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The 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell wall of smoke [conj] (Spell Compendium 235) says, in part, that

This spell creates a thin [n.b. for large quantities of thin] wall of black smoke. The wall is stationary once created. The wall blocks sight to a limited degree. Creatures on opposite sides of the wall that cannot see over it gain concealment from each other. A creature can pass through a wall of smoke, but it must make a Fortitude save to avoid being nauseated for 1 round.

At the start of the creature's turn, outside of the wall of smoke, it can see its foe past the wall of smoke (mere concealment being insufficient to block line of sight), and other than the wall of smoke there's a clear path between the creature and its foe. The creature charges its foe, moving 10 ft. therefore 5 ft. into the wall of smoke. The creature fails its Fortitude saving throw upon entering the wall.

What immediate effect does this failed saving throw have on the creature? Does this failed saving throw have any effect on the creature during its next turn?


Note: Yep. The paladin barreled right through the wall of smoke and failed his save. I ruled that his charge was spoiled but that he could, if he wanted, finish a normal move and that he'd recover from the nausea at the start of his next turn, and while that was the right call at the time, I'm not sure if that was the technically correct call.

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I agree with your ruling.

The rules specify that you cannot attack while nauseated, so the attack at the end of the charge was foiled no matter what. You could argue that the rules would have the paladin’s charge continue up until the point where he would attack, and then he would just stop at that point looking dumb, but that seems inconsistent with the way the rules generally work.

Until the paladin has moved past his own regular movement speed, nothing about the charge is different from an ordinary move. I would argue, then, that his action still remains undecided at that point: it may have originally been his intention to make it a charge, but until he actually completes the maneuver, it isn’t one yet. New information (whether it be something he sees or new conditions he suffers from) can change his mind, and there is still time for that to happen. This seems more consistent with the rules to me, though I cannot cite anything explicitly supporting it.

To play devil’s advocate, the charge rules are written from the perspective of the charge being a thing you declare in advance and execute to completion. They don’t mention anything about interrupting the charge, changing your mind, or anything unlike that. And that contrasts with the rules for full-attacks, which do specify that you get to decide whether you are using the attack action or full-attack action after you see how your first attack turns out. I am arguing that charges work like full-attacks here, even though full-attacks explicitly say they behave this way and charges don’t.

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First of all, Wall of Smoke may be considered a defensive spell, since it conceals and deter foes from going through it. Having the nauseated effect only occur after the end of the player's round would make it kind of meaningless.

Second, considering other lasting area effects (such as Prismatic Wall) take effect immediatly, the same should apply for Wall of Smoke.

The Wall of Smoke effect starts immediatly when the save is failed (as with a trap or anything else in the game) and lasts for one round.

Since the character becomes immediatly nauseated as he goes through the wall, he can't attack, cast spells or concentrate until the beginning of his next turn, meaning the charge can be started, but won't be completed on a failed save (the character will move, but not attack).

tldr; any effect described occurs immediatly, unless otherwise stated.

Another question may arise from my answer: What happens if a character makes a ranged attack, goes through the wall and fails his saving throw? The "wasted action" should then be delayed until the character's next turn. The logic to consider is that, first of all, the effect has to occur immediatly, and second, the effect has to be meaningful, it must prevent an attack/spell/concentration at some point.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no question that the nauseated condition is applied immediately. The question is whether or not it matters – if they have already started their charge, they have already used the necessary actions. The fact that they could not use the necessary actions now that they are nauseated doesn’t necessarily matter. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 18 '16 at 20:18

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