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The description of the Gift of Gab spell states (AI, p. 76; emphasis mine):

[...] When you cast this spell, you skillfully reshape the memories of listeners in your immediate area, so that each creature of your choice within 5 feet of you forgets everything you said within the last 6 seconds. Those creatures then remember that you actually said the words you speak as the verbal component of the spell.

There are certain magic items, such as the Gem Stirring Dragon-Touched Focus, that states (FTD, p. 26; emphasis mine):

Gem. Whenever you use a spell slot to cast a spell, you can immediately teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 15 feet of you.

I have a player wanting to speak something, as a free action on their turn, then on another creature's turn, use their reaction to cast the spell and immediately after use the properties of the magic item to teleport up to 15 feet.

I am unsure how to interpret the immediate area mentioned in the above spell (on a grid it would mean the 8 squares around a token, in my opinion); hence my question, will the Gift of Gab spell work if there were no listeners 5ft of you when you said something on your turn?

Will this spellcaster be able to prepare this "on demand teleport" every single round to move around the map even if there was no one around to listen on their turn?

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2 Answers 2

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This only works on the caster's own turn

Gift of Gab's casting requirements are:

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you speak to another creature
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (2 gold coins, which is consumed as tax for using the spell)

So, yes, you can cast Gift of Gab if there are no creatures within 5'. It does not target any creature, it targets yourself ("Range: Self"). The spell just requires another creature to speak to, plus the components. It does not require that the creature you speak to is within a certain distance. Once it is cast, and the effect happens, it reshapes the memories of those creatures that happen to be within 5 feet of the caster and were able to hear what the caster said as the verbal component, or of nobody if nobody is nearby.

But no this won't work as described. There are several reasons:

First, as MivaScott points out, the spell is cast as a Reaction to your speaking, and has an instantaneous duration, so if you speak on your turn, it immediately resolves, and you cannot wait for that other creature's turn: if you speak on your turn, you trigger it on your turn, and you teleport on your turn.

Second, it also won't work to wait for that other creature's turn and speak there. Consensus is that by the rules you cannot even speak out of turn. I know many tables that do allow it, for example to allow players to give in-character advice to each other on what to do during other players' turns. But that means, it would be up to your DM to allow it, by default you cannot do it.

However, they easily could cast Gift of Gab as a Reaction each round on their own turn and teleport away, as long as they have spell slots and gold pieces left and some other creature around to speak to, wether that creature is within 5 feet, or not.

I don't think this is overpowered -- it requires an attunement slot for a rare item, and uses up their reaction and a second level spell slot. (It is better than misty step for spellcasting, which is also a second level spell, but requires a bonus action, so you cannot cast another non-cantrip spell in the same round, while here you can. But then, misty step just works by itself, and does not require you to use one of your precious three attunement slots).


PS. In case the DM allows to talk out of turn, there also would be a question if the the spell resolves before you teleport away, so nearby-standers are still affectd, or if you teleport away before it resolves. Spells are considered cast when you start casting, not when they resolve; in this case, with an instantaneous spell, it would seem natural that cast and resolve it, before the "immediate" effect of the magic item kicks in. In the end, this again will be the DMs call, because the DM resolves simultaneous effects by the core rules, and even by an optional rule in Xanathar's Guide to Everything called Simultaneous Effects, "If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster 's turn, the person at the game table-whether player or DM-who controls that creature decides the order", and as that would happen on the DMs turn, it would be up to the DM.

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If a treant is felled in the woods...

Spells that do not target a creature/object don't really need to have a target. Eldritch blast must have a target. But a wizard can cast a fireball into an empty room; they don't need someone in the blast radius for it to work.

However

This is a reaction spell. Meaning, it can only be cast if the condition of the reaction is met. In the case of gift of gab, it's:

  • which you take when you speak to another creature

So in this case, the caster's speaking is the trigging event. You cannot react to your previous speaking on someone else's turn, it has to happen "when you speak".

It also requires the caster to talk to another creature. So you cannot talk to yourself to trigger this. It would be up to DM fiat whether or not the person you are speaking to is within 5ft. The spell only stipulates that you talk to a creature; it's only the creatures within 5ft that will have their memories altered.

Will this spellcaster be able to prepare this "on demand teleport" every single round to move around the map even if there was no one around to listen on their turn?

This still costs you a 2nd-level spell slot for the spell, plus uses your reaction for the turn, and can only happen on the caster's turn, so I don't think I'd call this on demand every single round.

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