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So my wizard found out that her friend has been unwillingly enchanted with permanent contingency spells since a young age. The person responsible runs a store and pretended to be a normal person for a long time till my wizard strolled in her store and is very shady IMO. Anyways the friend has 390 contingency spells on her and this is where things get tricky with how dispel magic is worded. My DM believes that you have to make a check for each spell, while I think that it's one roll for every single spell.

Is it a roll for each spell or one roll for to dispel them all together?

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    \$\begingroup\$ [Related] What does Dispel Magic dispel when there are multiple active effects from items? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 3 '16 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Usually, a creature can have but one contingency spell in effect at a time. However, a creature can have upon it a number of contingent spell effects due to the feat Craft Contingent Spell (CAr 77) equal to its Hit Dice. In other words, I'd ask that 389-Hit-Dice friend very nicely first if it wanted those effects dispelled! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 3 '16 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't you only cast contingency on yourself? \$\endgroup\$ – firedraco May 3 '16 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @firedraco Apparently, in this campaign (according to the comments on this answer) shrimp puffs baked by elderly female antique shop owners contain magical contingency powers. (Note that this could possibly make incredibly wealthy someone who figures out how to travel to the World with Nothing but Shrimp.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 3 '16 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm wrong but I think "every single spell" and "each spell" mean the same thing. I guess one should be "every spell" or "all spells". \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel May 3 '16 at 21:51
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You're interested in the Targeted Dispel section of dispel magic:

One object, creature, or spell is the target of the dispel magic spell. You make a dispel check (1d20 + your caster level, maximum +10) against the spell or against each ongoing spell currently in effect on the object or creature. The DC for this dispel check is 11 + the spell’s caster level. If you succeed on a particular check, that spell is dispelled; if you fail, that spell remains in effect.

The language does not refer to spells plural being dispelled on a successful check, only singular. Your DM is correct - you need to succeed on 390 dispel checks.

A better move would be disjunction which automatically dispels all the spells, no checks required.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ TY. This is going to be a long dispel. Wish I could throw something at him. Makes me wish I had disjunction right now though. \$\endgroup\$ – ConfusedAFWizard May 3 '16 at 18:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ConfusedAFWizard If this is going to be a recurring thing, the Arcane Mastery feat from Complete Arcane allows you to take 10 on caster level checks (including the check to dispel something). The Inquisition domain (available to a wizard, for example through an ACF in Complete Champion or the Planar Touchstone feat in Planar Handbook attuned to the Catalogues of Enlightenment) also gives +4 on dispel checks, which will go a long way towards ensuring that taking 10 is sufficient. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 3 '16 at 18:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, I think we should probably include a caveat on disjunction; many campaigns have a concept of Mutually Assured Disjunction making that spell a rather literal example of a “nuclear option.” \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 3 '16 at 18:38
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Yes, you have to make a check for each spell. When there are a very large number of spells active, your DM might choose to let you take the average -- for example if you have a 35% chance to dispel a spell, your DM might rule that you dispel 35% of the 390 spells, so 136 of the spells would be dispelled. Your next attempt could dispel 35% of the remaining spells, et cetera.

A good way to generate the massive number of dispel checks you need would be to cast dispelling screen, which is a fourth-level wizard spell which casts targeted dispel on anyone who walks through it. Your friend could walk back and forth through it and get rid of the effects pretty quickly.

I'll note that the standard contingency spell is self-only, and only one can exist at a time, so it sounds like your DM has a houseruled spell running.

I'll also suggest that it would be a good idea to find out what all those contingent spells do before you start messing with them. What if they're protective: "if the target drops to negative hit points, cast cure serious wounds on her"? What if some of them are meant to prevent you from dispelling the others? "If someone casts dispel magic on this target, respond by casting fireball".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Beware of the enchanted shrimp puffs given out by the old lady in the antique shop is all I have to say. I know that it's risky to dispel them all in one go without know what they are, but the shop owner was selling some items that at a glance was sending off warning flags. I am lucky we're doing this online so I could just roll 390 d20's in one go. I dispelled 191 spells in one go and since I am using reaving dispel, DM has to read off each spell for me. Can't say he didn't bring this upon himself when he told me to roll 390 checks. He seems to enjoy it though. Good fun all in all. \$\endgroup\$ – ConfusedAFWizard May 3 '16 at 18:54

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