Knowing if you were affected with magic that forces a save


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Last night, I had a monster, posing as a hurt sheperd trapped in a cave on the side of a deep ravine, cast mass suggestion on the unaware players, outside their line of sight, and forced the players to roll saves (I don't like depriving my players of being able to roll saves, and rarely do their rolls in secret). One player asked if he could tell that someone tried to mess with his head.

My ruling last session was "No", as I can sorta see several problems with this:
- If he does, enchantment could no longer be subtle, even with still/silent spell metamagic. Anyone who have been charmed/compelled would automatically KNOW that they were affected, making an already weak school of specialization even weaker.
- Would make sense motive rather redundant.
- You can roll spellcraft to identify effects, in this case at +10 DC, since the caster was out of sight. (The wizard made his check and the players figured it out this way, a solution I think is good)

But, I want to know if there is an official ruling on this.


As far as I know, you know when you made a save. You'll realise that someone tried to mess with you.

If you fail, you don't have a clue (unless we talk about stuff like fireballs or hold person, where you can't help but notice).


I doubt the sheperd should be able to affect them if he had no line of sight to begin with. Since the spell requires either seeing or touching the subject(s), also note that the spell is language dependent and the sheperd actually has to ask them to do what he wishes.

"Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully
saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature’s saving throw succeeds against a targeted
spell, you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells."

ofcourse someone that fails the save is affected and I think in the case of suggestion might realize this, but is magically compelled to do what is asked of them regardless.

Dark Archive

From the Pathfinder PRD:

"Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects FEELS a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature's saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell, you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells."

That said, Skip Williams did articles online for WotC called "Rules of the Game." This is what he had to say:

"Saving Throws

The second to last entry in the spell header tells you whether the spell's recipient or recipients are allowed saving throws against the spell's effects. This is an important piece of information because most descriptive text for spells is written with the assumption that the recipient's saving throw (if one is allowed) fails. For example, the text for charm person says the spell makes a humanoid regard you as an ally. It doesn't bother to mention the possibility of a successful saving throw because you are assumed to read the spell header and know that a saving throw is allowed (in this case Will negates, see below).

When a spell allows a saving throw, the entry begins with the kind of saving throw the recipient can attempt (Reflex, Fortitude, or Will). Types of saving throw entries include the following:

Negates: The spell has no effect on a recipient who makes a successful saving throw.

If the spell has no obvious physical effects (and most spells that allow saves to negate don't), a recipient that makes a successful saving throw still feels an obviously hostile force or tingle. If the spell has a target or targets entry, the caster knows that the spell has failed.

A recipient who makes a successful saving throw doesn't know where the spell came from (though that might be obvious if the caster is visible) or what the spell was. If the spell has a target or targets entry, however, a recipient that makes a successful saving throw can attempt a Spellcraft check (DC 25 plus the spell level) to determine what the spell was. This does not take an action, and the recipient cannot retry the check if it fails."


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Suggestion - V, M

Was the spell cast with the Silent spell metamagic feat?

If they had failed the save how would they have known what the monster wanted them to do? Does the creature have telepathy?

If one of the players that had to save had spell craft they could have gotten a roll to identify what happened.

In a situation like that I would have the mob ask them in the name of to leave their weapons out of the cave before they enter. Those that failed would comply and those who didn't would get nervous.

A problem with the way you handled it. Walls block line of effect. If the mob could not see the players how could the monster have targeted them with the spell?


I understand the OP's problem though.

If you use Charm Person on Mary the Merchant so she will give you lower prices, but she knows she's charmed, then when the spell expires, she will call up the town guards and have you arrested for theft (coercing someone to cut prices is taking money out of her profits, which is financially identical to taking money out of her cash box).

If you cast Charm Person on her and she saves, then she'll call the town guards and have you arrested for casting malicious magic on her (if it was friendly magic, there would be no "hostile force or tingle" and she wouldn't need to roll a Save).

Either way, you're busted. And now you're a criminal. Your only hope is that she makes her save and can't figure out that it was you who cast the spell - but why cast it at all if you're hoping it will fail?

So, for all appearances, the Enchantment school is terribly broken. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

But let's take this reasoning a litter farther.

Suppose the rules say (or we houserule it) that there is no sensation on a successful save. Furthermore, if the save is failed, the victim does whatever the enchanter wishes and then, when the spell expires, the victim will remember her actions as if they were perfectly normal and not compelled in any way.

Under these rules, enchanters would run the world. They could cast their spells all day long, with impunity, charming/suggesting/dominating everyone they meet. They could break any law they want and get away with it (charm the Sheriff). They could freely rape, pillage, and pluder across the countryside and nobody would even know they're doing it.

Not only is this game-breaking, but there is an extra downside: If all of us had to live in a world like that, were every finger-wiggling spellcaster could be, and in fact, is probably dominating us and bending us to their wills, without us even knowing it, would we, would you, be willing to live side-by-side with these spellcasters? Or would you run them all out of town, or worse, burn them at the stake, to make sure that you and the ones you love are safe from their bewitching ways?

If you're not sure, then ask the ladies of Salem what people who are civilized in all other ways will do with just the unconfirmed suspicion that their neighbors might be capable of using magic, then extrapolate that onto what they would do if they knew it for sure.

At least, with our current game rules, everyone knows that if those finger-wigglers start casting spells on them, they will at least know it's happening. They may wonder if their sorcerer neighbor might one day decide to use his magical powers on them, but at least they can go to bed each night secure in the knowledge that he hasn't done anything yet.

So, maybe Enchantment is not broken as it is.

In fact, maybe the RAW works like it does to keep Enchantment from being broken (overpowered to game-breaking extremes) and to keep it from being outlawed along with most necromancy - and probably to keep spellcasting in general from being outlawed since the common man can't tell whether most any spell being cast is enchantment or not.


Remco Sommeling wrote:


ofcourse someone that fails the save is affected and I think in the case of suggestion might realize this, but is magically compelled to do what is asked of them regardless.

It's a compulsion, you definitely realise that.

Or maybe not. Depends on the suggestion I say. Make it subtle enough, and the guy dumb enough, and you may be home free.


DM_Blake wrote:

I understand the OP's problem though.

If you use Charm Person on Mary the Merchant so she will give you lower prices, but she knows she's charmed

Nah, that's a charm. It will work like a charm. Because it is.

Scarab Sages

Anyone else interested in the shepherd who can cast mass suggestion? :D


Hypnotism would be a good spell to rip off merchants, the spell specifically states they don't remember being enspelled if they fail the save, furthermore there is a -2 penalty on the save outside combat situations, making it fairly 'powerful' for a 1st lvl spell.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
Hypnotism would be a good spell to rip off merchants, the spell specifically states they don't remember being enspelled if they fail the save, furthermore there is a -2 penalty on the save outside combat situations, making it fairly 'powerful' for a 1st lvl spell.

True.

And yet, even a brilliant elf would still have a 10% chance that the merchant makes the save and gets real hostile, real fast. That's assuming the merchant has a base save of 0 and a WIS of 10. And an even more brilliant super-elf never has less than a 5% chance of failure.

Elminster himself could only hypnotize about a score of merchants before the spell will fail (less if he's unlucky) and then he would have a price on his head for being a thief.

Not to mention, while the merchant might not remember that you hypnotized her, she will remember that she gave you her "family discount", which is strange because you're not family. But the effects linger after the spell duration (only with regard to the suggestion you made, so she won't question the fact that she gave you a discount you don't deserve. It would seem to her like the right thing to do since you're such good friends, even though you're a total stranger to her and she might not even know your name (or maybe she just learned your name today). So, yeah, she gave you, her brand new but super super good friend her family discount, and it was the right thing to do even though she didn't know you yesterday. And she doesn't even give her family discount to her own mother. But it's all OK.

Until she hears that another merchant across the street almost got ripped off by some finger-wiggling spellcaster that fits your description, claiming you cast some hostile spell that tingled his brain. And the city watch is looking for you to arrest you for attempted theft. And then she remembers giving a total stranger a discount she wouldn't even give her mother, and worse, she remembers that she believed it was the right thing to do, and still thinks so.

But you're a sorcerous thief.

And then it all makes sense, and she goes to the city watch and adds her testimony, and a score of other merchants start coming forward with similar tales, and now the charges go from attempted theft to theft to grand theft, and soon you're the #1 most-wanted thief in the whole city.

Is it worth it?

Probably not. Well, maybe if you are in a far-away kingdom and not planning to stay, and you take the risk to save hundreds, maybe thousands of gold on buying a magic item. Maybe that might be worth a try. Although, guys who sell magic items are likely to be wiser, higher level, and much more likely to make their save, so the risk goes up as well as the reward.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Use to be spellcraft, but now its Knowledge(Arcana)

Identify a spell that just targeted you
Knowledge(Arcana)
DC 25 + spell level

Sovereign Court

Ahem...

PRPG core rules, p 315 wrote:


Modify Memory
School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]; Level bard 4
Casting Time 1 round; see text
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one living creature
Duration permanent
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
You reach into the subject’s mind and modify as many as 5
minutes of its memories in one of the following ways.
• Eliminate all memory of an event the subject actually
experienced. This spell cannot negate charm, geas/quest,
suggestion, or similar spells.
• Allow the subject to recall with perfect clarity an event it
actually experienced.
• Change the details of an event the subject actually experienced.
• Implant a memory of an event the subject never experienced.
Casting the spell takes 1 round. If the subject fails to save, you
proceed with the spell by spending as much as 5 minutes (a period of
time equal to the amount of memory you want to modify) visualizing
the memory you wish to modify in the subject. If your concentration
is disturbed before the visualization is complete, or if the subject is
ever beyond the spell’s range during this time, the spell is lost.
A modified memory does not necessarily affect the subject’s
actions, particularly if it contradicts the creature’s natural
inclinations. An illogical modified memory is dismissed by the
creature as a bad dream, too much wine, or another similar excuse.

Enchanters don't run around charming/suggesting/dominating the masses, Bards do...

Scarab Sages

Alter self...

"Do I look like a dwarf to you? I should hope not!"

/snicker

Best part is that it's a slightly different dwarf or elf or whatever every time you cast it. So you don't really need to worry about being caught. Just about getting away :)


Kamelguru wrote:

Last night, I had a monster, posing as a hurt sheperd trapped in a cave on the side of a deep ravine, cast mass suggestion on the unaware players, outside their line of sight, and forced the players to roll saves (I don't like depriving my players of being able to roll saves, and rarely do their rolls in secret). One player asked if he could tell that someone tried to mess with his head.

My ruling last session was "No", as I can sorta see several problems with this:
- If he does, enchantment could no longer be subtle, even with still/silent spell metamagic. Anyone who have been charmed/compelled would automatically KNOW that they were affected, making an already weak school of specialization even weaker.
- Would make sense motive rather redundant.
- You can roll spellcraft to identify effects, in this case at +10 DC, since the caster was out of sight. (The wizard made his check and the players figured it out this way, a solution I think is good)

But, I want to know if there is an official ruling on this.

I & my entourage, we'have always done like that:

If you save you realize that something happened but it's up to the DM to determine the depth of your understanding about that.
If you fail, you absolutely don't realize anything during the spell effect, while at the end, you could (if you are able to, DM discretion again).
I think that there's no official position about this subject, so it's matter to plan the rules as a group...


Herr Malthus wrote:

I & my entourage, we'have always done like that:
If you save you realize that something happened but it's up to the DM to determine the depth of your understanding about that.
If you fail, you absolutely don't realize anything during the spell effect, while at the end, you could (if you are able to, DM discretion again).
I think that there's no official position about this subject, so it's matter to plan the rules as a group...

Exactly, like when your Witch Maeve charmed Marcus the Paladin and convinced him to have sex with her... not that it was such a difficult thing to perform, being a cute Elven lass :D

The next morning, after the effect of the spell was ended, Marcus felt a little guilty for having laid with her (since he was not sure of her Alignment, back then), but since it was not an act against his nature he merely thought that the situation 'slipped out of his hand'...

Night; barely dressed beautiful woman knocks at your door; she makes a good charade of being frightnened and in need of protection and 'oh, you are so good-looking and daring and protecting'; you are still half-asleep and... how can we say... 'physically' predisposed - thanks to blood pressure - by the situation (come on, we males all KNOW what I'm speaking of XD ); you ARE attracted by beautiful women, and have no vote of celibacy; Charm kicks in = just a little push to an almost railroaded situation...


Forgot to mention she's terribly neutral evil (but he couldn't still know it, since we were 3rd level!)...

This act, anyway, was funny but indeed very dangerous: if the paladin would have saved -> felt some dizziness in his 'brutal' mind, he could have come to some unhappy conclusion and perhaps... smitten her? ... ... ... ... I mean in terms of smite evil! ;)

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Knowing if you were affected with magic that forces a save All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rules Questions