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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Dear Playground,

    I like to argue, but I don't like to argue to "win." I like to make sense of things.

    I also think simple explanations are best – except when I believe a simple explanation happens to be wrong and that only a more complex explanation will do.

    So when I found myself in disagreement with the RAW thread above, I started writing ... and writing ... and the result is what you see below.

    You are free to read it, to comment upon it, or to ignore it. It gives me great pleasure merely to share it with you.

    With fond regards,

    D. of U.



    St Fan queried:

    Q 107

    Still around the same theme … the chill touch spell seems to work like most touch-attacks weaponlike spells, but it has the particularity of not lasting for just one touch, but 1 touch attack by level. So…

    A) Its duration is stated as “instantaneous”, which is a bit ambiguous. […]

    B) Although the delivery mechanism is very likely to be similar to a spell you’re holding the charge, it isn’t spelled outright. […]

    […]

    D) I though of that one as obvious so I wasn’t about to ask, but I can’t find it clearly spelled out either … if you have more than one attack per round, you can make multiple touch attacks with chill touch during a full-attack action, right? Nothing restricts you to it once a round…

    Troacctid answered:

    A 107

    A) It’s not ambiguous. It means you make all the attacks immediately, as part of the spell’s casting. [Troacctid quoted from page 136 of the Rules Compendium here.]

    B) You cannot hold the charge for chill touch. [Troacctid quoted from page 126 of the Rules Compendium here.]
    D) See above.


    Here we go...



    A 107 Contention

    I think we need to interpret both the rule that appears on page 136 the Rules Compendium and the rule that appears on page 126 differently, because of the context in which each rule appears. I believe we should conclude that you can hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell.


    I.

    True enough, the Rules Compendium, on page 136, states that if a spell allows its caster to make multiple attacks and has a casting time of one standard action, all these attacks occur during that standard action. However, this rule is too general to be applied to the Chill Touch spell, because it is countermanded by a more specific rule, as I will argue here.

    The quoted rule refers generally to weaponlike spells. The main heading of page 136 is “Spellcasting,” followed by "WEAPONLIKE SPELLS." The first paragraph on page 136 defines a weaponlike spell as a spell that requires an attack roll and goes on to distinguish two kinds of weaponlike spells: those that require ranged touch attack rolls and those that require mêlée touch attack rolls.

    Since the Chill Touch spell is a weaponlike spell that requires a mêlée touch attack roll, it is subject to a more specific rule that applies not to all weaponlike spells, but only to those that require mêlée touch attack rolls. This rule is as follows.

    Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round.
    This rule also appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook, under the heading “Actions in Combat” and the subheadings “STANDARD ACTIONS,” “Cast a Spell,” and “Touch Spells in Combat,” whereby “touch spells” refers specifically to mêlée touch spells – that is, spells with a range of Touch – not ranged touch spells.

    Almost exactly the same “holding the charge” rule appears on page 126 of the Rules Compendium, under the heading “Spell Descriptions” and the subheadings “RANGE,” “Touch,” and “Holding the Charge.” Like the rule that appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook, this one applies specifically to mêlée touch spells, that is, to spells whose Range is Touch.

    I believe it is correct to consider a rule that applies only to mêlée touch spells to be more specific than a rule that applies not only to these but also to ranged touch spells. Following the principle that general rules may be superseded by more specific rules, we should not apply the general rule from page 136 of the Rules Compendium to mêlée touch spells. Instead, we should apply the more specific rule from page 126, which is basically the same as the rule that appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook.


    II.

    Also true enough, the Rules Compendium, on page 126, states that you can’t hold the charge of a touch spell used on allies if the spell allows you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You must touch all targets of the spell in the same turn that you finish casting it.

    The quoted rule applies specifically to spells that target allies, not to spells that target enemies. The paragraph in which the rule appears starts with the boldface phrase “Allies and Touch Spells.” But you don’t target allies with the Chill Touch spell, only enemies.

    The next paragraph on page 126 of the Rules Compendium starts with the boldface phrase “Opponents and Touch Spells.” This paragraph doesn’t explicitly reaffirm the rule from page 141 of the Player’s Handbook quoted above, but it doesn’t contradict it, either. It merely states that you can touch an opponent with a mêlée touch spell on the same turn you cast the spell and that you can hold the charge and move “as defined for touching allies,” that is, within one round. It does not say that you can’t hold the charge for more than one round.


    III.

    The paragraph “Allies and Touch Spells” quoted above states clearly what it means to hold a charge for no more than one round. If you touch only a single target within your reach, you can touch the target immediately after casting the spell. If your target is not within your reach, you can cast the spell, move your speed, and then touch the target. In contrast, if you want to touch multiple targets, you must take a full-round action in order both to cast and to discharge your spell, and in this case, you can take no more than a five-foot step in between targets.

    I find it significant that this paragraph uses the phrase “hold a charge” even when you hold a charge for no more than one round. I consider this to be a refinement of the wording of the following confusing passage, (most of) which the SRD quoted from page 172 of the Player’s Handbook. For now, I'll leave out the part that's confusing.

    Touch Spells and Holding the Charge

    […]

    Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell.
    Since this rule applies generally to all spells that allow you to touch multiple targets, it certainly seems to apply to the Chill Touch spell. However, I think the Rules Compendium refined this rather blunt rule, in two ways.

    1. Firstly, it referred to the act of casting, moving, and then discharging a spell before the end of your turn as “holding a charge.” This wording contrasts with the Player’s Handbook passage quoted above, which states bluntly that “you can’t hold the charge” of a spell with multiple targets.

    2. Secondly, it distinguished mêlée touch spells that target allies from those that target enemies, and it explicitly imposed the rule that you can’t hold a charge past the end of your turn only upon mêlée touch spells that target two or more allies.

    There is one more thing to say about the passage on page 172 of the Player’s Handbook. Here is the whole passage, including the piece that I omitted when I quoted it above.

    Touch Spells and Holding the Charge

    In most cases, if you don’t discharge a touch spell on the round you cast it, you can hold the charge (postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. You can make touch attacks round after round. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates.

    Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell.
    It is worth asking to which spell, if any, the first piece of the passage refers, when it says, “In most cases ... you can make touch attacks round after round.” This doesn’t make sense when you read the second piece of the passage, which says, “Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell.” If you can’t hold the charge of any mêlée touch spell with multiple targets, then a mêlée touch spell with which you can “make touch attacks round after round” simply cannot exist. Likewise, the rule quoted above from page 141 of the Player’s Handbook: “You can continue to make touch attacks round after round,” also seems not to apply to any actual existing spell.

    But if you assume, as I do, that the game designers had offensive spells like the Chill Touch spell in mind when they wrote the first piece of this passage, then it does make sense. When the game designers wrote the second piece of the passage quoted above, they obviously were thinking of friendly spells that target allies. This is why the Player’s Handbook includes the examples of the Teleport spell and the Water Walk spell in this passage. (The SRD omits these examples, as usual.)


    *** *** ***

    In summary, I contend that you can hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell for more than one round. I believe we should apply the Holding the Charge” rule quoted from page 141 of the Player’s Handbook to the Chill Touch spell, for three reasons:

    1. The Chill Touch spell is a mêlée touch spell, and a rule that applies specifically to mêlée touch spells should supersede a rule that applies to all weaponlike spells, including ranged touch spells.

    2. The Chill Touch spell targets enemies, not allies; therefore, the "Allies and Touch Spells" rule from page 126 of the Rules Compendium does not apply to it.

    3. I believe the Rules Compendium refined the blunt rule on page 172 of the Player’s Handbook that prohibited holding the charge of any mêlée touch spell with multiple targets, narrowing this prohibition to cover only mêlée spells that target multiple allies, not those that target multiple enemies.
    Last edited by Duke of Urrel; 2021-01-22 at 01:17 AM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    First note that touch spells aren't weaponlike by defaut IIRC. Unless you can point me to a rule I assume that this is wrong.
    Weapon-like is a keyword that needs to explixitly stand in the ruletext and is nothing that you may imply because of common sense.

    But, that is irrelevant to the question regarding Chill Touch and holding a charge.

    Chill Touch clearly is a touch attack spell and thus allows for the "holding the charge" rule. Chill Touch's scaling gives you additional charges to spend. Each charge still requires a standard action for the touch attack. All charges are lost if you start to cast any other spell.

    The rule you quoted:
    Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell.
    This rule isn't talking about touch attacks! It talks about spells that allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. Spells like Dimension Door where you touch targets without a touch attack involved.


    edit: corrected touch spell into touch attack spell to prevent misinterpretations.
    Last edited by Gruftzwerg; 2021-01-22 at 04:37 AM.
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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Yes, you can. I'm not aware this is at all controversial.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    I think the main things you've missed are:
    1. Specific rules only supersede general rules when they disagree. Where do these specific rules contradict the more general rules? You haven't shown any mutual exclusivity between them.
    2. You can make touch attacks round after round with any spell that can hold the charge. It's not exactly a mystery: it means if you miss, you can keep trying until you hit.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Now that is a wall of text. I am confused why you feel it is necessary.

    The text off d20srd is pretty clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by d20srd.
    A touch from your hand, which glows with blue energy, disrupts the life force of living creatures. Each touch channels negative energy that deals 1d6 points of damage. The touched creature also takes 1 point of Strength damage unless it makes a successful Fortitude saving throw. You can use this melee touch attack up to one time per level.

    An undead creature you touch takes no damage of either sort, but it must make a successful Will saving throw or flee as if panicked for 1d4 rounds +1 round per caster level.
    Yes, you cast the spell. At that time you can deliver a melee touch attack (1).

    The spell stays charged on your hand so you can touch more creatures. A lvl 3 caster has it for 3 uses. Those melle touch attacks are delivered over 3 rounds. BUT if you have a willing creature you can touch several creatures at one time assuming 1 per hand. I have never seen this second scenario come into play.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by gijoemike View Post
    BUT if you have a willing creature you can touch several creatures at one time assuming 1 per hand. I have never seen this second scenario come into play.
    I bet you have. The rule you are talking about refers to non attack touch spells like Dimension Door or when you use a touch heal spell that can affect multiple allies (IIRC there is one, but not sure).
    Last edited by Gruftzwerg; 2021-01-22 at 10:06 AM.
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    It has always seemed to me that the most straight-forward reading of chill touch is to treat it as "holding the charge" even after you deliver it, until you've touched CL times. The prior thread(s) on the subject did have me thinking that maybe the RAW were saying you actually could or had to make all the touch attacks as part of casting the spell, but the OP here makes a solid argument about that applying only to spells cast on allies/willing targets and/or are not weapon-like spells.

    Chill touch, as a weapon-like spell you cast on enemies, would thus use only the "hold the charge" rules, and adding in its "you get CL touches" clause, would hold the charge until you'd used all the touches.



    I will point out that the text that says you can make melee touch attacks round after round works even on spells that only grant one touch attack, though. You can, for instance, cast vampiric touch and then hold the charge indefinitely. Let's say you cast it after breakfast, and then carefully don't touch anything with that hand until you get into combat. In combat, you try to hit the enemy goblin monk with your vampiric touch, but you miss. You try again next round, and the round after that, until you finally hit. You have made "melee touch attacks round after round" with the charged appendage, despite only getting one touch out of it. Because you didn't touch with any but the successful melee touch attack.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Here is the compendium's rule about multiple attacks:

    If a spell allows its caster to make multiple attacks and has
    a casting time of 1 standard action, all those attacks occur
    during that standard action.
    Touch spells do not give you attacks. This is a free action given as part of the rules:

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 140
    In the same round that you cast
    the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) the target.
    Take a spell like scorching ray and the spell itself gives you multiple attacks by telling you you actually fire extra rays. Chill touch never tells you that you get multiple attacks, only additional uses. I challenge someone to find anywhere else other than these specific multiple charge touch spells where the rules say that uses=free attacks.

    It is extremely obvious to me that chill touch gives you charges from the word go and you spend them as you make attacks. The only free attack is from the quote above from the PHB.

    The rules make a specific exception when you target allies as you don't have to make touch attacks if they are willing.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    You can, for instance, cast vampiric touch and then hold the charge indefinitely. Let's say you cast it after breakfast, and then carefully don't touch anything with that hand until you get into combat.
    Actually, any part of your body touching anything discharges the spell. The rules say nothing about a specific part of your body. Meaning a grapple discharges the spell.

    I liken it to static electricity. A sword equipped to your belt won't be shocked but touching anything not on you sends out a jolt.
    Last edited by Darg; 2021-01-22 at 02:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    Actually, any part of your body touching anything discharges the spell. The rules say nothing about a specific part of your body. Meaning a grapple discharges the spell.

    I liken it to static electricity. A sword equipped to your belt won't be shocked but touching anything not on you sends out a jolt.
    I'm going to require more citation than this to prove that any part of your body touching anything discharges a held touch spell. This rapidly gets to the ridiculous point of your step discharging it into the ground.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I'm going to require more citation than this to prove that any part of your body touching anything discharges a held touch spell. This rapidly gets to the ridiculous point of your step discharging it into the ground.
    I agree. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for the DM to ask for some check if you want to touch absolutely nothing with your hand for a long time.
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I agree. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for the DM to ask for some check if you want to touch absolutely nothing with your hand for a long time.
    Sure. I was giving a deliberately extreme example.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I'm going to require more citation than this to prove that any part of your body touching anything discharges a held touch spell. This rapidly gets to the ridiculous point of your step discharging it into the ground.
    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 141-142
    Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round
    when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell
    (hold the charge) indefinitely. You can continue to make touch
    attacks round after round. You can touch one friend as a standard
    action or up to six friends as a full-round action. If you touch
    anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally,
    the spell discharges.
    If you cast another spell, the touch spell
    dissipates. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this
    case, you aren’t considered armed and you provoke attacks of
    opportunity as normal for the attack. (If your unarmed attack or
    natural weapon attack doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity,
    neither does this attack.) If the attack hits, you deal normal damage
    for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges.
    If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.
    There is no mention of a hand at all. Considering you can make an unarmed attack with any part of your body this makes sense.

    As I mentioned in my post, the static argument has merit. As a plus you wouldn't discharge to the ground unless you were in the air when you cast. House ruling that touch spells are held within the hand doesn't explain where druids in wild shape discharge from as they don't normally have hands.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    There is no mention of a hand at all. Considering you can make an unarmed attack with any part of your body this makes sense.

    As I mentioned in my post, the static argument has merit. As a plus you wouldn't discharge to the ground unless you were in the air when you cast. House ruling that touch spells are held within the hand doesn't explain where druids in wild shape discharge from as they don't normally have hands.
    It's not "house ruling." It's just ruling. If your ruling were the default interpretation of the RAW, then you'd discharge it immediately into your clothing or the ground. Certainly, nothing in the RAW says you discharge it if you move.

    I also recall - but cannot cite off-hand - a rule talking about being able to hold one charge in each hand, somewhere.

    Druids are answered easily: you hold the charge in something you can reach out and touch with. A bite, perhaps.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    It's not "house ruling." It's just ruling. If your ruling were the default interpretation of the RAW, then you'd discharge it immediately into your clothing or the ground. Certainly, nothing in the RAW says you discharge it if you move.
    It says touch, not touching. Touch is a single action. Touching is the action repeated or in constant contact. My ruling most definitely would not cause immediate discharge into the ground or clothing. Anything already in contact with you wouldn't cause an accidental discharge. Meaning you can wear a glove, draw a weapon, jump and land; all without discharging. Getting tripped with a weapon, a grapple, an ally tapping your shoulder as they move through your space all discharge. It also leaves plenty of room for intentional discharge too. If your holding an unconscious ally and cast a cure wounds you can still intentionally touch them with your free hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I also recall - but cannot cite off-hand - a rule talking about being able to hold one charge in each hand, somewhere.

    Druids are answered easily: you hold the charge in something you can reach out and touch with. A bite, perhaps.
    Probably the FAQ or 3rd party.

    RAW doesn't let you choose where you are able to discharge from. A wild shaped druid has no hand. You can't make an unarmed strike with a bite.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    You'd be hard pressed to convince me that you don't touch that which you are touching. And even by your definition, simple movement means youmtoch part of your clothes you were not touching before. It is impossible to use your definition without reaching absurd conclusions.

    Heck, your definition and ruling would mean that anybody attacking you would discharge the spell on themselves!

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruftzwerg View Post
    The rule you quoted

    [i.e., Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round.]

    isn't talking about touch attacks! It talks about spells that allow you to touch multiple targets as part of the spell. Spells like Dimension Door where you touch targets without a touch attack involved.
    You are right about this, Gruftzwerg. I should revise what I wrote above as follows. Changes are shown in red.

    This rule [the "holding the charge" rule] also appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook, under the heading “Actions in Combat” and the subheadings “STANDARD ACTIONS,” “Cast a Spell,” and “Touch Spells in Combat,” whereby “touch spells” refers specifically to mêlée touch attack spells – that is, weaponlike spells with a range of Touch – not ranged touch attack spells.

    Almost exactly the same “holding the charge” rule appears on page 126 of the Rules Compendium, under the heading “Spell Descriptions” and the subheadings “RANGE,” “Touch,” and “Holding the Charge.” Like the rule that appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook, this one applies specifically to mêlée touch attack spells, that is, to weaponlike spells whose Range is Touch.

    I believe it is correct to consider a rule that applies only to mêlée touch attack spells to be more specific than a rule that applies not only to these but also to ranged touch attack spells. Following the principle that general rules may be superseded by more specific rules, we should not apply the general rule from page 136 of the Rules Compendium to mêlée touch attack spells. Instead, we should apply the more specific rule from page 126, which is basically the same as the rule that appears on page 141 of the Player’s Handbook.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    You'd be hard pressed to convince me that you don't touch that which you are touching. And even by your definition, simple movement means youmtoch part of your clothes you were not touching before. It is impossible to use your definition without reaching absurd conclusions.

    Heck, your definition and ruling would mean that anybody attacking you would discharge the spell on themselves!
    I think you might be missing the point I made about it being similar to static electricity. Clothes and items on your person are in equilibrium with you. They'll even discharge the static if they aren't insulating enough (you touch someone in full plate without actually touching them with touch attacks all the time, no reason the opposite can't be true). Moving along the ground doesn't discharge the static either.

    Discharging on themselves depends on the attack. Grappling yes. Attack with a sword, no. It discharges on the weapon which has hardness and most likely object half damage. Using an unarmed attack, yes (including gauntlets or gloves). Sundering an object on you, no. You aren't being hit.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Urrel View Post
    You are right about this, Gruftzwerg. I should revise what I wrote above as follows.
    Dimension door works like teleport. You can't hold the charge.

    There are 2 rules for touching multiple targets with touch spells. On page 175 of the PHB, you have the rule for teleport or water walk which allow you to touch the maximum number of creatures as part of casting the spell. These spells are discharged by the end of the round and can't be held longer than the end of the round.

    Then you have the rule on page 141. While holding the charge, you can as a full-round action touch up to 6 willing friendly targets within reach. Oddly, the multi-target touch spells are covered by the rule on page 175 which prevent holding the charge. The only friendly touch spells left that can hold the charge are the ones that target a single creature or object. This means that bear's endurance, cure wounds, and fly are able to be held and then given to 6 friendly targets as a full-round action.

    Remember, touch spells don't give you the action to touch a target as part of the spell. That action is only given by rules found elsewhere beyond the description of the spell (page 141-142 and 175 of the PHB).

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 141
    Holding the Charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action.
    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 175
    Some touch spells, such as teleport and water walk, allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch as many willing targets as you can reach as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell.
    Last edited by Darg; 2021-01-23 at 10:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    I think you might be missing the point I made about it being similar to static electricity. Clothes and items on your person are in equilibrium with you. They'll even discharge the static if they aren't insulating enough (you touch someone in full plate without actually touching them with touch attacks all the time, no reason the opposite can't be true). Moving along the ground doesn't discharge the static either.

    Discharging on themselves depends on the attack. Grappling yes. Attack with a sword, no. It discharges on the weapon which has hardness and most likely object half damage. Using an unarmed attack, yes (including gauntlets or gloves). Sundering an object on you, no. You aren't being hit.
    Thing is, you're now inventing rules that aren't in the RAW to justify a strained reading of the RAW that results in an already-undesirable behavior.

    You can rule however you want, but you're not really arguing rules-as-written here, but rather a ruling you'd prefer to make. Which is fine, but we need to be specific about the difference.

    Notably, if you try to hit with an unarmed strike while holding a charge, and fail to hit because you had to roll vs. their normal AC, you don't discharge the touch even if your attack would have hit their touch AC.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Thing is, you're now inventing rules that aren't in the RAW to justify a strained reading of the RAW that results in an already-undesirable behavior.

    You can rule however you want, but you're not really arguing rules-as-written here, but rather a ruling you'd prefer to make. Which is fine, but we need to be specific about the difference.

    Notably, if you try to hit with an unarmed strike while holding a charge, and fail to hit because you had to roll vs. their normal AC, you don't discharge the touch even if your attack would have hit their touch AC.
    How is it inventing rules? The only invention between us is the charge is being held in the hand rather than the body as a whole. Tell me what exactly is invented.

    You can obviously touch a creature through clothing/armor. Extrapolation leads to you being able to do the same such as wearing a glove and touching with your hand.

    The rules say that accidently touching "anything or anyone" discharges the spell. Discharging is releasing the energies of the spell. It doesn't simply dissipate. A sword that touches you as part of an attack against you is "anything" that touches you. A grapple is a creature touching you if they succeed in the attack. Discharge. Accidental means "happening by chance, unintentionally, or unexpectedly." These definitely fulfill that definition.

    You get touch spells before flight and while wearing equipment without any special rules clarifying any interaction between these and touch spells. Meaning you are permitted to hold the charge of touch spells without accidentally discharging into your equipment/items and or the ground.

    Please clarify how these are not rules as written. It sounds to me as if you believe a target covered head to toe is untouchable, that accidental discharge is impossible even though the rules specifically mention it, and that there is invisible text that says "hand" somewhere in there. While doing digging on another thread, I discovered that the premium editions of the core books have made several edits and changes. Maybe it mentions "hand" in those. I don't own them.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    How is it inventing rules? The only invention between us is the charge is being held in the hand rather than the body as a whole. Tell me what exactly is invented.
    "Your clothes hold the same charge, like static, which is why touching them with any part of your body doesn't discharge the spell, despite my ruling being that any part of your body touching anything discharges it."

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 141-142
    Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren’t considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. (If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack.) If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.
    Quote Originally Posted by PHB, pg 121
    Strike, Unarmed: A Medium character deals 1d3 points of
    nonlethal damage with an unarmed strike, which may be a punch,
    kick, head butt, or other type of attack.
    Gauntlets are still unarmed strikes. You don't actually touch the target and yet you still discharge. I doubt most monks are fighting naked when performing unarmed strikes.

    My ruling is observational, not invention. I'm simply connecting the dots. You seem to currently be grasping at straws and have yet to defend or define your own position. You want citation and yet don't refute with your own.
    Last edited by Darg; 2021-01-24 at 01:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    I think the main things you've missed are:
    1. Specific rules only supersede general rules when they disagree. Where do these specific rules contradict the more general rules? You haven't shown any mutual exclusivity between them.
    2. You can make touch attacks round after round with any spell that can hold the charge. It's not exactly a mystery: it means if you miss, you can keep trying until you hit.
    I won't deny your logic. You surely can avoid all contradiction by interpreting the phrase "make touch attacks" as you have done. If we assume that (1) attacks that we make with a multiple-target weaponlike spell during the round that we cast the spell may succeed, but that (2) attacks that we make with a multiple-target weaponlike spell in subsequent rounds all must fail, then there is no conflict with that other rule that beguiles us with the suggestion that we can "make touch attacks round after round."

    I can't say that your way of making sense of the rules is wrong. When you "make" a mêlée touch attack, that doesn't necessarily mean that the attack succeeds. Your interpretation is logical and doesn't disregard any rule. My main objection is that your way of resolving the rules, though logical, makes the Chill Touch spell less cool, particularly for a high-level spellcaster who would like to be able to zap more enemies with it than they can reach in only one round.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Now, what are we to make of this rule?

    If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.
    The problem is what the word "touch" means. Does it mean to "touch" something with a charged hand, or does your whole body become charged when you cast a touch spell? I'm not going to make a quick judgement here, except to say that we need to make a judgement here. There is no such thing as an "interpretation-free" understanding of this text in isolation from the rest of the rules. We need to refer to a wider context, and then we need to make some judgement calls.

    I can't say that Darg's interpretation is wrong, and I will never say that Darg is wrong to make an independent judgement about a text that absolutely cries out for one. On the other hand, I agree with Segev that interpretations have consequences.

    Looking at the context of the rules will take some time. If I have enough time over the next few hours, I might do some looking. (There's also some snow to shovel.) I seem to remember that the rules do make a distinction between touching somebody and being touched by somebody else. Here's a pertinent question: If you cast the Teleport spell with the intention of escaping from your enemies, can an enemy "hitch a ride" by touching you before you have touched all your allies? I seem to remember somewhere in which this question was answered with "No," but I can't be sure. Again, if I have time, I might track down some answers.

    You are all free to beat me to the punch, of course. Calling all ninjas!

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Not really general rules, but perhaps worth noting Spell Flower allows for holding multiple touch spells and even mentions Chill Touch as an example of how it can be done.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Most of the debates on this forum are about RAW, but I think there's something to be said for focusing on practical GM rulings instead. The main difference is looking not primarily at the text of the rules, but at consequences and concrete actions this allows/disallows.
    In my opinion, Chill Touch is abundantly clear in terms of RAI, and OP does a good job of making this explicit with RAW sources.

    As for the touch and discharge debate: RAW seems ambiguous to me. So, how about making a ruling based on what we want to allow or not?
    Segev quotes specific examples of actions that would be possible under his interpretation: e.g. casting a spell in the morning and waiting for combat to discharge it, or making an unarmed attack without discharging the spell. He also quotes a possible consequence of Darg's explanation: unintentional discharge upon touching literally anything, including the ground.
    Darg also quotes consequences for his interpretation: namely, that being grappled or being struck by a sword count as "touching anything" and thus would discharge the spell.

    I'm pretty sure any way we rule it, we wouldn't be going against the books, since it's ambiguous. The GM's job is to interpret that. So, what actions are you fine with, and what don't you want to allow?
    Now, discharging on contact with your own clothes or with the ground is obviously stupid, since it means that no touch spells would ever reach their target. But personally, I wouldn't allow casting a spell and holding the charge for hours either. You're bound to touch something accidentally. Heck, if corona's taught me anything, it's how often I touch my face without even noticing. Now, casting it when you're expecting imminent combat, but before rolling initiative? That's fine.
    In combat: I think "being hit by a sword" doesn't discharge your held spell. That would be an unnecessary nerf. If holding the charge is to have any applicability, you should be able to go up to an enemy, miss your touch attack, hold the charge, take a hit, and then discharge on your next turn. If not, holding the charge is much too circumstancial to have much value as a mechanic. "Being grappled" is more complicated, but in that same spirit, I'd allow you to hold your charge and use it on your next turn. Now in the hypothetical case of a Monk/Wizard, can you, as Segev claims, try an Unarmed attack against normal AC, miss it, and keep your charge? Well yes, because the rules literally spell it out. But if you hit, it discharges. I wouldn't allow you to hit and retain the charge because "I have the charge in my hand, and I kicked with my foot".
    Basically, I think it makes the most sense if we consider holding the charge means: "Even if you miss your original attack, you're allowed to try again. So on your next successful touch attack, you discharge the spell. If you draw a weapon or cast another spell or do anything else, you renounce your touch attack. The exception to this is natural attack and unarmed strikes, because the rules say you can." The next step is establishing what it means in terms of the fiction. For my ruling, that would be something like "it discharges as soon as you touch something, but there's a difference between touching something and being touched by something. So you're okay if you're hit by a weapon, or slapped in the back by an ally."
    YMMV.
    Last edited by Seto; 2021-01-24 at 01:42 PM.
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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    Gauntlets are still unarmed strikes. You don't actually touch the target and yet you still discharge. I doubt most monks are fighting naked when performing unarmed strikes.

    My ruling is observational, not invention. I'm simply connecting the dots. You seem to currently be grasping at straws and have yet to defend or define your own position. You want citation and yet don't refute with your own.
    I would argue that you have just quad counterexmples to your own position. Because you can deliver touch attacks even through gloves and gauntlets, it cannot be that the charge is discharged by anything touching you. Yes, you can unintentionally touch something. No, being touched anywhere on your person by anything doesn't do it. The need to invent an unwritten rule that your clothes don't count arises only because you're straining the colloquial use of "touch" to include other things touching you anywhere on your person.

    Incidentally, if that were the intended reading, spells which discharge on or damage creature who touch you wouldn't need to call this out; all attacks that hit you would automatically be successful touch attacks on your part for purposes of weapon-like touch spells. But spells that behave that way do call it out.

    Heck, i believe somewhere is a rule discussing how you can hold a charge in each hand. I rcnn emember if it's a feat or if it's a clarification, but even if it's a feat, its language doesn't say you change from having your whole body charged to just one hand. It says you can hold a charge in each hand. If your reading were correct, this would either mean you discharge both with a single touch (even if something else touched you), or that you can store three charges:ne in each hand and the normal one all over your body, and the normal one discharges with whichever one you have in the first hand you touch someone with.

    It seems clear to me that your reading is strained and counter to the way the writers understood it to work. I can see where you're coming from and understand the urge to rule that way if you feel the holding charges rule is too powerful, but it does seem to me to be rules lawyering to get around more commonly-understood interpretations with consequences or freedoms that bother you.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Urrel View Post
    I can't say that your way of making sense of the rules is wrong. When you "make" a mêlée touch attack, that doesn't necessarily mean that the attack succeeds. Your interpretation is logical and doesn't disregard any rule. My main objection is that your way of resolving the rules, though logical, makes the Chill Touch spell less cool, particularly for a high-level spellcaster who would like to be able to zap more enemies with it than they can reach in only one round.
    Touch spells don't give you an attack. All it does is charge you. You have the rule on page 140 of the PHB that gives you the free action attack.

    Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject, either in the same round or any time later. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) the target. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.
    If paying attention, touch spells never declare that you make an attack. Compare it with ranged touch spells and it becomes extremely obvious. The attack rule on page 136 of the RC does not apply to touch spells as touch spells themselves don't allow the caster to make attacks. This means chill touch and other such multi-charge touch spells don't give you x attacks with the cast, but instead give you x charges that you discharge with attacks you make.

    Touch spells also don't require touch attack to discharge. The touch attack is there to simulate hitting a target resisting. If an ally was willing, you could touch them with vampiric touch without a roll. Meaning you could touch up to 6 willing allies with a full-round action to damage and gain temporary hitpoints.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Urrel View Post
    Now, what are we to make of this rule?



    The problem is what the word "touch" means. Does it mean to "touch" something with a charged hand, or does your whole body become charged when you cast a touch spell? I'm not going to make a quick judgement here, except to say that we need to make a judgement here. There is no such thing as an "interpretation-free" understanding of this text in isolation from the rest of the rules. We need to refer to a wider context, and then we need to make some judgement calls.
    A touch is a touch and a touch attack is a touch that requires an attack roll:

    Quote Originally Posted by Glossary
    touch spell: A spell that delivers its effect when the caster touches a target creature or object. Touch spells are delivered to unwilling targets by touch attacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Glossary
    touch attack: An attack in which the attacker must connect with an opponent, but does not need to penetrate armor. Touch attacks may be either melee or ranged. The target’s armor bonus, shield bonus, and natural armor bonus (including any enhancement bonuses to those values) do not apply to AC against a touch attack.
    Touching bypasses armor. If it didn't then front liners would need to remove part of their full plate armor to receive healing from cure wounds or require a touch attack. Based on this, the prior declaration that touching bypasses armor without the attack roll is not false.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Urrel View Post
    I can't say that Darg's interpretation is wrong, and I will never say that Darg is wrong to make an independent judgement about a text that absolutely cries out for one. On the other hand, I agree with Segev that interpretations have consequences.
    I guess it's independent as no one else seems to be connecting dots. The rules never say you hold the charge in your hand. It only says it discharges anytime you touch some thing or some one. There are many situations in which you touch something or someone in which you don't use your hand and by the rules must discharge your spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Urrel View Post
    Looking at the context of the rules will take some time. If I have enough time over the next few hours, I might do some looking. (There's also some snow to shovel.) I seem to remember that the rules do make a distinction between touching somebody and being touched by somebody else. Here's a pertinent question: If you cast the Teleport spell with the intention of escaping from your enemies, can an enemy "hitch a ride" by touching you before you have touched all your allies? I seem to remember somewhere in which this question was answered with "No," but I can't be sure. Again, if I have time, I might track down some answers.

    You are all free to beat me to the punch, of course. Calling all ninjas!
    The touch spell rule on page 175 of the PHB allows you to touch as many willing targets allowed as part of the casting of the spell. Teleport has a special interaction that allows a daisy chain of touching as long as one of the creatures is touching you. So I would say they could hitch a ride, but only if the number of targets is under the maximum and they are willing. It wouldn't prevent the caster from teleporting the intended targets.

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    Default Re: Yes, you CAN hold the charge of the Chill Touch spell. Here's why. [3.5]

    Looks to me like all the actual rules text on the subject has already been quoted multiple times here, so if RAW is ambiguous, that can be debated as much as we'd like. I do love a good RAW debate.



    But the RAI is pretty explicit on Chill Touch - it's been answered fairly extensively in the WotC FAQ - once in the 3.5 FAQ and several times in the 3.0 FAQ. (Yes, the faq is absolutely not a rules document, nor is it binding, I'm the first and often loudest proponent of that, which is why this statement is in a firmly RAI-defined sentence).

    In the 3.5 FAQ, it's brought up in a question about how it interacts with a Duskblade's arcane channeling, and answered that unlike the normal number of touches it allows, the Duskblade's channeling discharges it in a single strike. Not a particularly helpful answer to our question here, but it is what it is.



    However, in the 3.0 FAQ the question is discussed fairly thoroughly (note that Chill Touch wasn't changed in the 3.5 update, and the Touch Spells in Combat rules weren't significantly changed with regards to this question either, so these answers should still be valid).

    It says there "In the case of the chill touch spell, the spell remains until you make your allowed number of touches (you lose one charge each time you touch something) or until you cast another spell."





    Also, for those of you discussing what happens when someone else touches you while you're holding the charge, the Rules Compendium page 126 neatly answers that: "You continue holding the charge if something touches you."


    And for those of you discussing other body parts, please note that Chill Touch is explicitly limited to your hand, by its own spell text: "A touch from your hand, which glows with blue energy, disrupts the life force of living creatures" That's not fluff, it's the spell text itself.
    This is also held up as RAI in the 3.0 FAQ: "Each time you touch anything with your hand, you lose one charge off the chill touch, but anything you already had in your hand when you cast the spell doesn’t count as being touched."
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