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Right now, three of my party's members are afflicted with the paranoia insanity. One effect is that paranoid characters cannot willingly accept aid, including healing, without making a Will save against the insanity DC.

However, things don't play out as I expected, in-game:

  1. the paranoid cleric will cast a cure spell on a paranoid PC.
  2. The paranoid PC will attempt a will save to accept healing and fail, as per the insanity's effect.
  3. the paranoid PC then argues that they should get a saving throw against it, because the cure spell is harmless. But by failing, the PC 'suffers' the effects of receive the cure spell.

My problem is that this approach seems to reward PCs who have low Will saves by having a failure on the spell's saving throw become a success for them. Is this just how it is, or are we handling this scenario wrong?

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Wait, why is #3 happening at all? – SevenSidedDie May 19 '13 at 1:50
@SevenSidedDie Is it that they're casting a healing spell on an unwilling target? – doppelgreener May 19 '13 at 1:52
@JonathanHobbs It's more that, why is the target PC just standing there while the cleric is turning traitor and casting a so-called "cure" spell on them that is obviously going to kill them or worse, when they could be instead taking their attack of opportunity against the enemy caster who was dumb enough to cast a touch spell adjacent to them? (i.e., #2 should have been done first and the cleric waited for success and agreement, else the cleric shouldn't be casting at all if they know what's good for them.) – SevenSidedDie May 19 '13 at 1:57
@SevenSidedDie So you're arguing that, from a roleplaying standpoint, a paranoid PC should react to the cleric casting in the first place? – Craig May 19 '13 at 14:48
Seven's suggestion is the way I understand it to work as well. The Will save is to stop yourself from actively trying to prevent someone from aiding you (because, you know, they might claim to be trying to aid you but you know what they are really doing…). – Greenstone Walker May 21 '13 at 0:13
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The way this would work as it appears to me, is that the cleric who is doing the healing would declare their intent to heal the target. The user would then roll for a will save against the paranoia insanity DC. If he succeeds, he beats the paranoia and his strong will forces it down and he accepts the healing as normal. If he fails, his weak will is overcome by the paranoia and he avoids the healing as a dangerous attack.

Now, having decided that this healing is actually an attack, the cleric could continue with it as an attack, perform the touch attack (and succeed or fail) and then roll as needed for the healing if successful. The target would then be able to react to the 'attack' as he would normally be able to react to a touch attack spell, with appropriate attacks of opportunity and well displayed outrage and fear.

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This is my interpretation, whether the group is into roleplaying the paranoia or not. +1! – SevenSidedDie May 19 '13 at 19:05
Well noted SSD, edited since you are quite correct. – George Spiceland May 19 '13 at 19:08
Glad to help! I'll remove my comment now since it's obsolete. Again, good answer. – SevenSidedDie May 19 '13 at 19:11
I would point out that should the cleric want to proceed with attempting to heal the paranoid character despite his refusal, he'd be best served to cast the cure spell from a distance and then move to melee to deliver the touch, negating the attack of opportunity he'd otherwise suffer. Also, if the paranoid character has Spellcraft, you might grant him a second save against the paranoia if he correctly identifies the spell as it is cast - on a second failure, he still believes the cleric managed to "fake" which spell he was casting, of course. – gatherer818 Aug 1 '14 at 8:53

No, you've got that down right. The system doesn't really so much as reward low will saves in this scenario, it turns people with high saves into a problem and possibly a little side quest if it gets out of hand. The PC receiving the heal should make a will save and if he fails, he is healed. That is how the system works.

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Mechanically, that is basically correct. In addition, though, the cleric attempting to cast the heal spell on an unwilling target should probably also be making a touch attack, to be able to successfully touch the unwilling target.

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