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View Full Version : Ideas on shutting down Entangle?



Yahzi
2008-07-20, 11:51 AM
I'm running a 3.0/3.5 campaign (what that means is all the NPCs are from 3.0, but the players are using prestige classes and feats from 3.5). It's a pretty low-level game (the players are 3-4; the highest level person they've ever heard of is a 13th fighter; there are less than a dozen 9th levels in the whole kingdom).

Right now the the priest is using his domain spell to cast Entangle. It's a first level spell, but it shuts down whole phalanxes of goblins. At my big army battle (200 humans vs 300 goblins) they totally dominated the battlefield because of that dang spell.

It's a first level spell, so the DC is easy (13 in this case). But once you fail that, you need a DC 20 to get out, which pumps the spell right off the first level curve.

(Note that nothing else they are doing - reserve fireball feats, critting for 3d4+12 25% of the time, taking every broken insane prestige class imaginable - is affecting my game. No, it's just the Entangle spell that breaks things).

So what I am looking for is some core-legal ideas for low-level mooks to avoid/counter Entangle.

Counterspell: Get their own first level dude and counterspell.

No plants: fight on the road or in towns/buildings. For army battles, set fire to the field before you advance (but that's a little specific). Obviously this of limited use.

Weedchoppers: every mook carries a serrated knife for cutting plant matter: +2 circumstance bonus to escaping the spell (not that it is enough too help).

Dispel Magic: Are you kidding? Burn a 3rd level spell to counter a 1st level spell? And the goblins don't have 5th level casters anyway. That's not low level. Scratch this idea. :smallbiggrin:

Any other ideas?

Stupendous_Man
2008-07-20, 12:09 PM
grease it up

Bayar
2008-07-20, 12:21 PM
Make sure your mooks have high reflex saves, ranks in balance and escape artist.

Mark Hall
2008-07-20, 01:01 PM
Fire. Nothing says "weedkiller" like fire. Low level plant-killing spells might be an option (and I'm quite surprised there aren't any).

Renegade Paladin
2008-07-20, 01:11 PM
If he only gets it as a domain spell, then he only has it once. Have the goblins attack more than one time in a day. :smalltongue:

Yahzi
2008-07-20, 01:35 PM
If he only gets it as a domain spell, then he only has it once.
Scrolls. :smallfrown:

Having the goblins attack in small parcels is kind of bad, because it means they get slaughtered by the fighters.

Grease can't protect whole phalanxes.

I'm just saying: druid crowd control is so brutal that even in the hands of a non-druid, it's brutal. :smallbiggrin:

Renegade Paladin
2008-07-20, 01:41 PM
Scrolls. :smallfrown:
Goblin rogues steal his scrolls.

Moriato
2008-07-20, 03:07 PM
Archers? They wind up -2 to hit and -4 dex, which hurts, but otherwise they're free to fire away. Maybe give them some good dex, weapon focus, and masterwork/magic weapons to balance out that penalty.

Tsadrin
2008-07-20, 03:15 PM
The spell only effects a 40' radius. That should only hamper one or at most two units of goblins. The goblins can use ranged weapons on any nearby enemies. The enemy troops can't close to melee without being entangled themselves. The other thing to consider is that the duration is only 1 minute per level. This may be a long time when it comes to a small fight but on the battlefield that's not much time at all.

Hal
2008-07-20, 05:43 PM
If your goblins have a level of rogue, they'll get good reflex saves (+3 at least), then max out their levels of escape artist. It's not perfect, but it gives you a chance.

Alternatively, if you're not opposed to silly things, give some goblins one level of cleric with the Travel domain. Just use their Freedom of Movement power to get out of the area of effect and then continue on their way.

Besides, if this is his domain spell, he can only cast this once a day, right? Get him to waste it on something and then throw more at him.

Edit: For the rogue idea, you could then either add in Skill Focus: Escape Artist or Daredevil Athlete (CS). The former nets you a permanent +3 bonus, while the latter will net you a +5 bonus to several skill checks (including Escape Artist) 3/day.

Another option: Goblins with a level of barbarian. Give them Destructive Rage (CW), which gives a +8 bonus to Strength checks to break things. I don't think its a stretch to say that the DC20 Str check for Entangle is breaking vines.

Deepblue706
2008-07-20, 05:57 PM
Have the goblin commander get a group of specialized troops together that use flanking and hit-and-run tactics to take down spellcasters (ie the druid) before they can hinder too many of the regulars. They should be fast moving. Maybe mounted. And trained in archery.

This will prompt the druid to reconsider just repeatedly casting entangle on everything he sees.

Also, goblins have Darkvision. They should probably do night raids. Hard to cast at something when you can't see it.

Hal
2008-07-20, 05:59 PM
I've had more thoughts, but I think this warrants a separate post. Maybe next time I should think a bit before hitting the button, eh?

Anyhow, I've had three thoughts:

1) The spell description says the DM has some say on the spell effect, based on the nature of the plants in the area. You can always adjust the terrain so that the spell doesn't overwhelm everything.

2) If they used this spell to alter the outcome of a massive battle, then word will spread of this tactic. In future conflicts, where it's known they'll be involved, the goblins will surely be prepared for such a tactic. I.e. Scrolls, fire, etc.

3) Just roll with it. One of the best parts of this game is getting to do world-changing, amazing things. Why deny your players the chance to be great heroes? This doesn't mean you make it easy for them, just don't put your plans ahead of their chance to shine.

Cuddly
2008-07-20, 07:03 PM
Goblin rogues steal his scrolls.

I'm more of a fan of "goblin rogues slit your throats buahahahaha." Oh, no, wait, that's hamfisted DMing.



1) The spell description says the DM has some say on the spell effect, based on the nature of the plants in the area. You can always adjust the terrain so that the spell doesn't overwhelm everything.

I'd be a little careful with this- maybe have a percentile roll to legitimize it. At the very least, make sure you tell the priest BEFORE he casts his spell that it will suck.


2) If they used this spell to alter the outcome of a massive battle, then word will spread of this tactic. In future conflicts, where it's known they'll be involved, the goblins will surely be prepared for such a tactic. I.e. Scrolls, fire, etc.

That's a good idea. Give a handful of goblins magic items that they can UMD. Make them third level bards or rogues with skill focus: UMD and good charisma. Then every round they can try to cast a dispel magic or whatever.

erikun
2008-07-20, 07:27 PM
Most large scale battles happen on plains, for one very specific reason - the terrain doesn't get in the way. Even at it's worst, long grass is nowhere as strong as vines or tree branches - you'd be justified in reducing the break DC down to 15 or even 10 to get out.

When casting from a scroll, aren't you considered to be using the bare minimum stats necessary to cast the spell? That is, level 1 and WIS 11 for a level 1 spell - that's a DC 11, not DC 13. Of course, you could buy scrolls with a higher caster level (and thus, higher DC), but it costs exponentially more money.

If you're fighting in a forest, the party is unlikely to run into more than one enemy unit at a time anyways.

Renegade Paladin
2008-07-20, 07:33 PM
I'm more of a fan of "goblin rogues slit your throats buahahahaha." Oh, no, wait, that's hamfisted DMing.
No it isn't. It makes perfect strategic sense for the goblins to do that; if the PCs aren't prepared for their enemies to be proactive while their enemies are the ones on the offensive (presumably, unless the human kingdom is invading and conquering goblin territory for some reason) then they deserve what they get. And if the goblin objective is to get the scrolls so they can attack unimpeded, then slitting throats while there is a bad idea, since it increases the chances of being caught, and if the thief is caught, the party gets the scrolls back.

Cuddly
2008-07-20, 07:56 PM
No it isn't. It makes perfect strategic sense for the goblins to do that; if the PCs aren't prepared for their enemies to be proactive while their enemies are the ones on the offensive (presumably, unless the human kingdom is invading and conquering goblin territory for some reason) then they deserve what they get. And if the goblin objective is to get the scrolls so they can attack unimpeded, then slitting throats while there is a bad idea, since it increases the chances of being caught, and if the thief is caught, the party gets the scrolls back.

You miss the point- why bother stealing the scrolls when you could just have the whole party killed in their sleep? If the party is dead, who gives a boop about the scrolls? It's game over, man.

erikun
2008-07-20, 08:07 PM
Entangle the party back. What's the Concentrate check for casting a spell from a scroll while entangled/grappled, anyways?

Oracle_Hunter
2008-07-20, 08:11 PM
Fire. Nothing says "weedkiller" like fire. Low level plant-killing spells might be an option (and I'm quite surprised there aren't any).

I miss the old Anti-Plant Sphere. Reminds me of the Warhammer 40K Anti-Plant grenade :smallbiggrin:

But regarding this post: ninjas plants can't grab you if you're on fire. (http://drmcninja.com/page.php?pageNum=15&issue=4)

Epinephrine
2008-07-20, 08:30 PM
As someone playing a druid at the moment in a campaign, I'll agree that Entangle is tough, but it certainly isn't unstoppable. It limits the use of melee, since party members can get caught in it as well. It doesn't serve that well in towns, on roads, forts, etc.

It also doesn't work well if surprised by an ambush, when the enemy has closed with the party from 2 sides - you may catch half of them, but certainly not all. Flying foes pretty much ignore it, reflex saves that are reasonably high stand a good chance of getting out of the area, and depending on your foes, they might even make the strength checks to get out.

I'd stay away from reducing the break out to 15 or 10, that's a serious over nerfing of it - I can understand a +2/-2 circumstance bonus, but dropping it that much is a bit overboard.