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The spell Cone of Cold states:

A creature killed by this spell becomes a frozen statue until it thaws.

By "statue", does it mean the body is frozen solid, or that it is frozen inside a block of ice?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a mechanical effect you have in mind that requires one vs the other? I'm not sure it matters without knowing why its important. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 7, 2019 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm just wondering. \$\endgroup\$
    – SkyPaul
    Sep 7, 2019 at 13:02

2 Answers 2

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The creature becomes frozen solid

The quote you gave states that "the creature ... becomes a frozen statue", which I read to mean the creature themselves is frozen, not that they are encased in ice.

Contrast this to the warlock Eldritch Invocation "Tomb of Levistus" (XGtE, p. 57), which states:

... you can entomb yourself in ice ...

This implies that cone of cold could have used similar language, but didn't, so probably ought to be taken literally, meaning that they are turned into an ice statue.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I'm seeing a case for 'must'. Levistus gives a clearer description, but not sure that overrides the general description from Cone of Cold. Frozen statue could still be a person encased in ice (and frozen through.) Pointing to an unrelated more specific case doesn't add actual specificity to another. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 7, 2019 at 14:30
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It just doesn't matter

I can't think of any mechanical effect that this distinction would make a difference and the language in the description is pretty broad. Talk to your DM(or your player if you are the DM) and narrate with what works in your shared world.

The spell is clear that the corpse is not a corpse, but a frozen statue until it thaws. Any mechanic that deals with a corpse must wait until it is no longer a frozen statue (when it thaws.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ It matters for ice sculpture contests... \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Sep 7, 2019 at 13:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman No cheating! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 7, 2019 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mechanically it could matter a lot! Consider the revivify spell; it requires touch. If the creature is just a statue, then someone could touch them and bring them back to life. But if they are encased in ice, they cannot be touched and must be "chipped out" first. If that process takes more than a minute, they are gone and would need a much more powerful spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Sep 7, 2019 at 16:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mivascott added to my answer to account for that \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 7, 2019 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ And you can also use it in a strategic manner. Consider: a Wizard casts a Cone of Cold. Your warlock could use Tomb of Levistus to negate the damage while making it appear that the spell inflicted fatal damage. But for this to work, the visual aspect of Cone of Cold and Tomb of Levistus must be similar enough to fool the wizard. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30, 2021 at 13:27

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