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If I understand the first bullet correctly

  • You instantaneously move or otherwise change the flow of the water as you direct, up to 5 feet in any direction. This movement doesn’t have enough force to cause damage.

One could freeze the water in a 5 ft cube, step onto it, and then raise the cube into the air, though only 5 feet per round. Since the cantrip doesn't mention any carry limit.

Is this possible, or does the first bullet not apply once the water has been frozen?

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No, the first bullet does not apply to frozen water. It says:

You instantaneously move or otherwise change the flow of the water as you direct, up to 5 feet in any direction. This movement doesn’t have enough force to cause damage.

Frozen water doesn't flow, therefore you can't move it.

Furthermore, assuming you have a weight of ~60kg or 120lb, the necessary force to move you along would be ~600N. That's as much force as a 60kg heavy block of e.g. iron dropped on you from 1 meter above you would have - definitely enough to cause some damage, and hence not permitted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That same force is exerted by your feet on the ground when you stand still, which presumably doesn't cause any damage. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Feb 27 '18 at 10:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this mean that you could not move the water in a puddle of water since it also is not flowing? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 27 '18 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose You instantaneously move or otherwise change the flow.. I think you can still move water per 1st part of the description. \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Feb 27 '18 at 13:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not to be pedantic but glaciers "flow"... :) but yeah, not intended for that piece to be used on ice. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Feb 27 '18 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, bludgeoning damage is caused by the impulse,, not just the force. If I push a hammer against you slowly (maybe an intimidate check), you will not take damage. The impulse of the block of ice will be less than 150 N*s (5 feet every 6 seconds) About the same as a conveyor belt moving a heavy box. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 27 '18 at 17:03
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RAW, no. RAI, definitely not.

The first option of the spell makes mention of changing only the flow within the cube. Now, if you wanted to make the water flow up, you could, but the moment the water exceeds the cube, it falls back down. This spell does not lock water into place for you to move around. It only changes the direction it flows. When a fluid encounters an obstacle, it flows around it.

Now, imagine something on top of the water, say a piece of ice. If you make the water flow upward, it will flow up, lifting the ice, and then deflecting around it to fall back down. You can only have two going at a time, so you won't be able to keep the water in the column that is holding up the ice.

But what if you got some friends? What if you controlled upward flow and your four buddies hopped on the ice with you and are shaping the water to keep it inside your lifting column? Unfortunately, there you run into the problem that the flow is weak. Now, it was probably weak enough to not lift one person, but five? I would rule a solid no at my table.

But let's say you allowed it since technically, it's not directly causing damage. You still run into the fact that all you've done is levitate. You can't actually move laterally. The water would flow faster than it would pull the ice along, meaning it would drop you out of the sky as soon as it moved one square to the side, to say nothing of the fact that lateral travel would mean you'd need more people to keep your vessel from constantly shedding water which means more weight which means more force the water can apparently exert.

Then there's RAI. Fly is a level 3 spell for a reason. At level 1, players are usually fighting a lot of melee only enemies. Flying invalidates that, to the point that some DMs ban Aarakocra players from low level games.

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