“Feed me Seymour. Feed me all night long.” – Audrey II, Little Shop of Horrors
Of all the character types in 5e, plants are maybe one of the most oddly specific to be considered as their own category. Then again, I run into a lot more plants on a daily basis than I do oozes.
Either way, plants are a creature type and that’s the way it is, and I’m sure you’re not here for a riveting debate on whether or not they should just be a subset of monstrosities.
No! You’re here because the idea of a vicious man-eating plant or a towering ent with a beard of leaves came into your head and you just have to know more. Fortunately, there is a lot more, and I’ve even got a few extras up my sleeve for you to explore, so without any further adieu, let’s talk plants.
I lied, I’ve got one more piece of adieu. To get yourself in my headspace, jump over to youtube and throw on Feed Me in the background. Nothing like a singing carnivorous plant to get you in the mood.
Plant Creatures in 5e
As of the writing of this article, there are only 47 plant creatures in 5e. Here’s the thing though, what this creature type lacks in numbers, it definitely makes up for in variety.
Awakened plants, evil fungi and flowers, treants, lycanthropickles, and more make up this list.
I’ve selected a few plants that stand out as just really amazing creatures with interesting and unique stat blocks. In no particular order, here are some exciting plants you can bring into your campaign
Kelpie; CR 4
AC – 14
HP – 67 (9d8 + 27)
Speed – 10 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR 14; DEX 14; CON 16; INT 7; WIS 12; CHA 10
Amphibious- Can breathe air and water.
Seaweed Shape- Uses an action to take the shape of a small, medium, or large beast or humanoid. It’s new form is convincing except for in bright light or within 30 ft. where you can clearly see seaweed.
False Appearance- Remains indistinguishable from a clump of seaweed while motionless.
- Multiattack – It makes two slam attacks.
- Slam – 2d8 + 2 bludgeoning damage with a +4 to hit. Medium or smaller creatures must succeed on a DC 12 grapple save or be grappled.
- Drowning Hypnosis- A kelpie can charm a target within 150 feet if it fails a DC 12 wisdom save. Charmed creatures are incapacitated and spend their turn moving closer to the kelpie. Charmed creatures also attempt to breath instead of holding their breath underwater. A creature can roll to break the charm on the end of its turn, if it takes damage from a source other than the kelpie, or if it is about to enter damaging terrain.
Kelpies come from Scottish folklore as shapeshifting water spirits that lure humans to their death in lakes and other bodies of water. D&D tends to take inspiration from folklore and make it into their own creature and this is definitely what we see here.
You could still call this a water spirit, but instead of a horse this is a mass of sentient shapeshifting seaweed ready to lure humans to their death. So at least some of that is the same.
It gives us a really cool, and frankly, kind of gross, image of this mass of green gunk that can quickly take on the form of a beautiful humanoid in an attempt to murder.
Two kelpies show up in the White Plume Mountain adventure which can be found in Tales from the Yawning Portal. Their goal is to use their charming hypnosis ability to, you guessed it, lure the characters into some very deep water and drown them.
You can easily transplant these seaweed monsters into any campaign you have. Hell, the next time your ranger just decides to go off on his own to collect water, tell him there’s a beautiful man (or woman) sitting by a “pond” that wants to talk to him.
Let the chaos ensue.
Kelpie; CR 4
AC – 14
HP – 67 (9d8 + 27)
Speed – 10 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR 14; DEX 14; CON 16; INT 7; WIS 12; CHA 10
Seaweed Shape – Uses an action to take the shape of a small, medium, or large beast or humanoid. It’s new form is convincing except for in bright light or within 30 ft. where you can clearly see seaweed.
Drowning Hypnosis – A kelpie can charm a target within 150 feet if it fails a DC 12 wisdom save. Charmed creatures are incapacitated and spend their turn moving closer to the kelpie. Charmed creatures also attempt to breathe instead of holding their breath underwater.
A creature can roll to break the charm on the end of its turn, if it takes damage from a source other than the kelpie, or if it is about to enter damaging terrain.
Boy oh boy, a plant that grows upon the grave of a necromancer or the remains of a powerful undead. God, I love a good golgari creature when I see one.
For those of you that aren’t MTG fans, let’s just say this is an awesome plant monster that you won’t want to water any time soon.
The large plant carries around corpses inside of it which it can devour and use to heal, or just make zombies out of? I mean come on, how terrifying is that. Your poor party thought everything was going to be okay when they left the town after burying that lich. Oops.
Now they have to deal with an evil sentient plant with a hunger for corpses. How long will it be before the graveyards are empty and this flower turns towards a larger buffet?
Treant; CR 9
AC – 16
HP – 138 (12d12 + 60)
Speed – 30 ft.
STR 23; DEX 8; CON 21; INT 12; WIS 16; CHA 12
Siege Monster- Deals double damage to objects and structures
Animate Trees (1/day)- The treant animates one or two trees within 60 feet of it that have the same stats as a treant aside from intelligence and charisma scores of 1. These animated trees are allies of the treant and cannot speak, they also become regular trees again if they are more than 120 ft away from the treant, if the treant dies, if the treant changes them back as a bonus action, or after 24 hours have passed.
Admittedly, the mechanics of treants aren’t all that impressive. Sure, they’re going to be a decent challenge, but what’s really exciting is that they’re huge sentient trees! They’re also chaotic good which means there’s a real chance that these could be creatures on your side.
Treants do get to animate more trees that are just less intelligent treants so you’ll often see a group of these bringing a forest to life. If you have any doubts about living trees being plot hooks, just look at Lord of the RIngs.
Or maybe Groot if that’s more your style. Either way, having even one of these showing up in your campaign is sure to receive cheers around the room.
Unless they have to fight it of course.
Okay, admittedly, there is no reason you should ever have to interact with these plant creatures. Unless of course you’re an avid Rick and Morty fan and you want to partake in the wacky adventures of Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty.
If that’s the case then you get to fight pickles! Not just any pickles, these are lycanthropickles, humanoids affected by the curse of lycranthopickling. If you are injured you yourself might even succumb to the cure of the brine. Or you know, not, it’s kind of up to you.
These silly creatures use the stat for twig blights and aren’t at all exciting as creatures, but the fact you can turn into one, and the silliness of evil little fruit monsters is priceless.
Shambling Mound; CR 5
AC – 15
HP – 136 (16d10 + 48)
Speed – 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
STR 18; DEX 8; CON 16; INT 5; WIS 10; CHA 5
Lightning Absorption- Regains hit points instead of taking damage when hit with lightning damage.
Engulf- Engulfs a creature grappled by it. Engulfed creatures are blinded, restrained, and unable to breathe, and they take 2d8 + 4 bludgeoning damage at the start of each of the mounds turns unless they succeed on a DC 14 Con save.
As we all know, if lightning strikes a swamp plant it develops a semi-sentience and begins to feed on everything around it. This is common, real-world knowledge.
Luckily, 5e stays true to this concept with shambling mounds, although fey magic can also bring these creatures to life.
These rotting heaps of plant life shamble around (surprising right) devouring everything in their path. Any plants or animals that can’t escape its slow meandering give the mound the nutrients it needs to survive.
It’s rare that adventurers will just bump into them, but they may be called in to investigate a mysterious swamp seemingly devoid of all life. In that quiet they’ll find the creature that will try to engulf them all, suffocating them and cementing the mound’s place in the food chain.
Players should be careful to fully exterminate the root-system if they do manage to kill the creature, lest the pest return once it has leached the life from enough other beings to regrow itself.
Bodytaker Plants and Podlings
Bodytaker Plant; CR 7
AC – 15
HP – 92 (8d12 +40)
Speed – 10 ft., climb 10 ft., swim 10 ft.
STR 18; DEX 8; CON 20; INT 14; WIS 14; CHA 18
Podling Link- Can communicate telepathically with any of its podlings within 10 miles.
Entrapping Pod- Can envelop a creature grappled by the plant’s vines in a pod within the plant’s space. Creatures within a pod suffer one level of exhaustion every hour and emerge as a podling if they die within a pod. Creatures outside can remove a trapped creature with a successful DC 15 strength check.
Have you ever seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers? If not, I highly suggest the 1958 black and white version. Anyways, spoiler alert, we’re going to be talking about the villain of that movie.
Bodytaker plants are a species of plant bent on taking over entire populations. They replace creatures with podlings that hatch identical plant clones.
These podlings are almost indistinguishable from the original creature, possessing all the memories of the creature. If my best friend were to be replaced by a podling I might only be able to notice slight discrepancies, and a good enough wisdom check would let me know that the thing in front of me is in fact not my friend at all.
These are horror plants through and through. You could do an entire one-shot focused solely on an invasion of these plants that seek to take over the world.
Myconids and Vegepygmies
Now, these are two entirely separate groups of creatures, but both are small, living fungi. I don’t know why we need two forms of sentient fungus, but I do know that they’re both cool.
Myconid Adult; CR 1/2
AC – 12
HP – 22(4d8 + 4)
Speed – 20 ft.
STR 10; DEX 10; CON 12; INT 10; WIS 13; CHA 7
Rapport Spores- Releases spores that allow creatures with an intelligence of 2 or higher, that aren’t undead, constructs, or elementals, to telepathically communicate with each other while within 30 ft.. This effect lasts for an hour.
Myconids are telepathic intelligent mushrooms that have a complex social structure. They’re lawful neutral creatures that will probably be more inclined to help you when you come across them in the Underdark, but even if you’ve got some rotten luck you’re not in for a bad time.
While their spores are mainly used for spreading telepathy, they can also animate corpses, stun creatures, or even make them hallucinate. All around pretty exciting and a great time for a group of adventures that care about plant growth.
Vegepygmy Chief; CR 2
AC – 14
HP – 33 (6d6 + 12)
Speed – 30 ft.
STR 14; DEX 14; CON 14; INT 7; WIS 12; CHA 9
Regeneration- Regains 5 hp at the beginning of its turn unless it took cold, fire, or necrotic damage over the course of the last round. A vegepygmy only dies if it has 0 hp at the beginning of its turn and does not regenerate hit points.
Spores(1/Day)- Creates a 15 foot radius of poison spores in which creatures must succeed on a DC 12 con save or be poisoned. Poisoned creatures take 2d8 at the start of each of their turns and can repeat the save at the end of their turns to end the effect.
Vegepygmies are a different type of fungus creature that grow from the remains of creatures killed by russet mold. Russet mold itself is a terrible mold that can easily be mistaken for rust as it spreads across metals.
It releases spores that poison creatures and kills them immediately when they drop to 0 hit points. Such is the circle of life, and the vegepygmies that grow from the corpses slowly grow their own mold as they grow older, gaining tougher skin and the ability to release spores themselves.
The same mold that creates vegepygmies can also produce thornies, a four legged bestial version, if it infects a beast instead of a humanoid.
There are several different types of blights out there, but all rise from the same evil influence. Legend tells of the Gulthias tree, a tree grown from a sapling infected by the darkness and evil of a dying vampire lord named Gulthias.
This tree spread its wickedness throughout the surrounding forest, turning all forms of plants and trees into blights.
Gulthias trees, as they are now called, sprout up in the wake of great evil and continue to transform new blights. Blights themselves are intelligent creatures that tend to hold onto the same values of the wicked creature that spawned the tree that created them.
A blight might seek to exterminate old foes of the entity, retrieve lost artifacts, or even carry out the being’s wicked plans. Through blights, the legacy of evil carries on.
Needle, vine, twig, and tree blights are the types of blights with published stat blocks, but you could easily take just about any type of plant and make it into a blight. Each blight has abilities unique to its makeup.
Vines tend to snare and entangle while needle blights shoot out their razor sharp needles.
A bush blight might act like a shambling mound attempting to engulf its victims. Regardless, blights all maintain the ability to appear like a regular plant when they remain motionless.
Gas Spore; CR 1/2
AC – 5
HP – 1 (1d10 – 4)
Speed – 0 ft., fly 10 ft. (hover)
STR 5; DEX 1; CON 3; INT 1; WIS 1; CHA 1
Death Burst- When the gas spore drops to 0 hp it explodes, forcing each creature within 20 feet to make a DC 15 con save or take 3d6 poison damage and become infected with a disease. An infected creature dies in 1d12 + it’s constitution modifier hours unless the disease is cured.
Eerie Resemblance- Creatures must make a successful DC 15 nature check to recognize that the gas spore is in fact not a beholder.
If your players are aware of beholders, the description of a gas spore is sure to get them ready for a terrifying fight. These fungi resemble beholders and it’s even thought that the first gas spores grew out of the corpse of the many-eyed aberrations.
Now, gas spores are their own creatures that release a burst of deadly poisonous spores which deal a very modest amount of damage but can easily kill a creature in only a couple of hours.
If you’re looking for a plant that will traumatize your players not once, but twice, this is the fun guy for the job.
Now, normally we’d talk about all the ways that characters get to interact with the creature type of the article. Unfortunately, those are pretty limited. Because plants are both a creature type and just regular old plants, most spells and character abilities are going to relate to plants themselves.
So while there are plenty of cool plant-based spells, basically half of the druid spell list, they aren’t really subject to go over in this article.
Keep your eyes peeled for an article that does go more in-depth with regular old plants because those are sure to get their own feature.
As always, happy adventuring!