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The Manacles of Cooperation have a line of text that seems a bit ambiguous to me:

The prisoner never attempts to escape of its own volition and agrees to any reasonable request unless it makes a DC 11 Will saving throw.

Obviously this allows a will save when a reasonable request is made, but does the will save apply to attempts to escape? If so, how often may they attempt the save?

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This is a very common problem in the rules, and I really wish authors would learn to start rewording/reordering their sentences to eliminate this ambiguity.

Basically, it comes down to whether or not the “unless it makes a DC 11 Will saving throw” clause applies to

never attempts to escape of its own volition and agrees to any reasonable request

or only to

agrees to any reasonable request

My understanding is that technically, the rules of English grammar require a comma before the “and” to separate the two clauses if you want the second result. If the authors were lawyers, then I’d feel comfortable just making a ruling based purely on that. But since they are not, and furthermore it isn’t expected that their readers are either, I am very uncomfortable with giving the presence or absence of a comma the weight of rule. They’ve made much bigger mistakes than that in the past.

Therefore, I’d probably just go with that which makes the most sense, based on the cost of the item and how much power it’s supposed to have. DC 11 is really low, so if they’re allowed the save it’s going to make the item rather useless, and getting manacles on someone in the first place is very difficult, so I’d be inclined to not allow the save. On the other hand, no-save incapacitation is pretty potent, even if it needs a set-up.

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May I ask why this answer has been downvoted, so that I might improve it? – KRyan Feb 23 '13 at 17:00
The only things I can add to this are that it has to be used on a captive prisoner (so no combat utility), and the fact that it fails to note anything about what happens when you do save which would prevent someone from simply spamming requests. Based on the latter, I would assume that if the target makes the saving throw when the shackles are put on, the whole effect fails. – Melon Feb 23 '13 at 21:37
@KRyan that was before your edit, and if you we're going to be guessing I was guessing the other way. My basis for thinking no save is allowed is that it doesn't give any indication of when or how often a save would need to be made for escaping. – C. Ross Feb 25 '13 at 1:34

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