I'm currently DMing a game where one of the players is playing as a Forge Cleric. As part of the story and due to some of their actions, the party is likely going to be put in jail next session. I'm wondering if there's any way to prevent the Forge Domain cleric from simply using their Artisan's Blessing Channel Divinity option (XGtE, p. 19) to escape.

Normally, I'd prevent the cleric from coming in contact with any metal in jail, but that's not ideal for my campaign/setting. This player is also a stickler for the rules, so any RAW solution would be especially good. Also, this jail is run by wealthy individuals, so expensive/rare solutions are fine.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. I've edited the title to clarify the context; please check to make sure it matches the focus of your question. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 25 '19 at 23:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: How do I keep spellcasters from casting while in jail? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Mar 25 '19 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I looked at that earlier, though Artisan's Blessing says nothing about needing to see anything, and I'm unclear on if any spells can interfere with Channel Divinity \$\endgroup\$ – Pachinko Mar 25 '19 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you think a cleric could create using this ability that would help them escape? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Mar 25 '19 at 23:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AllanMills Please see this meta for why your comment was removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 26 '19 at 0:56

The cleric can't just transform their metal cell door to escape

It seems that your concern is that, should a Forge Domain cleric be imprisoned in a jail cell made of metal, they could use Artisan's Blessing to deconstruct the metal bars by transforming them into some innocuous metal object, thus creating a hole in the wall that they can escape through. However, this is not possible. Part of the requirement for using Artisan's Blessing is (emphasis mine):

As part of this ritual, you must lay out metal, which can include coins, with a value equal to the creation.

The requirement to "lay out" the metal implies that the metal to be transformed using this feature cannot be part of a structure or other larger object. Even if the cell door is made of metal, the cleric is not capable of laying out this metal in the manner required by the ritual. Similarly, it wouldn't make sense that the cleric could disable a trebuchet made mostly of wood by transforming the metal hinge into something else. Remember that the feature is called Artisan's Blessing: the intent is to create objects, not destroy things by consuming pieces of them. As long as the jailer doesn't leave random metal objects lying around the cleric's cell, the cleric will be unable to use this feature to create much of anything.

If the cleric could get their cell door off its hinges and lay it down on the floor of their cell, then they could probably transform it, but at that point they have already escaped their cell.

Artisan's Blessing requires more metal than you think

I'll also note that even if the cleric were to acquire some scrap metal large enough to form, say, a miner's pick to help them tunnel through a stone wall, they wouldn't actually be able to create the pick. Why? Because they don't just need enough metal to form the object, they need enough metal to buy it. That is, the metal used in the ritual must have "value equal to the creation". So, if the cleric wants to make a miner's pick out of scrap metal, they will need 2 gp worth of scrap metal in order to do so. How much is the average piece of scrap metal worth? Probably a few copper pieces at most. So it would probably take a large and conspicuous pile of scrap metal to assemble the 2 gp (i.e. 200 cp) worth of value required to form a pick using Artisan's Blessing. 2 gp may be pocket change for the average adventurer, but it's a small fortune for the average prisoner.

If the player of the cleric decides to pursue the "collect random metal objects to make a thing" option, it's going to be your job as DM to decide on the value of the things they collect. As a Forge Domain cleric, it's probably fair to say that the character can accurately appraise the value of a piece of scrap metal, so you can just tell the player something like "you find a rusty metal spoon worth 2 cp" and let them keep a tally of how much value they've accumulated (or let them draw their own conclusions about whether collecting value 2 cp at a time is a viable escape plan).

On the other hand, if the cleric can ask the party rogue to pluck a few gold coins out of a jailer's pocket...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yea, if they could transform any metal what stops them from using it to destroy their opponents weapons/armor or a rouge(not the class) forge cleric from destroying a building by re-forging a metal support. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Mar 26 '19 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ While you focus on the door, I think you could generalize this to cover anything and make it a better answer. If they are imprisoned without anything, then the cleric has nothing to use. full stop. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 26 '19 at 13:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Combat use is not a concern, since it's a 1-hour ritual. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Mar 26 '19 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Why would a guard stand still for an hour to let a forge cleric do something untoward with their equipment? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 26 '19 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chris Well, the rouge class is undefeetable, as it exists only on the cheeks of their enemies, not their feet. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Mar 26 '19 at 17:24


Channel Divinity is magic:

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to channel divine energy directly from your deity, using that energy to fuel magical effects.

This doesn't have to be the Antimagic Field spell - smart jailers build their jails on natural antimagic areas.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, that's definitely a good idea! If you also happen to know of any more mobile method that would also be nice! \$\endgroup\$ – Pachinko Mar 25 '19 at 23:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Oh, a magic type? Throw 'em in the rune cage!" \$\endgroup\$ – Captain Man Mar 26 '19 at 14:41


A prisoner who is pertrified certainly won't be making any escape attempts. Additionally, they don't require feeding and cleaning. :-)

Harsh but effective: Cripple them

Cripple prisoners' hands, tongues and eyes (either by injury, binding, or removal). The wealthy owners can afford to pay for something like greater restoration when a prisoner is released or needs to be interrogated.

Less harsh option: Threaten to cripple them

Tell prisoners they are on the honour system. But if even a single one of them steps out of line then they will all be crippled as above.


Rituals generally require concentration, so interrupt prisoners irregularly with environmental effects that break concentration.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Channel Divinity is not a ritual \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 26 '19 at 6:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andràs are you sure? The description states "You conduct an hour-long ritual that crafts a nonmagical item that must include some metal..." \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Mar 26 '19 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @findusl it is like attack and Attack \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 26 '19 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andràs I see. I would still argue that interrupted concentration would break it. After all it wouldn't make sense to be able to do this while with the other hand fighting some orcs. Or with both hands since the 'ritual' doesn't even require those. \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Mar 26 '19 at 9:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @findusl you can't do it while fighting, but I see no reason why you could not just continue after you won \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 26 '19 at 9:18

The antimagic field spell or (although probably not what you are looking for) the sleep spell. Another spell option is imprisonment.

If you want to make this spell portable, being the DM, you are allowed to create your own magical items (see page 284 of the Dungeon Master's Guide), so you could create something like an orb that allows the jailer to cast the spell, or that creates a constant antimagic field around it or something. As the DM, that is all up to you. Hope this helps.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I hadn't heard of the Imprisonment spell, and it seems like another good solution to have at my disposal. I think I'm probably going to use a mixture of Sleep, and some sort of Antimagic Field magic item. Thanks again! \$\endgroup\$ – Pachinko Mar 26 '19 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ In one of my games, the DM did have an antimagic stone. Was a neat mechanic and worked well. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 26 '19 at 13:48

If the Cleric is known by the authorities or whoever, they would probably keep the cleric in solitary wood (iron wood) or something instead, like Toph in Avatar: The Last Airbender - or keep them in a glass/Plexiglas/similar cell, a la Magneto from X-Men. But anti-magic would be best if you're jailing any kind of caster, as previously stated.

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