Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We have a ranger and a druid in our party and entangle somehow is one of our favorite spells. Our encounters early in the campaign were often bandits etc. that were just charging at us so we solved a lot of problems by entangling them and then killing them from a distance/simply ignoring them. Once some mages entered the stage it also came in handy since they had to do concentration checks and all that. Long story short our DM became sick of us overusing the spell massively, so now we are always fighting on rocky ground... ALWAYS.

So we started to think about how to circumvent the problem of lack of plants for entangling. One idea that came up (probably not gonna work, but it would be awesome, so I want to know for sure) is to pack some plants into some kind of grenade-like object and through/shoot it at the enemies so plants go everywhere and you can use entangle (yay!).

Can you build a plant grenade by the rules and if so how?

We are currently level 7. We don't have a lot of magical equipment though.

share|improve this question
You might also consider the spell Briartangle from Player's Guide to Faerûn, it's very similar to entangle (insofar as you need plant matter to use it) but does 1d8 + 1 per 2 caster levels in damage. – Kazagha Mar 11 at 3:42
Acorn of far travel solves this perfectly, however I hardly imagine your DM will allow it – AnalysisStudent0414 Mar 11 at 12:06
@AnalysisStudent0414 The spell acorn of far travel says, "As long as you carry the acorn..., you are considered to be standing under that oak tree's canopy...," but the acorn's carrier isn't the target of the spell entangle, and the area around the carrier really is still the same terrain. And the magic acorn can be used as a material component for a spell with a greater effect in forested terrain, but those spells don't include the spell entangle. Only a generous DM would allow the acorn as a remedy. – Hey I Can Chan Mar 11 at 14:35
It says "additional", however I agree that it doesn't apply to Entangle. – AnalysisStudent0414 Mar 11 at 17:31
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Livewood is a special material from the Eberron Campaign Setting which continues to survive even after it's been cut down. It is an explicitly valid target for a number of plant-affecting spells. Now, if you fashioned spears or wicker nets from it (at very moderate expense; only 50% more), then those would be individually capable of projecting small areas of entanglement. You could do worse than throwing them at people at the beginning of the encounter and then activating your spell to add punishment on top of an otherwise ordinary attack. The technique that has my endorsement, however, is using Wood Shape to turn a pile livewood timber (10 cubic feet +1/level) into a whole field of punji-sticks as a standard action, which would likely add some damaging upshot, and you could even carve out areas for your allies and you to stand safely in while you poke the enemy with big sticks. That's value! You would just need a good way to carry a lot of it around. Luckily, you're probably pretty good at making friends with horses. Plant Growth, used for overgrowth, probably has some good applicability here, too.

Less practically but more amusingly, Feather Tokens come in a 400 gp variety that instantly produce a fully-grown and ostensibly non-magical tree. The downsides are that it only works once and that the tree in question is an oak, the branches of which would be kind of high to reliably ensnare anything. One imagines you could have it made to create a weeping willow, instead, but 400gp a pop is probably an impractical cost, regardless.

Failing anything else, you could endeavor to discover and procure lightweight plants that can survive without much soil and just carry them around with you. I don't think throwing hydroponic tomatoes at people is a good way to start WIN a fight, but with a little bit of notice you'd be able to prepare a battlefield with entanglement traps by setting up your shrubberies at choke-points or whatever.

Something to keep in mind: The rules entry for entanglement discusses how an untethered snare could still inflict entanglement penalties; it just won't render its victim immobile outright. So, though you certainly would prefer some nice rooted plants, a detached trellis or layer of sod would still stand a chance at imparting some advantage.

share|improve this answer
I've actually played in a campaign where the Druid did exactly what you suggested with the feather token. Toss one down in an area with no plants, then use the result to entangle. I think the price of the tokens is actually helpful in this case. Five tokens would cost 2k, and at that cost you could get a magic item that would help in more than just five encounters. Looking at it that way I personally would be more inclined to let my PCs use the tree token to entangle – D.Spetz Mar 11 at 15:22


Even if you find a way to do what you want; it isn't going to work.

The problem is not that you don't have access to plants; the problem is your DM.

Entangle is a completely legitimate resource intensive (i.e. it uses a spell slot) ability of your druid. Does your DM remove the fighter's ability to use his sword? The Wizard's ability to cast Fireball? The Rogue's ability to backstab? If not, why not?

The problem with answering your question as written is: even if you come up with the coolest idea to get entangle back in use; your DM will find another way to Nerf it. It would be far more fair for the DM to simply ban Entangle, at least that way you are not tying up your spell slots with a useless spell.

There are sensible, reasonable and fair ways to minimise this ability; what your DM is doing is not sensible, reasonable or fair. For example, in response to the development of high explosive artillery, armies learnt to stop massing troops in easy to kill bunches and instead get them to spread out! Maybe the DM's monsters could do the same thing, huh?

You can have a sensible conversation outside the game that politely draws this to his attention. Or you can show him my answer.

Alternatively, you can have an in game conversation like this:

DM: "The adventure is over there"

You: "Is the ground rocky or are there plants?"

DM: "Rock, no plants."

You: "No thanks, we stay in the tavern till an adventure in the forest comes along."

share|improve this answer
So it's your view that good DM would adapt his NPCs' tactics to the meet the threat of Entangle. Well, I don't know about you, but if I knew my enemy had an outrageous advantage in a certain kind of environment, the first tactical choice that I would make would be to find somewhere else to fight him! – Eikre Mar 11 at 20:25
@Eikre And if you are a forest dwelling species, avoiding plants may not be an option; yet these players seem to only find creatures on a plain of blasted rock no matter where they actually live. – Dale M Mar 12 at 0:47

Try the spell shrink item...

The 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell shrink item [trans] (PH 279) works on normal plants. That is, according to the spell, the caster can

shrink one nonmagical item (if it is within the size limit) to 1/16 of its normal size in each dimension (to about 1/4,000 the original volume and mass). This change effectively reduces the object’s size by four categories (for instance, from Large to Diminutive). Optionally, you can also change its now shrunken composition to a clothlike one. Objects changed by a shrink item spell can be returned to normal composition and size merely by tossing them onto any solid surface or by a word of command from the original caster.

Further, according to the Monster Manual Glossary on the type plant, an object can include an everyday lawn:

Note that regular plants, such as one finds growing in gardens and fields, lack Wisdom and Charisma scores... and are not creatures, but objects, even though they are alive. (313)

So you just need to get some of this...

enter image description here

...except on a much larger scale because even 2 cu. ft. per level is a lot of lawn. Cast the spell shrink item on the lawn and when the spell entangle is needed but the DM says Nope, toss your instant lawn, speak the command word, and center the entangle on the unshrunk lawn instead.

...Or the spell secure corpse...

Although it's likely unavailable just yet, a 6th-level Clr spell secure corpse [trans] (Book of Exalted Deeds 160) causes a holy symbol to hold a corpse of any size. This would, presumably, include the remains of any destroyed plant creature. Dismissing the spell or destroying the holy symbol causes the corpse to appear near the holy symbol. Both the treant and the tendriculos can reach Gargantuan size. The DM may rule, however, that, for example, a dead shambling mound or mu spore just isn't the "[g]rasses, weeds, bushes, and... trees" necessary for the spell entangle to function. Steel yourself for sorrow.1

...Or just cast instead impeding stones

The 1st-level Drd and 1st-level Rgr spell impeding stones [trans] (Cityscape 66) is almost the spell entangle except that, among other minor differences, the spell only works on a "[b]rick, stone, or earthen surface." Use that spell when the DM says the spell entangle won't work.

Then, for the remainder of your careers, enjoy fighting creatures that fly.

1 I've thought that maybe wrapping such holy symbols in fabric under which is ball bearings and nails might then allow secure corpse corpse-filled holy symbols to be used as improvised corpse grenades, but the spell's description gives no indication that there's any force associated with the corpse materializing from the destroyed holy symbol. This both pleases and disappoints me.

share|improve this answer
+1 because impeding stones sounds like the obvious solution here. – T.E.D. Mar 11 at 14:34

I don't know of a good way to create lots of plants in a large area during combat. You could try summoning a flying creature and giving it a basket of plants to drop from above, but it wouldn't cover nearly as much area as a normal entangle spell.

However, if you just want a spell that "does something similar to entangle but works even without plants", you have many good choices, including spike stones (and its cousin spike growth) and soften earth and stone. If you don't mind cutting off visibility (for example, you could catch half the monsters in your spell while killing the other half) there's also sleet storm.

share|improve this answer
Also summoning animals that can grapple. – Ruut Mar 11 at 1:13

Here is a weird concept: ranger makes a pact with large, fast beast, who has good skills in climbing - for example a bear (but you can use elephant or mammoth too). Then you strap pots with shrubs to this beast. Next you use homing-bear-shrub-suicide-bomber to run/climb to hug your target. I think it is a touch more creative than 'just a grenade'

The only weak spot in this concept - is how GM interprets Entagle. Do roots and branches grow in size for duration of spell? If yes - then bear is ok. If no... Uh you need mammoth. The bright side of mammoth is that you can keep a few trees around. Never know when you need those.

share|improve this answer

Here's a real world example of a seed bomb...

It's basically a bunch of seeds moulded into a ball of clay. It would be trivial to do this in game. Of course how you then grow the seeds into viable plants is a different problem.

share|improve this answer
That problem isn't different though, it's an inherent part of the question and necessary to solve for this answer to contain a solution to the problem presented. – SevenSidedDie Mar 11 at 0:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.