This question addresses the question of whether petrification effects are blocked by the Antimagic Field spell. But it does not seem to address the gaze itself—particularly the Petrifying Gaze of a Medusa.

A Beholder's ray is clearly blocked as a magical beam, but what about the gaze of a Medusa? Is the gaze of a Medusa magical or non-magical? Alternatively, if not the gaze itself, what about the effect of the gaze? Is the effect of the gaze considered magical and blocked by an Antimagic Field?

The text for Petrifying Gaze does not state either way whether the effect is magical.


2 Answers 2



Antimagic Field states the following:

Spells and other magical effects, except those created by an artifact or a deity, are suppressed in the sphere and can't protrude into it.

So in order to answer your question, we have to determine whether or not Petrifying Gaze constitutes a magical ability/attack,

Unfortunately, the source books for Fifth Edition do not provide an explicit definition for what exactly constitutes a magical ability. However, there exists an overall consensus summarized here based off the Sage Advice Compendium. Jeremy Crawford's original tweet neatly sumarizes the ruling as such:

A monster's attack is magical if its text says so.

The Medusa's Petrifying Gaze makes no mention of the attack being magical, so the effect would not be dispelled or prevented by Antimagic Field.

Overall, there is ample precedent to support this interpretation. This answer establishes that a Dragon's breath weapon is not considered magical based on similar logic, so I would say that the strongest interpretation is that the Medusa's Petrifying Gaze is not affected by Antimagic Field.

However, there's more information to consider.

If you're feeling creative... sort of yes.

According to the Monster Manual, Medusas are created under the following conditions:

Men and women who seek eternal youth, beauty, and adoration pray to malicious gods, beg dragons for ancient magic, [...] seek out powerful archmages, [or] make sacrifices to demon lords or archdevils, offering all in exchange for this gift, oblivious to the curse that accompanies it.

A curse could easily constitute a "magical effect" as defined in the text for Antimagic Field.

So, as long as the curse was not bestowed by a god/deity, an interesting interpretation would be that the Medusa is temporarily freed of its curse, such that it would be unable to use its normal abilities.

Opinion: as a DM, I would say yes.

As the text for the Medusa's ability is vague in this context, I personally would rule in favor of the Antimagic Field suppressing the ability. The abilities of a CR6 creature like the Medusa should be trumped by a Level 8 spell like Antimagic Field, and both thematically and intuitively it makes sense that Antimagic Field would work in this way.

Additionally, I think the player's satisfaction at overcoming the Medusa in such a way is enough that I would rule in their favor regardless of the interpretation. Ruling against the player for situations like this break "the rule of fun" and can sting strongly of killing something interesting simply for the sake of a technicality.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know, Jeremy Crawford's tweets are no longer official rulings. Also showing that curses are indeed magical may help make your point \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 17:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Very interesting point about the Medusean pact and the curse. It could be an interesting thought exercise to see what other cursed creatures could be affected by this idea of antimagic field suppressing their curse and how that would play out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Praxiteles
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 17:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The "RAW" part of your argument rests on the claim that curses are magical, but your answer provides no evidence to support this claim. Can you support that part of your answer? Also, relevant meta: Please avoid using the RAI acronym, or use it carefully & be clear in context. You should expand the acronym to clarify, or rephrase to avoid confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 22:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer seems to say both "No" and "Yes". \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ You know, in any other edition, the answer would be a definitive "Yes", because in other editions, it's either specifically called out as being magic in the description, or it has the (Su) tag. 5e did away with the (Su), (Ex), and (Sp) tags. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 20:34

Medusa's gaze is not blocked

While not addressed well (or at all) in the books, in the official rules answers Sage Advice Compendium a test for whether something is magical is laid out. See here for the Sage Advice Compendium, or here if you which to stay on stack. In short, we have a five step test (numbering mine; there isn't really any order to them, but it's convenient):

  1. Is it a magic item?
  2. Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?
  3. Is it a spell attack?
  4. Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
  5. Does its description say it’s magical?

If any of these are true, it is magical and so is suppressed by antimagic field. In the same order:

  1. It is not a magic item. Medusas are creatures.

  2. It is not a spell. It's a monster's trait. It may have a similar effect to a spell, but it does not replicate its effects.

  3. No spell attack is made.

  4. No spell slots are consumed.

  5. The trait does not use the word magical, nor really make an allusion to being magical.

Ergo, the medusa's gaze is not magical, so it is not affected by antimagic field.


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