Thorn Whip 5e is a spell in Dungeons & Dragons that is available to all spellcasting classes. It is a level 0 spell, which means it is one of the simplest spells a caster can learn. When cast, it creates a long, thorny vine that lashes out at a target within range, making a melee spell attack against them.
If the attack hits, the target takes 1d6 piercing damage and is pulled up to 10 feet closer to the caster. The thorny vine then disappears.
History and Origins of the Thorn Whip Spell in D&D
The Thorn Whip spell has a long history in Dungeons & Dragons, dating back to the game’s earliest editions. The Greyhawk supplement introduced it in 1975 as a first-level druid spell called “thorn” that created a thorny vine for attacking or entangling enemies.
The spell underwent various changes in subsequent editions. The second edition renamed it “thorn whip” and gave it to the druid and ranger classes. While the third edition renamed it to “thorn lash” and gave it to the druid and sorcerer/wizard classes.
In the fourth edition, the spell was renamed “bramble whip” and exclusively given to the druid class. However, in the fifth edition, the spell reverted to its original name and became available to all spellcasting classes.
Despite these changes, the fundamental concept of the spell remained consistent across all iterations: it creates a thorny vine that can be used to attack and manipulate enemies.
Despite its evolution over the years, the Thorn Whip spell remains a popular and versatile tool for players of all spellcasting classes.
Its ability to make a melee spell attack against an enemy and pull them closer to the caster makes it useful in combat situations, while its creative potential for roleplaying adds depth and flavor to characters. The spell’s enduring popularity speaks to its importance and utility in the game.
Importance and Utility of the Thorn Whip Spell in Combat and Roleplaying
|Can be used to move enemies closer to the caster or allies out of harm's way||Can be used creatively to solve problems, such as grabbing onto high ledges or retrieving items that are out of reach|
|Can be used to manipulate the battlefield by pulling enemies into range of melee attacks or moving them away from vulnerable allies||Can be used to intimidate or interrogate captives by threatening to use the thorny vine on them|
|Can be used to deal damage to enemies and potentially disrupt their actions||Can add flavor and depth to a character's abilities and personality|
|Can be used to control the movement of enemies, making it easier to plan and execute strategies||Can be used to impress or entertain other characters or NPCs, such as by using it in a flashy or dramatic way.|
Mechanics of the Thorn Whip Spell
The Thorn Whip spell is a transmutation spell available to all spellcasting classes in D&D 5e. It has a casting time of one action, a range of 30 feet, and a duration of up to one minute.
When a caster casts the Thorn Whip spell, a lengthy vine covered in thorns extends from their hand, and it strikes a target within range, making a melee spell attack.
Damage and Effects of the Spell: If the Thorn Whip’s attack hits, the target takes 1d6 piercing damage. In addition, the caster can pull the target up to 10 feet closer to them. The spell’s ability to pull targets closer can be useful for controlling enemy movement and can also be used creatively in roleplaying situations.
How the Spell Interacts with Other Spells and Abilities in D&D 5e: The Thorn Whip spell can be used in combination with other spells and abilities to increase its effectiveness. Combining Thorn Whip with the Grasping Vine spell can be beneficial in combat as it can be used to ensnare and restrict enemies, making it difficult for them to move away.
Additionally, the booming blade spell can be cast as part of the same action as Thorn Whip to increase the damage dealt. Overall, the Thorn Whip spell is a versatile and useful tool for spellcasters in combat situations, offering both damage and control options.
Who Can Use Thorn Whip?
The Thorn Whip 5e spell is available to all spellcasting classes in D&D, including bards, clerics, druids, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. However, the specific level at which a character gains access to the spell may vary depending on their class.
Here is a breakdown of the classes that can use the Thorn Whip spell and the level at which they can access it:
- Bard: Level 0 (Cantrip)
- Cleric: Level 0 (Cantrip)
- Druid: Level 0 (Cantrip)
- Sorcerer: Level 0 (Cantrip)
- Warlock: Level 0 (Cantrip)
- Wizard: Level 0 (Cantrip)
It’s worth noting that while all spellcasting classes have access to the Thorn Whip spell, they may use it in slightly different ways.
For example, a druid might use the spell to control the battlefield by pulling enemies toward them, while a sorcerer might use it as a quick and efficient way to deal damage in close combat. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the spell will depend on the specific character’s abilities and playstyle.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Thorn Whip 5e Spell
|It has a range of 30 feet, which can be useful for attacking enemies from a safe distance.||Thorn Whip is a cantrip, which means it can be used an unlimited number of times, but its damage output is limited compared to higher-level spells.|
|Thorn Whip deals 1d6 piercing damage, which is a decent amount for a cantrip. In addition, if the spell successfully pulls the target closer, the caster can potentially set them up for a follow-up attack.||As a cantrip, It does not require a spell slot to cast, but higher-level versions of the spell do require spell slots, which can limit the number of times it can be cast in a single day.|
|The spell can pull the target up to 10 feet closer to the caster, which can be useful for positioning enemies for the area of effect spells or to bring them within melee range for allies.||Thorn Whip is not always effective in all combat situations, especially against enemies that are immune or resistant to piercing damage or those that are too large or heavy to be pulled.|
|It can be used for both melee attacks and pulling targets, making it a versatile spell to have in a spellcaster's arsenal.||While the range of 30 feet can be an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage if the caster needs to keep a greater distance from enemies.|
|Thorn Whip can also be used to trigger reactions such as an attack of opportunity or triggering a spell effect that activates when a target moves.|
Strategies and Tactics
There are several strategies and tactics that can be used to effectively use the Thorn Whip spell in combat. Here are some of them:
Pulling enemies: One of the biggest advantages of Thorn Whip is its ability to pull enemies closer to you. This can be particularly useful if you’re a melee character, as it can allow you to attack enemies that are out of your reach.
Combining with other spells: Thorn Whip can be a great spell to combine with other spells, particularly if you’re playing a spellcasting character. For example, you could use Thorn Whip to pull an enemy towards you, then follow up with a more powerful spell to finish them off.
Dealing damage: This deals a moderate amount of damage (1d6 piercing damage at 1st level), but its real strength is its ability to control the battlefield. Use it to pull enemies towards you, disrupt enemy formations, and generally make life difficult for your opponents.
Using cover: Thorn Whip is a ranged spell, which means that you can use cover to your advantage. Try to position yourself behind cover, and then use Thorn Whip to pull enemies out of cover and into the open where they can be targeted by you and your allies.
Positioning: It has a range of 30 feet, so it’s important to position yourself in a way that maximizes its effectiveness. Try to stay within range of your target, but also position yourself in a way that minimizes the risk of being attacked.
Offhand Attack Option
In D&D 5e, when a character wields a melee weapon in one hand, they can make an offhand attack with a light melee weapon in their other hand as a bonus action, but they do not add their ability modifier to the damage unless they have the Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style or a similar ability.
However, the Thorn Whip spell is a ranged spell attack, not a melee weapon attack, so the offhand attack option does not apply to it. Even if a character has a free hand, they cannot make an offhand attack with Thorn Whip as it is not a valid weapon for the Two-Weapon Fighting style.
Some character abilities or feats can enable an extra attack as a bonus action, for example, the Rogue’s Cunning Action trait or the Crossbow Expert feat.
In these cases, a character could potentially use their bonus action to cast Thorn Whip and then make a melee or ranged attack with their main action or bonus action attack.
However, it’s important to note that the Thorn Whip spell has a range of 30 feet, so a character would need to be within that range to make the spell attack.
Explanation of a Thorn Whip-focused build
A Thorn Whip-focused build centers around maximizing the effectiveness of the Thorn Whip spell in combat. Players can enhance the effectiveness of Thorn Whip by selecting spells, feats, and other abilities that complement the spell. Some potential options include:
- Spells: Other spells that can restrain or pull enemies closer, such as Entangle or Thunderwave, can work well with Thorn Whip. Other damaging spells can also be useful to wear down enemies before using Thorn Whip to finish them off.
- Feats: Feats that improve spellcasting, such as Spell Focus or Elemental Adept, can help increase the potency of Thorn Whip. Alternatively, feats that improve mobility or grappling, such as Mobile or Grappler, can make it easier to maneuver enemies into the range of Thorn Whip.
- Abilities: Classes that can summon creatures or plants, such as the Druid or Ranger, can use these abilities to create terrain that works in favor of Thorn Whip. Additionally, abilities that improve range or accuracy, such as the Eldritch Invocations of the Warlock, can make it easier to hit enemies with Thorn Whip.
Multiclassing options and consideration
Multiclassing is an option in D&D 5e that allows players to combine two or more classes to create a character with unique abilities and skills. When it comes to multiclassing with the Thorn Whip spell, there are several options and considerations to keep in mind:
This is a popular option for players who want to focus on Thorn Whip as a primary combat spell. The druid class provides access to Thorn Whip, while the ranger class offers additional combat abilities such as extra attacks and improved weapon proficiency.
It is another viable option for players who want to focus on Thorn Whip, but with a different flavor. The sorcerer class offers more spell slots and access to meta-magic abilities, while the wizard class offers a wider range of spells and spellcasting abilities.
Other Spellcasting Classes
Thorn Whip is accessible to any spellcasting class, which may encourage players to multiclass with classes such as the bard, cleric, or warlock to craft an original character build.
Consideration of Ability Scores
Multiclassing may require a player to balance different ability scores to meet the requirements of each class. For example, a druid/ranger build may require a high Wisdom score for spellcasting and a high Dexterity score for combat.
Consideration of Spell Slots
This can also affect a character’s available spell slots and the level of spells they can cast. Players should consider how this will affect their use of Thorn Whip and other spells in combat.
Thorn Whip Opportunity Attacks
D&D 5e, opportunity attacks can occur when an enemy moves out of your reach without taking the Disengage action. With the Thorn Whip spell, you have the option to make an opportunity attack if the enemy moves out of the range of the whip’s reach.
When an enemy moves out of the 30-foot range of your Thorn Whip, you can use your reaction to make an opportunity attack with the whip. If the attack hits, the target takes the Thorn Whip’s normal damage, and you can choose to pull the target up to 10 feet closer to you.
This can be a powerful tactic, as it allows you to control the movement of your enemies and potentially pull them into a better position for your allies to attack.
It is worth noting that the number of opportunity attacks you can make is limited by the number of reactions you have per round. Therefore, it is crucial to use them strategically
Additionally, pulling an enemy closer to you can be risky, as it puts you in closer proximity to their attacks.
Thorn Whip 5e and Lycanthropes
Thorn Whip can be an effective spell against lycanthropes, as it allows the caster to pull them closer and potentially restrain them. The following table outlines some potential interactions between Thorn Whip and different types of lycanthropes in D&D 5e:
|Lycanthrope Type||Effect of Thorn Whip|
|Werewolf||A creature can be pulled closer and potentially restrained in humanoid form when hit by Thorn Whip, but it is immune to these effects while in wolf or hybrid form.|
|Werebear||Thorn Whip can’t affect lycanthropes in bear or hybrid form due to immunity, and other factors affect spell effectiveness.|
|Wererat||When hit by Thorn Whip, a creature can be pulled closer and potentially restrained in its humanoid form, but it is immune to these effects while in rat or hybrid form.”|
|Weretiger||It has the ability to pull and potentially restrain a creature in its humanoid form, but it cannot affect the creature while it’s in its tiger or hybrid form, as it is immune to the spell’s effects in those forms.|
|Wereboar||A creature in its humanoid form pulled and potentially restrained by Thorn Whip becomes immune to these effects in its boar or hybrid form.|
|Wereraven||Thorn Whip can restrain a humanoid, but not a raven or hybrid form of a creature, as they are immune.|
|Werecrocodile||A creature hit by Thorn Whip can be pulled closer and potentially restrained in its humanoid form, but it is immune to these effects while in its crocodile or hybrid form|
|Wereshark||Thorn Whip can pull and potentially restrain a humanoid, but not a shark or hybrid form.|
It is important to note that some lycanthropes may have extra resistance or immunities, and the effectiveness of Thorn Whip depends on various factors such as caster level, target size and strength, and combat environment.
Thorn Whip 5e and the Environment
Thorn Whip, like many spells in D&D 5e, can interact with the environment in interesting and creative ways. Here are some examples of how to use Thorn Whip to manipulate the terrain and move objects:
- Pulling oneself or allies out of danger: If a character finds themselves in a precarious position, they can use Thorn Whip to pull themselves or an ally out of harm’s way. For example, they can use the spell to pull themselves up to a higher ledge or to drag an unconscious ally to safety.
- Moving or manipulating objects: Thorn Whip can help you to move or manipulate objects in the environment. For example, you could use it to pull a lever, open a door, or even steal an object that is out of reach.
- Creating obstacles: It can provide assistance to create barriers or obstacles that enemies must navigate around. For example, you could wrap the whip around a tree or other sturdy object to create an obstacle.
- Combining with other spells: You can combine Thorn Whip with other spells that manipulate the terrain, such as Entangle or Wall of Thorns. For instance, you could use Thorn Whip to pull an enemy into an area affected by Entangle, making it harder for them to escape.
Thorn Whip is a versatile and popular spell in Dungeons & Dragons that has undergone several changes throughout the history of the game. Thorn Whip produces a lengthy vine covered in thorns that can be utilized for a melee spell attack to strike and manipulate enemies.
It can be employed by diverse spellcasting classes and offers advantages and disadvantages in combat. It is capable of pulling targets nearer but has some limitations in specific situations.
To use Thorn Whip effectively, players should consider their positioning and be aware of the potential risks involved in pulling targets closer. They can also complement the spell with other abilities and feats, and use creativity and improvisation to enhance its use in unconventional ways.
How good is Thorn Whip?
Thorn Whip is a decent cantrip in Dungeons & Dragons that deals damage and allows the caster to pull a creature closer. It can be situationally useful, but its effectiveness depends on the specific circumstances.
Can I choose not to pull with Thorn Whip?
Yes, you can choose not to pull a creature with Thorn Whip. The spell states that you “can pull the creature up to 10 feet closer to you,” so it is optional.
Can you make an opportunity attack with Thorn Whip?
Yes, you can make an opportunity attack with Thorn Whip. If a creature moves out of your reach, you can use your reaction to cast the spell and potentially hit them with the thorny whip.
Who can learn Thorn Whip?
Thorn Whip is a druid cantrip in Dungeons & Dragons, so any character who has the ability to cast druid spells can learn it. This includes characters with the druid class, as well as characters who have multiclassed into druid and gained access to their spell list.