I'm a smuggler, and have just completed digging a mile and a half long tunnel from the shore to the city. I don't know much about magic, but I do know that I don't want the recent zombie problem to be able to gain access to my tunnel. I hire a Cleric to keep them out permanently, and they choose to cast forbiddance on the tunnel.

Forbiddance states (PHB p.243):

You create a ward against magical travel that protects up to 40,000 square feet of floor space to a height of 30 feet above the floor.

The tunnel is 10 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 1.5 miles long, or 7920 feet. This makes its total area 39600 feet, so it would be within the size limitations. Is there any restrictions on how far Forbiddance can affect? Assuming the tunnel is completely unlit, the cleric could only see as far as there darkvision; would the lack of vision have any effect?


1 Answer 1


Only Indirectly

Forbiddance has the limitation "Range: touch", which means the caster has to touch the area to be affected. While technically there is no inherent requirement the affected floor space be a contiguous region, composed of 5' squares or otherwise not possessed of weird dimensions effectively increasing its affected area, or otherwise sensible, in practice the spell will generally be limited to 40,000 square feet of contiguous 5' squares when needed to prevent abuse.

No requirement exists in the text, nor is one typically imposed in practice, for the caster to see the target floor space. In fact, the caster probably doesn't even need line of effect to the floor space, since there's no point of origin for the spell and the rules and "clarifications" establishing the need for a line of effect kind of assume one.

In short, the Cleric can ward the entire tunnel from outside. They should have to go to the tunnel, but don't need to get any closer than necessary to touch it (and probably can touch the ground 80 feet away and just include that in the area as well). They do not need to be able to see the tunnel, and probably don't need any doors in the tunnel to be open, either.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The spell does have a point of origin: it's the point you're touching, because it has to be within range. This does imply, as you said, that there's no need for a clear path from the cleric to any other part of the affected area. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 7:52

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