Imagine you have contracted lycanthropy, and you do not want to be cured. A cleric within touch range attempts to use Remove Curse on you. You are not a willing recipient of the interaction, and you perceive this as a spell-based threat:

A saving throw—also called a save—represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat.

Is there any form of resistance to this other than just not letting the dude get into touch range?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Casting healing spells is automatically successful? \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Oct 19 '17 at 18:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another possible duplicate Can you choose to fail a saving throw. It's the inverse, but the same basic question. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 19 '17 at 18:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Those questions are not handling the "this normally automatically succeeds, but I want it to fail" scenario, so this is not a duplicate of those. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 19 '17 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener true enough, I agree that this should stay an open question, though the answers to the other questions may be beneficial to reaching an answer to this one. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Oct 19 '17 at 21:48


By the 5E Rules as Written, It Auto-succeeds

Remove Curse doesn't call for an Attack Roll nor a Saving Throw, so--per the PHB, it auto-hits and is automatically effective.


D&D 5E encourages DMs to 'fill in the blanks' when they find it necessary. The PHB appears to assume you'd never want a beneficial spell to fail when cast on you...but if that's the case, a DM may freely invent rules for how that works.

It is neither unreasonable nor without precedent that you could resist a beneficial spell if you didn't want it. And this sort of thing has actually come up in my games. (Players were fighting against friendlies who had unknowingly become infected with lycanthropy and shifted while they were traveling together; the Cleric opted to just start spamming Remove Curse).

In that particular case, I ruled that the Cleric would have to make a Spell Touch Attack. Remove Curse has a range of Touch so, presumably, you have to touch your target in order to cast it. An unwilling target may not let you touch them voluntarily. This worked out well enough...it allowed the Cleric to still attempt to save the party's friends, without making it an instant once-per-round auto-success.

Since then, I looked back at the 3.5E rules and found this little nugget in the SRD for the Remove Curse Spell...

Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)


This is the standard pattern for spells as written in 3.5E. Even beneficial spells had an option to resist them if you didn't want the spell. So if you need inspiration for how to handle this...looking back down towards 3.5E could provide some guidance beyond my own experience with it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Removing the option to resist beneficial spells from the 5e rules was an oversight IMO, because it misses a lot of other interesting role-playing opportunities. Like rejecting the help of a Cleric you don't trust. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Oct 20 '17 at 11:45

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