A summon is a creature that was magically drawn from another plane of existence, or simply from the nearby environment. A summon is compelled to do the bidding of the one who summoned it. Most summons have a time limit, after which the creature is returned to the place from which it came (it is unsummoned). In addition, a creature can be manually unsummoned at any time (by selecting the "Unsummon" option in the creature's radial menu). A summoned creature is also unsummoned when its summoner dies.
Neverwinter Nights limits characters to a single summon at a time (although certain scripting tricks can get around this); if an additional creature is summoned, the previous summon is unsummoned. This summoned creature counts towards the party size penalty, so it will reduce experience awards for kills. Killing a summoned creature does not grant experience points.
Summoning spells leave an effect on the summoner, which means that a summoned creature could be unsummoned if the summoner is dispelled. This effect has the side-effect of blocking horse riding for the summoner (until the duration expires or the summoner rests).
Unlike standard creatures, summoned creatures tend to have their loot stripped from them. This prevents summoning and killing for the sake of stocking up on items or gold.
The paladin's summon mount feat, while having "summon" in its name, is technically not a summoning. A paladin's warhorse is not subject to the "one summons" limit, nor does it have an "unsummon" option in its radial menu. (To unsummon a paladin's warhorse, it needs to be assigned to itself using the "assign mount" option in the horse menu.)
Most summoning spells belong to the conjuration school. A notable exception is the creation of undead (implemented in Neverwinter Nights as summoning undead), which belongs to the necromancy school. The other exceptions are for the summoning (perhaps viewed as creating) of animated weapons – Mordenkainen's sword (transmutation) and Shelgarn's persistent blade (evocation).
Custom content notes
- Summoned creatures are not shown in the Toolset palette, as they are not normally directly part of a module. An override that makes them visible is available on the Vault.
- When creating a custom summoned creature, the creature's event handlers should be set to the "nw_ch_ac*" set (or some custom equivalent), with the option of instead using
nw_ch_summon_9for the OnSpawn event. (The difference between
nw_ch_summon_9is that the former has extra overhead for placed horses, while the latter supports the incorporeal flag.)