After the 2018 PHB errata, the spell contagion now inflicts the Poisoned condition upon a successful melee spell attack. The relevant spell text is below, with updated portions highlighted in bold:

Your touch inflicts disease. Make a melee spell attack against a creature within your reach. On a hit, the target is poisoned.

At the end of each of the poisoned target's turns, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. If the target succeeds on three of these saves, it is no longer poisoned, and the spell ends. If the target fails three of these saves, the target is no longer poisoned, but choose one of the diseases below. The target is subjected to the chosen disease for the spell's duration.

Since this spell induces a natural disease in its target, any effect that removes a disease or otherwise ameliorates a disease's effects apply to it.

The wording of the spell leads me to conclude that this spell still inflicts a disease, which has the immediate effect of poisoning the target. Therefore, even if a target has poison immunity, they will still make Constitution saves as designated to see if the disease takes effect.

However, the line, "At the end of each of the poisoned target's turns..." also leads me to think that an enemy with poison-immunity cannot be the Poisoned target, therefore disallowing the remaining sequence of events.

Are targets with immunity to the Poisoned condition therefore immune to contagion?


2 Answers 2


Yes, they are unaffected

At the end of each of the poisoned target's turns

Since the target cannot be poisoned, there is no "poisoned target". The remaining description does not apply. If the spell is intended to still induce the disease even when the target has poison immunity, it would say "the target" or "if the attack hits, the target ..." instead of "the poisoned target". This is supported by Jeremy Crawford's reply to a Twitter user's tweet.

Twitter User: [...] ...On the other, it now makes it so poisoned immune creatures are immune the spell now as well.

@JeremyECrawford: Both things are intentional.

If a target is immune to disease, however, contagion does still apply poisoned condition to it until it fails or succeeds on all three saves. It does not get the effect of any of the diseases in the spell description if it fails three times, however.


It depends on your reading of "the poisoned target".

If you read this as:

the target which is poisoned

then the spell doesn't make sense, as it assumes something which is not guaranteed.

However, if you read it as:

the target which was poisoned

then this is simply a way of specifying the target, though a redundant one. Note also that the spell states:

If the target succeeds on three of these saves, it is no longer poisoned, and the spell ends.

Emphasis mine. In particular, the ending (or lack) of the poisoned condition does not necessarily imply the ending of the spell or its effects.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree that the ending of the poisoned condition does not necessarily end the spell, I don't see how your last quote supports the idea that ending the poisoned condition doesn't necessarily imply the ending of the spell's effects. And the way you've written this, it seems like I'm supposed to. Could you clarify how the quote supports that conclusion (or if it doesn't, clarify that)? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2021 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have included the only other quote which makes reference to the conditions upon which the spell ends: the quote states that the poisoned condition ends separately to the spell ending. Is there a change that you would recommend I make to the answer to make this more clear? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fie
    Sep 8, 2021 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not so much "more clear" as "more convincing." Your quote definitely supports the idea that the poisoned condition ending wouldn't necessarily end the spell. But a spell can continue while its effects are not occurring (e.g. when it is suppressed by an Antimagic Field). I don't see how your quote supports the idea that the effects of the spell are not necessarily ended. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 13, 2021 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do have one specific suggestion, though. You say that if we read "the poisoned target" as "the target which was poisoned," then we could conclude that the spell will impair (and possibly inflict a disease upon) a target that is immune to poison. But the phrase "the target which was poisoned" can't apply to a creature that is immune to poison, because it never "was poisoned" to begin with. You could try and change "the poisoned creature" to "the creature that was hit with the spell attack"? (Though in my opinion, that is taking too many liberties with the meaning). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 13, 2021 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is true—I apologise for my unintended conflation of those two things (spell ending vs ongoing effects). This instead simply serves as 'support' for the interpretation of 'the poisoned target', though I'm not certain of it, since it draws comparison to a number of effects and spells which outright state immunities to effects, the spell ending upon a certain condition, and other phrasings which this spell lacks. However, I appreciate that's not a very strong case when it comes to 5e! \$\endgroup\$
    – Fie
    Sep 14, 2021 at 15:20

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