I'm running a campaign with some friends and one of the players (playing a druid) asked if he could use Wild Shape to turn into a Plant, such as a tree or a shrub. Even though the rules only covers Beasts, I decided to tentatively table-rule that he may do so as long as the Plant is non-combative. He has yet to use this, but I have given it some thought, countering scenarios where it might be overpowered (e.g. being used as a battering ram, which would mean he would have to be uprooted or chopped down, taking significant damage). His original line of thinking was to use it for stealth in forests, which is countered by the fact he can already transform into a small, stealthy animal.
I could not find anything pertaining to this topic in official or unofficial channels (except for a few homebrew subclasses). I'm wondering if any of you know if this has been covered by the designers or if any of you have thoughts pertaining to the subject, such as where it might be over-powered or suggestions to balance.
By the book, its obviously not allowed. For a home campaign I don't think it would be particularly overpowered. For stealth observation the druid could just as easily turn into any of the woodland creatures of the area to go about unnoticed.
Indeed, the false appearance trait of plants could be quite useful in wilderness. I would say it is a bit overpowered because usually plants have some resistance/immunity to damage.
You can homebrew a spell, though. I think a 3th level spell could transform you into a Violet fungus, and 6th level spell could transform you into a Awakened tree.
Great point! I forgot to mention in the original post my concern about damage resistance. Since I had stipulated he could only be motionless plants, I originally had few concerns about combat, however as I considered it there would be nothing stopping him from transforming into a tree in battle and forcing a temporary stalemate. He hasn't thought of this yet, however I have made sure there is a decent source of fire damage in many of my encounters since then (nothing glaringly obvious, fire pits and torches just in case, an unassuming barrel of oil for more difficult encounters).
But I had not thought of spells! Those are great suggestions, especially if he wanted to switch to a more plant themed Druid without completing converting to a homebrew subclass. Thank you!
Ixnay on the plantsay. Wild shape is pretty black and white: "assume the shape of a beast". Beasts are animals. Plants are not animals. Fungi are not animals. Bacteria are not animals.
In 3.xE there was the second level druid spell "tree shape".
That's a fair point, and that's largely what I have gathered on the official rules. On that front, I merely wanted to double-check to make sure there wasn't any addendum or Sage Advice I had missed. Thank you for the clarity and concision, certainly won't be going into any official events with a plant druid!
I apologize for not addressing your question in full, juggling work with 'goofing off', thus the succinct response.
I recommend avoiding the whole plant aspect for Wild Shape, it opens a can of photosynthesis that can be manipulated too much. The tree shape spell was a suggested alternative that allows the druid to get the same incognito effect of being Bambi without sticking out like a sore thumb when the animal choices don't make sense for the particular spot. With tree shape the druid can assume the form of a bushy willow apparently growing from a spot where the water table is high, the goblins will know no better. In savanna/woodland conditions the tree shape makes a great form for the nightly watch.
Double check The (Not Really) Complete Book of Spells for 5E, it updates a ton of spells from the 2E era of AD&D. I recall seeing a tree shape parallel spell in there recently.
A great resource! Thank you for that and for weighing in, I probably won't allow it in future campaigns but instead offer the spells suggested. Really quite an elegant solution, weird I hadn't thought about them, although the druid I play with is far more interested in his Wild Shape, to the point where I had thought of him more as a shapeshifter than a spellcaster, hence where the blindspot might've come in.