals, too. Sleep is sadly starting to become obsolete by the time you get access to Fauns, but considering its other spell-like abilities are fine this isn't a problem.

It speaks Common and Sylvan, and combined with its nature as a bipedal creature with functional hands you can have it do various things (“go open that door for us”, for a basic example). This is true of some Elementals too, but the Faun's higher Intelligence means it can understand a wider range of ideas and exercise some personal judgement on your orders if need be.

This leaves you with a summon that is rarely the best choice for a situation, but is also rarely the wrong choice; it's a safe pick if you're expecting a variety of problems within the next few rounds.

Grig: The loss of its Fiddle ability seems like it would seriously hurt this summon, but it's still a very good choice for clever players. It's tiny and can fly, plus it has a ranged attack (which does 1d4-1 with Augment benefits). This alone would make the Grig worth playing, as you could have it to fly into unusual locations and 'plink' at enemies. 1d4-1 is not exactly high damage, but most enemies will move to another area if they can't fire back on the Grig. They might even pursue it back to your party, allowing you to fight at a place of your choosing. This is something melee oriented summons can't do because entrenched foes will just pound on it and remain in place. The Faun is also capable of this 'plink lure' tactic, but its larger size and lack of flight makes it less suited to the task.

But wait, there's more! The Grig also has Disguise Self and Invisibility, which lend it to some use as a very short-duration scout or a mobile improvised version of a 'ghost sound' (granted, it's limited to noises a Grig could naturally make while speaking). The DCs on its Entangle and Pyrotechnics are slightly low and require situational terrain to make full use of, but they're still strong options to have.

On top of this, the Grig speaks Common and Sylvan. In conjunction with its decent Intelligence and nature, a Grig can be counted on to show some initiative if its summoner doesn't give specific orders. Their tiny size and low strength means they can't do all that much to influence the physical world around them, but that's a role covered better by other summons anyway.

These factors make the Grig a surprisingly good choice. It doesn't do much damage, but it can disrupt the enemy's plans in ways few other summons of its level can.

Pseudodragon: A special-purpose summon, the Pseudodragon's benefits lie in its flight and its 5 foot reach tail that has Sleep poison. Enemies that know about the poison will 'respect' it and tread carefully (which is fine for your purposes), while those who don't may just blunder into it and find themselves unconscious (which really suits your purposes!). The reach means it also serves as a decent flanking partner since it now has a threat range, and the Diehard feat means it can easily take a hit. They're very Stealthy (+19 in most terrain, +23 in forests!) as well, though the Grig may be better at scouting due to having Invisibility.

It's fairly mobile in the air, so one fun thing to do would be to send it up after flying enemies and Sleep poison them. If they fail the save... well, what happens to something that falls unconscious in mid-air? That's right: Gravity. Ker-splat!

Pseudodragons primarily communicate via telepathy. Expect some table variation on how this behaves, but favorable interpretations of the wording allow it to overcome the language barrier (it otherwise only knows Draconic) and communicate with its summoner just fine.

Overall: Summon Monster II was worth casting as-is. The upgrades it provides to the Octopus and Wolf expand your options, and all three new creatures offer something worthwhile. The Faun and Grig are generally better than the Pseudodragon, but the latter's value in flanking and 'anti-air' roles are worth keeping in mind.

Summon Monster III

Negative RAW: Doesn't hurt this list nearly as much as you might think. Most of its inclusions are special-purpose to begin with, and remain worthwhile in their niches even if they don't get Diehard.

RAI: Two existing summon options are modified by giving them Diehard, and covered below.

Lantern Archon: An effective summon already, letting them stick around after falling to 0 HP just makes them even more annoying to enemies. Much like the Grig, the Lantern Archon's flight lets it go into places and pester opponents which may force them to move if they're not fond of continuing to eat 1d6-damage light beams. This upgrade was hardly even necessary, but is certainly welcome.

Shark: Previously an aquatic summon whose only virtues were an above-average Swim speed and Large size, adding Diehard also makes them a passable tank. This makes them the better choice if your goal is merely to buy time and consume battlefield space, though the other aquatics in this level (and there are several) are better at dealing damage.

General: Four new choices are available, most of which fill special 'tool' purposes or are sidegrades to existing options.

Blink Dog: Unintentionally underwhelming, because of one major caveat to Summon spells... summoned creatures cannot use Teleport effects, and Dimension Door falls into this category! Without that, you are left with a creature whose only options are an underwhelming melee attack and a constant Blink spell on themselves... which most enemies will not care about because wasting time fighting a weak Blink Dog. Only in the somewhat uncommon situation where an enemy will fight anything put before it is this worthwhile, as the Blink effect can make them incredibly frustrating to take down before their summon duration expires.

They speak Sylvan (and despite being 'dogs', they do indeed speak) only. This might have some unusual uses, but nothing obviously and immediately comes to mind.

Overall, the Blink Dog seems like a near-pointless addition to the list. It would have been an unusual choice for Summon II, and in Summon III it appears to be outclassed by nearly everything. Am I missing something here?

Foo Dog: Some GMs might bar them due to their Asian themes (on the same grounds they might ban Samurai, Ninja, etc.) but I'm going to presume this isn't a problem in your game.

Notably slower than the name 'Dog' might suggest, they move at Speed 30 yet are otherwise a modest upgrade from the previous level's Hyena. Their bite attack only does so-so damage, but has a Trip effect attached to it and the CMB is slightly better than the Hyena's. Their ability to look like a statue could have some useful ambush prospects, though their Stealth check is fairly low.

Foo Dogs have a variety of nice defensive options, including Stony Defense (gaining Hardness 8 for a turn) and a Protection from Evil amongst themselves if paired up with another Foo creature, which combined with their decent HP can make them passable tanks (and one enemies will take seriously, due to their potential to Trip).

However, it must be noted that the Foo Dog's damage output pales compared to most of its peers. Its single attack is nowhere near as strong as an Auroch's, and the full attacks on the Cheetah and Leopard quickly eclipse it as well. Worse, the Constrictor Snake and Crocodile are more likely to succeed on their special control options. The only real advantage is the Foo Dog speaks Celestial and Common with Intelligence 6, so you can give it specific orders (“Trip the elf!”, etc.) with ease compared to the aforementioned Animals since unlike D&D 3.5 they remain Intelligence 2 in Pathfinder and do not have a language.

Lyrakien Azata: While considered an excellent choice for Improved Familiar, these fairy-like creatures are still decent Summons if you communicate with them. No one option they offer is particularly good, but they have so many choices open that you're sure to find something useful for them to do. Ventriloquism and Silent Image can be used to mess up how enemies perceive the situation, and Cure Light Wounds may not be an efficient use of a third level summon but it's there if you absolutely need it. Commune is not an option for most casters, as it takes ten minutes to prepare and the Lyrakien will likely be gone by then. Traveler's Friend might work if done by higher level casters, but the one minute performance time is otherwise too short.

Their Starlight Blast is a low damage burst, but might help a little bit against swarms. Then again, by the time you can cast Summon Monster III you likely have better anti-swarm options available. This in conjunction with Detect Evil can make them decent alignment checkers, which is good since they're certainly not much in a fight.

Other benefits include a variety of languages (including Truespeech abilities), decent Social skills such as Diplomacy, and a +8 on 'any one' Knowledge skill (which one that might be is best discussed with your GM ahead of time).

Overall, the Lyrakien is a grab-bag of random tricks. It has a weak AOE, one Cure Light Wounds, some decent Skills, and is very mobile. Its illusions are also nice. Getting full use out of a Lyrakien requires very unusual situations and creativity in what orders you give to them, but they have their place... it's simply not 'in the thick of fighting.'

Silvanshee Agathion: Another collection of random abilities, this holy cat can help out in several subtle ways. While its Dimension Door doesn't work (see Blink Dog above), it could act as a flying emergency medic due to its unlimited uses of Stabilize plus a single 1d6 use of Lay on Hands. Silvanshees can also offer a +1 luck bonus on saves to one other creature that will last for ten minutes, which isn't huge but if you have nothing else for them to do then you might as well. They have decent Perception modifiers and +5 on some Knowledge checks... not great, but it is one more ability they have among many others.

Spectral Mist is a particularly good version of Gaseous Form, and combined with their +19 on Stealth they make fine scouts. Please note that Augment Summoning and Heroic Strength both grant Enhancement bonuses to Strength, so they don't stack. This leaves the Silvanshee as a pretty underwhelming brawler, so don't use it as one unless the situation is desperate.

Silvanshees speak Celestial, Draconic, Infernal and have Truespeech, but they have one other very interesting benefit; a constant Speak with Animals effect. This means you could summon several animals and a Silvanshee, and have the latter relay your orders to the former. Said orders will have to be fairly simple given the animals remain Intelligence 2, but this is one way to command them to do specific tasks.

Emergency medics, scouts, and animal translators... Silvanshee are ultimately not much of a combat summon, but they have their uses.

Overall: Summon Monster III is already considered a great Summon spell and this just makes it better. Upgrading the shark and Lantern Archon is a fine benefit, and clever summoners will find good uses for the other creatures. Most of them are not efficient fighters, but they have so many special abilities that you're sure to come up with something worthwhile for them to do!

Summon Monster IV

An already large summoning list with few meaningful gaps gains several flying creatures, some of which are spellcasters. The ones that can't cast spells are instead Large creatures with decent melee attacks, making them incredible flankers and space-takers. A few of your existing summons get an upgrade as well.

Negative RAW: The only serious downside here is that your brawlers won't be as durable. This is unfortunate, but most of the existing ones were playable as-is so it is hardly a deal-breaker.

RAI: Offers upgrades to two existing choices...

Dire Wolf: Essentially the next step in the line of Trip attackers, adding Diehard makes it acceptable as a tank. However, it must compete with the Foo Lion, regular Lion, and other options as an overall combatant... most of which are better than it at this job and several of them offer similar 'control' options as well. The Dire Wolf is thus only useful within a specific niche, but this is better than being generally bland and nearly pointless as it was before.

Hound Archon: I'm not really sure why it got this upgrade, as a Diehard-less Hound Archon is still a very good melee fighter and offers some nice spells such as a constant Magic Circle Against Evil. Adding that feat just makes it even better.

General: Your new options are a lot of fun! You get some effective melee fighters, including a few that are high-speed Large fliers; this is particularly nice since they can set up flanking for two of your allies with ease. The ones who don't fit into either of these categories can still do some very interesting tricks.

Celestial Giant Eagle: An excellent flying attacker, it is less durable than the pterosaur but much faster and has three attacks instead of one (though admittedly the pterosaur has 10 ft. Reach on its attack, which is somewhat useful). The giant eagle even has Evasion, and understands (cannot speak) Auran at Intelligence 10 so you can give it detailed orders. Do note the 4 hit die mean this eagle does not gain some of the Celestial benefits its 5 HD peers get, but this is not too big a problem.

As a pure fighter, the giant eagle is also superior to the Giant Wasp though the latter does offer a decent Poison effect. The Medium Lightning Elemental and Medium Air Elemental have useful abilities that can make them better against specific types of foe, but the giant eagle is better in most fights overall.

If summoned in sufficient quantities, giant eagles allow you to make Gandalf jokes! This is always a good thing.

Celestial Pegasus: The good news is this summon option does not cause me to appear at your gaming table! The even better news is it instead brings in an incredibly fast aerial melee creature. Where the giant eagle flies at 80 feet (average), the Pegasus has a flight speed of 120 (average). This means that they can effectively pursue and overtake a lot of things, and they're durable enough to put up a decent fight once they do. Since they understand (but cannot speak) Common at Intelligence 10, you can give them complicated instructions and put them to use pursuing specific targets. Their higher speed also makes it even easier for them to help your allies flank someone.

While a little weak in melee, they're still decent enough that they must be taken seriously by whoever they're attacking and Smite Evil can help even the odds (though Giant Eagles can do this trick too). Beyond that, the only obvious thing Pegasi contribute is a constant Detect Evil and Detect Good.

Faerie Dragon: Seemingly purpose-built to annoy the hell out of its enemies, the Faerie Dragon is a poor fighter but hard to retaliate against due to its self-only Greater Invisibility. Toss in relatively low DC abilities like an euphoria breath weapon and Grease and while it's unlikely to succeed at any given use... it has enough shots that eventually something will get through. Not only that, but Grease has some use even if the opponents make their saves. In addition, Silent Image and Ghost Sound remain useful if you find clever ways to use them.

Do note that while they “cast as a Sorcerer”, you don't get to rebuild their spell list in most cases. This means what you see on their default sheet is usually what you get; this is particularly important to remember in PFS play. Other interesting tricks include having both Fly and Swim speeds, speaking four languages (Common, Draconic, Elven, and Sylvan) plus telepathy.

On its own, the Faerie Dragon is unlikely to win fights or even directly set up circumstances that will allow you to win. However, they have enough spells and breath weapon usages to be consistently extremely frustrating to deal with. If you want a prankster that can distract enemies or just blanket huge chunks of the battlefield in Grease, this is your choice.

Foo Lion: A significant improvement over the niche-use Foo Dog, this summon might actually be better than conventional lions. The Foo version has more HP and is about as good at hitting and dealing damage, while offering most of the same special attack options a regular lion does. Toss in the same defensive options that a Foo Dog has, and Reach 10 ft... and suddenly the only obvious way for a Celestial (regular) Lion to keep up would be to use Smite Evil.

Like the Foo Dog, this creature understands Celestial and Common plus has a passable Intelligence score of 6. Very complex plans may elude it, but anything you'd expect a Good-aligned human child to understand is probably within the Foo Lion's capacity as well. This means you can tell it where to go and which targets to focus on, which is a fine advantage over Celestial Animals.

The Foo Lion is a very efficient melee fighter and unless you have balance concerns about using them (are they too powerful for Summon Monster IV? I worry that they might be) or your GM has problems with Asian content then they are probably one of the best things this feat grants.

Pixie: Another 'flying fairy' choice, though this one offers some interesting benefits. First, it is Small and thus can provide flanking in some cases. That might not be the best idea given its underwhelming melee, but this is an option.

What's probably a better choice is to make use of its constant invisibility to let it pester enemies with arrows and foil an ambush in this way. Of course, by this level they might have means of firing back on it. If archery is impractical then you can still make use of its Use Magic Device skill (just remember to have it return items to you before its summoning duration ends, or the items will likely fall to the ground where the pixie disappeared at) or Knowledge Nature checks.

It also has a surprisingly good spell list, ranging from a full suite of alignment detections (constant) to Entangle, Dispel Magic, and even Permanent Image (though it might not be so Permanent once they leave!). They speak Common and Sylvan, so it's easy to give them orders... and Intelligence 16 means they're probably clever enough to come up with some nice plans on their own if you don't tell them what to do.

The DCs on its special arrows are fairly low, but when there's no real risk to using them you may as well. Effects include equivalents to Charm Monster, Modify Memory/Memory Loss, and Sleep. Most of these can rapidly turn a situation around, so even a low chance of success is worth a try.

Overall: Easily the most improved set of the first four Summon Monster lists, this spell's expanded options allow you to pick the exact right melee creature (in your choice of Medium, Large, Flying, or non-flying varities!) and several decent spellcasters. You even pick up a few ranged attackers, so there is a summon for nearly every situation here.

In Conclusion

Summon Good Monster is a very strong feat with a lot of flavor to it. It remains a great feat even under strict-negative interpretations of RAW that make Diehard non-functional, and adding it just makes several nice summons more durable. I think it's worth trying to fit into summoning-centric builds around character levels 3, 5, or even 7 at the latest. Almost every list becomes significantly better with this feat, so it's worth getting as soon as possible (though it shouldn't be your Level 1 feat, since Augment Summoning is better overall).

I'm not comfortable discussing things in Summon Monster V and above due to my lack of experience in high level play, but you're welcome to do so! Ideally, this thread can serve as a discussion for several good ideas on the new summon options rather than just being a static 'guide.'


hmm combined with sacred summons - this feat with the archons seems awesome - i sadly choose CG with sacred summoning Azatas - After lvl 6 the LG Monsters are much much better - wish I had chosen LG as my Alignment now!

Silver Crusade

Oh, CG isn't so bad off in this regard. This is speaking of summon levels I don't have much experience with, but the Bralani Azata and Lillend Azata look decent enough on paper. Now I will admit that spamming Lyrakien Azata through Sacred Summons wouldn't be much use (you rapidly hit diminishing returns on those things)... but at least the other Azata seem playable in that regard.

Plus we are getting a few more Celestial-oriented books soon, I believe? Depending on how that turns out, you might get some more good CG-related choices. We'll have to wait and see.

That said... yeah, in terms of sheer benefit out of Sacred Summoning you are right; Lantern Archons or Hound Archons make better direct fighters worth summoning in large numbers.


more then the hound archons. I was thinking about the lvl 6 and lvl 7 summons. The legion and shield archons. Also besides the Arochons there are other LG Options in the list.

This makes your options to summon as a standart actions much better.

Yet you are right. In the medium lvl range spamming azatas and liliends seems better.

Well my choice is made. I am playing an Aasimar Cleric with Azata heritage that worships Saranrae. (Glory and Sun Domnain).
I like turining on my aura of heroism as a swift action and as a standart action summoning Azatas that immidialty benefit from the aura of heroism and augmneted summoning.

If there are undead present I quick-channel positive energy and all that in one round. With the benefits of the Sun and Glory Domain the Channeling is the other focus for my Cleric besides buffing and healing.

No Melee at all, but I like the concept and the cleric is fun and versitale to play!

Markus

Silver Crusade

It definitely can be a fun build. I have something similar using Sorcerer levels instead of Cleric and it's viable aside from being really boring at levels 1 and 2. Level 3 and onward is great though!

Important Update: Since this thread was posted, the developers have responded on how Diehard-like effects work for Summoned creatures. Their specific reply is for how Ferocious Summons work, granting Ferocity, but it sets precedent for how the Diehard feat granted by Summon Good Monster works.

This isn't officially 100% official since the nouns are different, but I would be stunned if any GM seriously argued against this: FAQ Clarification on Ferocity and Summons

As a side note, this significantly improves Summon Monster I. It only really matters for the Eagle, Dog, and Dolphin (your water fighter if it ever comes up)... but it does keep them around longer. Of course, the 'level window' in which Summon Monster I is relevant is pretty small, but if you have ways to make this spell viable at character levels 1-3 then Diehard makes these creatures notably better.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
divby0 wrote:

more then the hound archons. I was thinking about the lvl 6 and lvl 7 summons. The legion and shield archons. Also besides the Arochons there are other LG Options in the list.

This makes your options to summon as a standart actions much better.

Yet you are right. In the medium lvl range spamming azatas and liliends seems better.

Well my choice is made. I am playing an Aasimar Cleric with Azata heritage that worships Saranrae. (Glory and Sun Domnain).
I like turining on my aura of heroism as a swift action and as a standart action summoning Azatas that immidialty benefit from the aura of heroism and augmneted summoning.

If there are undead present I quick-channel positive energy and all that in one round. With the benefits of the Sun and Glory Domain the Channeling is the other focus for my Cleric besides buffing and healing.

No Melee at all, but I like the concept and the cleric is fun and versitale to play!

Markus

Sorry how is your cleric summoning as a standard? What domain power or feat grants that? Thanks!


Rerednaw wrote:
Sorry how is your cleric summoning as a standard? What domain power or feat grants that? Thanks!

Sacred Summons


Nice work.
I agree with your conclusion, and have only to add that a Master Summoner, with this feat, and on higher levels, now can act as an off-hand healer. The amount of healing and cure X spells you can get through this feat is quite extensive.
It vastly enhances a summoners versatility, as the added spells and SLAs you can get through summoning is increased quite a bit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I really like the synergy between this feat and sacred summons. It actually makes sacred summons useful for clerics of a non-neutral god.

Dark Archive

The only problem is fitting all the summon feats in.

I have a human Cleric of Sarenrae. Her feat path is thus:

1 - Skill Focus Knowledge Religion
Human - Weapon Finesse
3 - Dervish Dance
5- Deific Obedience
[6 - multiclass to Exalted of Sarenrae, full spell progression and you get Channel Energy back with Sarenrae, very good, but you need know Religion and Deific Obeidience]
7 - Summon Good Monster?
9 - Sacred Summons?
11 - Divine Protection?

After that I'm not sure it's worth it to fit Spell Focus Conjuration (crap and just a prerequisite) and Augment Summons in. Bear in mind 13, 15 and 17 should be stuff like Quicken Spell, Spell Penetration and the other serious high level feats.

1 to 5 are set in stone, being prerequisites or making me tolerable at melee while I still do melee and I'm already level 3. I feel that good use of Good Monster and Sacred Summons means I can do without the two Augment Summoning feats, especially if I go for tricksy monsters with SLAs instead of tanks.


This is something someone posted on these boards (I can't remmber who).

Hound Archons get

"Change Shape (Su)

A hound archon can assume any canine form of Small to Large size, as if using beast shape II. While in canine form, the hound archon loses its bite, slam, and greatsword attacks, but gains the bite attack of the form it chooses. For the purposes of this ability, canines include any dog-like or wolf-like creature of the animal type."

So they can become any canine. The post I read said they could become Dire Hyenas, which are large and trip away.

Not a biggie I guess, but they might be the best trippers for that level of monster.

Only problem is, as nearly as I can tell you have to redo the stats on the Dire Hyena.

Assuming you had augment summoning, you get +4 from that, and +4 from the size change, so you get +8 added to the Hound Archon's str.

Additionally the Hound Archon has +9 natural armor, the beast shape 2 effect is +4 natural armor, so you have +13 natural armor, before applying dex changes.

As if summoners weren't complicated enough.

Also someone made a point in another thread that there is wording that summons go away at zero hp's, so diehard never kicks in, and it therefore useless.

Any rules mongers have thoughts on this?

Dark Archive

Diehard summons have been FAQd:

FAQ wrote:

Half-Orc, Ferocious Summons: How does this ability work if a summoned creature disappears when it reaches 0 hp?

The summoned creature does not disappear at 0 hp, instead it disappears when killed (when its current hp get to a negative amount equal to its Constitution score).

As for the shapechanging Hound Archon, it's one heck of a tank that way, especially with Diehard. Yes, it's complicated but just reinforces the sensible table rule that players with Summon Monster should have the stats of any of their beasts close to hand. Generally you only need two at each level so it isn't too much prep time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
sunbeam wrote:


Also someone made a point in another thread that there is wording that summons go away at zero hp's, so diehard never kicks in, and it therefore useless.

Any rules mongers have thoughts on this?

Since normally critters fall down at zero hit points, having them go away just meant clearing the field of a downed counter. Since DieHard keeps them from falling down, it's clear that the intent of adding this feat means that a specific variation is made to a general rule.

Since specific trumps general, the addition of the DieHard feat means that the creatures don't go away until they would finally "fall down".


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think I am grabbing this for a Magaambyan Arcanist Wizard build I'm working on. . .

1st level Spell focus (conj)
human bonus-- Augment summoning
3rd level-- Summon good monster
5th level Scholar
Wizard bonus-- Spell mastery

The "lasting goodness" at 3rd PrC/8th level gives extra rounds whenever summoning a good creature, plus another 1 from the "Virtuous Spells" ability.

Not sure where the build goes past that, but this feat is really good, I think its better than the Evil version.


I'm not seeing the great benefir for CG Clerics. Summon Good Monster gets them another deva or 2 to summon and maybe something else. What say you?


Summon Good Monster adds surprisingly little to your list of options as it includes many creatures already on the list.

You might want to consider Expanded Summon Monster as an alternative.


Nathanael Love wrote:

I think I am grabbing this for a Magaambyan Arcanist Wizard build I'm working on. . .

1st level Spell focus (conj)
human bonus-- Augment summoning
3rd level-- Summon good monster
5th level Scholar
Wizard bonus-- Spell mastery

The "lasting goodness" at 3rd PrC/8th level gives extra rounds whenever summoning a good creature, plus another 1 from the "Virtuous Spells" ability.

Not sure where the build goes past that, but this feat is really good, I think its better than the Evil version.

I would strongly recommend delaying augment summoning and grabbing Acadamae Graduate at level 1. That will allow you to summon as a standard action, which is pretty important for getting them onto the battlefield and avoiding disruption.

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