Bless Spell and Total Cover / Line of Sight

Hi Folks,
The spell bless states:
"You bless up to three creatures of your choice within range. Whenever a target makes an Attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the attack roll or saving throw."

I was wondering, can the effects of the spell be bestowed upon creatures with total cover. The spell's parameters is simply 'within range'. For example, if the caster is in a corridor and 2 party members are out of sight around the corner of a room with total cover, could those two PCs have the bless effects bestowed upon them? Would the 'line of sight' rule be in effect or not for this. Any input / help on this would be appreciated. Thanks!!
 
I would say no line of sight is required, since it's not mentioned in the spell description. The caster doesn't need to know exactly where their friends are in order to say a prayer for them. It's basically a friend only AoE with a max targets cap.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I agree with @Paul Farquhar , I would not require line of sight at the moment of casting. I would allow the caster to even not "know" where their targets are as long as they are known to them (friends, allies, etc.).

For example, the caster believes two allies are in the next room since he saw them enter. Unknown to the caster, one of his allies moved further into the building and is now out of the spell's range. But, the player should still be allowed to select that ally, but the ally will get no benefit since he is out of range. In essence, the target is wasted. Only the ally in the next room and still in range is blessed.
 

Esker

Hero
The PHB says in the "Combat" chapter:

Total Cover

A target with total cover can't be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach such a target by including it in an area of effect. A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle.
So you could hit a creature behind total cover with an AoE, but you can't target them directly.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The PHB says in the "Combat" chapter:



So you could hit a creature behind total cover with an AoE, but you can't target them directly.
I agree. And to further reinforce you point, under Targets (PHB 204) in the Spellcasting chapter:

A CLEAR PATH TO THE TARGET
To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
Interesting... Then can you bless a target you can't see? What is the precise purpose of having a clear path to the target? I would think that would be so you can see the target, but since the Bless spell does not specify the target must be one you can see (as opposed to a spell such as Bane, which specifies you must be able to see the target), I would interpret the clear path to target to not be necessary.

Of course, at this point it all becomes about interpretation; there is no right or wrong answer, and each DM can rule it as they see (or don't see ;) ) fit.
 
So the consensus on this is that it is allowable? I ruled that way due to the point on Total Cover. The one issue though playing on a virtual tabletop kind of eliminates the risk of not knowing how far away someone was as they'll always typically know...I appreciate the input.
 

Esker

Hero
Interesting... Then can you bless a target you can't see? What is the precise purpose of having a clear path to the target? I would think that would be so you can see the target, but since the Bless spell does not specify the target must be one you can see (as opposed to a spell such as Bane, which specifies you must be able to see the target), I would interpret the clear path to target to not be necessary.

Of course, at this point it all becomes about interpretation; there is no right or wrong answer, and each DM can rule it as they see (or don't see ;) ) fit.
I mean, each DM can of course use whatever rules they want, but I don't think the RAW leaves a lot of room for interpretation...

You can Bless someone you can't see (they might be invisible, or heavily obscured, or you blinded), just as you can attack someone you can't see (at disadvantage in that case). As long as there is a path between you.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I would allow it. Every other spell mentions how you need to see the target, and this doesn't. Also, I think spells that target allies are more forgiving in interpretation than those that target enemies.
 
Yeah, that is the way I'm going with it. Usually though, the rule would need to state something to override the general rule and it doesn't state anything like 'within hearing range' or 'sight range'...
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Also, for the record, I'm aware Crawford said that a Target behind glass closed window is considered total cover from a spell since there's no "clear unobstructed path between the caster and target." and thus many spells wouldn't work. But I don't agree with that. If I see someone behind a glass window in range, I should be able to cast scorching Ray (or chromatic orb, or any other spell that targets a creature). I understand if the DM wants the window to affect it, but saying the spell won't work at all doesn't sit with me well.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I mean, each DM can of course use whatever rules they want, but I don't think the RAW leaves a lot of room for interpretation...

You can Bless someone you can't see (they might be invisible, or heavily obscured, or you blinded), just as you can attack someone you can't see (at disadvantage in that case). As long as there is a path between you.
That's cool, I think it leaves room--even if not a lot. ;)

Consider you have four allies nearby, but one is invisible. and you believe it is within the 30-foot range. You select it as one of the targets, but the DM informs you that allies has since moved out of the range. Now, that "target" option is wasted, two allies you can see are Blessed, and the third you can see isn't. Or, given a kind DM, they allow you to switch to the other ally you can see.
 
I mean, each DM can of course use whatever rules they want, but I don't think the RAW leaves a lot of room for interpretation...

You can Bless someone you can't see (they might be invisible, or heavily obscured, or you blinded), just as you can attack someone you can't see (at disadvantage in that case). As long as there is a path between you.
This here was my discussion point with my group. It's such a "corner case" that I just went with it and allowed it. However, I am curious what the answer is by RAW so I figured I'd ask here...
 
I think this is one of those situations where "target" means more than one thing. The ally may be a target for an AOE spell, but they are not a Target like they would be for a non-AOE spell that requires line of sight, so I would allow this because Magic. You cast the spell and can sense all of your valid targets who are within the AOE range and then select the ones who receive it.
 

Esker

Hero
That's cool, I think it leaves room--even if not a lot. ;)

Consider you have four allies nearby, but one is invisible. and you believe it is within the 30-foot range. You select it as one of the targets, but the DM informs you that allies has since moved out of the range. Now, that "target" option is wasted, two allies you can see are Blessed, and the third you can see isn't. Or, given a kind DM, they allow you to switch to the other ally you can see.
But that's about seeing, not about having a path to the target. You can Bless an invisible ally as long as they're not behind total cover.
 

Esker

Hero
That's cool, I think it leaves room--even if not a lot. ;)

Consider you have four allies nearby, but one is invisible. and you believe it is within the 30-foot range. You select it as one of the targets, but the DM informs you that allies has since moved out of the range. Now, that "target" option is wasted, two allies you can see are Blessed, and the third you can see isn't. Or, given a kind DM, they allow you to switch to the other ally you can see.
Oh, sorry, I misread. So this is about range, and whether you can choose new targets if you initially pick one that turns out not to be valid. I don't see what it has to do with total cover?
 

Harzel

Adventurer
I think this is one of those situations where "target" means more than one thing. The ally may be a target for an AOE spell, but they are not a Target like they would be for a non-AOE spell that requires line of sight
The issue of whether something is an AoE spell in 5e is a little muddled. There are
1) spells that affect a single target;
2) spells that affect a fixed number (>1) of targets;
3) spells that affect all creatures within range that you choose; and
4) spells that affect all creatures in range, period.

Spells in (1) are clearly not AoEs, and spells in (4) clearly are. But what of (2) and (3)?

My take is that spells in (3) are AoEs, but spells in (2) are not. Spells in (2) are just multiple target spells; sure, the spell has a range, but almost all spells do. And if you take a spell such as Banishment, which is a single target spell at its lowest level, but can be upcast to affect multiple targets, it would be weird (to me) to say that it became an AoE just because it was upcast to affect multiple targets.

so I would allow this because Magic.
All the above said, I don't think it makes any difference in the RAW treatment of Bless. Even if you decide you want to call it an AoE, RAW still says AoEs don't circumvent total cover (unless the spell says it does, as in, for instance, Fireball). You still need an "unblocked straight line" from the spell's point of origin to the target.

You cast the spell and can sense all of your valid targets who are within the AOE range and then select the ones who receive it.
Yes, I would run it this way, too, but those behind total cover would not be (sensed as) valid targets.
 
The issue of whether something is an AoE spell in 5e is a little muddled. There are
1) spells that affect a single target;
2) spells that affect a fixed number (>1) of targets;
3) spells that affect all creatures within range that you choose; and
4) spells that affect all creatures in range, period.

Spells in (1) are clearly not AoEs, and spells in (4) clearly are. But what of (2) and (3)?

My take is that spells in (3) are AoEs, but spells in (2) are not. Spells in (2) are just multiple target spells; sure, the spell has a range, but almost all spells do. And if you take a spell such as Banishment, which is a single target spell at its lowest level, but can be upcast to affect multiple targets, it would be weird (to me) to say that it became an AoE just because it was upcast to affect multiple targets.



All the above said, I don't think it makes any difference in the RAW treatment of Bless. Even if you decide you want to call it an AoE, RAW still says AoEs don't circumvent total cover (unless the spell says it does, as in, for instance, Fireball). You still need an "unblocked straight line" from the spell's point of origin to the target.



Yes, I would run it this way, too, but those behind total cover would not be (sensed as) valid targets.
Yeah, Bless is one that can get weird. It has a range of 30 feet, so any valid character within 30 feet of the caster, in any direction, can be chosen. And because it does not say line of sight in the spell description, I feel that, say, if a caster has an ally standing in front of them and one behind them, or one to either side, both allies are valid for the spell without the caster having to do some sort of contortions to see them both.
 

Harzel

Adventurer
Yeah, Bless is one that can get weird. It has a range of 30 feet, so any valid character within 30 feet of the caster, in any direction, can be chosen. And because it does not say line of sight in the spell description, I feel that, say, if a caster has an ally standing in front of them and one behind them, or one to either side, both allies are valid for the spell without the caster having to do some sort of contortions to see them both.
I agree that Bless does not require the caster to be able to see the targets. However, if it did say something like that, the usual phrasing is "creature(s) that you can see within range". (Bane is an example of a spell with multiple targets that the caster has to be able to see.) I've never seen it suggested anywhere that "creature(s) that you can see" should be interpreted as "creature(s) that you are looking at", so even then, I don't think any contortions are necessary.

I'm not sure what you mean with respect to Bless getting weird. There are a number of spells that can target a fixed number (>1) of creatures, and a bunch more that can if upcast. Am I missing your meaning?
 

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