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Yesterday in a game, my character cast Conjure Animals and summoned 8 wolves†. On the baddies' turn, one cleric was about to cast Dispel Magic, but the DM changed his mind, deciding that the 8 wolves could not be considered a single magical effect. Personally, I agree with this, but I'm wondering if that stands up to the rules:

Can a single casting of Dispel Magic dispel every conjured creature from one spell at once?


† I'm aware of the debate over who picks the animals; my DM ruled that I could pick.

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No, it only ends the spell on a single target

We can extrapolate an answer based on how dispel magic interacts with spells like bless:

From the Sage Advice Compendium:

If dispel magic targets the magical effect from bless cast by a cleric, does it remove the effect on all the targets? Dispel magic ends a spell on one target. It doesn’t end the same spell on other targets.

Since the conjure spells actually bring creatures into the Prime Material plane and in essence holds them there, a dispel magic will only end the magic on a single creature; the rest would still have the magic to keep them present.

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No, dispel magic works on each creature independently.

Here is an excerpt from the Sage Advice Compendium:

[...] a spell like conjure woodland beings has a non-instantaneous duration, which means its creations can be ended by dispel magic and they temporarily disappear within an antimagic field.

Only the creatures summoned who happen in to an antimagic field disappear, not all 8 if you happen to target just one. I have to imagine this holds true for dispel magic as well, though the wording is open to interpretation. It would be pretty nasty if an increasingly powerful spell could just be rendered completely useless with a single casting of dispel magic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The answer looks very good, but the wording you used about Dispel Magic in the last paragraph makes me feel that you are not completely sure, even though you have all the evidence needed form the quote to make it sound more definite. Albeit it does not matter to much, but Dispel Magic is the main topic of the question (and it seems that you want focus in Anitmagic Field because of the wording used and italics in the quote). \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Nov 8 '16 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink I've only italicized the example he used to help reinforce Dispel Magic as the wording "It's creations can be ended by..." might leave room for human interpretation. He doesn't say the spell is completely ended by Dispel Magic, but he also doesn't say how many of its creations are ended by Dispel Magic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Nov 8 '16 at 2:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you solely read the quoted it seems as you say, but when you paired with how Dispel Magic (DM) works it makes clear what it does. DM: Choose one creature, object, or magical effect. Summoned creatures are not magical effects nor objects, they are creatures so it implies that you can only choose one creature to dispel, and from the quote and PDF can be said that targeting the caster does nothing. From my original comment is more about a way to improve your answer, since you have everything you need to make it definitive (just saying). \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Nov 8 '16 at 3:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chepelink thank you for the input, I am on my mobile phone however and can not yet edit all that in to my answer. Purple Monkey had to 'pretty up' my initial answer as it was lol. I will edit once I'm able, unless someone does it for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Nov 8 '16 at 6:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ "In contrast, a spell like conjure woodland beings has a non-instantaneous duration, which means its creations can be ended by dispel magic and they temporarily disappear within an antimagic field." This rules clarification does not address the specific question about Conjure Animals, just that a Dispel Magic will effect the spell because it is non-instantaneous. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Nov 8 '16 at 11:45
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I no longer agree with my answer but instead with the one presented above by Slagmoth, but leave it here for you to read and make your own decision:

My argument is that yes casting a Dispel Magic on one of the creatures ends the whole spell.

Conjure Animals:

3rd-level conjuration

You summon fey spirits that take the form of beasts and appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range.

Each beast is also considered fey, and it disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

Conjure animals is a 3rd level spell that summons a number of fey spirits in the form of beasts and when it ends all the animals disappear together. Therefore it is a single magical effect, no matter how far apart the animals get, or how far from the caster they get. For instance the spell ends when the caster loses concentration and all the animals disappear as one. It is a single magical effect. This is a key point.

Dispel magic:

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends.

The key point is that, as with any spell, if any part of a target is in range of a Dispel Magic you can target it.

Therefore if you can cast a Dispel Magic on any one of the fey spirits that are there because of the conjuration spell, you have targeted the magical effect, the spell ends and all the creatures disappear as one.

Targeting the caster does not end the spell as they are not part of the magical effect nor do they have the spell "on" them, despite the need for their concentration.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range." Targeting one of the spirits sounds like "targeting one creature" dispelling only that creature. However, a spellcaster realizing that this is a spell at work might maybe be able to "target a magical effect" instead and dispel all wolves at once. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sesdun
    Nov 9 '16 at 21:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sesdun: Even if you target a "magical effect" (though in this case, the only effect of a summoning spell is one of the creatures being summoned), dispel magic only ends any spells active on whatever you target. (And targeting the caster with dispel magic would also do nothing, because there is no spell active on the caster.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 25 '20 at 7:41
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After reading the previous answers and thinking about it from the perspective of the way magic works, as well as the wording of the spell, I believe that there are 2 possible ways of applying dispel magic in this case. If you target one of the summoned creatures, a creature who has been brought to this place by the magic of the spell, as it says, "Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends." This means spell that is keeping the creature here ends. But the other creatures remain - you ended the spell on that one creature. However, if you target the caster with dispel magic you will dispel the entire spell as it is his concentration and magical energies that are the focus of the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Targeting the caster with dispel magic does nothing, because there is no spell active on the caster. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 25 '20 at 7:39

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