If a spell has an area of effect with a radius of miles, like Control Weather, or Mirage Arcane, is there anything stopping a level 5 mage, hiding somewhere within the area, from dispelling the terrible storm cast by the archmage?

It feels like these massive spells are extremely vulnerable since, at most, they’d need to beat a 19 on an ability check. Surely it’d make for a very anticlimactic fight if the mega-storm conjured by the BBEG was dispelled by a couple of apprentice mages.

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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. As control weather and mirage arcane are two very different spells, I'd probably edit out the mention of the latter and ask about its interaction with dispel magic separately. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 17, 2020 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


Dispel Magic can be used to dispel Control Weather

Control Weather causes a magical effect with a 5 mile radius, centered on self. A successful cast of Dispel Magic from within 120 feet of that area ends the spell, as you’d expect.

Some notes based on your question description however:

If you wanted to dispel it, you’d have to know the weather is magical, you’d need to have Dispel Magic known/prepared (depending on your class) and a 3rd level spell slot available, and then pass DC 18/19 so check to dispel it (pure spellcasting ability check, so a caster with a 20 in their spellcasting ability would still need 2-3 tries on average, even if they’re a bard unless it’s a relatively high level bard). Now all of these individually aren’t extremely high barriers, but they’re still there.

Even if you do end the spell, this doesn’t immediately stop the weather conditions caused by Control Weather, rather the spell description specifies:

When the spell ends, the weather gradually returns to normal.

So if you did dispel the spell, the caster would be very annoyed but the immediate threat caused by any existing storm or the like wouldn’t disappear instantly. (And if the weather wasn’t bad enough to be a problem already, how’d you even guess it’s a magical effect or bother with dispelling it?). A sufficiently powerful caster could simply resume casting the spell (if they have more castings/spell slots available). And of course, considering how long this spell needs to take effect no competent caster would bother with it if they weren’t relatively sure they’d not get interrupted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Knowing the weather is magical is the big step here. And you can't even use detect magic because that works on only objects and creatures. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2020 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is what I originally thought, but the other answers raise an interesting concept: YOU are the one who gains powers, the caster can change the weather, that’s essentially the spell. So perhaps the magic isn’t in the 5mile radius area, but it’s in you, and thus you’d have to dispel the caster? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nicolas
    Feb 17, 2020 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nicolas I think that’s a plausible reading, but I’m not convinced it’s the right one based on the wording. I think that if when it rains on you because magic was used to make it rain, saying that the magics effect don’t extend to where you are because the person controlling the weather is somewhere else would be a bit of a stretch of the english language. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Feb 17, 2020 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a question discussing dispelling a self range spell when not targeting the caster, like your answer here: "Does Dispel Magic work on Tiny Hut" \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2020 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nicolas Also remember that NPCs don't need to follow the rules for PCs. If you want your BBEG to do something like this, they can. It can be something as simple as a lair action. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 17, 2020 at 17:38

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