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As a DM, I want to know if there are any loopholes to allow more than one creature to fit inside Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, Rules as Written.

Here is the scenario:

A party of four Medium creatures are walking through the old sewers of a city. Suddenly, the sound of gallons of rushing water echos down the tunnel, the party has only moments to react before the chamber floods with water. Thinking quickly, the party groups together and the wizard casts Resilient Sphere on them to protect them from the water.

Rules as Written, this wouldn’t work. The spell states that:

“The sphere is weightless and just large enough to contain the creature or object inside”.

This quote, and the continued use of singular rather than plural language, heavily implies that it is only intended to affect one creature at a time.

However, I want to know if there are any ways within the rules that would allow for more than one creature to be protected by Resilient Sphere.

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Not according to RAW

“A sphere of shimmering force [that] encloses a creature or object of Large size or smaller within range”.

The emphasis above is mine, and it means one, singular 'thing' can be affected. I would say that any attempts to target something that is clustered in such a way that one item isn't a clear target then the spell would actually fail.

For example the spell makes no mention of emptying containers, and since spells only do what they say they do, then the container can't be emptied, isn't a singular object and will not be a valid target.

However, there are inconsistencies

Is a door a single object when hinge is also an object? This is not clear in the rules so there are loopholes in any reading of this spell.

How would I rule it?

I would let it affect both the vial and its contents, or the container and its contents, but I would treat creatures differently and not allow it to affect a box full of people. There is no specific rules support, but I think it makes more sense because there is no precedent (that I know of) for people becoming objects (unlike the precedent that a hinge can become part of a larger object - the door).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would it matter what the contents of the container were? If said box was a coffin, would you disallow the spell to affect the coffin as it contained a deceased creature? Or what if i cast the spell on someone’s armour, is the wearer of that armour unaffected by the spell? What about a jar of fire flies, or someone trapped in a net, would they too be invalid targets? I think this just highlights the fact that we need to know if a container that is holding a creature is still considered to be an object for the purposes of spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Liam Morris Nov 11 '19 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Objects and creatures are often treated differently. 2 objects often combine into a larger one, that doesn't happen with creatures. I think trying to fenangle multiple creatures into this spell is lawyering far more than the rules are intended to cover. A means single, I would be lenient for objects because there is little abuse potential, but not for creatures where there is more room for misuse. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Nov 11 '19 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps, but this means you are applying double standards, one rule for creatures and another for objects. There is nothing that indicates that this would be the case; nor that a container holding a creature is any different than a container holding objects. As you stated yourself, there is no basis for these rulings of yours, it is simply your opinion of how you would rule it. \$\endgroup\$ – Liam Morris Nov 11 '19 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ That whole section is just how I would rule it though, the gist of the answer is that by raw you can't have a container with anything in it at all. But this whole thing is very unclear in the actual rules. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Nov 11 '19 at 14:17
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Yes, it can contain more than one creature

The spell description states that it is:

“A sphere of shimmering force [that] encloses a creature or object of Large size or smaller within range”.

This means that if all four Medium sized creatures got into a Large box and cast Resilient Sphere on the box, this would work. That is because even though the creatures are in the box, the spell is being cast on the box, not on the creatures.

It would seem silly to disallow the contents of a container to be affected by the spell when the container itself is affected. That sets a precedent that, if you cast the spell on a chest, all the contents would fall out as the spell can only contain a single object, that being the chest. Casting it on a bottle would cause the liquid to spill out, as you only cast the spell on the container. Casting the spell on a cage could free a creature within it, as the spell was cast on the cage not the creature.


One could argue that a Medium Swarm of tiny creatures would all be affected by Resilient Sphere as there are no specific rules for targeting swarms.

In the Monster Manual, the Tiny creatures in the swarm all share a singular stat block and form a Medium swarm. This implies that, for the purposes of an attack or spell, a swarm of creatures only counts as a singular creature, despite it being made up of many smaller creatures.

It is the same kind of logic behind saying a Medium sized clock is a singular object despite being made up of many Tiny gears and components.

However, it is unclear if this is the correct ruling. This tweet from Jeremy Crawford states:

A swarm is a collection of creatures, so a swarm of quippers counts as multiple fish.

So it is possible that *Resilient Sphere may only affect one beast within the swarm.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure about the second half of your answer with regards to swarms; see this answer, although it's a different context, but there are various (now unofficial) JC tweets that imply that, RAI at least, swarms are considered multiple creatures. Hence I don't know how swarms would interact with this spell, or other spells that specify "one/a/the creature"; there might be something out there already that proves that such spells do treat swarms as one creature, but I'm not aware of it myself... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Nov 11 '19 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS You make a good point, i’ve added the quote and link to the tweet to my answer. Personally i’m of the opinion that it should affect more than one creature in a swarm but, as there is no specific rule for targeting swarms that i know of, it seems like its the DM’s call. \$\endgroup\$ – Liam Morris Nov 11 '19 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ "a creature or object" I have to read this as a single object, which excludes the contents of the box. It is meant to protect a single thing, so if you wanted what was in the box to be kept safe you would cast it on that, not the box. Hence people in a box would not work. I think this is both RAW and RAI. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Nov 11 '19 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Casting it on a bottle would cause the liquid to spill out, as you only cast the spell on the container." I think that would mean the bottle is not a valid target so the spell would fail actually, but it does highlight an inconsistency with the rules. Invisibility has the same kind of problem when it comes to picking an ally up and potentially turning them invisible. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Nov 11 '19 at 13:15

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