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One of my players has a special crystal that emits an anti-magic zone 5-feet around them. It was just picked up so they're trying to figure out what to do with the crystal. Suddenly they are ambushed by a Green Dragon who opens with its Acid Breath. So the question is, would the crystal's anti-magic zone negate the dragon's breath?

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No, an anti-magic zone would not affect dragon's breath

The dragon is a magical creature, but the dragon's breath weapon is not listed as a magical effect. Therefore, an anti-magic zone would not affect it nor nullify it.

Source: WoTC, Sage Advice Compendium, v 2.3 (2019), p. 17-18.

Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

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

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.

Let’s look at a white dragon’s Cold Breath and ask ourselves those questions. First, Cold Breath isn’t a magic item. Second, its description mentions no spell. Third, it’s not a spell attack. Fourth, the word “magical” appears nowhere in its description. Our conclusion: Cold Breath is not considered a magical game effect, even though we know that dragons are amazing, supernatural beings.

A dragon's breath weapon is not a magical effect for the purpose of game mechanics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Even though dragons are supernatural beings" Dragons have magical powers, yes, but I would have thought it's obvious that their bodily abilities such as flying and breathing fire are meant to be real-world based. Their wings give them physical lift, and their breath attack comes from a chemical reaction in their glands, like an acid spitting creature. \$\endgroup\$ – Domarius Oct 4 at 0:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Domarius Cube squared law tells us that dragons can't fly without magic. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 4 at 3:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast 1. As far as we know, but until recently bumblebees shouldn't have been able to fly, yet they did. 2. In our universe, but maybe in the Forgotten Realms physics is different and the square cube law doesn't hold there (as evidenced by the existence of giants and the like) 3. Maybe their magical nature got them a build that makes them able to fly but that isn't suppressed when the magic is, much like you can block a fireball with antimagic, but you can't put out the fires from a fireball with antimagic. \$\endgroup\$ – Joran Dox Oct 4 at 6:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm not sure the cube squared law apply in a world where a right angle triangle can have its 3 sides measuring 5ft. \$\endgroup\$ – Nahyn - support Monica Cellio Oct 4 at 8:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast and real world experience also tells us you can't "heal to full health" just because you have a "long rest!" In real life, I lost a "couple of hit points" stubbing my bare toe on a exposed tree root, it was quite a deep gash and I was nursing that thing for weeks! The idea is that it's meant to be physically achievable, in the game world. Same for flying dragons. \$\endgroup\$ – Domarius Oct 6 at 0:41
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No, a dragon's breath weapon is not magical

A dragon's breath weapon is not magical, as stated in the Sage Advice Compendium where they make an official ruling on this exact case (bold for emphasis mine):

Is the breath weapon of a dragon magical?

If you cast antimagic field, don armor of invulnerability, or use another feature of the game that protects against magical or nonmagical effects, you might ask yourself, “Will this protect me against a dragon’s breath?” The breath weapon of a typical dragon isn’t considered magical, so antimagic field won’t help you but armor of invulnerability will.

This unofficial tweet from Jeremy Crawford also reiterates this ruling:

The breath weapon of a typical dragon is not magical.

This means the anti-magic zone would not affect the dragon's breath weapon at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Edited to link directly to the tweet. Sageadvice.eu is just a guy who consolidates tweets and isn't anything official from WoTC. Nor is it related (confusingly) to the published Sage Advice by WoTC. And tweets by crawford are no longer considered 'official'. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 3 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since Crawford's tweets are no longer official, you may want to expand your answer to support it by citing the official ruling in the Sage Advice Compendium and/or the rules themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 at 3:24

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