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I'm in a funny situation here. I have a gestalt Wizard/Druid (or a "Druizard", as my group call his "class") in my party, and recently his player tried to use Meld Into Stone to set up am ambush point. That's ok. However, when he tried to go into the wall, another player on the table said that it "Would obviously fail." I asked why, and he showed me the rules for the spell:

Meld into stone enables you to meld your body and possessions into a single block of stone. The stone must be large enough to accommodate your body in all three dimensions. When the casting is complete, you and not more than 100 pounds of nonliving gear merge with the stone. If either condition is violated, the spell fails and is wasted.

Emphasis mine.

He then said that the "druizard" had living spiders, several seeds and some live fireflies with him in his component pouch—thus violating one of the conditions (non-living gear).

I had to stop the session at that point because of time restrictions, and this situation is unresolved. Our next game is next week, so I have some time to think about this.

I'm inclined to rule that the spell works anyway, and the living spiders (or any other spell component) is not an issue.

One could also argue that this rule doesn't put a limit on living gear, so you could, in a distorted raw-reading, not only Meld Into Stone with your component pouch but also have an unlimited amount of "living gear" with you. That would make sense for grafts and other stuff like that, but it would become ridiculous if you start using creatures as "gear"—polymorph into an ogre, pick up the barbarian as a club, Meld Into Stone. I can easily see my group attempting stuff like that.

How, exactly, should I proceed? Just assume "Silly RAW", remove the word "Non-living" from the spell description, and move on?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might choose to handwave the spell component pouch like most people do, if he doesn't have specific (costed) living spell components, everything else can merge fine because the pouch "protects" the miscellaneous, undefined, Schrodinger's potentially living possible creatures inside :P until he draws the component from the pouch, after all, we don't know what he's got in there ^_^ \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Sep 4 '14 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ For added fun, what happens if you Wild Shape first? Now your gear is already melded, so does it need to meld again or does it just come with you since it's already in whatever weird spot gear goes in Wild Shape? And really, is it worth worrying about details like that? \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Sep 4 '14 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is yet another of the many, many reasons why, in my campaigns, spell component pouches don't contain actual spiders and fireflies and seeds and wool and bitumen and a million other things that players will find interesting, non-spell-component uses for and problems with; instead, they contain a supply of special little beads, produced en mass by the church of the goddess of magic, that serve as generic components, having the ability to substitute for spiders or bitumen or whatever else, but only for purposes of fulfilling a spell's need for material components. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Sep 4 '14 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Close. It is a Kobold Barbarian/Rogue gestalt. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Sep 4 '14 at 22:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IstvanChung Radical new cure for lice & fungal infections! \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Sep 5 '14 at 2:07
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Allow them to carry any spell components, parasites, flower tiaras, and intestinal flora along with them.

The RAW aren't exactly silly, but they seem intended to avoid someone melding into stone along with an ally, enemy, victim, or familiar by claiming that they're carrying them as gear. As long as something is CR0 and Diminutive or smaller, it's fine.

Someone's spell shouldn't fail just because a fly happened to land on their pack as they cast it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for mentioning intestinal flora and tiaras made from flowers. \$\endgroup\$ – PipperChip Sep 4 '14 at 20:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd say smaller than Diminutive. This way, no creature can ever qualify. I'd use the same wording for antilife shell, by the way. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 4 '14 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel Then why muck about with size categories at all? Just say "creatures". The game already has that as a well-defined keyword that is distinguished from "living thing". (The usual example is trees, which are alive, but are not (usually) creatures.) \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Sep 4 '14 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon because I don't want someone to meld into stone while carrying, say, a tree. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 5 '14 at 11:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel Why? If it's a big tree, the weight limit already has you covered. If it's under the weight limit, why not let them meld with it? \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Sep 5 '14 at 11:17
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Using RAW then no, your druizard is unable to meld into stone.

However, I would recommend hand waving the spell and saying that since it's a druid spell it can ignore small amounts of components used in other druid spells. That seems to work with RAI.

Do not just remove the "Non-living" portion from the spell, as your players will abuse the spell horribly then.

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    \$\begingroup\$ RAI is far more important than RAW in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – Aviose Sep 5 '14 at 16:56

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