Both the Forbiddance and Mordenkainen's Private Sanctum spells prevent planar travel in the area of the spell, but does that prevent Astral Projection?
More specifically: Can I cast effectively Astral Projection (and return through the silver cord) while the physical body is under the effect of these spells?

And finally, I assume Temple of the Gods (XGtE, p. 167) does not pose a problem, but if any of you disagrees, I would like to see your reasoning.

Context: I found that retiring in the Astral Plane is a good immortality option for high-level clerics, and wanted to secure the physical bodies. It seems to work with the wizard's Private Sanctum spell, and other classes and subclasses can capitalize on this method as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't retiring in the Astral Plane a super dangerous retirement option? Some stray Githynki Knight will stumble upon your silver cord eventually and that's that? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2022 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin, I mean, retiring to the Prime Material, you might worry about some stray Literally Any Humanoid knight stumbling upon you and stabbing you and that's that. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2022 at 21:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin for anyone that can cast Astral Projection I am sure they have a demi-plane full of clones just in case, or a contingent spell of the life saving kind \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 25, 2022 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hm, just read up the exact wording for the knight in 5e, it says "On a critical hit against a target in an astral body (as with the astral projection spell), the githyanki can cut the silvery cord" so may not be as dangerous in 5e any more. Same for Astral Dreadnaught. Now you only have to worry about Psychic Wind - maybe. DMG seems a bit inconsistent about it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2022 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nael, if you are not planning on playing the cleric actively, instead just want him to be available in the background as an option for new generations of players to contact, an alternative could be to put him into Sequester or Imprisonment (Burial or Hedged Prison) with a helpful trigger to bring them back if needed. Both stop aging, and have the nice side effect of protecting the body, too. Sequester is cheaper and easier, in the Hedged Prison, he could putter around and act. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2022 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


You cannot use Astral Spell from an area that blocks planar travel

Private Sanctum states as one of the options which I assume you chose (otherwise there is no question about it, nothing would be blocked):

Planar travel is blocked within the warded area.

Forbiddance states:

The spell proofs the area against planar travel, and therefore prevents creatures from accessing the area by way of the Astral Plane, (...)

And finally Astral Projection states:

You and up to eight willing creatures within range project your astral bodies into the Astral Plane (...) Your astral form can freely travel through the Astral Plane (...) If you enter a new plane or return to the plane you were on when casting this spell, your body and possessions are transported along the silver cord, allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane. (...) When the spell ends, the affected creature returns to its physical body, and it awakens.

You cannot leave

You will not be able to project your astral body out of the warded area, as this would be planar travel.

You cannot reunite with your body

What would happen if your unconscious body was carried into an area protected by these wards after you cast the spell? Could you return? I.e. does the unwinding along your silver cord also count as astral travel?

Forbiddance explicitly refers to blocking creatures from accessing the area by way of the Astral Plane, and your astral body is referred to as a creature. Thus, your astral body would not be able to enter the area.

The reason given for this in Forbiddance is that the area is protected from planar travel, just as Private Sanctum's area. Therefore your astral body would also not be able to re-enter the Private Sanctum.

Your DM will need to rule what happens

Astral Projection says about the silver cord

If the cord is cut--something that can happen only when an effect specifically states that it does -- your soul and body are separated, killing you instantly.

Neither of the other spells specifically states this, so the cord would remain unbroken.

The spell does not foresee what happens if you enter a plane, and you cannot be re-united with your body. This would be the domain of rulings from your DM.

They could for example rule that the silver cord constitutes an exemption to the general rule, as normally you or other creatures are not connected by a silver cord to the plane they enter via astral projection. Or they could rule that your projection is stuck outside of the warded area, unable to move and unable to reunite with your body. Or something else. The rules do not resolve this edge case.

The astral plane is a bad place for retirement

An additional comment because your stated motivation for going to the astral plane is immortality for your high-level cleric: the Dungeon Masters Guide on page 47 describes the astral plane like this:

Only a few things can sever a traveler's silver cord, the most common being a psychic wind. (...) A psychic wind is made up of lost memories, forgotten ideas, minor musings, and subconscious fears that went astray in the Astral Plane and conglomerated into this powerful force.

If you stay too long on the astral plane, you run the risk that one of these winds disrupts your silver cord and instantly kills you. Since your astral cord trails all the way through the plane to connect you to your body, Temple of the Gods will not be able to protect it.

Furthermore on page 48:

The most prominent denizens of the Astral Plane are the githyanki, an outcast race of reavers that sail sleek astral ships, slaughter astral travelers, and raid planes touched by the Astral.

These guys have silver swords that can cut your astral cord and instantly kill you. As a level 17 cleric you may be able to stand up to them, and at least they have no direct way into your Temple, but their Gish wizards might Dimension Door them in.

Characters who linger for too long in the Astral might have an encounter with one or more wandering angels, demons, devils, night hags, yugoloths, or other planar travelers.

This does not sound like a golden retirement to me, and clearly points out the risks of prolongued tenancy. Don't complain if your DM decides these risks are very real. The kind of creatures that roam the astral plane such as a lich may well be able to disintegrate your Temple.

As a last note, on the home front, nothing in Private Sanctum stops normal creatures from entering its area. You would need to combine it with other protective measures to secure the resting body.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Great points! I was aware of the Gith, and was specifically thinking on retiring in a Gith city. I didn't know they were mostly the kill-at-first-sight people, thanks for the warning 😂 As for the cord, I totally didn't think it would be a problem, since it gets invisible after a foot, but you're right, psychic wind doesn't care about that. I would argue that astral projection isn't really travel, since your body remains. It sounds more like a divination sensory organ to me. Unless you change planes again (then it says your body gets transported through the cord). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2022 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you cancel the spell, however, maybe you could come back? It says you return to your physical body, but I assumed it would be through the cord, not being pulled over the planes in your astral projection. But the more I think about it, the more I agree with you that astral projection seems like a bad idea. Well, at least Glyphs with Revivify are easy at that point. Thank you for whoever edited and for your answers, this was my first question in here, and it exceeded my expectations by far! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2022 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi @NaelS.González: the reason the spell ends does not make a difference. Still, I think in the end it's up to your DM and you how you handle it. If this is about retiring your character after a long campaign, they may handwave some of the issues. (Although I do not really see a way around the wind). Thank you for the nice feedback, in spite of an answer that was likely not exactly what you had hoped to hear. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2022 at 7:43

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