The time stop spell says time stops for other creatures.

What all is affected by the spell? Is gravity affected? Air movement?

I know that the spell only does what it says, and nothing else, but just wondering.

In addition, is it saying that the other creatures are not affected by environmental effects and the like while time is stopped?

For instance, if a wind blew really hard at one of the creatures you're fighting, would it affect that foe while time stop is active? If you were to place a bear trap behind the person, and a hard wind blew enough to tip them, would they then fall over onto the bear trap and be damaged without the spell ending?

This is a very curious spell...


3 Answers 3


RAW: time stop only stops time for creatures, not physics/the environment

The time stop spell description states (emphasis mine):

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.

This spell ends if one of the actions you use during this period, or any effects that you create during this period, affects a creature other than you or an object being worn or carried by someone other than you. In addition, the spell ends if you move to a place more than 1,000 feet from the location where you cast it.

Rules designer Jeremy Crawford addressed a related question in an unofficial pair of tweets from April 21, 2017:

If you cast Time Stop and cut a rope bridge does the bridge fall while the creatures on it stay?

Time stop ends, as stated in its description, if you do anything that affects other creatures. Causing them to fall counts. Bye, spell.

But nothing happens to them yet? The bridge isn't going to fall, because time is stopped.

Time resumes because you did something that affects other creatures.

This indicates that environmental effects such as gravity (and the severing of a rope that holds a bridge up) continue to take effect as normal, and do not wait for you to finish the extra turns granted to you by the time stop spell.

Thus, any action you take during that time will cause the spell to end early if the action or its effects would affect a creature besides you (the caster). Crawford's ruling also suggests that this is true even if you don't directly affect them; affecting the environment in a way that indirectly affects them still causes the spell to end.

...but as a DM, you (and Jeremy Crawford) might rule otherwise

2 days after the previous conversation, Crawford quoted his own initial tweet and posted another (unofficial) tweet that suggests the exact opposite:

Alternative take: Cut a rope bridge, and nothing happens until time stop ends. This is most likely how I would run it, Mr. Crawford.

This seems to be a more straightforward interpretation of the spell. Crawford says he'd probably rule as DM that time stops for everyone and everything, including the environment. Given this interpretation, the caster of time stop is much more free to set things up such that the target might be hurt or killed by environmental effects as soon as time resumes; according to this, the spell wouldn't end early unless you directly affected another creature.

Conflicting rulings suggest that either interpretation is reasonable

The fact that Crawford presents two differing interpretations (one RAW, one based on how he'd personally rule as DM) suggests that either interpretation is fairly reasonable. The important thing is to be consistent as a DM in how you rule it, and to make the mechanics of the spell clear to anyone who's considering learning the spell.

It's also important to be aware of the implications of whichever ruling you follow. If you allow the caster (per the latter ruling) to do things that can indirectly harm the enemy without causing the spell to end early, it will potentially make the spell much more powerful.

  • 12
    \$\begingroup\$ So RAW, whenever someone casts timestop, everyone else 'experiences' 12-30 seconds of lag compared to the physics of the world? That's hilarious. Every moving cart crashes into the timestopped horses that pull them. Someone, somewhere gets crushed by a boulder they would have otherwise dodged. All flying creatures fall out of the sky. Anyone trying to fill a cup pours the whole bottle on the floor. Basically, any activity that requires active engagement by a creature fails! The amount of small accidents that timestop causes worldwide is terrifying. It must happen relatively often too... \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 5:39

RAW: Time does not pass (for anyone or anything) during Time Stop

Time Stop has a duration of instantaneous, during which

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.

The caster takes several turns in a row during Time Stop, but taking a turn does not imply that any time passes. When time is passing normally, each character gets one Turn per Round (defined as 6 seconds), but in the case of Time Stop, time is not passing normally. The caster takes 1d4+1 turns instantly, during the same round.

Mechanically, that is all it does. It is as if the caster were inserted 1d4+1 more times into the initiative order of the same round.

The absence of time does not suspend other rules

...And most of the time that works in a way that makes sense. After all, the Combat rules can already scale to having 1d4+1 creatures added to the initiative table without time going all wibbly wobbly - adding the same creature a bunch of times isn't that different.

This means that gravity still applies to the caster (and only the caster), since gravity applies as part of you turn. Per Xanathar's Guide to Everything:

When you fall from a great height, you instantly descend up to 500 feet. If you're still falling on your next turn, you descend up to 500 feet at the end of that turn.

It also means that spell AoE's such as Black Tentacles which apply an effect "when a creature enters the affected area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there" would not apply to creatures besides the caster during Time Stop, since those creatures are neither entering affected areas (unless the caster moves them, which would end the effect) nor starting their turn there.

Edge Case: Delayed Blast Fireball

Some spells, like Delayed Blast Fireball, have effects based on the number of turns you concentrate on the spell. Since you are getting extra turns without any time passing, it is possible to concentrate on a Delayed Blast Fireball for 10 + 1d4+1 turns even though its duration is only 1 minute, thereby increasing the damage of the spell beyond its normal limits.


The TV show “Heroes” had a character named “Hiro Nakamura”. One of his superpowers was the ability to freeze time. When he froze time, clocks stopped ticking, falling objects were suspended in midair, water didn’t flow, all of this because time was stopped.

In the movie “Clockstoppers” (not a good movie), they had a technology that could slow down time for the user to the point that the rest of the world seemed to stand still. Here’s a clip of that: https://youtu.be/1cFyFvO56Sw

I can’t imagine the spell not working in the exact same way. Time has been stopped for everyone but the spellcaster. If I were driving down the road and someone cast Time Stop and my car suddenly crashed because it was 20 seconds further down the road without me controlling it, then time DIDN’T stop. Luckily that wouldn’t happen if someone cast Time Stop, because my car, along with everyone and everything else but the spellcaster would be frozen.

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    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 7:41

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