Dispelling is an attempt to remove existing spell effects on a creature or from an area of effect. This usually involves dispel magic or a related spell (lesser dispel, greater dispelling, and Mordenkainen's disjunction), but other sources of dispelling exist. Generally, if a dispel is targeted on a single creature, then it will attempt to remove all spell effects from that creature, but if used as an area of effect, then it will attempt to remove all spells with an overlapping area of effect as well as one or two effects from each creature in the area.

Typically, only spells (and feats that duplicate spells) can be dispelled, but there are exceptions as noted in individual spell and ability descriptions. Of particular note, most feats that do not duplicate a spell cannot have their effects dispelled (e.g. wild shape). Furthermore, petrified creatures are immune to dispels that are the result of casting dispel magic or a related spell. (A builder can also prevent these spells from affecting a specific creature by setting the local integer X1_L_IMMUNE_TO_DISPEL on the creature to the value 10.)

Dispel check[]

When a dispel attempt is made, a dispel check is performed. The factors affecting this check are the caster level of dispeller, the effective level of the creator, and the sort of effect being dispelled: single-target or area of effect. (While dispels can target either a single creature or an area, this is not what affects the check; the factor affecting the check is the effect being dispelled.)

Effects on a creature[]

For an effect on a creature, the check is

1d20 + dispel's caster level  vs.  11 + creator's effective level.

with ties, as usual, going to the die roll (the effect is dispelled).

  • The dispel check is only made against magical effects.
  • Dispelling an effect will also cause all effects linked to it to be removed.
  • Having a caster level of 0 or less will not dispel anything.
  • Standard scripts using dispels will not perform this check against petrified creatures.
  • Negative levels from level drain will only penalize the dispeller.

The holy avenger item property also uses this check, but is also able to dispel effects on a petrified creature.

For this calculation the effective level can be one of five things, checked in the following order.

  1. Zero, if the dispel check is for an effect which was directly applied (without cast spell).
  2. Zero, if the effect being dispelled is one of the following types of effects while attempting to dispel all effects. Note that linking these effects to others may cause them not to default to 0. The pattern behind what effects to link them (so as to avoid defaulting to 0) is currently unknown, though some effects retain the 0 default for more links than others. Most standard spells do link them safely.
  3. The current casting class level of the creator, if cast from a spell book.
  4. The item's caster level, if cast from an item, excluding the first effect (see point 5) applied from a particular casting.
  5. The current hit dice of the creator if the effect was created by any other means involving spells.2da.

Area of effects[]

For an area of effect, the effect's creator and creatures possessed by Dungeon Masters (and Dungeon Masters themselves) automatically succeed in dispelling it. All others make the equivalent of the following check

Dispeller's caster level + dispeller's ability modifier + bonus  vs.  2 * (creator's ability modifier) + 20 + d100

The bonus is

The ability modifier used is intelligence for those with levels of wizard, and charisma for all others.

Previous versions[]

  • Prior to NWN EE 1.74, an effect's caster's level had been added to 12, not 11, to get the dispel DC, even though the in-game text has always claimed "11".