D&D 5E Wall of Force options

Samloyal23

Adventurer
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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jgsugden

Legend
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.
 

Plaguescarred

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.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
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.
 


Salmakia

Explorer
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.
 



Clint_L

Hero
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.
It's intentionally written to prevent this sort of use, for good reason. It's possible someone could find ways around it by parsing RAW very carefully, but as a DM I would probably rule against it, because it would likely create a broken situation and is likely players trying to metagame and pull off shenanigans. Have to see the context, though.

The sacred flame exception would be very hard to pull off and not very powerful, so that would be okay. Maybe a multi-class cleric 10/Wizard 9/10 could get away with a Divine Intervention while in the force dome, and the deity could attack the target? If they could make that roll, I'd let 'em have it!
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
A bit off topic, but based on the discussion so far, how would y'all rule about the magic item Cube of Force. Since face 5 states "spell effects can't pass through the barrier", many may be tempted to read that as a caster being able to sling spells if faces 1-4 are activate (face 6 is "nothing can pass through"). But given the clear path rule, is that reading incorrect? Does this just apply to area of effect spells cast by casters outside the cube of force targeting an area just outside the cube of force?

Either way, I find Cube of Force to way too potentially game changing to only be "rare".
 
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Hussar

Legend
I find the bigger problem is that the wizard englobes the baddie inside the wall of force and then the rest of the party drops psychic spells on the target. Does that work?

Another issue I've had is they've summoned stuff around the baddie, then dropped the wall of force to keep it inside with the summoned stuff.
 

A damaging ranged/AoE spell plus a fragile ceiling to cave in heavy material over the dome, making the dome an effective trap for the domed mage unless they can teleport out, phase through the rubble, dig themselves a tunnel, etc. --- it's a gamble but if the domed mage didn't prepare the right spells, they're potentially doomed the moment the Wall of Force ends.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I find the bigger problem is that the wizard englobes the baddie inside the wall of force and then the rest of the party drops psychic spells on the target. Does that work?

Another issue I've had is they've summoned stuff around the baddie, then dropped the wall of force to keep it inside with the summoned stuff.
Option 1 would depend on the wording of the specific spells, but Wall of Force is designed to make that tactic difficult. Without going through every spell, my suspicion is that the party would be out of luck.

Option 2 would definitely work though, and would be hilarious.

There are definitely tons of ways to use Wall of Force offensively (I like the cave-in strategy above). It is just designed to prevent the lazy tactic of being able to sit inside it and pew pew with impunity.
 
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Option 1 would depend on the wording of the specific spells, but Wall of Force is designed to make that tactic difficult. Without going through every spell, my suspicion is that the party would be out of luck.
There are quite a few summonish spells that say nothing about "seeing" the target location. The only drawback is they are (so far as I can find) all concentration. But if we are not talking about the wizard who is concetrating on the wall, then they can be used by either side.
 

Clint_L

Hero
There are quite a few summonish spells that say nothing about "seeing" the target location. The only drawback is they are (so far as I can find) all concentration. But if we are not talking about the wizard who is concetrating on the wall, then they can be used by either side.
He asked abut dropping "psychic spells" on the target.

Edit: though thinking more about it, I don't think you can summon inside a Wall of Force once it is up. It counts as "total cover," and the rules on total cover are clear: unless the spell description specifically stipulates otherwise, you cannot cast a spell targeting something behind total cover. In this case, they would be trying to target a summoning spell behind total cover. It would be like trying to cast it into a closed building from outside.

I think Wall of Force confuses people because it is transparent, but it is nevertheless intended to act as total cover and block targeting, and the designers have been clear about that (c.f. Jeremy Crawford's comments re. Wall of Force and Sacred Flame).

I took option 2, above, to be about summoning something first and place the Wall of Force around it and the target second, which is totally legitimate and clever, as far as I can see.

Edit 2: I think Wall of Force in general creates a lot of situations that may be counterintuitive, so this spell is a prime candidate for a DM setting aside RAW and doing what feels right in the story. I think it is clear that the intent of the spell is to stop almost anything getting through it, but whether or not you include spells that seem to start from inside it, like a summon spell, is reasonably up to DM discretion and I can't see most players having a problem with the ruling either way.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
I agree, it’s way too strong for rare, very rare at minimum, I can even respect the case for legendary. There are just way too many ways to turn off hold swathes of combat encounters with it
It is a high risk tool. The fighter in one of the games I run is using it and using it well. They often make it so that creatures can't pass through it, but spells and objects can ... and that proved to be a problem when they were knocked unconcious and the only healer nearby could only heal with a touch. Even unconcious, the cube stayed up and forced him to roll the dice on death saves.

It is a powerful tool, and as such will be iconic for the user. It will make them feel powerful - but that power comes with a risk.
 

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