The life bubble spell in Pathfinder 1E gives the following immunities to its targets:

This shell enables the subjects to breathe freely, even underwater or in a vacuum, as well as making them immune to harmful gases and vapors, including inhaled diseases and poisons and spells like cloudkill and stinking cloud.

Both stinking cloud and cloudkill are "conjuration (creation) [poison]" spells, and neither actually says that the spell creates an inhaled poison. Cloudkill specifically mentions that:

Holding one’s breath doesn’t help, but creatures immune to poison are unaffected by the spell.

This would suggest that life bubble protects against area-of-effect poisons, even if the poison is not inhaled and does not require the targets to breathe.

Radiation counts as a poison effect. Like stinking cloud and cloudkill, it is a poison that is not inhaled or dependent on breathing. However it is not, strictly speaking, a gas or vapor.

The irradiate spell is a "conjuration (creation)" effect that affects all targets as though they are exposed to an area of radiation, although the spell effect does not persist. The spell lacks the "poison" subtype but it creates radiation, which is a poison.

Would life bubble therefore make its targets immune to irradiate?

Would it make them immune to all radiation areas?

As a point of reference, the Starfinder system (same authors as Pathfinder 1E) also has a life bubble spell, which does not protect against radiation.


2 Answers 2


No. Ask your GM for confirmation, though.

I propose that the text in life bubble about cloudkill is either an exception or simply incorrect. Removing this one odd point we are left with a spell that does exactly what it says otherwise.

  • You can breathe, even under water or in a vacuum
  • Inhalation poisons and spells like them do not affect you
  • You have protection from temperature and pressure changes*

Radiation is not at all an inhalation effect, and life bubble does not protect against poisons that aren't inhaled (or cloudkill), typically contact and injury poisons. Unfortunately the writers of the Technology Guide did not deign to specify which Radiation is, but it does give

Radiation suffuses a spherical area of effect that can extend into solid objects.

This does not sound like inhalation at all. Because it does not fall into the protected categories, life bubble does not interact with Radiation, including the spell irradiate.

*As GMJoe correctly points out, life bubble (APG, 2010) pre-dates the Radiation rules (Tech, 2014) and the spell has not been revised. Reading between the lines, it does sound like it's intended to protect against passive environmental effects. Because of this, having it affect Radiation is a very reasonable table-ruling. Under this ruling, the irradiate spell would also be ineffective against a target with life bubble because it uses the rules for Radiation except the area and DC, as outlined in the spell.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the "inhaled poisons" thing pointed out by the OP is a red herring. Life Bubble's description says it makes its targets "immune to harmful gases and vapors, including inhaled diseases and poisons and spells like cloudkill and stinking cloud." (emphasis mine). That wording is important: It's "including," not "including and limited only to." Cloudkill and stinking cloud are examples of "harmful gases and vapours," and so are valid examples of things the spell makes you immune to even if they're not inhaled poisons. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 21:10

Yes? Ask your GM for confirmation, though.

The answer to your question depends on how you interpret the life bubble spell's description, and more specifically, on how you interpret its first sentence. That sentence is as follows:

You surround the touched creatures with a constant and moveable 1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions.

There are three ways in which you could potentially interpret this:

  1. The first sentence of the spell, and the various specific immunities that the spell grants, are independent effects that don't interact and should be adjudicated separately.
  2. The first sentence of the spell is just flavour text. The spell's actual effect is everything that follows it.
  3. The first sentence of the spell description is the effect of the spell, and everything that follows that first sentence are examples of that effect intended to clarify how it works.

The first interpretation is implausible, because spells do not usually work that way: Usually, spell descriptions in the core rules and advanced player's guide (from whence life bubble comes) have a well-defined in-universe effect whose mechanical effects are laid out in the spell description; spells that provide a laundry list of unconnected effects are rare. More importantly, if the first interpretation was correct, and the first sentence was supposed to be separate to the other listed effects of the spell, that first effect would have no clearly-defined mechanics to apply, and thus would be almost impossible to adjudicate.

The second interpretation is also implausible, because spells in the core rules and advanced player's guide do not usually open with a line of meaningless fluff text that is utterly divorced from the rules: Every sentence in a spell's description is part of the description of that spell's effects.

That leaves us with the third interpretation as the only possible valid one: The first sentence of the spell describes the spell's effect, and everything that follows is just examples intended to clarify how it works in play.

So, life bubble surrounds the touched creatures with a constant and moveable 1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions. Everything after that is just an example of the kind of protections that one-inch shell offers - and crucially, there is every reason to believe it is a non-exclusive list.

Take this line, for example:

Life bubble does not provide protection from negative or positive energy (such as found on the Negative and Positive Energy planes)

If the list of immunities provided by life bubble is supposed to be an exclusive list, there would be no need to mention positive and negative energy as things it doesn't protect against, as they are not exceptions to any of the immunities explicitly listed in life bubble's description. We can therefore safely assume that life bubble's "1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions" is supposed to protect against environmental conditions not explicitly included in the listed examples of what the spell protects against.

With that dealt with, we have to ask: Is radiation included in the list of environmental conditions that life bubble protects against?

This is where a hint of uncertainty creeps into my answer. Life bubble's spell description isn't explicit about whether Life Bubble protects against radiation, most likely because radiation wasn't something the spell's authors considered when they wrote it. Still, the rules for radiation that you linked do make it seem like a harmful environmental condition of the sort the spell is designed to protect adventurers against, so it seems reasonable to rule that it's an effective form of protection - and radiation is a less severe environmental condition than being submerged in acid (which life bubble definitely does protect against), so I believe that life bubble is an effective protection against radiation.


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