Say a character casts time stop on themselves. While the spell is active, they target another creature with a spell (thus ending the time stop). Can that targeted character make a reaction to the spell?

For instance, if the caster of time stop then cast finger of death at the enemy, could the enemy:

  1. Counterspell it?
  2. Try to reduce the damage from it?
  3. Retaliate using hellish rebuke?

1 Answer 1


Time stop ends if you "affect" another creature by your actions.

So, in order:

  • Counterspell, no. That would have to be done before the spell takes effect.

  • Hellish rebuke, yes. It happens after the damage has been rolled and applied.

  • "Try to reduce the damage", depends.

Consider shield. As written, it isn't really functional, because it can only be cast after you've been hit, but then can make the attack not hit you, which would imply that it couldn't have been cast.

The sensible interpretation is that when shield says you're "hit" by the attack, it means that the attack has been rolled, and would hit you, but the attack is not yet a hit; there's still time for some kind of very fast trick that will save you, such as shield. And then the attack causes no damage because you never actually got hit.

But if you're being attacked by someone who's cast time stop, then their actions have not affected you until you actually do get hit. If shield were to make the attack miss, then you'd still be frozen in time, and therefore you couldn't have cast shield. So that doesn't work.

On the other hand, absorb elements has to be cast after you take damage, which suggests it may work. That's right on the edge though; I could see a DM ruling that since it reduces damage from present and future attacks but not from the past, it logically must be cast before the damage happens.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2: ...Why are you pinging me to ask that? I'm not the answerer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 If "creating a situation someone would want to respond to" counted as "affecting" them, then time stop would be pretty useless, wouldn't it? "You moved out of my threatened space, which affects me by allowing me to make an opportunity attack." \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Dec 27, 2018 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you contend that an attack against a creature doesn't count as "affecting" it unless it actually hits? Even if that's the case, why does that prevent casting Shield, which is triggered on being hit? Wouldn't this logic make Shield completely unusable, since it always (when used correctly) un-does its trigger by changing the hit into a miss? (Apologies if this was already discussed in comments that were deleted.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2021 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanCThompson Shield is unusable as written, for exactly that reason. See further discussion here. If you think it's useful, I'll add some clarification to this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jan 3, 2021 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells Yeah, I think it would help to clarify the exact "timing" of when during the attack Time Stop ends. E.g. maybe "the spell ends after the attack is done being resolved and that's too late to cast Shield". (Just an example, I don't know if that's the actual timing.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2021 at 5:26

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