The spell "Frost Fingers" from page 318 of the module "Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden" says:

The cold freezes nonmagical liquids in the area that aren't being worn or carried.

This wording makes it a bit unclear, whether creatures are then stuck in the frozen water, because surrounding water could count as "worn or carried". How is this spell to rule especially underwater with swimming creatures who are in the area of the spell (15 ft cone, originating from the caster)? Are they then restrained or possibly enclosed in ice?


1 Answer 1


It is up to the DM

The freezing of liquids seems to be intended to be side effect, which results are up to the DM. This becomes clear when we look at the description of other spells and effects that freeze water. Here are some relevant excerpts (emphasis mine):

Shape Water (Cantrip)

You freeze the water, provided that there are no creatures in it. The water unfreezes in 1 hour.

(Otiluke's) Freezing Sphere (6th Level Spell)

If the globe strikes a body of water or a liquid that is principally water (not including water-based creatures), it freezes the liquid to a depth of 6 inches over an area 30 feet square. This ice lasts for 1 minute. Creatures that were swimming on the surface of frozen water are trapped in the ice. A trapped creature can use an action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC to break free.

Shape the Flowing River (Four Elements Monk Discipline)

As an action, you can spend 1 ki point to choose an area of ice or water no larger than 30 feet on a side within 120 feet of you. You can change water to ice within the area and vice versa, and you can reshape ice in the area in any manner you choose. [...] You can't shape the ice to trap or injure a creature in the area.

All of these are very explicit with how they interact with creatures. Shape Water and Shape the Flowing River are both low cost so trapping or harming a creature are probably not an intended use for a low cost effect as that can be very powerful. So as a 1st Level Spell, Frost Fingers maybe shouldn't be so powerful as well and trapping a creature with Frost Fingers should be the exception. Note, that there is no duration specified, like in Shape the Flowing River, so the DM could also end the frozen state of the water at any (hopefully reasonable) time and therefore resolve any trapping in it that might have ocurred.

Frost Fingers is already unique in the way, that it effects any nonmagical liquids in the area that aren't being worn or carried in contrast to the mentioned effects, which only affect water and ice.


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