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A player's character is in possession of a bomb wired up to a clock. If that character cast time stop, would the bomb keep running while time stop is in effect or would the timer stop? Or does the clock only stop after the bomb is no longer in the character’s possession?

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The rules are unclear. The only thing time stop has to say on the subject of carried items is

You cannot move or harm items held, carried, or worn by a creature stuck in normal time, but you can affect any item that is not in another creature’s possession.

(emphasis mine)

“Can” implies ability but not requirement. It implies that you can also choose not to. But “affect” in this context is about your actions during the time stop effect, whether you can pick up, move, or cast spells on those objects, not whether or not time stop itself affects them. And it doesn’t address items carried by the caster at all.

In fact, the initial description of time stop is

This spell seems to make time cease to flow for everyone but you. In fact, you speed up so greatly that all other creatures seem frozen, though they are actually still moving at their normal speeds.

(emphasis mine)

The use of “everyone” and “creatures” seems to imply that non-creature objects are not affected. But in reality, the spell affects you, not any creature or object. It makes no sense for you to be moving super-fast, but somehow everything that doesn’t count as a creature does too.

Certainly, your possessions seem to be moving as fast as you—the spell doesn’t mention them pinning you in place, nor you damaging them by moving them far faster than their structural integrity will allow. Therefore, I would rule that time stop does affect the bomb—that is, it speeds the bomb up just as it speeds the caster up. At best, I would allow the caster to choose not to affect it, but then it would be impossible to move or otherwise affect, so the caster would be pinned in place by it and depending on how it was strapped to them, their ability to manipulate their limbs (e.g. for somatic components) might be restricted as well.

There is, however, another advantage of time stop here: with the right timing, if the caster puts the bomb down and moves away, or otherwise protects themselves (immunity to fire damage is trivial at levels where time stop can be cast; immunity to the concussive forces produced by a bomb is not so much trivial, but probably possible), and continues to affect the bomb (that is, it continues to move as fast as the caster), the bomb could explode while under the effects of time stop. While it’s a bit removed from the case described in the spell, where it is you who are trying to affect things, I would rule the bomb as limited by this rule:

While the time stop is in effect, other creatures are invulnerable to your attacks and spells; you cannot target such creatures with any attack or spell.

Therefore, the bomb could explode, but affect nothing (except perhaps the caster, though taking cover behind literally-immovable-and-invulnerable objects should probably work).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So in this case would the timer on the bomb accelerate too? What about difference in time flow between everyone else and PC who'd used time stop? \$\endgroup\$ – Marader Apr 16 '18 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Marader Yes, my ruling would be that the timer would accelerate too. I don’t think the caster could choose not to affect the timer without freezing it in place, pinning him or her and leaving them unable to do anything about it while it remains frozen (though they could perhaps cast spells that will help once the bomb is unfrozen). As for the difference in time flow, what about it? I don’t understand the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 16 '18 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ " As for the difference in time flow, what about it?" For example, timer on the bomb would be one minute, for the time stop PC and everyone else this one minute would be different time, i'm right? PS. probably i somehow misunderstood you and this sentece "timer would accelerate too." misguid me. Do you mean the timer keep his normal run unaffected by time stop OR it's accelerated many times and when PC cast time stop it's going straight to 0:00 and then BOOM \$\endgroup\$ – Marader Apr 16 '18 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marader For people other than the caster of time stop, yes, the timer would appear to jump forward 6-24 seconds (1-4 rounds) as the caster and the timer go forward in time faster than they do. If time stop is cast with, say, 5 seconds left, then they would (I would argue) just see the bomb disappear and the area suddenly covered in debris from the bomb itself, without actually experiencing any explosion. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 16 '18 at 14:57
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One thing about Time Stop that a lot of people forget is that you don't actually stop time with it. You just accelerate yourself to the point where everything else appears frozen. Any timekeeping devices would be unaffected unless you also rule that spells like Haste also accelerate them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Can you support your answer by citing evidence? (KRyan's answer seems to include a quote that supports this.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 28 at 1:32

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