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Is there a spell that like the bubble head charm from Harry Potter provides the caster with a continuous supply of air? I'm considering taking the PCs somewhere devoid of oxygen, rather than underwater or full of poisonous gas. (Partly the reason is I want non-magical lights to go out from lack of oxygen.)

To answer some of the raised questions:

  • This is a pressurized environment (we're not in space).
  • Not needing to breathe at all would work.
  • Party is probably on levels 7-9, but suggestions for lower levels are also appreciated.
  • This would be an extended adventure in this environment. However, if certain spells provided temporary ability, that would be good to know.
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2 Answers 2

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There is now

Included in Spelljammer: Adventures in Space (Astral Adventurer’s Guide, pg. 22) is the 2nd level spell Air Bubble which as the name suggests creates a bubble of breathable air:

You create a spectral globe around the head of a willing creature you can see within range. The globe is filled with fresh air that lasts until the spell ends.

It even upcasts to create multiple bubbles.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Lower level than Water Breathing, and provides a superset of the effects (it would work just fine to breath underwater), but only affects a single target; to upcast it to affect as many targets as Water Breathing you'd have to cast at level 7 (for 11 targets; 1 + 2 per level above 2nd), or some combination of lower level castings (e.g. two 4th level castings gets exactly 10 targets). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2022 at 15:21
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Update: answer overcome by a splat book

With the release of the Spelljammer setting book, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space, there is now a spell that does this per @SomethingEvil's answer.


If you don't have access to that book, however, the previously accepted answer is as follows:

A magic item permits breathing in such an environment:

Necklace of Adaptation (SRD 5.1, p. 231)
Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)
While wearing this necklace, you can breathe normally in any environment, and you have advantage on saving throws made against harmful gases and vapors (such as cloudkill and stinking cloud effects, inhaled poisons, and the breath weapons of some dragons).

  • You can rule that "any environment" includes an airless void.

  • A problem with this approach is that you'd need to equip each PC with such a necklace.

    • If magic items are fairly common in your campaign, it's less of a problem than if you are running a very low magic world.
  • This item could be re-skinned as a Ring of Adaptation using your DM's discretion.

Re-skinning a current spell/item (Water Breathing)

Water Breathing
Duration: 24 hours
This spell grants up to ten willing creatures you can see within range the ability to breathe underwater until the spell ends. Affected creatures also retain their normal mode of respiration. (SRD 5.1, p. 191)

You can re-skin Water Breathing (Druid/Sorcerer/Wizard 3rd level) to fit this situation. The spell is within your party's power level. It allows a character (via magic) to breath in an environment that normally does not contain air/oxygen. (We won't get into dissolved oxygen in water, this isn't a physics class). It's not too far of a reach to repurpose this spell for the environment you present to the characters (torches don't work underwater either). Changing this spell slightly could require some successful Knowledge and/or Arcana checks, research, or other downtime activity. (In the case of the Druid, you can implement this via prayer/ritual with whatever power/deity the druid serves).

Alternatively, have available for trade, or have the party find as a set up to this adventure

  • scrolls with this adapted version of the water breathing spell

or

  • a wand with X charges of this adapted version of this spell.
    • A wand of fireballs (3rd level spell) is rare, this wand would be rare as well.

    • You indicate that this is an extended adventure. The wand might be the best fit if you treat it like the wand of fireballs and have it contain limited charges and recharge at dawn each day. Absent the wand, one of the casters with the spell burns a third level spell each day to keep the party alive for the adventure. (Keep that spell caster alive or TPK is imminent!)

The wand may be the simplest way to do this: it precludes research/downtime.

Another item can fit into this idea: re-skinning a ring's effect slightly can yield a Ring of Water Breathing.


If you want to borrow an idea/item from 1e AD&D, the Iridescent Ioun stone in that edition "sustains a person without air" (DMG 1e p 147). Ioun stones are in this edition, but I did not find that particular one in the book.


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    \$\begingroup\$ Suggestion: rather than reskinning Water Breathing, I suggest carrying water. Or creating it, which is a 1st level spell. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2016 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Axelrod Your suggestion is at least a two-step process. (Crafting items FTW!) You would have to create an item with a watertight seal filled with water that covers the head, or acts as a jet pilots oxygen mask. Since the question was asked from a DM's perspective the answer was given with the latitude a DM has to act since the Rules Serve the DM in this edition. The spell (re-skin) viz level and power change very little. Water breathing is breathing 'not air'/not oxygen' as well. The Harry Potter emulation does argue for a bowl/helmet/something. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2016 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Iridescent spindle May go without air, costs 18,000 g (from the Forgotten Realms Wiki). It's in Pathfinder as well, but doesn't appear to be in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2016 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast The OP is not asking for a spell like the bubble head charm, but one "that like the bubble head charm from Harry Potter provides the caster with a continuous supply of air". Duplication of effect, not appearance. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2016 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was commenting on your comment, not the answer, in which you say " The Harry Potter emulation does argue for a bowl/helmet/something." The use of water breathing from a waterskin is addressed elsewhere on the site, with enough upvotes to indicate that many would consider the need for an item that covers the head unnecessary. But in any case, the comment seemed to be arguing for more of a bubblehead charm than the OP required. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2016 at 23:14

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