Recently, I was in a 4-player level 12 free-for-all, and one of the other characters transformed into an earth elemental and burrowed underground, meaning I couldn't see them. This is an afterthought, as I was playing a wizard rather than a cleric, but I was wondering if guiding bolt would work in that situation.

The description of the guiding bolt spell says:

A flash of light streaks toward a creature of your choice within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 4d6 radiant damage, and the next attack roll made against this target before the end of your next turn has advantage, thanks to the mystical dim light glittering on the target until then.

The spell doesn't say I need to see the target, just that I attack them.

The answers to darnok's question Can the Guiding Bolt spell be aimed at an invisible target? said to make an attack roll with disadvantage. I was wondering if the same applies to someone underground.

In addition, if it does, and my guess lands on the target's path, but not on them, and I know where they originally burrowed, could I use that to begin to determine where they are?

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question with an obvious answer, but I couldn't find anything that answered my exact question, rather than a question that's similar.


1 Answer 1


This does not work: the target has total cover.

The rules for Total Cover state:

A target with total cover can't be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach such a target by including it in an area of effect. A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle.

A creature that is underground is “concealed by an obstacle” - the ground.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, thanks for the clarification on this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tasi
    Commented Mar 18 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does that mean that it's impossible to win against a target that burrowed underground and intends to just camp underground until the opponent eventually dies due to lack of food or water? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tasi
    Commented Mar 18 at 16:23
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tasi I have no idea, I’d need to know a lot more about that situation to be able to tell you. This answer only means that you can’t cast guiding bolt on a creature that is underground. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18 at 16:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tasi: There are usually a boatload of things you can do other than sitting and waiting for the enemy until you die. Like dig (with magic or a shovel), walk away, or take a long rest and prepare Create Water (1st) or Create Food And Water (3rd) if being a cleric is how you had access to Guiding Bolt. Or use other spells like Psychic Lance that can work through cover if you know the target's name (or actually RAW, that only helps with fully obscured, not total cover; it doesn't say it bypasses cover). As Thomas said, unanswerable without specifics. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19 at 4:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see that's already been asked as a followup question: How would I deal with an enemy that intends to camp underground until I die from the environment as a level 12 fairy wizard? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19 at 5:39

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