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Globe of Invulnerability is one of those spells that seems to have multiple sticking points as to what works and what doesn't.

Specifically, Globe prevents "any spell of 5th level or lower cast from outside the barrier [from affecting] creatures or objects within it"; Spells "can target creatures and objects within the barrier, but [they have] no effect on them" and "the area within the barrier is excluded from the areas affected by such spells."

Catapult hurls an object in a direction, dealing damage if it would impact a solid surface. It does not target creatures (ruling out the second clause), and the spell description does not have an associated area (the third clause).

Would a creature inside a Globe of Invulnerability take damage from an object thrown by a Catapult spell?

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Globe of Invulnerability prevents Catapult from affecting creatures and objects.

tl;dr The damage from a flung object is an effect of catapult. Catapult is a 1st level spell. Globe of Invulnerability stops spells of 5th level and lower from affecting creatures within the barrier.

The saving throw and damage are effects of catapult

The effects of the spell are detailed in its text. Spells do only what they say they do.

The effects of catapult include a saving throw and damage applied to the target and the projectile. Creatures and objects inside the globe are exempt from being affected because catapult is a 1st level spell.

Pillow fight illustration.

Consider a pillow thrown by catapult. It's soft. It's squishy. It smells like someone sweaty slept on it last. Because of the effects of the spell, when it hits a target, the pillow and the target take 3d8 bludgeoning damage.

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Maybe

5e doesn't have any actual game definition for 'target', so it's not true in a table-agnostic way that catapult can be relied on to not target creatures it is aimed at. Similarly, it's not true that catapult can be relied on to target such a creature. Instead, the best we can say is that if catapult does not target those subjected to its saving throw and the line the object passes through is not an area of effect and globes of invulnerability do not function as solid surfaces then catapult can be expected to be able to be used to attack creatures within such a globe.

This method of attack is more likely to work when catapult is ruled to be able to affect targets within an anti-magic field, and less likely to work when catapult is ruled to not be capable of doing that. It's also more likely to work if the DM is a fan of the orb spells from 3.5, and less likely to work if the DM dislikes the same.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Globe of invulnerability and anti-magic field work in very different ways. I think using anti-magic field as a benchmark for how to handle globe of invulnerability is problematic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Dec 31 '20 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara Oh, I certainly wouldn't do that. I'm just saying that it's going to be quite predictive. It doesn't have anything to do with the rules text, it has to do with in what direction a given table is likely to be reading things. Clearly an unpopular take, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – user66659
    Jan 1 at 1:36

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