Summon Nature's Ally limit


Rules Questions


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Help!!! This will come up in my group shortly. Is there any rule that says a caster of Summon Nature's Ally (or Summon Monster, for that matter), can only have creatures summoned from one active spell at a time? In other words, a 7th level caster summons 3 stirges on round one of combat. He used a 3rd level Summon spell to do so. These creatures will last 7 rounds before disappearing. Is there a rule that says this caster can't cast another summon spell on the following round, adding additional creatures to the battle? What about casting this spell 3 or more times in a row? I can't find any rule that prohibits doing so. If there is such a rule, can someone point it out to me? Thank you in advance.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lord Orion wrote:
Help!!! This will come up in my group shortly. Is there any rule that says a caster of Summon Nature's Ally (or Summon Monster, for that matter), can only have creatures summoned from one active spell at a time? In other words, a 7th level caster summons 3 stirges on round one of combat. He used a 3rd level Summon spell to do so. These creatures will last 7 rounds before disappearing. Is there a rule that says this caster can't cast another summon spell on the following round, adding additional creatures to the battle? What about casting this spell 3 or more times in a row? I can't find any rule that prohibits doing so. If there is such a rule, can someone point it out to me? Thank you in advance.

RAW no, there is nothing that prevents it.

Some tables use it as a house rule, particularly when you have a large party to speed up game play and prevent 1 character from hogging all the time.

Liberty's Edge

Yes, as Rathendar said, there is no game rule limiting the number of active summon spells or creatures. That said, house rules are reasonable in order to keep things moving along from a procedure standpoint. Factors to consider are the experience of the players and GM, as well as the preparation that the player and/or GM have put into keeping things moving smoothly, such as having statblocks ready in advance.


Rathendar, is correct, rules-as-written you can have as many active summons as you like. Just as you can have as many other active spells as you like.

Rathendar, also said some tables house rule it as well, because they can take time if not properly prepared. It's a good idea when summoning to have a crib sheet with all the information ready to go so it doesn't take up a lot of time.

Liberty's Edge

Well, that's three posts in a row that all agree. Consider this your warning that the internet will cease functioning Wednesday.


Howie23 wrote:
Well, that's three posts in a row that all agree. Consider this your warning that the internet will cease functioning Wednesday.

No it won't, the rules clearly show that it will happen Thursday 6pm. Now, we just need a developer to FAQ what time zone. :-P


No there is not, maybe you are thinking about the limitation posed to summons in general by the neverwinter nights video games.

Now on the house rule subject, i for one would be very angry if i was playing a wizard or druid and out of the blue i could only have one summoned critter out, but i always have sheets for my monsters either on hand or in my laptop and nearly never drag down the game by thinking what to do with the character(s) i control.
In our last game (at some point) we had a summoner with a cohort, a rogue (TWF), a ranger (switch hitter) with an animal companion (me) and a cleric (waste of space), you know who was dragging his feet making what to do? the cleric.


Thank you all for the responses. My DM tends to not like ideas the players come up with that are clever, original, or tend to work well. My plan is to cast several Summon Nature's Ally spells consecutively, and use higher level slots so I get multiple creatures from the first level SNA list. They would all be stirges. Each one is likely to roll a hit, and each hit Drains 1 CON with a hit/attach, then 1 CON per round automatically, for up to 4 CON total per stirge. If a single bad guy has 6, 8 or 10 stirges,(stirgi?), on him...ouch. Do the math. My DM won't like the (completely legitimate) results, and will likely make some arbitrary ruling as to why I cant do this. I'll continue this thread and let everyone know what happens next time we play. I have a 6th level Druid, btw.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The only game I play in that has a limit on summoned uses the same mechanic as Control Undead.


Striges are not likely to hit unless your GM uses really weak monsters. They also still have to make the grapple check, which is also unlikely. I would ignore them. The party is a much bigger threat, no pun intended.

Liberty's Edge

leo1925 wrote:

No there is not, maybe you are thinking about the limitation posed to summons in general by the neverwinter nights video games.

Now on the house rule subject, i for one would be very angry if i was playing a wizard or druid and out of the blue i could only have one summoned critter out, but i always have sheets for my monsters either on hand or in my laptop and nearly never drag down the game by thinking what to do with the character(s) i control.
In our last game (at some point) we had a summoner with a cohort, a rogue (TWF), a ranger (switch hitter) with an animal companion (me) and a cleric (waste of space), you know who was dragging his feet making what to do? the cleric.

I almost pointed the following out in my first post, but will do so here. A house rule limitation on this is a procedural matter, and in my case I see it as appropriate when the player(s)in question are bogging down the game due to inexperience or unwillingness to prepare. It isn't a character nerf nor rules matter. It is a procedural matter. YMMV.


@Howie23

Oh yes on that i agree, i just don't think that it's a good thing for a DM to do if one player bogs down the game.
For example if i was player a wizard and the cleric's player (i mentioned above) was playing a druid i would be really angry if the DM made such a house because he can't decide what to do, no matter what he plays.

Liberty's Edge

leo1925 wrote:

@Howie23

Oh yes on that i agree, i just don't think that it's a good thing for a DM to do if one player bogs down the game.
For example if i was player a wizard and the cleric's player (i mentioned above) was playing a druid i would be really angry if the DM made such a house because he can't decide what to do, no matter what he plays.

Just do it for the slow player. I had a new player of the type who never read the books. 14-15 years old. He wanted to play a druid. I initially limited him to a short spell list to help him manage the info overload, provided him with statblocks, and limited him to one summoned creature at a time. As he got up to speed, we added spells and option to summon more critters. It doesn't have to apply to everyone. It isn't a matter of rules being fair, it's a matter of using a procedure that is appropriate to the ability of the player and the needs of the group as a whole.


I thought that was the case as well...what's the point of stirges? Then I read their bestiary entry more closely. Take a standard troll as an example target: Touch AC of 11. A stirge attack is a +7 touch attack. That stirge need only roll a 4 for it's attack to hit. Then:

Attach (Ex)
When a stirge hits with a touch attack, its barbed legs latch onto the target, anchoring it in place. An attached stirge is effectively grappling its prey. The stirge loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and has an AC of 12, but holds on with great tenacity and inserts its proboscis into the grappled target's flesh. A stirge has a +8 racial bonus to maintain its grapple on a foe once it is attached. An attached stirge can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself—if its prey manages to win a grapple check or Escape Artist check against it, the stirge is removed.

And then:

Blood Drain (Ex)
A stirge drains blood at the end of its turn if it is attached to a foe, inflicting 1 point of Constitution damage. Once a stirge has dealt 4 points of Constitution damage, it detaches and flies off to digest the meal. If its victim dies before the stirge's appetite has been sated, the stirge detaches and seeks a new target.

When the target of a multi-stirge attack get's his action, any grapple-breaking/escape artist checks, or attacks to a stirge are attacks he is not making on a pc.

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