D&D 5E Wall of Force and spells

Clint_L

Hero
Hard to say, but they didn't bother to use this wording from 3.5, and they deliberately made it able to float in the air for some reason: "The caster can form the wall into a flat, vertical plane whose area is up to one 10-foot square per level. The wall must be continuous and unbroken when formed. If its surface is broken by any object or creature, the spell fails."

Actually, unrelated question but, why does a Wall of Force have thickness? I always assumed that, being a construct of force, it could be effectively two-dimensional, but I just noticed the 5e version specifies that it's 1/4 inch thick and I'm not sure why it matters.
It matters because, for example, you could leap up and grab the top of it without losing your fingers.

I don’t sweat wall of force much - the intent seems obvious. I’ve never had a problem making in game rulings about it.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Hussar

Legend
Ah. I always interpreted "wall" (for all Wall spells) as meaning a single flat wall, built in this case out of 10x10 panes. That WoF also allows a hemisphere is an exception.

Any idea if this is RAI or just an(other) oversight in RAW?
But, none of the wall spells have worked like that for a really long time. 3e Wall spells just had to be contiguous, but, you could shape them however you like. IIRC, AD&D wall spells are the same.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Hard to say, but they didn't bother to use this wording from 3.5, and they deliberately made it able to float in the air for some reason:
It's always been able to be cast in mid-air; nothing new there.
"The caster can form the wall into a flat, vertical plane whose area is up to one 10-foot square per level. The wall must be continuous and unbroken when formed. If its surface is broken by any object or creature, the spell fails."

Actually, unrelated question but, why does a Wall of Force have thickness? I always assumed that, being a construct of force, it could be effectively two-dimensional, but I just noticed the 5e version specifies that it's 1/4 inch thick and I'm not sure why it matters.
It matters because if it had infinite thin-ness it could be used to effortlessly cut through moving things.

Picture this: a microns-thick WoF cast horizontally 4 feet above a road. A band of riders come galloping along said road. The horses get sliced in two while the riders all lose their legs and feet.

Now picture the same wall cast vertically in front of a moving ship at sea: it'd cut the ship in two.

What a mess.

I had to think about this many years ago when some player tried using the spell for just this, and I ruled that the wall could not be used to cut things; if encountered from the "side" it would behave as if you had bumped into the end of a brick wall (still unpleasant for ships or horses but nowhere near as bad as it could be!) even though the actual WoF is almost infinitely thin.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But, none of the wall spells have worked like that for a really long time. 3e Wall spells just had to be contiguous, but, you could shape them however you like. IIRC, AD&D wall spells are the same.
Glancing at the 1e write-ups for Walls of Force, Iron, and Stone gives the impression (but doesn't overtly state) that the walls are single flat planes; largely by the repeated references in the singular to the wall created.

Were I to use a Wall of Force to build something shaped like a room, that to me would suggest four walls plus a ceiling and maybe a floor; and if this was possible (or intended) I'd think the write-ups would somehow mention or imply such. That they don't* is what tells me it's a single flat plane.

* - ignoring for these purposes the WoF's hemisphere (and in 1e, full sphere) options.
 

Clint_L

Hero
It matters because, for example, you could leap up and grab the top of it without losing your fingers.
It's always been able to be cast in mid-air; nothing new there.

It matters because if it had infinite thin-ness it could be used to effortlessly cut through moving things.

Picture this: a microns-thick WoF cast horizontally 4 feet above a road. A band of riders come galloping along said road. The horses get sliced in two while the riders all lose their legs and feet.

Now picture the same wall cast vertically in front of a moving ship at sea: it'd cut the ship in two.

What a mess.

I had to think about this many years ago when some player tried using the spell for just this, and I ruled that the wall could not be used to cut things; if encountered from the "side" it would behave as if you had bumped into the end of a brick wall (still unpleasant for ships or horses but nowhere near as bad as it could be!) even though the actual WoF is almost infinitely thin.
Hmmmm…the latter would work almost as well with the wall at 1/4”…
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Hmmmm…the latter would work almost as well with the wall at 1/4”…
Pretty much, yeah. Also remember, spells do what they say they do; even if a Wall of Force was microns thick doesn't automatically turn it into a blade. That'd be a DM ruling if anything.

That's why it confused me, I mean, look at the Shield spell; "An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you". Nothing is said about it's thickness or appearance beyond "you get a force field". It can't be destroyed by an means short Dispel Magic; in theory a 100 goblins could shoot at you and if they fail to hit, the shield deflects them all.

I don't mind attempts to add some verisimilitude to spells, but I often see arguments in other threads that adding anything to a spell, even if it makes sense (like say, making people take damage for walking through a Flaming Sphere on their turns), is making spells more powerful than they were intended to be.

So a ruling like "running into a Wall of Force edge-on will do damage instead of merely halting movement" seems a bit inconsistent when people are so adamant about the spell doing precisely what it says it does and nothing more in other respects.
 

Hussar

Legend
Pretty much, yeah. Also remember, spells do what they say they do; even if a Wall of Force was microns thick doesn't automatically turn it into a blade. That'd be a DM ruling if anything.

That's why it confused me, I mean, look at the Shield spell; "An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you". Nothing is said about it's thickness or appearance beyond "you get a force field". It can't be destroyed by an means short Dispel Magic; in theory a 100 goblins could shoot at you and if they fail to hit, the shield deflects them all.

I don't mind attempts to add some verisimilitude to spells, but I often see arguments in other threads that adding anything to a spell, even if it makes sense (like say, making people take damage for walking through a Flaming Sphere on their turns), is making spells more powerful than they were intended to be.

So a ruling like "running into a Wall of Force edge-on will do damage instead of merely halting movement" seems a bit inconsistent when people are so adamant about the spell doing precisely what it says it does and nothing more in other respects.
Well, you have to remember that "creative spell use" is a tried and true tradition. Using spells in such a way that makes them far, far more powerful than what they are supposed to be is how you win D&D. Goes all the way back to Create Water inside someone's chest. :D
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Well, you have to remember that "creative spell use" is a tried and true tradition. Using spells in such a way that makes them far, far more powerful than what they are supposed to be is how you win D&D. Goes all the way back to Create Water inside someone's chest. :D
Or Light cast on someone's eyes, yeah, I know. It's just that when we get to discussing spells, I see all the time exchanges like:

"To me it just makes sense that spell X would cause Y to happen."

"That's not what the spell says it does, you're actually making it more powerful when it's already too good!"

"But common sense..."

"To hell with your common sense, spells do what they say they do, it's magic, it doesn't have to make sense!"

And so on. So to see an example of the pendulum swinging the other way is just noteworthy to me.
 

Oofta

Legend
Or Light cast on someone's eyes, yeah, I know. It's just that when we get to discussing spells, I see all the time exchanges like:

"To me it just makes sense that spell X would cause Y to happen."

"That's not what the spell says it does, you're actually making it more powerful when it's already too good!"

"But common sense..."

"To hell with your common sense, spells do what they say they do, it's magic, it doesn't have to make sense!"

And so on. So to see an example of the pendulum swinging the other way is just noteworthy to me.

Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations. Like expecting people discussing D&D on a forum to come to a consensus on anything. ;)
 

Wall of Force spell text says this "it into a hemispherical dome or a sphere with a radius of up to 10 feet, or you can shape a flat surface..."

Boxes, etc are NOT FLAT. In 5e, the Wall of Force spell can only create spheres, hemispheres or planes.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top