(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 polymorphspell, 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).
What it is: D&D Adventure Anthology Adventures Included: 13 Adventures Theme: Adventures inspired by world folklore Starting Location: The Radiant Citadel—a magical city in the Ethereal Plane Contents: 13 adventures for characters levels 1–14, 11 monsters, and introduction of the Radiant Citadel Best for: Dungeon Masters
I have just ordered my copy. Let me know what you think about this.
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse is now available. Click HERE
Wizards of the Coast web site calls it: “A bestiary of wondrous friends and foes for the world’s greatest roleplaying game. Sparkling with the musings of the wizard Mordenkainen, this tome features a host of creatures for use in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Hailing from every corner of the multiverse, these creatures represent some of the most benevolent and malevolent forces that D&D heroes might face. The book also gathers together fantastical peoples from many different worlds. Each of these peoples represents a race option when you create your D&D character, expanding on the choices in the Player’s Handbook. Compiling and updating monsters that originally appeared in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, this book presents friends and foes for any D&D campaign, many of them accompanied by the comments of Mordenkainen. The wizard has faced many of these monsters and peoples on numerous wondrous adventures. Now it’s time for you to venture forth and face these creatures yourself!”
“To target something [with a spell], you must have a clear path to it, so it can’t be behind total cover. If you place an area of effect at a point that you can’t see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction.”
This isn’t especially clear and and leads to many questions. A clear definition of “line of effect” would clear up much of the confusion. However, neither the Player’s Handbook nor the Dungeons Master’s Guide use this term at all. Because fifth edition doesn’t define a line of effect, below is my unofficial definition. I went back to the definition in third edition and modified it to account for the differences in 3rd and 5th edition. Because the following is not official, you should consider it a house rule.
Line of Effect [for Spells]
You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to the point of origin for any spell’s area of effect. A spell’s area of effect affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin. 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. A line of effect is also blocked by a solid barrier that doesn’t block sight, such as clear glass. An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect. Line of effect is required for spells unless the spell description specifically states otherwise. Any spell that says that you need to see the target still requires a line of effect. If the spell description says that an effect spreads around corners that effect doesn’t require a line of effect.
If a spell must be maintained with concentration, you must have a line of effect to cast the spell, but you do not need to maintain a line of effect to maintain concentration. However, if the concentration spell allows you to use an action, bonus action or reaction to effect a creature or object then any round that you perform that action you must have line of effect to the target.
Line of Effect [for Auras]
The line of effect for an Aura is different than for spells. To be effected by (or to detect) an Aura there must be a straight path to the source of the aura that isn’t blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.
If you are a Dungeon Master, you may have business cards that you give to your players. Here is a way to improve them. Give people a reason to keep your cards, and even collect them, by printing dungeon maps on the back!
These aren’t new, but they are new to me. I just ran across these the other day. They are excellent business card sized dungeon maps. When printed on business cards, each card can be placed next to any other card to create a random dungeon. There are 20 different images. and you can print them on the back of your business cards. I printed mine on my printer and cut them apart, but you can use MOO Business Cards and they don’t charge extra to print a different image on the back of every card!
Get these images from “Dyson’s Dodencahedron” Blog. There are 5 maps in each set, and instructions on how they might be used.
As a Dungeon Master, I quit using a DM screen about 5 years ago. I had always used one because I was told that that was the way the game was played. The players can’t see any of your maps or reference books. You can hide the minis of the monsters until you bring them out for an encounter. And you can roll behind the screen so your players can’t see when you fudge your die rolls.
When I stopped using a DM screen, I loved it. My players are all mature enough that they aren’t inclined to cheat, so hiding my books and notes isn’t an issue. I make all of my rolls in the open. At first I thought I might need to make secret rolls from time to time, so I put a couple of dice in a small wooden box with a lid for making secret rolls. In the last 5 years, I have never used it. I have a small cardboard box where I keep the monster minis until time to bring them out. And I really enjoy the game more where I can have a closer connection to the players, not to mention that I hate having to stand up whenever I need a good view of the battle mat.
The only problem has been my maps. My players don’t purposely look at the map, but it is hard not to look at it when it is in the open. So to help keep my honest players honest, a couple of weeks ago I started using a DM screen again. It didn’t take long for me to regret it, for all of the reasons I just mentioned.
Then, one morning I woke up with this idea. If all I was using the DM screen for was to make it easier for my players to not look at my maps, I didn’t need a full sized DM screen. I found an old shoebox that was just the right size for an 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch paper to fit inside. I cut off one end. I cut off two panels from an old DM screen (any 8.5 x 11 sheets of cardboard would do) and taped them to the sides. As I hope you can see from the photos, this is high enough that the players seated on each side of me can’t see the map and players at the other end of the table can’t see the map over the end of the shoe box. I taped a monster picture to the end just for fun. And the best thing of all, it doesn’t obstruct my view of the battle mat.
What do you think of this idea? I have only used it a couple of sessions so far, but I really like it. Also, I can easily set it aside when I don’t need to reference the map.
This blog just reached 500 followers. I was looking around for a way to thank you! I haven’t done anything that is ready for posting lately (I have been working on something), but I ran across this. These are from “Dyson’s Dodecahedron” 2017. Both cards are copyright 2017 by Dyson Logos, based on a design by Kirin Robinson, and you can download them to print on 2″ x 3.5″ cards. HERE:
Or you can use this version to print on a letter sized sheet – HERE.
This is a major update to my earlier Nautical Adventures supplement. I have changed form a Ship Record Sheet to the Ship Stat Block format as presented in the “Ghost of Saltmarsh” book under its “Of Ships and The Sea” appendix and have streamlined the special officer actions. This has made running ship to ship combat much faster and easier to play. Everything here is fully comparable with “Ghost of Saltmarsh”. I highly recommend its “TRAVEL AT SEA”, “OCEAN ENVIRONS”, “ENCOUNTERS AT SEA”, “RANDOM SHIPS”, “MYSTERIOUS ISLANDS”, and “UNDERWATER LOCATIONS” sections for use in your nautical adventures.
The official rules for Lycanthropy in D&D 5E don’t make it clear on how a DM should run the game should a player’s character become effected by the curse. I was looking to come up with some house rules when I ran across this post by Halfling Hobbies. I didn’t think I could improve on it much so I thought I would share.