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D&D 5E Wall of Force

DM-Rocco

Explorer
What kind of spells can get through a Waff of Force? I know that you have to have line of sight to cast a spell and I know that spells don't go through a Wall of Force. I've seen game play on Gungeaon Dude were they Dimensioned Doored out of a Wall of Force, so how is that possible?

I heard the January 19th pod cast regarding spell targeting but it wasn't clear about everything. So a Fireball would be stopped by a Wall of Force, but what about a Charm Person Spell? Is there magical energy that needs to connect in a straight path in order for Charm person to work and thus gets blocked by a Wall of Force, or does it work because it isn't a line of effect? How would you beable to Dimension Door around a wall if other spells are stopped? What have you done in your campaigns?
 

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toucanbuzz

Legend
Just like it says: nothing can physically pass through. There's a host of spells that manifest based on a range that are completely unaffected by a wall of force (and to avoid any confusion, spells don't have a physical form when cast, so they don't "pass through" anything). So, the simple act of casting a spell isn't blocked by a Wall of Force, though once you're done, the effects might be, depending on the spell.

Ranged spells that manifest at a ranged location can't be blocked, such as charm person. Same thing with dimension door. However, some spells by description are blocked if they create something physical in your location that then travels to another location, such as Scorching Ray, which says you "hurl" fire at your opponents up to the range. Once the fire itself hits the wall, it cannot physically pass through. Same thing with fireball, which says it creates a streak from "your finger" that goes to a location in range. Once it hits the wall, the spell would fail (illegal targeting rules). Same thing with cone spells as they start in your square and go forward (unless and until blocked).
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Not sure you're going to get a consensus on this, because I would rule differently than @toucanbuzz. You have to have a clear path to it, which includes the point of origination for an area effect spell. The fluff of the spell doesn't matter.

From the PHB:

A Clear Path to the Target
To target something, you must have a clear path to it​

Some spells such as teleportation type spells can get you past the wall because the target is the creature being teleported, not the destination.
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
Not sure you're going to get a consensus on this, because I would rule differently than @toucanbuzz. You have to have a clear path to it, which includes the point of origination for an area effect spell. The fluff of the spell doesn't matter.

From the PHB:

A Clear Path to the Target
To target something, you must have a clear path to it​

Some spells such as teleportation type spells can get you past the wall because the target is the creature being teleported, not the destination.
Jeremy Crawford talked about this in his podcast. The Wall of Force is Invisible so you have line of sight, but because there is a barrier, the Wall of Force, a Fireball for example would detonate at the Wall. So there is a difference between Line of Sight and a Clear Path, and I get that. What he didn't talk about was things like Charm Person or Teleport and how they differ.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Charm person and teleportation (like misty step) rely upon sight, not clear path.
You still have to have a clear line. Misty step, like other teleportation spells, has a target of the creature (self) being teleported.

That's my story, I'm sticking to it until we have an official sage advice column saying otherwise. :p
 

Definitely seen it ruled a bunch of different ways. As long as the ruling is constant all's good.
I go with wall of force blocks paths path and not sight so chilling touch would work but scorching Ray wouldn't.
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
Okay, I found this link to a Jeremy Crawford Twitter thingy. If I am reading this correctly, you can teleport to the other side of a Wall of Force because you are the target and you only need to have line of sight to the destination, but casting a spell requires both line of sight and a clear path so Charm Person wouldn't.

I may be reading it wrong and really I still don't get even with that thread, how you can move from one location to another if you don't have a clear path.

 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Okay, I found this link to a Jeremy Crawford Twitter thingy. If I am reading this correctly, you can teleport to the other side of a Wall of Force because you are the target and you only need to have line of sight to the destination, but casting a spell requires both line of sight and a clear path so Charm Person wouldn't.

I may be reading it wrong and really I still don't get even with that thread, how you can move from one location to another if you don't have a clear path.

The target of misty step is "self"
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Definitely seen it ruled a bunch of different ways. As long as the ruling is constant all's good.
I go with wall of force blocks paths path and not sight so chilling touch would work but scorching Ray wouldn't.
The rules in 5E don't repeat themselves. Therefore, the chill touch spell still needs to meet the requirements of a targeted spell which includes "To target something, you must have a clear path to it".

I also think it's too much work to have to read through the spell description fluff to determine whether it works or not. For example, I always thought of chill touch as a ghostly ray much like a low power disintegration.

So personally I would have a hard time being consistent basing rulings on fluff. I don't want to have to read through the description of every spell to see if it works.
 

anthr

Villager
An ordinary window block the same stuff as a Wall of Force does.
But this only changes the question to what spells can you cast through a window.
You can't cast a Fireball through a window (you can cast it at the window though).
You can cast Charm Person through a window
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
An ordinary window block the same stuff as a Wall of Force does.
But this only changes the question to what spells can you cast through a window.
You can't cast a Fireball through a window (you can cast it at the window though).
You can cast Charm Person through a window

According to your ruling, yes. But you're basing that on the fluff of the spell, not because of what the book says. You always need a clear path to the target*. If I can hit the target with an arrow (assuming range, etc) I can target it with a spell.

Rule the way you want, I simply disagree.

*EDIT: unless clarified in the spell that it goes through solid objects such as Message of course.
 
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HarbingerX

Rob Of The North
I'd picture it as a barrier made of a clear solid, like plexiglass. If the spell would hit that, then it would hit wall of force.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
The rules in 5E don't repeat themselves. Therefore, the chill touch spell still needs to meet the requirements of a targeted spell which includes "To target something, you must have a clear path to it".

I also think it's too much work to have to read through the spell description fluff to determine whether it works or not. For example, I always thought of chill touch as a ghostly ray much like a low power disintegration.

So personally I would have a hard time being consistent basing rulings on fluff. I don't want to have to read through the description of every spell to see if it works.

...

You always need a clear path to the target. If I can hit the target with an arrow (assuming range, etc) I can target it with a spell.

Do you rule the same way on spells like Message or Sending?

They both target other creatures, therefore to target that creature you must have a clear path to it. Period. No need to read the description of those spells, right?

However, if you do read the description, neither one requires either line of sight or a clear path. You can cast either one on targets that you can't see, or that are behind intervening barriers, or that are even over great distances in the case of Sending.

Spell descriptions matter.
 

anthr

Villager
According to your ruling, yes. But you're basing that on the fluff of the spell, not because of what the book says. You always need a clear path to the target. If I can hit the target with an arrow (assuming range, etc) I can target it with a spell.

Rule the way you want, I simply disagree.
How would you treat Clairvoyance?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Do you rule the same way on spells like Message or Sending?

They both target other creatures, therefore to target that creature you must have a clear path to it, right? No need to read the description of those spells.

However, if you read the description, neither one requires either line of sight or a clear path. You can cast either one on targets that you can't see, or that are behind intervening barriers, or that are even over great distances in the case of Sending.

Spell descriptions matter.
Message specifically states that you can cast through solid objects. A wall of force is a solid object, therefore you could message someone on the other side of the wall.

Chill touch does not specifically spell out an override to the general rule, it just adds the an additional qualification that need to see the target in addition to general rules.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
My point was that requires reading the description, not just taking a rigid stance that any spell that targets another creature always requires a clear path...
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My point was that requires reading the description, not just taking a black/white stance that any spell that targets another creature always requires a clear path...

Which is fine, for those few spells that break the rules. But those are the exceptions to the rule and there are what, two spells that do that?
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
There are others, such as Clairvoyance or Telepathy.

And there are various other spells that also allow you to target an area that you're familiar with or can envision, without having line or sight or a clear path, such as Dimension Door or Project Image.

Spell descriptions matters. And because descriptions matter, you should read descriptions. And since you're reading descriptions anyway, it's rather simple to use those descriptions to decide whether a certain spell requires both line of sight and a clear path, it only requires one, or it doesn't require either.

(Digital tools help with this, so you don't have to constantly be flipping through a book. Instead, you or the player wanting to cast the spell can simply click on the spell name and pull up the description, or quickly search the database for the spell description, or use the Find tool in their PDF to rapidly access the spell description.)
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There are others, such as Clairvoyance or Telepathy.

And there are various other spells that also allow you to target an area that you're familiar with, without having line or sight or a clear path, such as Dimension Door or Project Image.

Spell descriptions matters. And because descriptions matter, you should read descriptions. And since you're reading descriptions, it's rather simple to use those descriptions to differentiate between spells that require both line of sight and a clear path, those that only require one, and those that require neither.
The spells you mention have an explicit, specific overrides to the general rule. The fact that they specifically spell out that they go through solid objects kind of proves my point. IMHO there's a big difference between the spell stating that it specifically works differently than the general rule and having to read through every spell to see that one has a "streak of light coming from your pointing finger" and another has a hand appearing.

Again, Dimension Door has a target of self.

In any case, I've stated why I rule the way I rule. I think it's consistent with the rules not to mention easy and simple. Feel free to run it differently.
 

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