Last week our group fought against a couple of enemies that had a Prismatic Spray spell-like ability. They got us with the effect while fighting their minions, and the barbarian of the team failed the will save versus the INDIGO effect of the spell, effectively being hit with an Insanity spell. Now my sorceress identified the effect and reacted by casting Break Enchantment on the barbarian, since Insanity is a spell of the enchantment school, and Break Enchantment is made to, well, break enchantments =P

Insanity, however, has a specific list of spells that can dispel it (those being Greater restoration, heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish) and it especifically excludes Remove Curse as an option.

On the other hand, Break Enchantment has this to say about its effect:

This spell frees victims from enchantments, transmutations, and curses

and this too

If the spell is one that cannot be dispelled by dispel magic or stone to flesh, break enchantment works only if that spell is 5th level or lower

which, honestly, left me scratching my head.

Now, the DM ended up ruling in our favor and Break Enchantment removed the Insanity from our barbarian friend, but I'd like to know for future reference if this ruling was correct or not.

In summary, the question is: According to RAW, can the spell Break Enchantment remove the effect of Insanity, both when it is cast by itself, and when it is applied by the Prismatic line of spells?


1 Answer 1


It does not.

Insanity is a 7th level spell. Prismatic Spray is a 7th level spell. Neither are dispelled by Dispel Magic nor Stone To Flesh (although you could use Dispel Magic to attempt to counter Prismatic Spray as it is cast, as normal). They are too powerful for Break Enchantment to break, because they're not 5th level or lower. From Break Enchantment:

If the spell is one that cannot be dispelled by dispel magic, break enchantment works only if that spell is 5th level or lower.

As you've noticed, Insanity actually lists what can cure it. From the Pathfinder SRD:

Greater restoration, heal, limited wish, miracle, or wish can restore the creature.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I'd add that other spells with a similar description but without the level limit should be able to cure Insanity, and that list is just an enumeration of the cures in the core game. Though, of course, you could argue the other way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool, I'll pass this along to my DM for future reference. Just to be clear, Break Enchantment is failing because it can't dispel past beyond 5th level spells or because it is not in the list of Insanity? I ask because the Mythic variety of Break Enchantment says you add half your mythic tier to the max level it can dispel, so a character with mythic tier 4 would be able to affect 7th level spells, dispelling Insanity, if the level disparity is the reason it doesn't work as it is currently \$\endgroup\$
    – Cryptangel
    Aug 22, 2014 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is indeed the reason. Break Enchantment specifically says it cannot dispel enchantments higher than 5th level, UNLESS those spells can also be dispelled by dispel magic or stone to flesh. This helps you not need to memorize as many anti-debuff spells, since break enchantment can duplicate the effect of those two in addition to breaking all enchantments, transmutations, and curses of 5th level and lower. (Or you can memorize both Break Enchantment and Dispel Magic, and then have the freedom to use Dispel as a counterspell while you use BE to free friends from debuffs.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2014 at 3:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The duration is instantaneous, there are no spell effects to dispel or break in this case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Mar 7, 2018 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth: You really should write up an answer making that case. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Mar 7, 2018 at 19:20

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