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Potential targets:

  1. knotted rope tying up a PC
  2. continuous chain without a lock that is holding a chest shut (its a chain like would be normally viable but instead of having a lock holding it together their is an additional chain link)
  3. buckle holding a belt together
  4. vine/tentacle wrapped around something (either an entry or a PC limb) (considering that manacles are a valid knock target)
  5. fingers grasping an object
  6. heavy hatch covering an escape hole (hatch isn't locked just really heavy)
  7. glue/resin sealing a window

Which of the above is a valid target? If the spell does work would it fail to fully open the object or would it behave oddly? Most importantly could I Knock someone's socks off?

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An edit to the question was made to clarify based upon the given answers. Hopefully the grounds for questioning is clearer for targets 2 & 4. Great answers so far! – name moniker Mar 10 at 3:20
1  
+1 just for that last line. XD – LegendaryDude Mar 10 at 13:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

To determine whether these things are valid targets of the spell, they must be included in this portion of the spell description:

The object can be a door, a box, a chest, a set of manacles, a padlock, or another object that contains a mundane or magical means that prevents access. A target that is held shut by a mundane lock or that is stuck or barred becomes unlocked, unstuck, or unbarred.

Notably, "another object that contains a mundane or magical means that prevents access" will be how we determine special cases.

So,

  1. knotted rope tying up a PC

Yes. I would argue that a knot that is tying someone's hands together is functionally similar to a set of manacles and the knot could be considered a mundane means of preventing access. So long as there is a single knot because:

If the object has multiple locks only one of them is unlocked.

Locks in this case could extend to knots but you could leave that up to DM discretion.

  1. continuous chain without a lock that is holding a chest shut

Yes. This chain is a means of preventing access to the chest. Whether the chain magically falls to the ground or is unlinked without actually breaking the link could be up to DM discretion, but I tend to agree with the other comments suggesting that the spell doesn't actually break an object.

  1. buckle holding a belt together

Yes. My first thought on this one was no, but technically the belt prevents access into the trousers. I would argue that the prong on a traditional buckle is close enough to a bar on a door to be a valid target for the spell. To what extent the belt is undone is up to DM discretion.

  1. vine/tentacle wrapped around something (either an entry or a PC limb) (considering that manacles are a valid knock target)

Let's break this one up...

For an entry, Yes. If the vines are sufficiently obstructing a doorway to prevent access they could be considered in the same way a barred door prevents access.

For the PC's limbs, No. The reason this is different from manacles or the knotted rope is that there is no mechanism that is actually locked, barred, stuck, or in the rope's case knotted. The reason I said the chain would be valid and this would not is because for the chain to form a loop the last link made would have to be closed essentially sealing the loop. The vine or tentacle doesn't lock or tie itself, and it doesn't produce an enclosed loop.

  1. Fingers grasping an object

No. The target must be an object, not a creature

  1. heavy hatch covering an escape hole

No. I think there's an important distinction to be made here about the result of casting this spell. Nowhere in the description does it indicate that the target that is being unlocked, unstuck, or unbarred opens. A chest with a locking mechanism will become unlocked and many DMs in this case might describe the chest swinging open as a result, but RAW there is no indication that this is an inherent feature of the spell. The spell description states :

A target that is held shut by a mundane lock or that is stuck or barred becomes unlocked, unstuck, or unbarred.

And

If you choose a target that is held shut with arcane lock, that spell is suppressed for 10 minutes, during which time the target can be opened and shut normally.

Of course for a mechanical lock such as a padlock, it is usually opened due to being unlocked, but the door or chest it is preventing access to wouldn't necessarily swing open as a result.

The spell won't make the hatch swing open, and it also wouldn't make the hatch any lighter.

  1. glue/resin sealing a window

Yes. It's a mundane means of preventing access. Knock would definitely unstick the window.

As for the socks, you're out of luck. Unless you tie someone's hands together with them, but in that case remember that Knock would only undo one knot.

Sorry for the wall. I'm open to discuss these if you disagree.

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Choose an object that you can see within range. The object can be a door, a box, a chest, a set of manacles, a padlock, or another object that contains a mundane or magical means that prevents access.

A target that is held shut by a mundane lock or that is stuck or barred becomes unlocked, unstuck, or unbarred. If the object has multiple locks, only one of them is unlocked.

If you choose a target that is held shut with arcane lock, that spell is suppressed for 10 minutes, during which time the target can be opened and shut normally.

(Player's Basic Rules v0.3, page 95.)

My reading of the spell is that it works on things that bar entry or bar access to contents. For example, a locked door that prevents entry to a room. For example, a stuck chest lid that blocks access to the chest's contents.

I don't see it working on things that don't prevent access. A rope tying up a creature does not prevent access to the PC (you can still rifle their pockets, for example) so I would rule that knock doesn't work.

I suspect the intention is that if there is a way for an authorised person to open the container (a key, a magical passphrase) then knock should work, else it shouldn't. On the other hand, the spell specifically calls out stuck items, so I don't know.

I don't see it working on things that are blocked, rather than locked. A knock spell won't be able to open a door that is blocked by a rockfall on the other side.

I'm not sure on whether it should work on things that are sealed. For example, a chest that has been glued shut, a lock that has been filled with molten metal, a chest that has been riveted shut, a jar that has been sealed with solder, a wax seal. Perhaps as a house rule the spell unseals these for 10 minutes, as it does with arcane lock? (Hat-tip to name moniker).

Perhaps a good ruling would be that knock cannot actually break anything? It can move a bolt or bar but it can't break it. It can unstuck a stuck door but it can't make a door open in a blank wall. It can open a padlock but it can't break the padlock.

It targets an object, so it certainly won't work on fingers.

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2  
Good point on the probable intent - I'm guessing knock isn't intended to blow open holes in walls. ("But the mortar and bricks were preventing access!") That being said, I recommend quoting the text of the spell to strengthen your answer. – GMJoe Mar 10 at 2:56
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in the third paragraph you bring up the idea of a sealed entryway/container. The text for Knock is written such that if something is magically sealed with arcane lock then it is unsealed for a period of time. therefor I am inclined to believe that the same would apply to mundane means unless further justification can be provided. Otherwise great answer! – name moniker Mar 10 at 3:26
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I'd say that the 10 minute rule does not apply to mundane objects. If a mundane object can be opened (unlocked/unstuck/unbarred), it will be opened, and it will remain so until someone closes it again. The second paragraph of the rule states that clearly. Only spell-made arcane locks are powerful enough to be an exception (and also prevent mundane methods of lock picking), allowing only to override the spell for a limited time. On the other hand, a seal cannot be opened, only destroyed, so Knock would have no effect (or at least no more of an effect than a heavy mace would). – DaFluid Mar 10 at 7:39
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@DaFluid, I'm suggesting the 10-minute rule for mundane sealed objects, on the grounds that the spell should be somewhat useful in that situation. – Greenstone Walker Mar 10 at 8:14
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@GreenstoneWalker oh, it would definitely work as a house rule, only requiring some clarification on what sort of sealed objects are eligible (Is a room with no entrances sealed by its walls? Can you open and close a wax sealed letter without leaving traces of intrusion?). I merely stated that I believe the rule as written does not include sealed objects. The spell to me seems to just move things that are mechanically movable on their own (or temporarily dispel lock spells), not destroy and recreate seals. – DaFluid Mar 10 at 8:32

Choose an object that you can see within range. The object can be a door, a box, a chest, a set of manacles, a padlock, or another object that contains a mundane or magical means that prevents access.

A target that is held shut by a mundane lock or that is stuck or barred becomes unlocked, unstuck, or unbarred. If the object has multiple locks, only one of them is unlocked.

The language of "locked", "stuck", and "barred" implies mechanical blocks to me, although the inclusion of magical locks means that's not exclusive. I think you'd have to make your decisions as to how closely each of these situations mirrors what Knock was originally designed for-- opening a locked door.

With that in mind, I'd say no, no, no, no, definitely no, yes, and yes.

A discussion of the specific examples given follows:

knotted rope tying up a PC

Ropes can't be "stuck", "locked", or "barred". Instead, they're knotted, and that doesn't fit the idea of mechanical blockage.

continuous chain without a lock that is holding a chest shut (its a chain like would be normally viable but instead of having a lock holding it together their is an additional chain link)

Closer, but this is basically just a rope

buckle holding a belt together

Could go either way, honestly. A buckle is very much like a door latch. However, buckles are never locked or stuck-- feel free to disagree on this one.

vine/tentacle wrapped around something (either an entry or a PC limb) (considering that manacles are a valid knock target)

When you cast knock on manacles, you're releasing the locked latch that holds them closed. A vine or tentacle is basically a rope, once again.

fingers grasping an object

Fingers aren't an object, they're part of a person. Knock doesn't target creatures.

heavy hatch covering an escape hole (hatch isn't locked just really heavy)

I think I'd allow this-- its physics-ly no different from opening a door that's stuck shut, just directing the unsticking force in another direction.

glue/resin sealing a window

Definitely. Glue is a valid way to attempt to seal up or block an entryway. That said, sealing methods like "melting the metal lock closed" or "melting the door into the frame" probably shouldn't work-- in those cases, the latch or locking mechanism is probably destroyed anyways (if specifically left undamaged for the purposes of Knock, still probably invalid. It's not a door any longer if it's melted into its frame.)

All that said, I rather like Greenstone Walker's suggestion that it can't Knock can't break anything. It's a good rule of thumb that seems to encompass most occurrances.

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