Playing through the session tonight the players brought up an interesting point I had not considered in depth.

They were facing off against a magic user who had summoned an undead owlbear via the summon undead spell.

They slew the caster but the owlbear remained, quickly “rule of cooling” this it was declared the owlbear skeleton collapsed, its creator destroyed.

But it begs the question..... what happens to a spellcasters spells that do not require concentration after he is killed?

Does a wall of fire go out? An entangle spell vanish? A summoned creature dissipate?

Or does the spell remain in effect up to its duration?


2 Answers 2


Most of times not.

Most spells on D&D 3.5 have a set duration and usually they will last their full duration regardless of the well being of the spellcaster.

A few spells have written on their description that the spell ends prematurely if some condition occurs (The enchanted weapon leave the hands of its wielder, the subject falls unconscious, get soaked, leave the area of the spell et al).

The exceptions to this rule are obviously the spells with duration of "Concentration". As you can imagine, if the spellcaster dies, the concentration will be broken and the spell ends.


With a summoned creature, the DM would have to make a judgment call based on the exact circumstances at to if it continues carrying out its last received order (possibly attacking the same target until it's not just dead, but reduced to nothing more than a mass of bloody tissue), goes completely uncontrolled and does whatever a normal (non-summoned) creature of its kind would do (a higher possibility with intelligent creatures than with mindless ones, especially if the spell in question was one where the caster had to struggle with the summoned creature for dominance), or returns to wherever it came from (a frequent choice with an extra-planar summons).


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