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Lightning lure is strong enough to pull a creature towards you (including into the air), and can be resisted with a strength check, which sounds analogous to a whip made of lightning - they even say it's a lash of lightning energy in the spell description:

You create a lash of lightning energy that strikes at one creature of your choice that you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pulled up to 10 feet in a straight line toward you and then take 1d8 lightning damage if it is within 5 feet of you.

So can I flip that around if the target is static (pun!) and pull myself towards it instead? I.e., Lightning Lure a statue or balustrade on a balcony and grapple myself up to it, or a gargoyle as I John McClane over the side of a building. Or have I completely misunderstood how the spell actually works? In practice I'm actually playing a dumpy armoured Tempest cleric (picking up LL and Booming Blade via Magic Initiate) so I doubt I'd be going all spiderman, but it might help me keep up with the more nimble party members

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    \$\begingroup\$ I love the "rule of cool" idea behind this question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 31 '17 at 12:37
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By Rules-as-Written, no

The spell does what it says on the tin, and it says you can pull a creature 10 feet toward you. Nothing more, nothing less.

By a strict reading, you can't even target a statue or a balustrade since they aren't creatures.

Here's where you might be confused: magic doesn't follow the laws of physics, they are an abstraction of the forces that are true in the hypothetical fantasy world that we all (at least, for DnD 5e players) share. If a spell doesn't say it can do a thing, it simply can't, and that is magical law.


"ok, daze, but what's the harm done in allowing it?"

It makes movement weird. No other spell can pull you towards your target, let alone a cantrip, which can potentially be done with a bonus action using quickened spell. So, if you run out of your speed, can you then get an extra 10 feet by casting the spell?

Personally, though, I think the change is low-powered enough that I'd allow it for a couple of sessions to see how it goes. Of course, I'm not your GM, so you have some convincing to do. Be prepared for your GM to say no, or to take back the change if it proves problematic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or have a concentration check (or other arcana/magic check) tie into this "out of the box" application of the cantrip to see if it can pull off the feat or break and then the character falls! A chance for a cinematic/dramatic moment, and also a chance for failure since it is, as you point out, a minor magic. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 31 '17 at 12:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course, it can replace the strength saving throw that's not needed anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 31 '17 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you use it to pull yourself towards a party member to get out of harm, or are your party members not considered creatures either? \$\endgroup\$ – Anoplexian - Reinstate Monica Mar 31 '17 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Anoplexian If you have another question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. (However, I would point to “If a spell doesn't say it can do a thing” appears to me to already answer your question, so if you do post a new question, you might want to write a bit about how that doesn't answer your question.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 31 '17 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I could almost imagine these 'flashy' moves involving a couple of checks to balance them out, such as a decent, say, DC 15 STR or DEX check (since just holding on to a grappling hook can be difficult, and still often isn't enough), and maybe a little smattering of bonus XP for particularly awesome and climactic uses of this ability. \$\endgroup\$ – Papayaman1000 Apr 1 '17 at 2:02
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You can't

It is a cool idea, but the spell explicitly only works on creatures. From the text you quoted (emphasis mine)

You create a lash of lightning energy that strikes at one creature of your choice that you can see within range.

So, targeting an object with this spell (like a balustrade or balcony) would result in the spell simply failing.

Also, as a side note: Even if it worked on objects, the spell does not say anything about pulling you to the object, only the other way around. If the spell would allow you to pull yourself towards the target, it would say so.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As yes, I'd completely overlooked the "creatures" part. Even then though, it might have been useful for throwing myself into (or out of) combat. Thanks for the response \$\endgroup\$ – Plum Mar 31 '17 at 11:03
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Rules as written, the answer is no. If the spell would allow such a thing it would be written.

Going by the logic of the game, i would also argue that the answer is no. The lash of lightning is not a regular rope - it will magically try to tug whatever is at the other end towards you, without you having to physically pull in your end. Newtons third law ("for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction") is clearly not in play here. If it was, what happens when your target makes the save? That would not be very different from targeting a wall, would it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding a successful strength save, I had envisioned it working pretty much like a whip in that if you can't pull your target, you can simply stop pulling (or in the case of LL end the spell) to avoid flying through the air yourself. As Patta pointed out though, the spell specifically only targets creatures anyway \$\endgroup\$ – Plum Mar 31 '17 at 11:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Plum I thought about that, but thought that if it was the player physically pulling (instead of some fixed magic pulling) it wouldn't be a Strength save, it would be a Strength check contested by the players Strength check. Well, it doesn't matter anyway. :) \$\endgroup\$ – DrPhil Mar 31 '17 at 11:24

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