Throughout the campaigns that have been created, either through homebrewed pieces of art from Dungeon Masters to the published material by the Wizard of the Coast, Animals are a major part of the storytelling. It shows that the world is alive and has many aspects that occur outside the Player’s view while they are off adventuring.
A Dungeon Master can also use these animals as hostile creatures for their party to fight against, showing them that nature can be just as dangerous as beautiful. However, these very animals can also be controlled, in a sense, with the spell that is the subject of this article; Conjure Animals 5e.
What is Conjure Animals 5e: mechanics and requirements
- Casting time: 1 Action (6 seconds)
- Level: 3rd Level
- Range/Area: 60 ft
- Target: Unoccupied space within range
- Components: Vocal and Somatic
- Duration: 1 Hour
- Classes: Druid and Ranger
Conjure Animals 5e description
You Summon Fey spirits that take the form of Beasts and appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. Choose one of the following options for what appears.
- One beast of Challenge rating 2 or lower
- Two Beasts of Challenge rating 1 or lower
- Four Beasts of Challenge rating 1/2 or lower
- Eight Beasts of Challenge rating 1/4 or lower
Each beast is also considered fey and disappears when it drops to 0 Hit Points or when the spell ends.
The summoned Creatures are friendly to you and your Companions. Roll Initiative for the summoned Creatures as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no Action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from Hostile Creatures, but otherwise take no ACTIONS. The DM has the creatures’ Statistics.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using certain higher-level Spell Slots, you choose one of the summoning options above, and more Creatures appear – twice as many with a 5th-level slot, three times as many with a 7th-level slot, and four times as many with a 9th-level slot.
Advantages and drawbacks of Conjure animals 5e
- A large selection of summons
Although the number of creatures Conjure animals 5e can summon is limited to a degree, the amount that can be chosen as part of the summoning is quite large. From the lowest Challenge Rating the caster can choose from to the highest (CR 0 to CR 2), the caster has a selection of 77 different creatures that can be conjured through this spell.
Of course, the limitations of how many of these creatures one can summon, based on their Challenge Rating, are there. Still, this large selection allows the player character casting the spell to mix things up during a combat encounter and/or have many out-of-combat uses that could very well be helpful to both the caster and the party itself.
- The creature has its turns
Whatever creature or creatures is summoned from Conjure animals 5e, the caster rolls a separate initiative for the beast as a group, regardless of the number of them summoned, and then adds them into the turn order to have them be a part of the party during the duration of the spell.
As a bonus to this, the caster can give commands to the creature it summoned as free actions, meaning the caster does not have to worry about balancing their attack actions with the actions of their summoned animal. Now, since it has its place in the turn order of a combat encounter, the caster does not control them on their turn, but having an extra member of a party in the form of a summoned animal can help out in the long run.
- Upcasting allows for more creatures
Now the Conjure Animals spell would not normally be a spell one would expect to have the capability of being upcast for any reason. Still, the usage of upcasting the spell past 3rd level can be a true benefit. When upcast to a 5th level spell slot, a 7th-level spell slot, or a 9th-level spell slot, the number of creatures the caster can summon through this spell doubles, triples, and quadruples, respectively.
For example, a spellcaster using this spell at the 9th level could have a maximum of either eight Challenge Rating 2 animals or 32 Challenge Rating ¼th-0 animals. That large number, along with the previously mentioned size of the selection of animals one can summon with this spell, gives it even more utility during a combat encounter.
- There is no physical material needed for casting
As is a staple for many spells that have been mentioned in the past through these articles, the Conjure Animals spell does not require physical material for casting it; Just the Vocal commands and the Somatic movements to cast the spell.
With how powerful this spell can be when used on its own or upcast into a higher spell slot, having no physical requirement to casting it gives the spell a higher amount of usability. Since there is only the number of available spell slots and the duration itself restricting the number of times this can be cast.
- The summoned creature remains for an hour
When using the Conjure Animals spell, one would notice the hour-long duration of the spell that was previously mentioned above in the Attributes section of the article. The spell having this long duration means that unless the creature is reduced to 0 Hit Points before the spell ends, they can help throughout an entire combat encounter with no need to worry about having to recast it due to the duration of the spell coming to an end.
- The Dungeon Master holds the stat block
When it comes to Conjure animals 5e, there are only two disadvantages that truly exist for the spell, and they are minor ones. The first thing that can truly be included here is that the Dungeon Master is supposed to hold the stat block of the summoned creature.
However, this can vary from Dm to Dm, meaning that while one Dungeon Master will keep to this rule and hold the stat block, another could very easily hand the Player who summoned the creature the chosen stat block. So then the Player knows what it can do and can better decide what it wants the creature to do.
- Only two classes can use the spell
Even though Conjure animals 5e is incredibly useful, only two classes can actually pick it up: Druids and Rangers. Now, these two spellcasting classes being capable of using this spell does make sense, given how the pair is normally played.
Still, such a limitation on how many classes can take this spell can cause some players to never know it exists until they either see it from another party member or discover it themselves by choosing one of those two classes.
Best uses for Conjure animals 5e
Aiding in a combat encounter
As mentioned several times in this article, Conjure Animals can be very useful in combat and is even designed to be mostly used during a combat encounter. Since the creature, either as a singular beast or as a group of them, gets added into the turn order, the party grows to include another member by technicality.
This gives the party more of a fighting chance in a situation where a battle was placing the party at a numbers disadvantage or simply having a tough time with an extremely difficult boss monster, for which the extra help would be greatly appreciated.
As a distraction
Keeping to the ideas for a combat encounter, the animal conjured from the spell could be used by the caster as bait to focus the attention of the target they are fighting away from the party and towards the animal. This can especially work for the CR 2 creatures since many of them are giant animals that can have a big physical presence on the battlefield.
So, if the party needs to regroup or coordinate a focused attack, using the Conjure Animals spell to give the hostile creatures a larger target to focus on could help in giving the party a chance to catch the enemies off guard or to heal up for when they go back in to fight.
Modes of Transportation
Moving away from the combat-focused uses of the spell, some of the animals that can be summoned from the spell’s list of options are considered transportation, such as Riding Horse or the Pony.
Even though this mode of transportation only lasts an hour, using it can help a party traverse through an area a little bit faster, either by riding the creatures summoned on their own or by using said creatures to pull a cart/wagon for them.
Advice and final thoughts
As with many spells written about prior to Conjure animals 5e, I highly recommend picking this one up if you are making a Druid or a Ranger character. Not only is it highly useful in the middle of a combat encounter, down to adding a friendly creature into the turn order to help in combat, but the spell also has its practical uses.
From a roleplaying angle, a player could even give the creatures they summon names and personalities as if they are pets that belong to the Player that is summoning them. Overall, this spell is a must-have for either class that can get this spell, as its usefulness is too high to easily ignore.
Conjure Animals 5e FAQ
As a Dungeon Master, do you choose the animal for the Player, or do they choose?
The caster chooses the creature/creatures summoned through the Conjure Animal 5e ability. The only thing the Dungeon Master has to worry about, if they choose to do so, is getting the stat block for their chosen animal and getting them into the initiative order if they are summoned during combat.
As a Druid, could I use Conjure Animal to summon a creature and then use the Wild Shape spell?
This is up to the Dungeon Master ruling, as a player does have the ability to be able to do so. However, depending on the animal summoned by the spell and the concentration needed for the spell, a DM could rule that it is impossible to do so without losing concentration.
Is there any real limit to what creatures can be summoned with conjure animal 5e?
Only the creatures in the mentioned Challenge Rating range can be summoned, and many written copies of the spell through different forms of media tend to include the list of what animals can be summoned. Outside of that, there could also be an environmental limitation, as it would be strange to use the spell at the 9th level to summon 32 seahorses in the middle of a desert environment.