My reading of the description of the magic circle spell is that normally an extra-planar being of one of the specified types couldn't walk into the cylinder:

The creature can't willingly enter the cylinder by nonmagical means. If the creature tries to use teleportation or interplanar travel to do so, it must first succeed on a Charisma saving throw.

...but it could presumably walk out of the cylinder if it was already standing inside at the time of casting. Because the inverted circle operates "in the reverse direction," an extra-planar being could walk into the cylinder if they didn't realize that it was there and then get stuck:

When you cast this spell, you can elect to cause its magic to operate in the reverse direction, preventing a creature of the specified type from leaving the cylinder and protecting targets outside it.

I don't mean summoning something into a magic circle, but more like putting one down as a sort of inter-dimensional flypaper or roach motel. Fiends check in, but they don't check out.

So what do you think, does my interpretation make sense?


1 Answer 1


Yes, it does.

When reversed, nothing states that the extra-planar creature can't enter, but it explicitly says it can't leave, the very definition of a trap for pests.

The main purpose of the reverse circle is to contain creatures you're summoning so it needs to let them in. Thanks to Mark Wells for the heads up.

Your extra-planar flypaper, besides the 1 hour short duration and the fact that there are easy to see glowing runes on the floor, is functional. But looking at these points make it not the best choice for a trap.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The traditional purpose of this kind of magic circle is as a containment device for demons that you're going to summon into the circle, so it has to let them teleport or planeshift in. As for the glowing runes on the floor, I suggest a rug. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells About the teleport thing, you're absolutely right. About the rug, I thought about it but "Glowing runes appear wherever the cylinder intersects with the floor or other surface." It would intersect with the rug and visible anyway, so I didn't suggest it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AguinaldoSilvestre a rug wouldn't do the trick, but I think you could get away with throwing an illusion over it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ mix it with glyph of warding and I think it works. Do you agree? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 17:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .