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In my answer to the question What defenses are there against being summoned by the Gate spell? the question came up whether or not someone inside Otiluke's Resilient Sphere can teleport away.

The spell states:

Nothing - not physical objects, energy, or other spell effects - can pass through the barrier, in or out, though a creature in the sphere can breathe there.

It's unclear whether or not this blocks teleportation and interplanar travel. I believe not, or at least not interplanar travel; spells that do block this usually state so, such as Forcecage. Other commenters had a different opinion, which is why I'm asking this question.

I think it ultimately boils down to:

Does teleporting or plane shifting out of Otiluke's Resilient Sphere count as "a spell passing through the barrier"?

I'm not entirely sure whether plane shifting and teleporting would be treated differently here, but I believe they might.

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You can teleport or plane shift out of Otiluke's resilient sphere

Provided that the caster is the one inside the sphere teleport will work. Teleport has a range of 10ft so it's area of effect will be limited by the bounds of the sphere so the caster and any targets must be inside. Teleport says:

This spell instantly transports you [...] to a destination you select.

This effect is not a movement effect, you aren't passing through the sphere. You instantly appear somewhere else.

Similarly Plane Shift has a range of touch and does not require a spell effect to travel through the sphere. It says:

You [..] are transported to a different place of existence.

Traveling to another plane does not require moving through the sphere. So you can Plane Shift out of the sphere. Misty Step, Thunder Step and any other teleportation effects will all work.

Interestingly Etherealness will even let you pass through the sphere itself as you are no longer on the same plane of existance though you can percieve it. We know this because Etherealness says:

You ignore all objects and effects that aren't on the Ethereal plane, allowing you to move through objects you perceive on the plane you originated from.

As you suggest spells for which this doesn't work specifically say so, as per Force Cage's description:

If the creature tires to use teleportation or interplaner travel to leave the cage, it must first make a Charisma saving throw. On a success, the creature can use that magic to exit the cage. On a failure, the creature can't exit the cage and wastes the use of the spell of effect. The cage also extends into the Ethereal Plane, blocking ethereal travel.

Otiluke's resilient sphere does not contain similar text and spell's only do what they say they do. Therefore the sphere does not prevent teleportation of interplanar travel.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think dimension door would not work (even though it is a teleport type spell) because the target is the space you're teleporting to, not the person who teleports. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Apr 8 at 3:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat While dimension door does specify its destination as the "target", it's unusual among spell target locations in that there doesn't have to be any open path to the destination. It's not clear that the spell effect passes through the intervening space. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Apr 8 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat Dimension door is a bit tricky true. I think it still works because it doesn't specifically say it doesn't but it is a bit of a gray area. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Apr 8 at 3:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not that the spell effect passes through the ORS barrier, it's that the casting would need to pass through the barrier. The range of Dimension Door is 500 feet, which is the distance of the point you can choose to teleport to. So you're casting the spell at a point outside the sphere. You can't do that. When you cast Teleport or Plane Shift the range is touch or 10 feet so they can be cast within ORS on yourself, then you teleport away. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Apr 8 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat I found enough merit in your argument to remove that example from the answer. I think the wording of Dimension Door is vague enough that we can't be sure for certain. It doesn't actually make a mention of the target of the spell, you just describe where you want to appear. It doesn't follow normal targeting rules at all so I think you could easily rule either way. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Apr 8 at 3:52
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I think that plane shifting would be permitted, depending on how you define the Planes. Specifically, it is a sphere; that is, it exists in three dimensions. Movement beyond the bounds of the sphere in any of these three dimensions would be blocked, by the definition.

However, a plane shift does not require you to pass the bounds of the sphere, only to jump to another dimension (Plane) where the sphere does not exist. This would also permit escaping a sphere via the use of time travel, for example, as it is (strictly speaking) extra-dimensional.

Otiluke's Resilient Hypersphere, by extension, would be totally inescapable!

Under this definition, it would block teleportation, since it requires a target on the current plane of existence.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Can you support your answer by citing evidence or experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 7 at 23:00

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