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What spell would leave a crater in the ground where an enemy formerly stood?

By "crater" I mean "a bowl-shaped cavity", not "the mouth of a volcano."

Long time D&D player, new to Fifth Edition. I have a concept in mind for a wizard nicknamed Cratermaker.

The goal here is not to create a pit. The goal here is not to strengthen fortifications by building a moat. My original thought was that no game effect is necessary and this is about style. If there’s a spell that creates something close to a crater, like Pathfinder’s “Create Pit” but for 5e, I’d like to learn.

The idea here is that the wizard blows up his enemies. Only a crater remains. Fireball doesn't do this. The only thing I have found to date that would create such an aftereffect is Meteor Swarm, and that is only implied.

The goal here is that the wizard blasts apart his enemies, leaving only craters where his foes once stood.

Even "wizard" is flexible; if there's a different class that would leave bombed-out bowl-shaped cavities in the ground, I'd be interested in learning about that.

My group is playing Fifth Edition now. We have the core books, but additional books are a possibility.

The Fifth Edition Fireball spell is silent on how much pressure is created, so I assume that means "no pressure." This would match up with what the 3.5 Fireball spell actually says:

The explosion creates almost no pressure.


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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your request seems somewhat inconsistent. You say that the goal is to blast apart enemies, but then you also say the goal is to form a moat. Which is it? Are you saying that over time, with repeated blasting of invaders, the craters will eventually merge to form a moat? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Sep 30 '18 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ If this is "all about style" then how is this not simply something you need to discuss with the DM? If it's not a mechanical effect you're after then what kind of answer are you looking for? We could list a hundred spells that could leave a crater but in the end it's between how you and the DM describe the situation, effects, after-math of the scene. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Sep 30 '18 at 1:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson The goal is not to form a moat. The goal is not “to strengthen fortifications by building a moat.” \$\endgroup\$ – StandardEyre Sep 30 '18 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Yes, I will be discussing with the DM. I’m looking specially with this question for a spell that creates a crater. I have not found one. Have you? \$\endgroup\$ – StandardEyre Sep 30 '18 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @StandardEyre Sorry, I think I missed a "not" when reading the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Sep 30 '18 at 1:27
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The only spell that explicitly harms both creatures and terrain at once is earthquake, but I do not think it matches your desired aesthetics. However, there are two kinds of spells that come close to creating craters.

Spells that create difficult terrain.

There are a couple of spells that can both harm creatures and create difficult terrain at once. From there, associating the difficult terrain with a crater is just a minor aesthetic concession.

Such spells include earth tremor and erupting earth.

Spells that damage objects.

There is a line to draw between objects and terrain for the purpose of spells. However, spells that can damage both objects and creatures at once are at least adjacent to the idea of leaving nothing behind but a crater.

Such spells include shatter, firestorm, and meteor swarm.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, I think this answer is better than mine. Describing the difficult terrain as a shallow crater while keeping an identical mechanical effect seems like the best solution to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Sep 30 '18 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Erupting earth indeed sounds like the best option, indicating that a reskin to be more "explosion" would probably be balanced. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari Oct 1 '18 at 17:18
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No current official spell comes closer than meteor swarm to what you want

Having a look through the spell list, the spells I see (other than meteor swarm, which you have already mentioned) that are closest to what you're looking for are earthquake and disintegrate. Unfortunately, I don't think either one does quite what you're looking for. Disintegrate can make a hole in the ground, and it can leave nothing where a foe once stood, but it can't do both at once, since you can target either a creature or a 10-foot cube of earth, but not both with a single casting. Earthquake can open fissures in a large area, but you don't control exactly where those fissures open, and the spell doesn't deal direct damage to creatures in the area.

So as far as I can tell, meteor swarm is the spell that is closest to having the effect you want.

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The Move Earth spell in dnd 5e is the most similar to the create pit spell in pathfinder as I found it here. Though it may not have the effect you want as it takes 10 minutes per square 40 ft on a side. No other spell I know of in DnD 5e will work and no spell can make a crater in combat.

P.S. I dont know all the spells in non-core books but I've played each spell-casting class at least once and read through all the spells in the phb several times.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question asks "The goal here is that the wizard blasts apart his enemies, leaving only craters where his foes once stood." How does move earth do that? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Sep 30 '18 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose The spell the op refered to "Create Pit" does basically the same thing as move earth at a smaller scale, see d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/c/create-pit . neither does damage and both can create a crater. I did mention that the duration difference is the only hitch but there is no other spell that I know of that could do that. i will add the example to the answer now \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Oct 1 '18 at 1:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ The biggest problem is that Move Earth cannot hurt creatures which is a necessity for OP. It is something that create pit can do but move earth explicitly cannot. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 1 '18 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose though the create pit spell could damage a creature it would only be 10 ft of falling damage and only if they fail their reflex saves. Though i concede that this is damage, it is such a small amount (at least in 5e which i play) that I simply ignored its existence and assumed that they were going to use the spell as a boss dies not to kill the boss. \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Oct 1 '18 at 2:29

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