Can a Water Elemental freeze, and what happens if it does?

Since it consists of water, it seems plausible that it can freeze. However, when this came up in our game, the DM ruled that freezing the Water Elemental would restrain it, and since it is immune to the Restrained condition, it cannot freeze. It's not impossible to imagine a frozen Water Elemental that is still not restrained in the sense of the condition in the game, but I actually liked this ruling and it was fine for our game. Still, I'm also interested in finding a RAW answer to the question.


1 Answer 1


They can. It's actually in their very stat-block:

Freeze. If the elemental takes cold damage, it partially freezes; its speed is reduced by 20 feet until the end of its next turn.

Clearly it can partially freeze when hit with cold damage, so then it can also be completely frozen. It is, however, up to the DM on what exactly it takes to freeze a Water Elemental. It will almost certainly start with applying enough cold damage to kill it, though.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ How on earth did I miss that? I'm still unsure whether it freezes from just being exposed to sufficiently low temperatures, but my question as asked is certainly answered by this. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 6, 2021 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarsPlastic it's kind of like asking "Can a human freeze?" The answer likely depends on a couple key unstated assumptions. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Oct 3, 2022 at 19:09

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