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Was wondering if there was a specific RAI source for a definition of direction in the case of a spell like Locate Object.

Do they mean cardinal direction in that it would point you in the cardinal direction towards the object but if it was on a ladder it wouldn't say that the object is up 10ft? Or would direction encompass plane/elevation/altitude?

"Find the path" at 6th level gives direction, and distance to object and path to it as well as range. But doesn't particularly define "Direction" either, so is it just long range locate object with extra range / path finding?

Definitely a quibble, but I had initially thought one way until I was questioned on it so now I am unsure and can't find a good source.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack! Check out the tour when you have a moment (You get a shiny new badge for it!) and check the help center for additional information. Is there any reason you don't think it would work on the z-axis as well as cardinal directions? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2023 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

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We should assume that the direction is a 3D vector

Mathematically, directions are described by vectors. For a 3D space like real the world this is done with a 3D vector. D&D 5E emulates a world that works like the real world unless there is a reason to assume otherwise. The spell description doesn't indicate that any information from a unequivocal direction description would be missing which would the case if only a cardinal direction was given. The description does not state any such limits. Such a vector is an abstract concept but could be understood concretely as a line of sight or an imaginary line drawn from the spell user to the target. Note that in the case of Find the Path an additional direction is given which is the shortest physical route to the target. We can assume that this works like a navigation system in a car.

A vector also has a magnitude which signifies the distance but is not part of the distance description - vectors of different magnitudes can point in the same direction. The spell description of Locate Object doesn't specify that the distance is revealed so this part is not revealed although the maximum distance of 1k feet to the target is known. In the case of Find the Path this info is revealed.

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Direction is where would you point if you knew where it were.

If you know its movement, it's how your finger would move if you followed it by pointing.

Simplest is best - there's no reason to limit this to a 2-D model.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If I was in a maze and someone asked me which way to the exit, I'd point which path to follow. Not the direction as the crow flies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daron
    Mar 17, 2023 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Daron, Find the Path does that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Mar 17, 2023 at 15:36

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