My Tempest Cleric will be on a ship voyage this week, if we get chased it would be nice to rain lightning bolts on the pursuers during the chase for the full duration of the spell (10 minutes).

Call Lightning

A storm cloud appears in the shape of a cylinder that is 10 feet tall with a 60-foot radius, centered on a point you can see 100 feet directly above you. The spell fails if you can’t see a point in the air where the storm cloud could appear. When you cast the spell, choose a point you can see within range. A bolt of lightning flashes down from the cloud to that point.

My concern is that my ship will be moving away from the initially formed storm cloud. As long my concentration holds up it would be nice to use the spell for the full duration.

Does my movement away from the initial casting of the spell cause me to move out of range of the cloud, if so how far before the spell fails or will the cloud move with me or is it irrelevant to the spell how far I move in the ship?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you brought it up with your DM? What is the speed of the vessel you expect to be on? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2015 at 5:50

2 Answers 2


I did some digging into this particular question and I came up with these relative links.

First and foremost: This one about what happens if you lose line of sight

Followed by this very informative entry here on our very own Stack Exchange: About how you can keep concentration on a spell regardless of line of sight, range to the target(s) or AoE, or even plane of existence.

To answer your question directly, though; yes, there is nothing stopping you (neither in the spell description or rules on concentration and spell casting) from casting Call Lightning and then maintaining it's effects for a full 10 minutes even as your ship drifts away from the storm cloud.

For a more in depth look at the spell, here are a few key points.

  • The cloud appears 100ft directly above you. No more, no less, and fails if you cannot see the point anywhere in the air/sky where said cloud will appear.
  • When you cast the spell, and on each subsequent turn, a bolt of lightning flashes down to a point you can see within range (120ft of YOU not the cloud), and may target different points for each strike.
  • If there is already stormy conditions in the area, you gain control over the existing storm, instead of making a new one (which also has the added benefit of increasing the damage).

I may be wrong (and anyone is free to leave potential corrections), but from all the above resources I've gathered, we seem to be able to conclude the following: You may cast Call Lightning and as long as you do not break concentration; you may continue to call down the full wrath of it's power for 10 minutes, even if you were to be taken to the Ethereal Plane (as per the spell Blink). You only require line of sight to the point you can see that you wish to strike each turn, and the spell only requires that point in question be within 120ft of you, not the 60ft cloud it summons forth.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Uhm, if I read that literally: So you can strike a lightning bolt ACROSS planes with this spell? (Or did I misread something?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Jan 15, 2020 at 9:13

As the spell does not explicitly handle this situation, in the end, the DM has the responsibility to make a ruling. There is no universal answer.

However, here are some things to consider:

The cloud does not move with the caster. Absolutely nothing indicates that it does. However,targets do not need to be directly under the cloud. The radius of the cloud is 60 ft, while targets must only be in range of the spell, which is 120 ft. So, if you stood still for the entire duration, the lighting can leave the cloud at an angle in order to strike the desired location. So logically, as long as there is line of sight from the cloud to the strike point, it should continue to work if the caster moves away from it.

"In range" typically means within the specified distance of the caster, not of the location from which the spell was cast, however, this is not explicit in the rules. So, the continued effect should continue to be "in range" of the caster, wherever the caster may be, unless the DM disagrees.

Those two points convince me that it should work, but a DM would be justified in saying that it doesn't.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Considering how many times line of sight is mentioned, I thought it might be important to know how far you can see at sea.: blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/01/15/… basically, it depends how high up you are, but if we are talking the typical European tall sailing ships, you might get 10 miles from atop the mast and maybe half that on the deck. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonathon
    Oct 31, 2015 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you never moved after casting Call Lightning, your area of affect is any point you can see with 120ft. From that, it could be a reasonable claim that this area establishes the limit of the Cloud. This can be viewed as a Cylinder 200ft tall, with a radius of 120ft, centered on the cloud Then if you move from the point you stood when it was cast, the available area you can affect becomes the points you can see that are within 120 ft of you and within 120ft of the center point of the cloud. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2015 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ That would be the (valid) argument of a DM saying it doesn't work. I consider my argument better, but no more valid, which is why I said it ultimately is a DM ruling. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2015 at 18:31

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