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I'm having a hard time interpreting the 'actual casting time' for Summon Monster in Pathfinder.

The casting time is listed as 1 round, but then in the text they go on to say:

It appears where you designate and acts immediately, on your turn.

Because of the inclusion of the words 'acts immediately' I'm unclear if the Summoned Monster appears and is attacking during the round the spell is being cast, or after you are finished casting the spell at the top the next round.

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It appears, and acts, when you cast the spell. You don’t finish casting the spell until a round after you start. So that is when it appears, and when it acts.

Before you finish casting the spell, it isn’t there yet, so no one can attack it or anything (and it can’t act).

This also means any other choices you make regarding the spell (e.g. the specific monster you summon, where you place it) do not get made until you cast the spell, either. So you start to cast summon monster, and assuming all goes well, you finish it the next round and get to put a monster of your choice (off the appropriate list) wherever you like, and have it do whatever.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly, the monster cannot appear while there is a chance of you being interrupted during casting. \$\endgroup\$ – David Wilkins Dec 2 '14 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, it pops in (and "acts immediately") just before your next turn starts - thus saving you from having to wait another turn before the spell is useful, or having to track multiple turns, since all your summons' initiatives are immediately before yours. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Dec 3 '14 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Coming from 3.5e (but with the same wording), we've always played it as casting 1 round = your full action. So, unless someone interrupts you with an attack of opportunity or held action, you finish casting at the end of your action, and the summoned creature is ready to act immediately. No waiting until your next turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Dec 3 '14 at 4:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus Many people played that way, but strictly speaking that’s wrong, and is a fairly big buff to those spells. Rules Compendium even has a sidebar about it and about that common houserule. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 3 '14 at 4:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ ah yeah... I just saw in the SRD A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act normally after the spell is completed. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Dec 3 '14 at 4:57

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