So, I know that Magic Circle against Evil acts as an emanation, and everyone within a 10 foot radius of the target gets the effects of Protection against Evil. Additionally, non-good creatures cannot enter that 10 foot radius circle (at least not without making a check).

What my party and I are unclear on is whether or not it is possible to make attacks while within the Magic Circle. The description for Protection against Evil says "The protection against contact by summoned creatures ends if the warded creature makes an attack against or tries to force the barrier against the blocked creature." If I'm interpreting correctly, this seems to mean that characters cannot attack while under PaE, or else they will lose the benefits thereof. However, with MCaE, there is the additional effect of a 10 foot radius circle in addition to the personal PaE barriers, right? (Or am I mistaken about that, even?)

So, how would attacking work in this case? If Archibald the Archer fires an arrow while inside the MCaE, does he lose his personal PaE barrier, but creatures still cannot reach him because of the outer circle of MCaE? In that case, of course, enemies firing into the MCaE could target him, and he would no longer have the deflection bonuses of PaE. OR is it the case that you can't use ranged attacks while within the MCaE without breaking it? What about spells? What about melee attacks used at the periphery of the circle?

If someone could explain just how combat options affect the integrity of the circle and its barriers, I would greatly appreciate it, as the descriptions are very ambiguous to me.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Which system does this relate to, Pathfinder? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, we're playing D&D 3.5, and I was quoting from the d20 SRD version of the spell. I think I may have figured this out though. As I read it now, it seems as if the +2 AC/saves bonus applies for the duration of the spell and is not affected at all by attacking or being attacked, and it's only the protection against bodily contact specifically by SUMMONED creatures that is sacrificed if you marshal an attack against them. Does this seem right? \$\endgroup\$
    – KFHarlock
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can answer your own question, you are welcome to post an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2014 at 23:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info. I'm a new user, so apparently I can't post an answer until eight hours from now, but if no one corrects me in the interim, I'll definitely do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – KFHarlock
    Feb 9, 2014 at 23:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I still think that part of this question is very interesting. Take the following scenario: Archibald has shot at a summoned creature and loses his protection against summoned creatures but if he stays within your emanation range, the summoned creature still won't be able to reach him. I think I know my new 'Annoy the DM' trick :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Bas Jansen
    Feb 10, 2014 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Looking through the rules, it seems that by a lawyerly reading of MCaE, the "protection" version of the spell (as opposed to the "prison" version; more on this in a moment) essentially has two effects: a mass PoE, and a circle that certain summoned creatures cannot enter.

The mass-PoE effect seems to be essentially unaltered from the original spell, except that it only applies to creatures inside the circle. If you walk outside, you lose the effect; if you walk back inside, you get it again. This makes the personal protection against bodily contact a moot point. One could argue that it technically still exists, but it only applies while you are in the circle, where there is already another barrier in place. Because the circle is not linked to you specifically, it does not collapse if you reach across the circle to attack.

Speaking of reaching across the circle, both PoE and MCaE are very explicit that they only apply to the creatures themselves. Ranged attacks are fair game. Even an imprisoned creature, in the "prison" version of the spell, is explicitly stated to be able to make ranged attacks across the circle, as long as they don't target the circle itself. So yes, creatures inside an MCaE can make ranged attacks across it, but so can creatures outside an MCaE.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What happens if the ranged attack/spell is Evil? A bow that bestows arrows with the given alignment (or naturally Evil arrows), for instance? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2014 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rules only mention summoned creatures, so at least by RAW, aligned attacks should get through (unless they are summoned creatures in their own right, but I don't know of any attack that works that way). Personally, I would houserule that aligned attacks don't get through, because it allows for some interesting effects and interactions, and that might even be RAI, but it isn't RAW. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2014 at 15:12

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