# If 3+ characters cast Flesh to Stone on the same target, and the target fails the saving throws against all of them, is it petrified?

The flesh to stone spell states:

A creature restrained by this spell must make another Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. If it successfully saves against this spell three times, the spell ends. If it fails its saves three times, it is turned to stone and subjected to the petrified condition for the duration. The successes and failures don't need to be consecutive; keep track of both until the target collects three of a kind.

Say a wizard casts flesh to stone on an orc (to make it simple), and the orc fails the first saving throw.

Then the wizard's friend, in the same round, casts a second flesh to stone spell on the poor orc, against which he also fails his saving throw. Then the wizard's other friend casts a third flesh to stone in that same round on the poor orc, and he fails that saving throw as well.

Does the orc fully petrify in that round? In other words, do the effects of the spells starting to petrify the orc stack with each other? He did fail 3 saving throws, but it was against 3 separate spells instead of 1 spell.

• Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Jul 15, 2020 at 4:52
• You may wish to clarify whether the various castings have the same DC as it can impact the answer on this. Nov 11, 2021 at 17:59
• Nov 11, 2021 at 18:04
• Nov 11, 2021 at 18:04
• Related example with multiple saves being made against identical effects.
– Kirt
Nov 11, 2021 at 19:43

### Failed saving throws of suppressed spell effects don't count (yet).

First, we must observe the "Combining Magical Effects" rule:

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

I have emphasized the portion of this rule that describes our situation. We have three different castings of flesh to stone that are all equally potent, so the most recent effect applies.

Now, suppose we have failed one saving throw against flesh to stone and have it cast on us a second time. The rules tells us that the effects of the first do not apply right now. That is, only the effects of the second casting apply, and for the moment, we treat the first casting as though it had never happened. Any failed saving throws for the first casting are suppressed when it is cast a second time.

It seems pretty plain to me that combining the saving throws from each casting for the purposes of determining petrification is combining the effects of the castings, since the saving throws are the effect of the spell, and this rule clearly prohibits combining spell effects in this way: "The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine".

Note, this assumes that the save DC is the same for all three castings. If the castings have different DCs, the DM may rule that the spell with the highest DC is the "most potent effect", and that will be the one you make saves against, and any previously failed saving throws against other castings of the spell are suppressed until this "most potent" spell ends.

Finally, we should note that once the current "active" spell effect ends, the next most potent (or recent) comes into effect, and any saving throws failed to that casting of the spell become relevant once again.

• You may wish to clarify that this answer assumes all spells' DC to be the same. This answer may be different in the event that the castings have varying DCs. Nov 11, 2021 at 18:02
• @Pyrotechnical The answer isn't different, it just changes which casting you're rolling against. Nov 11, 2021 at 18:07

## The Orc failed one saving throw for the purposes of determining whether it is petrified.

Regarding Combining Magical Effects (PHB, 205)

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap.

Since the first Flesh to Stone is still ongoing, when the second and third wizards cast Flesh to Stone the orc would make a saving throw to end the additional spells but, even if the orc failed, there would be no additional effects. If the first Flesh to Stone ended then whichever remaining Flesh to Stone had the highest save DC would start to take effect. The orc would need to fail three times against that spell before being petrified.

You interpret "this spell" to mean "Petrify" instead of the instance of the spell being cast. It does appear to be ambiguous as to what the text is referring to.

That is a possible interpretation in isolation, however it when you start to read sentences like "If it successfully saves against this spell three times, the spell ends." then it becomes clear this interpretation doesn't work. What would it mean for the spell of Petrify to "end"? Would it be completely uncastable in the universe?

Clearly this is not the intent, "this spell" is referring to the instance of the spell being cast, not the spell itself. So when the spell says "If it fails its saves three times" it's talking about saves within that instance of the spell.

• Another reason "this spell" means this casting: Otherwise, if you succeeded on two saves, and the spell somehow ended (such as by dispel magic or losing concentration), another casting of the spell, even years later, would end immediately with a successful save as that would be your third save against castings of the spell Nov 12, 2021 at 0:11

The rule on combining magical effects states:

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

So, the question does not arise - while the first spell is still ongoing, the others have no effect. No saving throws are made for them unless and until the first spell ends while they are still ongoing.

• The rule you cite says that the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent but you interpret it such that the first one cast is the one that applies, can you clarify how you reach that conclusion? Jul 15, 2020 at 8:11
• @Deeps because I’m not consistent Jul 15, 2020 at 9:58
• @DaleM Doesn’t that contradict the last bit of your quote “the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap”, so shouldn’t the relevant casting be the last one rather than the first? Jul 15, 2020 at 16:07
• So if you fail the save vs the first spell and start to petrify then second spell is cast and you make THAT saving throw assuming same dc then the most recent spell effect becomes primary and you are no longer restrained/partially petrified? Jul 16, 2020 at 6:25
• @Rosco No - the second spell has no effect - so you make no saving throw while under the effect of the first. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:05