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Examples of living material:

  • wooden door in elven village that is a part of the living tree

  • hell door made of living (demonic) flesh

  • mimic in chest form

  • ooze/tentacle/vine binding something (i.e. wrapped around a book or a limb)

  • someone's mouth

Which of the above is susceptible to Arcane Lock (assuming that the mage has fulfilled all other preparations)? Would casting it on something living have any side effects (if the casting was ruled legitimate)?

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the vine question was based off reading knock which works on manacles so sorry about that. – name moniker Mar 10 at 0:28
    
@Purple Monkey thanks for the help with formatting! I was unsure of how to do it myself. – name moniker Mar 10 at 0:30
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No worries, it's an interesting example. – GMJoe Mar 15 at 3:28
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Well, here's the relevant part of the arcane lock spell:

You touch a closed door, window, gate, chest, or other entryway, and it becomes locked for the duration.

That seems pretty clear. There's nothing there that limits the spell to only non-living materials; If it's in the list, or counts as an "entryway," it can be locked by this spell.

As for the specific examples you mentioned:

  • A door is both on the list and is undeniably an entryway. Whether it's made of iron, living wood, or ever-screaming demonflesh, it will be locked by this spell.
  • A tentacle or vine wrapped around something isn't an entryway of any kind, and so won't be locked by this spell.
  • A mimic is a creature, not an entryway, and so won't be locked. That being said, see the next point.
  • Whether a creature's mouth or other orifice constitutes an entryway is something you'll have to ask your GM. (Try to keep a straight face when you do.) Note that even if your GM agrees that an orifice is an entryway, you may have difficulty using this spell in combat, as the spell requires you to touch the entryway in question (and not just the creature it belongs to).

As far as I can tell, the only side effects to locking a living entryway are the ones that apply to locking any entryway: It's harder for things to pass through an entryway that's locked, and anyone planning to use it will be inconvenienced and possibly annoyed.

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5  
When asking whether a mouth is an entry way, be sure to add "for the purpose of arcane lock", you don't want your DM to feel like he's being tricked into allowing a certain use of a spell. – Jasper Mar 9 at 11:18
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Good answer. It may even be ruled some mouths are entries and some are not depending on their size. Creatures the size of a small mountain could have mouths undistinguishable from caverns. – Mast Mar 9 at 13:58
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@Mast My gut intuition says that whether the caster can fit into an orifice is irrelevant to whether that orifice counts as an entryway. After all, magic users come in many different shapes and sizes. More importantly, a dumb waiter's hatch is probably an entryway for the purposes of this spell, and many people can't fit through those - but trays of food can. – GMJoe Mar 9 at 23:06
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Good point about the difficulty of touching a mouth in combat. It would still make an awesome moment when, out of combat, the player reaches over, pinches the targets lips shut, and activates Arcane Lock with a wink. – Morgen Mar 13 at 20:09

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