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Chain Contingency stores 3 spells of 8th level or lower, to be released later under conditions specified by the wizard.


Chain Contingency channels some of the magical energy of the wizard and releases it only under certain circumstances. The wizard chooses three spells that will be released under certain conditions, such as being hit by an enemy. When this condition occurs, all three spells are cast immediately. Spells of 8th level or lower may be used in the contingency.

Acceptable conditions are:
Wizard is hit (but not necessarily damaged)
Wizard sees enemy
Wizard's Hit Points are at 50%
Wizard's Hit Points are at 25%
Wizard's Hit Points are at 10%
Wizard is helpless (i.e., stunned, held, paralyzed, asleep, webbed etc.)
Wizard has been poisoned

Acceptable targets are:
Last hit by
Nearest enemy


Cancelling a Contingency[]

Contingencies can also be cancelled (i.e. harmlessly dissipated without casting the stored spells) by pressing the "Contingency" button on the wizard's spellbook, then pressing the small "hand" button next to the contingency.

Some Example Chain Contingency Combinations[]

Spells Target Condition Description/Uses
Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting x 3 Nearest Enemy See Enemy/Hit Arguably the most commonly used Chain Contingency combination. Open combat with a potential 60d8 party-friendly magic damage in a wide area, often ending a fight before it begins.

Using condition "Hit" gives you some time before execution to reduce the enemy's defenses, e.g. launching a Spell Trigger (Lower Resistance x 3) to reduce an enemy's Magic Resistance.

Simulacrum, Mordenkainen's Sword x 2 Self See Enemy Start combat with an additional caster, as well as two (nearly) invulnerable "tanks".
Pierce Shield x 3 Nearest Enemy See Enemy Reduce the Magic Resistance of a Lower Resistance-immune boss while you are casting Improved Alacrity, reducing their MR before you unleash the rest of your spellbook (e.g. bottom of Watcher's Keep, Pocket Plane Challenge 5)

Cleric / Mage multiclass can also put Cleric spells into the Chain Contingency.


  1. There is often, but not always, a delay between when the condition is met and when the contingency actually fires. This delay can be anywhere from launching instantly to a full round delay, depending on how much processor script efficiency is used.
  2. When using offensive spells in a contingency, if an opponent has high Magic resistance or damage resistance buffs (e.g. Protection From Magic Energy) and the condition is "See Enemy", the contingency may fire before you are able to remove the opponent's protections and make it vulnerable to your magical attack.
  3. A wizard can only have one Chain Contingency at the same time. Trying to activate a second one will fail. However, one Chain Contingency and one "normal" Contingency can be active at once.

Resting and permanent duration[]

Since the duration is unlimited until triggered, you can memorize the Chain Contingency spell and the spells you want to put in it, cast it, then replace them in your memorized spells and rest. That way, you still have Chain Contingency active after rest, but also have more spell slots for the next encounter. Also this way you gain back the three spells which you put into Chain Contingency.

Time stop[]

Contingency and Chain Contingency will trigger even while you're immobile due to an enemy's Time Stop, but only spells that target yourself only or otherwise don't have projectiles actually take effect during the Time Stop, since all ranged spell projectiles are paused. This means that self-only spells, spells that work on melee touch range (e.g. Vampiric Touch), and ranged spells that take effect without projectiles (e.g. the Power Word spells like Power Word, Silence), do work.

  • Example 1: With Wizard is hit -> Self -> Stoneskin, you can get your protections back up if an enemy attacks you during Time Stop
  • Example 2: For Cleric / Mage, Hit Points at 25% -> Self -> Heal means you won't die
  • Example 3: Wizard is hit -> Last hit by -> Power Word, Stun or Vampiric Touch means you can even retaliate against a melee attacker during Time Stop.
  • What would not work during Time Stop is any Chain Contingency that targets ranged spell projectiles, e.g. See enemy -> Nearest enemy -> Horrid Wilting will trigger, but the spell will only hit once the time stop ends.

Dead magic zones[]

Much like Contingency, Chain Contingency can trigger successfully even in dead magic zones (e.g. the room in Watcher's Keep Teleport Maze where three Cornugons are fighting a Balor and the player can acquire the Purifier). However, it must be prepared before entering the area.

Trigger delays[]

Probably due to programming reasons, the different conditions offer different delays in terms of how quickly the contingency actually triggers once the condition is met. For example, the "see enemy" condition almost always has a very noticeable delay between the player actually spotting an enemy and the spells being released, whereas the "hit" condition always triggers the release of the spells immediately.

After extensive testing, this seems to be the amount of trigger delay that each condition offers (keep in mind, though, that the more trigger delay a condition has, the more variable said delay also becomes):

  • "Wizard is hit" has no delay between the condition happening and the contingency triggering. It's the only condition that consistently triggers with no delay at all.
  • "Wizard has been poisoned" tends to have the shortest trigger delay out of all conditions that have a delay.
  • "Wizard is helpless" tends to have a medium amount of delay.
  • "Wizard sees enemy" and "Wizard's Hit Points are at X%" often have a very noticeable, sometimes very long delay, but keep in mind that the amount of delay varies a lot (so, on rare occasions, it can be relatively short). The often-long delay is a particularly bad thing for the hit point-based condition, as that means something that might seem like a good idea at first (eg Heal cast when the wizard's hit points are at 10%) will very often prove fatal (the delay is too long, and the Mage simply dies before the contingency triggers).

About the "wizard is helpless" condition[]

Although the "wizard is helpless" condition might initially seem entirely devoted to defense (e.g. a mage is held and casts dispel magic on themselves to be cured or invisibility to avoid damage), the spell Otiluke's Resilient Sphere in the Enhanced Editions made it possible for this condition to be used offensively in a consistent manner.

In the Enhanced Editions, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere doesn't require a save when cast on friendly targets, so a Mage is able to use it on themselves to be protected from almost any attack in the game. However, since the spell technically "holds" the Mage, they're considered "helpless" for the purpose of contingencies (despite being very well protected), allowing contingencies to be triggered in a more controlled manner by the player compared to other conditions, while simultaneously providing the Mage immunity to almost anything in the game.

Moreover, another noteworthy "positive" spell (since Otiluke's is, essentially, a protection spell when cast on a party member) that also triggers the "wizard is helpless" condition is Project Image. So, despite what the condition's name might suggest, it's not just "negative" statuses (e.g. Mage is stunned, paralyzed, webbed and so on) that trigger it.

What's considered a "hit" for the "wizard is hit" condition?[]

This can be very counter-intuitive, since some attacks that do no damage are considered a hit and others aren't. And some attacks can be considered hits or not depending on the circumstances. So here are various examples of attacks that are considered hits and attacks that aren't:

What's considered "being poisoned" for the "wizard has been poisoned" condition?[]

Actual damage-over-time "poison effects" coded as such, like the one caused by Poison (spell) or the ones inflicted by various spiders, but also "bleeding", like the effect caused by Cornugons (cause they're coded as "poison effects").

On the other hand, merely suffering poison damage (eg from Cloudkill), does not count as "being poisoned".

Where to obtain its scroll[]

Shadows of Amn[]

Throne of Bhaal[]


  • Several spells that require the same type of saving throw roll with the same modifier within the same short time frame will share a single roll instead of each having their own. This might be intended rather than a bug. Either way, sharing the same roll, they will fail or succeed in sync. If the player is trying to inflict a status effect like Confusion for instance, three of the same spells placed into a Chain Contingency are therefore no more likely to succeed than one.

Community insights[]

There are some opinionated insights available at Chain Contingency/Gameplay, that read as a discussion and are best left as an exercise for the reader to obtain useful bits of information from it.

See also[]

Mod content[]

Mods icon This section is about unofficial content that is only available via fan-made mods.

Regarding this type of spell, the Sword Coast Stratagems mod will do the following, but only if you do not install Spell Revisions:

Allow players to use the individual versions of Spell Immunity in triggers
Spell Immunity is really eight sub-spells. This component allows a subspell to be placed into a Contingency or Spell Trigger.
On Enhanced-Edition installs, this is done crudely, by introducing scrolls of the eight different versions of Spell Immunity. ToBex allows it to be done more smoothly on original-game installs.

Make spell sequencers, spell triggers, and contingencies learnable by all mages
In the unmodded game, spell sequencers, contingencies etc. are in the Evocation school, making them unavailable to Enchanters; this is a serious weakness for the class. This component moves them to be in both the Conjuration and Evocation schools (like Wish), so that all mages may use them. The affected spells are Minor Sequencer, Spell Sequencer, Spell Trigger, Contingency, and Chain Contingency. This will not take effect if you have Spell Revisions installed (as SR takes care of this already by making them "Universal" School).

With Spell Revisions installed, this is the equivalent spell description:

Chain Contingency
Level: 9
School: Universal
Range: Personal
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None

Chain Contingency channels some of the magical energy of the mage and releases it only under certain circumstances. Basically, the mage chooses three spells, which will be released under certain conditions such as being hit by an enemy. When this condition occurs all three spells are cast immediately. Spells of up to 8th level may be used in the contingency.