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I encounter my character in a big room with statues and shallow water between 3 and 6ft tall

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    \$\begingroup\$ And what game would you be playing here? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 3:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason you think it would do more damage? Also, are you asking does it do more damage in shallow water than it does underwater? Or are you asking whether it does more damage (in shallow or underwater) than it does normally in air / on land? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EduardoMedina Which roleplaying game / edition is your question referring to? D&D 5th edition? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 7:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are the statues relevant or just part of an actual room description? It may also be helpful to explain why you think thunderclap may (or may not) deal extra damage in the circumstances. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 15:15

1 Answer 1

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This answer applies to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

No. The spell description describes the spell’s effect.

The rules for Spellcasting state:

Each spell description in Chapter 11 begins with a block of information, including the spell’s name, level, school of magic, casting time, range, components, and duration. The rest of a spell entry describes the spell’s effect.

So to understand the effect of a spell, we generally need look no further than the description.1 The description of thunderclap states:

You create a burst of thunderous sound that can be heard up to 100 feet away. Each creature within range, other than you, must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d6 thunder damage.

Notably, there is no mention of this changing or having a different effect under water.

Now, one might think “maybe there’s a rule about Thunder damage in general”. However, there is not. The rules for damage types state:

Damage types have no rules of their own, but other rules, such as damage resistance, rely on the types.

The damage types themselves don’t have any rules of their own, but other rules might rely on the damage types. If there were a rule about Thunder damage and underwater combat, we would find it in the Underwater Combat section of the rules, but there we only see:

Creatures and objects that are fully immersed in water have resistance to fire damage.

This section does give a rule about fire damage underwater, but there is no rule about Thunder damage to be found.


1 The only exception to this I am aware of is the spell plane shift, as the Dungeon Master’s Guide has some additional details about the spell’s function that are not clearly laid out in the spell description.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The other place to check would be the Underwater Combat section in the PHB at page 198: It states that "Creatures and objects that are fully immersed in water have resistance to fire damage.", but does not say anything about Thunder damage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 4:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Yes, good point, added. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 4:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another example of a spell's effect not being completely described by the spell description would be the ability of greater and lesser restoration to cure various forms of madness. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 5:42

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