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I have been having a discussion regarding the Shape Water cantrip from the Elemental Evil Player's Companion. A friend and I are trying to come to an accurate view of how this spell actually functions.

Some example questions:

  • Must the targeted water be within a 5 foot cube area, or does it need to be of a volume not exceeding 125 cubic feet?
  • If you shape water that is within a 5 foot cube, can the final shape you animate it to extend outside the cube?
  • Can you cause the shaping to affect ice and snow, or only liquid water?
  • Would you be able to carry a globe of water alongside you over distances?

Really, there are two parts:

  • What can be targeted by the spell?
  • What are the limitations on the 'shape and animate' portion of the spell?

The answer I am looking for, if possible, would use the language of the spell, possibly with precedent from other game text, to clearly define the limitations of this cantrip.

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The water must fit within a 5 foot cube, per the first sentence of the spell description. it's not 125 cubic feet in any shape, it's a bounding box.

This only determines the water you affect with the spell. It does not say anything about the spell effects being limited to this 5-foot cube, only the water you can cast the spell upon. You can stretch it out into ribbons if you like, since that's a simple shape permitted by the second bullet.

You can't take it with you. “Animate” doesn't cover moving it (think of animation as just a succession of new shapings in-place), and there is an explicit limit of 5 feet in the first bullet for how far you can move the water.

It can't affect ice or snow, only the colloquial, common, non-chemistry meaning of “water” that means the liquid phase. You can see this colloquial meaning used in the last bullet where it talks about how you can “freeze the water”. (Wouldn't make much sense to substitute “ice” into that bullet point, would it?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I noticed that the Mold Earth cantrip also uses the 'area of [substance] that fits within a 5 foot cube.' I think that settles the targeted amount question! The distinction between 'animate' and 'move' is a little tricky to make, though they clearly are different concepts, due to having 2 different bullet points. Any thoughts on the difference between the two? \$\endgroup\$ – Lost_in_Hyrule Sep 14 '15 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lost_in_Hyrule I added a parenthetical on how I understand the difference. Does that do it for you? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 14 '15 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ To think it through entirely too much, animate probably maintains the same center of gravity, more or less. Your explanations definitely seem complete to me! \$\endgroup\$ – Lost_in_Hyrule Sep 14 '15 at 15:29
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My opinion on animating the water would be you can create amorphous shapes.. maybe even blobby humanoids and animate them to move around. But with the clear limit of 5 feet per round movement. See Animate Object spell.

I personally also allow the caster to create a tangible water shape. She can then move and carry it, just as if it were an objects.

Wowing the crowd by contact juggling water balls.

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center to get a feel for this site's format. This site isn't a forum, so it isn't soliciting opinions. This Q&A site is about providing supportable, researched, and substantive answers to questions based on a modicum of expertise in role playing games. Your answer will be improved by supporting your points with game rules, experience in play with this spell, or play tested house rules (5e has room for that). Please also respect the final sentence of the question on what makes a good answer. Once again Welcome! and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 9 '16 at 22:11

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