Time stop is a spell that stops time for other creatures, allowing one creature to take multiple turns in a row. It says:

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.

Certainly, this is a magical effect. The spell causes the flow of time to stop for other creatures, and while you are taking multiple turns, no time flows for them. I imagine antimagic field can defeat it. The relevant text says:

Spells. Any active spell or other magical effect on a creature or an object in the sphere is suppressed while the creature or object is in it.

So, imagine combat between Annie, Tim, and Charlie. Ordinarily, initiative might look something like this:

Annie → Charlie → Tim

Suppose Annie casts time stop and rolled a 1 on their d4. Thus, they take 2 turns in a row. Initiative would look like this:

Annie → Annie → Charlie → Tim

Now imagine that Tim cast antimagic field, and following their turn, Annie casts time stop. Suppose they rolled a 1 on their d4 so that they can take 2 turns in a row. What would the initiative order look like?

Here are some possible resolutions I can think of, but none satisfy me totally:

  1. Time stop defeats antimagic field. The initiative order is: Annie → Annie → Charlie → Tim. The reason this is unsatisfactory is that time stop shouldn't seem to prevail because it's a spell, and antimagic field defeats spells.

  2. Time stop cannot be cast while there is an active antimagic field, because there exists some creatures you can't stop time for. The reason this is unsatisfactory is there is no rule that prevents these two spells from being active at the same time. Also, since things like beholders exist, it's not unreasonable to say there is almost always an active area of antimagic somewhere in the world, and that means time stop can almost never be used.

  3. The caster of time stop and antimagic field take their turns as normal while everyone else is frozen in time. Thematically and narratively, this seems the most logical. So we go through the turn order, treating every turn Annie would have taken as one full round. For this scenario, since Annie takes two turns in a row, then we can imagine two rounds going by. Ordinarily, everyone but Annie takes a turn, but now we unfreeze anyone inside an area of antimagic. So initiative would be: Annie (time stop starts) → Charlie (frozen in time) → Tim (unfrozen) → Annie (time stop ends) → Charlie → Tim. The reason this is unsatisfactory is because we're advancing the "round count" now, which feasibly triggers things like lair actions that activate on a certain initiative count. It does have the side effect of allowing Tim to act normally though, affecting other creatures if he wants, because he isn't bound by time stop and Annie isn't the one doing the violations of the rules of the spell.

  4. There is no answer to this question, and this is solidly in the zone of DM adjudication. This is unsatisfactory because, well, all questions answered that way tend to be unsatisfactory.

So which is it? Or is it an option I haven't listed here? Can Tim take turns as normal while inside an antimagic field if Annie casts time stop?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is two questions, one “Does antimagic field block timestop?” Second question, “How do you resolve turn order in the case where creatures are unaffected by timestop in combat?”. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AmethystWizard No, I'm not asking if antimagic field blocks time stop. And even if I were, the two questions are very strongly related. \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Resolution 1. 2. 4. Imply this aspect is indeed in question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:09
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @AmethystWizard I'm not quite I'm engaged by that line of thinking, honestly. The question is: "Can a creature take turns as normal if they are inside an Antimagic Field while another creature casts Time Stop?" and I expound the question by going into the work of laying down the possible answers, and opening up the possibility of an answer I haven't thought of. If this question will fail to generate satisfactory answers, then I can't see the point of asking another question that will simply duplicate this one. \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "When do the extra turns from Time Stop happen?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 22:12

8 Answers 8


Tim does not get to take turns

The key here is that time stop has

Range: self

Which means that the one under a spell here is the caster, not everyone else. If they remain outside of the antimagic field, the two spells do not clash.

To make sense of this, you could look at it this way: time stop does not, in fact, stop time in the whole of the multiverse, but places the caster outside of the flow of normal time.

What happens if the caster moves inside an antimagic field is up to DM interpretation. Time stop is an instantaneous spell, with no duration, so it cannot be suspended. What I think the clearest ruling here would be is that time stop ends if you enter the field, as you get yanked back into the normal time flow.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly. Time stop only affects the caster, so antimagic field would have no effect on it unless the caster wandered into its radius (in which case, time stop, as an active magical effect, would be suppressed while they remained inside the field). \$\endgroup\$
    – Elliot
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 23:42
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I noticed the comments have been deleted, so I'll open this one up, which I've asked to the other answerers. Does this mean other creaters can take legendary actions and reactions (say, counterspell) in between/at the end of the extra turns the caster gets from time stop? \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 6:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @user62688 That sounds like a separate question that should be asked separately, though it is a good question \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I think it will be closed as a duplicate, as any question that answers that must also answer this. \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree it has range of self and therefore tim does not take turns. As for how this affects reactions, I don't believe they can be taken. Time stop has speed you up so fast that those extra turns are happening in what appears to be one turn for Tim. He simple couldn't react fast enough \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 22:55

No, because the initiative order does not advance.

I say this a lot in Time Stop questions, but Time Stop has a duration of Instantaneous. It does not cause 1d4+1 rounds to pass in which no one else takes turns - if it did, it would have a duration of 1d4+1 rounds. Instead, it causes the caster to take 1d4+1 turns immediately. The turn order does not advance.

The turn order still goes

Round 1: Annie → Charlie → Tim

Round 2: Annie → Charlie → Tim

Round 3: Annie → Charlie → Tim


But on Annie's turn, she spends one action which grants her 1d4+1 additional turns instantaneously. After that action completes, she resumes her original turn (if she has a bonus action or a move leftover from before the timestop).

So it's more like:

Round 1: Annie → Charlie → Tim

Round 2: Ann-(Annie → Annie → ... → Annie)-ie → Charlie → Tim

Round 3: Annie → Charlie → Tim

The spell affects time itself, not the other creatures in it. Since time does not pass, there is no contradiction with the antimagic field. An analogy would be that if a river-barge is in an antimagic field, and someone uses Control Water to make the water under it flow uphill, the barge would be carried along despite the antimagic field.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This question supports your ideas if you wanted to reference it: "When do the extra turns from Time Stop happen?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 22:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This may be better suited to a question of its own, but do you think under regular circumstances (no zones of antimagic), creatures can use reactions/legendary actions while another creature casts time stop? Reason I ask is your answer ignores the spell's clause where it stops time and focuses on the spell's ability to grant the caster extra turns, which makes for a surprisingly effective argument. Answering that question would at least let me know what effects you think time stop would have on creatures other than the caster. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 0:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ That's a good question, but yes, probably a separate question. The rules don't say - which means that normal rules apply and other creatures would be able to take reactions and legendary actions. I, as a DM, would probably rule that they cannot, but I wouldn't claim that that is what the rules say. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 0:54
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @AmethystWizard - On the contrary, this answer explains it quite cogently: Antimagic Field doesn't stop the effects on other characters because Time Stop does not affect the other characters in the first place. The mechanical effect of TS is not "everyone else loses their turns", it is "the caster gets to do more stuff on their turn". Nobody else's turn is affected, thus there is no game mechanical effect on them for AF to negate. (And, yes, I know you love the "time stops for everyone" sentence, but that is pure descriptive text, not actual game mechanics.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 9:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is clearly a case where human error resulted in a regression in RAW; errata from previous editions had altered the text from something like its current form in 5e to something more closely matching Tim C's answer: d20srd.org/srd/spells/timeStop.htm; web.eecs.umich.edu/~brehob/compiled3.5.pdf \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 21:21

Time stop opens with the following descriptive text:

You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures […].

But this is not the game effect. Time stop has a range of self. Some spells (e.g. cone of cold) have a range of self which is the point of origin of an area of effect. You are reading time stop as if it has a range of self and an area of effect of "the universe". But the game effect of time stop is merely that you get to take multiple turns in a row. So the area of effect is not the universe, and it doesn't target "all creatures and objects in the universe". (Not sure if "universe" has meaning in D&D, but if I use "plane of existence" we would have to decide whether time stop also stops time in the Nine Hells, etc. The way I am going makes that irrelevant.)

Given that the effect is for you to take multiple turns in a row, you could just as easily think of this as allowing you to move super-fast (which, incidentally, is the way it was described in D&D 3.5). Thinking of it that way, let's consider how the spell is affected by antimagic field.

The important parts of antimagic field are:

Within the sphere, spells can't be cast […].

Spells. Any active spell or other magical effect on a creature or an object in the sphere is suppressed while the creature or object is in it.

What happens depends on where you are when you cast the spell, and where you move while the spell is in effect.

You cast time stop in the antimagic field.

The spell fails and you lose a 9th level spell slot. Full stop.

You cast time stop and during one of your turns you move into the antimagic field

Time stop is suppressed while you are in the antimagic field. It is not dispelled, as antimagic field doesn't work that way. Thus, what happens next depends on where you are at the end of your turn.

… and end your turn outside the antimagic field.

While in the antimagic field, time may "start moving". As a DM, you can say that creatures see you (as they would when time stop's duration expired) and see your actions. But if you move outside of the antimagic field by the end of your turn, time stop is no longer suppressed, and you can continue to take any actions that remain in the time stop.

… and end your turn inside the antimagic field.

What happens if you stop your turn inside the antimagic field? This is the hardest to interpret, but, again, antimagic field does not dispel effects. The magic of time stop is suppressed, but you have not used up the 1d4+1 turns in a row. At this point the initiative sequence continues as normal, and all creatures can act on their initiative. Your next turn counts against the 2-5 turns you get. If you move outside of the antimagic field you then get to continue to take turns in a row until you have taken the total number of turns time stop granted you. If you remain in the antimagic field, the turn order again proceeds by initiative sequence, and the next turn you take counts against the 2-5 turns you get.

Let's say Annie casts time stop and rolls a 4, allowing 5 turns in a row, but she moves around and enters an antimagic field previously cast by Tim. (Note, it doesn't actually matter who cast the antimagic field, or if it is a permanent effect that is tied to a location, as is common in published modules.) The turn order would be as follows:

Annie (turn 1) → Annie (turn 2, which Annie ends inside the antimagic field) → Charlie → Tim → Annie (turn 3, which Annie ends inside the antimagic field) → Charlie → Tim → Annie (turn 4, which Annie ends outside the antimagic field) → Annie (turn 5) → time stop ends and normal initiative order resumes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I ask this to TimC, but if you think time stop affects only the caster, would you say that other creatures can use legendary actions and reactions during the caster's turns granted by time stop? My answer would be no - because time has stopped. To be consistent with your answer though, you would need to answer yes. Do you agree? \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 23:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It probably turns on whether you count the turn as "ending" when it is followed by another turn by the same creature. It's pretty hair-splitting, and I'm pretty sure that allowing legendary actions between time stop turns is not RAI. But this is moving into Cosmic Encounter territory. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 4:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Time stop says you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row. That means you have to take one turn, end it, and then take another turn. Without ending a turn, you can't start the next one. The reason this is significant is because, if time stop truly doesn't affect other creatures, as you say, then legendary actions would be allowed. \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 6:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As you say above, it's probably a new question. My short answer is that RAW is unclear but I'm pretty sure RAI is to not allow legendary actions to interrupt a time stop. The reason I say RAW is unclear is that if game rules (for any game) say "You take n turns in a row," I think both (a) your turn doesn't "end" until, well, The End, and (b) your turn "ends" multiple times before it finally ends, are defensible interpretations. In any event, since that's not what the current question is about, I'll leave it there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've decided not to ask it as a separate question - it will be marked as duplicate, like this one. To your reply, I'd say only the second one is a defensible position, not the first. Legendary actions can be taken at the end of a turn, any turn, without qualification. Also, reactions can be taken at any time if triggering conditions are met, even during your own turn. I think you must agree it follows from your answer they can both be used during time stop. \$\endgroup\$
    – user62688
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 17:30

Yes, creatures in the Antimagic field take turns as normal.

Time stops for everyone except the caster & those in the Antimagic Field.

Time Stop is a spell, the described occurance “Time stops for everyone” is a discrete magical effect. Since Antimagic Field suppresses magical effects, Timestop does not function in the Antimagic sphere.

Magical effects are suppressed in the Antimagic sphere and can’t protrude into it. PHB 213

What is a Spell? A spell is a discrete magical effect, a single shaping of the magical energies that suffuse the multiverse into a specific, limited expression. PHB 201

While an effect is suppressed, it doesn’t function, but the time it spends suppressed counts against it’s duration.

If the sphere overlaps an area of magic, the part of the area that is covered by the sphere is suppressed.

Any active spell or other magical effect on a creature in the sphere is suppressed while the creature is in it.

  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ so that means that, if you're chilling in an antimagic field anywhere on the world, time might suddenly stop for everyone outside of the AF out of the blue because somewhere else, someone cast Time Stop? That seems kind of weird ^^ \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:18
  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ This does not seem how the spell is supposed to act. At any time, anybody in the known multiverse might be casting a timestop spell, which means if you spend any amount of time in an antimagic zone, you've effectively aged more than the rest of the world because the rest of the world for all intends and purposes may very well be under a permanent timestop. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes that’s a possibility, but d&d is not reality, or a simulation. Usually no-one is casting timestop unless someone at the table is casting time stop. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:34
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik It's a 9th-level spell, so the number of people who could possibly be casting it at any moment is tiny. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 18:54
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells the very concept of "at any moment" is itself under attack ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – user31662
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 0:17

Tim is not intended to take turns, but it's a cool idea

To begin with, I will present why it may be a fine idea to ignore the idea that Tim is not intended to take turns. Next, I'll outline the evidence that Tim is not intended to take turns. Then, I will point out miscellaneous reasons why this intent makes sense.

Time Stop is a 9th level spell, which means your players will be 17th level. Antimagic Field is an 8th level spell, so casting both is a pretty large resource expenditure. At this level, players are very powerful, and while allowing Tim to take his turn may have a big effect, in the big picture, this is not an outlandish ruling and is a pretty cool idea. On TV, it usually seems like some people are immune to Time Stop, such as on the show Charmed.

I can imagine a conversation with an aged wizard who can tell you whether the king is really the king because he experienced a time stop during the critical window during which the king is supposed to have effortlessly removed the sword from the stone. The idea moves me, and I think it is interesting. For me, that is enough to create a new home rule.

Tim is not intended to take turns

Time Stop, a Transmutation spell, says,

Range/Area: Self

Duration: Instantaneous

So the spell is intended to affect only one person, and to resolve immediately, discussed below. Here is the gloss for Range: Self, which clearly indicates the spell should affect only you.

Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Instanenous is defined such that

The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can't be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant.

In contrast to all the other durations, which each have a beginning time and an end time, and can be interrupted in the duration, including by Dispel Magic and Antimagic Field if the circumstance is appropriate. The word Instantaneous was carefully chosen by the WotC designers, and is specifically designed as a way to adjudicate order of operations for spells.

The way to think about this is that time isn't ticking slowly, it is actually stopped in the universe. The caster exists in a bubble of manufactured time, which is a magical effect. So a person in an antimagic field is affected because the nature of time itself is changed, and Antimagic Field doesn't create a bubble of magical time energy that takes its occupants outside the normal flow of time.

Antimagic Field, an Abjuration spell, also talks about durations:

... While an effect is suppressed, it doesn't function, but the time it spends suppressed counts against its duration. ... Any active spell or other magical effect on a creature or an object in the sphere is suppressed while the creature or object is in it.

That indicates that time works the same inside and outside the Antimagic Field, including instantaneousness.

Finally, Time Stop is a Transmutation spell. Another answer brought this up. If the sun is made to change and burn hotter using magic, if it is turned into a blue star, those in an antimagic field would still feel the heat from this hotter blaze. Whereas if instead, an artificial, magical hotness field was created; the magical field would dissipate when it reached the antimagic field. The distinction is between Transmutation and Conjuration. Time Stop is a Transmutation spell, implying that it actually changes the nature of reality. Thus meaning that those within an antimagic field are not immune to experiencing the side effects of a changed reality.

5e Design Principles - Keep it Simple

At this point I would like to take a lengthy interlude to talk about what makes fifth edition Fifth Edition. In general, 5e is a dramatic simplification from 3.5. Intentionally, it greatly reduces the barrier to entry for new players. It goes to great lengths to ensure that the system is more of an "opt-in" system than an "opt-out" system. The removal of a class or background or replacement of an individual character ability or spell with another does not dramatically affect the overall game.

If you have read all of the spells in all of the official 5e materials, you will notice a pattern. Each spell is written by a formula. In general, a spell does damage, and causes some kind of condition to be applied (such as exhausted), or some kind of game-ified effect (prevents reactions, changes movement speed, allows extra actions). The more damage a spell does, the less conditions are applied. Conditions are always duration limited, and though there are multiple methods, typically a die roll occurs every round until a DC is passed. I think I could reverse engineer a formula, although my intuition says that WotC doesn't adhere to this as an axiom, but uses it as a suggested baseline. My point is, that it is very intentional.

Another pattern you will notice is that the spell descriptions skew towards the formula, and away from imaginative, ambiguous text. There are still exceptions to this rule, but they are far and few between. For example, "flying" doesn't allow you to fly without strings attached. It has been limited just like every other spell - Concentration has been added. This means that any time the target is hit by an attack (possibly multiple times per round), the target has to make a save to end the effect - exactly as the formula indicates. Practically, tactically, this lets the user avoid the 2d battlemap (if any) and position themselves semi-arbitrarily. It also doubles as a wonderful utility spell out of combat, where Concentration is less important. But, in combat, this is an extremely limited spell that cannot stack with other spells.

In general, you will find that powerful spells do not stack under normal circumstances and cannot create a more powerful combined effect. For example, you can't be both flying and invisible through normal means. (Perhaps someone else can cast fly on you, while you maintain invisibility, but that is beyond the scope for my purposes.)

This reflects the same way that temporary hit points don't ever stack from multiple castings. Disadvantage and vulnerabilities apply only once and do not stack. It would be a very lengthy treatise to try to demonstrate this point effectively, so I will not try to prove this unambiguously (it is left as an exercise to the reader). However this intuition is very successful as deciding what the intent is for WotC content.

Instantaneous and Self are both deliberate monikers chosen specifically to stand up to scrutiny in exactly this situation. It would undermine the entire system for, Rules as Written, Time Stop not to resolve independently from Antimagic Field. If another reading was intended, I assume WotC would issue an errata, and add an explicit clause that details its interactions with Antimagic Field, either directly or indirectly. These situational caveats are present in the write ups for other spells.

Other ways in which this intent makes sense

The following section is not meant to convince you of any of the previous discussion. Instead, it is meant to suggest ways in which you can digest this information. Coming at this cold, this rule doesn't make any intuitive sense to me (though, the rules don't have to, and often don't in my opinion). Let us try further to make sense of them.

Antimagic is Lower Level

Antimagic Field is a lower level spell than Time Stop. In the pattern of the various Light and Darkness spells, higher level spell castings of those spells supercede lower level spell castings. This is explicitly noted in each of those light and darkness spells. Thus, if you were to follow this pattern, Time Stop would take precedence, since it is a higher level spell. This could inspire a house rule that a 9th level spell slot expended on Antimagic Field allows the caster to enter stopped time as well.

I think this is a pretty cool idea! You can have your cake and eat it.

Antimagic doesn't negate all magic

Antimagic Field doesn't negate all types of magical effects.

This area is divorced from the magical energy that suffuses the multiverse. ... 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. ...

Admittedly, Time Stop doesn't qualify under this explicit exclusion, which would resolve this question outright. But it does illustrate that sometimes an Antimagic Field doesn't work.

Antimagic is a special spell

... different antimagic field spells don't nullify each other.

DMG, p 41, Crossing the Streams:

... And the famous wizard Elminster of the Forgotten Realms has been said to make occasional appearances in the kitchen of Canadian writer Ed Greenwood --

If you think of D&D as being a mirror universe to our own, where you could walk into your own living room if you had the right spell, what would it mean for you if a mad scientist attempted to stop time here?

Antimagic takes us into a more real world, one more like our own. So if time were stopped here, how would that affect you? ... Whether time can be stopped in our reality or not is a subject of debate, but this more science-fiction take on the question is something I would take into account while reasoning about the effects of Antimagic Field.

The Weave

In D&D, you traditionally have The Weave. This is the magical fabric of the universe that thread through every location and physicality. Spells take effect by arcane magic users manipulating and moving the threads of reality in one place, such that they cause an effect on connected strands of reality.

(Divine magic works differently, as you channel the power of gods, but you could say that it works differently only because the gods manipulate reality for you, and are absolutely better at it than a wizard; gods exist outside of our time and space (or not!).)

An antimagic field occurs when the threads are frozen in place and can't be manipulated. So, is time transmitted on the threads of the Weave? Does time exist inside of an Antimagic Bubble? If it does, Time must be fundamental enough to exist even where the weave is destroyed or doesn't exist.

If time exists in an Antimagic Field, then the question is - how does it exist in an Antimagic Field. And what is time, and how does time work in your universe. Time may be a single object that suffuses the universe. In this case, the time outside of the Antimagic Field is the same as the time inside the Antimagic Field. And if that is the case, the inside of the Antimagic Field can be affected by changing Time outside the Antimagic Field.

Or, time may be mediated by some other mechanism. As a thought experiment, let us think about another situation - Gravity. I propose two hypothetical spells - Stop Gravity and Suppress Gravity.

Suppress Gravity conjures a force that is opposite to gravity, and in an Antimagic Field, that magical force would be nullified.

Stop Gravity simply disables gravity in the universe. Eg, particles no longer exert gravitational pull anywhere. In one model, gravity is mediated by gravitons. So, perhaps I have changed all the mass in the universe to no longer interact with gravitons.

Now time for some Physics. If Earth doesn't exert a pull, even the few particles that still do located within the area of an antimagic field don't make a difference. Even if Gravity is on inside the Antimagic Field, in physics, if the particles outside don't emit gravitons, inside the Antimagic Field, you can't feel them, because they're not emitted in the first place.

Similarly, if I say time ticks every time the pendulum of a god's clock swings back and forth, and I hold the pendulum back, an antimagic field won't apply. Maybe that's how Time Stop works. Or perhaps we could talk about chronotons.

To me, in order to make the rules make sense in my head, I need to know the mechanism for time. Is Time Stop affecting the outside world, or does it affect the caster? Is the caster suddenly discovering a new, Cantorian, higher order infinity of non-discrete time between any two moments normally inaccessible? Or is the effect radiating outwards, towards the area of Antimagic Field?

I think we have solid justification for the simple interpretation of the rules. However there is also ample room to to allow time to continue for those in an Antimagic Field. Especially since this is just a game, and you should do what inspires you and your group.

It's pretty cool either way, but which one do you and your players expect? I think that the best decision is the one that is the most fun. And this adheres to the spirit of 5e, in that it is **Rules Lite* for a reason. Simple rules as a baseline, and intelligent decision making as an engine.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount

As @gto mentioned in a comment, EGW introduces Chronurgy Magic and Graviturgy Magic. This late addition to 5e includes Relativity-inspired spells affecting time and gravity, which is very apropos. These spells don't change anything I've already said - these spells must be mediated however they say they are mediated, whereas a different spell would be mediated differently. But it may be instructive to see the terminology chosen - especially for gravity.

Adjust Density - this alters density, which has no basis in physics. It should be called adjust mass. This operates on the target, not on the universe.

Gravity Well - this presumably creates mass, which causes a gravitional well. objects are pulled towards it. The pull would be felt inside an Antimagic Field. If the source were inside of an Antimagic Field, it would not radiate an effect outside the boundaries of the field (if you use physics-based reasoning).

Violent Attraction - increases velocity of blade - this is a magical on the blade. Its title suggests it affects acceleration, not velocity. Also an effect on a target.

Event Horizon - stops people from using movement. This is very thematic, and also operates on targets in a field. If you claim it's a physics based effect, I could see this affecting people inside of an Antimagic Field. However, its type is Graviturgy, not Transmutation, so I could see the ruling going either way.

The Chronurgy spells aren't quite as relevant to the discussion in my mind, as they seem more thematic than mechanistic.

Legendary Actions

I really appreciate the accepted answer's write up here, which hits the nail on the head. Because the spell is Instantaneous, the turn order does not advance. Additionally, I think this makes sense because Time is stopped, so nothing would be happening while time was stopped. Perhaps it might be thought that all the legendary actions are queued up to be invoked as soon as Annie finishes her turn - but that makes more sense if Time is flowing slowly than if Time is outright stopped.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Higher-level spells don't take precedence over antimagic field just by being higher-level. The exception for magic from artifacts and gods is, well, for artifacts and gods. (I mean, I think you're wrong about all of this, but this sticks out as the weakest part of your argument.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You ask, "Would Stop Gravity affect the inside of an area of Antimagic Field? What about Suppress Gravity?" Well, there is a spell called Reverse Gravity. I would expect its effect not to be felt in an antimagic field. \$\endgroup\$
    – gto
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 12:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gto What I was getting at is the difference between "Stop Gravity" and "Suppress Gravity". I imagine suppressing would create a force that is opposite to gravity, and stopping would remove gravity . Eg, particles no longer exert gravitational pull in the whole universe. If Earth doesn't exert a pull, even a few particles that do inside an antimagic field don't make a difference. Similarly, if I say time ticks every time the pendulum of a god's clock swings back and forth, and I hold the pendulum back, an antimagic field won't apply. Maybe that's how Time Stop works. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 7:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sam the recently-released "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount" introduces new types of magic having to do with time (chronurgy) and gravity (graviturgy). Perhaps these would provide some fresh insight? \$\endgroup\$
    – gto
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 12:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gto That is very apropos, thanks for bringing it up. I don't think it has a big effect on my argument, but it is interesting to look at. I added a brief discussion of the Graviturgical spells, and rewrote my answer to flow better. In particular, I expanded on what I'm reading into WotC's motivations, and I cleaned up the second half of the answer. I would've summarized Chronoturgy, but it felt like I was getting off track. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 21:36

You could see it as a spell that changes something out of the material, for example, consider a spell that makes the sun 10x bigger and the world hotter during 4 turns. Would a person inside an anti-magic zone not feel hotter? Would the sun not grow to the person inside the anti-magic zone? The spell altered something that can't be 'inside' the anti-magic zone.

I think the other answers explain it better, but this is also a way to see it.


Popular Misconceptions

There are two popular but mistaken beliefs that are confusing answers to this question. To get to RAW here, we first need to correct these misconceptions.

Can Range: Self spells affect things other than the caster?

In the spellcasting rules, under range, we can read:

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Reading this, one might conclude that 'all spells with a range of self affect only the caster'. But that is a mistake; in fact, it is precisely the mistake that the most-upvoted answer here makes. Other answers here are also based on this misconception, including those of RedGeomancer and Sam. Why is this a mistake? Because "all spells that affect only the caster have a range of self" is not the same thing as "all spells with a range of self affect only the caster."

The quote above is just a partial section of the rules on range. To understand time stop, we have to read the entire section on range (emphasis mine):

The target of a spell must be within the spell's range. For a spell like magic missile, the target is a creature. For a spell like fireball, the target is the point in space where the ball of fire erupts.

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Spells that create cones or lines of effect that originate from you also have a range of self, indicating that the origin point of the spell's effect must be you.

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren't limited by its range, unless the spell's description says otherwise.

So what does a range of self actually mean? It means the spell must originate from the caster. Some spells, like shield, originate with the caster and then affect only them. Other spells, like cone of cold or dream, originate from the caster but then affect others, either in an area of effect (like cone of cold) or by designating a target (like dream). Arguing (as other answers here do) that time stop affects only the caster and not other creatures because it has a Range of Self is like arguing that cone of cold or dream cannot affect other creatures because they also have a range of "Self". Spells do what they say they do, and time stop says it stops "the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures". Its Range of Self is no reason to dispute its spell description.

Can Duration: Instantaneous spells produce sustained magic effects?

Another misconception is the belief that any spell with a duration of Instantaneous can only have effects that are active for an instant. Tim C makes this mistake when they argue that if the effects of time stop actually lasted d4+1 rounds, it would have a duration of d4+1 rounds (and Sam makes the same mistake).

However, the Duration of a spell does not tell us how long its effects last, it tells us only how long the spell itself lasts. Many spells create effects that linger long after the spell is gone, and we can find the duration of these effects listed in the spell description. 'Instantaneous' as a spell duration does not mean that the spell itself can't produce long-lasting effects. Instead, the definition of 'instantaneous' is:

Many spells are instantaneous. The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can't be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant.

Features do (only) what they say they do. The only thing a duration of instantaneous means is that while the spell can be counterspelled, it is too short to dispel. It does not mean the spell cannot have lingering magical effects that persist after the spell itself.

As just one example of this, consider the Instantaneous spell ceremony. Instantaneous, by definition, means the spell itself cannot be dispelled. However, that spell still produces persistent magical effects that last beyond the spell. In fact, the spell description tells us that these effects last for "the next 24 hours" (in coming of age and dedication), or even for the "the next 7 days" (in funeral rite and wedding).

Suppose someone asked whether the AC bonus from a wedding ceremony would be suppressed by an antimagic field. The correct answer is assuredly not that ceremony is Instantaneous, and therefor there is no AC bonus that lasts beyond an instant to begin with. The AC bonus is a magic effect, and it would be suppressed.

Other instantaneous spells with persistent magic effects include acid arrow, druidcraft, feeblemind, freezing sphere, goodberry, heroes' feast, mind sliver, ray of sickness, and synaptic static. In contrast to Tim C's argument, none of these spells have durations listed that match the durations of their effects.

These two misconceptions aside, it is clear that Amethyst Wizard has the correct interpretation here. To make this even more explicit:

  1. The caster casts time stop. As a spell with a Range of Self, its effects originate with the caster, but then spread out to encompass "everyone else". With a duration of Instantaneous, if the casting itself is not countered the magic of the spell flares and is gone, and cannot be dispelled. However, the spell leaves behind a persistent magic effect: time stops for "everyone else" but the caster for d4+1 rounds.

  2. Anyone in the area of an antimagic field at the time the spell was cast would be protected from the lingering magical effects of the time stop. Time would not stop for them because the magic effects of the spell are suppressed within the field.

  3. The caster and anyone in the field would continue to act in initiative order for the d4+1 rounds of lingering magical effects in which time was stopped for everyone else but not for them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't this mean that any time a caster anywhere casts Time Stop, every Anti-Magic Field everywhere effectively grants people inside of it 1d4+1 turns for free? In a sufficiently large, high-magic multiverse, this would be a pretty astonishing buff to Anti Magic Field. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented yesterday
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimC (1/2) It could mean that if the DM chooses to interpret "everyone" in the spell text to mean "every creature in the multiverse". But why would they choose such an extreme interpretation? Reading the PHB, it is clear that each time 'everyone' is used, it is used in a context-dependent fashion. In the section on combat, for example, 'when combat starts, everyone rolls initiative' clearly means, 'when combat starts everyone involved in the combat rolls initiative', and not that everyone in the multiverse rolls initiative. Similarly, the DM decides what the scope of the time stop is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented yesterday
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimC (2/2) 'Everyone' could just as easily (and much more reasonably) mean 'everyone in the immediate area of the time stop', or 'everyone within 1000 feet'. Once the DM has set the domain of 'everyone', only those creatures in an AMF within that domain would have the time stop suppressed, because only they would be eligible to be under the time stop's effects to begin with. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented yesterday
  • \$\begingroup\$ If that were the RAI, I would expect to see Time Stop's range written with an area, e.g. "Personal (1000ft)." Furthermore, there's more implications of this ruling - whenever Time Stop is cast near a populated area (even an area populated only by animals), it creates a boundary some distance away from the caster where time on one side is stopped and time on the other is not. What happens if a creature outside the area tries to move into it? The spell description does not say anything about this phenomenon existing, let alone how to handle it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented yesterday
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how that interpretation (and all of its side effects) is more natural or more reasonable than interpreting the spell as a sort of improved Haste that grants the caster additional turns instead of additional actions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim C
    Commented yesterday

Time Stop does what it says it does

“You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself” can only be interpreted if you know what “the flow of time” is. Fortunately, we are told:

No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4+1 turns in a row

So, “the flow of time” is defined in terms of you and other creatures. You get extra turns while “no time” passes for other creatures, including creatures who are in anti magic zones.


You must log in to answer this question.