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My players came up with an interesting idea using the reverse gravity spell recently. At the time, I let them do it because it made sense and I like to keep things flowing - but I'm wondering whether the actual mechanics would work as I allowed it to.

Reverse gravity lifts everything centered on a point in a 50-foot up to 100 feet upwards. Two of the players in the party had taken the spell. On player 1's turn, he cast it at ground level to lift a group of enemies the full 100 feet; the 2nd player then separately cast the spell, centering the area of effect at the top of the previous spell's area and lifting the enemies another 100 feet. On player 1's next turn, he stopped his version of the spell, meaning that player 2 could then drop them 200 feet. As there was nothing to grab hold of on the second casting, there was no saving throw for that casting.

At the time, I was unsure whether the initial casting of the spell would lock them in at 100 feet, but decided to go with it. My players have also asked me if one of them could cast it repeatedly turn after turn, effectively cancelling one casting of the spell as they cast it a second time, lifting people several hundred feet into the air before then dropping them.

Can multiple castings of reverse gravity be used to lift the same target(s) several hundred feet in this way? Are there any rules for adjudicating this situation, or is it up to the DM to decide?

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This works with some coordination.

Caster 2 casts their reverse gravity 5 feet below the top of the first caster’s cylinder. As explained below, the creatures are now only affected by one reverse gravity, the second one, and will now rise 100 more feet.

Notably, the only limitation given on where reverse gravity is cast is “a point within range”. It need not be cast on the ground.

The rules for combining magical effects say:

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don’t combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus—from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

Once the second reverse gravity is cast, it is the “most recent”, so the rules guidance tells us that now that one applies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Or, as in the case with our party, if they have a magic item that allows flight. Going from your example, if the 2nd casting overlapped the firs by 3 feet, when the first is ended then the 2nd would take effect lifting them 197 feet up? This would suggest that the same caster could repeatedly lift higher and higher with each casting, seeing as casting it again auto ends the previous one in the same instant. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard C Aug 22 '20 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RichardC Answer updated. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Aug 23 '20 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RichardC For a single caster, you might run into issues depending on how the DM interprets the rules for concentration. Essentially, it takes a certain amount of time to cast the spell, so the DM may rule that there is a time gap between the previous spell ending and the next spell starting. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Aug 23 '20 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson "As soon as you start casting a spell or using a special ability that requires concentration, your concentration on another effect ends instantly." (XGE 5) It is not so much how the DM interprets concentration, which is clear if they follow XGE, but rather how long it actually takes to cast the spell (and what would happen in that time), given that "1 action" is not tied to any specific measure of time (and see sageadvice.eu/2018/01/30/a-round-is-about-6-seconds). \$\endgroup\$ – Kirt Aug 23 '20 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ The most recent effect applies only if they are equally potent, which has a bajillion different ways it's commonly interpreted. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 24 '20 at 18:51

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