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In the DMG, multiple non-damage effects from a source with the same name do not stack (for example, a character with Bless cast on it multiple times only gains the benefit once).

Would this also be true for Modify Memory? If a creature has Modify Memory cast on it to alter one memory, and then cast on it again to alter a different memory, will only one casting take hold, and which one (assuming they're cast at the same level)?

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The non-stacking of spells is only for effects that actually have a duration. It does not apply to instantaneous spells that inflict some permanent effect (or permanent until some other effect removes it).

The modify memory spell is a slightly strange spell in that it is composed of two components. It has a duration (concentration, 1 minute) but that only applies to the Charm effect (as it says "While this charm lasts...").

The second component of the spell allows you to modify a memory while the target is charmed, and this memory modification effect is permanent until restored. It does not depend on the spell duration and so is not affected by the "non-stacking" rule.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. On a related note, I've seen discussion that Detect Magic doesn't detect Modify Memory. While the duration of the spell is done after casting, does the effect itself not count as 'magic' that could be detected? \$\endgroup\$ – JodoYodo Jan 3 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JodoYodo: Not sure I can answer that in general, but suspect the answer is "no, though there may be some fringe cases". Consider, e.g. the basic Cure Wounds spell. It has an instantaneous duration, but its effect - restoring hit points - is permanent (until damaged again). You wouldn't expect a healed person to be permanently magical after receiving a Cure Wounds spell :) \$\endgroup\$ – PJRZ Jan 3 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a really good point and analogy. I think one argument, however, is that Modify Memory explicitly mentions that it can be ended by Remove Curse or Greater Restoration, implying that there is something 'there'. The flip side is that it can't be removed by Dispel Magic, and that this kind of memory-altering magic is not in the same 'classification' as a spell effect. \$\endgroup\$ – JodoYodo Jan 3 at 21:20
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Yes, it does stack.

As soon as you finish describing memory you want to implant, spell ends and new memory takes hold. Then you are free to cast another spell: previous spell has already ended, so there is no overlap in duration.

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