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An interesting situation came up with my game last night. The bard wanted to go forward on his own to talk with a wary Bogard and attempt to communicate without a big threatening group surrounding it. To keep the others informed of what was going one he cast message:

You can whisper messages and receive whispered replies. Those nearby can hear these messages with a DC 25 Perception check. You point your finger at each creature you want to receive the message. When you whisper, the whispered message is audible to all targeted creatures within range. Magical silence, 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal (or a thin sheet of lead), or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks the spell. The message does not have to travel in a straight line. It can circumvent a barrier if there is an open path between you and the subject, and the path's entire length lies within the spell's range. The creatures that receive the message can whisper a reply that you hear. The spell transmits sound, not meaning; it doesn't transcend language barriers. To speak a message, you must mouth the words and whisper.

There was a discussion about the wording of the spell, and specifically around the use of the word whisper. Because the spell specifically states "whisper," some members of the party felt the spell wouldn't work if the bard was talking normally, and that he'd have to whisper everything separately for the group to be able to hear.

Others, myself included, thought that the word whisper was less important, and was only there because the spell would normally be used for communicating in stealthy situations. We thought the most important part was "you must mouth the words and whisper." Now again, not taking whisper literally, it seems the important component for the spell to work is that sound be made via speech, and so I ruled that normal speech could also be heard.

Which of the two interpretations is correct? Is whispering a key part of the spell, or does one just have to talk?

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"Players whisper" or "characters whisper"...? –  Rob Aug 19 '13 at 15:03
    
@rob characters whisper, although it's always good if the players go along with it too. –  Styphon Aug 19 '13 at 15:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I did some research and cannot find any sort of official ruling for this. Although it seems to me the the answer is clear.

You can whisper messages and receive whispered replies. Those nearby can hear these messages with a DC 25 Perception check. You point your finger at each creature you want to receive the message. When you whisper, the whispered message is audible to all targeted creatures within range. Magical silence, 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal (or a thin sheet of lead), or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks the spell. The message does not have to travel in a straight line. It can circumvent a barrier if there is an open path between you and the subject, and the path's entire length lies within the spell's range. The creatures that receive the message can whisper a reply that you hear. The spell transmits sound, not meaning; it doesn't transcend language barriers. To speak a message, you must mouth the words and whisper.

By RAW, it specifically says the in the spell, you must mouth the words and whisper.

As for how you should rule? What makes sense for your campaign? Vote, houserule, or go by what the spell says.

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Thank you for confirming my suspicions, I too tried go ogling various things and looking at a lot of sites to see if I could get any other discussions on the topic, but found none. –  Styphon Aug 19 '13 at 15:31

I agree: though, strict-RAW, it must be a whisper, the spell certainly seems to just be saying it has to be at least a whisper. I’ve always had it transmit all vocal speech; the whisper bit seemed only to prevent you from having silent communication à la telepathic bond.

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Yes, that was my thinking. Even if that's not the strict RAW I think we will at least house rule that as it just seems to be god common sense. –  Styphon Aug 19 '13 at 15:32

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