Does the caster know when a spell with a variable duration ends?

I'm looking for a RAW answer (answers based on Pathfinder or D&D 3.0 are ok if there is no info on this in D&D 3.5); I haven't found one here, nor in the rules.

For example, time stop has a duration of 1d4+1 rounds.

  • Does the character only know that he has between 2 and 5 rounds?
  • Does he know exactly how long he has, since the spell affects himself (i.e. if he rolled a 1, he knows he has 2 rounds)?

What about color spray, since it is cast on another person?

If there is no such info, how should I handle this as a GM?


1 Answer 1


As I was still searching for the answer I found this:

Timed Durations

Many durations are measured in rounds, minutes, hours, or some other increment. When the time is up, the magic goes away and the spell ends. If a spell’s duration is variable the duration is rolled secretly (the caster doesn’t know how long the spell will last).

In the SRD

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd also like to add that since you did practice the spell (might even had a mentor, for a spell like color spray) you SHOULD know that it would last 2-5 rounds (time stop). \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 8:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ So once it does end (at the end of a round) does the caster know that it has ended, or does he have to wait for secondary indications? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mathaddict
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well for time Stop it is obvious that it stopped since the flow of time will be back, color spray too since the creature will be able to act/won't be blinded/unconscious. There might be other spell that the caster won't know, if you cast color spray on a creature and flee, you won't know when it ended. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 16:42

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