Can Summon Animal summon a Swarm?


Rules Discussion


Hello!

I have a question that I didn't manage to find on the forums yet.

I am creating a wizard sheet and summons are a thing that I feel that can be useful for many situations.

Even tho the character is a necromancer, the summon animal spell seemed to fulfill that utility that I have been seeking.

Thing is: The theme of the character fits a lot with summoning swarm of insects to attack the enemies.

When I asked my GM he wasn't sure if Summon Animal could summon a swarm and my logic pointed me that since a Swarm is a creature with an animal trait and common it is inside what the spell says.

But then the swarm says that it's a large monster composed by tiny creatures.

So. Can you people help on how to handle this?

Do a Swarm count as a single creature for the spell or not?

Thank you in advance!


Since the whole swarm is the creature and that creature has the Animal trait (as long as it's made of animals) it should be usable with the Summon Animal spell.

The spell summons a creature, not a single animal of the creature in this case.


masda_gib wrote:

Since the whole swarm is the creature and that creature has the Animal trait (as long as it's made of animals) it should be usable with the Summon Animal spell.

The spell summons a creature, not a single animal of the creature in this case.

If "a creature" is a game term meaning an entry in the Bestiary or a single set of stats, then you are correct.

If it's the normal "one being", a single animal, then a swarm does not qualify and couldn't be summoned.
I do not have a Paizo answer, and would lean toward "no" except for one thing: the power levels of PF2 creatures are finely tuned so it shouldn't throw off any battle to bring in a level X swarm any more than another creature of level X.

When a creature may skew balance, it's typically given the Uncommon trait. Hence the Golems (which are quite common in adventures) being Uncommon.


There's no separate "Summon Swarm" spell as there was in PF1. I don't see why you couldn't summon a swarm of the appropriate level using Summon Animal.


Any chances of a Paizo person answer? XD


Joutsenlaulu wrote:
Any chances of a Paizo person answer? XD

The chance of that happening is functionally zero.


Joutsenlaulu wrote:
Any chances of a Paizo person answer? XD

If enough people talk about it it may end up in an FAQ eventually. But typically the devs don't chime in on rules questions unless they are rules the devs are specifically interested in feedback in at the moment (like the playtest rules they're using right now).

For what it's worth you have the right interpretation here IMO. The summon animal spell says "You summon a common creature that has the animal trait and whose level is –1.". If you look at the start of the Bestiary it has lots of rules talking about the thing defined in a stat block as a singular creature.

I will admit that the swarm trait definition in the appendix does use "creature" in the colloquial sense, referring to the individual animals of the swarm, and calls the collective swarm a monster instead, which muddies things up. However, I'm fairly sure that sometimes monster is just a subset of creature (all monsters are creatures as well), and sometimes the two are used interchangeably, depending on context and the writer's preference. This means that anything which affects a creature can also affect monsters, summon spells included.


Castilliano wrote:
masda_gib wrote:

Since the whole swarm is the creature and that creature has the Animal trait (as long as it's made of animals) it should be usable with the Summon Animal spell.

The spell summons a creature, not a single animal of the creature in this case.

If "a creature" is a game term meaning an entry in the Bestiary or a single set of stats, then you are correct.

If it's the normal "one being", a single animal, then a swarm does not qualify and couldn't be summoned.

Well, "creature" is a game term.

A question: If you hit a rat swarm with a sword, do you deal hitpoint damage to the whole swarm or do you have to hit every rat seperately?
Because the Strike action also targets one "creature".

If you can strike the whole swarm with one hit then you can also summon the whole swarm. Otherwise I a curious how you fight swarms.


masda_gib wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
masda_gib wrote:

Since the whole swarm is the creature and that creature has the Animal trait (as long as it's made of animals) it should be usable with the Summon Animal spell.

The spell summons a creature, not a single animal of the creature in this case.

If "a creature" is a game term meaning an entry in the Bestiary or a single set of stats, then you are correct.

If it's the normal "one being", a single animal, then a swarm does not qualify and couldn't be summoned.

Well, "creature" is a game term.

A question: If you hit a rat swarm with a sword, do you deal hitpoint damage to the whole swarm or do you have to hit every rat seperately?
Because the Strike action also targets one "creature".

If you can strike the whole swarm with one hit then you can also summon the whole swarm. Otherwise I a curious how you fight swarms.

It's obvious that mechanically the swarm is one entity and colloquially & in the narrative it's many entities. I never argued to treat the swarm mechanically as multiple entities so it seems you're being hyperbolic or creating a strawman for the sake of arguing...with somebody who agreed with you. Odd that.

I later said that because of the excellent game balance in PF2, it should be okay to summon a swarm (especially since swarms now lack weapon immunity or some other wild card ability).
Given the usage of "creature" to reference entries in the Bestiary and stat blocks, it also seems PFS-safe to summon swarms. If a ruling countered that, I'd understand since I see both interpretations of the wording as reasonable and valid.
Hopefully if a later swarm had any awkward abilities, Paizo would tag them Uncommon anyway.


Castilliano wrote:

(many things)

Sorry if my post sounded aggressive, this wasn't my intent. :|

I just wanted to say if one ruled otherwise because the wording, a whole lot of other strange things would also be affected.
If a concrete ruling would make swarms unsummonable, that would be somthing else. But as you said, now that low-level swarms are more balanced there is not really a reason.

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