The astral projection spell states:

If you enter a new plane or return to the plane you were on when casting this spell, your body and possessions are transported along the silver cord, allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane. Your astral form is a separate incarnation. Any damage or other effects that apply to it have no effect on your physical body, nor do they persist when you return to it.

The highlighted text seems to suggest that, when you enter a new plane via astral projection, your body is transported there as well and you may re-enter your body. This suggests you have lost your astral form and are now physical.

However, DMG 47 implies something different. This section talks about the astral projection spell for the purposes of traveling in the Astral Plane.

Astral Projection

Since the Outer Planes are as much spiritual states of being as they are physical places, this allows a character to manifest in an Outer Plane as if he or she had physically traveled there, but as in a dream.

It further goes on to saying that high level adventurers will often prefer to travel to the Outer Planes via astral projection because dying in this form doesn't mean "real" death.

So which is the right interpretation? Does astral projection put you back in your real body when entering an Outer Plane, thus ending the spell, or do you remain an astral projection?


3 Answers 3


D&D 5e made significant and substantial changes to nearly every major spell in order to accomplish its systematic rebalancing of the magic system. In all previous editions of D&D (except 4th, which completely replaced the entire subsystem), Astral Projection allowed you to visit other planes in such a manner that your death on the visited plane would leave no serious lasting harm. D&D 5e did, in fact, change that (at least in the spell description), but the author of the section on planar travel in the DMG is clearly writing with an understanding of the previous way the spell worked. It's quite probable that the person writing this section was a different author, and possible they had no idea the spell had been so significantly altered. In any case, I think the update in the PHB is consistent with the updates to magic overall, and should be preferred over the text in the DMG, which makes incorrect reference to the spell as a related topic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 It would be helpful to know if there are any Crawford tweets, Sage Advice, errata, etc. that help clear this up (it would even be helpful to know if someone is sure that there are none). \$\endgroup\$
    – Valley Lad
    Dec 15, 2018 at 18:30

It's a spell description that conflicts with its own implications, we cannot know for sure what the creators meant until they address it.

However, I don't think such a change to the Astral Projection spell is intended. The logic is why not just use a different spell if you stop being an astral form of yourself when entering another plane?

Plane Shift, or if you lack the attuned rod the Gate spell will suffice as, it's still cheaper than Astral Projection since it doesn't consume its material component and you can do more than just travel with it.


Read them again: these descriptions are 100% compatible. If we configure them as a single sentence you can see this. "[Y]our body and possessions are transported along the silver cord ... as if he or she had physically traveled there, but as in a dream."

The spell ends when you leave the Astral plane.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane" does not seem compatible though. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Jun 12, 2017 at 8:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain That part is covered in the description of Astral Projection by the segment "...this allows a character to manifest..." \$\endgroup\$
    – Javelin
    Jun 12, 2017 at 10:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm unsure as to if you are saying Yes or No to the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jun 12, 2017 at 15:05

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