Everyone loves a good summons. Poofing an ally onto the battlefield is one of the most effective tactics out there. Whether you’re calling for a dire rat at level one or a fearsome barbed devil at fifteen, summons are an amazing value for a single action. Of course, the raw mechanical power on offer is often overshadowed by all the unanswered questions.

Where does the creature go when it dies? Is there a celestial or infernal waiting room somewhere full of creatures waiting to get summoned? Is taking a turn in that room like community service for extraplanar creatures?

In 3.X D&D, the magic chapter tells us that, “When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from… A summoned creature also goes away if it is killed or if its hit points drop to 0 or lower, but it is not really dead. It takes 24 hours for the creature to reform, during which time it can’t be summoned again.” So I guess it’s not really the creature you summon, but a transdimensional projection? But then why would the creature take time to reform? And what’s this bit about “during which time it can’t be summoned again?” Does that mean I can request Broseidon the Celestial Dolphin every time I cast summon monster? I sure hope not, because that means Broseidon is in for a VERY long night of trap finding.

How about the rest of you guys? How do you conceptualize summoning? And how do you live with yourself knowing that you’re putting all those cute little critters in harm’s way?