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Under Casting a Spell > targets there is the following section:

A Clear Path to the Target

To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can't be behind total cover. If you place an area of effect at a point that you can't see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction.

Given this, I wonder are there any spells that can damage a creature in another creatures stomach? Ideally, without first destroying a clear path through the targets stomach.

Imagine an 'Alien' type situation where there is some creature growing in another creature's stomach. Assume both the host and the inner creature are mechanically considered creatures. Can the inner creature be targeted at all, and can it be targeted without targeting the host?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean "damage" or "target"? Are you only looking for spells that damage, or would teleporting it out suffice? \$\endgroup\$
    – NeutralTax
    Mar 5 '20 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ In this scenario can we see the inside creature, such as when consumed by an Ooze or if we have x-ray vision, or perhaps some other vision? Or should we assume the target cannot be seen and has total cover? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5 '20 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related as a possible example: "Can Sacred Flame target someone that is behind total cover?" \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5 '20 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Imagine an 'Alien' type situation where there is some creature growing in another creatures stomach" — what creature do you mean? Usually, description of such a creature also has the corresponding mechanics. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Mar 5 '20 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry I didn't have a chance to check back on my own question! @NeutralTax I'd be interested in examples of both, although damage was the original question \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9 '20 at 13:57
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Glyph of Warding might be able to do this

Glyph of Warding states:

... you inscribe a glyph that later unleashes a magical effect. You inscribe it either on a surface (such as a table or a section of floor or wall) or within an object that can be closed (such as a book, a scroll, or a treasure chest) to conceal the glyph.

...You can further refine the trigger so the spell activates only under certain circumstances...

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area.

So, let's play this out:

  • Let's assume your friend Steve has a parasite in his stomach. (If he's not your friend, you may need to force a few things...)
  • Cast Glyph of Warding on a piece of paper with a single-target spell (Let's say Fire Bolt) with the trigger "When it touches a parasite"
  • Have Steve come to you, since if you move the paper further than 10 feet it will not work
  • Have Steve eat the paper
  • Wait for the paper to touch the parasite

Now this is a little bit cheap, since you're not targeting the parasite, but the paper. But it's still a spell that's damaging a creature inside of another creature's stomach.

The Symbol spell should also work the same way, but keep in mind Steve will also be affected, since it's always a 60-foot sphere instead of an optional single-target spell.

You also MIGHT be able to cast Banishment, but that would be up to the DM.

As per this question, if you banish the outer creature (Our Steve), the inner creature MIGHT be left behind, but according to the accepted answer, that's up to the DM. Other answers say this won't work, so try this at your own risk.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ LMAO The medical shenanigans here would earn a win from me as a DM just by virtue of the rule-of-cool. I imagine the magical glyph would be a diagram of a beta-lactam ring. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Mar 10 '20 at 18:37
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In previous editions, there was precedent for the remove disease spell curing parasites. For example, in 3.5e, the Red Slaad had this ability:

Implant (Ex): A red slaad that hits with a claw attack can inject an egg pellet into the opponent's body. The affected creature must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 17) to avoid implantation. Often the slaad implants an unconscious or otherwise helpless creature (which gets no saving throw). The egg gestates for one week before hatching into a blue slaad that eats its way out, killing the host. Twenty-four hours before the egg fully matures, the victim falls extremely ill (-10 to all ability scores). A remove disease spell rids a victim of the pellet, as does a successful Heal check (DC 20) by someone with that skill. If the check fails, the healer can try again, but each attempt (successful or not) deals 1d4 points of damage to the patient.

In 5e, there is no remove disease spell, but the lesser restoration spell can remove diseases, so I'd recommend that you try that first.

Also note the use of the heal ability, which suggests that you can simply perform an operation to remove the parasite.


There's also the potential for a spell such as spirit guardians to work. This spell targets an area, and then it deals damage to any creature that "enters the area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there". A DM might rule that parasites can be protected by their total cover, but it sounds like the spirits are incorporeal, so it's possible they can simply phase through flesh.

You might also consider moonbeam (also targets an area, though your DM is more likely to rule that cover protects against the effect) and shatter (more plausible that the sound waves can deal damage even to something inside another creature).

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