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Web says:

If the webs aren't anchored between two solid masses (such as walls or trees) OR layered across a floor, wall, or ceiling, the conjured web collapses on itself, and the spell ends at the start of your next turn. Webs layered over a flat surface have a depth of 5 feet.

(emphasis mine)

I'm having difficulty imagining webs not attached to something. Are they stacked up like pancakes? Does this mean I can just throw webs on the ground and not worry about attaching them to something? What are the disadvantages/advantages of anchoring/not anchoring? Or should the "or" in web be an and?

The question "How exactly does the Web spell work?" is similar, but I'm asking about D&D 5th edition, not Pathfinder. The wording is very different.

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There are a lot of spiders who spin their webs across a flat surface. The benefits of anchoring is that you get vertical clearance, or a horizontal bridge across a gap. Layering on the ground makes it a sticky mess. Both have their uses.

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Are they stacked up like pancakes?

Let's see, they're fluffy, round, delicious, full of air pockets. Yeah, they're pretty much exactly like a pancake, except for the fact that it's 20' wide.

Does this mean I can just throw webs on the ground and not worry about attaching them to something?

Yup, they're just attaching to the ground in that case.

What are the disadvantages/advantages of anchoring/not anchoring?

The advantages and disadvantages of each are numerous, but can basically be boiled down to how much of the battlefield do you want obstructed?

Should the or in web be an and?

No, the spells function is correct as written.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Let's see, they're fluffy, round, delicious, full of air pockets." I don't know what webs you've been eating... \$\endgroup\$ – TheLittlePeace Jan 14 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheLittlePeace The same ones everyone else eats, I would expect. \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Jan 14 at 21:56

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