I am trying to figure out how exactly the spell "Wall of Ice" works. I am DM now and have been playing for a few years, but I have never seen spells of level 6 in action due to most games ending before this kind of spell becomes available.
Upon reading the spell description I have come to the conclusion that wall of ice is quite powerful against several enemies that may also be close to the caster's allies as they can place each 10 foot segment exactly where I want (so long as they touch each-other). However I am trying to figure out whether the caster can instead focus down one opponent by criss-crossing its square (and perhaps even the squares it can get ejected to) with walls. I am also trying to figure out whether they can use this spell to criss-cross a narrow passage and force pursuing creatures to take the 5d6 damage from frigid air for each segment they cross.
The wording of the spell:
You create a wall of ice on a solid surface within range. You can form it into a hemispherical dome or a sphere with a radius of up to 10 feet, or you can shape a flat surface made up of ten 10-foot-square panels. Each panel must be contiguous with another panel. In any form, the wall is 1 foot thick and lasts for the duration.
If the wall cuts through a creature's space when it appears, the creature within its area is pushed to one side of the wall and must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 10d6 cold damage, or half as much damage on a successful save.
The wall is an object that can be damaged and thus breached. It has AC 12 and 30 hit points per 10-foot section, and it is vulnerable to fire damage. Reducing a 10-foot section of wall to 0 hit points destroys it and leaves behind a sheet of frigid air in the space the wall occupied. A creature moving through the sheet of frigid air for the first time on a turn must make a Constitution saving throw. That creature takes 5d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the damage the wall deals when it appears increases by 2d6, and the damage from passing through the sheet of frigid air increases by 1d6, for each slot level above 6th.> If the wall cuts through a creature's space when it appears, the creature within its area is pushed to one side of the wall and must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 10d6 cold damage, or half as much damage on a successful save.
I am looking for clarifications on the following points:
- If a creature is crossed by more than 1 wall segment, for example if an ancient dragon is hit by four segments as the caster tries to box it in. Does the target have to save and take damage vs each segment or only once from the wall as a whole?
- If the caster forces a creature into a box that is smaller than the creature (again imagine an ancient dragon), do squeezing rules apply to the creature?
- If the caster zigzags a wall across a 10 foot wide corridor or alleyway in this kind of shape: /|/|/|/ and the pursuers manage to somehow destroy the ice and attempt to pursue, will they take 10 times the frigid air damage (once for each segment) or will they only take it once per turn even if they cross multiple segments.
- Do the wall segments have to touch each-other at the tip like this: /|/|/|/ or can the caster theoretically have shapes where one wall segment touches another in a T shape like this: |-|-|-|
I am tempted to rule these a certain way, however I would be open to any crawford tweets or erratas or just general input that could point me the right way:
- No, each creature only needs to save once regardless of what kind of maze of ice you are drawing around them. Maybe I would consider giving the creature disadvantage if hit by 3 segments or more as it realistically gets much harder for the target to dodge in that scenario, but I am not 100% sure about that either.
- I would probably rule that creatures do indeed get squeezed until they make it out of that zone (or break the walls)
- My first reading gave me the impression this would apply only once per turn for the whole wall. However upon rereading I realised that "moving through the sheet of frigid air for the first time on a turn" in the relevant sentence refers specifically to the sheet of frigid air left behind by a single wall segment. To me this implies that each sheet of frigid air is its own entity and would trigger the damage individually. This would make sense to me as the caster in this case would sacrifice area covered to focus both the damage and the blocking utility of the spell. This would perhaps make the spell more of an option compared to the lower level and generally superior wall of force.
- Contiguous would imply T shape is not acceptable to me as the way I imagine "contiguous" is by picturing the wall spreading itself at its edge, therefore this would be a valid shape: /|/|/|/ but this would not be valid shape: |-|-|-|