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Cloudkill when you play it RAW

BigBadDM

Explorer
Let's play an interesting RAW game. I cast Cloudkill on my targets. On the start of their turn they take damage then leave the cloud. Start of my turn the cloud moves 10 feet away from me (presumably away from the creatures who left). I then run through the cloud to the other side. I'm a 10th lvl conjuration wiz-so no break concentration, Halfling with resistance to poison saves-so minimal dmg. Or misty step by rounding half the circle through movement. Now here is the question, at the start of my next turn then does it start moving back the way it came as it 'moves away from the caster' at 10ft-potentially going toward the initial targets? RAW would seem to indicate it moves away from me, so if I go to a specific side I can make it move specific directions... All in all it does not seem very RAI, but might open up interesting battlefield control. Obviously the creatures would move as the cloud was redirected their way--a strange cat and mouse game.

As mostly a DM I wouldn't allow it, but you by-the-rules-peeps would you?
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Barring a strong wind or other such circumstances, I would rule that once in motion its direction does not change.

But you're right, the way it is written it would seem it should move away from wherever you currently are.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I don't see anything in the spell description that implies in the slightest that the movement is set in a single direction. And what is written clearly lists that it moves away from the caster at the start of your turn, not away from the point of casting.

As a matter of fact, if I cast the spell and a DM surprised me with the ruling that it moves away from the point of casting as opposed to me, I would argue with them.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
I don't see anything in the spell description that implies in the slightest that the movement is set in a single direction. And what is written clearly lists that it moves away from the caster at the start of your turn, not away from the point of casting.

As a matter of fact, if I cast the spell and a DM surprised me with the ruling that it moves away from the point of casting as opposed to me, I would argue with them.
And you'd be right.

I made my imaginary ruling before re-reading the spell description. It's counter-intuitive to me, but it's right there in the PHB.
 

Quartz

Explorer
The text says that the cloud moves away from the caster and that it sinks. Being that 5E is exception-based, the explicit instruction that it moves away from the caster takes priority.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't see anything in the spell description that implies in the slightest that the movement is set in a single direction. And what is written clearly lists that it moves away from the caster at the start of your turn, not away from the point of casting.
Which is how I would rule as well. It moves at the start of the caster's turn so direction would be determined round by round

As a matter of fact, if I cast the spell and a DM surprised me with the ruling that it moves away from the point of casting as opposed to me, I would argue with them.
But here's where we part ways. I don't argue with the DM. I may disagree with them and discuss it after the game, but argue? Nope. During the game my opinion on how I would rule doesn't really matter. If I disagree often enough, I'll find a different DM.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
But here's where we part ways. I don't argue with the DM. I may disagree with them and discuss it after the game, but argue? Nope. During the game my opinion on how I would rule doesn't really matter. If I disagree often enough, I'll find a different DM.
To each their own. Around the table, we're all people trying to have fun playing a game. If someone isn't following a rule, I'll bring it up to them, regardless if it's the DM or player.

If I leveled up, picked my spell assuming that it works as written in the book, gave a copy of my character to my DM like I always do so they know I now have that spell, and then mid session I got surprised with "oh, I'm going to make it do something explicitly different then the book says", I'll argue.

Mind you, that's different then a DM making a ruling or clarifying something unclear. And plenty of times I question something the answer is "there's something you don't know so it's working like X" - that's more than acceptable.

But it's unlikely either of those hold in a case like this. Now, what I may arguing for may just be to "let it does as I expected when I cast it (i.e. what the book) says for now, since that was my expectation when I cast it, and we'll do it your way moving forward".

This case is a fairly small change, I'd mention to the DM to see if they just misunderstood the rules but only argue if it invalidates my character's plan in a big way.

And again, all of this is for a surprise, mid-session issue. If I knew about it previously, I've either accepted it outright or brought up my concerns to the DM and we've gotten to the point where I accept it.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I don't see anything in the spell description that implies in the slightest that the movement is set in a single direction. And what is written clearly lists that it moves away from the caster at the start of your turn, not away from the point of casting.

As a matter of fact, if I cast the spell and a DM surprised me with the ruling that it moves away from the point of casting as opposed to me, I would argue with them.
I would simplify your statement to my maxim, "As a matter of fact ... I would argue with them."
 

iserith

Explorer
I don't see anything in the spell description that implies in the slightest that the movement is set in a single direction. And what is written clearly lists that it moves away from the caster at the start of your turn, not away from the point of casting.
Agreed on the reading.

As a matter of fact, if I cast the spell and a DM surprised me with the ruling that it moves away from the point of casting as opposed to me, I would argue with them.
While I would personally not choose to argue with the DM, I'm all for players pointing out to me where I have something wrong as DM if it actually matters to the outcome of the situation or to their pending decisions. I don't have every spell detail memorized. If I as DM get something minor wrong that has no appreciable impact on the current situation though, man, I prefer such niggling details be saved for a break. Whether or not this reading of cloudkill qualifies as important or unimportant depends on the situation in my view.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
If a wizard is really willing to expend enough effort to maneuver around a chaotic battlefield in such a way that having their cloudkill move 10 ft in one direction versus another actually makes a difference, then hats off to them for their amazing tactical acumen.

I'll just imagine it as a fart that always moves away from the caster, sort of like a reverse 'smoke follows beauty' kind of thing.
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
I guess I can imagine a light breeze is blowing from you towards it, which continues as you move. That, or maybe some vaporous ghastly arms creepy away from you connecting to the cloud, which move with you and push it lightly away from you no matter where you are.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
I'm going to say it makes sense that it continues to move away from the caster as the caster moves. Specifically because the caster must maintain concentration to maintain the cloud in the first place.

If the spell was instaneous with a cloud that dissipated on it's own over time I would rule the direction is fixed at casting.

Because I can try to rationalize anything.

Edit: what I really want to know is if the caster moves to the center of the cloud and lays down facing up will the cloud rise 10' then drop back down to the lowpoint? Or does the lowpoint take precedence forcing a stationary cloud at that point?
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Edit: what I really want to know is if the caster moves to the center of the cloud and lays down facing up will the cloud rise 10' then drop back down to the lowpoint? Or does the lowpoint take precedence forcing a stationary cloud at that point?
Or what if the caster moves to a different plane of existence? Which direction is 'away' now?

I've never considered whether a caster could maintain concentration on an effect in a different plane... my instinct would be to say no, but then again, why not? I could see ruling yes if they were in the Ethereal plane, especially if they were still within the general proximity, so to speak, e.g. via blink.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
What if in the OP's Scenario, he instead cast the spell centered on himself. Does the cloud the open up in the middle then spread out in a donut shape around the caster?
 

Ashrym

Explorer
What if in the OP's Scenario, he instead cast the spell centered on himself. Does the cloud the open up in the middle then spread out in a donut shape around the caster?
Away from the caster implies the direction he or she is facing. I would just say "pick a direction" and that's the direction it goes.

As for the other plane, there are examples of magic that breaks if the caster and effect are on different planes of existence. That can be interpreted in two ways.

1) It implies magic cannot cross planes likes that or'
2) Those examples are specific and RAW the concentration continues. (unless I missed something)
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Away from the caster implies the direction he or she is facing. I would just say "pick a direction" and that's the direction it goes.
I wouldn't say so. If A wizard casts the spell, and then turns around, it still would move away from them despite not moving away from the direction they are facing. "Move away" doesn't imply any facing rules. It there was a spell that pushed all creatures within 5ft of you 10ft away, they wouldn't all move in the direction you are facing, especially if one of those creatures is behind you as it would require the creature to go through you. Since a cloud of gas is not a single unit or cohesive whole, I don't think there is any issue with it spreading out in a donut shape. Especially since we know that gas can and does act this way. Additionally, if the caster is willing to take that initial damage from the spell and risk losing concentration (if not a conjurer), I would say the player earned it.
 
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