The silence spell description states:

For the duration, no sound can be created within or pass through a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point you choose within range. Any creature or object entirely inside the sphere is immune to thunder damage, and creatures are deafened while entirely inside it. Casting a spell that includes a verbal component is impossible there.

The rules on readying a spell state:

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell's magic requires concentration. If your concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect.

Marco the Warlock steps into a teleportation circle with an enemy alhoon hot on his heels. The alhoon decides to ready a disintegrate spell against the first creature it sees when it emerges from the teleportation circle. Meanwhile, Marco uses a magic item to cast silence centered on the other end of the teleportation circle immediately after he emerges. The alhoon steps through the circle and...

Does the alhoon disintegrate Marco because the spell was already cast and just being stored? Or does the alhoon lose the spell because he can no longer produce the verbal component?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, but not a duplicate: Can a readied spell be Counterspelled after it is cast, but before the trigger occurs? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just wondering about details for this teleportation circle... Is it a permanent teleport circle or was it cast? If it was cast by Marco with an Alhoon on his tail, the cast time is 1 minute and duration 1 round. If the Alhoon prepared a spell before stepping in the circle, unless he prepared the spell during the 1 minute cast time, he shouldn't have been able to use the teleportation circle right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Louis
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your first guess was the correct one - it was a permanent circle in an overrun Dwarven stronghold. It led right to the doors of a major Dwarven city, and the Alhoon was planning an assault right into the heart of the city, bypassing their defenses. The PCs stopped this from happening, though it was at a price... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joshu's Mu
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


Silence does nothing to a readied disintegrate

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs.

The disintegrate has already been fully cast and its power held. All the components have already been performed including any verbal components which silence could have disrupted (had the effect been present during the actual casting). Thus, silence cannot affect the completely readied disintegrate. RIP Marco.

This applies to spells in general as well. The only edge cases (as pointed out by @Slagmoth) are some spells that require a target that can hear you or depend on some sort of audible effect (eg. suggestion). For these spells, silence would prevent their effects. However, for any other spell, silence will do nothing once the spell has already been cast and readied.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This was my thinking entirely, but I promised I would post this here on my players' behalf. He thought he had a solid plan, only to be reduced to a pile of dust by an undead mindflayer... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joshu's Mu
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are there rules about maintaining concentration when stepping through such portals? \$\endgroup\$
    – Louis
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Louis there are not. Only damage and a few other cases explicitly cause a concentration check. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 18:25

While the wording suggests that readying an action means you use the components during your turn and then when you use your reaction you simply release the spell that is held in place, like you guessed, I don't think this scenario would make sense for using the Ready action.

Movement is part of your turn, so unless the Alhoon was specifically going, "I'm going to go into this teleportation circle, let whoever is on the other side have a chance to attack me, and then destroy them," it doesn't quite make sense for this to go that way. To be honest, it would have made more sense for them to just go through and then cast the spell as normal – which would still kill Marco unless he had Counterspell or set up Silence the turn before that. Anything else is just metagaming; either Marco knowing what the Alhoon is planning or the Alhoon knowing about the trap set up for him on the other side.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Blackfang, welcome to RPG.SE. Check out the tour and help center some time. While you raise an interesting point, answers should stand on their own and answer the question. It might be better if you clarified/emphasised near the start what your answer to ''does silence cancel a readied spell?" is, and then treated the discussion on the specific scenario as an additional note after answering the main question. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not necessarily metagaming for a spellcaster chasing another spellcaster to want to ready a spell while outside the range of counterspell to release it after movement. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2021 at 10:35

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