D&D 5E Wall of Force options

I was about to ask if a hemispherical wall of force had a floor, wondering if something could go under it, but then I remembered Crawford's "ruling" about tiny hut.
It doesn't have a floor, but I'm pretty sure solid ground counts as total cover.

What follows of, course, is "what about Earthquake?" If you go by the way @Clint_L rules, a Wall of Force should block the effect of the Earthquake spell, even though that makes no sense. But then, so would a brick wall.

Of course, the rules are actually far from clear if total cover can block the effects of an area spell, or just the positioning of the point of origin.
 
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I'm not sure what you think is so special about moonbeam.
Nothing particularly. Most of it goes for other spells like Ice Storm, that are cylinders, directing the effect downwards. Firstly, if Sacred Flame ignores total cover because "the effect comes from above", then the same should be true for any spell effect that comes from above. They must have forgotten to mention it in the spell descriptions. Of course, it's probably more sensible to say that they ignore total cover between the caster and the target, but are affected by total cover above the target. In which case, a dome Wall of Force should block Moonbeam, Ice Storm and Sacred Flame, but a simple wall blocks none of them.

Secondly, the point of origin for cylinders is not on the ground. In the case of Moonbeam, it's 20 feet above the ground. So long as the point 20 feet in the air isn't behind total cover you can target the spell effect there. Note: beware low ceilings!
 
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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It doesn't have a floor, but I'm pretty sure solid ground counts as total cover.

What follows of, course, is "what about Earthquake?" If you go by the way @Clint_L rules, a Wall of Force should block the effect of the Earthquake spell, even though that makes no sense. But then, so would a brick wall.

Of course, the rules are actually far from clear if total cover can block the effects of an area spell, or just the positioning of the point of origin.
I was thinking about Erupting Earth, actually.* Also, could a brick wall really block Earthquake? It tends to destroy them with the "Structures" bullet point, right?

*basically wondering if targeting a square outside the Wall would still cause the earth to erupt on the other side of it. "Choose a point you can see on the ground within range. A fountain of churned earth and stone erupts in a 20-foot cube centered on that point."

As for the "floor", like I said, I didn't think Tiny Hut would have one either (a hemisphere only has one if it's solid, my thinking is that it's like a hollow glass sphere cut in half), but Crawford says it does, so...
 

Also, could a brick wall really block Earthquake? It tends to destroy them with the "Structures" bullet point, right?
RAW, in theory. The effect radiates out until it hits total cover, then stops (as per @Clint_L interpretation). The wall takes damage and may fall down, but there is no rules for the spell effect continuing on if the total cover is removed (and whose to say the rubble isn't total cover in any case). Of course, this is where any sensible DM would rule that the effect is transmitted through the ground, so the only "total cover" would be a void.

One might houserule "if effect X can travel through material Y, then Y does not provide cover". Using this rule, one might say X = Psychic damage, and Y = force effects, if one wanted to allow psychic damage spells to be useable through a Wall of Force.
 
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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
RAW, in theory. The effect radiates out until it hits total cover, then stops (as per @Clint_L interpretation). The wall takes damage and may fall down, but there is no rules for the spell effect continuing on if the total cover is removed (and whose to say the rubble isn't total cover in any case). Of course, this is where any sensible DM would rule that the effect is transmitted through the ground, so the only "total cover" would be a void.

One might houserule "if effect X can travel through material Y, then Y does not provide cover". Using this rule, one might say X = Psychic damage, and Y = force effects, if one wanted to allow psychic damage spells to be useable through a Wall of Force.
So thinking about this, I notice that the rules for cover say:

A target with total cover can't be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach such a target by including it in an area of effect. A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle.

When, exactly, does the italicized section apply? (my guess is that this is talking about AoE's that would extend around cover, but I'm not 100% on that)

As for your proposed house rule, that seems logical. If there is a glass wall between you and a target, a giant ape probably could still hit you with a 7d6 boulder!
 

When, exactly, does the italicized section apply?
Good question! The text in the description of Fireball says "The fire spreads around corners" but most spells don't indicate what they are blocked by. The text for Wall of Force says "Nothing can physically pass through the wall" which implies anything that isn't physical (such as Moonbeam) can pass through it.

I assume @Clint_L would take "some spells" to mean "when specifically mentioned in the spell description" which I think is none.
 
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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Good question! The text in the description of Fireball says "The fire spreads around corners" but most spells don't indicate what they are blocked by. The text for Wall of Force says "Nothing can physically pass through the wall" which implies anything that isn't physical (such as Moonbeam) can pass through it.

I assume @Clint_L would take "some spells" to mean "when specifically mentioned in the spell description" which I think is none.
So, just to clarify, a spell effect that goes under a Wall of Force could theoretically affect someone behind one, just as a spell effect that goes around one could?

I get that spells are largely written as if they resolve on a flat, 2D plane (barring oddities like cylinders), so this is probably a huge grey area at the moment- I know I've had some DM's give me funny looks when I use cone effects in 3 dimensions, and they've claimed that they don't believe that's the intent of the spell, though they are similarly baffled by the constant use of three dimensional spell effects (cones, spheres, and cylinders) in a game that has historically been very bad at dealing with the third dimension.
 

So, just to clarify, a spell effect that goes under a Wall of Force could theoretically affect someone behind one, just as a spell effect that goes around one could?
DM's call. I wouldn't assume your DM would automatically rule that way, since I don't think any spell descriptions explicitly state either effect. In terms of gameplay fun, I think it's better to give benefit of the doubt against the Wall of Force.

If you have ever played Solasta, that makes quite a good job of mapping 3D spell effects to a grid.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
So, if you made a version you could launch spells through from one direction, so you could fire out of a dome covering you, what level would it have to be maintain balance? 6? 7? 8?
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
So, if you made a version you could launch spells through from one direction, so you could fire out of a dome covering you, what level would it have to be maintain balance? 6? 7? 8?
Well Cube of Force allows for this and other options, and it is only rare. According to the DMG, rare items should be rewarded to PCs that are at least 5th level.

Wall of Force is a 5th-level spell, so you have to be 7th 9th level to cast it. (Corrected)

I don't know how to reconcile these two items of information. Cube of Force should should have a higher rarity than "rare".
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Maybe just a typo on your part, but one needs to be 9th level to cast 5th level spells.
Oops. If by "typo" you mean quickly typing a response while tired and getting it wrong, then, yes. :) Will correct the post. But it only further goes to show why cube of force may be overly powerful for 5th level characters.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Good question! The text in the description of Fireball says "The fire spreads around corners" but most spells don't indicate what they are blocked by. The text for Wall of Force says "Nothing can physically pass through the wall" which implies anything that isn't physical (such as Moonbeam) can pass through it.

I assume @Clint_L would take "some spells" to mean "when specifically mentioned in the spell description" which I think is none.
Yeah, if you could stop using my name to build straw man arguments, I would appreciate it, and I won't invoke yours in return.

You have no idea how I would rule, because as I was at pains to point out right at the start, I rule according to what makes the most sense in the story. So since Wall of Force is clearly meant to be a Sue Storm-style, nigh impenetrable force field, I would just rule out almost of these rules lawyering shenanigans and continue with the game. I might add an eye roll.

As I also pointed out, very explicitly, I was therefore adding what the rules as written say and what Jeremy Crawford has explicitly stated about this spell, for those who care about such things. Which is:

1. That Wall of Force counts as total cover
2. That you can't target things that have total cover unless the spell explicitly says so
3. That sacred flame explicitly says so (as Crawford acknowledges)

You are making an assumption that because JC gave a secondary justification of sacred flame "coming from above" this means that all spells that "come from above" therefore ignore it. If true, this would mean that wall of force had different properties depending on which direction it was facing, which would seem odd indeed.

As for earthquake or similar ground effects (or tunnelling under it): does the wall cover the floor? If so, then yeah, immune. If not, then outta luck.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, if you could stop using my name to build straw man arguments, I would appreciate it, and I won't invoke yours in return.

You have no idea how I would rule, because as I was at pains to point out right at the start, I rule according to what makes the most sense in the story. So since Wall of Force is clearly meant to be a Sue Storm-style, nigh impenetrable force field, I would just rule out almost of these rules lawyering shenanigans and continue with the game. I might add an eye roll.

As I also pointed out, very explicitly, I was therefore adding what the rules as written say and what Jeremy Crawford has explicitly stated about this spell, for those who care about such things. Which is:

1. That Wall of Force counts as total cover
2. That you can't target things that have total cover unless the spell explicitly says so
3. That sacred flame explicitly says so (as Crawford acknowledges)

You are making an assumption that because JC gave a secondary justification of sacred flame "coming from above" this means that all spells that "come from above" therefore ignore it. If true, this would mean that wall of force had different properties depending on which direction it was facing, which would seem odd indeed.

As for earthquake or similar ground effects (or tunnelling under it): does the wall cover the floor? If so, then yeah, immune. If not, then outta luck.
But could earthquake open up a fissure beneath the wall of force, dropping it (and anyone within) into a pit?
 

Yeah, if you could stop using my name to build straw man arguments, I would appreciate it, and I won't invoke yours in return.
When you stop using absolutist interpretations of the rules like this:
If so, then yeah, immune. If not, then outta luck.
Then sure.

It is certainly possible to interpret the rule as you do, but it is not the ONLY interpretation that fits the wording. Hence "DM's call".
If true, this would mean that wall of force had different properties depending on which direction it was facing
Given that the spell description itself specifies two forms: wall and dome, I don't see this as an issue.
1. That Wall of Force counts as total cover
A wooden table provides total cover - but only if it is directly between the target and the spellcaster. The direction the cover faces matters. And does it provide cover against AoE effects that would instantly destroy a wooden table, or attacks that would be unaffected by it, such as a giant boulder? The wording says: "A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle." So hiding under a blanket protects me from a giant boulder? Or is it up to the DM to decide what constitutes an "obstacle", taking the situation into account?
 
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Well Cube of Force allows for this and other options, and it is only rare. According to the DMG, rare items should be rewarded to PCs that are at least 5th level.
That means that it is potentially available, not that it is automatically available. Personally, I have never seen a Cube of Force in a D&D game.

But the rarity system is a nonsense, and has little relation to the power of the item in question. Compare Boots of the Wilderland, Ring of Cold Resistance, Ring of Warmth. It's more thematic.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
But could earthquake open up a fissure beneath the wall of force, dropping it (and anyone within) into a pit?
Sure. I'd even rule that they take fall damage. Like being in a falling elevator.

Or a purple work could swallow them.

A tone of ceiling rock can be collapsed over it.

It is a powerful spell but not best for short respite to get some heals in, etc. It can be both a refuge and a prison.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
That means that it is potentially available, not that it is automatically available. Personally, I have never seen a Cube of Force in a D&D game.

But the rarity system is a nonsense, and has little relation to the power of the item in question. Compare Boots of the Wilderland, Ring of Cold Resistance, Ring of Warmth. It's more thematic.
Sure. I don't really pay that much attention to rarity and CR levels. With my current group, if I try to run games according to default balance assumptions, my players will roll over all obstacles.

In my current campaign, the wizard has a cube of force, but they were already in late tier 2 early tier 3 by that time. Mostly it was useful for blocking escapes, closing distance with ranged attackers, etc.

No that the party is at 17th level, the cube of force almost never comes in play. When polymorph and wish become available, its kinda pointless to worry about the cube of force "breaking" the game.
 

That means that it is potentially available, not that it is automatically available. Personally, I have never seen a Cube of Force in a D&D game.
...
Years ago I played a Wizard who found a Cube of Force (was he... 17th level?).
My partial solutions to use magic outside the Cube were:
faces 2,4) Nonliving matter/Spells Effects can't pass through the barrier... My Wizard left the Cube 5feet on the floor behind him (or to an ally), extended his arm beyond the wall of Force, so he could project (nonliving) effects from his bare hand. Also, the wizard had protection from some weapons (and undeads, golems, animated objects, fire, etc.)
face 3) Living matter can 't pass through the barrier... Obvious. He was protected by creatures' physical attacks which used their body parts as weapons.
face 5) Never used this trick: the familiar is outside the Cube and... "...when you Cast a Spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell..." - (the Familiar was a real cat, so my Wizard never let it join the fight).

Wall of Force. Already shown. Papyrnus the Wizard entrapped a CR19 enemy while the rest of the party dealt with other enemies. After, the allies prepared actions and stroke at unison when the Wizard dropped the concentration.
 

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