The party have just set off a Wail of the Banshee Trap. Can a Bard's Countersong be used to mitigate the effects. The bardic music had not been started before setting off the Trap. My feeling is it does work.


1 Answer 1


Almost, but no.

Countersong can protect against wail of the banshee. Wail is a “Necromancy [Death, Sonic]” effect, and countersong says

Any creature within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard himself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use the bard’s Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher.

Wail of the banshee is a sonic magical attack, so this would apply. But it only applies if countersong is already being performed when the characters make their saving throw, which you say it was not.

There is no point in starting a countersong after the characters have made their saving throw against wail of the banshee. For one thing, they are already dead if they failed their save, so they won’t even hear the countersong and won’t be affected by it. But even if wail didn’t kill targets, there still wouldn’t be anything to counter: see what countersong says about countering effects after the initial save:

If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a noninstantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the bard’s Perform check result for the save.

Wail has “Duration: Instantaneous,” so it is not a “noninstantaneous” effect, so this protection would never apply to wail. This is consistent with the system as a whole: instantaneous effects cannot be eliminated after the fact. You can’t dispel a fireball. Instantaneous effects do something (often damage) in an instant, and then the magic is gone—but the damage (or whatever) is done. You can’t counter or dispel the magic because the magic is already gone. At that point, all that’s left to do is healing (or resurrection, in this case).

So kudos to your bard for remembering they even have countersong; most forget it even exists. Unfortunately, they forget it exists because it is basically useless. I have never once seen it used successfully, and don’t expect I ever will.


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