I always assumed that elves/half elves were just immune to sleep effects, but re-reading Fey Ancestry, it says "magic can't put you to sleep".

Brass Dragons and Kamadans (Tomb of Annihilation p225) have Sleep Breath, and I just assumed it wouldn't affect elves, but now I'm not so sure.

Am I just overthinking it?

Are there any other magical sleep effects besides the Sleep spell? If not, then I would assume it's intended to include sleeping gas. But maybe the Fey Ancestry is a mix of magic resistance and "elves don't sleep" so it really is just against magical sleep?


1 Answer 1


An elf is not immune to the Dragon's Sleep Gas

Jeremy Crawford has clarified in a tweet that Fey Ancestry only protects against magical sleep.

Nonmagical sleep gas/poison/etc. can knock an elf unconscious, unless its description says otherwise.

He also clarified in another tweet that a Dragon's breath is not magical.

The breath weapon of a typical dragon is not magical.

Unless it is explicitly stated in the Tomb of Annihilation text that this particular Dragon's breath is magical, the effect of the sleep gas would not be prevented by Fey Ancestry.

As mentioned by V2Blast, the Sage Advice Compendium answers the question "Is the breath of a dragon magical?" as below (emphasis mine):

Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

  • Is it a magic item?
  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?
  • Is it a spell attack?
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
  • Does its description say it’s magical?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.

Let’s look at a white dragon’s Cold Breath and ask ourselves those questions. First, Cold Breath isn’t a magic item. Second, its description mentions no spell. Third, it’s not a spell attack. Fourth, the word “magical” appears nowhere in its description. Our conclusion: Cold Breath is not considered a magical game effect, even though we know that dragons are amazing, supernatural beings.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, now my dragon has an existential crisis. If the dragon is magical but it's breath isn't, what makes it breathe and how did the breath pick-up the attributes? Interesting. For those wondering, the quote in the answer come from page 17 of the linked Compendium. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 7:40

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