The unchained summoner has the spell-like ability to cast a summon spell, with increasing strength as they level up.

Starting at 1st level, a summoner can cast summon monster I as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier. Drawing upon this ability uses up the same power as the summoner uses to call his eidolon. As a result, he can only use this ability when his eidolon is not summoned. He can cast this spell as a standard action and the creatures remain for 1 minute per level (instead of 1 round per level). At 3rd level, and every 2 levels thereafter, the power of this ability increases by one spell level, allowing him to summon more powerful creatures (to a maximum of summon monster IX at 17th level). At 19th level, this ability can be used as gate or summon monster IX. If used as gate, the summoner must pay any required material components. A summoner cannot have more than one summon monster or gate spell active in this way at one time. If this ability is used again, any existing summon monster or gate immediately ends. These summon spells are considered to be part of his spell list for the purposes of spell trigger and spell completion items. In addition, he can expend uses of this ability to fufill the construction requirements of any magic item he creates, so long as he can use this ability to cast the required spell.

Augment Summoning is given as a bonus feat to the master summoner, so certainly that's intended to work. The SLA acts as a spell, but is it actually a summon spell?

Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Constitution for the duration of the spell that summoned it.

Versatile Summon Monster says it works with an effect that mimics such a spell, so clearly it works.

Evolved Summoned Monster says Each time you cast a summon monster spell, and you're not casting a spell, so it shouldn't work.

Superior Summoning says Each time you cast a summoning spell, and you're not casting a spell, so it shouldn't work.

As a counterpoint, the Leanan Sidhe has Spell Focus (enchantment), which applies to its SLAs.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You may be interested in this question, this question, and this question, each of which are about spell-like abilities. (If you edit this question in light of these questions, please also remove the code formatting and use boldface or italics instead; misused code format messes with accessibility devices.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2018 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I went ahead and updated the formatting, assuming you're only talking about the inline ticks. Based on those questions, it seems that you're supporting the idea that SLAs are not spells, and Augment Summoning only works because of the FAQ entry? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle W
    Dec 4, 2018 at 17:33
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the ticks create code formatting; thank you for removing them. Yes, spells are spells, and spell-like abilities specifically aren't spells. And why the feat Augment Summoning works with spell-like abilities is a Pathfinder mystery, and it's a ruling that some readers unfortunately extend to other feats despite that ruling only being about Augment Summoning (cf. this recent question about celestial armor). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2018 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are we saying this is a duplicate of HICC's first linked post? Or should we create a new answer specific to this ability? It seems like it's the same answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Dec 5, 2018 at 4:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I look forward to hearing what you come up with ;) There's a reason I've been struggling with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle W
    Dec 5, 2018 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


They work on the ability.

Magic Rules -> Special Abilities -> Spell-like abilities:

Spell Like Abilities (Sp): Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

An example of this is the Leanan Sidhe who has spell focus (enchantment):

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +12)
At will—calm emotions (DC 18), crushing despair (DC 20), dimension door (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only)
3/day—animal trance (DC 18), quickened charm person (DC 17)

With a charisma score of 21, the DC for their charm person SLA would normally only be 16 (10 + 1 (spell level) + 5 (stat)), instead it is 17 due to spell focus increasing the DC by 1.

In this vein of thought, those feats would would work since feats that affect spells work on spell-like abilities.

This is a reversal of my original answer, for the original answer please see the previous version of the answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Clearly, the cast as a spell-like ability means you get that spell as a spell-like ability, not that you cast a spell, but it counts as an SLA." I'm not at all sure this is clearly true, especially in the summon monster case: It goes on to say He can cast this spell… then refers to this ability that can be read as this special ability, maybe referring to the summon monster ability itself. That similar language is used sporadically is an inconsistency that I find infuriating. It's no wonder the Paizo messageboards have discussed to death this very topic! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 6, 2018 at 22:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Indeed, it's why it's highly contentious. For me as a GM I would personally allow all the feats to work with it, however (at least for me), it's clearly an SLA. And as an SLA, feats that specify spells don't with with them. This kind of language that paizo uses causes debates such as this, sacred weapon and impact, and so on. It is quite annoying. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Dec 7, 2018 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KyleW, note that I've updated my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Mar 5, 2019 at 5:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Stephens isn't, so far as I know, one of Pathfinder's creators, although he's written a lot for Paizo and is (apparently) now the design lead on Starfinder. Further,—although I dislike the line of argument,—can Stephens' status in 2010 (when he wrote that post) be determined? That is, was that post written in his capacity as a Paizo staffer putting forth an official word, or was that post an opinion written by just another fan of the game? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2019 at 0:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan oops fair, I was thinking of another person. His page on the wiki indicates that was only helping at the time, sadly. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Mar 6, 2019 at 2:44

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