Does globe of invulnerability not work when standing on the ground?


Rules Discussion


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You must form the sphere in an unbroken open space, so its edges don't pass through any creatures or objects, or the spell is lost (though creatures can enter the globe after the spell is cast).

Since it's spherical, and not hemispherical in shape, must you be flying in the air in order to successfully cast globe of invulnerability without the ground disrupting it?


Definitely reading the rules too strictly.


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You don't need to fly. Just do a little jump at the right time.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is why physical education classes at wizard schools include jump rope.

"Ice cream soda,
cherry on top,
you want to cast fireball?
I think not!
A–B–C–D
Globe of Invulnerability!"


I really like this literal reading :)


It also applies to some wall spells. Chromatic Wall and Prismatic Wall specify dimensions and that they are straight. By RAW they are utterly useless.

They can't overlap with any object which means existing terrain. Casting a wall in the middle of a field is nigh useless as it can easily be avoided. Hovering it a foot or more off the ground so it doesn't encounter any plants, stones, or insects makes avoiding the wall really easy. Just roll under. The spell can't touch walls of the cavern or building – those are objects. These two spells don't have the wording like other walls that let them be shaped to lesser dimensions. Basically, dragon sorcerers are screwed at certain levels.

I'm guessing this isn't RAI. Such spells can encounter objects – just not animate ones. Creatures likewise only count if they have a level so insects and bacteria aren't an issue.


I'm still not sure what actually counts as an object - I personally think it feels weird to think of the ground as an object - to me an object in game terms would be like, a barrel or a large rock or a table or a sword, while the ground is just.... terrain.

Unless each grain of dirt is an object? Or the planet itself is an object (though in the latter definition, the entire atmosphere could be considered part of the planet, and hence you can't cast the spell anywhere except in space).

and for open space - is open space the complete absence of all matter, or is it like how a field can be considered an open space - it still has ground.

Edit: I just realised this intersects with a similar issue I came across in 5e - another member of my party used reduce on a massive tree that had a cloud giants house on top, making it quicker for us to climb - I didn't like it at all as it felt like too much for the spell, but rules as written it works as long as the GM doesn't differentiate between terrain features and objects.


I wouldn't define terrain as an "object", though this is more my personal view, as I don't think it's particularly well-defined in the rules. "Object" to me means item. I guess this breaks down a bit when considering furniture, garden gnomes, and the like, but some of that can be GM's discretion.

If you want to stop a globe of invulnerability in *my* game, you're going to have to place a whole bunch of caltrops!


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Object: Noun - A material thing that can be seen and touched.

I wish game designers would avoid the word. They clearly don't know what it actually means.

Virtually everything is an object. People are objects. Most folks don't think of it that way, but that's what the word means. Changing the definition after that fact to mean what you want it to mean makes you a jerk and a poor communicator. It doesn't make you magically correct.

Just use an adjective or state outright that spells using the word object mean non-living objects. Terrain is a group of objects. You can see and touch stone, dirt, and grass. Grass is also a creature as plants are creatures in D&D-esque games.

Terrain is also never flat. Even when it's nearly flat it isn't a perfect plane. I don't see too many uses for rules lawyering the curve of the earth in relation to wall spells, but you know some turd will try it.

Even a single sentence such as, "Walls adapt themselves to follow terrain. They will bend over the top of a hill, for example," would have been enough.

Instead we got poor language that says "Some walls can be shaped[...]" That's great. But what about the ones that can't?


The definition of a word follows it's usage, even if the norm of that usage begins to deviate from what the dictionary recorded the definition as.

That's how language works. That's why dictionaries have multiple definitions for most words, and why new dictionaries get published in a constant cycle.

Language sucks like that - but the answer isn't to try and change the way that language works by insisting that X word must always have Y definition. The answer is for people to be aware that they need to provide context to help the intended meaning to be understood, or to make sure to look at the context in which something is said to check their understanding.

I've never seen anyone at my table over the thousands of sessions I've been a part of not be clear on what the game rules mean when they say "object", and even here in this thread the only points of confusion on the matter are brought up as a result of over-thinking. What is clearly meant, given context, is seen and understood and thought of as making sense... but then further thought is given that, in my opinion, basically runs along the lines of "...but what if the writer is actually saying something stupid?" Just give the benefit of the doubt that the writer was assuming the reader gets the context of a game scenario, and everything works just fine.


Tender Tendrils wrote:
I'm still not sure what actually counts as an object - I personally think it feels weird to think of the ground as an object - to me an object in game terms would be like, a barrel or a large rock or a table or a sword, while the ground is just.... terrain.

My gut instinct is also to read it this way. The floor would not normally be considered a 'game object' even if it fits the normal definition of 'object.' But then I started wondering about weird situations like standing near a wall in a room made entirely out of sheets of glass, while enemies prepared to attack you from all of the rooms around, above, and below the room. It seems weird that the sphere couldn't be cast if it passed through the wall or ceiling, but passing through the floor is fine even though the material is the same and there is no preferred plane for the attacks.


Gisher wrote:
But then I started wondering about weird situations like standing near a wall in a room made entirely out of sheets of glass, while enemies prepared to attack you from all of the rooms around, above, and below the room. It seems weird that the sphere couldn't be cast if it passed through the wall or ceiling, but passing through the floor is fine even though the material is the same and there is no preferred plane for the attacks.

Best thing to do when wondering about weird situations is to consider that the authors of the rules would probably treat them as weird too - so expect that the standard rules assumptions wouldn't apply to them.

Just like windows and walls aren't treated the same, neither should ceilings and floors that you can see through be treated the same as ones you can't.


What's a weird situation though? I assume it's like porn and you know it when you see it.

The whole point of a pen and paper game is to do things a video game can't. We can treat buildings and terrain in a logical manner when a video game can't. I mean at what point does the bar room floor explode when the fireball hits it? In a video game never, because the ground object is defined as indestructible.

They tried to cut munchkins off at the knees, but I think they went too far. Like most rules meant to limit human behavior they've made more problems than they solved. Just let the players and GM figure it out. Sure you'll get some what-the-heck moments, but probably fewer than we're seeing right now.

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