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The Pole of Collapsing (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p. 138) states that:

While holding this 10-foot pole, you can use an action to speak a command word and cause it to collapse into a 1-foot-long rod, for ease of storage. The pole's weight doesn't change. You can use an action to speak a different command word and cause the rod to revert to a pole; however, the rod will elongate only as far as the surrounding space allows.

If a lightweight creature (such as a halfling) holds the collapsed pole in their hand, faces it towards the ground, and utters the command word for elongation (while holding on for dear life), will the pole hit the ground on one side and extend 10 feet into the air on the other - essentially functioning like an elevator for said creature?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Dec 4, 2022 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why a halfling in specific? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2022 at 3:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I realize now it didn’t need to specifically be a halfling, I was just thinking it needed to be a creature that wouldn’t snap or harm the pole with their weight when elongating it \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2022 at 8:56

3 Answers 3

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No

“… as far as the surrounding space allows” is not ambiguous. If you extend your pole “down” once it hits the ground the surrounding space no longer allows it to extend in that direction so it stops. If you want it to go up as well, that’s fine, it will extend to the full 10 feet but it wont take you with it because there are no secret rules - if it doesn’t say it, it doesn’t do it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting, it can push through air. Can it push through water? Oil? Jell-O? etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Dec 6, 2022 at 3:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dave I never thought I'd one day see the question "Can my magic extending stick push through a pool of Jell-O?" on this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Dec 6, 2022 at 6:57
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Your DM needs to decide

You quote the entire text of the pole of collapsing. There is no detail that specifies at what point or how the rod will extend. All that is stated is that it will extend up to 10 feet if there is sufficient space. For example, it could be that the pole just magically extends at the ends until they hit an obstacle, in which case there would be no change or force exerted at the point where you grip it.

As this is not specified, your DM will have to decide how exactly it works, following the guidance on page 4 in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything:

The rules of D&D cover many of the twists and turns that come up in play, but the possibilities are so vast that the rules can't cover everything. When you encounter something that the rules don't cover or if you're unsure how to interpret a rule, the DM decides how to proceed, aiming for a course that brings the most enjoyment to your whole group.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the quote and reminding me of: "the DM decides how to proceed, aiming for a course that brings the most enjoyment to your whole group". I've been at plenty of tables where DMs forget this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Dec 5, 2022 at 22:02
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The description of the item does not allow it, but the RAF principle does.

The description of this magic item tells us that the pole can be shrunk into a rod and viceversa, by using a magic word. Nowhere it reports that a creature (or even some heavy stuff) can be put at one end of the rod and when the magic word is spoken, this is lifted at 10 ft: once the rod has reached the floor, there is no more space in which the rod can expand, because the other end is "blocked" by the creature (credit's to Dale M for having pointed out this).

Anyway, the DM has the final word on clever/unusual employment of items (magic or not), hence they can decide to allow it, mainly under the Rules as Fun principle.

On a comment to the question, the OP states

I realize now it didn’t need to specifically be a halfling, I was just thinking it needed to be a creature that wouldn’t snap or harm the pole with their weight when elongating it.

If the DM allows to use this item as an elevator, recall that magic items are more resistant to damage than mundane ones, as we can read in the DMG, page 141 (emphasis mine):

Most magic items are objects of extraordinary artisanship. Thanks to a combination of careful crafting and magical reinforcement, a magic item is at least as durable as a nonmagical item of its kind. Most magic items, other than potions and scrolls, have resistance to all damage. Artifacts are practically indestructible, requiring extraordinary measures to destroy.

If I were the DM and I decided to allow this, I would make the creature make a DEX (acrobatics) check to determine if they can stand in equilibrium on the expanding pole

There is maybe a way to circumvent this.

Instead of standing on one end of the rod and make it expand, the creature can hold the rod near the upper end, on the side, and make it elongate: once the floor is hit, if there is enough space above to reach its maximum length, the creature holding the rod can be lifted à la Goku.

In case of allowing this, be prepared for more complicated situations.

If the DM allows this "elevator staff" usage, then the next clever use of this item could be to "shove" an engaged enemy in melee combat: this may require some more ruling, for example if this is a Shove, hence a contested STR check, or if it has to be considered as a normal attack.


See also the Rule of Cool.

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