Normally I would think this is a no-brainer. However, on page 218 under "Preparation Environment" it states that if you might fail a saving throw it would prevent the necessary concentration to prepare a spell... and sicknesses/diseases have saving throws.

So if per se a wizard caught Mummy Rot would that mean they couldn't cast spells until cured?


3 Answers 3

Exposure to inclement weather prevents the necessary concentration, as does any injury or failed saving throw the character might experience while studying.

As a matter of English grammar, that "might" is synonymous with "if". The rule could be rephrased as:

"Here are some things that might happen to you: (1) inclement weather; (2) injury; (3) failed saving throw. If any of them does in fact happen while you're studying, then you're interrupted."

But merely being under some effect that occasionally provokes saves doesn't prevent studying, as long as you pass the save, or the save doesn't happen to occur during the hour of study.

Mummy Rot provokes a save once per day, whereas preparing spells only takes an hour, so even if you aren't confident in passing the save, it's easy to arrange the timing so that they don't conflict.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not entirely sure that the "might" is synonymous with "if". Exposure to inclement weather does provoke a saving throw as does disease. Isn't it just lumping them together as examples? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2016 at 4:02
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @QuestionableDM Read it like “or failed saving throw the character would experience…”. But now notice that ‘would’ there implies that somehow a failed saving throw will always be experienced! So we use the word ‘might’ in those cases: to indicate that X might happen and we want to say something about it, if it does: “or failed saving throw the character might experience…” \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2016 at 4:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ So does that mean a disease, which provokes a saving throw, would prevent spell preparation? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2016 at 4:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does one arrange the timing of his own saving throw? Isn't that something the DM decides? I think it would make sense for a disease to interrupt concentration, so as DM I would time the save specifically to interrupt preparation time. OR, 1 save/day means that you take the save exactly 24 hours after contracting the disease. \$\endgroup\$
    – Teco
    Jul 15, 2016 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Teco Other way around. Choose the timing of spell prep, after the save has happened. Or just be ready to retry if the first attempt fails. \$\endgroup\$
    – Topquark
    Jul 15, 2016 at 13:22

I personally don't believe the effects of the disease is all happenning at the time the character makes the save... the said save represents the day his immune system worked it's way to cleanse the disease. You've been feverish all day or will be next day, you've maybe puked or had a moment of seizures or something... DURING THE DAY, or the next... not all immediately after the save.

I'd make the wizard roll a new save when he tries preparing his spells, representing regular fits of unease throughout the day, if he succeeds, no problem, if he fails, make him roll for concentration. if he fails, he could try again after half an hour or something. It makes the disease a nuisance, as it should thematically be, without overly penalizing the wizard (or the whole group that is) because of 1 bad roll as some disease are problematic enough already.

  • \$\begingroup\$ RAW might be stating that needing to make a saving throw means you don't have the ability to concentrate enough to prepare spells. Since this ruling hinders players and I'm doing my best to run things by the book, I want to be as faithful to the rules as possible. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15, 2016 at 20:53


To prepare any spell, a wizard must have enough peace, quiet, and comfort to allow for proper concentration. The wizard's surroundings need not be luxurious, but they must be free from distractions. Exposure to inclement weather prevents the necessary concentration, as does any injury or failed saving throw the character might experience while studying. Wizards also must have access to their spellbooks to study from and sufficient light to read them. There is one major exception: a wizard can prepare a read magic spell even without a spellbook.

As you've tagged this rules-as-written, I'm going to skip all the side-stuff other answers discuss and get straight to the point: if the wizard fails a saving throw during his preparation, it is interrupted. While there's no guidance exactly for when a disease's daily saving throw should go off, most GMs choose to make that roll during the character's sleep - which does not interrupt rest, per the paragraph above the linked one, and so doesn't affect spell preparation - or they have it go off at the same time of day the first roll was made - which almost certainly is not during spell preparation, either.

A GM is technically within RAW to call for the save during the wizard's spell preparation, but is likely to be judged unnecessarily harsh or vindictive for doing so; and even if the wizard fails the save, nothing prevents the wizard from simply starting over. Unless there's a serious time pressure preventing the wizard from spending an hour and a half instead of an hour preparing spells, all you successfully did was manage to annoy a player.

Mouhgouda's suggestion of allowing a concentration check in the case of a failed save during spell prep is a good one, by the way. It's not strictly RAW, but it's an excellent and simple houserule.


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