Spike growth deals damage "for each 5 feet of movement through the spiked area". Dazing Spell inflicts daze "when a creature takes damage" from the base spell. Does spike growth deal all its damage at once and inflict daze at the end of a creature's movement, or does it trigger Dazing Spell once for every 5 feet of movement?


2 Answers 2


It triggers every 5 feet.

If we look at Spike Growth, we see:

Any creature moving on foot into or through the spell's area takes 1d4 points of piercing damage for each 5 feet of movement through the spiked area.

So instead of focusing on the interaction with Dazing, lets look at how it interacts with something a little more common, damage reduction (DR).

If we look at Damage Reduction and the FAQ for its interactions with spells, we see that:

if a magical attack specifically mentions that it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, DR affects that damage normally, as if it were from a physical weapon.


The entry indicates the amount of damage ignored (usually 5 to 15 points) and the type of weapon that negates the ability.

So now, lets take a common monster, the skeleton and see how it interacts with Spike Growth.

The skeleton itself has DR 5/bludgeoning so when it walks over multiple sections of the spell's area, there's two distinct possibilities that occur.

  1. The spell deals 1d4 piercing damage every time it enters a square.
  2. The spell waits until it has finished moving, and then deal xd4 piercing damage, where x is the number of squares that it walked over.

Since #2 fails to take into consideration how DR would interact with the damage, that leaves #1 as the correct method of doing so.

Incidentally, this also lines up with how Etheric Shards (a similar style of spell, that was printed later on) works.

creatures entering a 5-foot cube filled with etheric shards take 1d8 points of piercing and slashing damage

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like Etheric Shards is a much stronger argument than DR. The skeleton could take xd4 - 5 damage at the end and still be within the rules for DR. (I agree this isn't the correct way to do it, but DR5/bludgeoning wouldn't reduce spell that deals CLd6 slashing/piercing damage per die, but a single time) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Oct 29, 2021 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, simply on the basis that it is its own spell and thus can function differently. (e.g. wall of thorns which deals damage once per round) I should probably do an analysis comparing how spike growth is worded, vs fireball and other burst spells, but I feel the answer suffices right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Oct 29, 2021 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ While I agree with the answer, you are wrong on the movement: The spell deals damage "for each 5 feet of movement " not "for each square", thus difficult terrain – or other things that increase movement cost – also increase the damage taken. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theaitetos
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:35

Balanced, it dazes once per move action.

Spike growth states: "Any creature moving on foot into or through the spell’s area takes 1d4 points of piercing damage for each 5 feet of movement through the spiked area." I contest that the "for" implies cumulative damage not isolated damage, otherwise it should be "at". Combine that with the "creature moving" text which pretty clearly relates to a move action and the damage should be calculated cumulatively for each move action taken by the affected creature (even those pesky 5' steps). From a balanced game point of view almost all spells that do one 'batch' of damage a round would trigger the daze function just once per round as well. To have it trigger up to 12 times on the same target (for a double move) in a single round, FROM A SINGLE SOURCE, is unbalanced and (I believe) not at all the intention. If they double moved through the spike growth then by all means trigger the daze twice, that would be fair.

Additionally, the DR being applied every 5 feet isn't entirely logical. It comes down to DPS factors. DR blocks damage per source sure, but the source is all the Spike Growth spell and the affected creature is basically choosing to shred their legs more by moving further. If they move slowly, say taking a 5' step and have DR5 then they take no damage, this indicates a level of care taken in proceeding through the damaging terrain. If they dash 30' though it, they're basically grating (like cheese) their legs and should take the 6d4-5 damage.


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