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Planar Ally summons a creature for whose service the caster then negotiates. The spell states:

If you are unable to agree on a price for the creature's service, the creature immediately returns to its home plane.

This is fairly ambiguous. Mid-negotiations an enemy could charge into the room - would the summoned creature wait around? Can one side or the other say "I'd like to think about that, I will get back to you in an hour/day"? If a summoned creature makes a counter-offer and the caster refuses to answer, or ends up mute/unconscious/dead, how long does the creature stick around?

I'm pretty confident that the answer is "as long as the DM decides" so I'm looking for both "here's some rules on this that you might have missed" and "here are some ideas/rules of thumb to help guide you on this".

Were I a summoned Pit Fiend, I'd be tempted to hold monster the caster mid-negotiation, bind and gag them, tell them I'm still considering their proposal, and then head off to cause trouble for a while.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems to me that casting a spell against the caster would mean the parties are "unable to agree on a price", and so the creature would return immediately after that spell is cast. Like, if I throw a fork at the waiter, we are already well beyond "unable to agree on the price of my meal". \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaia
    Aug 3, 2023 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent point. In fiendish culture, however, maybe that's just a standard method of negotiating? :) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 3, 2023 at 18:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it matters. If the caster is decides that they are "unable to agree on a price", the creature immediately returns. I don't think there's a verbal "no deal!" required (it'd say so, otherwise). By my reading, it just requires one of the parties deciding that they aren't making a deal of any kind. -- Alternately, "You must be able to communicate with the creature to bargain for its services", and if you are unable to speak or move, no communication is possible, so you are "unable to agree on a price" again triggering the return. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaia
    Aug 3, 2023 at 18:31

1 Answer 1

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As long as the DM decides

You may be looking for additional rules on this, but apart from the general advice that the DM resolves such cases, there aren't any. Sometimes, the DM needs to decide. Xanathar's Guide to Everything, page 4:

The DM is key. Many unexpected events can occur in a D&D campaign, and no set of rules could reasonably account for every contingency. If the rules tried to do so, the game would become a slog. An alternative would be for the rules to severely limit what characters can do, which would be contrary to the open-endedness of D&D.

Also, note that the negotiation is not mandatory:

When the creature appears, it is under no compulsion to behave in any particular way. You can ask the creature to perform a service in exchange for payment, but it isn’t obliged to do so.

You don't have to ask for a service. You can just summon a creature, and leave it to its own devices. But if you ask for a service and try to negotiate a price, and cannot agree, it will return whence it came. What it considers reasonable waiting time for such negotiation is up to it (and the DM).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect it will also be highly dependent on the creature you summoned. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 3, 2023 at 20:51

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