The spirit guardians spell description states:

You call forth spirits to protect you. They flit around you to a distance of 15 feet for the duration.

Certain other spells like antilife shell state:

A shimmering barrier extends out from you in a 10-foot radius and moves with you, remaining centered on you

Does this mean the range of spirit guardians is affected by the size of the creature who casts it since they are up to 15 feet away from you? Or is the 15 feet based upon your centre of mass, so to speak?


4 Answers 4


Yes, Spirit Guardians' area depends on the size of the caster

Spirit Guardians has a range of "Self", and the area of effect is described as follows:

They flit around you to a distance of 15 feet for the duration.

A distance of 15 feet is the same range that you could hit if you have 15 feet reach or a ranged weapon with 15 foot range. Unless you are using the variant facing rules you are assumed to have that reach in all directions from all squares that you occupy.

Therefore Spirit Guardians' area of effect is the area of a 15-foot reach from the caster. Assuming the caster is Small or Medium, this is slightly larger than a 15-foot radius, as it adds the square the caster is standing in. For a smaller creature that does not occupy a full 5-foot square, this is the same area as a 15-foot radius. For a Large or larger creature, the area is much larger.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If Spirit Guardians works the same as a reach weapon, the area of effect would be a square, not a sphere. After all, a character with 15 feet reach can hit 3 squares away, including diagonally. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting: unlike other area spells, Spirit Guardians doesn't seem to list an "Area" (or shape) in its the "Range/Area" section, nor does it mention a "radius" (or shape) in it's full description section. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattVincent: 5esrd.com/database/spell/spirit-guardians shows "Range:Self (15-foot radius)" Since the description section is somewhat ambiguous, I think that's the deciding factor if you're looking for strict RAW. My understanding of "Self (15 foot radius)" is radius from a point inside you, not additional radius added to the radius of your torso or reach. Maybe that changed since 2019 when this answer was written; dndbeyond now says Self (15 ft <sphere icon>) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 3:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whether or not it's good for gameplay to use 15 ft from the edge of the creature is another matter; probably more fun to have some synergy instead of having a spell be less effective as you fill more of its area. Also related: On a self-targeted spell like Spirit Guardians, can the caster change the intersection corner on a grid? re: using it on a grid, which presumes that you pick a point inside or at a corner of your square, as implied by the " Self (15-foot radius)" wording it quotes (in 2021). Also this re: shape \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 3:18

On a grid, the Spirit Guardian takes up the same size regardless of the size of the caster; you select which intersection the effect originates from

First, from page 204 of the PHB:

Every area of effect has a point of origin, a location from which the spell’s energy erupts.

Then, from the DMG, page 251:

Choose an intersection of squares or hexes as the point of origin of an area of effect

Therefore, when playing on a grid, you select an intersection of squares as the point of origin. The effect then spread out 15 feet around that intersection.

Being larger doesn't extend the range of the effect; it merely gives you more intersections to pick from.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The usage of the term "point" in the PHB text is key here. If you expand upon this I think I could accept this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:04

enter image description here

I made a convinient picture on roll20 to show the radius and the modified radii when you are flying or otherwise elevated, hope it helps.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the use of these pictures can be super helpful, but maybe some more explanation of which picture is showing what would be more beneficial. The flying or otherwise elevated isn't obvious from just looking at the pictures above without context. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 14:01

It looks like the verbiage has changed over the last year, and give more clarity now:

They flit around you to a distance of 15 feet for the duration

The biggest difference is it does not say up to 15 feet. It says to a distance of 15 feet. That is a hard number that does not sound like it will ever extend past 15 feet the way it is written.

Things to consider:

  • Spirit Guardians Range:

    Range: Self (15-foot radius)

  • AOE Rule:

    A spell's description specifies its area of effect, which typically has one of five different shapes: cone, cube, cylinder, line, or sphere. Every area of effect has a point of origin, a location from which the spell's energy erupts. The rules for each shape specify how you position its point of origin. Typically, a point of origin is a point in space, but some spells have an area whose origin is a creature or an object.

15 foot radius implies a circle, and since the range of the spell is Self, YOU are the point of origin. If you are standing on a hex or square, you would take up the space of 1 full square or hex, and extend 15' in all directions from one of the intersections of your choice in your occupied space per the DMG, page 251:

Choose an intersection of squares or hexes as the point of origin of an area of effect, then follow its rules as normal. If an area of effect is circular and covers at least half a square, it affects that square.

There is no verbiage that says the footage is extended if you are larger. You can learn more about circles or spheres cast on grids here.

That being said to answer your question: No, the radius of the Spirit Guardians spell does not depend on the caster. It is always a 15' radius circle (circle shape implied with radius). However the point of origin on the grid can alter the "reach" of the spell.

It is always 15' from the point of origin which is yourself, and will be the center of said origin.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good answer. Just a note; even when playing by grid rules, the space that a creature occupies is not the same as its actual size, so I think your point about self-ranged spells requires some modification. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused what you mean? Yes the space the creature occupies is not the same as a 5' grid square, but when determining spell range in grid systems you act as if the creature does occupy the full space for spells or when ending movement on a turn. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can support that with documentation then I'd be happy to accept it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andrendire I found something more concrete of how spells interact with grid systems via the DMG and have added it to my answer. I think this covers all rules that would be affected by the question asked and they are supported by official text. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ "It looks like the verbiage has changed over the last year" - The wording in your answer wasn't a change; OP just quoted an incorrect version of the spell description from a wiki that intentionally rephrased description in a futile attempt to avoid getting taken down (as I noted in a comment on the question). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 6:44

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