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The slow spell has a particularly nasty effect against spellcasters: if they try to cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, there is 50% chance that it got delayed until the next turn (and you must spend another turn to complete it).

Then it is in the spellcaster's best interest, when they recognize that they are under the effect of slow, to avoid casting spell until it wears off (or only use spells with a casting time of 1 bonus action).

Slow, as the name suggests (although not explicitly stated), seems to imply that it causes a perceptible effect to the affected creature(s) that the entire environment is "hasted" - not just one or two creatures around them - thus allowing the victim to recognize he is under the effect of slow.

Does the victim know that they are under the effect of slow?

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Yes, as soon as they attempt to do anything hindered by the spell

The target of a spell doesn't necessarily notice that they're affected by a spell that has no obvious effect. According to the Player's Handbook, p. 204, under the "Targets" heading (or here in the basic rules):

Unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it was targeted by a spell at all. An effect like crackling lightning is obvious, but a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a creature's thoughts, typically goes unnoticed, unless a spell says otherwise.

However, you'd obviously notice you were moving slowly if you attempted to do something that you could normally do, and failed. This includes:

  • Attempting to move more than half your speed
  • Attempting to make a reaction, such as an opportunity attack
  • Attempting to make multiple melee or ranged attacks
  • Attempting to use both an action and a bonus action in one turn
  • Attempting to cast a spell and having it take more than one round
  • Making a saving throw or taking a hit against AC (although unless it falls within the -2 penalty range, you may not notice at all)

The DM may also rule that you notice other people moving more quickly than usual, although that's not strictly covered by the spell description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How does your character know that any of those things are "taking longer than normal"? Are they looking at a clock? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Jul 2 '18 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells Wouldn't things unaffected by the Slow spell appear as faster than you, almost abnormally so? Granted without point of context (dripping water, animal life, "enemies") that might be difficult. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jul 2 '18 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells I'm pretty sure you'd notice you were moving at half speed the moment you try to move a single step. Anyone can detect the difference between the expected brisk walking pace and the resulting crawl. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 2 '18 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth That would be the "other people moving more quickly than usual". Sure, you'd be able to tell from that. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Jul 2 '18 at 20:50

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