This is the spell (as most people know).

The saving throw section makes me confused. It is a powerful spell and the description reads as:

The spell can be centred on a creature, and the effect then radiates from the creature and moves as it moves. An unwilling creature can attempt a Will save to negate the spell and can use spell resistance, if any.

The problem is, when must the target creatures who are in the spell area make saving throws?

Description sounds like... "if a creature is selected as the centre (target) of the spell then he can use ST and SR. If he is not the centre (target), but just within the spell area, then he is silenced without any chance for ST or SR (because the is not the target, but in a place where the spell has effect)." My players got into an argument over how this spell must be evaluated. The above condition doesn't sound logical since (according to that description) any caster without level distinction will suffer from the spell and casting the spell on a foe is meaningless (while you can cast it on something that will not receive any ST or SR)

So, do all unwilling creatures in the area receive ST and SR or just the centred creature (if any)?


2 Answers 2


As you and your group correctly suppose, the silence spell works at its best when cast upon an area or an ally.
No SR applies and no ST is required in this case but the area is stationary or moves with the ally, so the intended target (most probably an enemy caster you're trying to silence) could still move outside of the area and cast his spells.

While there are means to prevent this escape (mostly by grappling or tripping the caster or by readying actions to follow him when he moves) there still is some utility in having a silence area that follows the enemy by itself. Of course, the enemy should be the caster you want to silence, not a random foe.
This is a better tactic for it's harder to avoid and/or does not keep one of your party busy with following or disabling the caster. As such, it's perfectly OK if it's harder to set up. The only drawback is that the enemy could also try to get to your casters and silence them as well.
But that casting method has a reason to exist and yes, it works just like you and your friends said.

Only the target of the spell (the centered creature), if any, is subject to ST and SR

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Our group discussion centred on situations like casting the spell on an object and attaching that object to caster, like casting on a pin and attaching it to casters clothes (somewhere that is hard to reach by hand) or using a very specially crafted hand crossbow to throw very small pins/bolts or using a pebble and throwing it within clothes of the caster (: Even casting it on a liquid and splashing it on the target had argued (a flask of water counts as object with containing liquid?). some came up with the idea of making a very small ball of glue and sand and throw it on the subject (: \$\endgroup\$
    – Mp0int
    Mar 28, 2013 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ The simplest way to use this is to cast on a non caster in your own party and have them go after (or close to) the enemy caster. Sure he has to stay close to him but fighters/rangers etc all have to be up close and personal to attack anyway so really shouldnt be a big issue as long as ur own caster can stay far enough away. BTW: Whisper Gnomes have this as either a SU or EX ability. (Just bonus info there) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben-Jamin
    Mar 28, 2013 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FallenAngel D&D has no rules for these things. Putting an item in somebody else's equipment? Can be done but it's DM fiat. It's a really terrible system when it comes down to these tactics. Tactics that only exist because of the wording of spells or attacks or whatsoever. That's why I play it really by the rules. Not in the rules? Not an option. Any other way leads to more arguing and less playing, but I recognize that sometimes the player just wants to break the system to their advantage. If you allow these things as a DM, silence gets arbitrarily more powerful. Not that it's balanced now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Mar 28, 2013 at 17:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, you should consider not accepting answers for 1-2 days. When people see an accepted answer they tend not to reply anymore. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Mar 28, 2013 at 17:21

Here is the problem. Most people seem to operate under the mistaken impression that the save only applies when you target a creature. In many people's mind it makes the spell useless I suppose. However, that doesn't change what the text tells us. Had the intent that only the target be offered a save, the spell would have said something like this: "If cast on a creater, that creature gets a will save to negate the spell, and the area eminates and moves with the creature." However, that's not what the text tells us. It is clear in that A creature that is unwilling receives a saving throw. There is no additional caveat attached to the condition in which they receive that save.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Saving Throw and Spell Resistance lines in the spell header provide the additional caveat, which is that there need not be any save or SR if you're casting on an object. (Spells that always have saves/SR but can be cast on an object if desired do not say "no" on those lines. The objects just don't get the benefit of saves/SR in such cases.) \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Feb 18, 2018 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ By "creater" you mean "creature", I presume? \$\endgroup\$
    – mkl
    Feb 18, 2018 at 9:43

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