One of our characters is using Rashemi Elemental Summoning to summon Thomil earth elementals. The elemental's engulf ability states:

As a standard action, a thomil of size Small or larger may attempt to envelop an opponent at least one size category smaller than itself. It cannot make a slam attack on the round it engulfs prey. The thomil merely has to move over the opponents, affecting as many as it can cover. Opponents can make opportunity attacks against the thomil, but if they do, they are not entitled to a saving throw. Those who do not attempt opportunity attacks must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 thomil's Hit Dice + thomil's Constitution modifier) or be engulfed;

Freedom of movement allows a player to move freely and automatically escape grapple. Already it seems somewhat contradictory, because the conditions for becoming engulfed are not avoided. The Thomil is the one moving, and no grapple checks have been made yet.

But engulf also states

Engulfed creatures are considered grappled and trapped within the thomil's body


The engulfed creature can instead attempt an Escape Artist check (DC 15 + 1/2 thomil's Hit Dice + thomil's Constitution modifier)

So these clauses suggest that a character using Freedom of Movement can escape being engulfed with absolutely no trouble.

Is there are more clear ruling than this? Getting engulfed only to immediately escape is a strange way to handle it. It makes more sense to me that the victim would never be engulfed in the first place, but I am worried my players will try to rules-lawyer their way out of it. I want to clear up this ambiguity beforehand so he won't feel too gotcha'd.


Freedom of movement combines two very unfortunate things: absolute immunity, and extremely vague parameters. It says that you are able to move freely, no matter what, so unless something explicitly says it overcomes freedom of movement (and sadly, few things do), freedom of movement allows you to ignore anything that prevents you from moving freely.

But problems abound with that. For instance, gravity prevents you from freely moving upward – should freedom of movement allow you to fly? Or another, a wall prevents you from moving freely through it – should freedom of movement allow you to walk through walls? Hopefully the answer to both questions is an obvious no, but those are extreme examples – the less extreme you get, the more unclear it becomes whether or not freedom of movement helps. There’s no clear line between where freedom of movement works and where it does not.

So ultimately the rules are really unclear. I’d probably rule freedom of movement represents immunity to being engulfed, or the ability to immediately escape being engulfed if cast while already within the thomil. But I wouldn’t be surprised or bothered to learn that a DM ruled it the other way. Ideally, establishing one or the other would be done before it came up, but that might tip your hand in unfortunate ways.


there is a link that holds most information called 'The Hypertext d20 SRD'. Freedom of Movement is listed as a spell, here's the url for it. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/freedomOfMovement.htm

This basically says that nothing can hinder your movement (slow you down) and that the person using Freedom of Movement always succeeds in the grapple check. Since the player succeeds the grabble check the Thomil can't engulf the player

  • \$\begingroup\$ The ability doesn't call for a grapple check; you get a reflex save, failing which makes you grappled. So there's no check to auto-succeed; in a sense, both sides have auto-success. \$\endgroup\$ – Yamikuronue Jan 19 '15 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @urando, I agree that it should probably be interpreted this way, but as yamikuronue said, the problem is that engulf does not grant a grapple check until the player is already grappled and trying to escape. I have incorporated your link in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – mao47 Jan 19 '15 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ from what I can gather by reading the engulf ability and the grapple: It looks like the thomil would be able to engulf you if you failed the reflex save. However, since you become grappled you are entitled to grapple checks so get free from its loving embrace. You would automatically win at these. In short; the thomil will win and you will win. It engulfs you but at the start of your turn you are free from the engulf. This is how I see it at the moment. \$\endgroup\$ – urando Jan 21 '15 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @urando add that to your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jan 29 '15 at 13:37

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