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So, I've got this player playing as a mesmerist, and he's a bit of a trickster.
He wants to use a wolf/bear trap (the kind with big mechanical jaws), and use the 1st level spell Beguiling Gift to force his enemy to catch the thing.

His thinking is that he'd arm the jaw before combat (or at the very start), and throw the trap to an enemy that's closing in, using the spell to make him catch the trap. He's also planning on using another illusion spell beforehand to disguise the trap as a shield or something.

Would that work? How often can I consider that the trap goes off when the opponent catches it? Does the trap still get it's huge bonus to touch? (I'm thinking no on that last one.)

I'm authorizing the cast+throw as a combined complex/simple action (not yet determined) on the basis that a mesmerist doesn't need somatic components on a spell, and that it's a fun & creative way to use magic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What makes he think that he can throw an armed bear trap without triggering it, and his target cannot catch an armed bear trap without triggering it? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 26 '18 at 14:47
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Subjects "Take" the item in question from you, they do not "Catch" the item.

1) "Spells only do what they say they can do."

Throwing the offered item for the subject to catch it is not within the spell's parameters.

You offer an object to an adjacent creature... if the target fails its Will save, it immediately takes the offered object...

As per the spell's use, you must stand within 5 feet of the creature (in the combat square next to them.) An empty 5 foot square between the two of you is a 10 ft distance. As written you hold out the item, the monster fails it's save, takes it from you and then appropriately uses it.

The appropriate interpretation of the use of a bear trap is to set it on the ground, to disarm it, or arm it. One of the three. The creature is using the item appropriately so will not deliberately set the trap off on themselves.

The idea of Casting an illusion spell on the object has merit though. Creating the illusion that it is a hood or a costume mask, could work. The subject would have to fail his save to take the object from you, physically interact with the illusionary object, fail his will save to see through the illusion, and then slap the bear trap on his face as he don's the "mask".

If he were to make his save to disbelieve, he would see the bear trap and then activate it appropriately (by putting it on the ground, arming / disarming it).

Mind you, in either case, they will drop an item if necessary to free up a hand to interact with the object.

Handing out oversized exotic two handed weapons the creature is not proficient in, can also be a viable alternative.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't necessarily need to 'hold out' the item-- there's no reason to think the item needs to be one in your possession. The item is a focus component of the spell but unless you think characters need to physically carry the full-size chest when casting Leomund's Secret Chest rather than merely manipulating it during the casting of the spell, the bear trap should be able to remain on the ground during casting (though not necessarily armed). \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Sep 28 '18 at 15:06
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Beguiling gift is an effective way to take someone out of a fight. Against a humanoid opponent, an even better choice than a bear trap is to give them a manacles. They will spend their turn putting it on, and very few characters are combat-effective while wearing manacles.

Balancing this effect is that the range on this spell is 5ft. This means that, when you cast this spell, you're likely to provoke an opportunity attack, with all the consequences that brings.

Your player is proposing to avoid the opportunity attack by somehow casting the spell at a longer range, even though the spell doesn't allow this normally. Your player is also proposing to use an unusual gift (a bear trap) which is not intended to be throwable; your player is proposing to conceal the trap with an illusion, which is not necessary since beguiling gift compels the target to take the object anyway if it succeeds.

If your player wants to do all this preparation beforehand, it's possible the effect is still balanced. There's not much harm in letting him try it once if it'll make him happy.

But very little about this is allowed under Rules As Written

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