If I use gate to call a kind of monster within the HD limit, to fight for me in the current battle, when does it act?


2 Answers 2


DMG, p. 24, has things to say about newcomers to a battle:

If any (or all) of the newcomers are aware of one or both of the sides in a battle, they take their actions before anyone else. In effect, they go first in the initiative sequence. Their initiative check result is considered to be 1 higher than the highest initiative check result among the other participants in the encounter. If differentiation is needed for the actions of the newcomers, they act in order of their Dexterity scores, highest to lowest. The reason for this rule is twofold.

  • Since they’re aware, but there’s no way to get an action ahead of everyone else (because the encounter has already started), they go first to simulate their advantage. This happens whether the other sides are aware of the new side or not.
  • Placing the newcomers at the beginning of the round means that those who had the highest initiative check results prior to their arrival are the first characters to have an opportunity to react to them. This is an important advantage for characters with high places in the initiative order.

That said, if you don't consider gated creatures to be aware of either side, then the same page has an option for that.

If any or all of the newcomers are not aware of the other sides when they enter the encounter (for example, the PCs stumble unaware into a fight between two monsters in a dungeon), the newcomers still come into play at the beginning of the round, but they roll initiative normally. If one of the other characters involved in the encounter has a higher initiative check result than one or more of the newcomers, that character can react to those newcomers before they get a chance to act (the new-comers are caught flat-footed).

For instance, on his turn at initiative tick 12, Cerak the wizard casts gate, and a solar appears. It could roll 11 for initiative, but it doesn't get to act right away, and if Boron the cleric acts on initiative tick 10, he gets to act as normal, casting a buff spell on the solar.
Then, at initiative tick 20 in the next round, an orc rogue might shoot at the solar, adding sneak attack damage. Once the initiative passes to tick 11 again, the solar finally gets to act, losing the flat-footed condition.


As far as I can tell, there is no official ruling on this. The spellcasting is a standard action, so I would rule that at the end of it, the monster appears, and gets its own initiative, and acts whenever that comes up (in contrast to summon monster, where it is a round to cast, and the creature acts on your initiative). The reasoning behind this is to treat it like a creature that joined the battle any other way, as if it had entered the field through any other means.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder, then, would it not get it's first action until the next round? Otherwise one would need to know what to do if it rolls higher/lower initiative to the caster. \$\endgroup\$
    – BrianH
    Nov 9, 2014 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you control the creature, you can have it delay its action until after your caster acts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Nov 9, 2014 at 2:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ By my reckoning, if the initiative is higher than the caster, it'd be next round--if it's lower, it'll be later this round. Most of what I figure is that initiative after the first round is just "ordering", and top-of-the-round stuff is just a convenient bookkeeping heuristic. Either way, it's doing its thing without you having an action in between. Although, Metool's answer seems to imply it only gets an action on the next round, although doesn't quote exactly where they get that \$\endgroup\$
    – A. Wilson
    Nov 10, 2014 at 5:23

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