Identifying spells and Willing targets


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

If you have an ability that causes the opponent to mis-identify a hostile spell via spellcraft as a harmless spell, does it still require an attack roll or save if the target wants this harmless spell cast upon them?

The Rakshasa Sorcerer Bloodline, for example, can cause a failed spellcraft check to mis-identify the spell.

In example, sorcerer of unclear alliance is casting a spell at you. You ID it as Touch of the Sea. Since you do not have a swim speed, this is a beneficial spell. HOWEVER, the spell is not Touch of the Sea, but actually Touch of Combustion. Does it require an attack roll, and do you get a relex save?

SR would apply in either cast, unless you voluntarily lowered it.


This is actually a really good question. I'd technically say yes on the attack, because while they don't THINK it's hostile, it's still technically hostile. Although if they were a willing target I would say that for the purposes of your attack they'd be using their flat-footed touch AC.

The save is a little trickier, especially if the spell is a damaging one, because the instant the pain sets in the misidentified spell is given away.

Scarab Sages

Ashram wrote:

This is actually a really good question. I'd technically say yes on the attack, because while they don't THINK it's hostile, it's still technically hostile. Although if they were a willing target I would say that for the purposes of your attack they'd be using their flat-footed touch AC.

The save is a little trickier, especially if the spell is a damaging one, because the instant the pain sets in the misidentified spell is given away.

If they were a willing target for Touch of Combustion, without the deception, would apply the same logic?

I'm under the impression that attack rolls are not required for melee touch spells if the target is willing. Just like how saves are not normally given against harmless spells.

As a follow up, how would you handle a Good Cleric attempting to use Cure Light Wounds on a Black Blood Oracle (heals as undead), which the cleric was not aware regarding the black blooded archetype. The cleric is actually trying to heal the Oracle, unaware that the spell will actually harm the oracle. Let's say the two are allies and the oracle fails their spellcraft to know that the spell being cast will harm instead of heal.

Would you make the Cleric attempt an attack roll? How about saves?

Sovereign Court

Being willing should always be the choice of the target. If they ID the spell as being harmless but don't trust the sorcerer, would they trust the spell? Maybe, maybe not. "Why are you casting Touch of the Sea on me in the middle of a dungeon?"


Even when charmed or dominated, a player might try to avoid a beneficial spell like break enchantment or cure light wounds because they may no longer consider you an ally. This is also true for provoking AoO, so how the person views you as an enemy/ally is more important than what you view their actions as.

So if you were a bad dude coming up to me with a utensil and I misidentify it as a spoon (it's a knife) I am still going to avoid you because you're creeping me out with your dinnerware.

Of course this can lead to weird meta-gamey moments "Are you sure you want him to touch you with the cure light wounds spell...?"

"Ye-no? No. What? No!"


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Relevant rules:

Combat wrote:

Touch Spells in Combat

Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Whether an attack roll is required or not depends upon whether the caster is their opponent. Presumably, this is based upon the perception of the creature being touched. If the caster appears to be friendly when casting their (not) Touch of the Sea, then the victim probably doesn't view them as an opponent unless they are suspicious of the sorcerer's actions

Magic wrote:

...

(harmless)

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.
...
Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw

A creature can voluntarily forgo a saving throw and willingly accept a spell's result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.
...

This gets kinda quirky, but it works out in the end.

If the spell is harmless, you don't make a saving throw unless you decide to do so.

If the spell is harmful, you get a save unless you choose not to.

As a consequence, if you don't make a decision to save or not save (either because you are incapable of making decisions or because you simply opt not to), it defaults to saving vs harmful and not saving vs harmless. Since there is no reason to make a choice because the defaults are almost always what you would want to do anyway, you can almost always expect saving throws to still apply unless the victim knowingly makes themselves vulnerable to a harmful spell for some reason, although you could hypothetically trick them into accepting one harmful spell instead of another (Charm Monster instead of Aboleth's Lung, for example).


Then, there is Superstition, which makes you unwilling against all spells and spell-like abilities.


I think the answer is "don't accept spells from someone unless you really trust them".

The whole thing gets weird when you consider that if they don't or can't identify the spell then it would resolve normally because they don't know what it is.

As a GM I would simply rule this wouldn't work to negate the need for attack rolls or saves.

Edit: Actually, I like the argument for how the NPC views the person casting the spell.

If they trust the individual they might consider themselves willing, which would negate the attack roll and save. But I would only consider an NPC willing if they really trusted you. In the situation you provide, where the sorcerer seems to be an unknown and not entirely trusted individual I would rule that the individual does not consider themselves willing and would attempt to avoid the spell and would try to save against it. Despite appear to be a "beneficial" spell.

Scarab Sages

Khudzlin wrote:
Then, there is Superstition, which makes you unwilling against all spells and spell-like abilities.

Yeah, but we certainly don't need deception for that one to trigger. Even if the party's healer casts cure, you are rolling saves.

What if it's the other way around, where the beneficial spell is disguised as an offensive spell?
Perhaps the sorcerer is an ally disguised and hiding with the enemy, trying to appear hostile to the party, while secretly helping them.

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