14
\$\begingroup\$

I'm looking over the rules for telekinesis, and it leaves me wondering based on the RAW. It says this:

Object. You can try to move an object that weighs up to 1,000 pounds. If the object isn't being worn or carried, you automatically move it up to 30 feet in any direction, but not beyond the range of this spell.

[...]

You can exert fine control on objects with your telekinetic grip, such as manipulating a simple tool, opening a door or a container, stowing or retrieving an item from an open container, or pouring the contents from a vial.

So, if you can exert fine control over an object, does that mean you can attack with a weapon you have in your Telekinetic grip? Would that turn the weapon attack into a spell attack if you could?

\$\endgroup\$
18
\$\begingroup\$

No. The authors are careful about denoting when spells can be used for an attack.

There is nothing in the game rules more important than the action economy. Over and over again, the authors painstakingly indicate how spells and powers fit into the structure of "attack actions", "bonus actions", "movement", "dash", and so on. Given that there is no indication that telekinesis allows an "attack action" with the object, you can be assured that the authors meant there not to be.

There are times when the rules should be set aside in favor of "real" physics or dramatic license. However, the DM should set the bar quite high for this. The first question you should ask yourself should be, "Is my player asking for something that people like Jeremy Crawford and Mike Mearls didn't think of?" Rest assured, they thought of telekinesing a dagger across the room or a "dancing" sword. In fact, they designed spells that do as much. It is implausible that they did not consider the possibility and then failed to address it in the description.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed - it's another example of "spells do what they say they do" and by extension, don't do what they don't say they do i.e. it doesn't say you can attack people. However we have had other questions like this (such as one asking about mage hand) and there were some comments about being creative and setting off traps or dropping an object from a height. You bet a 1000 pound object dropped from 30 feet is going to hurt! \$\endgroup\$ – Hamstertron Jun 13 '18 at 10:05
14
\$\begingroup\$

I'd say no. Aside from it not being mentioned in the list of things you can do with it in the text you quoted, the spell also states that you can move it 'up to 30ft in any direction'. Attacking with a weapon requires the weapon to be moving quickly, and a spell which lets you move an object 30ft over what would be several seconds is far too slow to cause any significant damage or present a viable threat to a creature.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 15 '16 at 14:26
7
\$\begingroup\$

No.

Weapon attacks aren't about fine control: they are about delivering large amounts of momentum to vulnerable areas over short time frames.

I think the best 'attack' you could hope for is to gradually stab someone who is prone and stationary, or is actively cooperating with their eventual evisceration.

\$\endgroup\$
6
\$\begingroup\$

Yes.

Important bits of the spell:

The spell allows you to move up to 1,000 pounds and fine motor control allows you to manipulate objects in a specific manner.

Combining these two features in the spell, and considering it's a 5th level Transmutation, would definitely allow you to exert enough force while deftly manipulating an object to simulate an attack. Consider that your adventurers can't lift that kind of weight without magical aid and yet their weapons do damage. This is a creative use of a spell.

Since there's no rule within the spell for what kind of damage a magically controlled weapon could do, I personally would simply use the weapon damage tables devoid of STR or DEX modifiers, and instead substitute your spellcasting modifier to demonstrate the level of control you have over your spells.

Alternately, you could simply lift something 30 feet on your turn and then release it to let it take falling damage (in effect slamming it into the ground), and then do it over and over again each turn. Or for extra effect lift it 60 feet over two turns for even more damage.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 15 '16 at 14:26
0
\$\begingroup\$

Yup, a good comparison to this is the cantrip magehand, which specifically excludes making an attack. Given the similarity of the two spells, and the lack of a stipulation of not being able to attack with telekenetically held items it seems reasonable to assume that this was left as an "at the DM's discretion" decision. Given that running 30 ft requires limbs to be moving at high velocities and exerting large amounts of force to propel a body of reasonable weight, such as a human being, and that the spell can move weights well above that, any reasonable DM should allow this use, in keeping with the laws of physics.

\$\endgroup\$
-3
\$\begingroup\$

I'm going to weigh in saying no. The issue of weapons isn't fine motor control its one of speed. At a rate of 30ft/6sec that's 5ft per second the speed a person swings a regular sword to inflict its damage is probably as fast as they can so imagine how quickly you can swing a sword: 70 kilometres per hour = 63.794 feet per second from http://swordstem.com/2018/08/22/how-fast-do-swords-move-try-1/ That's nearly 13 times the speed just to do 1d6 or d8 or d10 max if you move a two-handed weapon. You could argue that a very sharp sword drawn across flesh may do 1d2 damage or something.

There are however some creative uses that would work without displaying the rules: Enacting a mechanism that utilises its own energy (you could aim and fire a pre-loaded crossbow or a gun, you could lift an object of of the larges mass the spell allows directly over the enemy etc. Lifting the creature directly upwards and upside down so that when the spell is released it takes falling damage. Delecately moving water to encase the head of a creature even trying to fine control it down into the creatures lungs. Moving a fire source and either holding against or spilling it over the enemy. It can even be used to save an ally falling or a way to get them into engagement.

Its very versatile but you can't just "whack" someone with it lol.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ While I think I agree with your overall point, the fact is using physics to justify anything in 5e (especially magic) is just not going to work. It simply doesn't apply. D&D is not simulationist at all when it comes to physics and when you start applying it to one thing you realize how inconsistent and impossible it is to apply to other things. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 5 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 5 at 21:12
-4
\$\begingroup\$

Can you make a weapon attack with a weapon you cast telekinesis upon?

Yes. Moving a thing in any way with telekinesis, fine or otherwise, consumes an action. This means you may use your action to do any of your regular combat actions, (such as prepare, dash, attack, cast a spell, etc.) Or you can use your action to manipulate your targeted object. It effectively gives you an extra action type. The spell puts no restrictions on your fine movement of an object, so there is no reason for why you couldn't swing a sword or mace around. It might not be possible to fire a crossbow with any accuracy though, and you wouldn't be able to use any other ranged weapon either, as all of those require you to interact with the weapon and its ammunition at the same time, while telekinesis is strictly limited to one target object.

If they don't say no, the answer is yes. The game's rules and content represent realistic things, so they are capable of doing anything the real equivalent would be capable of. The DMG provides DMs a wide variety of abstract tools which allow them to represent the infinite properties of a simulated reality. As such, as long as the rules do not specifically exclude something, and the DM believes it is within an accurate representation, then the thing really does have the assumed properties. This includes everything from humans having hands and feet, gravity pulling objects downward, polearms having a wooden shaft that can interact with the environment the same way a 10ft pole would, and all sorts of other elements of the game. D&D depends on the assumption of representation in order to function at all.

Since it consumes the same action resource as an attack, the only benefit it gives you is field control, as you are now effectively occupying two locations on the map at the same time, and you may make melee attacks without putting yourself in harm's way of reciprocal melee attacks on subsequent turns. As a level 5 spell, this seems fairly reasonable, especially compared to the significant damage output possible from other 5th level spells.

Even in a general sense, simply passing an object through their space would effectively be like attacking them. You could, for example, lift a boulder several times larger than them and drag it through their space, effectively smearing them across the floor like a giant boot to a bug, you could drop it on them for an identical effect. You could even squash them against a wall with it like a bulldozer. The same effect could be achieved by running a lance or spear through their space, essentially the same as stabbing them while riding by on horseback. You could even do things like strangle a person with their own necklace. (Since you aren't removing it from their person, the spell vs. strength contest is not invoked)

As for how the "attack" would be resolved, that would depend on how your DM interprets the nature of magic, spells, damage, and attacks. In other words, it would come down to what the DM thinks the rules represent.

Stupid Magic: The spell is primarily kinesthetic/somatic in nature. Moving the target object would be the same as moving your own limbs. In this regard, damage could probably be resolved in the same fashion as an attack roll for simplicity.

Smart Magic: The spell does the execution for you. This would be more like thinking "attack that guy" and the spell carrying out your desire/command. This interpretation would be more likely to use your spell attack modifier or some such.

Environmental Effect: This interpretation would treat the "attack" as nothing more than a collision. In this case, the DM would determine damage based on the rules for improvising damage in the DMG.

Would that make it a spell attack?

No. A spell attack is magical in its own right. In this case, it's more like attacking a person while wearing magic gloves. The magic is touching the weapon, but that doesn't make the weapon magical, and the telekinesis isn't directly causing harm to the target.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ "If they don't say no, the answer is yes." I think you need to back this up a little more. By this logic, fireball could be used to heal, no? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Oct 9 '16 at 3:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ No. Because fireball is made of fire. But it could be used to start a fire, heat metal, and do all of the other stuff fire does. The rules represent realistic things. \$\endgroup\$ – JAMalcolmson Oct 9 '16 at 3:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ That's what I'm talking about, I think you need to expound on that idea rather than leave it out in the open like that \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Oct 9 '16 at 3:36
-4
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, their are rules for falling and knock back damage being 1d6 per 10ft. So you can throw an opponent 30ft into walls, trees, or raise them up and smash them smash them down on the ground. If you move them the full 30 ft into a wall they take 3d6 bludgeoning, If you pick them up and smash them into the ground that's 15ft up and 15ft down so its only 1d6 damage. Alternately, if your moving a big rock (or any weapon) to them and smashing them with the same rules apply. A rock thrown 30ft can do 3d6 damage. For a level 7 spell that's next to nothing but the target is restrained and you could throw them off a 100ft cliff or bridge 30ft away from your and they would take 10d6 (There is a maximum of 20d6). So yes you can use this spell to attack or use weapons.

Player hand book page p183

Falling

A fall from a great height is one of the most common hazards facing an adventurer. At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, to a maximum of 20d6. The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

So 100% per RAW you can use the 60ft reach of the Telekinesis spell to raise an enemy straight up over 2 turns (30ft each) and release them to take 6d6 bludgeoning damage. Since the spell has no action requirement to drop them but has a requirement to maintain the hold, you can simply let the hold fail every 2 turns and repeat that.

As far as it Appling it to damage of objects falling into you, that is not explicitly stated but due to how force works an object falling on you that with X force takes X force in opposition, which means the ground or object/person it hits instead of the ground takes the equivalent X force damage. Meaning if you drop and NPC on top of another NPC from the 200+ feet they would both take the 20d6 damage from the impact.

Knock back also being a measure of force, a push that would knock you 15ft into a wall 10ft away "sideways fall" or is stopped by a wall directly behind would still have the force of the blow. However, if the wall is 15ft away and you are knocked back 10 the force has no impact of delivery to inflict the damage.

The spell does not let you use the sword to sword fight attack at distance, but it could be a thrown object. So a hammer could do 3d6 bludgeoning damage if you through it with telekinesis and you could even use a dagger with the same force for 3d6 bludgeoning using the hilt of the dagger. You might even be able to convince your GM to let you use the blade of the dagger for 3d6 piercing damage but there is not rule that allows for that. Still 3d6 is REALLY low damage for a level 7 spell and with out throwing someone off a cliff to extend the fall, the 30ft movement of the spell is what the spell allows.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you back these claims up with rules reference, e.g. to page numbers or to sections in D&D Beyond or something? People will want to know where they can go to read more about this stuff, but they'll also want to verify that your assertions and interpretations are correct, and clarify whether it is an optional rule or not. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 13 '18 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated with notes from the book for falling damage and elaboration on opposing forces as to it not mattering if its the rock falling into you or you falling into the rock or you being thrown sideways into the rock for the same distance with enough force to resistance the pull of gravity and make that distance laterally. \$\endgroup\$ – ClayronCross Jun 13 '18 at 4:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ -1, because a "melee weapon attack" is a specific game construct, not simply the movement of an object. You can lift someone up and drop them, but that's not what the question is asking. I also don't think there are generic rules for knock back damage, and you don't prove that this spell can actually generate damaging knock back. \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Jun 13 '18 at 4:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.