D&D 5E Wall of Force options


Okay, a Wizard casts Wall of Force to defend himself from attack, creating a dome over his location. What spells from the published materials can he use against an enemy located outside of the dome? I just need a solid list of standard options.

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The Wall of Force is essentially a glass bubble that can't be broken. You can see targets through it, but you're subject to the targeting rule: To target a creature, object or point of origin yuou must have a clear path to that target. So, you are looking for spells that either ignore the cover restriction for targeting, or that do not have a target at all. Additionally, a spell’s effect expands in straight lines from the point of origin. If no unblocked straight line extends from the point of origin to a location within the area of effect, that location isn’t included in the spell’s area.

Sacred Flame is one spell that can target through a Wall of Force due to the clause in the final sentence. The target gains no benefit from cover for the saving throw. This has been explicitly confirmed by Jeremy Crawford. It is a bit difficult for a wizard to cast this spell, but interestingly a paladin (Oath of Redemption of 17th level with the Blessed Warrior Fighting Style) can pull this trick off. For the wizards, you're generally going to be looking at multiclass, homebrew/3rd party (Mystic Theurge), the new Divinely Favored feat, Spell Sniper (Cleric), etc...

I've seen arguments that Raulothim's Psychic Lance should also bypasses the restriction. The argument is based upon the idea that if you utter the creature's name, the creature just becomes the target without using the normal rules for targeting. However, I consider that a stretch, and even if true, the spell describes the psychic energy as coming from your forehead in a shimmering lance, so I consider this a loser as well - but your DM has grounds to rule otherwise, even if weak grounds.

Detect Thoughts is range self, so it works on you. From there, it can be argued that you can use it to read the surface thoughts of creatures within 30 feet of you. The spell says you can read the surface thoughts of a creature you can see, but does not require you to target them - for surface thoughts. To probe deeper you need to target them clearly. However, I believe this runs afoul fo the 'unblocked straight line' requirement for the effect of a spell. However, there have been some debates there. Regardless, it is concentration so there is difficulty there in having 2 concentrartion spells.

Gift of Gab also theoretically does not require the targeting rules and is range self, but is range 5'. Again, the unblocked straight line requirement seems to prohibit this to me.


D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Normally to target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover, but some exception exist, such as Sacred Flame, which says the target gains no benefit from cover for this saving throw. It's also been confirmed by the Dev in a Podcast that it was intended to work that way https://media.wizards.com/2017/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_01_19_2017.mp3

There are spells that create exceptions to this rule about needing a path clear of obstruction. One cantrip [that breaks] this rule is sacred flame. Sacred flame is one of the low level spells that has this text: "The target gains no benefit from cover for this saving throw." [...] So, they're getting no benefit from cover [...] and that includes total cover. So sacred flame is one of the few spells that allows you to target somebody even if they're behind total cover. [...] You can be looking through the window in the tower and cast it on someone outside. ... The narrative reason for that, the reason I wrote it that way, is that sacred flame is coming down from above the person. The idea is the cleric is calling this divine energy down on the target and it is not actually shooting out from the cleric, it's coming down. [Which is an exception] and in the game the exceptional always beats the general.


I would imagine you can summon things and have them appear outside the dome, no? Conjure Minor Elementals says things appear anywhere you can see within range.


That's an interesting thought on Conjuration spells though... would something like Tidal Wave work? You're conjuring the wave outside the Wall of Force & the spell doesn't require concentration.

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