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Maximillian's Earthen Grasp has a range of 30ft. The spell description is ambiguous on where it can be moved once the Sorcerer (or Wizard) moves from their original casting point.

You choose a 5-foot-square unoccupied space on the ground that you can see within range. A Medium hand made from compacted soil rises there and reaches for one creature you can see within 5 feet of it.

...

As an action, you can cause the hand to reach for a different creature or to move to a different unoccupied space within range. The hand releases a restrained target if you do either.

[emphasis mine]

Both my Sorcerer and my target for this question have a movement speed of 80ft (for the purposes of removing the number of rounds I need to detail below).

Lets say our Sorcerer casts the spell in round 1 of combat (15ft away from them). In round 2 of combat the original target has escaped and moved 15ft further away. Our Sorcerer has not moved.

It seems pretty clear that the Sorcerer can move the hand after the original target.

In round 3 of combat the Sorcerer moves 80ft away from their original casting point.

Again it seems pretty clear that if the original target has not moved in the round yet the Sorcerer can command the hand to grasp it.

  • If the target the hand is following moves another 10ft away (so it's now 40ft away from the original casting point), can the Sorcerer command the hand to move after it again?
  • If instead the target moves 30ft closer to the Sorcerer (so it is within 0ft of the original casting point, but 80ft away from the Sorcerer's current position) can the Sorcerer command it to follow in the same way as in round 1?
  • Finally, if instead the target moves 80ft in the direction the Sorcerer moved (so they are now 50ft away from the original casting point and 30ft away from the sorcerer). Can my sorcerer make the hand move to be beside the target?

The essence of this question is does the "range" in which the hand can move shift with the caster, or shift with the hand, or remain defined based on the original casting point?

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In this case the range is probably measured from the hand itself

Normally, when you cast a spell that targets a location or creature that range is measured from the person who cast the spell. However there are exceptions.

Jeremy Crawford alludes to this in the following tweet:

Q: Call Lightning spell: on subsequent turns the point you chose must be within 120 feet from the point you chose for the cloud or a point within 120 feet from you? My doubt is born because, on susequent turns, you can move and go away from the fixed cloud above you

A: Call lightning is an odd spell because its range is measured from the effect it creates—the storm cloud—not from the caster.

Call lightning says:

When you cast the spell, choose a point you can see within range. A bolt of lightning flashes down from the cloud to that point. [...] On each of your turns until the spell ends, you can use your action to call down lightning in this way again, targeting the same point or a different one.

Which seems fairly similar to Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp which says:

You choose a 5-foot-square unoccupied space on the ground that you can see within range. A Medium hand made from compacted soil rises there and reaches for one creature you can see within 5 feet of it. [...] As an action, you can cause the hand to reach for a different creature or to move to a different unoccupied space within range.

Both spells create an effect which the spell allows to be moved on subsequent turns to target another creature/area.

If we follow Jeremy Crawford's ruling, I see no reason why Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp would not then follow the same ruling as Call lightning.

Thus, the range mentioned in the spell would be measured from the hand itself on every subsequent turn after the caster casts it.

So, as an action, the caster can move the hand up to 30 ft from the hand's current position (sort of like the hand had a move speed of 30 feet).

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Range is defined from your current location, so if you move, your ability to affect creatures or locations 'in range' will also change.

First off, the hand doesn't 'follow' a target. It reaches for a creature as an action (or on casting), and the target either saves (and is not further effected unless you use an action to attack it again) or it fails and becomes restrained, which among other things means it can't move.

So, to your first two questions, the answer is no: the target is out of range, as it's more than 30 feet from the caster's current position; and in the third case yes, the creature is within 30 ft of the sorcerer, and they are a valid target.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was using "following" to mean the Sorcerer attempts to use "As an action, you can cause the hand ... to move to a different unoccupied space within range. " to move the hand to be beside the target. Not for it to move of it's own volition. Essentially I was slightly anthropomorphising the hand and describing it's previous movement. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Feb 16 '18 at 22:11

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