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I am hoping the community can offer clarification on this spell. In my game tonight (I am the GM), an object was the target of the sympathy spell. Two PCs failed their saving throw and one succeeded. The two that failed immediately were drawn to the object, leaving the one PC wondering what they could do. We had a great discussion and a lot of creative methods were considered - overall great interaction with everyone.

Questions:

  • Is there any spell that can disrupt sympathy? Options: Dispel Magic / Greater Restoration / Remove Curse
  • Can covering the target with a blanket or cloak disrupt sympathy? (without any save)

The spell states "If an affected creature ends its turn while not within 60 feet of the target or able to see it, the creature makes a Wisdom saving throw."

  • Does this mean if the unaffected PC drags the affected PC past 60 feet that the affected PC can make another save on their turn? (I would assume the affected PC would need to be grappled in order to drag them away)
  • What if the affected creatures eyes are covered? Or, blindness is cast upon the affected PC?
  • Does the affected creature have to be both over 60 feet away AND not be able to see the target object? Or does one condition suffice?

My PCs considered using "Rope Trick" to create an invisible space in the air, then attaching the rope to the target object then dragging the object up and into the extra-dimensional space where it then disappears

  • Would the object then be considered to be unseen and over 60 feet away for purposes of retrying the save? Or, does it just disrupt and end the spell - of course, after one hour, the object falls from the extra-dimensional space

Overvall, what disrupts the Sympathy spell immediately (if anything)? Versus, what actions can be taken so that the affected creature is allowed to make a saving throw on their next turn?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems focused enough on the concrete issue of vision and light, while there are many questions marks, there aren't many moving parts. Voting to leave open. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Jun 28 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside from those strategies, wouldn't the PC who saved against the effect be at risk while helping their friends? " A creature that successfully saves against this effect is immune to it for 1 minute, after which time it can be affected again." They would need to make repeated saves or else they end up also falling victim to the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Jun 30 at 17:13

2 Answers 2

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The "Sympathy" portion of the Antipathy/Sympathy spell states:

[...] You target something within range, either a Huge or smaller object or creature or an area that is no larger than a 200-foot cube. [...]

[...]

Sympathy. The enchantment causes the specified creatures to feel an intense urge to approach the target while within 60 feet of it or able to see it. When such a creature can see the target or comes within 60 feet of it, the creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or use its movement on each of its turns to enter the area or move within reach of the target. When the creature has done so, it can't willingly move away from the target.

[...]

Ending the Effect. If an affected creature ends its turn while not within 60 feet of the target or able to see it, the creature makes a Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is no longer affected [...]

In general, spells do what their text says, not more. They also have no hidden restrictions.

The target here is the object, not the affected creatures (although what exactly counts as a target for spells is somewhat vague; this spell never uses the word for the affected creatures).

So to your individual questions:

  • Dispel Magic could dispel it, when cast on the target (not on the creatures affected). Antimagic Field would block it from operating. Remove Curse or Greater Restoration would not work, as the affected creatures are not cursed, and are not subject to any of the conditions that Greater Restoration removes.

  • You suffer the effect when within 60 feet OR being able to see the target, not AND. You can be far away and be affected if you can see it, or close by and be affected even though you cannot see it.

  • Covering the affected creatures with a blanket would only work if they were further than 60 feet away and it would block their vision, by granting them a new save. Because the spell explicitly says that these conditions grant another save, they would not automatically end the effect, even if some of the other text might suggest so: the section about ending the effect calling for the save otherwise would be nonsensical.

  • The way I read it, "the creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or use its movement on each of its turns" means there is a single saving throw, and if that is failed the creature is affected and must use its movement on each turn. Once the save is failed, each turn you end outside 60 feet and unable to see you get to resave. Dragging the creature away by grappling and blinding it with a blanket will allow such a save.

  • Rope Trick would work to suppress the effect while the object is inside, as it explicitly states spell effects cannot cross the entrance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm in doubt over the viability of Rope Trick. The affected PC's would use their movement each turn to try to approach the object. They would, if possible, climb the rope to follow the object into the extradimensional space. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Jun 30 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ „Attacks and spells can't cross through the entrance into or out of the extradimensional space“ — Rope Trick \$\endgroup\$ Jun 30 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ But after being affected by the spell, they're under its effects until they succeed on the saving throw. While under its affect, they will attempt to move towards it. By moving it into an extradimension, they may make the save if they can no longer see the object, but are not immediately freed of the effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Jun 30 at 17:36
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We have options

Immediate disruption

Clearly, Dispell Magic could/would work. Dispell Magic's target list includes a magical effect, which the spell describes itself as being ("Ending the Effect"). An Antimagic Field would cancel the effect: because the spell is cast at a target and not at the affected creatures, an Antimagic Field cast over the target would end the effect.

The Sympathy version isn't a curse or a condition, so spells cast on the affected creatures would have no effect. The Antipathy version, however, invokes the Frightened consition, so any spell or ability that removes that condition could be used on the affected creatures.

Avoiding the effect through distance or vision

Both versions can potentially be ended "If an affected creature ends its turn while not within 60 feet of the target or able to see it." This only allows an additional save, so ending the effect on a creature isn't guaranteed. Note that either distance or lack of vision is sufficient to allow an additional saving throw.

Forced movement far enough away so that the creature's turn ends greater than 60 feet away will allow another Wisdom save. So anything that forces movement, such as grappling, Bigby's Hand, or Telekenesis could be used. The affected creature just needs to use its movement to approach the target, so they don't have to try to escape a grapple. A Wall of Force might keep the affected creature away from the target, but it wouldn't end the effect, though a Wall of Stone could do both. The target could also be physically moved away, say via flight or a suitably fast traveling creature via grappling (roping like a cowboy seems like an option, remember the Lonesome Dove scene where Gus pulls McCall away from the guy McCall is beating?). Spells such as Dimension Door could help, or Teleport could send the object far away.

Not being able to see the target will also allow a save at the end of the turn. So anything that blocks vision would work. This would range from spells like illusions, Fog Cloud, Darkness, etc., as well as strictly mechanical means like a sheet thrown over the target. Note that this is at the end of their turn, so beware of vision blockers like a Wall of Fire. Anything that removes the target from view allows the save, such as the previously mentioned Teleport, or even an opaque Leomund's Tiny Hut. Putting the target in a Rope Trick space, Demiplane, portable hole, etc., would also trigger new saves.

I am happy to just be talking about the spell, I've never actually seen it cast.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My interpretation of the spells effect is opposite to what you've said. My interpretation is that you must be farther than 60 ft and unable to see it to begin making saves to end the effect. It says "Not (A or B)" which i understand as (Not A) and (Not B). Hence, father than 60 ft, and unable to see it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Jun 30 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson, I understand. If it were written clearly it would say either/or to mean both required for a save or neither/nor to mean only 1. My plain language reading of it is as I have answered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Jul 1 at 0:18

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