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If I cast create bonfire in a 5 foot unoccupied space, and then, in the next round, cast mold earth to excavate that same area creating a 5 foot pit underneath the fire -- does the bonfire fall or stay at ground level?

This came up in game. The bonfire is magically created and does not need to burn fuel. So it could float. But does it? Is there a precedent?

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The spell text just says

You create a bonfire on ground that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the magic bonfire fills a 5-foot cube.

Duration is 1 minute, with concentration.

There are at least 4 ways to interpret this in the case ground disappears:

  • Bonfire floats in the air. There's nothing which says it must stay on ground, so there's no such requirement. The general concensus is that fire spells work even underwater (magic...) so why not floating in the air

  • Bonfire is on ground. If ground moves, bonfire moves.

  • Having the original ground, seen by the caster when spell was cast, is requirement for the spell to work. If ground changes, spell ends.

  • Instead of ending (previous option) spell could be just suppressed. If ground returns within duration, bonfire flares up again (assuming caster maintained concentration). This mechanic would be consistent eg. with anti-magic field.

It's up to the DM. 1st option is maybe most direct reading of the rule, the bonfire will just be there for a minute. 2nd option is for tables which want to allow complex shenanigans and general wackiness by using things in unexpected ways. 3rd option is safest for balance and easiest for bookkeeping, but also most boring. 4th option would be my choice as a DM, it sounds like a bit of everything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That last point is a good one too! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Solid answer! I think it would help to link to / support the statement that there is a consensus that fire works even under water. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS, It's that what point #2 is? The ground moves so the fire moves. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 20:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS There is nothing to indicate that the bonfire could move like that, jump to a different 5'×5' square of ground, so that would go pretty far into the "house rules" territory. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, when you put it that way, I'm not sure about my 5th option anymore... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 22:44

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