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The Fanfare spell (Song and Silence) describes its effect as follows:

Fanfare creates a trumpet blast so loud that it can shake the foundations of buildings or stop an army in its tracks. Every creature within the area must make a Fortitude save. Success means the creature is stunned for 1d4 rounds and deafened for twice as many rounds; failure means the creature takes 4d6 points of damage in addition to suffering those effects.

However, its header includes the line:

Saving Throw: Fortitude negates

From the SRD's section on spell descriptions, this means:

Negates: The spell has no effect on a subject that makes a successful saving throw.

So, does a creature that passes its save against Fanfare ignore the spell, or is it stunned?

(Tagging note: This question is about 3.0 content, but I want to know how it works in 3.5, which allows 3.0 content by default as long as a newer version of it hasn't been published.)

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Because the effects of both successful and failed saving throws by creatures is already addressed specifically in the description of the 6th-level bard spell fanfare [evoc] (Song and Silence 90), the entry Saving Throw: Fortitude negates seems to apply to the secondary effect of the spell against objects, which says, "Any object made of glass, wood, stone, or metal within the cone takes 2d6 points of damage, ignoring hardness."

Thus a successful Fortitude saving throw by an object (whether it's attended or not) will prevent the object from being damaged by the fanfare spell's effect.

Note: The spell fanfare is unmentioned in the Song and Silence FAQ (the typical method of handling concerns prior to the 3.5 revision) and is listed as Not Yet Revised by the Rules Reference Web column "Feats, Prestige Classes, and Spells."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there an official source for trusting specific callouts in the text of a spell description over what's in the header? I agree that this ruling makes the most sense, but curious if there's an equivalent of the "text trumps table" rule or similar for cases like these. \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 19 '17 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @A_S00 I hope it doesn't hurt my answer's credibility to say I don't know that there's a specific source for picking a spell's description over its header, but without using the ruling in the answer, the spell fanfare (which, I admit should be badass as a 6th-level bard spell) not only stuns the army but also, on a good roll (say, 10 on 2d6) and with no possibility of preventing the effect, destroys all of the army's light shields and, except for, like, their heavy maces, all their weapons! Such an effect is sufficient for this DM to grant the objects saving throws. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 19 '17 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ The alternative I was considering wasn't "objects don't get a saving throw," but "header takes priority, everything gets a Fortitude Negates saving throw, and the text describing stunning on a successful save is wrong (because it's overruled by the header)." \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 19 '17 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @A_S00 …Yet with the answer's ruling the spell works without having to subject the spell to house rules (and I never use the term house rules pejoratively!). I mean, the fanfare spell isn't a hill I'm willing to die on (despite it being a pretty awesome hill), but if the spell's seeming contradictions can be resolved with the information the spell presents—especially when it's resolved with specific versus general, the game's most common metarule—why not resolve the contradiction with the information presented? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 19 '17 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The text being specific to creatures as an instance of "specific trumps general" hadn't occurred to me. I'm convinced! \$\endgroup\$ – A_S00 Apr 19 '17 at 21:42

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