My questions is about, generally speaking if a spell is considered "ongoing" or if it has "started",in D&D 3.5, even if the effect of the spell is delayed, and in particular about the Mad foam rager feat.

Situation, in order of initiative: NPC wizard , player Wizard, player Barbarian

  1. The NPC Wizard cast Charm on the raging Barbarian
  2. The Barbarian fails its Will save
  3. The DM describe that the barbarian feels calmer and that the bad guy looks not that threatening anymore.
  4. The barbarian sense that something wrong (or simply saw the wizard use a wand against him and knows something's up even if he's not sure what exactly)
  5. Barbarian uses the feat Mad foam rager to delay the effect of the spell as per description.

( Player's Handbook II, p. 80) As an immediate action, you can choose to delay the effect of a single attack, spell, or ability used against you. The damage or effect does not take hold until the end of your next turn.

  1. The barbarian use a free action to shout to his ally wizard "I don't feel right, do that thing that kills magic effects that you usually do".

  2. On his turn, the allied wizard cast succesfully Dispel Magic on the barbarian.

You can use dispel magic to end ongoing spells that have been cast on a creature or object, to temporarily suppress the magical abilities of a magic item, to end ongoing spells (or at least their effects) within an area, or to counter another spellcaster’s spell. A dispelled spell ends as if its duration had expired.

  1. Barbarian attacks the Npc wizard.

What happens at the end of his turn, when effect of the spell is supposed to become active, has the dispel magic been effective in suppressing the charm spell?

Where I could not find a definitive answer is about the description of what dispel magic acts on (bolding mine), particularly what "ongoing" involves. If the spell is considered ongoing, even though its effect is delayed, then the barbarian should be free of the charm at the end of it's turn, but if it's not ongoing the dispel magic does nothing asteh spell as not started yet. Another way of framing the question is, on focusing on the definition part of dispel magic

A dispelled spell ends as if its duration had expired.

and ask, has the "duration" of the spell started when its effect was delayed by the Mad foam rager feat (before the barbarian turn)?

Edit: I've searched every forum I could think of, in SE RPG, for example, there are only 2 question about Mad Foam rager in the whole site.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note this question is skipping right over a possibly larger one with Mad Foam Rager: when do you activate it? Obvious options include before the save, after it, or after the effect applies. Any or all of these might be options, and the could be others besides. This question assumes the third, but that is not clear to me—particularly if we consider effects that would otherwise prevent the barbarian from acting. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any answer to that question, either. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 19, 2021 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


Utterly undefined. Delaying effects is rare; I can’t actually think of any others beyond Mad Foam Rager that work so open-endedly. A crusader’s steely resolve delays damage by a round, but only damage, not entire effects. A few effects, such as a knight’s loyal beyond death and a frenzied berserker’s deathless frenzy, can delay death, but that is a very specific thing. I don’t know that there are any others.

Anyway, there certainly aren't any core rules for handling it, which means Mad Foam Rager should be providing those rules, and it does not. This is going to be purely a matter of ruling. But before getting into how I rule and why, you might want to consider that it’d be pretty easy for the wizard to just ready an action to cast dispel magic once Mad Foam Rager’s grace period is up, which would have nearly the same effect. Also, for certain effects, ongoing protection could be applied immediately—if that were dominate person instead, protection from evil would suppress it. Unlike “delaying,” we have reasonably clear rules for “suppressing.”

Which is actually where I’m going with my own ruling: just call it one round of suppression rather than a delay. That makes it clear what is going on, and how it works—the magic is applied, its duration is ticking down, it can be dispelled, and so on. This might improve the power of the feat somewhat—depending on how you define “delay”—but only on the margins. Losing a round of duration hardly matters in a game where effects almost always outlast a combat by many rounds—by the time an effect has arguably ended early, the fight is long-since over anyway. It will be quite strong against effects with 1-round durations, but those are quite rare except at the lowest levels of the game. At those levels, well, the barbarian is allowed to shine. And arguably, you save the wizard having to ready an action, but that often barely matters—and is an extra complication the game doesn’t need. Most importantly, those discrepancies are all “arguable”—meaning another ruling risks arguments. It’s not worth it. Suppression is clear, defined, and mostly works out in players’ favor anyway, so this ruling eliminates a ton of arguments.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In the example of Charm that would allow the barbarian to provoke an AOO from an ennemy hence breaking the charm, or drink a potion that allows a second roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – P. O.
    Jul 18, 2021 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @P.O. Err, which would allow that? And do you mean allow the barbarian to take an AoO, rather than to provoke one? Not sure I understand what you mean about the potion, either; drinking a potion itself seems like something the barbarian could easily do whether charmed or not, since presumably a good friend wouldn’t object to them drinking one. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 19, 2021 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The feat would allow the barbarian. And I mean the barbarian to voluntary get attacked: the charm spell stops if the spellcaster or one of his ally attacks the charmed. Hence, the barbarian, on his turn just has to move past a low level ennemy, and get attacked by him (the one doing the AOO) to break the spell. The potion idea was more for other type of spells. I asked the question for charm to avoid being to broad, but I was thinking on all sort of spells and potion that help counteract effects. \$\endgroup\$
    – P. O.
    Jul 19, 2021 at 2:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that taking an AoO is voluntary—those enemies can choose not to oblige the barbarian (perhaps if the barbarian’s new best friend asks them not to?). But yes, I suppose there could be a debate about whether the “breaking” criteria of the spell applies while it is suppressed. I would say no, because those criteria are part of the effect, and so are also suppressed. But it isn’t spelled out in the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jul 19, 2021 at 2:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .