What's the Reason Wizards can't cast Silence?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I have wondered about this for years and I can see even in my 1st
ed PHB that wizards couldnt cast silence spells.
Has anyone ever seen a reason for this besides arbitrary " Game Balance "
Your thoughts?


..because they love the sound of their own voices?

*gets coat*

Sovereign Court

I think that spell creation rules exist and you can totally use them to make your own spells, like an arcane version of silence. The spell creation rules have been around for ages and are rarely used.

Because no one in the old guard needed it to be a wizard spell it isn't effectively.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

There is no reason, other than an arbitrary choice by the game designers long ago.


James Jacobs wrote:
There is no reason, other than an arbitrary choice by the game designers long ago.

Too true. There's a small handful of spells that are cleric spells which really feel like they should be wizard spells. Silence and Spell Resistance chief among them.

The only thing I can think of is that it radically changes counterspell wars, but I don't find that a particularly engaging corner of the game to begin with. Silence does destroy casters, and the less available it is the better IMO.


Yeah, Silence can really wreck a spellcaster encounter. Even my lowly cloistered cleric has gimped several boss monsters in our RotRL game by casting Silence on the fighter's helmet or a summoned monster. It was so effective that he memorizes Silence at least once every day.

I'm not saying that spells shouldn't be effective, just that it seems a little too easy to shut down casters with Silence. Of course this is nothing new, but it kind of got me thinking that maybe casters in the area should get a Will save or have a percentage chance to be able to get spells off. Just counting them as deafened while they're in the area seems like too much of a nerf on the spell, but maybe a Will save to just count as deafened would be ok.

Dark Archive

I have talked about this in other threads and people don't always agree but in many dungeons as written Silence is an absolute killer spell. Due to its rather large AOE and generally small rooms, with no save if cast on an area and with party wizards outside the room casting in it can destroy spell-casters before they act. So i'm glad it is so limited!


If I was pushed to supply a reason, I'd say that classic wizards in fiction have always dueled with bigger and bigger spells. Standing toe to toe as they cast great fireballs at each other, not cravenly snuffing an opponents voice. Bigger and bigger seems more grand.

Silence is a powerful spell, in part, because the mechanics of casting are vague. Whether a spell must be heard by its targets is often a question. I'm not sure silence should stop all the spells it does. So long as the spellcaster can say it in his\her own head most spells should work, perhaps with a minus.

It's not like my hobbit can understand ancient suel draconic anyway.

I don't think the dark wizard is screaming loud enough for the planes of the abyss to actually hear him.

Silence is a physical spell. It shouldn't freeze acts of the will or soul.

Sigurd

Liberty's Edge

BenignFacist wrote:

..because they love the sound of their own voices?

*gets coat*

Moreso than a Bard? I think not!


Wizards can't cast silence because that spell's not on their list. :)

If you want wizards to cast silence, here are some solutions:

1. The DM can add silence to the wizard spell list.

2. The wizard can pick up a level in cleric, and then get a scroll or wand.

3. The wizard can pick up a level in bard, and then get a scroll or wand.

4. The wizard can pump skill points into Use Magic Device, get a scroll or wand, and try to beat the DC.

5. The wizard can research an arcane version silence.

Liberty's Edge

I don't see an issue with making Silence an arcane spell, just make it one level higher than the clerical version. That will hold any game balance in check and limit unwelcome surprises to your game.

Liberty's Edge

cyrusduane wrote:
I don't see an issue with making Silence an arcane spell, just make it one level higher than the clerical version. That will hold any game balance in check and limit unwelcome surprises to your game.

It already IS an arcane spell, just only one that bards get. Go figure.


Research to add a desired spell to your list is TOTALLY worth it at only 1,000gp per spell level and a little time on your character's part. And easy to do, since you aren't making a spell from scratch.

I just added spectral hand to my cleric's spell list so I could heal at a distance, and it totally rocks.

I also felt the same way as the OP about disrupt undead not being on the cleric spell list. What the heck? The destroyers of these unholy abominations (esp. my cleric of Pharasma) can't use that great little spell?

Well, corrected, and cheaply at that. Very cost-effective.

Liberty's Edge

Brandon Hodge wrote:

I just added spectral hand to my cleric's spell list so I could heal at a distance, and it totally rocks.

I never thought of that, but that would be an incredibly strong option to have.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Silence is not on the wizard's spell list for one simple reason. The gods gave that spell to thier clerics specfically to counter wizards. (or at least the game designers did)

It's a purely arbitrary desigions like the separation of arcane magic and divine in the first place. Quite frankly it's under the same category as to why Wizards don't have cure spells, or ressurrection on thier plate.

But quite frankly, silencce is a wizard-killer, plain and simple. and I as a GM prefer more dramatic ways to resolve duels with a wizard.

Mages on my campaign world have been researching an arcane version of silence for ages without success. Some have been assasinated by other wizards when it was feared they were getting close to succeeding.

An incomplete formula for such a spell would be a great campaign MacGuffin, particcularly in a world like the Realms or Eberron.


LazarX wrote:

Mages on my campaign world have been researching an arcane version of silence for ages without success. Some have been assasinated by other wizards when it was feared they were getting close to succeeding.

An incomplete formula for such a spell would be a great campaign MacGuffin, particcularly in a world like the Realms or Eberron.

That's a really cool idea, I might just have to use that!

Grand Lodge

I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Why can a spell be both arcane and divine but a specific class can't cast it... and even if the same a wizard can't cast a spell from a divine scroll... ummm same spell!

I would REALLY like two 100% separate spell lists that are thematically appropriate and make sense... ain't gonna happen though.


Krome wrote:
I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Huh? Wizards & Sorcerers can cast the animal series, look here. Maybe you meant other types of buff spells...

Zo

Dark Archive

DigMarx wrote:
Krome wrote:
I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Huh? Wizards & Sorcerers can cast the animal series, look here. Maybe you meant other types of buff spells...

Zo

Krome was saying how clerics DONT get cats grace and fox's cunning. that actually caused an argument at my gaming table last week do to protests of "thats f***** retarded".. my response: tough. deal with it


Name Violation wrote:
DigMarx wrote:
Krome wrote:
I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Huh? Wizards & Sorcerers can cast the animal series, look here. Maybe you meant other types of buff spells...

Zo

Krome was saying how clerics DONT get cats grace and fox's cunning. that actually caused an argument at my gaming table last week do to protests of "thats f***** retarded".. my response: tough. deal with it

i never noticed that before. that is peculiar.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Mages on my campaign world have been researching an arcane version of silence for ages without success. Some have been assasinated by other wizards when it was feared they were getting close to succeeding.

An incomplete formula for such a spell would be a great campaign MacGuffin, particcularly in a world like the Realms or Eberron.

That's a really cool idea, I might just have to use that!

If you do let the class know how it comes up. The great thing about this idea is that the story could be resolve without the spell ever being created.

Shadow Lodge

I think the main reason is that way back when, they didn't want the wizard to be able to do everything.

The spell's effect is too powerful as is for a 2nd level spell and so it was one that I immediately houseruled but from outside-in so to speak:

a) I got rid of the silent spell and still spell metamagic feats.
b) Spells could be cast without verbal and/or somatic components but it would require a [3.5]concentration check/[Pathfinder]caster level check to do so.
c)The DC for these checks would be 15 + spell level; meaning that at lower levels, silence was still quite effective but at higher levels, casters would normally be able to get around it. [However, with pathfinder I have considered changing this DC to 12 + spell level to be more mathematically in line with 3.5].

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise


Themetricsystem wrote:
BenignFacist wrote:

..because they love the sound of their own voices?

*gets coat*

Moreso than a Bard? I think not!

Don't make me sing..

...you wouldn't like it when I sing..

*shakes fist*

Grand Lodge

Some one said singing!

Love, exciting and new,
Come aboard.
We're expecting you.
Love, life's sweetest reward.
Let it flow,
it floats back to you.
The Love Boat
soon will be making another run.
The Love Boat promises something for everyone.
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore.
It's Looooove!
Welcome aboard - It's Looooove!


BenignFacist wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:
BenignFacist wrote:

..because they love the sound of their own voices?

*gets coat*

Moreso than a Bard? I think not!

Don't make me sing..

...you wouldn't like it when I sing..

*shakes fist*

Umm, well obviously Bards can cast silence because they love their own voices soo much they want to make everyone else shutup, whereas the wizard being so naturally competetive wants to prove his voice is the better so wants everyone to speak :)


Name Violation wrote:
DigMarx wrote:
Krome wrote:
I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Huh? Wizards & Sorcerers can cast the animal series, look here. Maybe you meant other types of buff spells...

Zo

Krome was saying how clerics DONT get cats grace and fox's cunning. that actually caused an argument at my gaming table last week do to protests of "thats f***** retarded".. my response: tough. deal with it

I take your point. Thinking about it, I don't really understand why the animal buffs haven't been combined into "one spell" a la detect- and protection from [alignment].

Zo

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DigMarx wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
DigMarx wrote:
Krome wrote:
I have long wondered similar things. Wizards can cast Cat's Grace but not the other buff spells... Clerics can cast other buff spells but not Cat's Grace... duh!

Huh? Wizards & Sorcerers can cast the animal series, look here. Maybe you meant other types of buff spells...

Zo

Krome was saying how clerics DONT get cats grace and fox's cunning. that actually caused an argument at my gaming table last week do to protests of "thats f***** retarded".. my response: tough. deal with it

I take your point. Thinking about it, I don't really understand why the animal buffs haven't been combined into "one spell" a la detect- and protection from [alignment].

Zo

They haven't been combined the detect and protection from alignment spells are still separate versions for each.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Murkmoldiev wrote:

I have wondered about this for years and I can see even in my 1st

ed PHB that wizards couldnt cast silence spells.
Has anyone ever seen a reason for this besides arbitrary " Game Balance "
Your thoughts?

In 1st edition D&D, silence was a cleric spell. It is mentioned in the bible (not exactly as a spell though), so it ended up a cleric spell. Same with sticks to snakes.

In 1st edition, it should have at least also been an illusionist spell. I think way back then I had it in my list of illusionist spells to someday research should I ever run an illusionist.


moon glum wrote:
Murkmoldiev wrote:

I have wondered about this for years and I can see even in my 1st

ed PHB that wizards couldnt cast silence spells.
Has anyone ever seen a reason for this besides arbitrary " Game Balance "
Your thoughts?

In 1st edition D&D, silence was a cleric spell. It is mentioned in the bible (not exactly as a spell though), so it ended up a cleric spell. Same with sticks to snakes.

In 1st edition, it should have at least also been an illusionist spell. I think way back then I had it in my list of illusionist spells to someday research should I ever run an illusionist.

Haha, moonglum. Love the name :)


same reason divine casters have NO core illusion spells apart from silence


LazarX wrote:
They haven't been combined the detect and protection from alignment spells are still separate versions for each.

Yeah but the wording is the same. Just replace EVIL with GOOD and you're good to go. Since only the attribute changes with the animal buffs it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have a different name for each. I don't really care, personally.

Zo

Sovereign Court

moon glum wrote:
In 1st edition, it should have at least also been an illusionist spell. I think way back then I had it in my list of illusionist spells to someday research should I ever run an illusionist.

Not unless the spell chart from Unearthed Arcana added it onto the illusionist spell list. In the 1st edition AD&D spell list, it's only on the Cleric spell list. Level 2, Silence 15' Radius.

Not Druid, nor Wizard nor even Illusionist, only the Clerics had it. Also it was an Alteration spell, not an illusion. Wonder when that changed... Hmmm, Alteration spell in 2nd edition too, guardian sphere. That would mean...

WotC! >:/

Damn, missed a chance to change that back into a different school from the play tests. Knew we'd miss something!


Silence has been a cleric spell since the days of OD&D..but the spell lists have long needed an overhaul..indeed the entire division of magic into arcane and divine needs serious thought.

I have some ideas floating around in my head for a radical change to the system..nothing concrete yet but if it ever comes together properly then I'll post it here

Sovereign Court

Really? I like the division of arcane and divine magic. It's a good part of the game. :)

Silver Crusade

Lazar, like your campaign idea as well. Never had the question come up (yet), but investigating the why could be setting for new adventures. Thanks


Since we are talking about silence, I was wondering wether people like the following house rule :

Silence does not actually negate sound or verbal spellcasting components but makes them inaudible.

This is kinda like a darkness 15'radius, affecting sound rather than vision. Most effects will be the same except that spells only have a 20 % chance of failure as per the deafened condition :

"Deafened: A deafened character cannot hear. He takes a –4
penalty on initiative checks, automatically fails Perception
checks based on sound, takes a –4 penalty on opposed
Perception checks, and has a 20% chance of spell failure
when casting spells with verbal components.
Characters
who remain deafened for a long time grow accustomed to
these drawbacks and can overcome
some of them."

Dark Archive

Remco Sommeling wrote:

Since we are talking about silence, I was wondering wether people like the following house rule :

Silence does not actually negate sound or verbal spellcasting components but makes them inaudible.

This is kinda like a darkness 15'radius, affecting sound rather than vision. Most effects will be the same except that spells only have a 20 % chance of failure as per the deafened condition :

"Deafened: A deafened character cannot hear. He takes a –4
penalty on initiative checks, automatically fails Perception
checks based on sound, takes a –4 penalty on opposed
Perception checks, and has a 20% chance of spell failure
when casting spells with verbal components.
Characters
who remain deafened for a long time grow accustomed to
these drawbacks and can overcome
some of them."

well it makes "cause deafness" a pointless spell, since this is an area and has no save, and gives a huge nerf to silence.

not a fan


Name Violation wrote:
Remco Sommeling wrote:

Since we are talking about silence, I was wondering wether people like the following house rule :

Silence does not actually negate sound or verbal spellcasting components but makes them inaudible.

This is kinda like a darkness 15'radius, affecting sound rather than vision. Most effects will be the same except that spells only have a 20 % chance of failure as per the deafened condition :

"Deafened: A deafened character cannot hear. He takes a –4
penalty on initiative checks, automatically fails Perception
checks based on sound, takes a –4 penalty on opposed
Perception checks, and has a 20% chance of spell failure
when casting spells with verbal components.
Characters
who remain deafened for a long time grow accustomed to
these drawbacks and can overcome
some of them."

well it makes "cause deafness" a pointless spell, since this is an area and has no save, and gives a huge nerf to silence.

not a fan

well on one end it makes cause deafness pointless, not more so than the original silence.. and yea nerfing was kinda the point, since well the spell is stupidly powerful.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Morgen wrote:
moon glum wrote:
In 1st edition, it should have at least also been an illusionist spell. I think way back then I had it in my list of illusionist spells to someday research should I ever run an illusionist.

Not unless the spell chart from Unearthed Arcana added it onto the illusionist spell list. In the 1st edition AD&D spell list, it's only on the Cleric spell list. Level 2, Silence 15' Radius.

I had actually made up a bunch of 'original' illusionist spells that I wanted to research if I were to ever run an illusionist. I had a version of silence in there, only it had a variable radius, something like-- silence- 1' to 20' radius

Sovereign Court

Wait, people actually use the deafness part of that spell?

Since when?


We use the following house rule regarding silence

Silence: To cast a spell within a Silenced area requires a caster level check, DC = 15 + caster level of the silence spell.


stuart haffenden wrote:

We use the following house rule regarding silence

Silence: To cast a spell within a Silenced area requires a caster level check, DC = 15 + caster level of the silence spell.

not necesarily a bad mechanic, but why does it get harder with caster level.. is it even more silent than before ? It does feel a bit too artificial to me..

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Remco Sommeling wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:

We use the following house rule regarding silence

Silence: To cast a spell within a Silenced area requires a caster level check, DC = 15 + caster level of the silence spell.

not necesarily a bad mechanic, but why does it get harder with caster level.. is it even more silent than before ? It does feel a bit too artificial to me..

I have not noticed silence being too powerful. It is no more overly powerful than trying to grapple a spell caster. And there are many counters to it: spells without verbal components, the silent spell feat, the cheap meta-magic rod of silent spell, moving out of the area of the silence (if possible), dispel magic, lesser globe of invulnerability.

Nerfing silence seems an unnecessary change to me, and needing counters to people's spell caster counters is one of the things that makes spell casting interesting.


moon glum wrote:
Remco Sommeling wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:

We use the following house rule regarding silence

Silence: To cast a spell within a Silenced area requires a caster level check, DC = 15 + caster level of the silence spell.

not necesarily a bad mechanic, but why does it get harder with caster level.. is it even more silent than before ? It does feel a bit too artificial to me..

I have not noticed silence being too powerful. It is no more overly powerful than trying to grapple a spell caster. And there are many counters to it: spells without verbal components, the silent spell feat, the cheap meta-magic rod of silent spell, moving out of the area of the silence (if possible), dispel magic, lesser globe of invulnerability.

Nerfing silence seems an unnecessary change to me, and needing counters to people's spell caster counters is one of the things that makes spell casting interesting.

Overly powerful maybe not, it is a 2nd level spell and just about the only reason the meta magic rod and the silent spell feat even exists, lesser globe and dispel magic wont in itself do anything if you are caught in it.. spells without verbal components.. are.. maybe 2 spells in the core book.

The mere excistence of the spell leaves people with a metamagic rod tax to not get completely screwed over. Besides I do try not to get into the christmas tree effect of magical items, nerfing silence fits into that.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Remco Sommeling wrote:
moon glum wrote:
Remco Sommeling wrote:
stuart haffenden wrote:

We use the following house rule regarding silence

Silence: To cast a spell within a Silenced area requires a caster level check, DC = 15 + caster level of the silence spell.

not necesarily a bad mechanic, but why does it get harder with caster level.. is it even more silent than before ? It does feel a bit too artificial to me..

I have not noticed silence being too powerful. It is no more overly powerful than trying to grapple a spell caster. And there are many counters to it: spells without verbal components, the silent spell feat, the cheap meta-magic rod of silent spell, moving out of the area of the silence (if possible), dispel magic, lesser globe of invulnerability.

Nerfing silence seems an unnecessary change to me, and needing counters to people's spell caster counters is one of the things that makes spell casting interesting.

Overly powerful maybe not, it is a 2nd level spell and just about the only reason the meta magic rod and the silent spell feat even exists, lesser globe and dispel magic wont in itself do anything if you are caught in it.. spells without verbal components.. are.. maybe 2 spells in the core book.

The mere excistence of the spell leaves people with a metamagic rod tax to not get completely screwed over. Besides I do try not to get into the christmas tree effect of magical items, nerfing silence fits into that.

Silent spells are good for other reasons too. If you are invisible, silent spells can keep your location unknown.

If you are a wizard and you go up against a cleric without casting something like lesser globe and you don't have some way to cast silent spells, and you are caught in a silence, then you are receiving a deserved comeuppance. Wizards are bad ass enough. They need a few things to worry about. Grappling, silence, anti-magic shell-- its good that they give an otherwise arrogant wizard an ulcer or two.

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