Can a character shove a paralyzed person, forcing them to move?

Similarly, could a sorcerer cast the cantrip Gust to force the paralyzed person to move (without a Strength save)?


1 Answer 1


Yes, they can be moved

The effects you describe do not force the creature to move on its own, but impose an outside force and push it (pulling would work similarly to pushing). These are two separate kinds of "forced movement", the former usually involving mind control or fear effects and the latter involving physical forces, whether summoned, evoked or mundane.

The description of a shove (PHB 195-6, emphasis mine)

If you win the contest, you [..] push it 5 feet

Gust says (XGtE 157, emphasis mine)

must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 5 feet

Contrast this with a spell like dissonant whispers (PHB 234, emphasis mine)

must immediately use its reaction, if available, to move as far as its speed allows

or the "Flee" option of command (PHB 223, emphasis mine)

The target spends its turn moving away from you

A paralyzed creature has a 0 movement speed and no actions available (incl. bonus or reactions) and thus cannot be forced to use them. Even if the spell would grant any of these, the condition would override that effect unless otherwise stated.

Note that the verb choice can be sometimes misleading. The verb "move" can be used both in a transitive (separate actor and subject), as well as an intransitive (actor and subject are the same) way. The above examples use it in an intransitive manner. An example of the transitive use would be the Grasp of Hadar eldritch invocation (XGtE 57, emphasis mine):

you can move that creature in a straight line

In this case the creature performing the move is separate from the one suffering it, and it is thus an outside force that will work on even a paralyzed target.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 The main distinction is, indeed, between moving by yourself and being moved and not between move and push, which I try to convey in the 1st paragraph. I will think about adding an example like yours. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    May 30, 2019 at 12:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Does this seem clearer to you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    May 30, 2019 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, thank you for the clarification! \$\endgroup\$ May 30, 2019 at 12:34
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Worth explicitly mentioning that the effect of Hold Person is not some telekinetic grip that holds the person in place, but as the effect indicates, a paralysis that effectively seizes up the muscles of the afflicted person. As such, you could move them using any means available to you to move any non-resisting person. I.e., I think that the original question was borne from a misunderstanding of what/how exactly Hold Person created the effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – cpcodes
    May 30, 2019 at 17:01

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