My character is a Level 3 wizard who used the levitate spell on herself to avoid some ground enemies. Since she is able to use non-concentration spells during its duration, the DM began to think up ways to try and counter this. As of right now, they are aware that any damage done to the wizard can cause her to lose her concentration. However, they then began to wonder if it was possible for the wizard to be lassoed down. I am, too, so here is my question:

What would happen if someone were to lasso a Wizard using the Levitate spell?

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Assuming target of levitation can be lassoed, it can be weighed down.

tl;dr Assuming the wizard can be being unwillingly lassoed or attached via some mechanism, levitate will continue to function so long as less than 500 pounds are being levitated.

D&D is not a physics simulator.

It's worth noting that D&D is not a physics engine. The nuances of physics are largely eschewed in the rules. As such, the interaction of pulling and weight fall into DM and house rules territory.

Weighing down a target of levitation.

In this case the target is the wizard.

One creature or loose object of your choice that you can see within range rises vertically, up to 20 feet, and remains suspended there for the duration. The spell can levitate a target that weighs up to 500 pounds.

If sufficient weight is added to the wizard so that they equal or exceed 500 pounds, they are no longer a valid for the spell effect. The wizard will then begin to fall. The fall will continue until such a time that the levitating wizard is no longer trying to levitate 500 pounds or more.

If the added weight plus the wizard is less than 500 pounds, then they are not going to be moved down. No dice contests are required. If the total is less than 500 pounds and the wizard adds height on her next turn, then the added weight is lifted accordingly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's quite that simple. Your interpretation would allow the wizard to levitate a friend, as long as the total weight of the wizard, her friend, and both of their belongings weigh less than 500 pounds, but I don't know if that's intended to be a valid use of the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Apr 8 '19 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson that's on the wizard to carry their friend while they're levitating. At that point the friend is cargo and seems like it would be on the wizard to carry something that heavy safely. If any other creature, regardless of weight stopped levitation, would an insect count? a tiny creature? \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Apr 8 '19 at 3:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you clarify what your response is to "can the Wizard be lassoed and pulled down?" I'm not seeing a response to that question in this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Apr 8 '19 at 3:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat In the question, the wizard is the target of a levitation spell. The answer to the question, "can the Wizard be lassoed and pulled down?" is "The target of levitation (in this case a wizard) can be lassoed or weighed down." \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Apr 8 '19 at 3:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to include something to that effect in your answer (that there's no mechanic for that and it's GM's call). \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Apr 8 '19 at 3:42

Yes, no, and maybe...

There are a lot questions at the end of the post and for good reason. There are a lot of things to consider.

First off, there is no concept of "lasso" in DnD 5e, at least in the current rules.

So how the "attacker" "lassos" the spell caster has a factor. If the DM decides that it is based an Athletics or Acrobatics check, there there is no attack roll. Since Levitate requires concentration, and one of the few ways to force a spell caster to make a concentration check is by damaging them. No attack role, so no damage. Even if there was an attack roll, a rope does not do damage so that still wouldn't cause a concentration check.

Potentially, an attacker could use a Rope of Climbing to lasso the caster, but it only moves 10 feet per turn while levitate can move 20 so you could force the two parties into aerial combat by making the levitated change altitude every round.

With that out of the way, there is more than one way to pull down a levitated caster.

  1. Ballast

Levitate can only work if the target is less than 500 pounds. If multiple people can grab on to the levitated, they can exceed the wight limit and cause the spell to fail.

  1. Pull real hard

While not in the rules, as a DM I would say that if the levitated was lassoed, the attacker could "pull real hard" to bring them down for one round. Under Strength:

"Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet."

I would allow this to fall under "Drag", and so long as the attackers max drag capacity was over 500, allow a Strength check contested against the spellcaster's DC.

  1. Magic

The Druid cantrip Thorn Whip states:

You create a long, vine-like whip covered in thorns that lashes out at your command toward a creature in range. Make a melee spell attack against the target. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d6 piercing damage, and if the creature is Large or smaller, you pull the creature up to 10 feet closer to you.

So not only does this do damage, but specific beats general. The attacker pulls the levitated closer. NOW, this is open to interpretation. The DM could say that the levitated stays at the same altitude but moves closer to the attacker. So unless they were directly below, it wouldn't change anything. Similarly, the Warlock Invocation Grasp of Hadar says:

Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with your eldritch blast, you can move that creature in a straight line 10 feet closer to you.

Once again, damage and pulling closer (possibly down). Lightning Lure is another example of similar wording. Too many to list them all.

In conclusion

  • If lassoed, unless the combined weight of the two parties is over 500, then the levitated stays up in the air, and possibly floating the roper also if they go higher.
  • Rule of Cool you might be able to make the levitate sink for a round if the cowboy is strong enough.
  • If the two are over 500, the spell ends and the levitated crashes to the ground.
  • There are spells that can damage and therefore break concentration. They also inherently can, until the levitated's turn, lower the levitated by 10 feet. During the levitated's turn, they can compensate by going higher again.
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should probably talk about bracing in 2: pulling down more than your weight without bracing is known as "climbing". \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Apr 8 '19 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk, I will leaving things like bracing, grip, Newtonian physics, and other factors to the imagination of people looking for a physics simulator. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Apr 8 '19 at 16:06

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