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Lightning Arrow:

The target takes 4d8 lightning damage on a hit, or half as much damage on a miss, instead of the weapon’s normal damage.

Whether you hit or miss, each creature within 10 feet of the target must make a Dexterity saving throw. Each of these creatures takes 2d8 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Does the target of the attack have to roll a save? Would he also take the secondary damage?

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is your question "will the initial target of lightning damage also take the secondary damage?"? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 12 '17 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik yes, this is exactly what he is asking. It seems a minor XY problem: instead of asking directly that, he is sidelining. I'll edit the question title. The current one is too much "quantum physics". \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 12 '17 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wanted to emphasize how ridiculous it would be if the answer were no. \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 13 '17 at 14:19
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No.

See this Sage Advice.

The splash damage of lightning arrow affects each creature within 10 ft. of the target, not the target.

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About sphere shaped spell effects the PHB says on page 205:

A sphere's point of origin is included in the sphere's area of effect.

So yes, the original target has to make the save too.

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    \$\begingroup\$ this would imply that the target takes damage twice, right? Once from the "on a hit and half on a miss" and once from the dex save \$\endgroup\$ – lucidbrot Jul 12 '17 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ A lightning arrow isn't a sphere though, it hits the target (either directly or indirectly) then effectively explodes to hit everyone within 10 feet of the target. \$\endgroup\$ – onewho Jul 12 '17 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @onewho All the points within r distance of a point form a sphere by definition. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jul 12 '17 at 20:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Logic and balance does not apply to Rangers :( \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 12 '17 at 20:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András why is that the only redeeming quality? It's an AoE spell. Why is it so bad that you think it needs to "double dip" on damage? \$\endgroup\$ – Jay Jul 12 '17 at 20:44
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I think I understand your question.

The target does not make a dexterity save, the caster of the spell makes a "to-hit" roll (adding all the various modifiers to the roll), if the caster hits the target, the arrow does full damage (4d8 lightning damage), if it misses the target the target still takes half damage.

Everyone within 10 feet of the target then makes a dexterity save (against the spell-casters spell DC); failed saves take 2d8 lightning damage, while successful saves take half that.

According to the rules, the target only takes damage once.

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