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D&D 5E Spell Question: Pulse Wave

Tom Bagwell

A subterranean creature has reached up out of the ground and grabbed the Wizard. He aims down at the ground and casts Pulse Wave. The creature is about two feet below the surface. What effect would it have? The spell description says any creature within the 30' cone must save vs CON or take 6d6 Force damage and is pushed (or pulled) 15' away.

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Damage as per the norm.

As for the push/pull (which seems to be the big question) it would depend on a couple factors 1) What is the ground made of, 2) How is the creature moving underground. If the answer were, for example 1) loose earth and 2) burrow or incorporeal, I'd let the wizard choose the direction of the push pull - lateral directly away, diagonally down and away or directly down (until it hit stony earth if burrowing). If it were a corporeal creature tunneling through stone or rock, the wizard would only be able to push it back along the path it took to get to them.

Tom Bagwell

Yes, movement is loose earth with a mixture of burrowing and going incorporeal. At the time that it's attacking, though, it's solid and using the earth as an anchor. So, I don't think the spell could push it through the ground, but it sounds like it would take full damage. Does that sound right? (It might possibly increase the damage since the spell is trying to push it through the ground. If someone is standing against a wall and they're hit by the spell, I assume it doesn't push them through the wall...?)

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
The creature takes damage.
The creature being pushed deeper is fun, though. I'd also let the creature make a str roll vs. spell DC to keep holding onto the wizard as it is blasted 15' deeper.

RAW the burrowing creature is pushed into the ground. The spell description doesn't say it is blocked by solid objects. Also, since the creature presumably has burrowing, it can move through the earth anyhow.

  • The condition also ends if an effect removes the grappled creature from the reach of the grappler or grappling effect, such as when a creature is hurled away by the thunderwave spell.
So RAW, the wizard is no longer grappled.

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