Tiny Hut Spell vs. Unintelligent Creatures


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Hi all!

Had this come up in my game the other day and couldn't find a suitable answer on Google, so I'm here.

Typical question regarding this spell (it seems): PCs used the spell to camp out during a battle and wreak havoc upon their enemies. For below, keep in mind that our games are usually not combat-centric; meaning we try to play the creatures with some sort of intelligence/instinct instead of a "to the death" encounter.

Points of debate:

1) Spell gives area of effect "greater invisibility" to up to 10 allies. Understand that it's a fixed area, question how it would work against unintelligent creatures (would they attack it? would they stand around confused since it's opaque? etc)

2) If the spell is a utility/rest spell, what's the purpose of the "opaque" distinction? If the spell does not allow for the caster to camouflage the outside appropriately (make it LOOK like it's a natural part of the surrounding area) then it would seem out of place to anyone passing by. This questions whether or not a low-intelligence creature would approach it in a combat situation. One might guess that the better disguised the hut, the less likely a creature will be to attack that area. (Dumb Creature to self presumably w/o scent or more than 30' away from party: "I am being attacked, but can see/smell no enemy. What do i do?).

My argument I guess is this: Tiny hut is not a spell designed for combat, even though it provides protection as good as (displacement) or better than some other combat spells (protection from arrows: immunity to targeted ranged attacks vs. 10/magic vs ranged; mass greater invisibility), albeit for a fixed area. Put these benefits into practice against creatures that are below 7 Intelligence or so...and it can become highly imbalanced.

Example encounter: 4 PCs vs. a Retriever (Int 3; not targeting the PCs specifically, but an NPC, so discern location is not applicable) and zombies + skeletons. All unintelligent creatures.

Question is 3 part:

1) Does Tiny Hut give too much of an advantage when used in a combat situation?

1b) And does this advantage increase vs. unintelligent creatures enough to render the party nigh invincible to unintelligent foes?

1c) And why, if all of this is ok, would my players not create a wand of Tiny Hut and just cast it at the beginning of every combat to negate any type of targeted ranged attacks? (AoE spells notwithstanding - a foil for this tactic to be sure - but when the threat of magic assault is minimal to nil, this becomes a lot more beefy)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

1) nowhere it say "you don't smell the people inside".

2) the people inside are behind an opaque shield, not invisible. There are differences. An animal has experience with items behind opaque obstacles, from bushes to rocks. He would try to bypass the obstacle or move away.

3) yes, it is fairly powerful if used in combat against dumb opponents.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Diego Rossi wrote:

1) nowhere it say "you don't smell the people inside".

2) the people inside are behind an opaque shield, not invisible. There are differences. An animal has experience with items behind opaque obstacles, from bushes to rocks. He would try to bypass the obstacle or move away.

3) yes, it is fairly powerful if used in combat against dumb opponents.

1) True, but the point is you generally have to be within 30' to smell them because you can't see them...which is the same as invisibility IMO

2) The spell grants the party total concealment and renders you practically immune to targeted effects. As invisibility, this gives you 50% miss chance and no line of sight. What other differences (besides having to stay within the hut thus you're not as mobile) are there between this and invisibility?

Your second point is an argument made by my players. My question is: upon being attacked from within the hut, would it seem unrealistic that an unintelligent creature would a) realize that the attack came from the hut and b) charge the hut to attack those that it figures "inside" it, since the hut looks nothing like what its used to seeing?

3) This seems unbalanced as one party member can render an encounter with unintelligent creatures over before it ever begins, especially at high levels where damage is dealt quickly.


Arknath wrote:
And does this advantage increase vs. unintelligent creatures enough to render the party nigh invincible to unintelligent foes?

Not really. Even an animal (Int 2) can tell "Hurty thorns coming from big brown thing. Gonna go bite it. Hey, bite goes through, me poke head inside. Hey, man-walkers with thorns! Gonna bite em."

Even if you've disguised the hut so well that the animal can't tell it's there, it knows there's pain coming from that way, so I'll probably leave. (And come back later when the PCs are not expecting it.)

Even undead are going to defend themselves. At best they'll spend an action trying to attack the hut before wandering inside.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

What Grick said.

It might seem kind of strange, but there's nothing in the spell description that says you get to choose who comes in and out of your sphere. A green, purple or blue dome of seemingly magical origin might give some creatures pause, but any creature that investigates the structure of the thing is going to find it can pass easily from exterior to interior. The only thing stopping it from entering would be a lack of space within.

Think of the Tiny Hut as a giant soap bubble, like the kind you might blow if you had one of those huge bubble wands. You can pass your hand into the bubble without popping it if you're careful, but water and air will slide around the edges without breaking the integrity of the bubble. Tiny Hut's wall of force is sort of the same thing, just a little more resilient. The spell Resilient Sphere, which is one level higher, is a lot like this spell except the bonds of the sphere of force are so strong only air can pass through.

As far as unintelligent creatures go, it's your call. Undead, and other persistent monsters with no fear of death should likely feel welcome to walk right into the hut to attack. Many animals will likely run from the strange thing, while very aggressive ones would, as Grick pointed out, charge the hurtful bubble. I've run encounters where even intelligent monsters with little understanding of magic, backed off from a tiny hut for fear it might be harmful to touch.

Long-story-short, Tiny Hut is going to provide minimal defense in a combat situation once anything figures out the bubble is permeable. If the party wants to get the most out of it, they should probably buy some ponies to fill up the extra spaces within the sphere.

Scarab Sages

An animal might try to run around it, assuming that the creature it smells or is attacking it is hiding behind the "wall". Since it's a circle it will fail to get to the "other side", and then try pushing at it with a paw/claw, then realizing it is not solid and try to get through as if it were closely packed leaves or something.

But yeah, eventually it will either get in or run away, it's just a matter of how many rounds does it take to figure it out. I'd say it would stop at edge, then 1-2 rounds max before it enters, just judging by how dogs behave.

(the above assumes the animal has a reason to get at the PCs, or food that they are carrying, etc)

I don't think "charging" at it before realizing it is not solid is something an animal would do. Most animals, like people, don't try running into walls just to see if it really is there :) (My dog head-butts doors to get in, but he knows what a door is, he doesn't head butt the wall). So a PC would have to "push" to get an animal to do so.

That's how'd I'd rule.


The spell itself doesn't give any clear indication how difficult it to determine that although the hut is opaque, it is also permeable. If you find that making this difficult to determine makes the spell too powerful, then you are perfectly free to decide it isn't that difficult to determine.

In particular, something with animal like senses might find it quite easy to tell that although it couldn't see through it, it would not be a barrier.

When your problem is, if I play my bad guys this way the spell is overpowered, the easy solution seems to be don't play your bad guys that way.


Six years.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Tiny Hut Spell vs. Unintelligent Creatures All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.