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Can you cast the Leomund's tiny hut spell upside down?

The description of the tiny hut spell says that the hut forms "above" the caster, but all descriptions of the spell pay special attention to the position of the caster (e.g. if you're standing on a slope, it will only extend to your feet and not further below).

Is "above you" always up for tiny hut? Or is it relative to the caster's orientation in space (and can therefore form a bowl shape,i.e. an inverted dome)?

This isn't for any practical reason other than to answer a debate I was having with a friend.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh and, 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 '20 at 23:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Where are "all descriptions of the spell pay special attention to the position of the caster"? I'm not familiar with any other description of the spell aside from what's in the player's handbook. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Jul 20 '20 at 0:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL I think the OP is referring to popular internet misinformation surrounding the spell, as exemplified by their idea that it doesn't go down any lower than your feet. The 'all descriptions' is all the descriptions they've read on facebook or reddit or wherever. Regardless, besides appearing "around and above you", there's nothing special in the text about the caster's position, and the statement that it only goes to your feet, for example, is not, in fact, indicated by the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20 '20 at 1:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "Can one enter Leomund's Tiny Hut from below?" \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20 '20 at 13:11
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No, above is defined with respect to some absolute reference frame, not the reference frame of the caster.

To be clear, there is no RAW definition of above, so we interpret it in the usual way that above is used in English.

Relevant definitions of above all read similarly to this one:

above: At a higher level or layer than.

To an observer watching tiny hut be cast, this sense of "at a higher level or layer than" is going to be completely irrelevant to the caster's orientation.

More importantly, the caster of tiny hut should agree with this observer. If you are standing, there is a natural notion of above that you and someone observing you agree upon. Then, suppose you stand on your head. Again, you and the observer are going to agree that your feet are now above your head, and neither of you will believe that the ground is now above you and below the observer. But why is this the case?

The caster of Leomund's Tiny Hut is not aware of the text of the spell description.

The spell description is meta-knowledge, and trying to leverage it to get tiny hut cast upside down is metagaming. The caster does not know that the spell description text says above - this is strictly player knowledge.

When the blue character casts tiny hut, the result is:

enter image description here

Meta-knowledge of the spell description and pursuant rule-lawyering is the only reason to believe that standing on your head and casting tiny hut would give any result besides:

enter image description here

Our blue caster has no reason to disagree with his red friend when his red friend says: "above means higher than my head, even when you are standing on yours".

The only reason blue could have to disagree is that they read page 225 of the Player's Handbook and thinks that the magical weave cares that he is arbitrarily defining above to mean whatever direction his head is oriented.

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Tiny Hut creates a dome. The dome is a result of the area of effect rules.

Tiny Hut has a spherical AoE, so:

You select a sphere's point of origin, and the sphere extends outward from that point.

Note that:

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.

  • This means that if you cast the spell while standing on flat ground, the result is a dome with a solid floor.
  • If you cast it while doing a handstand, you get the same result.
  • If you cast it while in a 10ft square room with a 10ft ceiling, you will end up with a 10ft cube "dome".
  • If you cast the spell while in the air, you will get a complete sphere.
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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, the actual text of the spell as printed in the PHB/etc. specifies that tiny hut's area is a hemisphere (i.e. a half-sphere), not a sphere. Hemispheres aren't a defined area type in the spellcasting rules and the dndbeyond generic transcription of spell uses the icon for a spherical area because there isn't a hemisphere, but it does not at all seem intended that you should be able to cast tiny hut and get a complete sphere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Jul 20 '20 at 9:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's another question where answers express differing opinions on what a hemisphere is: Can one enter Leomund's Tiny Hut from below? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20 '20 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer It's arguable since as you said, there are no rules for hemisphere AoE, and other official publications (eg DNDB) use spherical instead. This answer uses that version of RAW because I think it's the most consistent and defined. As Medix2 points out, there is debate over what the other version even means. Starting from "what is a hemisphere and a dome in 5e" is too much for me! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20 '20 at 23:48
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tl;dr: It is up to the GM to decide which up is relevant and hence if you can have your dome upside down.

The spell was written for two identical ups.

Probably, when writing the spell description, nobody thought about the possibility of casting it upside down, i.e. it was assumed that the caster's up is identical to the gravitational up, which it usually is. Now, the spell description says "dome" indicating that you cannot gain a sphere all around.

It is the GM's decision

If you have created a situation where this is no longer the case the GM needs to decide which up is relevant. There is nothing in the spell description that would suggest that you should not profit from it while upside down. You cannot profit from the spell if you are upside down and the spell considers the gravitational up for "above you". It seems therefore entirely reasonable to allow casting the hut upside down if there is already a situation where this would be relevant.

D&D is not an RTS

When playing an RTS like Age of Empires or Supreme Commander, you cannot position a building on a slope. That is not how it's like in reality. Probably you have seen a mountainside village before on vacation or otherwise where this works just fine. Also, above and around does not exclude below. If the dome were to be positioned on a slope with ground contact, it is still above and around even if it is partially below as well. D&D is not, and is not intended to be, a perfect simulation of reality, but in this case we should assume the reality variant and not the RTS variant. The spell does not detail where it can be placed but it seems reasonable to assume that it will adapt to the grounds and completely enclose the PCs so that no snakes and zombies can crawl under it even if the ground is not perfectly flat.

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