Summon monster, or monster summoning, (originally called Lucke's monster summons) was a series of increasingly more powerful summoning spells commonly in use by both arcane and divine spellcasters.
A summon monster spell conjured one or more creatures from another plane and made them appear within close range of the caster. These "monsters" were usually native magical beasts, outsiders, or elemental creatures.
Whatever creature was summoned was magically compelled to fight for the caster to the best of its ability. A summoned being could not be truly destroyed; instead, an attack that would otherwise destroy it instead sent it back to the plane from which it was summoned, where it reformed over the next twenty-four hours.
It was impossible to summon a creature into an environment that could not support its life. Summoned beings lost any powers to themselves summon other entities or to use any sort of planar travel.
Divine casters could only summon creatures whose alignments were not in conflict with either their own or their deities alignment. Most often, their deity would send them servants native to that deity's home plane.
Summoned monsters would serve the caster until the duration of the spell ended, which was anywhere from mere seconds to several minutes, depending on the power level of the caster.
Summon monster spells required verbal and somatic components. For arcane spellcasters, they further required a tiny bag and an unlit candle as magical foci. Divine casters instead used their (un)holy symbol as a focus. The complicated spell required more than five seconds to cast.
There were nine levels of these spells:
- Summon monster I
- Summon monster II
- Summon monster III
- Summon monster IV
- Summon monster V
- Summon monster VI
- Summon monster VII
- Summon monster VIII
- Summon monster IX
The first seven levels of these spells were invented over a period of many years by the Netherese arcanist Lucke, beginning with his 1st monster summons in −1994 DR and ending with 7th monster summons in −1779 DR.
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