Deaf Oracle and Command


Rules Questions


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So, I'm currently in a pathfinder game where I'm playing an oracle with the deaf curse. I want to pick up the spell Command, because it seems very powerful. Command has a verbal component, which presumably would be silenced as per the silent spell feat due to the 1st level perk from the mystery. However, it's also a language dependent spell. Would my deaf oracle be able to cast the spell without the 20 percent spell failure? Would silent spell even be applicable to a language dependent spell in general? How does this work?

Scarab Sages

Spell would have no effect as per language dependent spell rules. Target needs to be able to understand a common language.

That said, you could probably figure out something with telepathy, or another non-verbal communication which would fit the requirements.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't believe anything in the deafened curse prevents you from speaking, so you should still be able to speak a command.

Basically the spell is silent, but giving the command is not.

A normal spell caster would say 'Bibbity Bobbity Boo Drop'. You would only say 'Drop'.

I would probably give you a 20% spell failure chance, as it seems that a deafened character has trouble pronouncing things properly and if a language dependent spell isn't understandable (or loud enough to hear) it automatically fails. This is an interpretation though, since other than spell casting the deafened condition doesn't spell out any difficulties a character has in making himself understood.

Scarab Sages

Dave Justus wrote:

I don't believe anything in the deafened curse prevents you from speaking, so you should still be able to speak a command.

Basically the spell is silent, but giving the command is not.

A normal spell caster would say 'Bibbity Bobbity Boo Drop'. You would only say 'Drop'.

I would probably give you a 20% spell failure chance, as it seems that a deafened character has trouble pronouncing things properly and if a language dependent spell isn't understandable (or loud enough to hear) it automatically fails. This is an interpretation though, since other than spell casting the deafened condition doesn't spell out any difficulties a character has in making himself understood.

Are you suggesting that you can loudly cast a silent spell?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I am saying that the command you are giving is not part of the spell. The spell allows you to communicate a command that must be obeyed. The command itself, while necessary for the success of the spell, is not part of it.

Scarab Sages

Looked up the silent spell feat:

Silent Spell (Metamagic)

You can cast your spells without making any sound.

Benefit: A silent spell can be cast with no verbal components. Spells without verbal components are not affected. A silent spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell's actual level.

Special: Bard spells cannot be enhanced by this feat.

Then I looked up language dependent:

Language-Dependent: A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw.

As I read it, speaking isn't strictly part of the spell, but the language portion is part of the spell. You'd have to be able to fulfill the language dependent requirement above while remaining non-verbal. Otherwise, the spell would have no effect, as above.


"If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw."

I think it's pretty clear speaking and being understood is part of the spell. I don't get how you can quote a line that references "says" and claim speaking isn't part of it.

Scarab Sages

Casey Hudak wrote:
Would my deaf oracle be able to cast the spell without the 20 percent spell failure? Would silent spell even be applicable to a language dependent spell in general? How does this work?

As per my above post, you can cast it without issue, but it will have not effect unless you can convey your intentions non-verbally. Telepathy should work for this, as would writing it down and showing paper instructions, or using a non-verbal language (I believe there are a few, DM might allow primitive directions with "universal" hand signs too).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Silent spell doesn't prevent you from speaking. It only allows you to skip the verbal components of a spell. You are perfectly free to use a silent command spell and speak the command you want to give.

Scarab Sages

TyrKnight wrote:

"If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw."

I think it's pretty clear speaking and being understood is part of the spell. I don't get how you can quote a line that references "says" and claim speaking isn't part of it.

No, it's clear that it requires being understood OR heard. Written languages should work here, though only if you can get the recipient to look at the written instructions.


Telepathy might work if you share a telepathic language. Drow hand signals might work, but definitely not in combat. But no way I'm considering charades a "language."

Scarab Sages

Dave Justus wrote:
Silent spell doesn't prevent you from speaking. It only allows you to skip the verbal components of a spell.

Yes, this is correct.

The Language dependent descriptor is the debate, as that is what requires being heard or understood.

The Language dependance is part of the spell, hence why it is in the descriptor.


And in this case understand = "not sharing the same language" or hear = "unable to hear" does not open up a realm of possibilities where you could be understood without a language.

Scarab Sages

TyrKnight wrote:
Telepathy might work if you share a telepathic language. Drow hand signals might work, but definitely not in combat. But no way I'm considering charades a "language."

Charades is certainly not. I was suggesting Primitive hand signs would be a maybe for a DM. So like pointing at the creature and pointing at an object they are to pick up. Primitive.


"I cast a command, and then I perform an interpretive dance of what command I issue. I'm a really good dancer. He understands."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Why can't our oracle just speak then? The Deafened condition doesn't prevent speaking and neither does the deafened curse.

Scarab Sages

TyrKnight wrote:
And in this case understand = "not sharing the same language" or hear = "unable to hear" does not open up a realm of possibilities where you could be understood without a language.

Mostly agree.

That said, if you both read and write common, it is a shared language. This also fits with the deaf theme.

Scarab Sages

Dave Justus wrote:
Why can't our oracle just speak then? The Deafened condition doesn't prevent speaking and neither does the deafened curse.

He can speak, just not as part of the spell. Speaking would make it verbal. The fact that the spell is language dependent is the reason he needs to be able to communicate during the spell, though this doesn't strictly require a verbal component.

TyrKnight wrote:
"I cast a command, and then I perform an interpretive dance of what command I issue. I'm a really good dancer. He understands."

Wonderful role playing.

As DM, this wouldn't fly. NPC might be commanded to dance with you, though spell would likely do nothing. Dance is not a language as per pathfinder.

Mind you, if your PC had been insisting on taking interpretive dance as a language via linguistics and had previously trained the target of command in the same interpretive dance language, I would probably allow it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
Why can't our oracle just speak then? The Deafened condition doesn't prevent speaking and neither does the deafened curse.

He can speak, just not as part of the spell. Speaking would make it verbal. The fact that the spell is language dependent is the reason he needs to be able to communicate during the spell, though this doesn't strictly require a verbal component.

I don't see at all why you think he can't speak as part of the casting of this spell. Silent spells don't stop you from speaking if you want to. Obviously you aren't being silent when you are doing so, but that doesn't mean you can't cast a spell enhanced by this meta-magic while making noise. You don't need to make noise for the components of the spell, but if you need to make noise to communicate a command you are welcome to do so.


I'm still lost as to why the deaf person can't speak a single word. it's not like he's asking for the ability to bardic perform or give a rousing speech at Magnamar. Does the curse say he can't speak at all?

Scarab Sages

Dave Justus wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:
Why can't our oracle just speak then? The Deafened condition doesn't prevent speaking and neither does the deafened curse.

He can speak, just not as part of the spell. Speaking would make it verbal. The fact that the spell is language dependent is the reason he needs to be able to communicate during the spell, though this doesn't strictly require a verbal component.

I don't see at all why you think he can't speak as part of the casting of this spell. Silent spells don't stop you from speaking if you want to. Obviously you aren't being silent when you are doing so, but that doesn't mean you can't cast a spell enhanced by this meta-magic while making noise. You don't need to make noise for the components of the spell, but if you need to make noise to communicate a command you are welcome to do so.

I quoted it before, but here it is again. Straight from the paizo PRD website:

Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Language-Dependent: A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw

The language is part of the spell if the spell has the language dependent descriptor.

Or are you suggesting that the silent spell optionally suppresses the verbal component?

TyrKnight wrote:
I'm still lost as to why the deaf person can't speak a single word. it's not like he's asking for the ability to bardic perform or give a rousing speech at Magnamar. Does the curse say he can't speak at all?

The Curse makes all his spells silent as per the silent spell feat.

He's otherwise allowed to speak.


Right. But silent spell doesn't allow you cast a language-dependent spell without speaking. It also doesn't allow you animate dead and control the skeletons without speaking. And it doesn't say that you *can't* speak to meet the language dependent requirements. It just eliminates verbal components of the spell but doesn't restrict you.

Scarab Sages

TyrKnight wrote:
Right. But silent spell doesn't allow you cast a language-dependent spell without speaking. It also doesn't allow you animate dead and control the skeletons without speaking. And it doesn't say that you *can't* speak to meet the language dependent requirements. It just eliminates verbal components of the spell but doesn't restrict you.

Language dependent requires a language, not speech. Non-verbal languages, as well as written languages would apply. Telepathy would also apply.

This is exclusively part of the language dependent spell. You do not have to be heard. Otherwise command would never work with some languages.


I would disagree that you can write down a command. It says if the target cannot "hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says" -- it doesn't say anything about reading it. I think you are taking this into the realm of fairy tale land.

Setting aside however we disagree on that, it still fails to explain why you keep insisting that the deaf oracle cannot cast the spell and cannot voice the command.

Dave Justus' original post -- the third one down -- answers this question as far as I'm concerned. The oracle just speaks the command, and ignores any other verbal components required as part of the casting.

Scarab Sages

TyrKnight wrote:

I would disagree that you can write down a command. It says if the target cannot "hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says" -- it doesn't say anything about reading it. I think you are taking this into the realm of fairy tale land.

Setting aside however we disagree on that, it still fails to explain why you keep insisting that the deaf oracle cannot cast the spell and cannot voice the command.

Dave Justus' original post -- the third one down -- answers this question as far as I'm concerned. The oracle just speaks the command, and ignores any other verbal components required as part of the casting.

Don't understand the "realm of fairy land reference." An attempt at an insult, perhaps? Please refrain from those in future.

Your little quote is the bold parts of this quote from the PRD:

PRD wrote:
Language-Dependent: A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw

So, you're suggesting that the language dependent portion of the spell, of which we have a specific spell descriptor, is not actually part of casting the spell and is therefore not silenced when we remove the audible components of a spell. This right?

I guess we can disagree here. I see the spell descriptors as being part of the spell. I see the line regarding the language "as a medium for communication" as referring to part of the spell.

Shadow Lodge

Being an audible part of the spell =/= being a verbal component. The latter is a very specific rules term; the former is not.

Silent Spell removes verbal components. It does not remove any other audible parts of the spell. A silenced Ghost Sound would still produce a sound. The sound is the effect, not a component.

There is no RAW indication that the "language dependent" audible part of a spell is also a verbal component. The rule says "A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication" not "A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a verbal component."


Verbal (V)
A verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice. A silence spell or a gag spoils the incantation (and thus the spell). a [sic] spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance of spoiling any spell with a verbal component that he tries to cast.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic

There is nothing in the rules that says the command part of command or the suggestion given as part of suggestion is part of the verbal component of the spell. It's the incantation that is not required as part of the silent spell ability.

Dave Justus was right when he said: "A normal spell caster would say 'Bibbity Bobbity Boo Drop'. You would only say 'Drop'."

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