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The caster starts a battle casting blink upon himself.

On his next turn, he uses ready action: he will cast banishment on himself while he is in the ethereal plane, thus returning to the material plane, and not losing concentration.

When his next turn starts, he is banished from the ethereal, holding concentration on banishment- he let go of blink, using his action, and let go of banishment concentration as a free action- since banishment was stoped before it ended, he is brought back into the ethereal, but without means to return (plane shift spell would be a returning option).

So this way you have a character trapped on the ethereal plane, and it can be achieved with a 3rd and 4th spell slot.

The question is: is there any sort of offensive device that could be used from the Ethereal to the Material Plane?

It has to be something a 7th level character could use, since this scheme can be used only as early as that.

Being trapped into the ethereal is not so fun, but if you could use a spell that would hurt people on the material plane, plus you have sending as a way to communicate with your allies. It only lacks an useful offensive tool.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest just asking about whether your spell combination would work. That's what the title implies first. It is a lot of setup, and not all DMs will support your logic. Of course your own DM is the most important decision maker here - if they have already agreed that your plan will work, then please alter the question to make it more about the search for offensive effects, and less about establishing your spell combination as legitimate (it doesn't really matter if the DM has allowed it already) \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Jul 14 '18 at 11:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok! I’ll edit for clarity. You are right. As for the mechanics of it, if someone would find a failing point on it, I’d appreciate. Otherwise it seems ok. We have to consider that we are only trying to fast forward a mechanic that could be easily accomplished with the plane shift spell, at level 14. \$\endgroup\$ – Heleno Paiva Jul 14 '18 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Marq that sounds like the basis for an answer. Please don’t answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Jul 14 '18 at 11:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Can Force effects from the Border Ethereal affect targets in the Prime Material? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 14 '18 at 12:47
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Sort of

When you are trapped in the ethereal plane, there are no official ways to damage enemies in the material plane, but there are some spells that interact with both planes at a given time. From Appendix C of the basic rules, under the "Transitive Planes" heading:

Some magical effects also extend from the Material Plane into the Border Ethereal, particularly effects that use force energy such as forcecage and wall of force.

It stands to reason that one of these spells cast on the Ethereal Plane would extend into the Material Plane.

Homebrew Options

In my current campaign I've been GM'ing recently my players got stuck in the ethereal plane and I gave them the option to construct devices to allow for certain effects to transfer over (mostly force damage spells). One of my player's artificer constructed a magical pseudo-Gate that allowed for only force spells to go through. It is mentioned in the description for the Ethereal Plane that it would be easier for effects that use force energy to extend into the plane so it seemed reasonable to allow for an option less than a full gate.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait a minute- then a mere can trip such as eldricht blast would already damage the material plane while cast from the ethereal? \$\endgroup\$ – Heleno Paiva Jul 14 '18 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not within the rules. The rules say from the material.plane to the ethereal plane and only for particular effects. While a GM can certainly rule around that, I found that requiring a bit of legwork is a better plan since attacking from the Ethereal Plane is very powerful otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 14 '18 at 11:32
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You cannot attack across different planes

In theory, instead of letting go of Banishment, you could cast a harmful concentration spell such as Flaming Sphere. The sphere will be created in the Material Plane and you'll automatically lose concentration on Banishment. Because Flaming Sphere has no clauses about distance, you'll be able to use it until the duration expires while you are on the Ethereal Plane. However, when you banished yourself to the Material Plane you likely weren't anywhere near your party, so in practice your Flaming Sphere or similar spell will be who knows where doing nothing.

There usually is not much you can do in the Ethereal Plane besides travel, that is in part why it is considered a transitive plane. A couple of spells such as Wall of Force and Forcecage extend into the Ethereal Plane if they are cast on another plane, but the inverse isn't true: these spells do not extend into other planes if they are cast on the Ethereal Plane. In fact, no offensive spell comes to mind which you could cast from one plane, to harm a creature in a different plane. This is why blink is such a good defensive spell!

You will essentially be a glorified Sending scout until you banish yourself back to some random location on the Material Plane.

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