D&D 5E Etherealness "Upcast" Question

The movement section of the spell is just ethereal movement.

Except the spell states: "If you move up or down, every foot of movement costs an extra foot."

This is not standard for ethereal movement. This is only a feature of the Etherealness spell, since, according to the DMG, "The Ethereal Plane also disobeys the laws of gravity; a creature there can move up and down as easily as walking."

So, if "you" only refers to the caster, then only the caster is subject to this restricted movement and not any other targets.
 

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I agree. A competent writer does not change the referent of a pronoun without explicating that to the reader. If there's no specific statement (like in the Levitate spell - thanks for the example), we should assume the word's referent remains the same throughout.
Yes. But it doesn't help me, because if the word's referent remains the same throughout, then all other other uses of "you" does not apply to targets other than the caster.

We can assume RAI is that only the caster can dismiss the spell, but the text certainly doesn't make that intention clear, IMO.
 

MarkB

Legend
Except the spell states: "If you move up or down, every foot of movement costs an extra foot."

This is not standard for ethereal movement. This is only a feature of the Etherealness spell, since, according to the DMG, "The Ethereal Plane also disobeys the laws of gravity; a creature there can move up and down as easily as walking."

So, if "you" only refers to the caster, then only the caster is subject to this restricted movement and not any other targets.
Or it would mean that only the caster can move at all, and perhaps the caster can move other affected creatures.

It is poor writing that the spell is written entirely from the perspective of a single user, then adds additional subjects for upcasting. It should clarify how additional targets are affected in the "At higher levels" section.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
We can assume RAI is that only the caster can dismiss the spell, but the text certainly doesn't make that intention clear, IMO.

With respect, it isn't much of an assumption, given this is standard use of pronouns in English.

You can wish for writing with no pronouns, in which all referents are always explicitly stated, but that would make the writing longer and actually more difficult to read*.



*Compare to - "You can wish for writing with no pronouns, in which all referents are always explicitly stated, but writing with no pronouns, in which all referents are always explicitly stated, would make the writing longer and more difficult to read."
 

With respect, it isn't much of an assumption, given this is standard use of pronouns in English.

But why would one assume "you" refers exclusively to the caster in only one sentence of the spell description while also referring to all other targets in all the other sentences in the spell description? There's nothing in the text that differentiates between who the "you" is referring to. Either "you" refers to the caster, or "you" refers to all targets, unless there's something in the rest of the text that differentiates between them. All the uses of "you" in that spell description, except in that ONE sentence, obviously applies to additional targets. What differentiates the "you" in that one sentence from all the other "yous"?

An easy fix would be: "You remain in the Border Ethereal for the duration or until [the caster uses their] action to dismiss the spell."
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
But why would one assume "you" refers exclusively to the caster in only one sentence of the spell description while also referring to all other targets in all the other sentences in the spell description?

You know what? I am not your English teacher.

If you want to have it work differently, have it work differently. But own it. Don't try to put justification in the pronoun. Actually say to yourself - "I want it to work this way, so now it works this way."

You are the master here, not the pronoun, you therefore should not put responsibility for it on the pronoun - take it upon yourself explicitly. If you are comfortable doing that, you are golden. If doing that makes you uncomfortable, then the issue at hand really isn't the pronoun anyway.
 

You know what? I am not your English teacher.

If you want to have it work differently, have it work differently. But own it. Don't try to put justification in the pronoun. Actually say to yourself - "I want it to work this way,

I'm trying to uncover RAI and enjoy friendly D&D rules debates. I want the spell to work the way it's intended to work.

But I've seen no logical argument why "you" should refer exclusively to the caster in only one sentence of the spell description while simultaneously assuming that in every other sentence of the spell description "you" refers to the caster as well as any other targets.

So, the next question is... no matter intention, what are the pros and cons of either interpretation? Will anything "break" if only the caster can dismiss the spell? Will anything "break" if each character affected by the spell can dismiss it on themselves?
 

So, the next question is... no matter intention, what are the pros and cons of either interpretation? Will anything "break" if only the caster can dismiss the spell? Will anything "break" if each character affected by the spell can dismiss it on themselves?

It seems to me that allowing the target of a spell (instead of the caster) to dismiss the spell would break a whole lotta stuff in the world of magic. For example, any offensive spell with a lasting negative effect.
 

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