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5E The Dangers of Overreliance on Leomund's Tiny Hut (3rd Level Spell)

I've seen a lot of discussion on how much a party of PCs can benefit from using Leomund's Tiny Hut, and the woes of some DMs having to deal with parties that rely on the spell too frequently.

Over-reliance on the spell does not come without its drawbacks or dangers however.

Here are some potentially overlooked facts.

1. Although the dome is opaque from the outside, it is not invisible to other creatures.

2. The dome does not necessarily block the sounds and odors produced from inside from being detected outside the dome. It may prevent the production of particularly powerful stenches (such as from defecation) inside it (since it keeps the atmosphere inside dry and comfortable), but other smells that would not normally bother the PCs will freely travel beyond the dome.

3. Although the dome is transparent from the inside, it does not illuminate the surrounding area, nor can it prevent materials from covering the dome (effectively blocking the party's view of the outside).

4. The dome does not provide privacy. If anyone needs to excrete bodily wastes, they will have to either leave the dome for privacy or find some other way to hide their bodily maintenance procedures.

5. The dome does not anchor the ground that it is cast upon to the position it is in. If the ground breaks apart or otherwise shifts, the dome may shift with it (for example in the case of an earthquake or effect produced by a creature).

6. Spending time inside the dome does not freeze the time outside of it. Other things may be going on while the PCs are resting...

I don't think that the spell is broken as written. It will definitely make certain types of adventures much easier, but using it too much could lead to situations that are dangerous for the party, or can result in objective failures.

What do you think?


  • If someone fires a missile or throws a weapon at someone on the outside, it can then be used to attack people in the hut assuming it did not break. Normal guessing location and disadvantage applies.
  • Nothing stops a group of hobgoblins from approaching from behind a makeshift shield wall and then burying the hut in dry brush. Once covered the hobgoblins can pile wood on, add oil and lit torches balanced precariously on top of everything.*
  • Or just dig underneath.
Planar travel is something that I've been thinking about. Magical effects can't extend through or pass through the dome, but a magical effect created inside the dome could include some kind of movement across planes.


A Ghost for example might be able to go into the ethereal plane and effectively bypass the dome's border by re-entering the material plane from inside the dome.
...the ghost sinks into the ground and comes up from underneath.
Ok, here it is. Jeremy Crawford's Twitter's clarification (of which he is talking to himself in the third person to make fun of himself for an erroneous statement - that being "there is no floor" - a few months prior):

"Leomund's tiny hut does have a floor, Mr. Crawford (read your own book). The spell's range entry says the effect is hemispherical. #DnD"


Hemisphere is defined as half of a sphere.


Half of a hollow sphere however has no floor.


A dome doesn't necessarily have a floor.


The spell specifically states that it forms around and above, but does not state that it forms below. "Around" could also be interpreted as below.


RAW, no floor is specified so it seems that it could be ruled either way at the table.


Crawford might change his opinion again after thinking about the fact that a hemisphere doesn't necessarily even have a floor, especially if it's hollowed instead of solid.
 
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Croesus

Adventurer
While running PotA for my group, the party wizard loved to use this spell. In most cases, it worked fine. A couple times they did have problems - in one, the cultists used your idea to block line of sight, then set up ambushes and traps for when the party emerged. I also pointed out that the dome does not cover the ground, so bulettes, xorns, earth elementals, and other such creatures can easily get at the party while they rest. They never attempted to use the spell when Earth cultists were nearby.

And in the vein of "what goes around, comes around", fire cultists used this exact spell to trap the party in one area of the temple. Basically, they let the party go through, then cast the spell to block that passage. The party didn't happen to have dispel magic prepared, so had no way of getting around it. This forced the party into a nasty fight they could otherwise have avoided.

The spell is great, but limited, so I agree - it's not broken.
 

The party is hiding under their Leomund's when a zombie wanders by. It throws itself at the dome, moaning loudly. The noise attracts another zombie. Then another. Then another…

After a while there is a horde of zombies, writhing and crawling, moaning incessantly, bleeding disgusting fluids, completely covering the dome.

First issue, can you get a good rest with the sights and sounds (and smells) of zombies a few feet away?

Second issue, what happens when the dome disappears?

Also, I love the suggestion of using the spell to corral the party. Consider the idea stolen. :)
 
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Saelorn

Hero
Eh, it's easy enough to dispel, and what kind of NPC spellcaster wouldn't have that available? Very low-level ones, I suppose.

It lets you turn off random encounters at night, but a random encounter in the middle of the night is unlikely to do much anyway, since the party would be back to full at the end of the rest. I can imagine an exploration-heavy campaign where the ability to rest without interruption from beasts would be a huge benefit, but it's not that big a deal in many other campaigns.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There was a similar discussion in another thread not long ago (that may have triggered this).

But to summarize:
  • People inside can still attack creatures outside with weapons or ranged attacks (just not spells).
  • If someone fires a missile or throws a weapon at someone on the outside, it can then be used to attack people in the hut assuming it did not break. Normal guessing location and disadvantage applies.
  • Nothing stops a group of hobgoblins from approaching from behind a makeshift shield wall and then burying the hut in dry brush. Once covered the hobgoblins can pile wood on, add oil and lit torches balanced precariously on top of everything.*
  • Or just dig underneath.


*There are a lot of variations of this - simply bury the hut, cover it with pitch, and so on.
 

Planar travel is something that I've been thinking about. Magical effects can't extend through or pass through the dome, but a magical effect created inside the dome could include some kind of movement across planes.

A Ghost for example might be able to go into the ethereal plane and effectively bypass the dome's border by re-entering the material plane from inside the dome.
 


Fanaelialae

Legend
It's easy for creatures who stumble across the effect (and can recognize it for what it is) to hide nearby and stage an ambush for when the hut effect ends. After all, anyone capable of casting a 3rd level spell probably has some good stuff worth taking. Sure the PCs just gained the benefits of a long rest, but surprise in 5e can be rather nasty! As such, the Hut may merely delay, rather than avert, random encounters. At least the PCs are at full hit points, so you don't need to hold back. ;)
 

Planar travel is something that I've been thinking about. Magical effects can't extend through or pass through the dome, but a magical effect created inside the dome could include some kind of movement across planes.

A Ghost for example might be able to go into the ethereal plane and effectively bypass the dome's border by re-entering the material plane from inside the dome.
Tiny Hut?

UNLEASH THE BULETTE!
[*]Or just dig underneath.]
This spell is stupidly powerful for its level and always has been. Now it can be cast as a Ritual so its even better (At least prior Vancian Wizards had to spend a spell slot on it)! There are some missing parts here happening and some misinterpretations:

1) It is a dome of force. Force effects historically extend into the Ethereal Plane. Therefore, no travel from the Ethereal into the hut nor the usage of travel forms that leverage the Ethereal Plane work to get into the hut. You better be able to specifically bypass Force effects if you're going to enter.

2) "...extends around and above you" and "the atmosphere inside the space is comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather outside." Now this is interesting. Historically (all prior editions), the spell has always been a "sphere" rather than "dome" or "hemisphere." So, I suppose I can see how folks would infer that "around you" does not incorporate "beneath". Further, when hemispheres are depicted, you may see them being represented volumetrically...or not.

However, I don't make this inference for the following reasons:

a) Most importantly, "The atmosphere inside the space is comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather outside." It is physically impossible for this to be the default situation without an insulating substrate to keep out environmental exposure. If there is no "Force Substrate" underneath you and you're in the frozen tundra and you put down a Tiny Hut...you're freezing to death...it is not "comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather outside." Extend that same principle to any other environment/exposure.

b) This is a 3rd level spell. If the trivial act of digging underneath was a means to siege the hut, Archmage Leomund would have never created the spell. And it certainly wouldn't be 3rd level anyway.

c) It wouldn't surprise me if this was just 5e designer shorthand, thinking volumetric hemisphere is easier to handle than sphere. And thus the change from prior editions wouldn't spark mass online debates at this and ACTUALLY INCREASE MENTAL OVERHEAD DURING PLAY AND INCREASE TABLE HANDLING TIME while people try to resolve the implications.

d) Jeremy Crawford has already resolved this...after he "unresolved" it first. It has a floor.

3) On camouflage. The hut is (same as historically) "opaque from the outside, or any color you choose." Historically, Wizards have been able to camouflage this (same as creatures do in the wild) to meld into the backdrop. In 5e, the adjudication of this (or at least how I've done it) should be an Arcana vs Perception contest. I suppose if you're feeling this is really difficult for the super-powered Wizards of D&D to do, then you could force that Arcana at Disadvantage (I haven't).

Further, your friendly neighborhood Ranger (or anyone with a Wisdom/Survival check) could just camouflage the hut (or maybe give the Wizard Advantage on their Arcana check).

Eh, it's easy enough to dispel, and what kind of NPC spellcaster wouldn't have that available? Very low-level ones, I suppose.

It lets you turn off random encounters at night, but a random encounter in the middle of the night is unlikely to do much anyway, since the party would be back to full at the end of the rest. I can imagine an exploration-heavy campaign where the ability to rest without interruption from beasts would be a huge benefit, but it's not that big a deal in many other campaigns.
That is pretty much it. Level 5+ Spellcasters about with Dispel Magic known and slotted? If their allies (or they via Detect Magic or perhaps an opposed Arcana, rather than Perception, if you're feeling particularly adversarial...probably because LTH has reset the workday many times before!) can perceive the camouflaged hut, then...boomshkies. You're good.

However, I'm sure you remember the DC 30...DC 35 thread. I was told with much enthusiasm that Dispel Magic (like LTH) is a crap spell! So who would possibly have it learned/memorized!?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
1) It is a dome of force. Force effects historically extend into the Ethereal Plane. Therefore, no travel from the Ethereal into the hut nor the usage of travel forms that leverage the Ethereal Plane work to get into the hut. You better be able to specifically bypass Force effects if you're going to enter.
First, can you give a reference in the current ruleset? If not this is a DM call.

Second, the ghost sinks into the ground and comes up from underneath. Unless you give the hut a floor that it does not state that it has.

2)hemispheres are depicted
A hemisphere is literally half of a sphere. Half of a hollow sphere does not include a "floor".

a) Most importantly, "The atmosphere inside the space is comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather outside." It is physically impossible for this to be the default situation without an insulating substrate to keep out environmental exposure. If there is no "Force Substrate" underneath you and you're in the frozen tundra and you put down a Tiny Hut...you're freezing to death...it is not "comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather outside." Extend that same principle to any other environment/exposure.
Umm ... magic anyone? This is not a physical structure, it's a magical one.


b) This is a 3rd level spell. If the trivial act of digging underneath was a means to siege the hut, Archmage Leomund would have never created the spell. And it certainly wouldn't be 3rd level anyway.

c) It wouldn't surprise me if this was just 5e designer shorthand, thinking volumetric hemisphere is easier to handle than sphere. And thus the change from prior editions wouldn't spark mass online debates at this and ACTUALLY INCREASE MENTAL OVERHEAD DURING PLAY AND INCREASE TABLE HANDLING TIME while people try to resolve the implications.

d) Jeremy Crawford has already resolved this...after he "unresolved" it first. It has a floor.
Good to know you can derive intent of not only a fictional character, but the WOTC design team.

It's a hollow hemisphere and does not state it has a floor. That's all the rules say ... feel free to add to the rules all you want.

3) On camouflage. The hut is (same as historically) "opaque from the outside, or any color you choose." Historically, Wizards have been able to camouflage this (same as creatures do in the wild) to meld into the backdrop. In 5e, the adjudication of this (or at least how I've done it) should be an Arcana vs Perception contest. I suppose if you're feeling this is really difficult for the super-powered Wizards of D&D to do, then you could force that Arcana at Disadvantage (I haven't).

Further, your friendly neighborhood Ranger (or anyone with a Wisdom/Survival check) could just camouflage the hut (or maybe give the Wizard Advantage on their Arcana check).
Imagine you're walking through a forest. You look over and there's a tent. One of those big family size 10 foot tall, 20 foot diameter tents in a small clearing. Do you think you would notice it, even if it was green?

That's a hut colored green. Why would you not see it? Even if it was covered in brush? If you have someone in the party that can apply camoflauge and if your party takes the time to apply it then you need to determine a DC based on the skill used to do the camoflauge. But it's still a pretty dang huge structure.

Admittedly it's going to depend on distance and all sorts of other environmental factors. I would rule that all you can change the color of the hut to a single monochromatic color. It doesn't say it has chameleon-like powers, or that it can have camaflouge-like markings. You can't make it invisible.

IMHO you are making a useful spell highly overpowered. That's your prerogative, but to paraphrase The Princess Bride, "I do not think it means what you think it means".
 

First, can you give a reference in the current ruleset? If not this is a DM call.
I've seen this so often on these boards as of late? I thought 5e was the nostalgia/legacy/unification (except for 4e) edition? If that is the premise, shouldn't it be that it is assumed that standard, edition-spanning D&D tropes are carried forth? Do we need a citation for everything that isn't explicated in the DMG, PHB, or MM (because there is a lot that is not!)? I hope not.

Regardless, even if we do, we easily have that:

1) Wall of Force text: "Nothing can physically pass through the wall...<snip>...The wall also extends into the Ethereal Plane, blocking ethereal travel through the wall."

Coupled with the edition-spanning, legacy, is this not enough? No? Ok...

2) DMG 48 Ethereal Plane entry:

"...solid objects on the overlapped plane don't hamper the movement of a creature in the Border EthereaL The exceptions are certain magical effects (including anything made of magical force) and living beings."

I'm sure you're thankful for the legwork, so a gentlemanly "you're welcome" back to you.

Umm ... magic anyone? This is not a physical structure, it's a magical one.
No, it still doesn't make sense. If there is no floor, it cannot be dry if you place it on snow or on the open soil/bedrock when precipitation is ongoing. You'll have groundwater intrusion, melting snow, etc. Unless you have a magical force floor...which you do...

Second, the ghost sinks into the ground and comes up from underneath. Unless you give the hut a floor that it does not state that it has.


A hemisphere is literally half of a sphere. Half of a hollow sphere does not include a "floor".


It's a hollow hemisphere and does not state it has a floor. That's all the rules say ... feel free to add to the rules all you want.


Good to know you can derive intent of not only a fictional character, but the WOTC design team.
I presume you didn't follow the link. Ok, here it is. Jeremy Crawford's Twitter's clarification (of which he is talking to himself in the third person to make fun of himself for an erroneous statement - that being "there is no floor" - a few months prior):

"Leomund's tiny hut does have a floor, Mr. Crawford (read your own book). The spell's range entry says the effect is hemispherical. #DnD"


And yes, I do understand the intent of Leomund. We're on a first name basis. After running every edition for a gajillion hours total I ought to be.

Imagine you're walking through a forest. You look over and there's a tent. One of those big family size 10 foot tall, 20 foot diameter tents in a small clearing. Do you think you would notice it, even if it was green?

That's a hut colored green. Why would you not see it? Even if it was covered in brush? If you have someone in the party that can apply camoflauge and if your party takes the time to apply it then you need to determine a DC based on the skill used to do the camoflauge. But it's still a pretty dang huge structure.

Admittedly it's going to depend on distance and all sorts of other environmental factors. I would rule that all you can change the color of the hut to a single monochromatic color. It doesn't say it has chameleon-like powers, or that it can have camaflouge-like markings. You can't make it invisible.

IMHO you are making a useful spell highly overpowered. That's your prerogative, but to paraphrase The Princess Bride, "I do not think it means what you think it means".
And this is all fair enough. It says "color" not "colors" (same as always). Its never been able to be camouflaged in a "multiple hues of the background blending in like a chameleon sense." Its simple though. In arctic tundra? White. In a desert? Color of the sand (khaki or whatever). Dense jungle? Color of the canopy (dark green). Dark stone? Slate grey (or whatever).

Again, you can adjudicate that how you'd like (the system doesn't help you). I'd say an Arcana check (perhaps with Advantage with a Survival assist or Disadvantage if the backdrop is particularly not conducive) contested by Perception (with Advantage on the check if the observer comes in close proximity or Disadvantage if there is particularly hostile cover/concealment for an observer...eg a white-out on the tundra).

That's fine.
 

I've had players use Leomund's Tiny Hut as a strongpoint during combat on occasion. It works but the caster has to stay inside, it can be visually detected and dispelled or simply waited out. I had one situation (in Limbos) where enemies literally covered every bit of the dome to keep PCs from popping out and attacking. A druid actually shifted to Earth Elemental form and burrowed out the floor to get past them. Weird stuff.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
[MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION], I'm going to keep this simple and not reply point by point.

There is no blanket rule that says force always extends into the ethereal plane. Wall of force and forcecage specifically state that they do, Leomund's Tiny Hut does not.

The spell says that the atmosphere is warm and dry. It says nothing about the ground. How do you have warm dry air when the hut is on a glacier? Magic.

When adjudicating spells, I think it is unrealistic to take into account decades of previous rules. I also don't pay any attention to twitter. Unless it's in the current edition of the books, Sage Advice or errata as far as I am concerned it doesn't exist.

You rule the spell differently than I do. I disagree with your ruling, and I think you are adding in things. It does not specify a floor, unlike other spells it does not state that it extends into the ethereal plane. As a DM you are free to make rulings and add to the rules as you see fit.
 

[MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION], I'm going to keep this simple and not reply point by point.

<snip>

You rule the spell differently than I do.
Hokey doke. No worries. I won't press it any further with you.

My only hope is that others read my book and designer citations and agree with the logic chain. Then we can all be sad together!
 

I do feel the need to say that once you start thinking of ways in which circumstances and consequences could make an over-used, possibly over-powered spell OK after all, then 'possibly' is no longer appropriate.

I've seen this so often on these boards as of late? I thought 5e was the nostalgia/legacy/unification (except for 4e) edition?
Yes it is, or is at least working towards being.

If that is the premise, shouldn't it be that it is assumed that standard, edition-spanning D&D tropes are carried forth?
Yes, in as far as the DM & players have spanned those editions. That ball's in the DM's Empowered court.

Personally, I'll snap-rule that a spell or item or monster works about like I remember it (if it seems appropriate in the moment) without even checking the actual 5e rule.

2) DMG 48 Ethereal Plane entry:

"...solid objects on the overlapped plane don't hamper the movement of a creature in the Border EthereaL The exceptions are certain magical effects (including anything made of magical force) and living beings."
Well, OK, then.

And yes, I do understand the intent of Leomund. We're on a first name basis. After running every edition for a gajillion hours total I ought to be.
You know Len Lakofka? Awesome! ;)

Seriously, though, Leomund's Tiny Hut - Lakofka's regular column in The Dragon - was a huge influence on how folks played D&D, at least in my area.
 


I presume you didn't follow the link. Ok, here it is. Jeremy Crawford's Twitter's clarification (of which he is talking to himself in the third person to make fun of himself for an erroneous statement - that being "there is no floor" - a few months prior):

"Leomund's tiny hut does have a floor, Mr. Crawford (read your own book). The spell's range entry says the effect is hemispherical. #DnD"
Hemisphere is defined as half of a sphere.

Half of a hollow sphere however has no floor.

A dome doesn't necessarily have a floor.

The spell specifically states that it forms around and above, but does not state that it forms below. "Around" could also be interpreted as below.

RAW, no floor is specified so it seems that it could be ruled either way at the table.

Crawford might change his opinion again after thinking about the fact that a hemisphere doesn't necessarily even have a floor, especially if it's hollowed instead of solid.
 

Corwin

First Post
We need a constitutional lawyer to give all this a look and help determine what the Supreme Court might likely allow. I'm not taking this all the way to DC without some kind of idea how the SCOTUS might rule.
 

Hemisphere is defined as half of a sphere.

Half of a hollow sphere however has no floor.

A dome doesn't necessarily have a floor.

The spell specifically states that it forms around and above, but does not state that it forms below. "Around" could also be interpreted as below.

RAW, no floor is specified so it seems that it could be ruled either way at the table.

Crawford might change his opinion again after thinking about the fact that a hemisphere doesn't necessarily even have a floor, especially if it's hollowed instead of solid.
There is still some confusion here, and there is a reason for that.

1) A sphere is a 3 dimensional, volumetric object.
2) A hemisphere is a 3 dimensional, volumetric object. It is half of a spherical object, with its volume being everything directly above (or below) of the plane of symmetry that cleaves the sphere into halves.

The plane of symmetry is effectively its "floor" with its volume being everything within that shell. A hemisphere has a floor. In the case of LTH, the plane of symmetry is its "force floor" (which keeps the elements out).

Now a dome? A dome is a rounded structure or natural formation that lies on top of a substrate (in the built structure's version, that would be its foundation...a natural formation would just be the stratum/bedrock). The substrate or stratum is non-inclusive. Therefore, the conception of a dome is not inclusive of a "floor".

See the problem here. The designers include both hemisphere (which means one thing) in the spell block and dome (which means another thing) in the description. Then one of the lead designers clarifies by saying "its a dome, not a hemisphere, so no floor." Then he chides himself with the follow-up DURRRR clarification above "Its actually a hemisphere...it does have a floor." This actually meshes (a) with the historical conception of the spell (even though it was a sphere) and (b) sufficiently explains the regulated/equilibrated environment/lack of exposure within the hemisphere of force. So it makes sense.

The problem here is that (i) its just another case of relaxed "natural language" (the incoherent use of dome in the descriptor) showing its (very predictable) capability of turning a clear situation into a muddled, table-handling-time-confounding problem and (ii) it is extremely disconcerting that one of the lead designers wouldn't have an emphatic, clear, consistent answer to this question considering they changed the spell from its all-editions-spanning orthodox sphere to a hemisphere. Presumably there was a purpose to doing that. It wasn't just utterly arbitrary or to make handling in play more obtuse. It had to have been an actual design conversation (one that sure as hell would have been memorable to me given the legacy of Leomund's Tiny Hut).

The whole of this is a giant head-scratcher. It speaks of one or all of arbitrary design, lack of foresight, lack of understanding of language implications, lack of play-testing of LTH (THIS WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAVE COME UP...HAD TO IN ANY LEGIT PLAYTESTING...THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST NOTORIOUS OFFENDERS IN D&D HISTORY). But again, changing this from 40 year legacy of a sphere to a hemisphere has to speak to intent. Doesn't it? Jeremy Crawford gives us no hint of this in his first clarification (its a dome) and then gives us more of nothing when he corrects himself (its a hemisphere, not a dome).
 

Variss

Explorer
Before one goes tossing around nonsense terms like "RAW" with regard to a self-contradicting document such as the 5E rules, you might want to look through other spells as to how terms are used. "Sphere", "Hemisphere", "Dome", "Area" are used casually, often interchangeably, rather than empirically. Sometimes they mean "the area defined by..." other times they mean "the surface defined by...". In the case of LTH you have the internal contradiction that the "Stats" area of the spell states it is a hemisphere (most common definition is a volumetric solid) but the descriptive text uses dome (most common definition is a shell). You don't even need to descend to common sense debate over "comfort over frozen tundra" if you can't get out of the spell definition without conflicting terms.

DM's prerogative in rulings. Rule Zero it. The spell is neither that problematic, nor nearly as vaguely written as the rest of the too short spells. Same goes for Force adjudication, DMG says force effects block ethereal, legacy of the term does too, no need to start pulling "specific over general" tropes for that.

Edit​: @Manbearcat posted just before I did about the Dome/Hemisphere problem in the spell description. Kudos. Also, I'd be suspicious of "there had to be a conversation" allegations. In all likelihood, the spells were given to one author, edited by another for playtesting, then moved to general playtesting, then given to a final writer for embellishment/tonal flow. This was a streamlined team, and there are hundreds of spells to have focused a meeting on. There are also far too many examples of vague or very poorly worded and open-ended spells in the book to make anyone think otherwise.
 
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