The description for Luring Song in the Harpy's statblock in the Monster Manual, page 181, reads:

Luring Song. The harpy sings a magical melody. Every humanoid and giant within 300 feet of the harpy that can hear the song must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed until the song ends. The harpy must take a bonus action on its subsequent turns to continue singing. It can stop singing at any time. The song ends if the harpy is incapacitated.
While charmed by the harpy, a target is incapacitated and ignores the songs of other harpies. If the charmed target is more than 5 feet away from the harpy, the target must move on its turn toward the harpy by the most direct route. It doesn't avoid opportunity attacks, but before moving into damaging terrain, such as lava or a pit, and whenever it takes damage from a source other than the harpy, a target can repeat the saving throw. A creature can also repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. If a creature's saving throw is successful, the effect ends on it.
A target that successfully saves is immune to this harpy's song for the next 24 hours.

So as far as I read it, the condition ends when the save is succeeded or the song ends. If an affected character is deafened or moves through the area of a silence spell, the song still continues. But it seems only logical to me, that upon ceasing to hear the song, that this would have some effect. So am I correct in reading that RAW the effect would still continue for a deafened character?


"Until the song ends" is a bit unclear

The wording here gives us less than what we'd really to have for a clear ruling. The Luring Song plainly states that as long as you can hear it, you are susceptible and that it continues until the song stops.

Adding silence into the scenario presents us with a difficult set of options. On one hand, it makes perfect logical sense that if the area is under silence, then no song is heard. But what happens? The Luring Song isn't clear about that situation, so that leaves the DM with some options.

I hear nothing!

A DM could very reasonably rule that an unheard song is a stopped song. Whether or not it means it's temporary or if they can be lured again would be up to the DM as well.

The power is in sustaining the song

The language also isn't clear in how the song's power is really used. A DM could also very easily rule that once under the sway, the only ways to end it are the actual singing stopping or the harpy being incapacitated. We can have all sorts of fluff as to why that still works, but it's magic is always a solid option, but if you want more you can look at this as as parallel to concentration mechanics where as long as the harpy is singing, the song's effects continue.

Go with what goes well at the table

Ultimately, these decisions come down to what works narratively and thematically at the table. What tells a more interesting story for you and your players? That's the question you'll need to ask yourself here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you clarify what you said about "whether or not it means it's temporary or if they can be lured again"? I think the only thing that prevents being lured later is succeeding the save, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym May 12 at 17:41

I don't think it matters what the exact RAW says. Blindly adhering to the RAW even when it leads to an absurd conclusion is not a good DMing habit.

The obvious intent here is that the charm effect is coming from hearing the song. Just because it says "every [target] that can hear the song" in reference to the initial save but then doesn't say something like "the effect ends if you can no longer hear it" shouldn't matter. If you can't hear the song anymore, the song has functionally ended for you, so I would certainly rule that deafness or a silence spell would end the effect on anyone affected.

However, it is worth noting that the song ending does not mean you saved against it, so anyone who has been freed of the charm because they stopped being able to hear it or the harpy stopped singing would not be immune to the song if it became audible again later.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You should explicitly state what the RAW is as well as this is what the question asked for. Or just add a line saying"The RAW is nonsense". Unless this is a complete frame challenge, in which case, maybe say "The RAW doesn't matter" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 10 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given that magic does weird things, I don't think your first sentence is helpful. A lot is absurd and if we wave it all away, then we have no dragons. I don't disagree that in this case it may not be helpful, but that's for an experience-based answer to show. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 10 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I should've been more clear. I was actually editing myself to avoid sounding like I was criticizing adherence to RAW, but without that it doesn't actually address the question, so I'll add it back in. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym May 10 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I disagree. There's a distinction between fantastical and absurd. D&D is full of fantastical creatures and magical effects, but those are not absurd within their own context. Absurd is taking a rule that's going out of its way to be all about hearing a song and claiming that because of a failure to repeat a minor clause, it still works when you can't hear the song. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym May 10 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but we accept a plethora of playstyles here, and pure RAW is absolutely one of them. Let's not tell them they're playing wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 10 at 16:28

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