The Unseen Servant spell creates

...an invisible, mindless, shapeless force...

...It has AC 10, 1 hit point, and a Strength of 2, and it can't attack. If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends...

This shapeless force has a strength score and can interact with objects, including carrying them. It can take damage, though what forms that damage take are left unspecified. Does this mean an Unseen Servant can be physically manipulated and interacted with? Here are a series of related sub-questions:

1) Can an Unseen Servant be picked up, shoved, carried, or pushed aside?

2) Can it be commanded to "ride" or "hang on" to another willing character (such as the party fighter) as a means of allowing it to keep up with a group moving faster than 15ft a round?

2b) If so, does it have weight?

3) Can an Unseen Servant displace water, fog, and other substances?

3b) If so, can it be used to create a small "window" in fog, allowing a character in fog to see through the servant to a space without fog?

3c) If it does displace other materials, could careful observation of this phenomenon allow a character to "spot" an Unseen Servant?


2 Answers 2


Let's dive into this spell a bit.

Unseen Servant

"....creates an invisible, mindless, shapeless force that performs simple tasks at your command... The servant springs into existence...on the ground within range. ...you can mentally command the servant to move... and interact with an object. ...can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do to the best of it's ability..."

Now that I've enforced the relevant sections of the text; we can start to answer your questions.

  1. Can an Unseen Servant be interacted with?

    • Since the Unseen Servant is not only mindless; possessing no intelligence of it's own and unable to act of its own will; it simply follows the most basic of commands, aided in it's endeavors by the same magic that binds it to you; but is also invisible, as well as shapeless, you would have to have a way of divining the servants location or seeing invisible creatures before you can even attempt to ponder interacting with it. Since it DOES occupy a space, however, this leads me to believe that force applied upon it CAN effect it. It can be pushed out of the way and such.
  2. Can it be commanded to 'hang on' or otherwise interact with another creature?

    • It's strength score is 2, that's a -4 . Looking at the relevant entry (do not currently have access to it) we find that a -4 is extensively lower than the average human being. This creature can do simple tasks to the best of it's ability , and it's -4 strength ability probably does not allow for what you are asking.
  3. Can Unseen Servant displace substances?

    • Considering that the Unseen Servant is shapeless, as made clear in the first line of text, generally we would have to rule that there is no shape it possesses in which it WOULD displace any kind of matter, liquid or otherwise. Since the spell does not explain HOW this mindless, shapeless magical servant affects the items it does interact with; such as cleaning and folding clothes, we must assume it does so through magical means, NOT with any sort of invisible appendages or form that it possesses.

In closing; this is one of the very few spells that leaves me with holes in it's logic. It is invisible. This one is easy enough. If it DOES possess some sort of form, then you can not see it by mundane means. It is mindless. Possessing of no intelligence or mental acuity, and so it can only follow commands to the best of its abilities, which are very poor and extremely under your average human beings range of capabilities. It is shapeless. This is where the most confusion appears. Possessing of no shape, no substance that comprises it's physical being; whether invisible or not. If it has no shape, yet occupies a space on the ground, how does it interact with the items it must interact with in order to do it's job as per the spell permits? I can't logic this one away. 'Magic' seems to be the only thing holding this together.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since splitting the question, your third point no longer applies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Taejang
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 22:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's no inherent contradiction between having a location and being shapeless. A mathematical point in space has a location, but no size or dimensions, for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shapeless can be easily interpreted to mean it doesn't have a predefined shape (or that it's shape is in a constant state of flux) but can manifest appendages at will to interact with things \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 8:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ For example a mass of unmoulded clay can be described as shapeless (but it definitely has a location and a volume). In fact that is one of the examples given in the dictionary. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 8:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ghosts and other incorporeal creatures end up doing something similar, in re shapeless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 13:41

The spell is unclear... (DM's decision)

The spell indicates that the servant is a "shapeless force" and that it can interact with objects and do simple tasks. However, the spell does not indicate how it does these things. Does it use it's "body" (for lack of a better word) to push and pull things to perform tasks, or does it use some other magical method similar to mage hand or telekinesis? The spell doesn't give us any information.

The servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground

So here's a phrase in the spell that might indicate that it has mass because it is being affected by gravity. However, I believe the spell specifically mentions being on the ground to indicate that it is merely at 0 feet above the ground in "game space". We have no hard evidence if it can or cannot levitate. The spell simply doesn't get into that.

So this spell's behavior is mostly up to your DM and how he/she decides to handle this. There aren't many ways to abuse unseen servant, given it's limitations in strength, hitpoints, and movement speed. I would not worry about taking advantage of the spell's intention by letting it hold onto the party or by letting it hover over cliffs and such. It only lasts an hour and is not worth traveling with.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unseen Servant abuse is a favorite hobby of many D&D players over the years. We had a question on that a while back. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I did that with my raven familiar. Ravens are smart, yo. Point being, no more abusable than other controlled beings. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 20:38

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