Summoned Animals


Rules Questions


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Spell Text:
Summon Minor Monster

This spell functions as summon monster I, except you can summon 1d3 Tiny or smaller animals, such as bats, lizards, monkeys, rats, ravens, toads, or weasels. The summoned animals must all be the same type of creature. As with animals summoned with summon monster I, you may apply one alignment-appropriate template to these animals.

Summon Monster

This spell summons an extraplanar creature (typically an outsider, elemental, or magical beast native to another plane). It appears where you designate and acts immediately, on your turn. It attacks your opponents to the best of its ability. If you can communicate with the creature, you can direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions. The spell conjures one of the creatures from the 1st Level list on Table 10–1. You choose which kind of creature to summon, and you can choose a different one each time you cast the spell.

A summoned monster cannot summon or otherwise conjure another creature, nor can it use any teleportation or planar travel abilities. Creatures cannot be summoned into an environment that cannot support them. Creatures summoned using this spell cannot use spells or spell-like abilities that duplicate spells with expensive material components (such as wish).

When you use a summoning spell to summon a creature with an alignment or elemental subtype, it is a spell of that type. Creatures on Table 10–1 marked with an “*” are summoned with the celestial template, if you are good, and the fiendish template, if you are evil. If you are neutral, you may choose which template to apply to the creature. Creatures marked with an “*” always have an alignment that matches yours, regardless of their usual alignment. Summoning these creatures makes the summoning spell's type match your alignment.

I tried to use summon minor monster to summon 1d3 bats and have them use aid another. I'm a witch with the Feral Speech hex and can communicate, unfortunately the DM said that only trained animals can use tactics. So what exactly are the "Other Actions" you can command things to do if you speak their language?


Roshan wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

I tried to use summon minor monster to summon 1d3 bats and have them use aid another. I'm a witch with the Feral Speech hex and can communicate,...

DM was houseruling. Wolves use trip, flanking, etc which are tactics.

Bats can swarm together so aid another seems possible.

Grand Lodge

Yes, but bat's do not necessarily do that. They can do their normal tactics which would be swarm attacking, NOT aid another. (I am the GM that he is referring to.)


If you want "command" an animal i.e Intelligence 2 or lower (even celestial or fiendish), you must use skill Handle animal.

As summoned animal is not a trained animal (a trained animal has learned 3 tricks by point of Int), you must push it with skill Handle animal DC 25 +2 (If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage).
You have the list of tricks an animal may perform, and "aid another" is NOT one of this tricks.
Action: Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while “pushing” an animal is a full-round action.

Feral Speech is no use for that.


tatics: an animal will use as everybody of all tactics i.e all that is written in chapter Combat.
It's acceptable that the animal uses of aid another with its ally if it doesn't succeed to hit well.

Grand Lodge

Thank you Defraeter, but I don't think he needs to push the Summoned animal, since it will fight to the best of it's ability. In that respect it will not react like a normal animal. Other than that, if the character can speak to animals (which the character in question can) he can direct it not to attack, use a skill that it has (such as a gorilla using intimidate) or other actions that it would normally know how to do.

Aid another is too complex to explain to an animal, especially on the fly in combat.

I may allow the animals to offer a circumstance bonus to attack based on the distraction caused be them swarming, but not the +6 conceivably offered by 3 aid another checks.


Roshan wrote:
I tried to use summon minor monster to summon 1d3 bats and have them use aid another. I'm a witch with the Feral Speech hex and can communicate, unfortunately the DM said that only trained animals can use tactics. So what exactly are the "Other Actions" you can command things to do if you speak their language?

Anything the GM agrees to? Animal behavior is not subject to RAW, that is a purely GM call. The bats can do "other actions." Some GMs would allow them to Aid Another. Some might not. You cannot get the answer you want here, you have to ask your GM.


Aeshuura wrote:

Thank you Defraeter, but I don't think he needs to push the Summoned animal, since it will fight to the best of it's ability. In that respect it will not react like a normal animal. Other than that, if the character can speak to animals (which the character in question can) he can direct it not to attack, use a skill that it has (such as a gorilla using intimidate) or other actions that it would normally know how to do.

Aid another is too complex to explain to an animal, especially on the fly in combat.

A summoned animal will fight effectively to the best of it's ability. I've never said the contrary.

When summoned in combat, an animal will use spontaneously the trick "Attack" on the closest ennemy.
And if an animal has a skill it may use in a combat, like Intimidate, it may use it (the same for trip or other).

But, speak with animal doesn't mean the animal will understand the order of the summoner like "aid the fighter in red to attack with an aid another...".

If you want the animal do another action than "fight the closest ennemy", you have to do a "push an animal".


If an animal has 3 or more in Intelligence (case for animal companion with +1 in intelligence or animal with spell Fox's Cunning cast on it), he may understand (if not too complex) if you speak to him with Feral speech.

If an animal has 2 or less, standard case, if friendly (case of summoned), it may do some favor or services for you outside combat if you can "speak with animal"...and if it understands. It's at least a full-round action of speech...

Grand Lodge

I see what you were saying. I misunderstood the "Push an Animal" comment.


Obviously, all the viewpoints I just read were valid, but I'd like to toss this in.

It all comes down to balance, right? Aeshuura, does it really seem that out of balance for a creature to forego its attack to give another a +2, even if these bonuses stack? Mathematically, they are exchanging a chance to do any damage at all for a 10% greater chance that someone else might. AND they still have to make the skill-check in order to succeed. There are a lot of bats who may fail. Best case scenario, a single character will have a grand total of +30% {+6} to hit, once a round for the spell's duration. My question for you is: Does that seem like a reasonable and balanced expenditure of a First Level Spell? Remember, they could be {in the best case scenario} hitting 3 times per round, as well. AND the Summoner must spend her/his actions on 'Pushing' them -- no small price.

Additionally, in reference to the 'abilities of bats' as discussed, is it really that far from believable that a group of bats could work together? Animals do those sorts of things all the time, even in our world. Keep in mind, too, that these bats have the aid of an extremely intelligent being actively able to give them instructions in a language they understand. Yes, a 1 Intelligence is a 1 Intelligence, and I get that, but there are, at the very least, extenuating circumstances at hand in this situation that may have allowed the character to succeed in his attempt without unduly tipping balance in any direction.

And as a game-master/player with extensive experience in arguing all sides of all these points, I'd like to suggest that it is usually going to be better for all involved to side with, and not thwart, a player WHERE BALANCE IS UNAFFECTED. My point being that your player, a good friend of yours, presumably, came here because HE CARED about the outcome of the battle and his character's continued life and well-being. Allowing that spark to dim over a stacking Aid Another action seems a waste.

On the other side of the coin, I can definitely imagine being in your situation and making the same call. It could be interpreted as an 'exploit', whereby Summon Minor Montser {Multi-Creature} is subbed for Summon Monster I {typically One-Creature} for the purpose of maximizing creatures, in turn for the purpose of maximizing the Aid Another bonus. But all-in-all, I think this is a BALANCED and excellent usage of a turn {and there's always only ONE turn}, and this sort of heroic thinking should be rewarded and not curtailed.

But of course, this is just an opinion...


An animal, even a vermin may use of all actions listed in section combat as 5ft-step, aid another, combat maneuver, withdraw, etc... They may use cover/concealment to gain advantage or protect them, will search to flank, etc... These mechanisms have nothing to do with intelligence. And EVERYBODY may use it, even a skeleton.
That's not tactics.

But, too often, players forget than an animal is just an animal and want "manipulate" them as they could manipulate an human NPC cohort.
There is a skill which exists and that is done for that: it's called Handle Animal.
An animal is often strong, but it's less easy to manipulate.

After, as i said, if an animal/vermin doesn't succeed to hit, it's acceptable that it searchs to make an aid another to help one of its ally to hit. And the first animal may communicate to the others of its species the information.
Even a "no brain" knows if it has a chance to hit or not.
As "tactic", the animal will search the closest ally or an ally with which it could do a flank too.
You see too the summoned animal knows who are its ally. It's "included" in the spell.

After, the animal will do aid another with the closest of its ally... if you want another thing, you've to "push".

I don't search "the player's spark dims over", but it's too easy to forget some of the rules, because "i am a summoner and i don't want to invest in the skill handle animal because this skill has no use in game and i prefer invest in perception because this skill is the best of the game...".

A summoned animal is often a good choice of summon but it's "less practical" than an outsider with which you share the same language.

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