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Say the party is able to attack a group of three creatures by surprise. The wizard decides to cast a fireball, which should kill a couple of the creatures outright. One of those creatures has an Ioun Stone of Protection (AC +1,) which is in his pocket. The creature uses the stone in combat, but keeps it in his pocket otherwise.

Will the fireball destroy the Ioun Stone (assuming the damage is 40 or more) while still in the creature's pocket?

A stone has AC 24, 10 hit points, and resistance to all damage types. (DMG p. 177).

The fireball thus needs to generate at least 40 points of damage to always destroy the stone.

[The fireball] ignites flammable objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried.

Apparently, a carrier confers a certain amount of protection to items he is carrying.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How is it different between being carried in the pocket, or deployed? Deployed it counts as a worn item, in the pocket, carried -- so in either case protected by the same "worn or carried" clause. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Mar 6 '16 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ The description of the Ioun stones clearly says that it can be hit (and thus damaged) when whizzing around your head. So I would assume that if in a fireball it would also be destroyed. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Mar 7 '16 at 1:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah I see. I don't think it's damaged by fireball in either case. Ioun stones have an AC and can be targeted, but there's no provision that says they have to make spell saves. The rules state they are treated as worn items. I asked a question about this earlier today and did some research: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/76658/… \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Mar 7 '16 at 1:45
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Generally no, it wouldn't be destroyed, or at least the rules don't account for the level of detail a ruling like this could potentially bring to a game.

Adventurers presumably carry a lot of stuff, either strapped to belts, stuffed into a backpack, held in their hands, or in their pockets. So if an object in a pocket were to take damage, why not everything else?

To make a ruling that objects take damage as well as the monsters would likely slow the game to a grinding halt as players and DMs alike constantly calculate the damage taken and remaining HP of potentially everything on their person. And as such, there is no such rule.

It's also worth noting that many AoE spells specifically state that creatures within the spell's radius take damage, not objects. As a strict reading, the Ioun Stone, or any other object, would be unaffected.

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    \$\begingroup\$ the "grind to a halt" by checking saves on a lot of gear was one thing that some AD&D 1e DM's did. Your point on that is one of many ways play in 5e was streamlined to keep play from grinding to a halt. You may or may not wish to expand on that point for 5e. (As is, answer very concise). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 6 '16 at 17:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, in a pocket would be "worn or carried" so it would not be affected. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Mar 6 '16 at 21:21

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