Summon Nature’s Ally is the druid’s version of Summon Monster, and it’s clearly the weaker of the two sets of spells. Summon Monster gets better, more diverse options, and it has received a gradually expanding list of options over time. Summon Nature’s got nothing of the sort, so the core rules present the summon options in their entirety. The bulk of the options are animals, but the list also includes vermin, elementals, and a handful of fey.

Because most of the creatures are animals, it may be important to understand the Handle Animal skill. If you want the animal to do something other than attack, you may need to use the “Push an Animal” option to make the animal go somewhere or retrieve something.

Each level of Summon Nature’s Ally is addressed below. The tables serve as a reference for the available summon options, a compilation of links to the creatures’ stat blocks, and a quick reference for the creature’s type and subtypes.

Summon Nature’s Ally I

Options at this level are weak, and at any level are likely to die to a single attack. Using them as a serious combat threat is largely impossible, but that doesn’t make these options useless. Once you have a few levels under your belt to make the duration meaningful, these options can help you and your allies flank, and they serve as excellent canon fodder for triggering traps.

If you need something to flank with, consider the dire rat, giant centipede, or eagle. If you want to kill stuff, giant centipede’s poison might work if you can summon several of them, but summoning a group of stirges will be more reliable. If you need a scout or fodder for traps, summon a Mite.

Dire ratAnimal1/3StatsCRB
Giant CentipedeVermin1/2StatsCRB
Fire BeetleVermin1/3StatsCRB
Mite (Gremlin)Fey1/4StatsCRB
Poisonous FrogAnimal1/2StatsCRB
Pony (Horse)Animal1/2StatsCRB
Viper (Snake)Animal1/2StatsCRB

Dire Rat

Small, quick, with decent AC for its CR and both swim and climb speeds. Dire rats can get around easily to fetch things, but with only +1 to hit it’s never going to hit anything, and since they’re not intelligent you can’t use them for complex tasks.


Largely the same as the dire rat, but it gives up the movement types for Scent.


Excellent swim speed and spectacular blindsight. The only aquatic option at this level.


At small size with three attacks and the ability to fly, eagles are the closest thing you’ll get to a combat option at this level. However, their maneuverability requires that they make Fly checks to hover (+10 bonus against DC 15), which can make it hard for them to remain in flanking position while aloft.

Giant Centipede

Fast with an impressive climb speed and poison with a passable DC, the giant centipede outpaces the dire rat while climbing and has more reliable poison that the viper. At medium size they may face issues fitting into small spaces, but they’re also great for blocking enemy movement.

Fire Beetle

Terrible at combat and isn’t subject to Handle Animal. Fire beetles are only interesting because they glow. Torches cost a copper piece. Go buy one.

Mite (Gremlin)

Mites have several fantastic advantages over other options at this level. They are notably the only option at this level which speaks a language, and they are the only option with Intelligence higher than 3. This means that you can command it to do something other than attacking. Unfortunately it only speaks Undercommon, so you’ll need to learn Undercommon is you plan to use this. Mites also have humanoid hands, so they can do things like open doors or retrieve items. They are also small (and can therefore flank), have 120 ft. Darkvision, low-light vision, and scent. This combination of senses makes them excellent scouts, and might even help you to pinpoint invisible foes.

Poisonous Frog

The poison does not have a high enough DC to make it meaningful. However, Pathfinder’s rules for poison state that applying the poison multiple times increases the save DC by +2. So if you summon a whole bunch of frogs and several of them manage to hit the same creature, the DC might become high enough to actually do something. Constitution damage is always scary, but even if you summon 1d4+1 frogs you’re probably still not going to do much.

Pony (Horse)

Terrible all around, and the duration of Summon Nature’s Ally isn’t long enough to make this a meaningful mount. They have a big pile of hit points so they might be good at blocking narrow spaces, but they have terrible AC so they won’t last long.


Too small to flank, but their “Attach” attack is made as a touch attack with an impressive +7 to hit. Even at high levels that high enough to reliably attach to a foe and drain a few points of Constitution. If you summon several of them you can do quite a bit of Constitution damage to troublesome foes, and force the unfortunate victim to either spend their turn addressing the stirges instead of your allies or suffer ongoing Constitution damage.

Viper (Snake)

Faster than the poisonous frog and they add a climb speed, but worse poison DC.

Summon Nature’s Ally II

Summon II brings creatures up to CR 1, but that’s a tiny increase. The options here aren’t significantly better than those of Summon Nature’s Ally I, so your best bet will frequently be to summon 1d3 creatures from the Nature’s Ally I list.

If you need something to flank with, an air elemental is a good choice for their mobility and their decent AC. If you want to kill stuff, summon 1d3 stirges. If you need a scout or trap fodder, summon 1d3 mites.

Ant, Giant (Worker)Vermin1StatsCRB
Elemental (Small)Outsider (Elemental)1StatsCRB
Giant FrogAnimal1StatsCRB
Giant SpiderVermin1StatsCRB
Goblin DogAnimal1StatsCRB

Ant, Giant (Worker)

Fast, but the attacks are worthless. Giant spider is better if you need something with a climb speed.

Elemental (Small)

Fast and versatile with a variety of movement types available, but their attacks aren’t very good, with the exception of the earth elemental. At this level, earth elementals are a surprisingly good option. Their attack bonus and damage are respectable, provided that their target is also on the ground, so if you need a no-frills pet fighter, the small earth elemental is a solid choice1. Don’t forget that they have power attack. Their stat block doesn’t apply Power Attack by default, so you need to command them to use it. Because small elementals only have one natural weapon attack, it works like a two-handed weapon so they get the extra 50% damage from Power Attack.

Giant Frog

Medium size, a swim speed, and decent grappling. This could be a good way to lock down single foes like enemy spellcasters. The frog’s tongue is used as a touch attack, which means it can reliably grapple many foes despite high AC.

Giant Spider

Decent speed and a climb speed, but the giant spider’s attacks are weak and the poison doesn’t do enough damage to make it worthwhile. The real appeak is the Web special attack which can be used repeatedly to entangle your foes. It’s a touch attack, so even at just a +5 attack bonus the Giant Spider can reliably hit foes of almost any level.

Goblin Dog

Pitiful attacks and damage, and the save DC on Allergic Reaction is terrible.


The duration is too short to use this as a mount, and the horse’s attacks are terrible.


Strictly better than the wolf, the hyena gets +3 to its attacks and CMB, but is otherwise largely identical. Unfortunately that’s still not very good.


Smaller, weaker, and slower than the squid. The octopus’s only advantage is its mediocre poison. Octopi can move around on land, unlike squids, but if you’re on land you should find something better than an octopus. If you need a summon which can quickly move between water and land, consider the giant frog.


Your go-to underwater option, the squid is a decent grappler despite its relatively poor stats.


Despite its CR, the wolf is really underwhelming. +2 to its only attack roll is very unreliable, and its +2 CMB will mean that it will nearly never succeed at tripping.

Summon Nature’s Ally III

Summon III increases the CR of creatures to CR 2. At this stage the options start to become more diverse and interesting, and they become more useful as actual combat threats.

For direct damage, go for Leopard. Crocodile is your best grappler, but 1d3 squids may be more effective in the water. 1d4+1 stirges remains a tempting option, especially against enemies with a ton of AC and hit points.

Ant, Giant (Soldier)Animal2StatsCRB
Aurochs (Herd Animal)Animal2StatsCRB
Constrictor SnakeAnimal2StatsCRB
Dire BatAnimal2StatsCRB
Electric EelAnimal2StatsCRB
Giant CrabAnimal2StatsCRB
Leopard (Cat)Animal2StatsCRB
Monitor LizardAnimal2StatsCRB

Ant, Giant (Soldier)

Adding poison doesn’t do enough to make the giant ant a meaningful combat threat. Worker ants weren’t scary with Summon Nature’s Ally II, and their attack bonuses don’t change when they become a soldier ant, so they will face additional challenges trying to hit enemies which are now stronger and more resilient.


Despite their size and strength, apes are weak. Their attack bonus is just +3, and their CMB is worse than that of the Giant Frog. They have the advantage of human-like hands, but if you need something with hands you’ll be better served by 1d4+1 mites.

Aurochs (Herd Animal)

Aurochs are good because of Trample. That is all that you need from them.


Boars are dangerous because of their Ferocity trait, but combining their negative hit points with their normal hit point pool makes them only slightly more durable than the options on the Summon Monster I list. Their attacks and AC are both weak, so the boar won’t even work as a passable combat threat.


Fast with three attacks and trip. Not a terrible option, but summoning 1d3 hyenas may be more likely to trip foes simply because they can make more CMB attempts.

Constrictor Snake

Slow, but with both climb and swim speeds. Constrictor snakes are good grapplers, and their constrict damage is threatening. However, if you don’t need the climb speed a crocodile has better numbers for similar tricks.


Crocodiles are great at grabbing one foe and locking them down. Their attack bonus is good and their damage is decent, and with Grab and Death Roll they can really take control of a grapple and keep enemies from escaping.

Dire Bat

Blindsense will allow the dire bat to locate invisible foes, which might be helpful, but otherwise it’s unremarkable.

Electric Eel

Even in the water this is terrible.

Giant Crab

Comparable to the crocodile, but it gets two chances to grab rather than one. I think the crocodile’s better damage output is the better of the two options.

Giant Crab is notably exclusive to Summon Nature’s Ally, so everyone else using Summon Monster can’t summon giant crabs. You should feel special.

Leopard (Cat)

If you just want to kill something, the leopard is your best bet at this level. Three attacks, pounce, and rake will produce impressive damage output.

Monitor Lizard

The poison isn’t meaningful because of the long onset, and crocodiles will do better at grappling.


Decent damage, but that’s about it. 1d3 squids will do comparable damage and can easily grapple foes to keep them from counter-attacking.


Decent damage once rage starts, but the leopard does comparable damage without needing to take damage first.

Summon Nature’s Ally IV

For the first time since Summon I, there is some variation in the CR of your summon options. At this level, Summon Monster and Summon Nature’s Ally beginning to deviate more significantly in their summon options, with Summon Monster introducing more outsiders and Summon Nature’s Ally getting a few more exclusive animal options in addition to magical beasts and fey.

The first fey we’ve seen in a while, satyrs are without a doubt the best option on the list for Summon Nature’s Ally IV. Pipes provides an area-effect save-or-suck effect from a list diverse enough to cover most foes, complemented by the satyr’s spell-like abilities. If those options aren’t appealing, you have a variety of excellent combat options. In the air, Griffons are your go-to option. Medium air elementals can lift enemies off the ground and drop them, but due to the low DC your may be best-served by reserving that option for encounters with numerous weak foes. On the ground, giant scorpions, grizzly bears, owlbears, and tigers all make excellent melee combatants with interesting tradeoffs allowing you to select an option which suits the encounter.

Ant, Giant (Drone)Vermin3StatsCRB
Bison (herd animal)Animal4StatsCRB
Deinonychus (Dinosaur)Animal3StatsCRB
Dire ApeAnimal3StatsCRB
Dire BoarAnimal4StatsCRB
Dire WolfAnimal3StatsCRB
Elemental (Medium)Outsider (Elemental)3StatsCRB
Giant ScorpionVermin3StatsCRB
Giant Stag BeetleVermin4StatsCRB
Giant WaspVermin3StatsCRB
GriffonMagical Beast4StatsCRB
Grizzly BearAnimal4StatsCRB
Mephit (Any)Outsider (Varies)3StatsCRB
OwlbearMagical Beast4StatsCRB
Pteranodon (Dinosaur)Animal3StatsCRB

Giant Ant, Drone

Adding flight and improved stats makes the giant ant a decent threat. The combination of grab and flight means that it can lift enemies into the air and drop them, or fly over other enemies to reach vulnerable foes fighting at a distance.

Bison (Herd Animal)

Much like the aurochs, bison are good for their Trample ability. The DC is 3 higher than that of the Aurochs, and it’s unlikely that enemies have increased their save bonuses by 3 in the levels it took you to go from Summon Nature’s Ally III to IV.

Deinonychus (Dinosaur)

With four attacks and pounce, the deinonychus is a decent combat options. However, the Griffon has similar damage output, better attack bonuses, and can fly, making the deinonychus redundant.

Dire Ape

Three decent attacks, large size, rend, and a climb speed. A good option to throw between you an something scary, though their AC is poor so their hit points will drop quickly.

Dire Boar

A big pile of hit points, especially when supplemented by Ferocity. At large size with one big attack, the Dire Boar is a good tank and their opportunity attacks are decent. However, their AC is poor and all that they can do offensively is damage so they’re not versatile in the slightest.

Dire Wolf

I was really hoping that the Dire Wolf would be a decent way to trip stuff, but with just +8 CMB they’re not especially reliable. You also need to hit with the dire wolf’s single mediocre attack to trigger Trip. Overall you’re getting very little damage with an unreliable chance of tripping things.

Elemental (Medium)

At this level elementals’ abilities have a decent DC which some creatures might actually fail. Air elements can use their Whirlwind to lift enemies into the air and drop them, while fire elementals can inflict ongoing damage with Burn.

Giant Scorpion

Giant scorpions are horrifying combat monsters. Two claw attacks with a good CMB being Grab, and their poison DC is high enough to actually matter. The Strength damage will reduce enemies’ CMB and CMD, which means that the scorpion will gradually overcome enemies in a grapple as their Strength gradually fails.

Giant Stag Beetle

I have no idea how this thing is CR 4. The dire boar is largely the same thing, but the giant stag beetle doesn’t have Ferocity so its total pool of hitpoints os smaller.

Giant Wasp

Despite its better sting damage and higher poison DC, the giant wasp is actually worse than the giant ant drone.


A flying pounce monster, griffons have decent attacks with good damage. If you just want to hit stuff and kill it in a hurry, griffon is a great option.

Grizzly Bear

Thanks to grab, the grizzly bear mostly competes with the Giant Scorpion in terms of their combat function. Their stat lines are so similar that I can’t figure out why Grizzly Bear is CR 4 but the Giant Scorpion is only CR 3. For your purposes, the question becomes whether you want the base numerical advantage of the bear (+1 CMB compared to the scorpion and 5 more hit points) of you want the poison damage on the scorpion’s sting.


Basically just a worse version of the tiger.

Mephit (any)

Mephits are mostly terrible. THeir breath weapons are weak, and their fast healing won’t matter because the duration of Summon Nature’s Ally is so short. The big draw of Mephits is their spell-like abilities, which can get you access to some useful spells which you may not have prepared or which aren’t on your spell list. Unfortunately these spells tend to be at most 2nd-level, so buying some scrolls is probably a better choice.


The owlbear and the grizzly bear are mostly identical with some numbers shuffled around. Owlbears have better attack bonus and CMB, but grizzly bears deal more damage. The choice between the two mostly comes down to personal preference.

Pteranodon (Dinosaur)

I have no idea how these are CR 3. They’re terrible.


You’ll get better damage out of a charge from a tiger or griffon, and after the charge your tiger or griffon will continue to be scary.


I’m not sure if you get to summon the Satyr with their pipes, but I think that you do because the pipes are part of their stat block and therefore their CR. If that’s the case, satyrs are without question the best option at this level. They speak Common, which means that you can issue commands verbally. You can command them to use their pipes round one, then follow up on subsequent rounds with their spell-like abilities.


Compared to the grizzly bear, the tiger trades some durability for improved damage output via Rake. Compared to the griffon, the tiger trades the ability to fly to get Grab. Combining Grab and Rake is powerful, and if you can do without the Griffon’s mobility the tiger is a great option.

Summon Nature’s Ally V

This level adds access to giants. It’s tempting to use big strong humanoids, especially because you can speak to them to issue commands, but their stats generally put them behind comparable animals.

The ankylosaurus stands out as a perfect tank, and holds that distinction for a long time. In the water, the giant moray eel comes to the forefront. For straight damage the woolly rhinoceros is decent, but you may still prefer 1d3 things from the previous list. Satyrs still win out as a magical option for a one-shot save-or-suck, and having 1d3 of them means 1d3 attempts to put enemies to sleep.

Ankylosaurus (Dinosaur)Animal6StatsCRB
CyclopsHumanoid (Giant)5StatsCRB
Dire LionAnimal5StatsCRB
Dolphin (Orca)Animal5StatsCRB
Elemental (Large)Outsider (Elemental)5StatsCRB
EttinHumanoid (Giant)6StatsCRB
Giant Moray EelAnimal5StatsCRB
GirallonMagical Beast6StatsCRB
ManticoreMagical Beast5StatsCRB
Woolly RhinocerosAnimal6StatsCRB


A single attack with a good attack bonus and decent damage, but the real appeal of the ankylosaurus is as crowd control. Their Stun ability (which dazes foes rather than stunning them) is devastating. It’s as effective as Power Word Stun and has a startling high DC of 23. And they can do it on every attack, including attacks of opportunity. At huge size with 15 ft. reach they can lock down huge sections of a battlefield and keep at least one enemy dazed perpetually until you get around to killing it. On top of all of that, the ankylosaurus has a decent AC and a big pool of hit points so it can keep on fighting for a long time.


It’s super weird that giants are options on this list. The cyclops doesn’t really do anything that you need. Its stats aren’t great and it doesn’t have any cool special abilities except Flash of Insight. You might be able to do something interesting handing the Cyclops a powerful weapon and making it use Flash of Insight to get a guaranteed natural 20 on an attack roll, but they still need to confirm the critical hit so that may not work out as well as you’d hope.

Dire Lion

A linear improvement on the lion and the tiger, dire lion doesn’t add much additonal damage, but adds a bunch of extra attack bonus and hit points.

Dolphin (Orca)

120 ft. blindsight is great for finding hidden foes, but orcas are aquatic, their attacks are mediocre, and they don’t speak, so at best they can find a hidden enemy and chomp at them impotently until you decide what else to do about them.

Elemental (Large)

Large elementals gain a second slam attack, making fire elementals a considerably more useful option because they now have twice as much opportunity to trigger Burn for ongoing damage against difficult foes. Air elementals remain the most relevant option for their ability to use Whirlwind to lift enemies into the air and drop them.


Thanks its total of four flail attacks, the ettin has decent damage output. You could reasonably even tell the ettin to trip or disarm enemies. But with relatively low AC and hit points the ettin may go down quickly if enemies decide that the ettin is a problem.

Giant Moray Eel

Excellent in the water, the giant moray eel is a fantastic grappler. Grab and Gnaw provide excellent damage output while grappling, and Gnaw allows the eel to make an additional secondary bit for a little bit more damage.


Passable damage thanks to its numerous attacks, but it needs to hit with all four claw attacks to rend, and the individual damage on each attack isn’t great.


The manticore’s biggest trick is its ability to launch spikes. But the spikes don’t do a ton of damage and the attack bonus isn’t great. Instead of summoning a mediocre archer, why not summon creatures closer to whatever you’re fighting?

Woolly Rhinoceros

Combining the benefits of the rhinoceros and the aurochs, the woolly rhinoceros does a does a file of damage on a charge, then follows it up on successive rounds by using Trample to knock foes prone and back away.

Summon Nature’s Ally VI

This levels adds nothing conceptually new, but options continue to improve.

The giant octopus outpaces the giant moray eel in the water. The stegosaurus arguably gives the ankylosaurus a run for its money, but 1d3 ankylosaurus stuns will probably be more effective than just knocking enemies prone. For straight damage, the dire tiger is nice and murdery.

BuletteMagical Beast7StatsCRB
Dire BearAnimal7StatsCRB
Dire TigerAnimal8StatsCRB
Elasmosaurus (Dinosaur)Animal7StatsCRB
Elemental (Huge)Elemental (Outsider)7StatsCRB
Giant OctopusAnimal8StatsCRB
Hill GiantHumanoid (Giant)StatsCRB
Stegosaurus (Dinosaurus)Animal7StatsCRB
Stone GiantHumanoid (Giant)8StatsCRB
Triceratops (Dinosaur)Animal8StatsCRB


The burrow speed looks tempting, but since you can’t directly command the bulette there’s no guarantee that you can use it meaningfully. Leap is neat but not very effective. Dire Tiger will likely work better.

Dire Bear

Dire tiger has all of the same attacks, but has better attack bonuses and damage, and adds pounce and rake.

Dire Tiger

Your go-to murder machine. All of the appeal of the tiger, but bigger and with more damage.

Elasmosaurus (dinosaur)

A huge bag of hitpoints, but underwhelming damage. Summoning 1d3 Giant Moray Eels will almost certainly work better.

Elemental (Huge)

Another linear improvement to elementals. The air elemental’s whirlwind continues to be a good option, but other elementals lag behind other comparable options.


Another vehicle for Trample. The damage isn’t any better than the Woolly Rhinoceros, but the DC is better.

Giant Octopus

A fantastic grappler, the giant octopus applies grab on 8 tentacle attacks, making it largely guaranteed that the octopus will be able to start a grapple. The octopus’s poison does 1d3 Strength damage, so any protracted fight against the octopus will lead to the target gradually losing its ability to fight off the octopus’s grapple.

Hill Giant

The only interesting thing that the hill giant can do for you is throw rocks, which the stone giant can do better.

Stegosaurus (Dinosaur)

Decent damage on a single attack, and impressive +19 CMB behind Trip.

Stone Giant

The only interesting thing that the hill giant can do for you is throw rocks, which isn’t very useful.

Triceratops (Dinosaur)

A bigger, scalier version of the woolly rhinoceros, the triceratops adds more damage but uses all of the same tricks.

Summon Nature’s Ally VII

In the water your best option is the dire shark. On land, 1d4+1 ankylosauri and 1d3 stegosauri continue to be great options, but the dire crocodile outpaces everything available as a grappler. For straight damage, consider 1d3 dire tigers or a fire giant.

Brachiosaurus (dinosaur)Animal10StatsCRB
Dire CrocodileAnimal9StatsCRB
Dire SharkAnimal9StatsCRB
Elemental (Greater)Outsider (Elemental)9StatsCRB
Fire GiantHumanoid (Giant)10StatsCRB
Frost GiantHumanoid (Giant)9StatsCRB
Giant SquidAnimal9StatsCRB
Mastadon (Elephant)Animal9StatsCRB
Tyrannosaurus (dinosaur)Animal9StatsCRB

Brachiosaurus (dinosaur)

Yet another trample vehicle, with a DC of 32 almost nothing is going to avoid the brachiosaurus’s trample.

Dire Crocodile

Though its direct damage isn’t great for this level, the dire crocodile’s grab and impressive +30 CMB while grappling makes it a fantastic grappler.

Dire Shark

Grab and swallow whole make a great combination. Nothing you can summon can compete with the dire shark in the water.

Elemental (Greater)

The air elemental continues to be useful due to Whirlwind.

Fire Giant

The fire giant has the best straight damage output of the options available to you at this level, but the dire crocodile’s ability to grapple will likely make it a more meaningful addition to combat.

Frost Giant

Fire giant is strictly better unless immunity to cold or fire matters.

Giant Squid

While it’s not a bad option on its own, the dire shark is a better grappler and will do more damage than the giant squid can.

Mastodon (Elephant)

Yet another trample vehicle, but the brachiosaurus’s DC and damage are higher.


Flight and grab, combined with gargantuan size, mean that the roc can pick up enemies, carry them into the air, and drop them. Usually you want to use an air elemental to do this because they can do it to a group, but the roc may work better against small foes with good savingt throws.

Tyrannosaurus (Dinosaur)

The dire crocodile fills largely the same role, and the addition of Death Roll makes it a better option.

Summon Nature’s Ally VIII

At this level, Summon Monster and Summon Nature’s Ally completely deviate.

Purple worm beats out the dire crocodile as a grappler, and the cloud giant outpaces the fire giant’s damage output, but summoning 1d3 of anything from the Summon Nature’s Ally VII list is usually going to be a better option solely due to the volume of attacks.

Cloud GiantHumanoid (Giant)11StatsCRB
Elemental (Elder)Outsider (Elemental)11StatsCRB
Purple WormMagical Beast12StatsCRB

Cloud Giant

In terms of straight damage, the cloud giant is your best option at this level. If you need your summon to tackle multiple foes, this is your best bet.

Elemental (Elder)

The biggest DC jump we’ve seen in a while, the air elemental’s Whirlwind DC caps at 27.

Purple Worm

A fantastic grappler with the addition of swallow whole and Strength poison.

Summon Nature’s Ally IX

Storm Giant is the only meaningful addition at this level, and 1d3 cloud giants will frequently be more effective due to the additional volume of attacks. In many cases 1d4+1 things from the Summon Nature’s Ally VII list will be your best bet.

Pixie (w/irresistible dance and sleep arrows)Fey4StatsCRB
Storm GiantHumanoid (Giant)13StatsCRB

Pixie (w/irresistible dance and sleep arrows)

At this level the pixie’s attack bonus won’t hit anything and the saving throw on irresistible dance won’t affect anything.

Storm Giant

An excellent combatant, but the ability to summon multiple cloud giants likely makes the storm giant irrelevant.


  • Spell Focus: Required for more interesting spells.

    • Augment Summoning: At low levels, +4 Strength and the resulting +2 to attacks and damage are a significant boost for summoned creatures. The number won’t matter as much at later levels where you’re typically relying less on teeth and claws, but Augment Summoning remains the foundation of improving Summon spells at any level.

      • Evolved Summoned Monster: Only works on Summon Monster, unfortunately.

      • Ferocious Summons: Essentially 10 more hit points for your monsters. Nice, but not essential.

      • Superior Summoning: At most levels, summoning multiple creatures from lower-level lists is a good idea, especially with Augment Summoning buffing their stats. Adding one more creature summoned makes this an even better option.
    • Moonlight Summons: Helpful for overcoming DR, but very situational.

    • Starlight Summons: Helpful for overcoming DR, but very situational.

    • Sunlight Summons: Helpful for overcoming DR, but very situational.

Magic Items

Ring of Natural Attunement (Drake)

This ring fills some useful gaps in Summon Monster V and VI, but provides terrible options on the outer ranges of the ring’s effect. Overall, I don’t think it’s worth the cost of the item.

  1. Forest Drake: Griffons are faster and have better damage output, but are otherwise numerically very similar. The Forest Drake’s only selling point over the Griffon is its breath weapon, which honestly isn’t very interesting.
  1. Shadow Drake: I don’t know why a CR 2 is added alongside a CR 4 with comparable abilities.
  1. Flame Drake: Summon Nature’s Ally V lacks a solid flying option. Flame Drake is a strong, durable flyer and has the added utility of its breath weapon. With its range, damage, and AOE the Flame Drake is functionally casting fireball as a 5th-level spell every 1d6 rounds.
  1. Frost Drake: Like Summon Nature’s Ally V, Summon Nature’s Ally VI lacks a good flying option, and drakes fill the niche nicely. The Frost Drake sacrifices much of the Flame Drake’s range, but gets better damage and also creates an area of difficult terrain, adding some useful utility to what is otherwise a summoned wand of fireball.
  1. Desert Drake: The Desert Drake’s damage is no better than the Frost Drake’s, and the obscuring mist effect seems lackluster 8 spell levels after you learned to cast Obscuring Mist.

Ring of Natural Attunement (Kami)

The options stretch across a wide range of summon levels, so it feels meaningful at almost any character level.

This ring is especially useful for high-level druids and shamans. The Zuishin can cast a number of healing spells which provide considerably more healing than you could do on your own with the same spell slot. Unfortunately, the prohibition on summoned creatures casting spells with expensive material components makes some of the summons less powerful than they look at first glance.

  1. Shikigami : Summon Nature’s Ally II has almost no useful options, so despite the Shikigami’s terrible damage output it’s still the most powerful and dangerous thing you can summon.
  1. Kodama: Decent damage and some potentially useful special abilities, but I don’t think it competes with the raw combat ability of the anklosaurus.
  1. Zuishin: Summon a pet cleric. It can cast Heal 1/day, plus a bunch of other spells. Unfortunately, it can’t cast spells like Breath of Life or Raise Dead because they have expensive material components, but you’ll still get more out of the Zuishin than casting Heal on your own. If you don’t know what else to do with it, it can cast Cure Light Wounds at will, so it can spend the spell’s rounds/level duration doing that. Still not sold? It gets three attacks with a +1 Holy Composite Longbow, which makes it comparable to a fire giant so long as your enemies are evil.
  1. Toshigami: 8 attacks with its quarterstaff and Touch of Ages can deal a ton of ability drain. It also has decent AC, a good pool of hits points, DR, and Fast Healing, so it’s going to stick around for the duration of the spell. It also has some impressive spell-like abilities including Time Stop 1/day and Cure Moderate Wounds usable at will. Sadly, Greater Restoration off limits due to the expensive material component, but you can still send it around to heal your friends at the end of a fight.

Ring of Natural Attunement (Leshy)

The biggest issue with Leshies is their terrible special ability DCs. If there were some way to improve them, this ring would be fantastic.

  1. Leaf: More annoying than scary, but you can summon a bunch of them to try really hard to deafen enemies.
  1. Gourd: Entangle would be great if the DC were better.
  1. Fungus: Spores would be great if the DC were better.
  1. Seaweed: Air Cyst allows you to affect four creatures with Water Breathing for ten minutes. Water Breathing is a 3rd-level spell with a duration measured in 2 hours/level.