The summon monster spell can be very useful and powerful, but one of the limiting factors is the ability to give summons complex commands. What's the point of your celestial eagle if you can't tell it to use the smite evil ability? While there are some ways of getting around some language restrictions, other times they are always in your face. Normally I would assume that issuing a command to a summons must come directly from the caster, otherwise if anyone could control them then they are way too dangerous. I think there was an NCIS episode where the Russian trained dogs did this. Could you summon something with true speech and relay instructions from it to the rest of your summons?

How do others get around the language restrictions? I know tongues works for most cases, and speak with animals covers most of the others. True speech (which I don't believe there are spells for) is the only one which does cover everything to my knowledge, except maybe some forms of telepathy.

I had another question which was similar but this expands the problem a little bit as it does not deal solely with tongues.

Update: While I specifically call out summon monster with the question, I want this to apply to all the summoning spells such as natures ally and stuff.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks, its amazing how often I can forget about my own questions. Yes they do sometimes popup in the box when Im creating a title, but not always. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How to communicate with your summons? \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The core rule book merely states it is under the summoner's control and leaves it at that.

As for how to roleplay your spellcaster's control over her summoned creatures, you can either be creative, or just shrug and whisper "magic"... It's one of the few things Pathfinder doesn't provide rules for.

When it comes to celestials and smites, according to the lore: A celestial creature inherently recognizes the essence of beings on the material plane. In other words it knows it's facing the undead when it encounters them, just as it automatically knows if it was summoned by an evil spellcaster. Remember, celestial beings won't serve an evil master, they'll either ignore your commands, or attack you, and they don't need to use detect alignment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If there are multiple undead, how would you tell it to use the smite on the most dangerous one and not on one of the weaklings? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 1:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You have full control of your summons on your turn. The how part is not answered by the Pathfinder rule book. \$\endgroup\$
    – AshRandom
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 3:27

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