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While I was DMing a D&D 5th Edition game, one of my player's sorcerers cast the spell Silence while they were 5 feet away from an enemy caster. They centered the spell on the space that the enemy caster was in, and a round of combat finished. On the sorcerer's turn, they asked me if they could use a verbal spell while in the area of their Silence spell. Their reasoning is that they had cast the spell, so they could prevent it from affecting them.

In this situation, I decided to not allow it because it would unbalance the spell. But I want to know what other people would think about this.

Would the caster of the Silence spell be able to prevent it from affecting themselves?

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The Sorcerer is indeed Silenced by their own spell.

Nothing in the spell description excludes the Sorcerer from the spell. The only way to get around this is if the Sorcerer also has the Subtle Spell meta-magic skill selected so that they can remove the Verbal component.

Nothing about casting a spell makes you immune to its effects unless it's stated in the spell description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this answer be different if they were an Evoker Wizard instead of a Sorcerer? \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Aug 7 '19 at 4:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 If you're referring to their Sculpt Spells feature, then it would only work on evocation spells, and silence is an illusion spell, so that wouldn't work. This answer would be the same (excluding the Sorcerer-specific stuff). \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Aug 7 '19 at 7:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 And even "get around this" using Subtle Spell does not mean that they are unaffected by the Silence: they cannot, for example, shout instructions to fellow party members because they are still affected by Silence. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Aug 7 '19 at 19:08
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The text of the spell Silence states that:

Casting a spell that includes a verbal component is impossible there.

By the rules of D&D, all the spells can also affect the user and his allies if not stated otherwise; every spellcaster that would find himself in the radius of the spell would not be able to cast spells that require a verbal component.

This could actually be used at your advantage for countering enemy spellcasters; maybe your sorcerer has the meta-magic Subtle Spell.
Being the DM I would also allow the meta-magic Careful Spell to be able to target someone and make it immune to the silence spell, but that is up to you.

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The Sorcerer is not affected by Silence

So this is my logic on this matter:

  1. Targets are not limited to creatures.
    • The target in the Silence spell is a the Point of Origin of a Sphere.
  2. Targeting Yourself states that if you are in your AoE spell, you can target yourself.
    • It does not say choose yourself, in comparison to "If a spell targets a creature of your choice, you can choose yourself."
    • Choose indicates a choice, as in you must make a choice. In the case of a target creatures spell, that choice is how many creatures. In AoE, that choice is where the PoO is and it's orientation.
    • It is impossible to target 0 creatures with a spell that targets creatures. It is possible to target 0 creatures with an AoE spell if nothing is inside the AoE.
    • If you are in the Area of Effect of your spell, you would assume you are affected by it based on the AoE mechanics, unless if it was stated otherwise somewhere.
    • This means if the area is under the Silence effect, you can include or exclude yourself from the magic.
  3. Can in this case can have multiple interpretations.
    • It is possible to include yourself.
    • You have the ability to include yourself.
    • You have permission to include yourself.
    • Given that this is the Designers telling us the rules on targeting yourself, I interpreted it as permission to do so.
    • Possibility is already thoroughly covered in the AoE section.
    • I don't see anything that directly implies one way or the other however.
  4. Careful Spell and Sculpt Spells explicitly state other creatures. If you were not immune to your magic, why doesn't it simply state creatures?
    • Both those abilities imply you already have the ability to exclude yourself from your magic.
    • On the other hand, why would you be able to exclude other creatures from your magic and not yourself? That in the very least doesn't make sense. -In this case these don't matter since Silence does not require a Save

So NO, they would not be affected by that logic.

  • Why would they need to tell you that you can target yourself in your own AoE, if from the AoE mechanics you already know that?
    • I believe that they are noting it is a option, not automatic.

    • In Targeting Yourself, the first sentence is for spells that target creatures.

    • The second sentence is for when you are inside your area of effect spell.

    • The second sentence does not directly refer to the first.

      • You can see this as it uses "a spell" rather than "the spell", which would be making an independent statement v.s. a dependent statement.
    • They don't mention spells that target objects since the caster can't be an object (as a player at least).


Counter-arguments

  1. In Targeting Yourself, Targets is being referred to in the context of spells that target Creatures only.
    • Nothing directly implies that the Targets are Creatures.
    • The section refers to an Area of Effect and the Target of an Area of Effect spell is the Point of Origin.
    • The spell Mass Cure Wounds has both an Area of Effect and a Choose creatures portion.
    • Area of Effect spells are defined as:

Spells such as burning hands and cone of cold cover an area, allowing them to affect multiple creatures at once.

  • The target at the end of the day for an AoE spell is the area, not necessarily a limited amount of creatures within.
    • Even if this is not strictly true, the first statement in Targeting Yourself already tells you that you can target yourself. Why say it again in a more ambiguous way?
  1. Including or not including the Point of Origin is equivalent to Targeting or not Targeting the caster in the Area of Effect

    • The Point of Origin is the point from which as spells energy erupts.
    • Point of Origin doesn't matter when you are determining if you can target yourself.
    • The only relevant factors are if you want to and if you are in the area of effect.
  2. The spell must state you are excluded from its effects, not the other way around

    • This is not stated anywhere.
    • I believe the Targeting Yourself section is there specifically to clear up this possible misassumption.
    • Further evidence is demonstrated in Scourge Asamir, Radiant Consumption.

During it, you shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet, and at the end of each of your turns, you and each creature within 10 feet of you take radiant damage equal to half your level (rounded up)

  • Why would this ability have to include this extra mention, where other Area of Effects do not?
    • The only reason I can think of is that the caster is inherently excluded from the effects of their spell.

TARGETS

A typical spell requires you to pick one or more targets to be affected by the spell's magic. A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below)

TARGETING YOURSELF

If a spell targets a creature of your choice, you can choose yourself, unless the creature must be hostile or specifically a creature other than you. If you are in the area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself.

CAREFUL SPELL

When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell's full force. To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.

SCULPT SPELLS

Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell's level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save

Mass Cure Wounds
Evocation

Level: 5
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous
A wave of healing energy washes out from a point of your choice within range.Choose up to six creatures in a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on that point. Each target regains hit points equal to 3d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.

Page: 258 Players Handbook

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "Targeting Yourself" section states: "If a spell targets a creature of your choice..." Silence does not target a creature of your choice, so your basis for saying it is optional is entirely irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16 at 12:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ "But this is magic, so you shouldn't necessarily apply the same logic you would with a combustion explosion as in the case of Fireball": maybe I am missing something, but are you saying that if a caster is in the AoE of a Fireball spell they have cast they are taking damage? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jun 16 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you are in the area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself. This almost certainly refers to spells that involve selecting targets within an area of effect, such as mass cure wounds. \$\endgroup\$
    – shhalahr
    Jun 16 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The use of "can" in the sense above is "able to" which doesn't necessarily imply a choice. For example, warnings like "standing beyond this point can result in death" or "touching a live wire can result in injury". \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Jun 16 at 15:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, it was contradicting what you're saying. My question then is: if a caster surrounded by enemies casts a Fireball spell and the explosion includes the caster itself, is Fireball damaging also the caster? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jun 17 at 6:03

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