Thorn Whip 5e D&D Guide

Thorn Whip 5e D&D Guide

I observe as the grasping vines constrict around the lycanthrope’s legs, seemingly suffocating the life out of them.

Finally, our party witnessed as the wererat broke free from its restraints. Hail and well met, fellow adventurer!

I cry out for safety and freedom!

As my character was about to flee, they suddenly heard an enraged voice echoing from afar.

I use my movement to approach the target and attempt to grapple them with my arms.

Oh, no!

As I watched the wererat struggle to break free, I quickly cast Entangle, causing a thorny vine to wrap around its body and pull it back into the brush.

What is Thorn Whip Spell?

Thorn Whip is a cantrip that changes things. This spell can hurt and can also be used in real life. This spell could help you make a magic user who has a link to the earth.

The spell’s text from the Basic Rules says, “You make a long whip that looks like a vine and is covered in thorns.

When you tell it to, it lashes out at a creature within range.” magic-attack the target with a melee magic. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d6 cutting damage, and if the creature is Large or smaller, you can pull it up to 10 feet closer to you.

When you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6), this spell’s damage goes up by 1d6.”

Thorn Whip 5e Stats

Casting Time1 Action
Range/Area30 ft
ClassesDruid, Artificer
ComponentsVerbal, Somatic, Material*

*(the stem of a plant with thorns)

How Does Thorn Whip Work in 5e?

To cast Thorn Whip at an opponent, you have to hit them first. The player will add the number they get from rolling a d20 to your magic attack modifier.

The Wisdom modifier is used by Druids, while the Intelligence modifier is used by Artificers. When it hits, Thorn Whip does 1d6 piercing damage and gives you the choice to pull your opponent 10 feet toward you.

Here are its stats:

  • Thorn Whip
    • Transmutation cantrip
    • Casting Time: 1 action
    • Range: 30 feet
    • Components: V, S, M (the stem of a plant with thorns)
    • Duration: Instantaneous
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How Does Thorn Whip Scale?

When you hit different levels, the damage goes up by 1d6. Total amount of damage at each point:

  • 5th level: 2d6
  • 11th level: 3d6
  • 17th level: 4d6

What are the rules for Thorn Whip in 5e?

Thorn Whip 5e D&D Guide

The length of the Thorn Whip is 30 feet. The Thorn Whip attack is still a melee move, though. You can use feats that help your strikes in close range.

The great dragging part of the spell doesn’t leave the target open to attacks of opportunity because it is a melee attack.

Attacks of opportunity only happen when the creature moves, not when someone or something else is pulling it.

You can’t grab creatures bigger than large, and you can’t use Thorn Whip as an attack of opportunity during normal battle.

You can use spells as strikes of opportunity if you have the War Caster feat. Think about this when choosing skills for your character.

Thorn Whip can also do hurt in other ways. When you pull your target through an environment that does damage, like spike growth or a wall of fire, it costs extra damage. The rough landscape doesn’t affect your target either.

You also have some choice in how you move the person you have caught. You can move your target briefly into the air, or you can decide not to move it. It depends on you.

How do I use Thorn Whip in 5e?

Thorn Whip may seem simple, but it can be used in a lot of different ways. When you use your other skills together, they can do a lot of damage.

The first thing your character can do is make the ground dangerous. Then you can hit your target and pull it through the scenery you made.

Not only can you pull enemies into danger, but if your Fighter can handle a little bit of piercing damage, you can also pull your friends out of trouble.

Thorn Whip could save them from something even more dangerous, like a trap or a pit with no bottom.

Your person can also protect his or her allies from attacks with Thorn Whip. You can grab someone who wants to hurt your friends and pull them away from them.

Is Thorn Whip a Good Spell?

The spell Thorn Whip is good. This spell has a wide range and also works like a close-range attack. It is also a cantrip, which means that your character can use it without using a spell slot.

The Thorn Whip also makes you move 10 feet without your will. You can pull an enemy toward you or save a friend from danger.

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In both cases, Thorn Whip doesn’t make an attack chance happen. It is a great spell to use for planning.

Thorn Whip

At 1st level, I care more about pushing my opponents away from me than I do about pulling them toward me.


  • If monsters attack my group, I won’t need a spell to make them come toward us.
  • Even though 1st level druids aren’t as weak as sorcerers and wizards, they’re not built for close combat. The whole point of having tanks in a group is to keep the spellcasters from having to get close to monsters.
  • I think that push spells, like Push, work better with dangerous AOE spells like Cloud of Daggers than pull spells like Thorn Whip. Dangerous AOE spells work best in tight spots where they can’t spread out. If I push someone through a Cloud of Daggers at a narrow choke point, they can’t fight me without running back into the AOE and taking more damage. If I pull them into a dangerous AOE, once they take the damage and come out the other side, I’m in their way and can be attacked.

Thorn Whip can be very useful as you level up. Here is a scene from Critical Role that shows this.

Critical Role

For those who don’t know, Critical Role is a website where you can watch 5e adventures. The Legend of Vox Machina, an animated series on Amazon Prime, is based on Critical Role. Their DM, Matt Mercer, has streamed one-shots with famous people like Vin Diesel, Terry Crews, and Stephen Colbert.

I used to doubt Thorn Whip, and I’ll explain why in the Pros and Cons part. But a Critical Role show has made me change my mind.

During one of Critical Role’s campaigns, a group of heroes had to fight 4 black puddings in the Underdark. Black puddings can be very dangerous if they are hit with the wrong type of damage.

They had 4 black puddings instead of just one because the party used lightning attacks, which caused the thing to split into two. Whenever someone hit the creature with a melee move, that person would take acid damage.

During the fight, they were just near some lava flows by chance. The 9th level Circle of the Moon sage in the group was able to use Thorn Whip on two of the puddings. As a special action, she could Wildshape into a huge eagle, which helped her get into the right spot in the battlespace to pull off that trick.

It was interesting to see how well a cantrip was used in a high-level game with a lot of attention. A normal rope wouldn’t work in acid because it would just dissolve.

But the magic in Thorn Whip seems to work on animals that are not solid, like black puddings, gray oozes, ochre jellies, green slimes, and so on. I think it’s good to have for high-level games because of this.

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I would probably pass at 1st level for my druids and then take Thorn Whip at 4th level. But I could see why other players might want to choose Thorn Whip instead of Druidcraft. It all depends on how you play.

Pros and Cons

Pulling power 10 feetNo pushing
Melee for up to 30 feetLimited range, 30 feet
Magical Piercing damageOnly 1d6 damage
Not saving throwCreatures not structures
Works on Large or smaller, regardless of Strength 
Works on amorphous 

Which Classes Can Use Thorn Whip?

This spell is on the spell lists of Artificers and Druids.

Thorn Whip Compared to Shillelagh

As a Druid, you have to decide which cantrip will work best for you. Thorn Whip is great for striking players who want to control the fight from a distance. If you want to get close, Shillelagh is a much better choice than Thorn Whip.

As a melee weapon, Thorn Whip can be thrown up to 30 feet away. Then, it does 1d6 piercing damage, and based on the terrain, it might do more damage.

Shillelagh lets players add the power of nature to their quarterstaff or club, which lets them use their ability to cast spells as an attack bonus. The Shillelagh spell also makes their weapon’s hit die 1d8.

Shillelagh does more damage than Thorn Whip, but what makes Thorn Whip interesting is its range.

The Thorn Whip can also be used for more useful things outside of fight. The best choice for a person who wants to help from a distance and cast spells for utility is the Thorn Whip.

Thorn Whip 5e DM Tips 

Some people may try to do different things with Thorn Whip. If a person uses the spell on a friend to save them from a fall or other danger, the 1d6 piercing damage should stay the same.

It’s a part of how the spell works. As usual, the DM is in charge of making the choice. It’s a good idea to keep damage as an easy obstacle for your players to overcome.

Thorn Whip can be very useful for Druids and Artificers. I like the idea that the players can use the elements to help them get what they want.

The way this spell works is flexible enough that the DM can make sure it is fair. All in all, this is a good spell for your character to have.


Does Thorn Whip Work Against Structures?

RAW, no. You can’t do an Indiana Jones and swing across pits with Thorn Whip unless your DM wants to make up a cantrip for you. PHB page 282, “lashes out at a nearby creature when you tell it to.”

Is Thorn Whip Damage Magical or Non-magical?

According to Sage Advice, it’s magical.

If I Choose, Can I Pull Less than 10 feet? (i.e., 5 feet, 2 feet, etc.)

Yes. “up to 10 feet” is written on page 282 of the PHB.