D&D 5e Plant Monsters, Photo Sketch of a Tree with a Face

D&D 5e Plant Monsters

You’re walking through the forest. It’s quiet but something’s off. You can’t quite place it. But, the trees move in subtly unusual ways. As you tread deeper into the dark, humid wood, you hear the sound of cracking underbrush and feel the rumble footsteps approaching. It turns out it wasn’t the trees, just the single, corrupted treant stalking you.

Dungeons & Dragons 5the edition is filled with wondrous and magical beings. And, not even the plants get ignored when it comes to things that want to kill you.

But, what is a plant creature?

This post is all about D&D 5e plant monsters; what they are and how to use them in your game.

Let’s start things off by defining the 5e plant creature type.

D&D 5e Plant Creature Type Explained

D&D 5e Plant Monsters, Photo Sketch of a Horned Tree Creature
"Plant" is one of the 14 creature types found in D&D 5e

Plant is one of the 14 D&D 5e creature types that classifies the various flora-based monsters found throughout the game.

Basically, the plant creature type describes any plant-based monster in D&D 5e. But, it doesn’t apply to mundane the flora of the world.

Trees, grass, vines, moss, and all the other millions of varieties of plants found in the natural world don’t fall into the "plant creature" classification. But, there are a few ways to define a plant monster.

Page 7 of the Monster’s Manual defines the plant creature type:

"Plants in this context are vegetable creatures, not ordinary flora. Most of them are ambulatory, and some are carnivorous. The quintessential plants are the shambling mound and the treant. Fungal creatures such as the gas spore and the myconid also fall into this category."

Source: DnD Beyond Basic Rules – Chapter 12: Monsters

Personally, I think there are three aspects to plant monsters in D&D:

  1. The plant has a movement speed
  2. The plant has unique features or traits
  3. The plant has some level of intelligence or communication ability

Now, a plant creature doesn’t need to meet all of these requirements (the shrieker, for example, doesn’t have a movement speed). But, it’s a good template for classifying a plant as a creature over the mundane flora.

Honestly, 5e has quite a few plant monsters. Roughly 40 of them actually.

The trick is plant creatures in 5e don’t share a lot of features or traits. These monsters vary as much as flora does in the real world. So, they have little in common other than being some form of ambulatory or sentient plant.

Let’s look at an example using two plant creatures from the Basic Rules: the awakened tree and the shambling mound.

The awakened tree has a vulnerability to fire. Makes sense since fires pose a great threat to plants. But, the shambling mound actually resists fire despite also belonging to the plant creature type.

Now, you could argue that the shambling mound is an inherently magical monster. But, the awakened tree is no less magical in its creation. And, the shambling mound stands as a CR 5 creature compared with the awakened tree at CR 2, meaning the former should pose a greater challenge.

The point is plant creatures vary not only in their appearance but also in their mechanics.

Are Plants Creatures in 5e?

Regular plants are not creatures in 5e. But, there are plant monsters.

Your average tree or blade of grass don’t count as creatures for the purposes of spells and other abilities. They just plants.

In fact, most plants in D&D are just that.

Usually, a plant only counts as a creature if it 1) has mobility or 2) has unique abilities. For example, the shrieker doesn’t have a movement speed but counts as a creature because of it’s semi-intelligence and features.

 

Now that you know the basics of plant monsters in D&D 5e, let’s move onto how you can use them in your game.

Using Plants in Your D&D Game

Photo Sketch of a Vine Monster
Plant monsters make great low- to mid-level random encounters & enemies

Plant monsters usually stand-in as low-level random encounters or as the "minions" of an evil druid or fey. But, they may pose a threat as the embodiment of nature’s wrath.

Honestly, you’ll find the best use in the plant creature type as early-game enemies. Rogue blights or awakened shrubs make great random encounters for a traveling party.

But, if you want your plant monsters integrated into your story, consider using them as the minions of an evil druid or fey creature.

Again, they’re not the main villain but this way they’re more prevalent and have a place in your campaign. Have your villain send waves of plant monsters on raids against the town your player character’s are in. Or, use an awakened tree or shambling mound to cut off a road or trade route.

Plant creatures can sit at the core of your game.

If you want plant creatures as the endgame villains, you’ll need a bit of creativity. Here are a couple ideas for using plants as your campaign’s villain:

  • A magical corruption infects the plants of the world and transforms them into violent entities
  • An ancient treant has rested atop a sealed portal to a plane of shadow for centuries, slowly absorbing the dark energy until it finally succumbs to violence
  • A strange meteor crashes into the earth. In it’s crater, dozens of strange fungal entities start forming. These entities seem benevolent at first, until the spores they shed start making people sick…and they continue to grow

But, I’ve got a little something extra next; some 5e plant monster encounters.

5e Plant Encounters: 5 Plant-Based Plot Hooks

Photo Sketch of a Log Shaped Like an Animal
Despite being great for random encounters, you can shape entire campaigns & adventures around plant creatures

So, you’ve got a rundown on what plant monsters are in D&D 5e and a few ideas for using them in your game. Now, let’s take a look at some encounter ideas for 5e plant creatures.

These are encounters and plot hooks you can use in your D&D 5e game.

  • An awakened shrub approaches the party and seems like it wants them to follow it somewhere. If the party follows, they discover an ancient wizard tower crawling with corrupted blights and other awakened plants.
  • A shambling mound tears through a small town, devouring townsfolk and livestock alike before tumbling off into the nearby forest.
  • A young treant sits along the side of a forest path. It seems ponderous over the corpse of a traveling merchant.
  • A group of blights approach the party. They’re clad in various foliage resembling regal gowns and robes. They ask the party for help with a corrupted portion of the forest so they may reclaim their lost kingdom.
  • The party comes across a slain treant with dozens of bright orange mushrooms growing from its bark. They here a shrieking off in the woods shortly after investigating the body.

D&D 5e Plant Monsters by CR

  1. CR 0
    • Awakened Shrub
    • Shrieker
  2. CR 1/8
    • Twig Blight
  3. CR 1/4
    • Violet Fungus
  4. CR 2
    • Awakened Tree
  5. CR 5
    • Shambling Mound
  6. CR 9
    • Treant

Final Thoughts on D&D 5e Plant Monsters

That about covers the plant creature type in D&D 5e.

Plant monsters in 5e include any semi-sentient flora but excludes mundane foliage. They don’t have too many mechanical similarities other than being plant-based. And, you’ll usually use them as low-level random encounters or as minions to your villain.

What’s your favorite plant monster in D&D? Have you had a memorable encounter in your TTRPG involving a plant creature? Leave a comment below and we’ll swap stories.

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