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Immovable Object states:

You and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell can move the object normally.

This seems to imply that you can choose to move the object or let it remain immovable while you interact with it. Considering each individual boot is less than 10 pounds and I weigh less than 4000 pounds, I could cast Immovable Object on my boots. Since I can freely move the boots, I could effectively walk around in the air, essentially flying. If this is cast at 6th level, I would then be able to fly forever and could enchant every member of my party with permanent flight.

Is this true, or did I misinterpret something in the spell's description?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Jul 19, 2020 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: You can do something like this with a pair of immovable rods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Jul 20, 2020 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ It says "can move the object normally.". So if you have boots that would normally work that way, sure why shouldn't this work? If your boots aren't capable of flying... why should your boots behaving just normal, change that? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jul 21, 2020 at 8:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering it is from Explorer Guide To Wildemount, is this spell used in critical role, how is it used there? \$\endgroup\$
    – Shane
    Aug 20, 2020 at 5:35

6 Answers 6

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No, the boots are always able to be moved by you

The spell says

You and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell can move the object normally.

The spell doesn't say you can tell the object to fix in place and then be free floating for you again. It is either fixed (for creatures not designated by you) or freely moveable by you (and those you nominate).

So you don't have the option to make it immovable for you and then movable again a second later. For you, it is as if the spell is not in effect.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But of course it doesn't use the word 'must', that implies you have no choice but to move it. The spell also never states that the object is immovable to you if you want it to be, only that you can move it normally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Jul 19, 2020 at 22:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough but you have to agree that is the realm of pure speculation as to the motives of the designers. I am on the other side of that argument. I feel the purpose was NOT to create something similar to an immovable rod, especially considering a worn item e.g. the boots, aren't limited by one free item interaction per turn, making them quite powerful. The text of the spell supports my argument more I believe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Jul 20, 2020 at 0:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ With a very literal interpretation that may well work but almost every spell starts with a very simple explanation of what the spell does and then gets into the details. Also, 'can move' simply means it can be moved by you, you can interact with it or leave it alone. The interpretation "when you interact it with, you can choose to move it or keep it immovable'" is not stated in the spell. I think we'll just agree to disagree :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Jul 20, 2020 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ This interpretation means that outside combat, two characters could fly by 'taking turns': the caster enchants another character's boots, then the other character carries the caster while the caster moves the boots. \$\endgroup\$
    – user7868
    Jul 20, 2020 at 4:05
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The existence of an option does not necessitate the existence of alternatives

The spell says you can move the object normally, but it doesn't say that you can not move it normally. Concluding from the fact that it gives you the option to do something that you must also have the option to do otherwise adds existential import to 'can' that is misplaced. Typically, when game designers want to concisely imply existential import for negative actions while defining a positive action the word they use is 'may', not 'can'.

That said, you can still let your allies do your weird walk/flying thing, it just takes one full minute per step:

You can also set a password that, when spoken within 5 feet of the object, suppresses this spell for 1 minute.

And also you may still be able to do this-- the spell certainly doesn't say you can't-- but you need to confirm your GM lets you choose to be affected by the spell first.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "You and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell move the object normally." OR "The object behaves normally when you and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell touch it/interact with it." Considering there are many better ways to phrase the mechanic as you interpret it that would be unambiguous, it's hard to believe they would have worded the way they did. IOW, if the word is not in the sentence and it means X and then you add a word (can) and then the sentence can mean either X or Y, can't you kinda assume the word is there for a reason and go with Y? \$\endgroup\$
    – Shane
    Aug 20, 2020 at 5:31
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I think the issue here is that people are focusing on the 2nd part of the description of the spell and forgetting the first part.

I think, that as written the spell would allow you to walk through the air, if you cast it on both your shoes.

Immovable Object Says:

You touch an object that weighs no more than 10 pounds and cause it to become magically fixed in place.

This means you cast the spell and the object is fixed in place. Full stop.

You and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell can move the object normally.

This is a separate sentence. It offers the option of moving the object if you are the caster or one of the people he designates. It does not require him to do so. (I looked it up, grammatically can in this sentence is an option not a directive.)

I admire creativity, and as a DM I would allow it, but I would also use it against players by having my villains also use it. and judge falling prone very harshly. Dispel Magic would work well to cause falling damage. If tackled in the air, I might use the lingering injuries rule (DMG p272) For broken ankles. Because you have to willingly move the shoes. If someone applies a sideways motion to you and you are not choosing to move, the shoes would stay in place and potentially cause severe damage to your ankles or knees.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you elaborate on how you would rule falling prone harshly? In particular how would you rule falling prone while using Immovable Object compared to using Fly or just walking on the ground? \$\endgroup\$
    – user60913
    Jul 20, 2020 at 1:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ The optional part of "can" might be intended to mean that you can simply leave the object alone, not touching it at all. It won't say "must" because that would imply that for the duration of the spell, all creatures designated (if any) must spend their time pushing / carrying the object around. TL:DR: Your interpretation is compatible with the phrasing, but it's not the only possible interpretation. I think you know that, I just wanted to state it clearly. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 4:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although that line of thinking does raise the question of whether just touching a floating Immovable pencil or whatever with the tip of your finger would cause it to fall (i.e. move "as normal" including gravity) until you weren't touching it anymore, and whether that would change if something heavy were standing on it. i.e. if you don't allow sky-walking, can you can ever have a situation where the Immovable object is being pushed / moved by a designated creature but also supporting it's own or other weight, or resisting some other non-vertical force. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 4:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Moving the object normally would see it plummet immediately as soon as normal movement occurred, because normal boots can't fly, and you have nothing keeping you in the air while you manipulate them. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jul 20, 2020 at 10:23
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I don't see a very good argument here against allowing this. Yes, you would technically be flying with hover by walking. However, manipulating an object is an action. So, at best, each step would require a bonus action. That would give you a breakneck speed of one. Two, if you also used your full action for a second step. And, since at least one of your feet are immobilized between steps, you'd also be restrained the entire time you wore them.

All for the low, low cost of two third level spell slots. So sure, you could do it. I suppose there are times when the permanent version would help out if you don't have a better option. But, IMHO the permanent boots would make a great cursed item. Lots of comedy relief value for an NPC.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like that this answer attempts to address how to rule the action economy. +1 from me. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2020 at 0:57
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It will probably not allow you to fly

You can check with your DM, but it seems pretty clear the spell is not supposed to do this, because that would be extremely powerful, and also completely the opposite of what it is supposed to be for (which is an object that doesn't move most of the time)

If I were DM, I would not allow this. If you wanna fly, cast Fly. If you cast Immobile Object on your own gear, I'm going to make you have a bad time. (Of course I'll warn you about this, first)

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    \$\begingroup\$ When multiple castings are required and you can already fly using a mere third level spell, I don't think "That would be extremely powerful" is a good argument against it. \$\endgroup\$
    – user64209
    Jul 20, 2020 at 11:59
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Unless you can fly normally, the spell does not allow you to fly.

Immovable object says:

You and the creatures you designate when you cast this spell can move the object normally.

I'm not sure where the idea of flying with these boots comes from. "Move the object normally" means that after casting the spell, you can move the object in any way you could move it before casting the spell. If you cannot fly before casting the spell, you cannot fly after the spell, as flying is not something you do normally.

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    \$\begingroup\$ if you lock one boot in the air and move the other boot (which of course requires you to cast the spell at 6th level twice), you should be able to "fly" (or rather, walk through the air). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2020 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I don’t see that in the spell description. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2020 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pixelmaster dragging the boot is difficult because the spell makes it immovable \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jul 19, 2020 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Calling it "flying" seems silly. If you can do anything involving locking a boot after each step, it's "sky walking". However, in 5e mechanical terms, that would be flying with hover capability. (Presumably difficult terrain or something to simulate the effect of having to mentally switch between keeping each boot fixed / movable, and possibly requiring at least your bonus action to focus on doing that.) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 4:58

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