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Aroden's spellbane protects against designated spells the way Antimagic Field does. Does it prevent spellcasting within its area, though, or just casting that targets something within the area?

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Yes

From the description of the spell in the SRD: (emphasis mine)

Select one spell per five caster levels at the time of casting. [...] This spell otherwise functions like antimagic field, except its emanation only prevents the functioning of the selected spells.

Pretty explicit: it works like an antimagic field, except only for a handful of spells. I admit the syntax of the sentence is weird (what is that "otherwise" for?) but nothing that suggest it should have differences with antimagic field on how it works despite what is explicitly stated.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ -1:"nothing... [suggests] it should have differences... despite what is explicitly stated". What's explicitly stated after your bolded phrase is ", except...". That sure suggests there are some differences to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 12 '17 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also: the 'otherwise' means 'other than the stuff that we just mentioned'. Like, "except" again, but backwards. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 12 '17 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The "except" is here to state that it works only for those spells, not for every spell like antimagic field does. "otherwise" on the other hand is redundant with "except", that's why I think the sentence is weird \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Oct 12 '17 at 9:11
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Probably not

Antimagic Field states:

An antimagic field suppresses any spell or magical effect used within, brought into, or cast into the area, but does not dispel it. Time spent within an antimagic field counts against the suppressed spell’s duration.

And Aroden's Spellbane works like that, but only for specific spells. Since it only prevents the effect from being used within or cast into the area, casting out of the area is probably fine.

It's only probably, though, because Antimagic Field also states:

The space within this barrier is impervious to most magical effects, including spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

and, while that immediately precedes the line:

Likewise, it prevents the functioning of any magic items or spells within its confines.

which is what Aroden's Spellbane copies, stating:

its emanation only prevents the functioning of the selected spells

some people include that preceding line within the scope of Antimagic Field's prevention of the functioning of spells. In that case, the spellbane would also block Line of Effect for those spells, just like an Antimagic Field does, and that would render casting pointless in most cases, though still technically possible.

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