Spike Growth 5e: Spell Block & How To Use It Effectively

Spike Growth

  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: 150 feet (20-foot sphere)
  • Duration: 10 minutes (Concentration)
  • School: Transmutation
  • Class: Druid, Ranger
  • Level: 2nd level
  • Damage/Effect: Control, Piercing
  • Attack/Save: None
  • Components: V, S, M (seven sharp thorns or seven small twigs, each sharpened to a point)

The ground in a 20-foot radius centered on a point within range twists and sprouts hard spikes and thorns. The area becomes difficult terrain for the duration. When a creature moves into or within the area, it takes 2d4 piercing damage for every 5 feet it travels.

The transformation of the ground is camouflaged to look natural. Any creature that can’t see the area at the time the spell is cast must make a Wisdom (Perception) check against your spell save DC to recognize the terrain as hazardous before entering it.

Using the Spike Growth Spell Effectively

Spike growth is an excellent battlefield-control spell that creates an area of hard spikes and thorns. This area creates what is known as difficult terrain while also damaging creatures that move into or within the space.

We have to choose where the spell is cast. Target a point that is within 150 feet.  From that point, the surrounding terrain is covered in spikes. 

This is normally as simple as drawing a circle with a 20-foot radius, but it might get a tad bit more complicated if we’re dealing with three-dimensional terrain (i.e. hills or stairs). 

Difficult Terrain with Spike Growth

Spike Growth creates difficult terrain.  When moving through difficult terrain, you move at half speed. 

In other words, for every 1 foot covered, creatures need to spend 2 feet of their movement speed. 

Effectively, the 20-foot circle we’ve created actually has a radius of 40 feet, at least as far as a character’s movement speed is concerned. 

Crossing the area along its widest section (the diameter) now costs 80 feet of movement even though it’s just 40 feet wide. 

This is not only a great way to exert some control over the battlefield, but it also sets us up perfectly to capitalize on the next part of this spell.

Spiked Damage from Spiked Growth Spell

Spike growth deals 2d4 piercing damage to creatures for every 5 feet they move through it as well as 2d4 piercing damage for simply entering the space. 

There is no save or attack roll required either, so this damage is guaranteed as long as you can force creatures into moving through the terrain.

This damage is based on distance traveled, not movement speed spent. 

Camouflaged Terrain with Spiked Growth

Creatures that are in view of the area as it transforms will recognize the magic occurring, but other creatures will need to pass a perception check to realize something is amiss.

If a creature knows there are spikes covering the ground, they would be wise to simply move around it if possible. 

Needing to recognize that it’s there means that some creatures will be caught completely off guard and will suffer the consequences.

Creating a Trap with Spiked Growth

Since Spike Growth lasts for 10 minutes if you hold your concentration that long, it can be used well outside the confines of a one-minute battle. This means it’s particularly useful for laying a trap.

The added piece of the spell’s description regarding the spikes being camouflaged into the terrain only drives this home more. 

We’re basically told, “Hey, if you need a short-term trap, set this up, and no one will be the wiser.” 

You should recognize, though, that once someone takes damage, they’ll likely be acutely aware of what’s going on.