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The spell Wall of Stone allows you to create stone walls and fortifications from thin air. At 60 hp per inch, the difficulty of getting out of it would add up fast.

Since the wall doesn't have to be a specific shape, it seems one could make a dome out of it. A quarter of a dome 10 feet high and 35 feet in radius (putting the target in a corner of a room) takes up 90% of the surface area available, with plenty to cover inefficiencies, and few creatures could get out from under it, even if they made their Dex save.

If the above wall were double thick (casting a second dome right over the first), this puts 360 hp of stone between the target and escape. In the extreme case, placing all 10 panels together to block off a dead end corridor is 1,800 hp, still with a 15 AC to hit (and is 5 feet thick). With a single spell. This effectively ends any attempts to escape inside combat, concentration presumed.

Is there a RAW reason that I cannot trap someone behind 5 feet of stone?

If the space is small enough, say, they failed the save on being trapped in their 5 ft square, is there a RAW reason suffocation would or wouldn't be a factor, or is it entirely the DM's discretion? There is some precedence,

in the Oozing Temple, one of the optional dungeons in Ch 2 of OOTA.

I realize Stone Shape, Passwall, Dispel Magic (to an extent), and Transmute Rock all work as magic counters.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don’t think Wall of Stone can make a dome like you describe — it makes "panels." \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Apr 23 '17 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimGrant Indeed. Compare with wall of ice Consider making that an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 5 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @HeyICanChan, see my answer below. :) Good catch on the difference between Wall of Ice, but I'm not sure how it would affect my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Feb 5 at 16:07
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Almost any creature could escape before suffocating

In most circumstances, the victim would have ample time to chisel their way out.

Wall of Stone creates 10 foot panels (or larger). So let’s assume: (1) your spellcaster trapped their victim in the minimum size, 10' cube, and (2) they concentrated on the spell for 10 minutes, making the stone permanent.

I’m not aware of any rules that would cover suffocation in these conditions, so let’s fall-back on real-world facts. This Friday Fiction Facts: Trapped in an airtight room! article calculates it would take hours]for a person to suffocate in those conditions

“A moderately active or stressed person” would have about 17 hours until they experience symptoms such as “panting, dizziness, severe headache, vision disturbances” at which point we will assume they can not longer effectively chisel at the wall.

The wall is an object made of stone that can be damaged and thus breached. Each panel has AC 15 and 30 hit points per inch of thickness.

At 30 HP/inch times 6 inches, the victim needs to do 180 HP of damage to the AC 15 wall to escape.

Let’s assume our victim is a human commoner with no strength bonus. We’ll even take away their club listed in their stat block, and just give them an improvised weapons, with which they get no attack bonus. Each round, they can do 1d4 points of damage to the wall if they “hit” with a roll of 15 or higher.

With those assumptions, the commoner’s average damage-per-round would be 0.75 HP. On average (and with this many “rolls,” most attempts would be very close to average) it would take 240 rounds to chisel out.

A round is 6 seconds; there are 600 rounds in an hour, so our mild-mannered commoner can chisel free in 0.4 hours, or 24 minutes.

  • (240 rounds) / (600 rounds per hour) = 0.4 hours = 24 minutes for a commoner to escape

So even if we make assumptions that our victim needs to rest three-quarters of the time they still get out with hours to spare.

If you are trapping an armed and dangerous creature, they are likely to be able to escape in even less time.

Edge cases

It’s easy to come up with edge cases where someone would not be able to dig out, or if the wall were made double thick, or more (which would require a lot of time since you have to concentrate for 10 minutes for each effect). In these cases the rules pretty much silent (the Portable Hole mentions death by suffocation in an enclosed space, but that’s a pretty different case).

Would there be tiny cracks in the wall, or the floor beneath it that allow air to seep in (like there are in the building where you sleep)? I think that is simply up to the DM. This is a world where you can breathe miles deep in the Underdark — the whole “how do we breathe” issue gets a little glossed over.

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This is explicitly supported by the spell.

First, note that it cannot be a dome because it has to be square panels:

The wall is 6 inches thick and is composed of ten 10-foot-by-10-foot panels. Each panel must be contiguous with at least one other panel.

Still, it's possible to trap creatures using this spell. The spell acknowledges this possibility, and requires a dexterity saving throw if a creature would be trapped:

if a creature would be surrounded on all sides by the wall (or the wall and another solid surface), the creature can make a Dexterity saving throw. On a success, it can use its reaction to move up to its speed so that it is no longer enclosed by the wall.

Suffocation is less clear

It makes sense that if the area is completely enclosed, then the creature would suffocate. However, the PHB's rules for suffocation are quite generous:

A creature can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 1 + its Constitution modifier (minimum of 30 seconds). When a creature runs out of breath, it can survive for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum 1 round).

Which is quite some time. There aren't any specific guidelines on this particular scenario, and it is generally up to the DM to determine situations in which a creature would start suffocating (though there are some spells and items that trigger the condition). This question contains some discussion on when and how suffocation would happen in a similar in-game context.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "the wall can have any shape you desire // you can crudely shape the wall to create crenellations, battlements and so on." from this, it seems like "panel" is more of a general term than an absolute. or read different, you create a flat "panel" and then mold it into shape as part of the process of the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – tzxAzrael Apr 23 '17 at 9:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that suffocation rules aren't that generous. The D&D human limit without magic is 5 minutes(based on the "realism only goes to 6th level" principle). The real-life human limit 17+ minutes. On the flipside, the average D&D human can only hold his breath for 1 minute, which....is at least shorter than almost anyone who swims regularly. youtube.com/watch?v=olKlc4Bv6CA \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Apr 23 '17 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @godskook: Do you have any citation on the "realism only goes to 6th level" principle? I've never heard that term. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Apr 23 '17 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ thealexandrian.net/wordpress/587/roleplaying-games/… \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Apr 23 '17 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @godskook, I just tested this myself and barely it made it past a minute. One could argue that the people who can make it past 17 minutes have exceptionally good constitutions... \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Apr 23 '17 at 16:39

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