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Well, a dungeon master keeps throwing characters who can silence spells at me. It's a pain in the butt when trying to fight as a group, as most of my friends and I are casters. We're dealing with radius silence. Basically, the silence hits the first player. If the second player is close to that player, he is silenced. If the third player is close to the second player, he is silenced. If the fourth player is closed to the third player, he is silenced. As the enemy levels up, his silence becomes more powerful. He has a lot of casting power, and he uses fear spells, as well. So, we keep getting chains of silence and fear cast on us, which is a huge issue. Up next, we're looking at dealing with wolves or something, and we aren't strong enough to take this guy alone. Should we spread out and go in one at a time? Should we try to bait him to a tank and get him to burn some magic, then try to get the jump on him? We actually have limited time. In a couple of weeks, he's going to have the sun sphere, which is going to give him so much power. We don't want to lose the campaign because of this obstacle. Any ideas?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For d20, there is a 1st level bard spell in the Spell Compendium called Joyful Noise which counteracts a silence spell in a 10' radius around a bard as long as he concentrates. It has no verbal component, only somatic. It doesn't dispel the silence, only protects you from it. In a recent campaign I ran, the party bard kept using this against my silence spell attacks so the wizard and cleric could keep casting spells.

Of course the downside is the other spellcasters must remain within 10' making them a great target for area effect damage spells such as fireball. And the bard must spend his effort concentrating to maintain the spell and thus cannot perform other efforts. But the effect does move with the bard.

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Not sure which edition you are playing and what exact spell is in play - I don't know of any "spreading" silence spell, the normal second level one just hits one place or person and those within the radius are silenced but they don't spread it.

Your general counters to a technique like this are:

  1. Mobility. Make Will saves and get out of the silence radius. Spread out in general.

  2. Counterspells. Assuming you're playing 3.x/PF, read the counterspell rules. If you have a bunch of casters, y'all should have dispels and/or silences readied as held actions to counter him.

  3. Silenced spells. Buy a rod, get a feat, choose spells that don't have verbal components.

  4. Rush him. He's a caster, right? He can't cast in silence either unless he has Silent Spell. If y'all are silenced and just go within 15' of him then he can't cast Fear or anything. Murder him.

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Upvoted for #4! Simple, obvious and yet it never occurred to me. –  cr0m Aug 14 '11 at 15:44

From the d20SRD:

Upon the casting of this spell, complete silence prevails in the affected area. All sound is stopped: Conversation is impossible, spells with verbal components cannot be cast, and no noise whatsoever issues from, enters, or passes through the area. The spell can be cast on a point in space, but the effect is stationary unless cast on a mobile object. The spell can be centered on a creature, and the effect then radiates from the creature and moves as it moves. An unwilling creature can attempt a Will save to negate the spell and can use spell resistance, if any. Items in a creature’s possession or magic items that emit sound receive the benefits of saves and spell resistance, but unattended objects and points in space do not. This spell provides a defense against sonic or language-based attacks.

I assume this is the spell you are referring to, of which there are a few options to overcome this.

There are two simple ways you could possibly already have:

1) Resist the spell and/or pass the will save, hopefully if you are a caster this should be a decent save anyway, if not make it better. And yes, as it spreads each affected target would get their own will save

2) Use spells during the duration that don't have a verbal component. There are a few spells out there which meet this that might be useful in combat: Distract (DR314), Lantern Light (BoED), Launch Item (MoF), Hypnotic Pattern (PH, non-bard), Shadow Tentacle (LoD), Rainbow Pattern (PH, again non-bard), and Mislead (PH)

The only other real options beyond that are going to be:

3) Silent Spell Metamagic Feat (again not for bards), this uses a spell slot one higher.

4) Use a wand, these are pretty much point and shoot, no verbals required even if the original spell required it.

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Silent spell metamagic rod would also do the trick. –  Cthos Aug 11 '11 at 14:48
    
Wands are spell trigger items. This means they need a spoken word to activate, though in theory a DM could create a wand that is an exception of course. See d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicItemBasics.htm#spellTrigger –  SevenSidedDie Aug 11 '11 at 15:00
    
According to this entry, it doesn't specify a command word has to be used and implies use activation d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/wands.htm To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area. A wand may be used while grappling or while swallowed whole. –  Gawdin Aug 12 '11 at 3:13
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Holding and pointing is necessary, but not sufficient. Those are additional restrictions on wands beyond their status as Spell Trigger Items, not a replacement for the spell trigger rules. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 14 '11 at 21:56
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Silence spells don't work the way you described. Silence prevents sound within it's area of effect, and there is no save against that. If it targets a point in space, there is no save at all, but anyone can move out of the area of effect. If it targets a creature, they (and only they) get a save; if they fail the silence follows them. –  starwed Aug 31 '12 at 17:58

One idea not presented thusfar, Counterspelling.

From the SRD:

It is possible to cast any spell as a counterspell. By doing so, you are using the spell’s energy to disrupt the casting of the same spell by another character. Counterspelling works even if one spell is divine and the other arcane. How Counterspells Work

To use a counterspell, you must select an opponent as the target of the counterspell. You do this by choosing the ready action. In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. (You may still move your speed, since ready is a standard action.)

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell’s level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponent’s spell and can attempt to counter it. If the check fails, you can’t do either of these things.

To complete the action, you must then cast the correct spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (if you prepare spells), you cast it, altering it slightly to create a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results. Counterspelling Metamagic Spells

Metamagic feats are not taken into account when determining whether a spell can be countered Specific Exceptions

Some spells specifically counter each other, especially when they have diametrically opposed effects. Dispel Magic as a Counterspell

You can use dispel magic to counterspell another spellcaster, and you don’t need to identify the spell he or she is casting. However, dispel magic doesn’t always work as a counterspell.

You mention in the question that most of the party are spellcasters, get all of them to prepare (if applicable) Silence twice. Hopefully you can get someone to act before the enemy's initiative. First caster counterspells the enemy's silence, then the second casts silence on the enemy. Now, you tell the tank to charge. A magician (any magician) who can't cast spells is no match for a similarly leveled Fighter. Silence should not matter to sword-swingers.

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Here are some ideas I didn't see others mention:

  • Create a custom magic item that defeats Silence spells cast on you.
  • Learn sign language and adapt your spells to be cast that way.
  • If you're high enough level, set up a Contingency spell to defeat Silence effects.
  • Get some artillery backup in the form of a powerful staff or wand. Plus all the initiative bonuses you can muster.
  • Cast Silence on your enemies before they can Silence you.

You might just talk to your DM and tell him that you think it's kinda cheesy that every single opponent you fight in this world has found the Silence spell and uses it as a first resort.

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Oh those are pretty good. –  千里ちゃん Aug 14 '11 at 4:20
    
#2 is "the silent spell feat" and #4 won't work as wands and staves are spell completion items which require verbal. –  mxyzplk Aug 16 '11 at 18:24
    
It's been ages since I played 3.5. Thanks for the additions. #2: I disagree that learning sign language is EXACTLY the same as Silent Spell feat, but that's probably what most DMs would tell players. #4: Replace "powerful staff or wand" with "powerful miscellaneous magic item that can launch fireballs," if you must. The spirit is still the same. –  Adam Dray Aug 20 '11 at 1:15

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