The 6th level spell "Bones of the Earth" reads as follows:

You cause up to six pillars of stone to burst from places on the ground that you can see within range. Each pillar is a cylinder that has a diameter of 5 feet and a height of up to 30 feet. The ground where a pillar appears must be wide enough for its diameter, and you can target the ground under a creature if that creature is Medium or smaller. 

[...] If a pillar is prevented from reaching its full height because of a ceiling or other obstacle, a creature on the pillar takes 6d6 bludgeoning damage and is restrained, pinched between the pillar and the obstacle. 

So my question is, can I make two pillars come out of the ground, but at a shallow angle (like a few degrees) in front and behind a medium creature, and pin the target? Further, if this is possible would this just deal 12d6 bludgeoning damage with no save, as both pillars would be unable to reach their full length and the creature would be between them, but neither creature is below a pillar.

Ran this by a friend and he agreed but with the caveat that the pillars would also take 6d6 damage from one another so have the outside chance of being destroyed. Questionable argument in favour: at higher levels you get 2 pillars per level, perhaps suggesting an intention of allowing this.

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    – MiniMackie
    Feb 15, 2019 at 14:12
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1 Answer 1


No, Bones of the Earth cannot be used in this way

I think it is the intent of this spell that the stone rises vertically, lifting any creature that happens to be standing on top.

Evidence for this:

First, the spell description mentions that each pillar is a cylinder, and this is a term that actually has a defined meaning in the rules:

A cylinder's point of origin is the center of a circle of a particular radius, as given in the spell description. The circle must either be on the ground or at the height of the spell effect. The energy in a cylinder expands in straight lines from the point of origin to the perimeter of the circle, forming the base of the cylinder. The spell's effect then shoots up from the base or down from the top, to a distance equal to the height of the cylinder.

Second, the basic English definition of the word "pillar" is: a tall vertical structure of stone, wood, or metal...

  • \$\begingroup\$ For me the most relevant but is the in-rules definition of cylinder. Thanks for this, it's a great answer. I'm probably going to mark this as the answer but I'm aware there's something of an advised wait period to give people time to see it first? \$\endgroup\$
    – MiniMackie
    Feb 15, 2019 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I swapped the paragraphs in my answer following @Rubiksmoose's advice and added a second link (just for anyone interested in the English definition of the word Pillar!) \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Feb 15, 2019 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MiniMackie usually we advise people to wait around 24 hours just encourage more people to potentially answer. Of course you can, if you want, mark an answer whenever you desire. And you can move that checkmark to another answer as well whenever you want. But the 24 hour advice seems to be generally preferred. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2019 at 14:23

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