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We're playing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and we

just got our mansion.

I play a gnomish Artificer/Wizard and want to build my workshop

in the mansion's basement. But it's quite small for what I have in mind. Digging seems not to be a viable option to expand the basement, because the ground is pretty hard.

What kind of spell, non-magic or half-magic solution (ie. machines) could do the trick? I come from 3.5e. Back then there were several midlevel options to do that. Stone to mud + Mold Earth. But there is no Stone to mud, or I am not finding it.

Maybe here's someone who had the same idea and made it work or you just know a way to make it work. I'm very curious about how you achieved this.

FYI Our DM is pretty liberal and let's us do pretty much, so feel free to stretch the rules. I don't talk about home-brew, but RAW is not that important with this one: RAW answers are preferred though.

Some Details

The basement is carved into stone and around 6 by 4 squares big and around 10ft high. I'm thinking of doubling it in size... ie 6 by 8 squares. There are no special constraints besides the stone, which is (according to my DM) "not as hard as granite but still pretty hard". We're playing Dragon Heist very loosely interconnected and can do with our time, whatever we want. The whole campaign is about one year long in-game, so to use that space the time frame should be around one or two months. So I'm not necessarily looking for a quick solution.

Constraints

During this campaign, we will end up with level 8-9 (according to my DM). I plan to have 2 levels of wizard and the rest in artificer. 3rd level spells is the maximum level that I will be able to cast during this campaign.
Right now, I'm broke, but I'm pretty sure that it'll change in the near future. This goal is more of a long term thing anyway as I already mentioned.

I ask for general possibilities besides the obvious: Just dig, Dude! At least if it's not the only possibility. If plain digging is the only way, it's the only way and I have to dig or let someone else do the digging. Feel free to list all the possibilities that there are in the game or mention some examples out of experience when you tried to accomplish a comparable task.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 11 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this a tiny addition to make it work well; what your priority is - what priority which would make one approach better than another. Otherwise it asking for all the ways to do a fairly open ended thing, and that isn't what the answers so far has been taken as (and isn't a stellar approach at the best of times). From the note that you have no money, I suspect an approach being cheapest (and within reasonable timespan) would in fact be accurate (but the monetary situation should probably be spelled out more exactly anyway, it's been causing some confusion). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 11 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, if I look at the answers there's only a very limited amount of possibilities. If I look into the spells, there's only very little. Sorry, if that question was not focused enough... but TBH it confuses me, because there are some very well received answers on this site that is literally a list of things. So you can answer with a list of things, but you can't ask for it? Or what am I getting wrong right now? \$\endgroup\$ – TheKhileyan May 11 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheKhileyan To keep things clean, I responded to you in the chat. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 11 at 16:08
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Hire a bunch of labourers

Get a team of people with pickaxes and baskets.

Waterdeep is a big city. Labourers will be easy to find.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, with a bit of looking around possibly even an experienced construction crew who do this on the regular \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok May 11 at 8:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hobbamok Not sure about 5E times but the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild was definitely a thing. You wouldn't want to use non-guild labour because it might accidentally collapse. \$\endgroup\$ – richardb May 11 at 8:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good idea, a bunch of dwarf miners should take no time. \$\endgroup\$ – mwarren May 11 at 9:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor people have been known to dig into stone in real life. There are people in Waterdeep, which is a very big city. Thus, you can probably find someone willing to dig for you in exchange for money. To my knowledge, there are no rules for paying people to dig a hole, but the PHB has a section on "services" on page 159. According to that, a skilled hireling would cost 2gp per day. How many labourers and how much time it takes is up to the DM, though. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 11 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How long to dig through my tunnel? (worldbuilding.stackexchange.com) \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard May 11 at 10:53
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Transmute Rock

This is 5e's Stone to Mud spell (and it also does Mud to Stone). You can find it in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion, page 22 or Xanathar's Guide to Everything, page 169.

It's a 5th level spell, and it's available to wizards. It can transmute up to a 40 ft cube of stone into mud (that's 8 squares a side; more than sufficient for your needs). And it makes the change permanently, giving you as long as you like to then remove the mud from your basement.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The only risk to using this is the (newly added) constraint of not being able to cast higher than third level spells, but, they could get a scroll and try to cast it (DC of 15). (You may want to edit that it based on how he edited the question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 11 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ It also leaves the a metric truckload of mud that you have to remove from there somehow... :) But it's a valid solution. \$\endgroup\$ – João Mendes May 11 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is now beyond the scope of ability for OP. Although hiring a caster would be a possibility. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 11 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ On second thought, it won't be. THey can't afford to hire. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 11 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoãoMendes Wheelbarrows and day laborers would solve that quite nicely. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon May 11 at 15:07
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Stone Shape? can do this

That is literally Mold earth but for stone, as requested. Available for Cleric, Druid and Wizard, so it perfectly fits. Your problem (now that you edited the question) is that you need scrolls to do this, and will need to made a DC 14 check to cast said scrolls. That could get expensive.

I'm not absolutely certain whether this can remove stone, but even if it can't, just reshape it into separate bricks that anyone can easily carry away. The spell only limits your mechanical detail, something that absolutely won't be a problem. It will take a number of casts, but the volume is actually quite decent at 5x5x5 feet for a lvl 4 spell slot.

If you have access to Disintegrate (a favor from someone you meet in Waterdeep) that's a somewhat quicker way, or both combined, since you cannot upcast Stone Shape.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this particular use case, it would require 6 x 4 x 2 = 48 castings to excavate his basement expansion, each of which would cost a 4th level spell slot. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 May 11 at 8:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 if you work smart you can lower it by about a third. But yeah, it won't be too quick (depending on the level of extraneous help). OP just gave so little extra information and that is more or less the spell of choice I think \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok May 11 at 8:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Stone Shape is in fact a very inefficient way. And 4th level spells are pretty much unavailable for my character during that campaign, because we will end up level 8-9. So I didn't miss Stone Shape. It's just not a viable option for me. \$\endgroup\$ – TheKhileyan May 11 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TheKhileyan This is why we've asked what you've found, discarded, and why. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 11 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I added that to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – TheKhileyan May 11 at 11:25
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Firebolt or Magic Stone, over and over again.

Firebolt and Magic Stone are damaging cantrips that can target objects. Firebolt can do so explicitly, Magic Stone can do so implicitly by not limiting its targets to creatures.

Firebolt:

You hurl a mote of fire at a creature or object within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn't being worn or carried.

Magic Stone:

You touch one to three pebbles and imbue them with magic. You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. ... On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

Stone isn't flammable, so the last sentence of Firebolt isn't triggered; on a hit, it will just take damage. A 10x10 segment of stone would be a Large object, with 17 AC and 5d10 (27) HP, according to the DMG's section on object statistics (pp. 246-247).

That section does mention the possibility of Damage Thresholds for items like 10x10 sections of castle wall, but it gives no guidance about what those Damage Thresholds should be, effectively making Damage Threshold an avenue for a GM to declare via GM fiat that a given attack doesn't work. Thus, for this answer, I'm disregarding Damage Threshold, but your GM might rule that this strategy doesn't work, citing the Damage Threshold "rule".

So, a level 1 Wizard or Artificer with 16 Int could expect to spend just over a minute blasting a section of stone over and over again with Firebolt or Magic Stone in order to carve a 10x10 tunnel through the rock.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Completely RAW, but also: I'd hate it on my table. Still a good answer \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok May 11 at 8:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ A 10 foot cube of stone is very unlikely to be a large object, and also there aren't discrete chunks of stone in the earth anyway. This would definitely not work out like this following the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik May 11 at 9:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also RAW: "Big objects such as castle walls often have extra resilience represented by a Damage Threshold. An object with a Damage Threshold has immunity to all damage unless it takes an amount of damage from a single Attack or Effect equal to or greater than its Damage Threshold" \$\endgroup\$ – user56480 May 11 at 9:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user56480 damage threshold of the literal planet: INT_OVERFLOW \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 11 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the relevant part from the "Objects" section is this: "Use common sense when determining a character's succes at damaging an object. Can a fighter cut through a section of a stone wall with a sword? No, the sword is likely to break before the wall does." I would argue this applies to throwing a (relatively small) flame against a rock wall. \$\endgroup\$ – EagleV_Attnam May 11 at 13:50

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