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If you cast Otiluke's Resilient Sphere on a creature that can fly, can they move the sphere up off the ground by flying/pushing up? (The sphere is weightless, so it should be easy to lift)

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You can only roll the sphere, but ask your DM

Resilient Sphere says:

An enclosed creature can use its action to push against the sphere's walls and thus roll the sphere at up to half the creature's speed.

Using the principle that spells do what they say they do, rolling is the only way to move it from inside. Rolling is defined as: moving by turning over and over on an axis, and just pushing the ball into the air without the ground’s friction to turn it over would not do that normally.

You are also using your action to roll it, and not your movement, so you are not moving, you make the ball move. That speaks against an interpretation where you could use your flying movement to move it up.

On the other hand, one could argue that the rolling is merely a consequence of being able to push against the wall while it is on the ground, and if you can apply force to the wall in any direction, you should be able to move it in that direction, which in mid-air requires or causes no rolling. That’s not what the spell says you can do, but it seems reasonable too.

In the end, it will be up to the DM if they allow you to “roll” the ball when flying up by pushing against the walls in a lateral direction using your hands' friction on its surface, or if they allow you to move it in any direction with your action just like that, or if they do not. The spell does not consider a flying creature explicitly, so this is one of those unforeseen situations that calls upon the DM's judgement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This does imply that if you capture an airborne flying creature it is unable to move the sphere in any direction (due to lacking ground contact). I'm not sure whether that conflicts with the intention of the spell to allow the creature 'half movement' (via their action) while enclosed - there's nothing in the description that explicitly states that airborne flying creatures are rendered effectively grappled by the spell. I do agree that 'rolling' doesn't clearly allow vertical travel, but I would still allow the creature to 'roll' the sphere horizontally as if it was along the ground. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kayndarr
    Aug 23 at 4:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is rather sketchy. You are saying that it's physically impossible for a creature to "push against the sphere's walls" in order to "roll the sphere" unless it's in contact to the ground? I would say that if you are flying you could push the front wall down and it would roll (or the back wall up and that front wall down, etc). If a creature can fulfil the "make the sphere move around an axis" criteria then why can't they "roll upwards?". So long as the creature is pushing against the walls and the result is the sphere rolling, I don't see a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – user77842
    Aug 23 at 6:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the result of this answer, but not the process. Spells only do what they say isn't always useful as an answer, and this is clearly an oversight because spell text never covers every possible eventuality. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 23 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user77842 Not sure if you are asking me or Kayndar. I think this is unclear enough, so the DM needs to decide how to handle it. I personally would probably allow moving in any direction, but could understand another DM who would not. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23 at 12:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Yes, I thought about writing a deeper answer, but you quickly get into physics sim territory here: what is your system of reference, can you roll the ball in air, normally it would fall, so with a flyer inside, should it fall too, if not and the flyer can hold it up, shouldn’t the flyer be able to move it too? Can the flyer create force if using wings on the air entirely within the ball, does it make a diff if they have magical flight? As you say, not considered in the text. So I think this is an area best left to the DM. You can argue for or against any interpretation here. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23 at 12:45

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