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Somebody who has cast Alarm is sleeping inside the area (they didn't choose the window or door option) of the spell, which is "[...] no larger than a 20-foot cube.", and the spell also states:

Until the spell ends, an alarm alerts you whenever a Tiny or larger creature touches or enters the warded area.

If I get a 10 ft pole and poke the sleeping caster gently, does the Alarm spell go off? I can see two parts to this, is the 10ft pole considered part of me as a creature? And have I entered if I've not 'set foot' inside the area? It's a little ambiguous if the 'touch' part is only intended for the door/window option.

Is it any different if I attack into it from range, with a spell or weapon?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Area" is used to refer to the 20-foot cube, which means even if you are floating, you are still touching the area when you float into the cube (or extend a pole into it) \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Dec 23 '21 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson are you call me a pole? Seriously though, the floating part is the least ambiguous part. It's the 'is the pole part of me' that I think needs adressing \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23 '21 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I would also wonder if there is a difference between a hand-held object being extended into the area and a thrown object entering the area. Do either or both count as touching? \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Dec 23 '21 at 14:47
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Has a tiny or larger creature entered or touched the area?

For the 10 foot pole: no, they haven’t entered it, maybe they touched it. Touch is undefined so it is a DM’s call. However, I would rule the answer is “no” because you can’t deliver a spell that has touch range with a 10 foot pole.

For a ranged attack: no, they haven’t entered it and no, they haven’t touched it.

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It's ambiguous, so it's up to the DM.

The question quotes the entirety of the relevant part of the spell description. It doesn't define "touches" in any way, and there's a broad range of things a creature could do that would be more or less clearly "touching". For example, reaching into the area with a gloved hand to grab something is a more like "touching" than reaching in with a stick or pole. Shining a light in is not at all like "touching", but flying a mage hand in is. And so on.

In cases like this, the DM adjudicates. They can of course use whatever criteria they choose to make their ruling.

In the case of actions that would alert the caster by themselves, the point's moot -- being stabbed by a spear might trigger alarm, but even if it doesn't, it will wake you anyway.

As a DM I would typically rule that alarm isn't going to be fooled by this kind of stuff, and would have it go off if (non-excluded) creatures throw or poke objects into the warded area. Also bear in mind that the exact boundaries of the alarm, especially in its "area" mode, aren't at all easy to detect, and are certainly wholly invisible to ordinary senses. So creatures attempting to stand just outside and poke objects inwards are probably proceeding by guesswork.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "flying a mage hand in is" wait... what? I was going to ask this separately but I didn't as I thought it was obviously not a tiny creature. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23 '21 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but is the caster of the mage hand touching the area? How is that different than reaching into the area with a gloved hand? \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Dec 23 '21 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ because it's not part of the casters 'person'? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23 '21 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's an argument that could be made, the adjudication of which is up to the GM. Mage hand says "You can use the hand to ... open an unlocked door". Would that trigger alarm on that door? \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Dec 23 '21 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was tempted to ask that question at the same time as this one, but I decided to wait until after I had answer here. I forget if asked first, but I did post this rpg.stackexchange.com/a/194814/2788 \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24 '21 at 15:24

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