My DM and I have differences of opinion on the mold earth cantrip.

He says that after you dig 2 holes and try to dig the 3rd hole the first hole will go back to his initial state base on the shape water cantrip question here.

I say that since it's written:

You choose a portion of dirt or stone that you can see within range and that fits within a 5-foot cube. You manipulate it in one of the following ways:

If you target an area of loose earth, you can instantaneously excavate it, move it along the ground, and deposit it up to 5 feet away. This movement doesn’t have enough force to cause damage.

You cause shapes, colors, or both to appear on the dirt or stone, spelling out words, creating images, or shaping patterns. The changes last for 1 hour.

If the dirt or stone you target is on the ground, you cause it to become difficult terrain. Alternatively, you can cause the ground to become normal terrain if it is already difficult terrain. This change lasts for 1 hour.

If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have no more than two of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action.

So since excavating it is instantaneous, you can dig as many holes as you want and the will never revert to the initial state, is this true or is my DM right ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, but a bit disappointed the title of the question is not "How much earth could a mold earth mold if a mold earth could mold earth?" \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2020 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


You are right

The first effect is an instantaneous effect, thus is not subject to the two active effects restriction. Even the last sentence explicitly describe the restriction only apply to non-instantaneous effect (second and third effect). However, remember that mold earth is only able to excavate loose earth. You might not be able to dig a deep hole with that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ and the holes will not be reverted in no case ? \$\endgroup\$
    – shmulikm
    Jul 27, 2020 at 14:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @shmulikm the holes will not be reverted, since it's instantaneous. The earth is moved. Period. It is no longer under the spell, and under no restriction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Jul 27, 2020 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the non-instantaneous effects would be something like spelling a word in standing letters with dirt that defies gravity? Like the letter F. But if you were to spell the words in sort of a lying shape, they would sort of keep that shape after the spell effect ends (just lose a bit of the edge clarity perhaps). Also, any added color effect to the letters would disappear. Am I understanding that correctly? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2020 at 8:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielNordh yes. But as a DM, I would not allow convenient letter shaping when you use first effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Jul 28, 2020 at 9:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielNordh If you do any of the things that have a duration (like shaping letters) then it states that "the changes last for an hour", which means that when the spell ends, the changes you made are reversed, which means that the earth goes back to its previous state. So, if you form letters, then the earth will shift back to the previous natural shape of the ground when the spell ends, without letters, regardless of how they were oriented. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 28, 2020 at 9:54

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