What is a willing creature?

Most spells tend to have saving throws, even the cure spells. I know the saving throw is there because they can harm those who have negative energy instead. Generally when a source is a known and trusted person, say the party cleric, no saving throws are made. Yet, I cant find a rule which allows this. Spell resistance for example always applies unless they take an action to lower it.

The reason why I am asking this is because of that trust factor. I am in an evil game, eventually I plan on posing as a good cleric and helping people. After I have done this for awhile I expect to start using harmful spells, possibly even baleful polymorph. As I have worked to build up the reputation, and they have been accepting spells from me, provided there is no reason to suddenly distrust me, would they be affected by the spell(s) with no saves or not?

There are some other questions which are along the same lines, but are different. Im not asking about mindless creatures and being willing. This one is from 5th but is much more along my lines.

There is also the possibility that I will be pretending to be known people, using claim identity, so as long as they fail to see past it, would they be willing.

As pointed out in the comments, the question is very similar to this one. So to tell them apart I will ask for clarification in the answer to it, at what point has the subject/target of a spell final in terms of willing or not? Unless they pass a spellcraft to know what spell(s) I am casting, a cleric who has been healing the town for months should be trusted and someone should just be accepting of a spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Save against a spell thought to be harmless \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Jul 8 '19 at 16:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there anything that the question Sdjz linked doesn't answer for you? As is your question seems to be a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Jul 8 '19 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ "No good answer" isn't a reason to have a dupe though. It's a good opportunity to drive traffic to the original question, offer a bounty, and so on. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 8 '19 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's an option, though I'm not sure this one is better asked and some of those answers are good. Mods can merge answers from here over to the dupe target. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 8 '19 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter for what it is worth, I also disagree. I find that trying to get a relevant answer to a duplicate question with a slight twist is almost impossible when only the older question stays open. However, this is the standard this stack uses, and in general it's a good thing. I think the best option would be to find some way to make this question NOT a dupe. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Jul 8 '19 at 17:39

On the subject of willing creatures.

The Rules for Aiming Spells state:

Some spells restrict you to willing targets only. Declaring yourself as a willing target is something that can be done at any time (even if you’re flat-footed or it isn’t your turn). Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.

If we then look at Saving Throws we see:

Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw

A creature can voluntarily forgo a saving throw and willingly accept a spell’s result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.

If the target of the spell is willing, they are automatically affected by the spell (pending other special abilities such as spell resistance).

On the tangent of harmless spells.

A spell may have (harmless) in the saving throw line, this means:

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

However, this information is not known to the target, instead they would have to succeed at a spellcraft check to identify the spell as it's being cast or else be unaware of this.

Thus, if a creature is not making that check and is expecting you to cast Cure Light Wounds, they are likely already voluntarily giving up their saving throw and would be affected by the spell you are truly casting (though they would know you are casting a spell).

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    \$\begingroup\$ A target is typically aware of what saving throw it would be making before giving up its ability to make a save; the 'Voluntarily Giving Up a Saving Throw' section makes that much clear. How do you conclude conclusively that Will(harmless) is not a different saving throw than Will? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8 '19 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer They are aware of what save to make, not any other parts of the save (eg. Partial, Negates, Disbelief, Half, Harmless etc.). As for (harmless), what makes you think it's a different saving throw when it's involved? Note that using CLW against Undead doesn't remove the (harmless) part of the saving throw line, they still get to choose to save or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Jul 8 '19 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer RE: "A target is typically aware of what saving throw it would be making before giving up its ability to make a save; the 'Voluntarily Giving Up a Saving Throw' section makes that much clear." In what way is the text clear that the target knows what kind of saving throw it would be making before it forgoes that saving throw? (Were that the case, wouldn't all creatures know what kind of saving throw they'd be making against any spell before they made it therefore them being able to, for instance, offer their friends that information before it affected them?) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8 '19 at 17:51

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