Stone shape can affect an amount of stone up to 10 cubic feet + 1 cubic foot per level. If the shape you want to effect is narrow enough, you could get a lot of distance while staying under this volume. For example, a 10th level caster has a maximum of 20 cu. ft. Could such a caster touch the side of a mountain and bore an 1,600-foot-long hole through it if the hole was only 1.5 inches in diameter? The volume of this hole would be π(0.0625²)(1600) = ~19 cu. ft.³. What about reshaping a 2.7-foot cube of stone into a cylinder of similar dimensions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The question How is earthquake shapeable? deals with shapeable spells and maximum range, although neither applies because Stone Shape lacks the "(S)" shapeaple quality and has a range of Touch. \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Aug 10 '20 at 6:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Stone Shape Uses, What are the precise uses of Stone Shape? (closed) \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Aug 10 '20 at 6:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify your last sentence? Are you asking if you can Shape if there's less than a 5ft cube to work with? If so, I'd say that's a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 10 '20 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Thanks for letting me know, I fixed the numbers! The last question is in case there is a distinction between transforming the shape of some stone of x volume vs creating an empty space of x volume inside existing stone. I could see some arguments against drilling a hole using Stone Shape that would not apply to reshaping a discrete block of stone into a very long pole. \$\endgroup\$ – Hydrothermal Aug 10 '20 at 16:31

Theoretically, pretty far, but you cannot drill through a mountain

By my reading of the rules, the spell allows you to "form an existing piece of stone into any shape that suits your purpose," (emphasis added), but the "stone or stone object touched" is limited in size by level. So you need a discreet and unitary piece of stone to work with; RAW do not explicitly allow you to change a part of a larger piece of stone. A mountain far exceeds even the 30-cubic-foot size that a 20th level caster can shape, therefore tunneling through a mountain with this spell (or in any way affecting the shape of the mountain) is impossible.

Another reading of the rule is that you can in fact alter the shape of stone that is part of a larger volume of stone beyond your power. This is a flawed interpretation in my opinion because the rulebook's spell description specifies you can change a "piece of stone" and the Oxford Dictionary defines the word "piece" as "A portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole"--i.e., a discreet object separate from a larger whole.

However, if you do accept the second interpretation, then you can tunnel in the method described. You would have to shape the stone into a very thin tube and expand the excess volume out of either/both end of the tunnel so that you did not affect any more than the allowed volume.

A 10th level caster could create a 1,600 foot long x 1.5 inch diameter pole out of a 19 cubic foot boulder, though whether you could control the direction(s) it extended would be up to the DM. You could also shape an extremely long and thin piece of stone (like a banister maybe) to your own purposes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your interpretation makes it nearly impossible to use Stone Shape. Can you explain why it's target portion is "stone or stone object touched" (emphasis added)? Could you not "target" a portion of a larger mass as the existing piece of stone? Similar to how an arm is an existing piece of a body. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 10 '20 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Huh. Can this answer explain what the target entry means by just stone (as opposed to stone object) in Target stone or stone object touched, up to 10 cu. ft. + 1 cu. ft./level if the target entry does not mean a piece of a larger stone, like a stone wall? (I'm not trying to be nitpicky; this is what I got hung up on.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '20 at 19:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suppose I was thinking of stone in the sense of "a stone" as opposed to stone in general. In no way does my interpretation make it "nearly impossible" to use the spell -- there are thousands of discreet stones and stone objects (objects made from stone like some arrowheads for example) in the world. It would be of lesser utility in changing part of a stone structure. I'll change my answer to account for the reasonable alternative reading of the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – ruffdove Aug 10 '20 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Clarification: my reading is based on the phrase "piece of stone" in the rulebook's spell description. The use of the word piece generally has the connotation of something that is separate from any larger whole. Therefore, a piece of stone would not include a solid stone wall in a cave complex that runs contiguously into both the floor and ceiling etc. \$\endgroup\$ – ruffdove Aug 10 '20 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with your reading, especially as the target parameters are "Stone or a stone object". I also believe the intent on "an existing piece of stone" was meant to refer to the fact that it couldn't be used on a pile of gravel, and instead can only affect one stone at a time. The spell does not give a limit to the size of the whole of the piece of stone that can be affected, only the total amount of that stone can be worked with one casting. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Aug 11 '20 at 19:53

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