Can the suffocation and mass suffocation spells be dispelled?

This spell extracts the air from the target's lungs, causing swift suffocation.

The target can attempt to resist this spell's effects with a Fortitude save-if he succeeds, he is merely staggered for 1 round as he gasps for breath. If the target fails, he immediately begins to suffocate. On the target's next turn, he falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points. One round later, the target drops to -1 hit points and is dying. One round after that, the target dies. Each round, the target can delay that round's effects from occurring by making a successful Fortitude save, but the spell continues for 3 rounds, and each time a target fails his Fortitude save, he moves one step further along the track to suffocation. This spell only affects living creatures that must breathe. It is impossible to defeat the effects of this spell by simply holding one's breath-if the victim fails the initial Saving Throw, the air in his lungs is extracted.

If I understand these spells correctly, the spell empties the lungs and prevents breathing… so if I am correct, it is an ongoing effect, even if it is quickly lethal.

So can you dispel this effect if you react quickly enough?

I am thinking about something like this: Enemy casts suffocation on fighter, fighter fails his save, he suffocates, but is still conscious and with his hp > 0, wizard dispels the suffocation effect, fighter breathes, and doesn't fall unconscious at 0 hp.


1 Answer 1


Yes, you can dispel Suffocation before its normal duration ends. It has a duration of 3 rounds, therefore someone would need to dispel it before time is up. So, what actually happens when you successfully dispel it? If Dispel Magic succeeds, then the Suffocation spell goes away; however, if HP was lost, it is not instantly recovered.

You can use dispel magic to end one ongoing spell that has been cast on a creature or object, to temporarily suppress the magical abilities of a magic item, or to counter another spellcaster's spell. A dispelled spell ends as if its duration had expired.

So the spell ends, but is not undone, because "reduced to 0 hit points" is not a removable condition. The victim is unconscious when they are at 0 HP, or dying when they are at -1 HP.

In your example, if the Suffocation effect is dispelled before the fighter drops to 0 HP, then the spell ends and the fighter is fine.

However, if the Suffocation effect is dispelled after the fighter falls unconscious, then the fighter is still at 0 HP (which probably means they are also unconscious).

  • \$\begingroup\$ some items or feats, like the ring of delayed doom delay the effect of save or die. \$\endgroup\$
    – anonyme
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 4:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry MissClick. Can you dispel effect delayed that way ? What about other spells like flesh to stone or power word kill delayed that way ? And with other means of dispel like the barbarian's spell sunder rage power ? \$\endgroup\$
    – anonyme
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 4:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Plus once the effect is dispelled the target, even if unconscious, can breathe again and get air back into their lungs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 10:17

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