D&D 5E Wall of Force and spells

Well, yes it does; something that's immovable and impervious to anything and yet only microns thick sounds to me like a better cutting tool than any blade ever built; never mind you can't see it coming as you approach.
The Wall of Force is a field effect that absorbs energy, not a solid object. When something hits it, it's kinetic energy is absorbed, so it simply stops dead. It is not cut or damaged in any way.
 

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Milieu

Explorer
That's really debatable; the spell can be cast on creatures (who get a save), but it never says anything about them being blinded, nor does it say you can target eyes, just creatures.
It does say it in the DMG:
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The Wall of Force is a field effect that absorbs energy, not a solid object.
Now that's the first time I've ever heard this explanation, in any edition.

Source? Or is it your own houserule?
When something hits it, it's kinetic energy is absorbed, so it simply stops dead. It is not cut or damaged in any way.
When I fall and hit the ground the ground absorbs my kinetic energy too. All at once. And it hurts. :)
 

greg kaye

Explorer
Oh, I would definitely rule that a large ship running edge-on to a Wall of Force at speed would suffer catastrophic damage. I think it's a genius idea!

Or a dragon...now I'm just hoping my players never think of it...
RAW, I'm not sure how much, to a creature, damage that would do.
Adult dragons have, at least typically, a fly speed of 80ft. Dash would make that 160ft.
Feather fall, at 60 ft per round (10ft/s) negates damage.
In real life, a 10 ft fall results in an impact velocity of 25.367 ft/s (150 ft per round).
But falling is weird in D&D.
If both a squirrel and a brontosaurus were to fall similar distances, in D&D, they'd both sustain similar dice of damage, in real life, it would be the brontosaurus that would more likely go splat while the squirrel might hop away.
 

greg kaye

Explorer
...
As for Flaming Sphere, it's an oversight that dates back to 3e, where nothing in the text says that the spell does damage to people off-turn. I found this out the hard way; I tried to use a Flaming Sphere to block a choke point, and after carefully reading the spell, the DM just had his enemies move through it without effect.
...
When I was in my teens we had a house fire that lit up all the 80's polystyrene hallway ceiling tiles and near completely filled the stairway with flames. With familiarity with the steps, I ran down through the flame and, despite having my hair singed and eyelashes shortened, I remained fine, physically.

If I'd run through a cloud of daggers or if any of the blobs of melting polystyrene fell on me, that might have been different but Flaming Sphere is reasonable.

When our group used Flaming Sphere to clear out rooms and corridors of spiders, we kept moving the sphere in front and kept following behind.
1687082712422.png

I like the idea of occupying spaces within 10ft of a Flaming Sphere but am unsure how this would work with a moving sphere. Readied action just lets you have one thing readied but, ideally, when, on the caster's turn, the sphere is moved, other characters might want to follow the sphere and still be ready to attack an opponent coming into range. Perhaps the way to do it would be to set the ready trigger of an opposing creature entering the sphere as a trigger to move, block and attack them.
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
When I was in my teens we had a house fire that lit up all the 80's polystyrene hallway ceiling tiles and near completely filled the stairway with flames. With familiarity with the steps, I ran down through the flame and, despite having my hair singed and eyelashes shortened, I remained fine, physically.

If I'd run through a cloud of daggers or if any of the blobs of melting polystyrene fell on me, that might have been different but Flaming Sphere is reasonable.

When our group used Flaming Sphere to clear out rooms and corridors of spiders, we kept moving the sphere in front and kept following behind.
View attachment 288054
I like the idea of occupying spaces within 10ft of a Flaming Sphere but am unsure how this would work with a moving sphere. Readied action just lets you have one thing readied but, ideally, when, on the caster's turn, the sphere is moved, other characters might want to follow the sphere and still be ready to attack an opponent coming into range. Perhaps the way to do it would be to set the ready trigger of an opposing creature entering the sphere as a trigger to move, block and attack them.
Well the 2e version of the sphere simply says "creatures in contact with the globe must save versus spell or suffer 2d4 points of fire damage. Those within five feet of the sphere's surface must also save or suffer 1d4 points of heat damage." and also "Flammable substances are set afire by contact with the sphere". It doesn't actually say when this damage is inflicted, and if you can take it off turn or not, leaving it entirely up to the DM's discretion, but I had never heard anyone try to claim you could run through or past it on your turn without being burned. Make a saving throw? Sure, the spell even said the DM could adjust the saving throws based on how much room you had to dodge the sphere.

I'm not discounting your life experience (I'm happy you made your saving throw!), but D&D never really emulated physics well. That the Flaming Sphere might not be hot enough to instantly cook people like Wall of Fire does (though oddly, the 5e version allows a save for half damage and only damages you when you're within 10' of it; the 2e version automatically damages you with no save for being within 20' of it, with more damage if you're within 10', and even more if you cross into it, though the damage was a lot less than the 5e version).

It's just a case of, the spell does what it says it does, adding or subtracting from it's effects because it "feels right" may not be the right call.

Take Freedom of Movement, a spell designed to let you move and attack in water without penalty; there are some DM's out there who say the spell prevents swimming, and instantly causes you to fall through water to the bottom, which can make it suddenly very useless when fighting foes at sea who can now swim above you as if they had flight (and depending on the depth, your DM might decide to ad hoc damage for the "crushing depths of the sea floor"), lol.
 

greg kaye

Explorer
Well the 2e version of the sphere simply says "creatures in contact with the globe must save versus spell or suffer 2d4 points of fire damage. Those within five feet of the sphere's surface must also save or suffer 1d4 points of heat damage." and also "Flammable substances are set afire by contact with the sphere".
The 5e version is more realistic.
It doesn't actually say when this damage is inflicted, and if you can take it off turn or not, leaving it entirely up to the DM's discretion, but I had never heard anyone try to claim you could run through or past it on your turn without being burned. Make a saving throw? Sure, the spell even said the DM could adjust the saving throws based on how much room you had to dodge the sphere.
...
It's fine to run a spell unrealistically and go by a RAW description, but if you're just imagining flame within air, unless you are going past the temperatures of our extremely fueled (I won't go into details) fire, that's not how it works.
I'm not discounting your life experience (I'm happy you made your saving throw!), but D&D never really emulated physics well. ...
I'm happy too - but, in relation to the flame in the air, there was no saving throw. There was speed, perhaps a successful ability check to keep my footing on extremely familiar stairs, and a short duration approaching the flame and in the 10-15 ft of the up-washing flash flame that filled the stairway.

It's the short duration that mattered. The reason for this is that heat conducts far more slowly from hot air than it would from a hot liquid or solid. Had some of the drops of polystyrene fallen on me it might be a different matter.

Get a lit candle and pass your finger through the flame quickly and, once you know what to expect, as slowly as you can without not feeling physically uncomfortable. That could help with a gauge of how it works.
That the Flaming Sphere might not be hot enough to instantly cook people like Wall of Fire does (though oddly, the 5e version allows a save for half damage and only damages you when you're within 10' of it; the 2e version automatically damages you with no save for being within 20' of it, with more damage if you're within 10', and even more if you cross into it, though the damage was a lot less than the 5e version).
It's an issue of both the heat and the time. Realistically it wouldn't be a dexterity saving throw to help you take less damage in the flame. It would be a dexterity saving throw to get out. Seriously, if there's a fire, get out.

I have no qualms with the current write-up of Flaming Sphere though I think a fair alternative might be to require creatures to dash through or meet a certain speed requirement (say, move 50ft) or take half damage after the saving throw.

Wall of Fire is a spell that we might reason has been specifically designed to function as a wall. At least on this interpretation, I have no objection to this spell's description either. For its resultant effect, I'd personally imagine it to contain something like globules of hot material but this is magic. There are a variety of ways in which it might work. If the wall were merely composed of sheets of flame within the air, I'd imagine that a character might significantly reduce any potential damage by just speeding through.
 


Clint_L

Hero
Headcanon.
It’s a good idea, though, as a way out of Wall of Force suddenly becoming the dragon dicing spell. Otherwise…any mathematicians want to calculate the impact of a ten ton dragon onto a (let’s go metric) 7mm, absolutely immovable edge at, say, 50kmph? That would be a hell of a lot worse than falling damage. I think we’d have two half dragons.
 


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