Rather than fight our way out of a particularly hard encounter at the end of the last adventure, the party tried to teleport away. An enemy spellcaster attempted to counterspell it from across the room.

We weren't sure if it was supposed to work at that range, and a quick reading of rules didn't help. We're not quite sure what the range of counterspells is supposed to be. At the time the DM just made a judgement call rather than bog the game down in rule discussions, but next time it comes up we want a more solid answer.

Can touch spells (like teleport or inflict) be counterspelled from a distance?


Interesting question. :)

Both the d20SRD and the d20PFSRD use the same wording in the section about Counterspells:

[...] If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.

But the description doesn't mention what "range" it refers to (the countered spell's range, the range of the spell that is used to counter, line of sight, something else, ...).

I'd say that the description refers to the range of the spell used to counter, because:

  • the whole paragraph is written from the perspective of the person performing the counterspell, not the person being countered
  • the spell used to counter doesn't have to have the same range as the countered spell (Dispel Magic or some explicit exception mentioned in a spell's description)

Personal Note: Considering the ambiguous wording I'd say that's a good point to write down for the group as a house-rule/clarification.

Following my interpretation, the NPC would have had to be in touch range to counter Teleport with itself or within medium range if he used Dispel Magic.


Yes, but only if it's within the range of dispel magic...I'd assume that counter spelling with another teleport would require being in touch range yourself.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is in danger of attracting downvotes because it's just repeating the same thing as the already-accepted answer. Just FYI! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 23 '12 at 17:59

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