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Would the following sequence of steps result in my druid being able to make humongous mecha without homebrew?

  1. Summon Elemental(Earth)
  2. Use Planar Binding on said elemental
  3. Order elemental to conform to my movements
  4. Cast all available buffs on the elemental
  5. Cast Meld with stone on its chest area
  6. You are now the pilot of a massive, durable, and highly mobile mecha.

I say mobile because my character would be using their concentration to haste it. Might be able to carry some squishy party members on your back to keep them safe if you can make a platform for them, preferably fortified in some way.

I would love to know if this actually works. I could easily have misinterpreted the relevant rules but I would love to actually make this work for my games.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I canceled my second edit, tbh it probably belonged in a comment anyway. I don't know how to undo edits once I have done them if that is what you mean? \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Donovan Jun 20 '16 at 10:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't worry, that was directed at the user who edited your question just now (whose username is Wibbs). But also, you can undo edits by hitting the rollback link in your revision history. Click that "edited X mins ago" link, bottom center, just above these comments. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 20 '16 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for causing any confusion - I was editing tags and in too much of a hurry. Feel free to make any changes that I might have undone :os \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jun 20 '16 at 11:12
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Maybe...

As Artur Biesiadowski mentioned in a comment, it is questionable whether an elemental could be considered an object or surface for the Meld Into Stone spell to work. Elementals are usually referred to as creatures, but some are not considered very much different from the element they're made of. Consider this section from the Monster Manual (page 7, emphasis mine):

Elementals are creatures native to the elemental planes. Some creatures of this type are little more than animate masses of their respective elements, including the creatures simply called elementals. Others have biological forms infused with elemental energy.

The first sentence clearly identifies all elementals as creatures, but the second sentence makes it sound like some of them blur the line between object and creature. If my personal interpretation of the rules is correct, by RAW it would not work. However, your DM might disagree, or would like to make an exception to support your creativity.

...but even then it has its issues.

If allowed by the DM, the sequence of effects you described would result with you being encased in an elemental under your control. It might not be able to exactly "conform to your movements", seeing as you'll be standing inside it, but it'll follow your regular commands well enough.

The timing of Planar Binding would have to be perfect, though, to fit the 1 hour casting time in the 1 hour duration of the Conjure Elemental spell, but it could be made to work. The cost in gold is nothing to scoff at, but cast it at a higher level and it'll last you a while. Still, there are certain issues to consider:

1. Issuing commands

The biggest issue with this plan lies in the nature of the Meld Into Stone spell. Specifically, this section of the spell description (PHB page 259, emphasis mine):

While merged with the stone, you can’t see what occurs outside it, and any Wisdom (Perception) checks you make to hear sounds outside it are made with disadvantage.

This means you can command the elemental to do whatever you want, but you're virtually blind to your surroundings and are thus unable to command it effectively.

You can overcome this issue by using another spell, item or familiar to give you vision from outside the elemental. The other party members might be able to help, too.

2. Concentration

There is a small section of the Planar Binding spell that I find potentially troublesome (PHB page 265):

If the creature was summoned or created by another spell, that spell’s duration is extended to match the duration of this spell.

That makes it sound like the Conjure Elemental spell would still be in effect, and it's a spell that requires concentration. You would not be able to use any other spell that requires concentration, and would still be vulnerable to any effect that may break your concentration from within the stone. A spell like Shatter could still damage you from within the stone (and is also effective against your elemental).

It is quite likely that by RAI you shouldn't have to maintain concentration after casting Planar Binding, but that's something for your DM to decide.

Additionally, you might require an inverted Magic Circle to contain your elemental during the casting of Planar Binding. The SRD mentions that casting any spell with a casting time longer than 1 action requires Concentration (SRD page 101, emphasis mine):

When you cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single action or reaction, you must spend your action each turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your concentration while you do so. ...If your concentration is broken, the spell fails, but you don’t expend a spell slot.

This would mean that your elemental would break loose the moment you start casting Planar Binding, and would turn hostile (PHB, description of Conjure Elemental, page 225):

If your concentration is broken, the elemental doesn’t disappear. Instead, you lose control of the elemental, it becomes hostile toward you and your companions, and it might attack. An uncontrolled elemental can’t be dismissed by you, and it disappears 1 hour after you summoned it.

To my knowlege, such a rule is not contained in the PHB. But if it is accepted, it would solve the initial conundrum with concentration. If you can't concentrate on Conjure Elemental and cast Planar Binding at the same time, then all you're doing is binding an angry elemental that you trapped in a Magic Circle, and thus are free to concentrate on anything after the binding is complete. The elemental might still remain hostile, however, which would activate this section of Planar Binding:

The creature obeys the letter of your instructions, but if the creature is hostile to you, it strives to twist your words to achieve its own objectives.

3. Health management

You would have to find a way to reliably recover the elemental's HP, and be careful to try to step out of the elemental before he would be dealt lethal damage. As per the Meld Into Stone spell, if the elemental is destroyed while you're still in it, you would be ejected out, suffering 50 bludgeoning damage and knocking you prone.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Fairly certain I read this somewhere but can't get to certain sites from work. Although it states "extends", the Planar Binding spell replaces the conjuration duration with its duration. Having a spell you have to concentrate more than a day doesn't work most of the time because of the following under "Unconscious", "An unconscious creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings" so the moment you went to sleep assuming you require it you would lose all that gold you just spent on the binding. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jun 20 '16 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth I felt like that could be the case. I'll scour the errata when I get the time, and see if there's maybe a tweet about it. \$\endgroup\$ – DaFluid Jun 20 '16 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, if you are melded into the stone, do you have anything resembling a real body for the elemental to "conform to your movements?" \$\endgroup\$ – Marshall Tigerus Jun 20 '16 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ A familiar could solve your vision issues. Some of the concentration issues can be worked around with the help of caster friends. Having some form of telepathy through items or the like would allow for communication. 3 levels of chain pact GOO warlock handle that nicely, granting telepathy and a familiar capable of speech. The damage on mech destruction is bad, but not necessarily as bad as taking that damage in the first place. Contigency with dispel magic to remove the meld with stone should do the trick automatically though. Of course, even with all that it's still iffy/up to the DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Ethan Jun 20 '16 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ethan A familiar could solve your vision issues, but with the same problems as sticking your head out of the elemental does - it's an obvious weak spot. That being said, this entire plan doesn't actually have any advantage over just summoning and binding the elemental, and then ordering it to do stuff while you stay home. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 21 '16 at 0:43

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