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I DM for a party that includes a bard and a warlock, both of whom can cast tiny hut. In a typical dangerous area long rest, the bard casts tiny hut to include the entire party, and then the warlock leaves that hut and casts his own. This gives him a private resting place to conduct activities that he doesn't necessarily want the party to know about, but allows him to enter the party's resting place if necessary (at the cost of bringing down his own hut when he leaves it).

The warlock is currently 'served' by an imp-like fiend; this is a free-willed relationship that behooves the warlock's patron and is not granted by find familiar, pact of the chain, or other class feature. As such, the fiend has its own motivations and agenda, some of which it does not share with the warlock.

The fiend would like to, invisibly, stand near the bard when she is casting her tiny hut so as to be included in it without her knowledge, be able to go in and out of her hut at will, and influence the dreams of the party members while they are asleep inside the hut. As the DM, I can just make this happen by fiat, but I am curious as to whether, RAW, the bard would realize that the fiend was included within her hut. The inclusion of the fiend would not put the creatures in the hut to more than nine, and the fiend is size Small.

There are questions on this site about whether the target of a spell knows that it is a target, whether a caster knows that a spell failed because the target is immune, and whether a caster knows why a spell failed, but as far as I can tell nothing about whether a caster knows who has been affected by their spell.

Tiny Hut has a range of Self, which in this context means that the effect emanates from the caster (PHB 202), but does not specify whether the creatures affected by the spell are 'targets' or not (and in any event, 'target' is natural language and not a rigorously-applied game term).

The spell describes itself as affecting "Creatures and objects within the dome when you cast this spell" - it does not say that the caster selects them, or has to see them.

Is there any RAW reason to believe that the caster of the hut would know how many creatures the hut included or their identities?

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2 Answers 2

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This would work

Think about what the tiny hut is. It's basically a tent made of nigh-indestructible force energy. It's like taking a tarp, hucking into the air, and spreading it over your group of people. It doesn't target anyone, it doesn't have saves or a chance to evade it or anything. It's a tent.

If you're in the tent when the tent goes up, it 'affects' you in that you can pass freely in and out of the tent.

There's absolutely nothing around this spell that indicates the caster somehow knows who is inside the area of effect, any more than the caster knows who all got caught in a fireball if they set it off near a doorway it could spread through and hit targets on the other side.

But...

Do remember that 'invisible' does not mean 'undetectable.' In terms of stealth, Invisible means:

An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.

https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/phb/appendix-a-conditions#Invisible

Your fiend still makes noise, it still disturbs the air, it can still disturb leaves or dust or leave footprints. If it's flying, you're going to get the sound of the flap of its wings. You can still accidentally bump into it, smack it while moving around, hit it with your backpack when you set it down.

So, yes...assuming the fiend can pass its stealth check to prevent anyone from hearing it or seeing signs of its passage. And assuming it manages to stay out of everyone's way all night long without doing anything that might give away its position....then it can do what you're suggesting.

Honestly, the odds of this invisible fiend remaining completely unnoticed while traveling with the party are quite small unless it usually stays well away from them. An Imp only has a +5 bonus to stealth...it's gonna lose that check eventually...probably sooner rather than later.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points - I should have specified, the fiend typically takes the form of a bat when it is not invisible, so that the party assumes that the warlock just has a bat familiar. Thus the Stealth roll is not to follow the party around all the time - they know there is a bat with them - the Stealth would just be for it attempting to be inside the area of the hut when it was cast. He would not be staying in it all night, but rather creeping in at some point to muck with some dreams, then slipping out to spend the rest of the long rest in the warlock's hut. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt Then why does this matter at all? If the party assumes the Warlock has a Bat familiar, it should be no surprise to anyone that the bat familiar is inside the Tiny Hut when it's being cast. Just....stay in bat form and hang out with the warlock (who is inside the Tiny Hut) until you find the convenient opportunity to duck out and change back to its natural shape (if it needs to do that at all) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ It matters because the party does not trust the warlock (for good reason). The Bat is supposed to be on guard / scout duty while the hut is being cast. The warlock having emergency access to the hut is one thing - the warlock's familiar flying in and out while people are having strange dreams is quite another. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 0:57
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The caster has no special knowledge of who is affected

The description of Tiny Hut states:

A 10-foot-radius immobile dome of force springs into existence around and above you and remains stationary for the duration. (...) Nine creatures of Medium size or smaller can fit inside the dome with you. The spell fails if its area includes a larger creature or more than nine creatures. Creatures and objects within the dome when you cast this spell can move through it freely.

There is no targeting or selection of creatures by the caster. The spell creates a dome of 10 foot radius, and unless there are more than 9 Medium size or smaller creatures or a larger creature within that radius, causing the spell to fail, all of them will be inside the hut and able to pass through.

The question is if the imp can remain undetected by the party. Invisible does not mean that your are undetected, you still need to successfully hide yourself with Stealth (which you can do in plain sight):

An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The crea­ture’s location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.

If it can remain undetected, then it can try whatever nefarious dream meddling it is planning to do. As guildsbouty says, I would not bank on that imp remaining undetected for long. It might be better off posing as a raven, rat or spider companion.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points - I should have specified, the fiend typically takes the form of a bat when it is not invisible, so that the party assumes that the warlock just has a bat familiar. Thus the Stealth roll is not to follow the party around all the time - they know there is a bat with them - the Stealth would just be for it attempting to be inside the area of the hut when it was cast. He would not be staying in it all night, but rather creeping in at some point to muck with some dreams, then slipping out to spend the rest of the long rest in the warlock's hut. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 21:55

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