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We had an encounter with a bunch of flesh golems. The party knew already that magic that allows spell resistance failed against them. The cavern corridors they were in had a width of 15 feet at the narrowest point. One of the spellcasters won initiative, so before the golems could react, he sent his familiar to a spot at the narrow portion of the corridor in the square of one of the flesh golems. They could not take any attacks of opportunity since they were all flat-footed. The familiar then delivered the touch spell, Stone Shape, which does not allow spell resistance to create a floor to ceiling five foot wide wall. The goal was to bottleneck the golems behind the wall using a solid fog spell behind the little partition since they had not blocked line of effect.

I loved this clever solution to the problem. It was very effective battlefield control. The one thing I was not sure how to handle was the golem that was on the square where the wall appeared. Did he automatically get sliced in half? Did the stone shape around him, trapping him in place? The spell does not specify what happens if there is something in the way of the shape being created. So, in the moment, I decided that the spell would go into effect, and the golem would simply be shunted out of the square without taking damage. Had the caster tried to shape it to trap him, that would have worked, but since it was meant to be a solid wall, the golem just got moved out of that square.

It worked well in the moment, and I was very pleased with the party's tactics. But, it got me wondering about my decision to shunt the golem. Was that a reasonable adjudication? Or would it have been closer to RAW if the golem got stuck in the stone wall that was created? It is not a big deal now, but I am wondering if the situation arises again how I want to handle it, and it would be pretty cool seeing the golem stuck in a fresh stone wall. In fact, the golem itself would have been impeding the movement of the other golems, slowing them down even more, and making the tactic even more effective than it already was.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Link to the spell: stone shape. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2021 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Was this a 5-foot-thick stone wall that extended floor-to-ceiling as well as fully across the 15-foot chokepoint? Or a 5-foot-square column in the middle or something? For that matter, how high was the ceiling? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 3, 2021 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ We did not discuss too many details. It happened in the middle of combat, and I was not trying to get full details. It was a 5-foot-wide impediment in the middle of the 15-foot-wide corridor. The goal was to have it be anchored to the floor and ceiling (10 foot tall ceiling). Perhaps it was a stone lattice rather than a solid wall. Maybe it was a one-foot-diameter pillar from floor to ceiling. The character had a 14 Intelligence, so they probably made it secure enough to be an impediment, regardless of what it actually looked like. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2021 at 17:51

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First of all, it’s not immediately obvious that stone shape could do this—at least by my reading, it kind of sounds like you kind of need to use your hands to shape it into the desired shape and there isn’t anything in the spell about moving stone from one place to another. You’re also only touching the surface of the floor and it’s not clear how “deep” into the stone the magic can penetrate to pull up into the wall.

Also, wall of stone exists, and is two spell levels higher. That alone should give one pause here. True, wall of stone produces larger walls, and has vastly superior range, but I’m not sure those benefits are sufficient to justify two spell levels difference.

But we’ll assume that works, for the sake of the question.

It was a 5-foot-wide impediment in the middle of the 15-foot-wide corridor.

This wouldn’t block flesh golems. They are Large, and have a Space of 10’×10’, but they can squeeze down to a 5’×5’ space and pass through the blockade, and all it would cost them is a single extra square worth of movement (they’d take some penalties too but those would only be relevant if they acted or were acted upon while in the tight space).

More appropriate would be a full wall across the entire 15-foot gap. If the wall is an inch thick, caster level 13th would be sufficient for that (with some left over). If a half-inch thick, CL 7th would do it. Note that at some point a thin-enough wall becomes implausible—as soon as the magic is removed it would just fall apart under its own weight. The rules note that a foot is the minimum thickness for a load-bearing stone wall, but that clearly isn’t the case here. Also note that, even if the wall isn’t collapsing under its own weight, stone’s hardness is 8, which means a flesh golem is capable of damaging the wall, and has 15 hp per inch, so thin walls might not last very long. However, unless they were controlled, mindless golems aren’t going to even try unless they can still perceive the party through the wall somehow.

Which is where that line-of-effect comes in. Leaving a small hole in the wall is well within stone shape’s abilities—it even might reduce the necessary caster level some. But care would have to be taken to ensure the golems could not perceive the party through this gap, or else they would start bashing the wall down—and with a bit of luck they could do that in two attacks for the inch-thick version.¹

All that covers, effectively, whether or not the party could wall off the passage, and whether the flesh golems could get past it. It doesn’t address what happens if the stone is created with the golems in the way.

The only rules I can find for something like this are for Conjuration—which simply say you cannot, something can only be conjured into “an open location capable of supporting it.” That seems like a reasonable rule to apply to a Transmutation used to move material into a new space where it wasn’t before—particularly since, as mentioned, it doesn’t appear that the developers ever considered the possibility that Transmutations could or would be used in such a manner.

However, if you really want to allow it to happen, one thing I have used is to allow the creature a Reflex save. Success means it can hop to one side or the other of the new object, as it likes. Failure means the caster can choose which side of it the creature remains on. This, by the way, is fairly analogous to how wall of stone works when trying to imprison a creature. Regardless, I wouldn’t allow anything like this to actually damage or pin a creature.

  1. Flesh golems deal 2d8+5 damage, and the wall has hardness 8, so they deal an average of 6 damage with each attack against the wall’s 15 hp. So one attack will never do it, two attacks requires some luck, and some bad luck could make it take four. A flesh golem’s attack can do literally 0 damage to a stone wall if it rolls 3 or less on 2d8, so there is no maximum number of attacks needed, but any more than 4 is unlikely.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Squeezing was fine. It was meant for battlefield control. Blocking charge attacks and forcing the golems to come one or two at a time was more than enough benefit from the spell. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2021 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @InterstellarProbe I don’t see how it would accomplish that, unless they were themselves positioned to block those routes. Otherwise the golems could just squeeze through and continue moving on the other side, losing just 5 feet of movement (honestly, if that, since the rules say each “square” of squeezing requires an extra 5 feet but this would only require squeezing to get past an edge). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 3, 2021 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps, but there was more going on, of course. The next caster dropped a Solid Fog spell on the golems behind the "wall", then the warlock used Chilling Tentacles, which dealt automatic cold damage, causing the Slow effect to all of them. They each had 5 ft movement and could only take either a move or standard action each round. It did not take the party long to clean them up. That's probably what made me think it was more effective, because they definitely bottlenecked when they could only move 5 ft. per round. But, maybe it would have been the same without the stone shape. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 3, 2021 at 22:08

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