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I don't know if this is referenced in the rulebooks or just a matter of houserule, but what happens if someone uses a cone-shaped spell or ability in a corridor that is narrower than the width of the cone?

Does the spell's area extend down the corridor to match the total area of the spell, or is the portion that intersects the walls just discounted and considered wasted?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In 3.5, you have bursts (simply blocked by walls) and spreads (which basically move similarly to characters around obstacles, and have a “move speed” equal to the listed radius of the effect). In no case does an obstacle “funnel” the effect further in an unobstructed direction.

In previous editions of D&D, the area would be extended down the corridor, but that was eliminated by Wizards of the Coast in the interests of speeding up play, since figuring out the new area can be difficult. Ultimately, I agree with this decision and its reasoning, and would also add that spellcasters are already phenomenally powerful; it’s OK if that rare case comes up where a spell doesn’t work as well as it might have.

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d20SRD has a word on spell areas.

By and large, the portion that intersects the walls is just wasted; in case of spread it may turn around the corners, if any.

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