When the banishment spell ends on a creature, it "reappears in the space it left".

How do the rules handle the reference point to this space?

I'm well aware I can just choose how to resolve this as DM. I'm just looking for what the rules say.

For example, if the creature is banished from atop a galloping horse, after a minute the horse will have travelled a long way. Is the return point on top of the horse? Or is it where the horse was when the banishment spell was originally cast?

Same thing with being banished from a moving ship. Does the creature return on the ship's surface? Or above the water where the ship was when the spell was cast?


4 Answers 4


It is almost completely unclear

No reference point is given for spaces. The rules are written assuming spaces are stationary and objective, real, immutable locations pretty much all the time. When they don't do this, it is most commonly because they briefly remembered that 'playing on a grid' is technically an optional rule, not because they took into account mobile terrain.

That said, the horse-riding situation is simpler. Horses (and other mounts) aren't terrain the way a ship is; your horse isn't your space. If you are banished off a horse and it moves, you will come back to the space you were in when you left, not back to where your horse is. The GM, however, will have to rule that this dismounts you; there's nothing in the rules themselves that addresses that-- forced movement while on a mount is not discussed (the rules expect you not to be mounted only very slightly less than they expect you not to be on a boat).


We use the map. Whatever the map is, there it returns to.

While there are no official ruling, what worked for our group was to get to the root of the definition of what a "space" is. As a DM and after talking to other DM's, we reached the following conclusion.

I think it is a very pragmatic interpretaiton of what is a space.

A space is a graphical square (or group of squares, for larger creatures) on the map.

The physical, here is where I put my miniatures on map. What does the map represents? Is it a ship? A floating Netherese enclave? The underdark cave? A piece of stabilized limbo? It doesn't mater. When a creature is banished, we put a flat marker on the map to remind where it was and when the creature returns, it goes back to where it was.

The ship has a map? (with squares?) Then the creature returns on the ship. Is the horse a map? No. It is a creature with its own miniature. Skip the horse and put the marker on the ground.

This also works for several other issues, like putting a Leomund's TIny Hut, Opening a Mordenkainen's M. Mansion, and whatever else. If it has a map, there are your "spaces".

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    \$\begingroup\$ We also disallow banishment for planar natives, but that's not on topic. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 19, 2019 at 17:40

I'd go with common sense over physics with this: The frame of reference is for that return is based on the descriptive sense, e.g. When a creature is banished from "the ship's kitchen" it returns to "the ship's kitchen", independent of the ship's movement. If it's banished from the horse, it reappears on the spot the horse was, not where it is now, because that's more in line with what we'd expect, even though from a physics point of view, the horse and ship situations have more in common with each other than with stationary ground.

This is for most parties simply the most intuitive way to go about it, and avoids prolonged calculation and physics discussions of how exactly to determine the stationary reference frame and therefore where the creature will reappear. It gives the party an easy way to prepare for that reappearance because it's intuitive. If the monster gets away because the ship drifted away from the spot it was banished, it might feel to the players like the GM is cheating.

Even if your group decides to go with the simulationist physics approach of a fixed point compared to a stationary reference, the most important part is consistency: There should be a clear understanding of the "rule set" of the world concerning banishment for the players to work with. If it once works one way and once the other way, the players will feel frustrated and cheated.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've found a good way to capture the intuitive frames of reference is to simply ask whether the object is completely contained in something. You're inside the ship's kitchen but you're on the horse \$\endgroup\$ Dec 19, 2019 at 11:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 taking your suggestion literally, a person banished from a cabin in the ship would reappear in the cabin but a person who was banished while standing out on the deck would reappear where the ship was and fall into the water? \$\endgroup\$
    – krb
    Dec 19, 2019 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are struggling as to why the creature does not return on the horse, a horse is not a location. The ship and its kitchen are. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 19, 2019 at 17:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ The OP requested "I'm just looking for what the rules say." \$\endgroup\$
    – user31662
    Dec 19, 2019 at 20:49

Obviously very open to interpretation but, if it seemed important, I'd have the creature roll for it. Everything is in motion at all times so the 'space it left' must be relative to something. The obvious something is the game-world so I'd say, by default, they should be in the exact same location regardless of any, none world-sized objects. If the location happened to be on a large ship that is no longer there, "whoops", I guess. But because conjuration isn't an exact science, I'd make the more or less convenient possibilities achievable too.

  • >= 19: "Ispep returns to their cave on their floating island"

  • <= 3: "Glorp returns to his now sunken ship at the bottom of the sea and promptly drowns"


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