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D&D 5E – Antimagic Field
August 19, 2022Posted by on
Thoughts on the Antimagic Field spell
(and, therefore, the Beholder’s Antimagic Eye Cone)
I recently ran a D&D 5E game where the PCs fought a beholder and a lot of questions popped up regarding what is and isn’t affected in its antimagic field. I made rulings at the table to not slow down play, but promised to look into it further to find what the official rules are and to come up with house rules for anything that might come up that haven’t been covered by any official rulings that I could find. This represents the results of my research and my current thoughts on this matter.
The description of the antimagic field spell is long and detailed. Please read it carefully. It tells you most of what you need to know. The core feature of the spell could be simply stated as “nothing magical works inside the area of effect of the spell”. The wording of the spell description goes on to explicitly define what that means. The problem is that it only “suppresses” magic in the area, and it doesn’t affect especially strong magic such as that “created by an artifact or a deity”.
Hopefully what I have come up with will help with your rulings at your gaming table.
Very few monsters are creatures or items created by magic. As a general rule, if the monster’s description does not specifically refer to the monster as “summoned or created by magic”, it remains but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Here are a few specific examples.
Animated Armor, Flying Sword, Rug of Smothering: These are magically created items and as such “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field.
Beholer: Beholer’s eye rays are suppressed in the area of an antimagic field.
Dragon: The Monster Manual does state that “Dragons are also magical creatures” (MM p. 86). However, they are not “created by magic” so they do not “wink out of existence” in an antimagic field. (The same is true of Fey creatures). Dragons in an antimagic field can’t use magic or magical abilities. A dragon’s breath weapon is not considered magical; it does work in an antimagic field.
Celestial, Elemental, Fiend (Fiends include demons, devils, hell hounds, rakshasas, and yugoloths.): While in an antimagic field they can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Undead (skeletons, zombies, vampires and the like): If they were summoned or created to only last for the duration of the spell that created them, they will “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field. Otherwise they remain but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Constructs (like golems, modrons, and such): If their description says that they were magically created, they will “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field. Otherwise they remain but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Magical Weapon Attacks: Some monsters (such as the deva) have magical weapon attacks. These attacks do not get any of the extra magical damage inside an antimagic field.
Magical features: Any feature that a monster possesses with the word “magic” or “magical” in it’s description, is suppressed in an antimagic field.
Other, possibly magical features: If a feature is not described as magical but the DM decides that, in his D&D world, that feature is magical, it is suppressed. Examples might include a fly speed without wings (such as death tyrant, for example), or a demilich’s Life Drain ability (This ability isn’t specifically described as being magical, but its description is very similar to a spell description). I would advise the DM to carefully considering the ramifications of any such rulings.
Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers: Treat their divine magic spells the same as any other spells.
Clarification: Deities directly grant their worshipers the ability to cast divine spells; these spells are not directly created by the deity so are suppressed in an antimagic field like any other spell.
Divine Intervention: A Cleric’s Divine Intervention feature does function in an antimagic field.
Clarification: The Deity is directly doing the effect. If a deity personally creates an effect it overrides the antimagic field spell.
Monks: A monk’s ki is not considered magical, it works in an antimagic field. The Ki-Empowered Strikes feature says a monk’s unarmed strikes count as magical. That magic is suppressed in an antimagic field.
Creatures and objects summoned or created by magic
The antimagic field spell says: “A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere.”
For any specific creature, you need to know what spell created it. Typically, if it was created by a spell with an Instantaneous Duration it will not be affected.
Concentration: An antimagic field does not end a concentration spell. The castor can maintain concentration while inside the antimagic field but the effect of the spell he is concentrating on is suppressed while he is in it.
You can’t cast any of the following spells while in an antimagic field, but here is what happens to these creatures or objects after they are created, once in an antimagic field.
Prismatic Wall: The spell description says: “Antimagic field has no effect on the wall.”
Polymorph: Polymorphed creatures are suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: If created with the polymorph spell, you maintain it by maintaining Concentration, so it is suppressed in an antimagic field. If created with the true polymorph spell, it reads in part “If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the spell lasts until it is dispelled.” It can be dispelled, so it will be suppressed in an antimagic field.
Animate dead, raise dead, stone shape: Creatures created with these spells are not affected by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: Any non-magical creatures or objects that were created by a spell with an Instantaneous Duration, such as these, are not affected.
Familiar: Your Familiar doesn’t disappear, but you can’t dismiss it or recall it while in an antimagic field. The same is true for your steed created with the find steed spell. They are a celestial, fey, or fiend that was brought to you by magic, but are not magically created creatures.
Goodberry: The magic potency of goodberries are suppressed. The same is true for the special effects granted by the food and drink created with the Heroes’ Feast spell.
Leomund’s secret chest: You can’t recall the chest while in an antimagic field.
Melf’s acid arrow: The arrow created with this spell is not magical, so you could cast the spell while outside the antimagic field and shoot it a creature that is inside.
Meteor swarm: The blazing orbs of fire created with this spell are magical, so they would disappear when they entered the antimagic field. The same is true for the globe of cold energy created by the Otiluke’s freezing sphere spell and the whip created by the thorn whip cantrip.
Planar ally: The celestial, elemental, or fiend that was summoned with this spell does not disappear.
Plant growth: Plants that have been affected by this spell are not affected by an antimagic field.
Blessings (DMG p. 227, 228): Blessings aren’t suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: A blessing that a character receives from deity is a “magical effect created by a deity” so it can’t be suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Charms (DMG p. 228): A charm can’t be used in the area of an antimagic field.
Telepathic communication: “A creature within the area of an antimagic field … can’t send or receive telepathic messages”. (MM p. 9)
This is far from an exhaustive list but perhaps, if you can follow my reasoning, this will help with other questions that may pop up. Please leave your suggestions, questions, and comments below (positive or negative).