Do Summoning spells require line of effect, or only line of sight to the point of conjuration?


Rules Questions


For example, could a wizard summon a monster onto the battlefield on the other side of a Wall of Force from themselves?

Can someone inside a Resilient Sphere cast a conjuration spell that creates something outside the sphere?


Generally speaking: Summon spells summon things that appear where you designate within the range of the spell.

However you could not summon a monster on the other side of a wall of force. Per Wall of Force: "Breath weapons and spells cannot pass through a wall of force in either direction"

And since resilient sphere works like wall of force, you could not summon something to appear on the other side of it either.


1. Line of effect, which means wall of force still blocks it.

2. No, you can not cast outside of Resilient Sphere.


Line of Effect Rules wrote:
is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight. A line of effect starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that would block it. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

The rule seems to be dealing with whether or not the caster can see the target. It also deals with spells that begin at the caster and end at the target.

Conjuration spells aren't like that. They create a creature or object at a point within range. Nothing about most conjuration spells create an effect that moves from point A to point B.

By this logic, a druid inside a house couldn't cast Call Lightning by looking out a window. That doesn't make sense to me.

Where am I getting this wrong?


I think summons are unclear for line of effect. There are spells that don't require it. Sending, Demand, Nightmare, Dream, Dream Scan, Scry and similar "I have a physical/symbolic link" spells, and Create Minscape (heavily implied via the spell description text) come to mind.


Doomed Hero wrote:

By this logic, a druid inside a house couldn't cast Call Lightning by looking out a window. That doesn't make sense to me.

Where am I getting this wrong?

Closed windows do indeed block line of effect for targeting spells such as call lightning or summon monster.

The only really weird thing is the open window has to be at least 1ft square.


Pirate Rob wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:

By this logic, a druid inside a house couldn't cast Call Lightning by looking out a window. That doesn't make sense to me.

Where am I getting this wrong?

Closed windows do indeed block line of effect for targeting spells such as call lightning or summon monster.

The only really weird thing is the open window has to be at least 1ft square.

Actually 1 square foot, not 1 foot square. There is a difference. A 1 foot square is 1 foot by 1 foot. A square foot can be the same, but could also be something like 6 inches wide and 24 inches long - anything that adds up to 144 square inches.


Solid barriers block summons also. If nobody gets to I will explain later. I see there is a line of sight post/topic, so I may do it there.


Really? Line of effect blocks you from summoning something on the other side? I would love to see some rules quotes for that.


Ah, I found it.

Line of Effect wrote:

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

"You must have a clear line of effect...to any space in which you wish to create an effect."

Wow, I never knew that. You learn something every day. A window can literally block spells. Crazy.


Yeah, that's the relevant rule AFAIK, I think we can also reference the following re: "Effect":

Quote:

Effect: Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present.

You must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear, but if the effect is mobile, after it appears it can move regardless of the spell's range.

I think the wording there makes it clear that Summoning qualifies as 'creating effect' for purposes of LoE rule. I wasn't sure about that until I looked up the wording for Effect itself.


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
I think summons are unclear for line of effect. There are spells that don't require it. Sending, Demand, Nightmare, Dream, Dream Scan, Scry and similar "I have a physical/symbolic link" spells, and Create Minscape (heavily implied via the spell description text) come to mind.

To clarify the OP's issue, it might be nice to know what exactly exempts these or other spells from Line of Effect, especially those explicitly affecting a target or area (even in sense of Summons). To be honest, I don't really know of any, beyond that we just assume they don't require it.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

Ah, I found it.

Line of Effect wrote:

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

"You must have a clear line of effect...to any space in which you wish to create an effect."

Wow, I never knew that. You learn something every day. A window can literally block spells. Crazy.

If literally applied lots of special range spells like Sending wouldn't work.


I thought summon monster doesn't require Line of Sight (just like how Fireball doesn't require one) not vice versa.


Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:

Ah, I found it.

Line of Effect wrote:

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

"You must have a clear line of effect...to any space in which you wish to create an effect."

Wow, I never knew that. You learn something every day. A window can literally block spells. Crazy.

If literally applied lots of special range spells like Sending wouldn't work.

Summoning is an effect and therefore can't bypass that rule.

Some spells such as scrying dont care about line of effect or line of sight due to how they are written. It's obvoius that they are intended to work on creatures or things that are far away, and not in your immediate vicinity. With summoning there is nothing indicating that it can ignore line of effect for where to place the creature anymore than a cleric using spiritual weapon could.


All spells require a straight line of effect between the caster and the target or target square. So you can't for instance summon creatures and have them appear on the other side of a wall of force. Only exceptions are spells that particuarlarly call themselves out.. such as Sending or Teleport.


So glass windows block lightning bolts.

Edit: wait, that's wrong. Windows prevent lightning bolts.

Weird.


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Well you could do enough damage with a lightning bolt to destroy the window and the effect would continue.


I was thinking of Call Lightning, as I mentioned in my earlier post. Windows prevent lightning from being called from the sky.

Definitely should have clarified that.


Doomed Hero wrote:

I was thinking of Call Lightning, as I mentioned in my earlier post. Windows prevent lightning from being called from the sky.

Definitely should have clarified that.

Actually it's the roof over your head which would block Call Lightning since it has to come straight down from the sky.


You just need to have line of effect to your target.

If you're standing in a house, and you have line of effect to your target sitting outside, you're good to go.

And actually, your target doesn't even need to be outside:

Quote:
This spell functions indoors or underground but not underwater.

You just can do more damage if you're outside in a storm.


So, if you are a druid inside a house, looking through the window at a creature outside, you cannot Call Lightning from the sky to strike them.

That's what I'm getting at. A person inside a house, looking though a window, cannot target a person outside.

You can't Charm someone on the other side of glass. You can't summon a creature next to them. You can't create a Wall of Fire outside. You can't cast Create Pit underneath them.

Because of the window. You have to open the window first.

I keep bringing it up because it seems ridiculous and I'm hoping that's not actually the way the rules work.


Doomed Hero wrote:

So, if you are a druid inside a house, looking through the window at a creature outside, you cannot Call Lightning from the sky to strike them.

That's what I'm getting at. A person inside a house, looking though a window, cannot target a person outside.

You can't Charm someone on the other side of glass. You can't summon a creature next to them. You can't create a Wall of Fire outside. You can't cast Create Pit underneath them.

Because of the window. You have to open the window first.

I keep bringing it up because it seems ridiculous and I'm hoping that's not actually the way the rules work.

That is how they work. That window is just as much a barrier as an invisible brick wall since both block line of effect.


And nobody else here thinks that's silly?


It's pretty silly, but magic rules tend to be.


Doomed Hero wrote:
And nobody else here thinks that's silly?

I'm sure at least one person does. I'm sure there's at least more than one person who thinks that spellcasters are omnipotent enough anyway without giving them a pass on line of effect. In every piece of literature or media, when the evil wizard throws a charm spell, he's face to face with the person he's doing dirty to. Be thankful we're not THAT strict.


The two thoughts aren't mutually exclusive though. Things can be overpowered and still have dumb rules.


Squiggit wrote:
The two thoughts aren't mutually exclusive though. Things can be overpowered and still have dumb rules.

There's nothing "dumb" about line of effect. Keep in mind that the rules exist primarily for gameplay, not world simulation. This also limit the ways that NPC's can attack the party as well.


I find it dumb precisely because it's weird from a worldly angle. A wizard cannot aim a spell through a bay window even if the spell has no physical effect that needs to pass through the window, but a stone wall with a 1cm slit that's sufficiently long can give that same wizard impunity to cast any spell in their arsenal, even with spells that project effects that shouldn't be able to fit through a 1cm gap.


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Doomed Hero wrote:
And nobody else here thinks that's silly?

It doesn't matter if it is silly to anyone. Solid things block line of effect. Glass is not as hard as bricks, but it is solid. Being able to see through it doesn't make it less solid. The same logic that stops magic from getting through glass stops it from getting through a wall of force, which is another thing you can see through.


wraithstrike wrote:
The same logic that stops magic from getting through glass stops it from getting through a wall of force, which is another thing you can see through.

The "magic getting through" part is where my disconnect lies.

When you summon something, the magic doesn't flow out of you to a point on the ground and then call a creature from another plane. You work the magic where you are, and the contact with the other plane happens where you want it to. It isn't like a fireball that comes from you and then flies out from you and blows up.

With Conjuration, you wave your fingers and then a thing is created over there. I don't understand why a window or a wall of force would impede that. Why would it?

Same with an Illusion. There isn't some kind of invisible connection between the caster and the illusion. Illusions just create a thing that isn't real in the space the caster wants.

Where does it end? If I was wearing a cone of magically reinforced glass, would that keep me from being affected by magic? How big would the holes in it have to be before a caster could cast through it? A foot was mentioned earlier. Is that it? So, if I stuck my hand out of a one foot hole, could I cast outside my cone? Then when I pulled my hand back in would I be immune to spells again?


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Squiggit wrote:
I find it dumb precisely because it's weird from a worldly angle. A wizard cannot aim a spell through a bay window even if the spell has no physical effect that needs to pass through the window, but a stone wall with a 1cm slit that's sufficiently long can give that same wizard impunity to cast any spell in their arsenal, even with spells that project effects that shouldn't be able to fit through a 1cm gap.

Assuming it's a bay window with ordinary glass, a lightning bolt can easily destroy said window and then affect whatever is on the other side... including your strawman.


Doomed Hero wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The same logic that stops magic from getting through glass stops it from getting through a wall of force, which is another thing you can see through.

The "magic getting through" part is where my disconnect lies.

When you summon something, the magic doesn't flow out of you to a point on the ground and then call a creature from another plane. You work the magic where you are, and the contact with the other plane happens where you want it to. It isn't like a fireball that comes from you and then flies out from you and blows up.

With Conjuration, you wave your fingers and then a thing is created over there. I don't understand why a window or a wall of force would impede that. Why would it?

Same with an Illusion. There isn't some kind of invisible connection between the caster and the illusion. Illusions just create a thing that isn't real in the space the caster wants.

Where does it end? If I was wearing a cone of magically reinforced glass, would that keep me from being affected by magic? How big would the holes in it have to be before a caster could cast through it? A foot was mentioned earlier. Is that it? So, if I stuck my hand out of a one foot hole, could I cast outside my cone? Then when I pulled my hand back in would I be immune to spells again?

It does go from you to a point. That is why line of effect is blocked for the spell, just like it would be for hold person. You are where the magic begins. Just because it is not something like a ray with an obvious physical effect that does not mean magic is not going from one point to another. If that magic did not start from you then you could cast spells from inside of an area of antimagic to an area that is outside of the antimagic area.

Your questions about wearing glass(or anything to block spells) are corner case questions, and any GM would likely ask you a lot of questions to determine an answer. With that being said I am not claiming RAW or RAI for the following paragraph.

If I were the GM either you would have an opening or you would not, and it is kinda hard to wear glass and actually move. That would determine if I treated it like something you are wearing(attended item like armor), which would definitely not block any targeted spells, or something more like a glass wall would block any spells targeted at you. <----not claiming RAI or RAW because this is a corner case.

The Exchange

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I find it dumb precisely because it's weird from a worldly angle. A wizard cannot aim a spell through a bay window even if the spell has no physical effect that needs to pass through the window, but a stone wall with a 1cm slit that's sufficiently long can give that same wizard impunity to cast any spell in their arsenal, even with spells that project effects that shouldn't be able to fit through a 1cm gap.
Assuming it's a bay window with ordinary glass, a lightning bolt can easily destroy said window and then affect whatever is on the other side... including your strawman.

I'd probably go with a scorching ray against a strawman.


Doomed Hero wrote:

So glass windows block lightning bolts.

Edit: wait, that's wrong. Windows prevent lightning bolts.

Weird.

From now on, my party is carrying a portable window on a trolley for all their antimagic needs. Who needs Aroden's Spellbane anyway? Window Spellbane is clearly the superior antimagic defense.


Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:

So glass windows block lightning bolts.

Edit: wait, that's wrong. Windows prevent lightning bolts.

Weird.

From now on, my party is carrying a portable window on a trolley for all their antimagic needs. Who needs Aroden's Spellbane anyway? Window Spellbane is clearly the superior antimagic defense.

Exactly!

Sometimes the rules to this game boggle my mind.

I'm not arguing the rules about this anymore. Clearly line of effect is blocked by things like windows and walls of force.

What I want to know now is why. In what way does this rule make the game better or more functional?


Because if people actually applied the rules correctly magic wouldn't be as damnably overpowered.


I challenge that ruling :). Windows are made from glass, which exists as an amorphous solid, and is not technically a solid or liquid. Since it is neither a solid nor liquid, it cannot act as a 'Solid' barrier, even though it has hit points and a hardness (0 I think). Thus, a window would do no more to block a spell than a waterfall.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I find it dumb precisely because it's weird from a worldly angle. A wizard cannot aim a spell through a bay window even if the spell has no physical effect that needs to pass through the window, but a stone wall with a 1cm slit that's sufficiently long can give that same wizard impunity to cast any spell in their arsenal, even with spells that project effects that shouldn't be able to fit through a 1cm gap.
Assuming it's a bay window with ordinary glass, a lightning bolt can easily destroy said window and then affect whatever is on the other side... including your strawman.

Yes, but the example spell was call lightning and various summoning spells, not lightning bolt. Who's strawmanning who again?


Anonymous Warrior wrote:
I challenge that ruling :). Windows are made from glass, which exists as an amorphous solid, and is not technically a solid or liquid. Since it is neither a solid nor liquid, it cannot act as a 'Solid' barrier, even though it has hit points and a hardness (0 I think). Thus, a window would do no more to block a spell than a waterfall.

Glass is still classed as a solid at room temperature. It is an amorphous solid not a crystalline solid.


Doomed Hero wrote:
What I want to know now is why. In what way does this rule make the game better or more functional?

It makes the game better because it's a standard rule that can be applied across the board, rather than trying to argue each spell individually based on flavor text where the spell writer might not have been thinking of those particular considerations when writing it.

Take Call Lightning. It says you can call lightning bolts down from the sky, to a certain location. But how does the targeting work? And in what direction does the magic flow? Are you sending magic up into the sky, with the target location pre-encoded in that magic somehow? Or do you shoot out the magical equivalent of a "targeting flare" to the point you want the bolt to strike, whereupon it activates and from there calls down a lightning bolt to that point, lightning rod style?

Both of those are entirely valid ways that the spell could be said to work. If the general rule wasn't there, each and every spell would have to make explicit the precise "path" that its magic follows.

Rather than create that kind of a quagmire, they made a general rule instead. For spells where you're creating an effect at a location, unless the spell says otherwise, there's always at least some necessary element of targeting magic that has to flow from you to that target point, to specify where the effect you're creating should, in fact, occur.

I... really don't see what's so awful about that notion. It's not the only way it could have been done, but it makes sense enough to me, and I honestly far prefer one general rule to trying to argue out the answer for each individual spell based on each one's respective fluff text. The way things are, I can just quickly point people to that one section, have that settle it, and continue with play.

(This is actually exactly what happened to our group two sessions ago, funnily enough. We were doing exactly that, bogging down a fight in back and forth discussions of whether this spell or that spell required line of effect based on the details of its fluff text, but pulling out the straightforward rule cleared it right up and ended the uncertainty. So yes, I do think it benefits the game--in ways I have direct personal experience with.)

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