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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
The Summoner specialises in calling creatures from this and other worlds to give assistance. Although they can at first summon only very wimpy creatures, the more advanced summoning spells allow summoners to call on such powers as hydras and dragons.

Summoner is a background which focuses on creating summons, creating magical monsters from thin air.

Preferred Species

Deep Elf, Hill Orc, Merfolk, Tengu, Vine Stalker, and Vampire are the recommended species if you pick a Summoner Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Available Spells:

Summoners start with the Summon Small Mammal spell already memorised.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Summoner adds 7 to your starting Intelligence and 5 to your starting Dexterity.


Technically, Summoners never have to see a single fight. For many frailer species, this is an optimal thing to do. Summons in general are great; they soak up damage, block enemy line of fire, and you can replenish them for only an MP cost.

Spell Details

Summon Small Mammals was historically called "spammals"; Summoners should live that name out to the fullest. While recent versions of Crawl have strict summon limits, all that means is that you should use a wide repertoire of Summonings spells. Call Imp gives you a spear-wielding imp that can poke enemies from behind your spammals or a canine familiar. There's almost no downside to having all your conventional summons out at the same time. You can have up to two Small Mammals, and one of any other starting spell.

Guardian Golems and Lightning Spires should be handled with greater care. The former is prone to exploding, but effectively gives summons twice the HP. Plus, its explosions are great at taking out threatening enemies, such as ogres. Lightning Spires are placed randomly in line of sight, and stationary. But in exchange, it deals great damage; it can even doublezap in the right conditions. For example, when the spire, monster, and wall are all in a straight line (and you adjacent to said line).

Tips and Tricks

  • Summons can be used to create space away from the enemy. For strong or fast monsters, you want as many summons as possible.
  • Don't forget that you can command your summoned monsters using t, compelling them to do useful things, such as proactively moving toward your foes, attacking a different enemy or retreating when they are hurt, rather than simply waiting for hostile monsters to approach.
  • Summoners need to think carefully about the offensive spells they pick up if they intend to keep relying on their summons as well. Borgnjor's Vile Clutch and Ignition are examples of spells that offer area-of-effect damage without damaging your summons.
  • Damaging your summons (such as attacking with v) will immediately dispel them. This is great for when an inconvenient lightning spire gets in your way, but don't try this on lit golems. You can also just recast the spell, though that costs MP.
    • If you are cornered with a Guardian Golem on the brink of exploding, consider recasting Summon Guardian Golem or, if that is impossible, drinking a potion of resistance or swapping out a ring for another that provides fire resistance.


  • In 0.29, most backgrounds were buffed; all Mage backgrounds gained a potion of magic.
  • Prior to 0.28, summoned creatures took up to half of your XP, but many spells had a higher summon cap.
  • Prior to 0.27, Summoners started with the book of Callings, and also had Summon Ice Beast.
  • Prior to 0.15, Summoners started with 20 gold.
  • Prior to 0.14, Summoners started with only 1 level of Spellcasting.
Warriors FighterGladiatorMonkHunterBrigand
Zealots BerserkerChaos KnightCinder Acolyte
Warrior-mages WarperHexslingerEnchanterReaver
Mages Hedge WizardConjurerSummonerNecromancerFire ElementalistIce ElementalistAir ElementalistEarth ElementalistAlchemist
Adventurers ArtificerShapeshifterWandererDelver