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In 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, I am playing a Sorcerer where I have set myself the rule that I can never take fire spells and instead take weaker spells and try to make the most of them with creativity. I am wondering if following trick works.

Wall of Water has the following wording:

Spells that deal cold damage that pass through the wall cause the area of the wall they pass through to freeze solid (at least a 5-foot square section is frozen).

If I use quickened spell Metamagic and cast Wall of Water into a creature's space as bonus action, then as an action cast a Ray of Frost cantrip at the creature, will that freeze the water and trap the creature inside a block of ice?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Where does this spell come from? I don't see it in the PHB and would like to look at it. \$\endgroup\$ – JBC May 30 '18 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JBC Wall of Water can be found in Xanathar's and Princes of the Apocalypse. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 31 '18 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's also freely accessible in the EEPC: media.dnd.wizards.com/EE-Players-Companion_0_0.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 18 at 10:39
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Frozen

This is a great combination! The rules for casting two spells with a bonus action and action simply state (PHB, 202):

A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn. You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

In your example, you have used your Bonus Action via Metamagic to cast Wall of Water. There is no save for wall of water; it only creates battlefield control aspects within its area.

Should you cast it on a space containing a creature, that creature would be within the Wall (although do note the Wall is only 1' thick.) Also note that only the 5' section of the wall they are in (see below) is turned to ice (and if destroyed, does not refill with water.)

The creature is now in 1' of water and the follow-up Action Cantrip of Ray of Frost interacts beautifully with Wall of Water's cold damage response:

Spells that deal cold damage that pass through the wall cause the area of the wall they pass through to freeze solid (at least a 5-foot-square section is frozen). Each 5-foot-square frozen section has AC 5 and 15 hit points.

You'd now have a Wall of Water with a frozen section containing a creature in their 5' space (but only 1' thick of ice.)

But what can a frozen creature do?

This is going to likely get table-dependent. There are no rules with regard to being 'in ice' and what conditions that imposes (like Restrained or Grappled.)

How I'd rule

I'd likely give a Dexterity save to avoid the ice (DC set by the caster, much like with Wall of Stone trying to entrap someone) and then upon failure give them the Restrained condition.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The Dex save is the critical piece I was looking for among the answers. Enjoy the upvote. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 29 '18 at 14:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possibly worth noting that succeeding the Wall of Stone dex save allows you to use your reaction to move out of the way, so if you wanted to use the same save, then not having a reaction would prevent you from avoiding the wall, even if you make the save. \$\endgroup\$ – Will M. May 29 '18 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WillM. I was thinking about that, but wasn't sure I wanted to add it. My reasoning was that with Wall of STone, it's about using movement to get out of the trapped area, but Wall of Water is in your exact space. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 29 '18 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch true, however, if you succeed at the Dex saving throw, the wall would still be in that space, and frozen, right? So you would have to be moved to a different square, similar to how the Wall of Stone is persistent, and you are just moving outside of the effects. \$\endgroup\$ – Will M. May 29 '18 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WillM. My intended effect (and remember, i'm houseruling this, you can have it work how you'd like at your table), is that the failed size lets them move out (they aren't restrained) on their next turn. Fluff-wise, it's that the 1' thick wall cut across their space, but didn't 'catch' them in it. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 29 '18 at 19:40
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Yes, this should work. You'd cast Wall of Water in such a way that the creature is inside the wall. Then you'd cast Ray of Frost on that creature, freezing the 5-foot square section around it (which is 1 foot thick).

Note that Ray of Frost must target a creature, so you can't for example point your ray upward to freeze a 10-foot pillar above your target.

Ray of Frost (PHB 271):

A frigid beam of blue-white light streaks toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell Attack against the target.

I'd rule that if your Ray of Frost hits, the creature captured in the ice is Restrained, and can break the ice around it by hitting the wall section's AC (which is 5) and dealing enough damage to destroy it (it has 15 hit points).

It doesn't restrain strong enemies for very long, but if I were your DM I'd give you Inspiration for this kind of thinking.

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Ray of Frost may not freeze the whole wall, but could still freeze enough of it!

As you state in your question, for Wall of Water:

Spells that deal cold damage that pass through the wall cause the area of the wall they pass through to freeze solid (at least a 5-foot square section is frozen).

Given that Ray of Frost doesn't have an area of effect (Line, Cone, Sphere etc.) but instead has one target it will not pass through a large area of the Wall of Water.

As you need a clear path for spells to travel, the spell will travel through the wall of water and freeze the minimum amount (at least a 5ft square section) however it would likely not freeze the entire wall (as the wall is up to 30 feet long by 10 feet high)

Having said that, freezing the 5ft by 5ft section containing the target would likely be enough to have your desired effect of at least partially trapping them in ice!

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Personally I'd say yes as the "physics" of the question makes logical sense. You are casting a freezing spell on a body of water which an entity is standing in. I'd say there are two ways to handle a controllable entity being frozen; they die or they need to make a check to break free. They'd die as a result of the water in their cells expanding and bursting the cell. See the effects of frostbite for more specific details. Inspiration for breaking free from being frozen can be drawn from the 5th ed spell Freezing Sphere:

Creatures that were swimming on the surface of frozen water are trapped in the ice. A trapped creature can use an action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC to break free.

The DC for breaking free can be copied directly from the spell or can be adjusted depending the DMs opinion of how frozen the entity is. For e.g., the Freezing Sphere spell completely envelops the target with the intention of trapping the target while your version can be viewed as a homebrew variant of it and may not do so. The extent is update for debate and is likely dependent on detailed the situation is described.

The sequence of actions will need to be checked in case there's some hidden wording/meaning that restricts it in some way. I cannot adequately answer this given my level of experience.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! If you have time please take the tour to find out more about the site. This answer could probably be improved by being more detailed about the rules interaction involved, maybe including some quotes as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz May 29 '18 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ When you say “The sequence of actions will need to be checked in case there's some hidden wording/meaning that restricts it in some way”, beware that the question is already asking for that from the answers. This answer would be improved by checking the wording to see if it works. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 29 '18 at 14:48

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