Tamed creatures within DnD can be impressive allies to aid a party in combat, though they can also be quite the dangerous foe if they are the enemy. These untamed animals can be found in any environment within the Prime Material Plane.
From birds that can soar high up in the sky to monstrous abominations residing in the dark, cold Underdark that exists miles under the surface. Such a spell happens to be the topic of this Article; Summon Beast: A spell with a healthy amount of uses, but sadly doesn’t seem worth using too often.
Tip: Check out our list for best greater demons to summon in 5e dnd.
What is Summon Beast 5e: attributes and how it worst
- Casting time: 1 Action (6 Seconds)
- Level: 2nd Level
- Range/Area: 90 ft.
- Target: Unoccupied space within range
- Components: Vocal, Somatic, and four Physical Materials: a feather, a tuft of fur, and a fish tail inside a Gilded Acorn worth 200 Gold
- Duration: Up to 1 Hour, with Concentration
- Classes: Druid, Ranger
Summon Beast Spell description
You call forth a bestial spirit. It manifests in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. This corporeal form uses the Bestial Spirit stat block. When you cast the spell, choose an environment: Air, Land, or Water. The creature resembles an animal of your choice that is native to the chosen environment, which determines certain traits in its stat block. The creature disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.
The creature is an ally to you and your companions. In combat, the creature shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It obeys your verbal commands (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any, it takes the Dodge action and uses its move to avoid danger.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, use the higher level where the spell’s level appears in the stat block.Player handbook Wizards of the Coast
Advantages and drawbacks of Summon Beast 5e
It can be upcast to affect many aspects of the summoned creature
Several aspects of the stat block of the summoned creature can be changed by upcasting the spell. For example, the number of times the creature can multi-attack, the extra amount of damage done to an enemy when hit by its single attack, and the armor class of the spell are all changeable by casting the spell past the 2nd level.
This could make quite the dangerous fighting companion if someone cast it at the maximum level for either Druid or Ranger (9th and 5th, respectively). However, as discussed in the next section, this makes it a bit worthless to a lower-level spellcaster.
Adds another member to the party to help in battle.
Although this will be fleshed out more in the Uses section of this Article, the creature summoned technically goes after the caster in the initiative order.
These factors give the caster a chance to focus on a single enemy and deal all kinds of damage to them if both of them hit the intended target. This can help in situations where most of the party needs to focus on a single enemy, such as a boss battle against a single hostile NPC with a high health pool.
Extremely expensive Physical Materials for a low-level spell
The total cost of the four physical materials is supposed to be around 200 Gold, which is incredibly high for low-level players to try and throw around.
The only real way for any person to be able to have all four items be worth up to 200 Gold Pieces is if one of those items, such as the Gilded Acorn that is meant to hold the other three items, is also encrusted in gems that bump its value up to that range.
As such, players at the lower levels would find themselves HIGHLY discouraged from casting this spell unless their Dungeon Master decided to either wave the requirements in exchange for just the gold value of the named items, or wave the physical materials together.
Animal is technically Coporeal
Although this is a minor downside, this technically eliminates what could have been a great use of the spell outside of combat; transportation. Since the creature summoned from this spell is Corporeal, it has no physical form.
This means that the spell’s caster can’t ride it as a mount outside of a combat encounter unless the Dungeon Master rules that they can or that the creature created from the spell is physical.
Is restricted to only one type of movement (based on environment)
This Disadvantage is two in one, as both the movement type that the creature utilizes and the form of the animal is based on the environment chosen by the caster: Air, Water, or Land.
After that, the form taken is based on the local wildlife of the given environment chosen by the caster and the local area they are in, meaning that if they choose the Air Environment and happen to be in a swamp, then the Beast could take the form of a Vulture or some other avian creature that resides in a swamp.
Now, this is another minor pairing of negatives for the spell, but it could mean that the form the summoned Beast could take could be not very helpful to some and could be seen as a waste of the expensive materials needed to cast it.
Best uses for Summon Beast 5e
1. An additional Ally in combat
During the hour-long duration of the spell’s effects, the Beast that is summoned from this spell is added into the Initiative Order directly after the caster, regardless of where they, the caster’s party members, or the hostile creatures they are fighting are in said initiative order.
Having an extra ally in a fight could give the party that little bit of extra damage to kill off a tough opponent with a high health pool or to act as a distraction for one enemy to focus on while the party focused their attention on a larger, more important threat.
Also, since the creature doesn’t go away until either the caster loses concentration, dispels it, or the creature is killed in combat, it could be summoned at the very beginning of a combat encounter and be a helpful assistant right out of the gate.
2. An Hourly Mount (If The Dungeon Master allows it)
Before going into further detail about this, it must be stated that as the spell is written, this technique is impossible unless the Dungeon Master tinkers around with the spell and its functionality to allow it to be used in this way.
Having the summoned creature be a mount that could be ridden helps in giving the caster, if not the whole party (depending on the size of the animal summoned), an easy means of travel. Although it lasts for only an hour, it gives the caster a slightly flashier means of travel, especially if done within the confines of a city.
Where everything inside of the city’s walls can be reached within the spell’s duration. Since this requires much tweaking on the Dungeon Master’s part, it’s best advised to ignore this use unless told otherwise.
Top 8 Beasts to summon for Summon Beast 5e
As discussed in this article, many animals can be chosen as part of this spell. However, some are better than others to choose from in this regard. As such, here are Eight that can be considered good choices for the spell. These animals are in no real order of things but just a small fraction of the possibilities that can be chosen for the spell to be used.
1. Giant Frog
The Giant Frog can be an interesting combat partner when the party goes up against tiny or small-stature creatures, like Goblins or Kobolds. As a part of their actions, the Frog could simply use their tongue to grab hold of the small enemy and then swallow them whole. Removing an enemy from the battle and making things easier for the party to handle, especially since these creatures used as example enemies tend to focus on pack tactics more than anything else.
2. Giant Owl
As one of the more useful beasts to summon, a player can use the Giant Owl as a mount to get them from point A to point B in one of the fastest methods currently available to a player; Flight.
Not only that, but this creature is very useful in combat, as it can easily remain up in the air and out of the attack range of any melee-focused enemies before swooping down and attacking them with its talons before going back up. They could even grab and pick up an enemy, only to drop them and let them fall damage kill them instead of the creature (or the caster) itself doing it.
3. Riding Horse
The Riding Horse can assist if the caster wants a mount but doesn’t want to go all flashy and unique with the animal they choose.
Since its movement speed is 60 ft per movement action, which is about 6 seconds in comparison to real-time, the amount of time the spell lasts can get the caster across legitimate miles of distance before the spell’s effect ends and the animal dissipates.
With a higher AC than most other creatures on this list, the Elephant is a wall of an animal. It can be used in combat as an effective trampling machine. Still, it can also be used as a massive distraction for the party to utilize and, in turn, have the enemy’s attention focused elsewhere.
Such a distraction could allow the party to escape the combat encounter. Having an Elephant trying to stamp your fellow men to death is quite the attention grabber, even if the party they are fighting is even more important than the Elephant. It can be used as a traveling mount.
Still, its large size can make the trip rather difficult to handle, especially when the spell ends, as a Dungeon Master could rule that the Elephant disappearing while the player is still on it could constitute fall damage to be applied.
5. Giant Boar
Another Giant variant of a common animal, the Giant Boar, is more than capable of holding its own in a combat encounter. With their decently sized Health Pool and Armor Class, the Boar can cut through the ranks of an enemy force, even if there is only one Giant Boar to do it.
In a similar mindset to the Elephant, it and the next item on the list can be used as a distraction to allow the party to move around the enemy force and either attack them in a flanking maneuver or escape the combat encounter and run away.
There isn’t much for the Rhinoceros that hadn’t already been said for either the Giant Boar or the Elephant. This creature can be used as a charging animal to cut through the enemy forces and as a distraction that the party can use to outflank/outmaneuver their opponents on the battlefield or simply run away from it. At the same time, their enemies are too focused on the large animal trying to maul them to death.
7. Enormous Tentacle
Although technically not a beast in the standard sense, the Enormous Tentacle is classed as a beast in DnD and can be summoned by this spell. The Tentacle can reach out and grab anyone within the room itself. In addition, it can grapple them through their “Constrict” attack, making it possible for a caster to summon the Tentacle and focus on holding a single enemy in place.
So then the party can either focus on them and have an easier time attacking them or focus on the rest of that enemy’s allies to make the fight easier. Although it technically has a Swim/Move speed of 30 ft., this “Beast” would not make for the best mount, so it is best to keep this thing as a combat-based creature summon only.
8. Giant Crocodile
The last creature on this list, the Giant Crocodile, has an impressive AC and Health Pool to go toe-to-toe with many dangerous creatures that could otherwise cause a party to give pause or even turn around and retreat from the battle.
As such, this beast is best used to either fight against large creatures of its own size to assist in going into battle with it or as a traveling mount for swampy environments since this creature has a swim speed equal to its on-land moving speed.
Advice and final thoughts
In terms of the spell and its usefulness…well, it is awful. For a 2nd level spell, the physical materials are just too expensive and difficult to obtain to be able to cast the spell in the first place, and even then, this spell is only useful in combat.
Overall, I would advise that if you are a Druid or a Ranger, Multiclass, or Pure Class, you wait on summoning spells until you can reach much higher spell slots. Sadly is not worth grabbing this spell for a 2nd level spell slot.
The Animals listed within this small list are but a fraction of the possible options that someone can choose when casting the Summon Beast Spell. As such, it is best recommended to any player who wants to pick this spell up for their spellcaster to look through the different beasts within DnD and choose which ones they think would best fit their character and, in turn, their current situation.
Summon Beast Spell FAQ
Can I choose what the actual animal is Summon Beast summons that?
While the caster can choose the environment the animal is from, they cannot directly choose what form the summon creature takes. Only the Dungeon Master can do that, based on the environment that the caster chose out of the three possible choices and the local environment that the caster is in when they cast the spell.
So the only way the player could directly choose the animal the summoned creature takes the form of is if the Dungeon master allows them to.
Can we use one of the three physical materials and the acorn for the casting of summon beast 5e?
As the spell is written, No; It requires all three items to be placed in the Gilded Acorn before casting it. However, nothing stops a Dungeon master from agreeing to such a rule, as only having one of the three items and the gilded acorn could limit the choice of environment the caster can pick from, though still allowing them to use the spell.
What does the summoned beast do if you don’t issue it any commands?
If the caster does not give the creature any commands on its turn, it will simply take the dodge action until its next turn and use its movement to avoid danger. That way, it is still making moves within the confines of the combat encounter and preventing itself from becoming an open target for an enemy combatant to take advantage of.