The Forcecage spell states:

A creature inside the cage can't leave it by nonmagical means.

And its box mode states:

A prison in the shape of a box can be up to 10 feet on a side, creating a solid barrier that prevents any matter from passing through it

The Wall of Force spell states:

Nothing can physically pass through the wall.

The description of Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments states:

When you complete the painting, the object or terrain feature depicted becomes a real, nonmagical object. Thus, painting a door on a wall creates an actual door that can be opened to whatever is beyond. Painting a pit on a floor creates a real pit, and its depth counts against the total area of objects you create.

Can Marvelous Pigments be used to paint a door or hole to go through a Wall of Force or a Forcecage?


4 Answers 4


As you've identified, the rules are ambiguous here. It seems to me that the pigments operate by transforming the wall behind them into a nonmagical doorway, and that this transformation is magical and would apply to a wall of force just as effectively as a nonmagical wall.

But you might also argue that the wall of force is a nonphysical object, or that it regrows into the created doorframe, or simply that the doorframe's status as nonmagical means the action just doesn't work.

(It's also not totally clear if you can apply paints on a Wall of Force. Wouldn't the paints slide off?)

At any rate, when a rules interaction is ambiguous in D&D 5e, the solution is to ask your DM to make a ruling. We're not your DM, so we can't make that ruling for you. Good luck with it.


No. The door created by the pigment is non-magical.

The pigments create non-magical objects which cannot pass through the barrier. The door or portal painted on would open up to the barrier.

Forcecage is not affected by normal objects.

Painting a door onto a forcecage box would result in the same situation where the area of forcecage abutted an existing normal door. The pre-existing normal objects and terrain features do not affect the spell. Adding them post-hoc similarly does not affect the spell.

Wall of force cannot be passed through by magical or non-magical objects

The effect of wall of force is similarly unaffected as it disallows physical both magical and non-magical objects from passing through:

Nothing can physically pass through the wall

The painted door opens up to the invisible wall of force, which stops passage.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm getting a roadrunner vibe here. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Good point. "Meep meep" should be an obligate vocal component for using painted tunnels. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ You indicate that the door is non-magical, but how do you comport that with the fact that the pigments themselves are and clearly are doing something to warp reality in some magical way. While the end effect is a non-magical thing, the manner by which the thing was created was magical. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 15 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical a magic item that produces a non-magical method of egress (namely a door) and non-magical egress is explicitly forbidden by the spell effects. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented May 15 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Only the end effect is non-magical, the creation of the door itself is magical and thus seems like it addresses the spell's requirement that you can't leave by non-magical means. Nothing in the description of Forcecage or Wall of Force indicates that they reform if a hole is created in them (indeed one could argue that Wall of Force is destroyed because something physically passed through it, but that'd probably be stretching things); and Marvelous Pigments' description says it can be used to pass through walls without some sort of caveat for only non-magical walls. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 15 at 22:35

The DM must decide

As Dan B laid out in their original answer, "the rules are ambiguous". GCL argued that forcecage and wall of force are impervious to the marvelous pigments in their answer, as Nobody the Hobgoblin in theirs.

So the case that the DM is justificed in ruling that forcecage and wall of force are impervious to the pigments is well-made.

A case that forcecage and wall of force are susceptible to the marvelous pigments (or should be)

It really comes down to plot and fun.

First of all, there is the slightest wiggle room. The pigments can paint a pit. If they can paint a pit, they can paint a hole or a passageway. Not an object -- but an absence of an object. Surely painting a hole in a forcecage is definitely leaving by magical means. And if there's anything that would let you put a hole in a magical force construct, a magical hole would be a great candidate.

Furthermore, if the DM allows the pigments to cut a hole in a force object, it's not going to break the game, or imbalance classes, or break the action economy, or break the attunement system.

What it does do is give a very niche and cool way to get around some very cool spells.

Imagine it. The PCs have the Bad Guy of the Day in a force cage. PC1: what're they doing? PC2: They're painting? on the bars of the cage? That won't wor . . . hey they're out!

Of course, that will annoy the PCs, but no more than if the BGD used disintegrate. And, likely, the PCs will end up with their hands on the pigments once they're done with the BGD. Personally, I think it would be awesome for the PCs to escape that same way from a similar trap.

There's also a natural brake on pigment shenanigans -- it's slow:

It takes 10 minutes to cover 100 square feet.

So it takes an entire minute to paint a 2 x 5 foot passageway. Or a hole roughly the same size. So I'm not so sure the BGD is going to get away after all, since the PCs will have watched them make the hole in the cage. Of course, maybe they disguised their activities with an illusion . . . even better . . . .


The rules for forcecage, wall of force, and the marvelous pigments do not unambiguously lay out how they interact.

A DM is perfectly justified in ruling forcecage, wall of force, are impervious to marvelous pigments. That might be the safe ruling.

On the other hand, allowing marvelous pigments to put a hole through forcecage or wall of force in the right circumstances could be really cool and fun, which is a great reason to allow something.

Besides, the pigments let you paint a hole, which is a picture of "nothing", and wall of force says "nothing can physically pass through the wall". There you have it. Almost as good as a ham sandwich!


You can undermine a wall of force

If you can paint through a wall of force or forcecage is problematic:

  • A painted door would not work, as even if the door could create an opening, the wall would still be behind it and other than with a normal wall, the painting creates nonmagical things, which then cannot physically pass through.
  • Painting a hole through the wall would not be "something" physical, as a hole is the absence of something. I think it is unclear how painting a hole through the wall could work however, as the walls made of force are invisible, so you cannot paint them "away". If you just paint an empty doorframe, it would look just the same with the wall. There's no way to paint a hole that would look any different than what looking through the invisible wall already does.

Because of this, I think you likely cannot, but check with your DM. All of this is vague enough that it needs adjudication.

You may be out of luck for a forecage, but you probably can get around a wall of force, at least one that is a hemisphere or a flat wall, because of the rules for area of effect:

A spell's effect expands in straight lines from the point of origin. If no unblocked straight line extends from the point of origin to a location within the area of effect, that location isn't included in the spell's area. To block one of these imaginary lines, an obstruction must provide total cover. (p. 204 PH).

This means the wall will not extend into the floor. You can just paint a pit that opens in the floor underneath the wall and tunnel your way in from below. In the worst case, if the DM says you cannot paint the pit to extend under the wall, as you cannot reach the floor there, you can paint it in two steps, as the wall of the pit itself is not protected by the wall of force.

(It is not entirely clear to me if the ongoing concentration on wall of force means that a globe shape would complete to close itself once you open the hole, or if the wall is formed initially and then does not change shape any more, so the sphere form also would need a DM call on this).

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    \$\begingroup\$ You state that a painted door doesn't create an opening, but I'm not clear on why. Per the description for the pigments, the paints let you create 3-D objects by painting them in 2-D. Furthermore, they specifically state that you can paint a door on a wall and open it to whatever's beyond. Granted, this is written in nebulous fashion and unclear how it would function for a 20' thick castle wall, but given you can paint pits and the like, it seems kosher to allow. Furthermore, forcecage's restriction is that you can't escape via non-magical means, but the pigments are a magic item. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 15 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical I think all of that is ambiguous enough to need a DM. That's my take on that. My point is more that you don't need to get through the wall, as you can get under it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 15 at 21:00

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