Let's talk about Earthbind
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  1. #1

    Let's talk about Earthbind

    Hey everyone! First time poster here.
    We had a session last week where my Aasimar Warlock cast Earthbind on an NPC to prevent him from escaping. A few days later my DM said he was poking around to become familiar with a few spells we used and found that Earthbind is only useful of flying creature's based on the spell description.

    I read it differently and is why I chose it. Hear me out....

    The way I read it is like this. I'll quote the section of the spell description so we can look at it.

    "The target must succeed on a Strength saving throw, or its flying speed (if any) is reduced to 0 feet for the spells duration."

    It's the (if any) that tells me it can be used on everything that has movement. I imagined that it was a different form of Hold Monster, Hold Person, Max's Earthen Grasp, etc. It doesn't deal damage; it's just a utility spell to capture something. Let me ask you this; will Hold Monster work on a flying creature? If the opinions are that it does not then you may see my point.

    The bit about the flying speed ("An airborne creature affected by this spell safely descends at 60 feet per round until it reaches the ground or the spell ends.") Indicates to me that the creature can't be slammed into the ground and suffer damage.

    It seems to me to be a spell that can be used on anything with movement with additional info on how to work it with a flying creature. Or even a creature that has jumped off a castle wall. Let's say a party member was in trouble and fell or jumped off a cliff or a castle wall, could Earthbind be cast and bring him "safely" to the ground as per description.

    Your thoughts please?
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  2. #2
    From reading this, it specifically says flying speed is reduced to 0. The "(if any)" means that if it doesn't have a flying speed, it becomes unaffected by this spell. If it would affect any speed, I am pretty sure the spell would say "The target must succeed on a Strength saving throw, or its speed is reduced to 0 feet for the spell's duration." It specifically calling out flying speed means it is all that is affected. Not calling out any speed (flying, burrow, swim, walking, etc) it is safe to believe that any and all speeds would be affected.

    Doesn't mean one can't house rule it, and it would be weaker than Hold Person (and such) in that the affected creature can still take actions instead of being incapacitated. But going strictly RAW, only flying speeds are affected.
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  3. #3
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    I would say you can cast Earthbind on any creature you like but, your DM is right, it only affects flight. Reading the spell, it seems clear that if the creature has a flying speed and fails the save, it can no longer fly for the duration of the spell. That creature can still move around, just not use its wings (or whatever makes it fly).

    Hold Person is the better 2nd level spell for humanoids, flying or not. Earthbind is the better 2nd level spell for non-humanoid flying creatures.
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    Spells only do what they say they do. This spell simply says it reduces flying speed to zero and allows slow and safe descent.
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  5. #5
    Unlike Hold Monster, Earthbind doesn't allow another save at the end of the targets turns, so the flyer will be unable to fly until the spell ends. It also has a much longer range than hold monster (300 vs 90 feet) making it useful against long-range flying archers and the like.

    It's a rather specialized spell, but it does what it does very well.
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    Like the other posters, I agree it only affects flight.
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    I think it's a great spell, but agree it is just for shutting down flying creatures.
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    Others have answered the question, but have some XP for asking. And welcome to the forum.
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  9. #9
    Thanks very much everyone! I do appreciate all of your feedback. After 15 emails back and forth today th my DM, I've decided to choose a different spell as Earthbind is not capable of doing what I had intended. We just leveled up to 4th level, so now is the time to consider other options.
    Does anyone care to mention thier favorite 1st and 2nd level warlock spells? I'd be happy to get your input.

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    You are somehow interpreting the words "if any" to mean that if that qualifier is not met, the action still happens.

    What if I said "I will point a gun at and shoot at a sweater you are wearing (if you are wearing a sweater)". Does that mean if you do not wear a sweater, I will still point a gun at you and shoot you? Nope. It means I will not shoot at you if you are not wearing a sweater.

    A more precise wording of Earthbind would substitute the words "if any" with "if the target has a fly speed". But the meaning is the same.

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