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I'm curious whether the Siege Monster special ability that allows a creature to deal double damage to objects would allow them to deal double damage to a petrified character.

It seems like this ought to be the case, but I notice that the description for the petrified condition doesn't explicitly say that the character becomes an object. It seems obvious, but the rules spell out quite a few seemingly-obvious things.

Is there a RAW answer to this anywhere?

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RAW a petrified creature is still a creature because petrified doesn't say otherwise

The Petrified condition (PHB p. 291) lists the effects of being petrified. All of the effects talk about "A petrified creature..." or "...the creature..." and none of them list the creature becoming an object. From this we know that a petrified creature is a creature not an object.

Alternatively a petrified creature is still a creature because it still acts like a creature

Another way of looking at this is noting that the Petrified condition doesn't actually change all that much.

Attacks against a petrified creature have advantage but still have to be beat the creature's AC to hit. This is a bit bizarre considering that the Paralyzed condition is more restrictive but... well it's RAW. The creature's AC calculation doesn't change as none of the bonuses actually require the creature to be able to move or take actions. Strange, yes, but it's what's in the book.

You can't take actions, reactions, or move, or speak, and you aren't aware of your surroundings. It sounds limiting but then you think about all the things you can do without those like intelligence checks (probably if you already saw what you needed), maintain concentration on a spell, and make successful saves of all types except strength and dexterity (statues are well known for their excellent charisma).

5e petrification is really more paralysis-lite with some added defense from your makeshift-stoneskin spell. Made of rock but alive inside and certainly not an object.

RAW can be strange

Honestly the RAW interpretation strikes me as pretty lame. Petrification in fiction tends to depict the afflicted becoming a completely inanimate statue and it's equivalent to death unless big mojo is brought in. I think the problem is that while earlier versions of D&D followed this sort of logic 5e petrification is more of a polite timeout where you get the stony exterior for your own protection. Bit of a let down really but easily house-ruled if you prefer a grimmer sort of petrification in your fantasy.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is akin to a recent Twitter by Crawford stating that an unconscious character is a character that is unconscious. A DEAD character is an object (a body) that used to be a character. Petrification is a status that afflicts a character, not turns them into an object. \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Mar 29 '16 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ceribia That insight might be worth working into the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 29 '16 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Sure, done. \$\endgroup\$ – Ceribia Mar 29 '16 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's dumb, but the reasoning is sound. House rules ahoy! \$\endgroup\$ – Morgan May Mar 30 '16 at 16:41
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Yes, a petrified creature is an object, it is also a creature

An object is defined in the rules as:

a discrete inanimate item

a Petrified creature is transformed (along with any non-magical object it is wearing or carrying) into:

a solid inanimate substance

In order to parse this we need to examine each word in the definition.

Is the petrified creature inanimate?

Yes. It says so in the Petrified condition description.

Is the petrified creature an item?

What makes an item? The rules don't define it, thus we must go to the dictionary:

An individual article or unit, especially one that is part of a list, collection, or set.

What is a unit?

An individual thing or person regarded as single and complete but which can also form an individual component of a larger or more complex whole.

A "solid inanimate substance" is clearly a "thing".

Is it discrete?

Yes.


Thus a petrified creature meets the criteria for being an object. Thus it is an object. This does not, however, mean it cannot simultaneously be a creature (which it is by virtue of the text of the Petrified condition).

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Nowhere in the description to the petrified condition does it say that a creature becomes an object

In 5e, effects do only what they say they do and anything beyond that is up to the DM. There is nothing in the petrified condition that would indicate that a creature would get turned into an object. Objects and creatures are very important classifications and are always called out when targeting or changing from one to the other. Since the condition does not say anything about changing a creature to an object, we can thus conclude that that is not an effect that is included RAW.

For an example of an effect which does actually turn a creature into an object we can look at true polymorph:

The creature's statistics become those of the object, and the creature has no memory of time spent in this form, after the spell ends and it returns to its normal form.

Without this explicit language, the RAW does not support a petrified creature being an object.

A petrified creature is still a creature

All the evidence that is needed to deduce this comes from the language of the petrified condition itself.

The initial sentence describes the overall effect of the condition:

A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone).

After that, all other sentences refer to the affected creature as "the creature". This means that the condition itself is explicitly saying that the petrified creature is still a creature. A notable mention from the condition is:

The creature is incapacitated (see the condition)...

Note that objects cannot be incapacitated (or any other condition) giving further support to the argument that they are not, in fact, an object.

Jeremy Crawford unofficially agrees with this in this tweet:

Neither the petrified condition nor the flesh to stone spell turns you into an object. You are a creature subjected to the petrified condition (PH, 291).

and here:

No condition, including the petrified condition, changes your creature type.

Thus, becoming petrified does not turn you into an object.

Siege Monster will not do double damage to a petrified creature

The Siege Monster ability says:

does double damage to objects and structures

Since petrified creatures are not objects, they do not take double damage.

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