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This is a followup question to Can Inspire Courage be used to inspire a whole army?.

Inspire Courage Reads in part

Inspire Courage (Su): A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard's performance. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls[...] Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability. Inspire courage can use audible or visual components. The bard must choose which component to use when starting his performance.

Just because an ally can hear the bardic music or see the actions of the character, doesn't necessarily mean that s/he is actually paying attention to it.

So, is simply letting the inspiration wash over your allies enough or do they need to be at least partially active participants by trying to hear/see it? What if they're actively trying to ignore the music to concentrate on something else, for instance a spellcaster casting a spell?

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No, the ally must be able to comprehend the performance.

It is not enough to merely see/hear it; the ally must be able to "perceive" the performance.

Inspire Courage (Su): A 1st-level bard can use his performance to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the bard's performance.

If the ally in question is stunned, dazed, looking elsewhere, in difficult-to-see conditions, or whatever else, this will be more difficult than normal, and may require some sort of perception check. This is a case where the ordinary difficulty to perceive might be DC 0 and thus the check may be skipped under normal circumstances. If this DC gets too high due to adverse conditions, making this check may become significantly difficult enough to warrant rolling it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ does this, for the sake of argument, include a spellcaster's casting of a spell or concentrating on a spell that needs concentration? \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Cohoon Feb 6 '17 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JesseCohoon That's a bit less clear, and would probably come down to DM ruling. I would probably say yes - realistically, concentrating on one thing improves your ability to focus on that thing, but at the cost of lowering it towards other things. Adjust the DCs accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Southpaw Hare Feb 6 '17 at 15:59

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