A friend suggests that you can ignore the miss chance on creatures under the effect of a Blink spell when dealing positive energy damage, based on what is written on the description of the Incorporeal subtype.

Of course, Blink makes its target ethereal, not incorporeal, and the two are separate enough that an ethereal ghost can manifest and become a material (but insubstantial) creature for a while.

My friend pointed me at this text from the Blink spell:

An ethereal creature is invisible, incorporeal, [...]

I did some research and it looks like other spells, like Ethereal Jaunt, have a different wording:

An ethereal creature is invisible, insubstantial, [...]

Therefore, I think that Blink's incorporeal just means "that can be passed through by solid matter", and that it is not talking abut the subtype.

Has there ever been an official clarification solving this conundrum?


1 Answer 1


Incorporeality (also here), is not the same as being ethereal. @KRyan's answer to the Question: "Can a ghost touch weapon make attacks from the Ethereal Plane to the Material Plane?" shows the confusion between incorporeality and etherealness, even on some authors and editors parts, and then clarifies their distinction.

According to his answer, Libris Mortis 143 has some of the official clarification you're seeking. So too does the Rules Compendium on page 51 for etherealness, and 64 for incorporeality. Per all the rules, only force effects, gaze attacks and abjurations pass from the Material Plane to the Ethereal plane (and nothing goes the other way).

The core rules say (Dungeon Master's Guide p.293, emphasis mine)

Unlike incorporeal creatures, ethereal creatures are not present on the Material Plane...

So yes, the blink description says, as a quick reference to the rules regarding etherealness, that ethereal creatures are incorporeal. Note that it's not saying that a creature under the effect of blink is incorporeal. The spell is not a primary source for the rules regarding being ethereal, so those rules have precedence.


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