Reduce Person+Mage Hand


Rules Questions


Found this idea on another website, but I think it's not possible by RAW. Is there a way to make it possible?
Small character (gnome or halfling),
use Reduce Person to be tiny and 1/8 weight (under 5# weight),
use Mage Hand on your own shirt collar to fly around.

Problem is "Target one nonmagical, unattended object weighing up to 5 lbs" and your shirt collar is an attended object, right? Could you stand on a saucer or sit on a chair (assuming the total weight is still below 5#) and use Mage Hand on the saucer/chair, or would standing/sitting make them attended?

Liberty's Edge

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Things like this are always going to depend on your GM.

I evaluate rules by apparent intent, RW logic, and balance. I'd say that the apparent intent of the 'unattended object' clause is to prevent players from using this ability to snatch weapons out of the hands of enemies or steal their spell component pouch. Thus, I'd allow a player to use it with any object in their own possession... whether worn or just standing on.

That said, Mage Hand requires a Move action to move the object 15'. So you can potentially fly, but only slowly. Dragging yourself around by your shirt collar is also likely to be uncomfortable and/or damage the shirt. Standing on a saucer would be a better plan... though you might still need to make acrobatics checks to stay on if it gets knocked around.

Worst case scenario you could put a teacup on the saucer and get in there. It seems a stretch to say the teacup is in your possession, but even if it were then the saucer the teacup is on top of clearly is not... unless both the floor of the room you are in AND the pillar holding it up from the floor below are normally 'attended' by you.


Good point.


I think the real question is whether the spell is strictly relative to the caster or not. All movement is relative, it's just a matter of what it's relative to. If it's relative to the planetary mass (or fantasy equivalent), the saucer should definitely work. Relative to the caster, not so much.

This can be an important distinction, even if circumstances are odd and rare. What about falling, for example? Mage Hand has a specific speed, which won't counter falling speed after more than a moment, unless it's caster relative and both are falling...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
EldonGuyre wrote:
This can be an important distinction, even if circumstances are odd and rare. What about falling, for example? Mage Hand has a specific speed, which won't counter falling speed after more than a moment, unless it's caster relative and both are falling...

When using the spell 'normally' there are no concerns about the object falling. It just floats around at 15' per round, blithely ignoring gravity.

Acceleration due to gravity is roughly 32' per second. if the 15' per round (2.5' per second) movement from the spell were being counteracted by gravity you'd never be able to get an object off the ground. Just push it around on the floor. Instead, the spell says that you can move the object in any direction and the speed remains constant.

That defies physics? Yes, but that's why it's magic.


CBDunkerson wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:
This can be an important distinction, even if circumstances are odd and rare. What about falling, for example? Mage Hand has a specific speed, which won't counter falling speed after more than a moment, unless it's caster relative and both are falling...

When using the spell 'normally' there are no concerns about the object falling. It just floats around at 15' per round, blithely ignoring gravity.

Acceleration due to gravity is roughly 32' per second. if the 15' per round (2.5' per second) movement from the spell were being counteracted by gravity you'd never be able to get an object off the ground. Just push it around on the floor. Instead, the spell says that you can move the object in any direction and the speed remains constant.

That defies physics? Yes, but that's why it's magic.

I'm really not trying to argue physics, just offering the one reason I can see this not working. At any rate, the point about falling wasn't regarding acceleration, but actual movement speed - relative to...whatever it's relative to. It doesn't have to matter in a fantasy game, but it can, if it's what the table decides.


The base rules of the spell do not allow lifting a rat. So I would not allow lifting a rat by a cute little collar, whether or not the rat is the caster. It's a cantrip.


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A 5 oz. Mage Hand cannot lift a 1 lb. coconut!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Java Man wrote:
The base rules of the spell do not allow lifting a rat. So I would not allow lifting a rat by a cute little collar, whether or not the rat is the caster. It's a cantrip.

To me it comes down to 'unattended object'. A wedge of cheese is an unattended object even if there is a fly (or thousands of microbes) on it... but not if a rat is trying to take it (ditto the rat collar concept). Essentially, the rat is big enough to contest the spell for control of the object and automatically wins per the terms of the cantrip. However, any creature significantly smaller than the object cannot reasonably be said to have that object in their possession / be making it 'attended'.


To me, if it's not worn by someone or in someone's hand, then it's unattended. If the fly or thousands of microbes on the object are important NPCs in the story, then it's attended, but if not, then it's unattended.


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The workaround is to cast mage hand on the object before putting it on. There is no rule to make the spell end when the object becomes attended.

That does mean that as soon as your concentration breaks, you have to unattend the object again to start it back up. So, it's far from convenient.


Personally, I think it's a clever use of Mage Hand and it's not like it breaks the game. The spell Fly is available at level 5 for goodness sake.


Melkiador wrote:

The workaround is to cast mage hand on the object before putting it on. There is no rule to make the spell end when the object becomes attended.

'Mage Hand' wrote:
You point your finger at an object and can lift it and move it at will from a distance. As a move action, you can propel the object as far as 15 feet in any direction, though the spell ends if the distance between you and the object ever exceeds the spell’s range.

But it does say you can move 'an object' and several references to 'it' meaning you can move a single object. That object can weight up to 5 lbs. It doesn't say you can lift anything other than the object or that it provides 5 lbs of lifting force. Only that you can move the object.

If the object is weighed down by another object on top of it...the spell says you can move the target. It doesn't say anything about moving non-targets. If you want to insist on a RAW reading, you can only move the single object and if you try to move the target plus more objects, well that goes outside of the scope of the spell. In the strictest sense, you can't ever move a pouch of coins because it would be attempting to move multiple objects. That reading of the rules seems to be backed by the existance of the cantrip Scoop which is made to move multiple objects or a liquid.


Scoop provides the container itself. That doesn't really prove that you can't move the objects inside of a pre-existing container as long as the weight of the container isn't over 5lbs.


Meirril wrote:

But it does say you can move 'an object' and several references to 'it' meaning you can move a single object. That object can weight up to 5 lbs. It doesn't say you can lift anything other than the object or that it provides 5 lbs of lifting force. Only that you can move the object.

If the object is weighed down by another object on top of it...the spell says you can move the target. It doesn't say anything about moving non-targets.

The spell can lift a 5lb adamantine plate. Nothing says that a 150lb person standing on it will impede this motion in any way. So either the plate lifts the person, or it passes through their body in some way...

It makes more sense to me if I assume it provides 5lbs of lifting force and that normal laws of physics apply otherwise.


There’s no way any GM is going to let you move a 5lb object with 150lbs on it with a cantrip :P. The shenanigans that would ensue would be atrocious XD


Matthew Downie wrote:
Meirril wrote:

But it does say you can move 'an object' and several references to 'it' meaning you can move a single object. That object can weight up to 5 lbs. It doesn't say you can lift anything other than the object or that it provides 5 lbs of lifting force. Only that you can move the object.

If the object is weighed down by another object on top of it...the spell says you can move the target. It doesn't say anything about moving non-targets.

The spell can lift a 5lb adamantine plate. Nothing says that a 150lb person standing on it will impede this motion in any way. So either the plate lifts the person, or it passes through their body in some way...

It makes more sense to me if I assume it provides 5lbs of lifting force and that normal laws of physics apply otherwise.

Everyone making the argument for letting a very light person fly is making a RAW argument, ignoring RAI. I'm pointing out that the strict RAW argument says you move one object, and weight has nothing to do with the movement. That only applies to the target.

Trying to make a permissive argument that you can move a wagon because you tied a string to it and you can move the string isn't compelling. Going by RAW, you should only be able to move the target as long as it doesn't get confined by another object.

So in the OP example you mage hand a shirt, and then someone puts it on. You can tug the shirt, but you can't move the person wearing it because the shirt is the target and the target is the only thing Mage Hand moves.


Meirril wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Meirril wrote:

But it does say you can move 'an object' and several references to 'it' meaning you can move a single object. That object can weight up to 5 lbs. It doesn't say you can lift anything other than the object or that it provides 5 lbs of lifting force. Only that you can move the object.

If the object is weighed down by another object on top of it...the spell says you can move the target. It doesn't say anything about moving non-targets.

The spell can lift a 5lb adamantine plate. Nothing says that a 150lb person standing on it will impede this motion in any way. So either the plate lifts the person, or it passes through their body in some way...

It makes more sense to me if I assume it provides 5lbs of lifting force and that normal laws of physics apply otherwise.

Everyone making the argument for letting a very light person fly is making a RAW argument, ignoring RAI. I'm pointing out that the strict RAW argument says you move one object, and weight has nothing to do with the movement. That only applies to the target.

Trying to make a permissive argument that you can move a wagon because you tied a string to it and you can move the string isn't compelling. Going by RAW, you should only be able to move the target as long as it doesn't get confined by another object.

So in the OP example you mage hand a shirt, and then someone puts it on. You can tug the shirt, but you can't move the person wearing it because the shirt is the target and the target is the only thing Mage Hand moves.

So...I can move a saucer, but not if there is a piece of cake on it?

I find your explanation lacking.


I don’t think there was a true RAI with regards to this case. The limitation is to keep you from using the cantrip to steal things from range. Preventing tiny creatures from moving around was almost certainly not a consideration.


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Melkiador wrote:
I don’t think there was a true RAI with regards to this case. The limitation is to keep you from using the cantrip to steal things from range. Preventing tiny creatures from moving around was almost certainly not a consideration.

I think its rather easy to figure out intention if you look at the whole stat block. You're suppose to be able to shift around light unattended objects, and its intended to be less useful than a 1st level spell.

Trying to make it into an extremely low level flight spell that is more useful than Levitate doesn't seem be to be the intention. And any GM that allows that shows just how little they care about rules abuse.

And this is why we can't have nice things.


We’re just arguing in circles now, so further discussion would be fruitless. You see it as being against the rules, while I don’t. You see it as being overpowered, while I don’t. We both seem to be firmly decided. Other people can draw their own conclusions.


Honestly, this is a cantrip, and it should be treated as such. It's meant to move an unattended 5lb or less object slowly. RAW be damned, sometimes, and in this case, it should. It's a farking cantrip.

This is kinda like asking if an elevator can move Thor's Mjolnir up and down, is the elevator worthy? And the answer is no, an elevator cannot move Mjolnir because Mjolnir essentially acts like an immovable rod, and also no, the elevator is not worthy. Okay, well if it's an immovable rod, then why doesn't Mjolnir tear through the earth as it rotates at 1,000 mph and revolves around the sun at 67,000 mph? Okay, so it's not 'exactly' an immovable rod then. Okay, so an elevator *can* move it then? Fine, the elevator can move it. Great, so the elevator is worthy? No! <queue the endless debate>

Anywho, this is a 0-level spell that applies 5lbs of force to an unattended object. If anyone acts upon the object of the Mage Hand, then it becomes attended and the Mage Hand stops. It's not meant to be anything more than that, and to suggest otherwise unleashes hell upon the logical function of the spell. RAW be damned.


There is no text anywhere to suggest the mage hand stops when the object becomes attended. At worst, it would be temporarily inactive while someone is touching it, but that would still be a house rule

And really, having a mage hand on an item would imply that it is already attended. By the mage hand. Or rather, what happens if a second wizard casts mage hand on an item that already has mage hand cast on it?


I know there's no text saying that, and that's why I'm saying RAW be damned. It's a cantrip and needs to be treated as such.

Honestly if two casters attempt to mage hand the same object, it should probably be a caster level check or the two cantrips both immediately end, either one would be fine. Opposed CL checks would probably make more sense though.


Ryze Kuja wrote:

Honestly, this is a cantrip, and it should be treated as such. It's meant to move an unattended 5lb or less object slowly. RAW be damned, sometimes, and in this case, it should. It's a farking cantrip.

This is kinda like asking if an elevator can move Thor's Mjolnir up and down, is the elevator worthy? And the answer is no, an elevator cannot move Mjolnir because Mjolnir essentially acts like an immovable rod, and also no, the elevator is not worthy. Okay, well if it's an immovable rod, then why doesn't Mjolnir tear through the earth as it rotates at 1,000 mph and revolves around the sun at 67,000 mph? Okay, so it's not 'exactly' an immovable rod then. Okay, so an elevator *can* move it then? Fine, the elevator can move it. Great, so the elevator is worthy? No! <queue the endless debate>

Anywho, this is a 0-level spell that applies 5lbs of force to an unattended object. If anyone acts upon the object of the Mage Hand, then it becomes attended and the Mage Hand stops. It's not meant to be anything more than that, and to suggest otherwise unleashes hell upon the logical function of the spell. RAW be damned.

That's why relative movement matters, and it solves the problem instantly. Mjolnir acts like an immovable rod relative to the surface world, in any plane it's on.

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