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In our games, we've been finding the Silence spell to be relatively useless against spellcasters because they can just move out of the area of silence to do their casting.

There doesn't seem to be a way to create a silence effect that moves with the target. So is the only viable option to also have the caster physically restrained within the area of the silence spell?

Have you or your players found good ways to capitalize on the Silence spell?

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closed as too broad by Joshua Aslan Smith, KorvinStarmast, BESW, minnmass, Ruut Dec 14 '15 at 3:45

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What kind of battlefield conditions have these disappointing uses been in? Dungeon corridors, open fields, realistic caves, tavern brawls, cloud castle battlements, …? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 7 '15 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ step 1) Cast silence on large boulder. Step 2) drop large boulder on caster ... there, problem solved ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Ditto Dec 7 '15 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ditto why didn't I think of that?! \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Dec 7 '15 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ How can a monster accurately determine the borders of a silence spell? If your players can accurately determine this, they can place the silence effect such that a monster doesn't immediately walk out of it. This also means that your DM is not meta-gaming monsters by giving them information they shouldn't know \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Dec 7 '15 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov I'm not sure I understand your point. Anyone who is a caster has probably heard of the Silence spell and have an idea of its AoE, so they can just start walking while talking until they hear their voice again, then cast. You might get lucky and place it in such a way that if they walk the "wrong" way they won't get out in one move action, but that's not worth counting on. \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Dec 7 '15 at 21:46
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Effective use of Silence depends on a coordinated strategy involving battle field positioning/control. There are a number of ways to limit/control caster movement, but here are some of the more effective ones:

  1. Cast Silence after your melee characters are in range of the casters (thereby limiting their escape/provoking OA). This tactic is especially deadly if your melee characters have taken the Sentinel + Mage Slayer feats. If not, when facing a very dangerous caster, one melee character should consider grappling. Grappling a caster inside Silence will severely limit their spellcasting. Further, most (if not all) 'escape spells' (Dimension Door, Misty Step, etc.) have Verbal components, so, if they can't walk out, they can't cast out either.
  2. Coordinate with another caster to first cast a spell that limits movement, either by immobilising enemies or creating difficult terrain.
  3. Coordinate with PCs that can move enemies around (Warlock with Repelling Blast, Druid with Thorn Whip, etc.) to move casters back into the zone (especially useful if combined with 1: move them next to your melee allies). Characters with the Charger feat can also shove casters back.

If you provide more specifics about the scenario, I can develop the answer a bit more.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "scenario" is that we're all 3.5 transplants and accustomed to being able to target silence on a creature and have it move with them, and aren't used to having to to think about coupling it with battlefield control tactics. Thanks for reminding us of the "obvious" :) \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Dec 7 '15 at 7:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont: Even in 3.5, using Silence on the target can prove sub-optimal as it can be resisted :x \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Dec 7 '15 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont: LOL—in that case, I'll reiterate the Grapple tip: in 5E, Grapple is devastating for casters (the check is hard to overcome, it precludes all spells with somatic components). If you grapple and silence, they're pretty much screwed. \$\endgroup\$ – Khashir Dec 7 '15 at 8:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Khashir "It precludes all spells with somatic components"? As far as I knew, the grappled condition just reduces your movement to 0; it doesn't prevent you from using either of your hands. \$\endgroup\$ – Sebkha Dec 7 '15 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ For more info on the effect of being grappled, refer to rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/44702/… \$\endgroup\$ – Cronax Dec 7 '15 at 11:39

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