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Summon invisible stalker, commonly shortened to invisible stalker, is a spell which summons a relentless and deadly air elemental known as an invisible stalker to serve the caster.

The spell summons the creature from another plane: the plane of air, in worlds connected to the Great Wheel cosmology,[1] or the elemental chaos in others.[2]

The creature follows the caster's instructions, which it will perform faithfully. However, it may resent being controlled for an extended period of time, and it may exploit loopholes in the wording of the orders to avoid excessively long stretches of duty.[3] It is likely to resent such tasks as being asked to guard treasure for more than a week.[4] Its primary use is to track and kill enemies, and it is sometimes cast on behalf of moneylenders to track down debtors.[5]

A side-effect of this spell is that it is powerful enough to get the attention of Charon, boatman of the River Styx.[6]

The material components of burning incense and a piece of horn carved into a crescent shape can be used to cast this spell.[7]

History[]

In Faerûn, the spell was known to the spellcasters of Netheril, who knew it as Carbury's stalker.[8]

This spell appears in the servant's path, a list of spells learned by certain orders of wizardry.[9]

Notable users[]

This spell appears in the repertoire of Asberdies the lich, inhabitant of the Underdark.[10] At least one scroll containing this spell was possessed by the drow.[11]

The mage Kahoatep devised his own summoning circles with which to conjure and bind invisible stalkers. The shape consists of a triangle inside a circle, inlaid with 1,000 gp worth of silver, although this was only a fraction of the cost of installing them.[12]

The Vecnan cultist Vocar summoned an invisible stalker named Cochort, perhaps using this spell, although he does not prepare it on a regular basis.[13] Muquetho, another cultist of Vecna, prepares it regularly.[14]

Several mages of the notable d'Ambreville family prepared this spell, and a scroll containing this spell appeared in the family's library in the north wing of Maison Sylaire. Among whose who know the spell are matriarch Camille d'Ambreville; her close ally Geneviève de Sephora, Comtesse de Touraine; Catharine d'Ambreville; and Isabelle d'Ambreville.[15]

The human wizard Kranin used a magical regenerating scroll to cast this spell.[16]

The spell is also known to shadow-mage Arkalyne Tostoni of Greyhawk;[17] Emlyn the Gray,[18] Kazerabet, Angel of the Dark,[19] Mortimer,[20] Bzallin the lich and his rival Amazzar,[21] Ari Evan of Athas,[22] Deryssa of Athas,[23] Zaxum of Faerûn,[24] Locaath Blackmanta,[25] the lichdrow Dyrr,[26] Dirge of Faerûn[27] legendary Faerûnian necromancer Szass Tam,[28] the lich Demchungchumrub of the Many-Windowed Tower,[29] Hieronymous Tigana of Greyhawk,[30] Tuerny (for whom the Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless is named),[31] Jubal the Necromancer of Nehwon,[32] Baba Yaga,[33] the ki-rin Chodei-rin,[34] Count Strahd Von Zarovich of Ravenloft,[35] the witch Mullonga,[36] Wazor the Cunning, Emissary of Atlantis[37] Neroth,[38] Moorkroft IV, The Elvenbane,[39] Duchess Sonia Shokalo,[40], the Antalian sorcerer Wastoure,[41] Oltham the Mage,[42] Haldemar of Haaken, captain of the Princess Ark,[43] and the ancient spell weavers.[44]

Related spells and items[]

The fiery phantom stalker is summoned by a similar spell.[45]

The spell death stalker summons an exceptionally powerful invisible stalker. It can only be summoned to track down and slay a specific creature, and it remains in this duty until successful. It returns to life if slain.[46]

The sphere of the unseen conjures an invisible stalker once when broken. The dwarven defender Zenith Splintershield owned such a device.[47]

This spell appears in The Book of Bats, an ancient spellbook of Faerûn, and Shandaril's Workbook, a more modern tome of that realm.[48] It appears in the Clanbooks of the Doomgrinder Derro, bound in slate and written upon human skin, and Elanal's Traveling Spellbook.[49] It appears in Asztellor's Book of Mighty Spells,[50] and the Nethertome.[51]

Publication history[]

Original D&D[]

This spell first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons 3-Volume Set in Men & Magic (1974), p.30. In that book, the spell was originally known simply as Invisible Stalker, and is a sixth-level Magic-User spell.

The invisible stalker summoned by this spell follows the caster's verbal commands, and cannot be dispelled, though it can be defeated in battle. It never gives up until it achieves its goal.

Basic D&D[]

The spell Invisible Stalker appears in the Expert Set (B/X) (1981), p.18, where it is sixth-level magic user spell. It likewise appears in the Expert Rules (BECMI) (1983), p.16

Invisible Stalker appears in the Rules Cyclopedia (1991), p.53.

AD&D 1st edition[]

Under the name Invisible Stalker, this spell appears in the Players Handbook (1e) (1978), p.84. It is a 6th level magic-user spell.

AD&D 2nd edition[]

Under the name Invisible Stalker, this spell appears in the Player's Handbook (2e) (1989), p.178 and Player's Handbook (2e revised) (1995), p.226. It is a 6th level wizard spell. The spell also appears in Wizard's Spell Compendium Volume Two (1997), p.465.

HR2 Charlemagne's Paladins Campaign Sourcebook (1992), p.15, recommends prohibiting this spell in campaigns set in the Carolingian Empire. For Duty & Deity (1998), p.24, recommands that it should not function in the Abyss without a spell key, since it has no connection to the ethereal or elemental planes. A Paladin in Hell (1998), p.60, and Guide to Hell (1999), p.55, two of the last AD&D books released, make a similar claim of various other planes including all layers of the Nine Hells.

D&D 3rd edition[]

The early D&D Conversion Manual (2000), p.15, stated that the spell "invisible stalker" would now be named "summon invisible stalker" in D&D 3rd edition. However, that spell did not make it into the final release of the Player's Handbook (3.0) (2000). However, the name change was respected by D&D 4th edition products in which the spell eventually appeared twelve years later.

In the Player's Handbook (3.0) (2000), p.258, the invisible stalker can be summoned by the 7th level cleric/sorcerer/wizard spell summon monster VII, with higher level versions of that spell able to conjure more than one. There is no specific spell named "(summon) invisible stalker", however.

In the Player's Handbook (3.5) (2003), p.287-288, in addition to summon monster VII, the invisible stalker can also be summoned by the 7th level druid spell summon nature's ally VII.

D&D 4th edition[]

Summon Invisible Stalker appeared in Heroes of the Elemental Chaos{{UnknownBook}}, p.115, as a level 15 daily power for the Wizard class. In 4e's lore, invisible stalkers are beings from the elemental chaos, air elementals warped by ancient magic to serve as assassins.

D&D 5th edition[]

The spell summon invisible stalker does not yet appear in an official D&D 5th edition product. The creature itself does appear in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014), where it is stated that it can be summoned by a spellcaster, though the method is not given.

D&D 5th edition continues with the lore established in 4th edition, where conjuring an invisible stalker actually summons a normal air elemental and twists it into a single-willed hunter for the duration of the spell. This contradicts the earlier Rules Cyclopedia (1991), p.187, which states that the invisible stalker is its own species, known in their own language as the Sshai.

Reception and influence[]

In Dragon #276 (Oct 2000), p.94, a letter from reader Mark Anthony Sims of Pittsburgh, PA, complained about the decision of D&D 3rd edition to rename spells, revealed in the early Conversion Document. He specifically noted the change from invisible stalker to summon invisible stalker, saying that while it was more precise, the change was unnecessary and potentially confusing to long-time players.

In Sage Advice, Dragon #123 (Jul 1987), p.61, a reader argued that the invisible stalker spell is overpowered. Skip Williams suggested it is balanced by the invisible stalker's tendency to subvert long or onerous missions through intentional misinterpretation of instructions. For example, given the instruction "serve me forever", it may serve as a house servant but refuse to fight.

References[]

  1. UK6 All That Glitters... (1984), p.8.
  2. Heroes of the Elemental Chaos[Unknown book], p.115.
  3. Players Handbook (1e) (1978), p.84.
  4. Expert Set (B/X) (1981), p.34.
  5. X1 The Isle of Dread (1981), p.5.
  6. H4 The Throne of Bloodstone (1988), p.33.
  7. Player's Handbook (2e) (1989), p.178.
  8. Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996).
  9. Wizard's Spell Compendium Volume Four (1998), p.1092.
  10. GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders (1986), p.58.
  11. GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders (1986), p.70.
  12. UK6 All That Glitters... (1984), p.9.
  13. Vecna Reborn (1998), p.21.
  14. Die Vecna Die! (2000), p.12.
  15. Mark of Amber (1995), p.16,47-56.
  16. Night Below (1995), p.23.
  17. The City of Greyhawk, Greyhawk: Folk, Feuds, and Factions (1989), p.93.
  18. H2 The Mines of Bloodstone (1986), p.46.
  19. The Complete Book of Necromancers (1995), p.118.
  20. The Magic Encyclopedia Volume One (1992), p.12.
  21. Bzallin's Blacksphere, Dungeon #64 (Sep/Oct 1997), p.27,46.
  22. DSE2 Black Spine, Adventure Book Two (1994), p.35.
  23. DSR2 Dune Trader (1992), p.62.
  24. Forgotten Realms Book of Lairs (1994), p.74.
  25. LC4 Port of Ravens Bluff (1991), p.56.
  26. Menzoberranzan (2e), Book Two: The Houses (1992), p.49.
  27. Ruins of Zhentil Keep (1995), p.59.
  28. Villains' Lorebook (1998), p.54.
  29. The Horde, Volume 1 (1990), p.80.
  30. The City of Greyhawk, Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess (1989), p.19.
  31. Return of the Eight (1998), p.52.
  32. LNA1 Thieves of Lankhmar (1990).
  33. S5 The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (1995), p.63.
  34. The Rod of Seven Parts, Book Three: Might and Menace (1996), p.23.
  35. Ravenloft (2e) (1999), p.3.
  36. The Nightmare Lands, Book Four: The Nightmare Lands Monstrous Supplement (1995), p.13.
  37. CM2 Death's Ride (1984), p.29.
  38. CM3 Sabre River (1984), p.6.
  39. CM7 The Tree of Life (1986), p.25.
  40. DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor (1986), p.60.
  41. DDA2 Legions of Thyatis (1990), p.22.
  42. M2 Maze of the Riddling Minotaur (1983), p.32.
  43. The Voyage of the Princess Ark, Dragon #164 (Dec 1990), p.45.
  44. Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One (1994).
  45. Fiend Folio (1e) (1981), p.72-73.
  46. Spells of Arcane Air, Dragon #244 (Feb 1998), p.73.
  47. Dungeon #102 (Sep 2003), p.55.
  48. FR4 The Magister (1988), p.4,21.
  49. The Doomgrinder (1998), p.48.
  50. CM8 The Endless Stair (1987), p.23.
  51. Three Greyhawk Grimoires, Dragon #225 (Jan 1996), p.52.
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