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After I had some issues following the and perhaps driven by visits of my mother-in-law (and again), this year she decided to pay me a visit on valentines day, which means I have a whole week (7 days) to prepare! Unfortunately I went overboard again and promised more things to impress her - I mean, impose my creativity and talent upon her - which led me to state the following:

"You really think that was all I can do? I will show you true beauty. I shall create the most magnificent field of flowers you have ever witnessed, for I can do anything!"

The moment I saw the thin smile on her lips I realized the trap I ran into, but it was already too late, the words were spoken. "I will look forward to it then. I sure hope you don't disappoint me..." - with those words, she left and I went to work.


For this task the following rules and limits apply:

  • Only officially published materials
  • Up to 20 levels at your disposal
  • Multiclassing allowed
  • Feats and Magic Items are available as needed
  • Unlimited money
  • Time Limit: 7 days (or 168 hours / 241.920 minutes if you like that better)
  • No use of wish in any capacity
  • The flowers must at the very least look fresh / alive when my mother-in-law arrives, though actually fresh ones are of course superior
  • If you bring creatures that count as plants, that is a bonus and also a valid addition
  • Illusory flowers do not count, since unfortunately my mother-in-law is blessed with Truesight out to ridiculous ranges.

The best answer would be one to create as many distinctive physical flowers as possible, meaning the count matters first and foremost.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why should we try to impress with living flowers? A proper Dragon like her will be more impressed by a field of flowers from precious metal! \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Feb 7, 2023 at 9:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do the flowers have to be real? Or do they only need to feel/seem real? Assuming your mother-in-law does not have access to Truesight (although to be fair, I wouldn't be surprised if she did), something like high level illusions could make this trivial, and thus could be something to exclude. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Feb 7, 2023 at 9:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Umm...is sending out messages with various spells to every place on the planet/multiple planes with offers for stupid amount of gold for flowers allowed, then opening portals/etc to have random people dump all the flowers in the world in your garden count :)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan
    Feb 7, 2023 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alan 5e does have a cost for magic items. One version is present in the Dungeon Master's Guide (the one I used for my answer), and one is presented in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. The costs aren't very consistent with power level, but they are there. Regardless, the question says "Feats and Magic Items are available as needed" \$\endgroup\$ Feb 8, 2023 at 21:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Druidcraft lets you force a flower to blossom, but it doesn't create them. Plant Growth seems like it should help, but "overgrown" would not mean more buds unless the DM said so. I feel like there should be some way to use this, but one with strict RAW support that doesn't rely on conveniently having a bunch of not-yet-blossomed flowers/existing flowering plants around is not occurring to me. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2023 at 2:30

2 Answers 2

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67,200

There are 10 rounds in a minute. There are 100 rounds in ten minutes. There are 600 rounds in an hour. There are 14,400 rounds in a day, or 9,600 rounds in a 16 hour day allowing for one 8 hour long rest.

To guarantee that you have a staff of flowers charge available for every round, you need 9,600 charges, which is 960 staves. Each staff is worth 100 gold, so you need 96,000 gold for day one, then another 96,000 gold for day two.

On day two the staves from the first day recharge, while you use the second set of staves, and on day three they recharge again, whereupon you switch and let set 2 recharge for the whole day, in a loop (mimimum 5 charges per recharge, max charges on one set at the start of every other day.) From there you have to spend an extra 100 gold whenever you break a staff by draining it.

You can also add a generous gold cost of approximately 100 gp for unskilled labor, to pay someone strong enough to carry your gold back and forth for these readily available items for the duration of the week, and another 4000 gold to pay a party of four mercenaries(adventurers) to protect the gopher in case someone decides to take advantage of 'easy coin.'

We're at 196,100 gp + 100x, where x = the number of staff breaks during the week.

We are producing 9600 flowers of choice per day for 7 days, resulting in 67,200 flowers of personal choice.

For funsies

We do this with a Mark of Warding Dwarf with the Selesnya background, pure 20 cleric. Any subclass will work. Assuming that she arrives on the 8th day, for part of your long rest you spend it casting a Spell Glyph of Warding; Speak with Plants. The trigger for glyph of warding is when your mother comes within range in the field of flowers, she becomes the target of speak with plants.

She can now understand the flowers, which can now understand her. Glyph of warding is the only way this can happen, unless she is secretly a level 5 or higher adventurer(the spell is normally self-target, but spell glyph bypasses this).

But we can do better. After all, we have a guaranteed Divine Intervention. We're going to activate it to make this field of speaking flowers permanent so that they may sing nature deity's praise forever to any who will listen.

The following day when she departs, we will Hallow the site, granting it a permanent Tongues effect, and charge admission to recoup our losses so we can make another holy site elsewhere to sing nature's praises. This is not a profit endeavor- we will recover exactly as much gold we need to to repeat this process in a second location, which may be as little as a fifteen thousand gold depending on how many of the staves initially broke.

Or we could outsource the labor involved and leave her in charge of the flowers she's going to fall in love with...

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    \$\begingroup\$ I just love how usually you get many neat side effects i these types of questions :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Tobias F.
    Feb 14, 2023 at 14:35
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2,265 flowers

Creating living flowers is actually surprisingly difficult in the rules of Dungeons and Dragons. The only particularly efficient option I could find was the staff of flowers from Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Here is the method I used:

The Character

I am a level 20 Elf with these classes...

  • Wizard 13 (for Spellcasting, Arcane Recovery, Skill Expert feat for Arcana, conjure minor elementals, planar binding, and simulacrum)
  • Sorcerer 7 (for Font of Magic, Flexible Casting, and the Metamagic options of Extended Spell and Twinned Spell)

The Gear

  • 54 human-sized statues
  • A pearl of power
  • An abundance of spell scrolls of true polymorph (at least 60 to be safe)

The Concept

I will be using simulacrum each day to gain access to more spell slots and pouring them into conjuring firenewt warlocks of Imix to craft as many staffs of flowers as I can. I will be using planar binding to ensure they stick around long enough to craft throughout the week.

At the end of the week, I'll spend the last day (since more firenewts wouldn't have time to make staffs at that point) using true polymorph along with my final simulacrum to transmute a bunch of statues into tri-flower fronds.

The Process

On the first 6 days I will follow the following procedure:

  1. I cast simulacrum to create a duplicate of myself (replacing my former simulacrum if applicable)
  2. I take a 1 hour break after 12 hours of spellcasting while I attune to a pearl of power.
  3. Both the simulacrum and I cast conjure minor elementals with Extended Spell Metamagic and use Flexible Casting twice to create more Sorcery Points (using spells slots of 3rd-level or lower prioritizing the highest slots first).
  4. Both the simulacrum and I cast planar binding at 6th-level or higher (prioritizing the lower slots first) on our two firenewt warlocks with a Twinned Spell metamagic.
  5. Both the simulacrum and I repeat steps 3-4 twice more.
  6. I take a one hour break to use Arcane Recovery to bring back two 3rd-level spell slots
  7. I activate my pearl of power and use Flexible Casting three times to convert all of my new 3rd-level spell slots.
  8. Both the simulacrum and I repeat steps 3-4 once more.
  9. Both the simulacrum and I repeat steps 3-4 except the simulacrum doesn't use Twinned Spell Metamagic (they didn't get the Sorcery Points from the Arcane Recovery and pearl of power spell slots so can't twin this 9th-level planar binding).

Altogether this expends all of both mine and the simulacrums spell slots, as well as uses 19 hours and just over 11 minutes of time. Thankfully, as an elf I'm able to take a long rest in 4 hours using Trance, allowing the whole process to take under 24 hours.

All of the firenewts will dedicate their time to crafting staffs of flowers for my simulacra to use. For every four firenewts that work on a staff of flowers, one is completed per day using the crafting rules in the Dungeon Master's Guide.

While I'm in my Trance, my simulacrum (who will soon be replaced by a new one with full spell slots), gets to work using every charge in the staffs of flowers accumulated by that point in the week to create our field of flowers.

On the 6th day, I skip my long rest. Then, my simulacrum from the previous day and I can use spell scrolls of true polymorph to create tri-flower fronds to eek out a bit more flowers before my mother-in-law arrives. The bulk of these 27 hours are spent concentrating on the spell to make it permanent, so any failed ability checks (I only fail on a 1 thanks to Arcana expertise) to cast these scrolls don't cost me any fronds.

The Calculation

For each day, I have any staffs that the firenewt warlocks have fully completed the previous day with 10 charges. Our simulacrum will use all of these; if we were to save 1, we'd retain more staffs by the end, but we'd use less charges and have less charges to regain on the surviving staffs. This would net ~8 less flowers.

Then, any staffs from previous days get an average of 7.5 charges from the last dawn.

Finally, we add in 162 flowers (3 for each casting) for the true polymorphs. Here is a table showing the number of flowers per day:

Day Number of
Firenewts
New Staffs Leftover Staffs % to Next Staff Number of Flowers
1 19 0 0 0 0
2 38 4 0 75% 40
3 57 10 3.8 25% 168.5
4 76 14 13.11 50% 406.825
5 95 19 25.755 50% 789.988
6 114 24 42.517 25% 1348.865
7 114 28 63.191 75% 2102.798
7 114 28 86.631 75% 2264.798

The Cost

Just for fun, let's see how many gold pieces all of the spellcasting costs by the end of the week (accounting for scroll mishaps on true polymorph):

Spell Number of Casts Cost
simulacrum 6 9,000 gp
planar binding 57 57,000 gp
true polymorph 56.842 4,973,675 gp

...for a grand total of more than 5 million gp. To be fair, cutting out the true polymorphs only loses ~7% of the flowers, but cuts down the cost by ~99%. Even so, any cost is worth it to prove to my mother-in-law that I can do anything... Right?

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for just nuts! I mean flowers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Feb 9, 2023 at 21:31

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