Can the spell Mage Hand be used by a wizard spell caster to administer a potion on an unconscious party member in combat from maximum range (30 ft)? What if the target party member is not visible to you?

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it. The hand can’t attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

It seems a lot of DM's are allowing this. My issue with it, is from a distance of 30ft, how well can you see what is going on to control the hand? Additionally, it seems now I have to determine how the character fell, as the mage hand can lift only 10 lbs (and is carrying a potion), so are we assuming the character is in perfect position with their mouth to the sky?

I notice that the Arcane Trickster seems to have some more abilities with Mage Hand (See related What are the limits of Mage Hand Legerdemain?).

See Related question Can an Unseen Servant administer a potion during combat?.


3 Answers 3


There are no exact rules for this in the books, so it is ultimately up to your DM to handle the situation, but even then you should consider that:

  • It will take 2 actions, one for summoning Mage Hand, and another to control it and administer the potion.

  • Cirumstances like light obscurement of the target, or being on a rocking boat might call for a spellcasting ability test to succeed. Without line of sight you will not be able to direct the Hand properly. It is more of a tool than a separate entity (follow rules for blindness).

  • Both carrying a potion and tilting someone's head or propping their mouth open should be within the Hand's capabilities. So if there are no complicating circumstances (target lying face down, muscles locked up from paralysis...) it should be ok. Determining these circumstances is up to the DM.

Potions are use-activated. As the description you quoted says:

The hand can’t attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

I would be tempted to allow it anyway, on the theory that the character you're administering it to is doing the drinking needed to "activate" the potion, and the hand is just transporting the potion to a place where that is easier to do.

Even so, a strict RAW interpretation suggests this would not work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Clear enough! I'm still unsure on what I think of the whole thing, but the case it's making is clear enough now. :) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11, 2017 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure this is RAW; I'm sure somewhere it's stated that "activating a potion" doesn't fall under generic "activating a magic item", even though a potion is technically a magic item... I'm sure there's been a Q&A on this site about that somewhere... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ See this and this; beyond the rules quoted in those two Q&As, though, I know of nothing else that contradicts your answer, but just something to consider... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:31

Want to stabilize an unconscious ally in 1 round with Mage hand?

1) Use your interact with object to fling that potion on your hip to the mouth of the downed character. Heck, just that action alone might be enough to get a dribble down their throat for a 1HP stabilize. I'd recommend a DEX check to make the potion lands in the right spot.

2) Cast Mage Hand (within 30' same turn) at the point where the flying potion meets it. Catch it upside down, let gravity do the work. Again, this relies on the previous DEX check.

Miss you dex check? Potion breaks on the ground, and is lost. If they want to do this typical 2 round action (Action 1, cast mage hand, Action 2, get it to administer a potion) in 1 round with no risk, then no. No reward, they just want to break action economy for free.

As I interpret RAW, this would typically take 2 actions. Get creative with a suggestion like above, and the addition of a dex check seems a good risk/reward ratio imho.

But perhaps this question was for a 2 round action, and you're asking if Mage Hand "just knows" where to go when the controlling PC wants to feed a potion to an ally that's out of sight, or they're blinded. That's DM discretion. I'd say you can try, but again, if you're blinded or out of line of sight, a WIS check seems in order (risk/reward if you want to push the boundaries of the action economy!).

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the question was "is this possible" not "how do I do this in one turn" I think it is assuming that the mage hand is carrying the potion and is at the person but is it possible for it to administer the potion. my opinion and I could be entirely wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Mar 9, 2018 at 7:50

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