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If you are trying to shoot some creature, and your target is grappling, rules say: "roll randomly to see which grappling combatant you strike".

Does Black Tentacles spell's effect count as a combatant? Or should you just roll high enough attack to strike a creature, grappled by Tentacles, as there is no actual target other then the creature you are aiming at?

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Yes.

Every creature within the area of the Black Tentacles spell that loses their grapple check is grappling. So the combat modifier for ranged attacks versus a grappling creature ("Roll randomly to see which grappling combatant you strike, defender loses Dex bonus to AC") applies.

Only if the tentacles were incorporeal, illusory, telekinetic or of some other nature that would let a ranged attack simply pass through them an attacker wouldn't have to roll randomly. But considering the physical nature of the conjured tentacles (rubbery, black, 10 feet long) this does not seem to be the case at all.

The fact that the tentacles are "immune to all types of damage" doesn't mean that they can't be hit, they just can't be hurt. If you roll randomly and strike a tentacle the attack is wasted.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "... that loses their grapple check is grappling" I think you mean 'grappled' ? I'm not familiar enough with 3.5e rules, so I'm not sure whether my thinking is correct or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Aug 10, 2020 at 7:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix Grappling is a defined condition in 3.5 rules. (Like confused, frightened, stunned etc ...) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2020 at 7:43

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