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If the conjure animals spell is cast in the Underdark, what beasts are likely to appear?

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There are many from various sources

Dndbeyond.com offers a filter list of Beasts that have an association with the underdark.

There are currently 32 beasts that have this association (as of 6/9/2020), and the list may expand as new sources are added. Note that some are not options for conjuring.

Rather than randomly picking out some to list here, please see the link for the full list of available RAW beasts that have the underdark as their environment.

No Swarms

Just remember that Swarms are not an option for conjure X spells.

Selecting Beasts

There are many views on how to select beasts, but ultimately I've found it best for DMs to work with their players on this. Coming up with a system that works for your table where both players feel they still have agency and DMs feel like they aren't making it 'too easy' is a tough balance. A lot will come down to personal preferences for those involved and tweaking of the system after it's tried to keep everyone happy.

Looking at the beasts and the particular environment they are currently in (more specific than just general Underdark) can help guide, but there really is just beasts that can be found there and then whatever system your table wants to use.

I play at pretty optimized tables and I've only seen one player use a conjure X spells - and that DM just let them pick. Overpowered at times? Yes. Fun? Yes.

You aren't even limited by the terrain

Heck, while it may 'make some sense' to focus on a specific terrain and related creatures, but really any creature can be summoned.

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Any

There is nothing in the text of conjure animals which suggests the beast forms are in any way related to the environment the spell is cast in.

As per Sage Advice (page 14), the specific beast form of the conjured animals is chosen by the DM:

The design intent for options like these is that the spellcaster chooses one of them, and then the DM decides what creatures appear that fit the chosen option.

They are free to let players have input on what is summoned (this may be the most common approach, because as a DM I usually don't want to give myself the burden of choosing), choose something that works well in a given scenario, or something that specifically doesn't work particularly well.

Only if the DM decides the fey spirits the spell summons take environment appropriate forms does that matter. Then, as mentioned by other answers, the DM may wish to use the environment listings; DMG 302-305 (305 for Underdark), Volo's 222-224 (224 for Underdark), MToF 255-256 (256 for Underdark), and their implementation in D&D Beyond's monster search where you can filter for e.g. Underdark beasts.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What beasts are likely to appear? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 17:27
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On page 26 of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, the druid section has a list of beasts available for Wild Shape, but it could also be used for conjure animals. It divides these lists by area, such as Arctic, Forest, Underdark and more.

This isn't a complete list of what's available, just what the player might have seen if they grew up there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to note that the list is just for "animals you probably have seen" for druids. That is much more limiting than what conjure X can do and that list is definitely smaller than the total amount of options. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, conjuring a creature doesn't require you to know or seen the beast types. It's just a summoning and the spirits choose their forms. THat rule on having to have seen it before is only for wildshape. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Understood, I was only referring to the list's limitations. If it seems like I was putting a limit on the player or the spell, it wasn't supposed to sound like it. \$\endgroup\$
    – RallozarX
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ The list lists all relevant beasts from the MM. The limitation is on the shapes available to any specific druid which are chosen from among the list. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 19:05
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There is a list of beasts in Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

On pages 24-26 of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, there are lists of beasts which are sorted by terrain and include the Challenge Rating.

Swarms cannot be neither summoned nor used for Wild Shape, so they do not appear in these tables. Therefore, the tables contain mostly those creatures that can be summoned, except a few monsters with CR > 2 (Circle of the Moon) and a few monsters from other sources which are missing.

There is a total of 11 monsters listed for the Underdark (all CR <= 2): Giant Fire Beetle, Giant Rat, Stirge, Giant Bat, Giant Bat, Giant Centipede, Giant Lizard, Giant Poisonous Snake, Giant Spider, Giant Toad, Giant Constrictor Snake, and Polar Bear (Cave Bear).

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    \$\begingroup\$ How is this really different from this answer? Also, please see the comments I left under that answer as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Didn't see that answer. It was posted while I was writing mine. As for the concerns with that list: it includes all relevant options from the MM. Swarms are not included, as are monsters from other sources, which I indicated in my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:50
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Most of the beasts that habitate the underdark and are able to be summoned by Conjure Animals are listed here:

CR 2

  • Giant Constrictor Snake
  • Polar Bear (Cave Bear)

CR 1

  • Giant Spider
  • Giant Toad
  • Giant Rocktopus
  • Ice Spider

CR 1/2

  • N/A - (There are no summonable 1/2 CR underdark beasts)

CR 1/4

  • Deep Rothe (Source; Volo's Guide to Monsters)
  • Giant Bat
  • Giant Centipede
  • Giant Lizard
  • Giant Poisonous Snake

CR 1/8

  • Stirge
  • Giant Rat
  • Diseased Giant Rat

CR 0

  • Giant Fire Beetle

*Note: A DM may choose any beast, not just ones in the underdark. With the stipulation that although swarms are considered beasts, by RAW they may not be conjured. The spell states that a particular number of singular beasts are conjured. Popularly the D&D community has adjudicated that swarms are a congregate of multiple tiny beasts and thusly are not conjurable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest you state your method in the answer. How to solve a problem (type) is much more useful as an answer than just having the specific solution. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, receiving the answer quickly is more useful. When I search for a conversion of centimetres to inches, I'd much prefer the answer than the formula. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Without specifying the source/method you used to arrive at this list (which may or may not be the tables in XGTE), there's no way for others to really judge the quality of the answer since they don't know how you arrived at it. (In this case, the CRs are easy enough to check for accuracy, but someone could post a similar (equally unsourced) list of different beasts - there's no way to tell what makes these a fitting answer for the "Underdark" aspect of the question.) This could be as simple as saying that you checked each one's description for mentions of the Underdark, if that's what you did. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 7:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose one will have to trust my reputation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:15

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