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If I cast blade barrier, does it have to be anchored to the ground? Or can I have it float anywhere I want that it could occupy, such as cast it above me as a sort of roof of blades?

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While there is no requirement that walls be anchored to the ground As @JeremiahGenest notes, there is no requirement that a wall be anchored to the ground unless otherwise noted. See Wall of StoneDDI for an example of a wall that does need to be anchored.

However your plan for a roof composed of a Wall of BladesDDI may not work as you hoped.

Walls (defined on pg110 of the Rules Compendium) can only be adjacent horizontally to at most 2 other wall squares. This means that you could not form the Wall of Blades into a 4x2 horizontal configuration above your head.

 XXXX
 XXXX

You could form a doughnut shape though.

 XXX
 X X
 XXX
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so the wall could surround me, and for example, cover anyone around me if i was in the center, but not me? –  Kedearian Oct 19 '10 at 15:08
    
That's correct. The doughnut shape could protect the whole party and severely limit the number of attacks that could strike the party at once (especially if you have a couple natural walls to use to help keep enemies out. It wouldn't be perfect protection tough. Note - you don't have to cast it directly overhead, or remain in the same spot after casting. –  Pat Ludwig Oct 19 '10 at 15:11
    
@kedearian If you and your friends were standing in a line, you could cover them: XXXXXXXX is a valid formation. You could also use it to cover yourself, assuming you were a medium creature. –  AceCalhoon Oct 19 '10 at 15:13
    
Shouldn't the rules specify "two non-horizontal" sides, as the actual orientations of the sides that RAI is trying to exclude are in fact horizontal? I believe it is meant to avoid having one piece of the wall being horizontally adjacent to more than two other parts, which means the connecting sides would be vertical. Am I making any sense? –  Iszi Oct 20 '10 at 16:08
    
@Iszi - I reworded the compendium's verbiage as I found it confusing. As you discovered, my rewording wasn't successful :) Edited to try again. –  Pat Ludwig Oct 20 '10 at 16:13
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(Asking cust service, my reading is that the "up to 4 squares high" wording suggests that it must be based on the battlefield, but I couldn't find anything on the forums to support either side.)

Here is the question I sent to them, I will update with their responses.:

I am trying to answer a question on http://rpg.stackexchange.com/q/3627/760 about blade barrier.

Specifically, as stated, it occupies a zone of area wall 5, as per the normal wall rules, up to 2 squares high. Wall notes that I can "shape it as I see fit" within the parameters given. Does that include making a 1x1x1 square gap in the middle of the wall, or for that matter, eliminating the bottom row of the wall, so that it's floating 1 square above the battlefield?


A more modern text (as we're talking about a power that appeared in PH1 is Bulwark of stone from the most recent DDI earth domain update. It has a line in it about:

: You conjure a wall of rough stone that acts as blocking terrain. The wall can be up to 4 squares high and must be on a solid surface.


Customer service, in an e-mail response to me says:

Thank you for contacting us. I have pasted the rules for creating a wall below, you will notice the squares need to be contiguous (so no gaps) and anything outside of these rules (like floating walls) will be up to your DM to make a decision on as they are, strictly speaking against the rules, because the rules do not say you can do that.

A wall fills a specified number of contiguous squares within range, starting from an origin square.

Each square of the wall must share a side-not just a corner-with at least one other square of the wall, but a square can share no more than two sides with other squares in the wall (this limitation does not apply when stacking squares on top of each other).

You can shape the wall however you like within those limitations. A solid wall, such as a wall of ice, cannot be created in occupied squares.

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I interpret "up to 4 squares high" as being the total height of the wall, with no specification that the wall is grounded. For example, the top of a wall could be 5 squares above ground level if the bottom is elevated by 1 square. –  Iszi Oct 20 '10 at 16:03
    
Interesting. I've never considered omission of detail in a rule to by default mean that said detail is in violation of the rule. I'm quite surprised in fact, to hear Customer Service say such a thing. Usually they'll confess to the ambiguity, leave it to DM's discretion, and that will be that. –  Iszi Oct 21 '10 at 17:35
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Functionally what cust serv is saying is that the system doesn't support true 3d combat by default. Even flying is usually considered to be "flying/not-flying" Therefore, everything is in the context of the ground-ara, rather than space-volumes. Thus, it's a "are you sure?" to the GM to enable this. When I was playing around with floating walls in a game I was a druid in, they were far far far more trouble than they were worth. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 21 '10 at 23:25
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A wall fills a specified number of contiguous squares within range, starting from an origin square. (Player's Handbook 1, page 272.) As a Blade barrier is comprised of spinning blades of astral energy there is no need for it to be supported. So no, it does not need to be anchored to the ground.

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+1 - I'm not aware of any rule that generally specifies a need for walls to be grounded. –  Iszi Oct 19 '10 at 14:06
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