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The Primeval Awareness feature for Rangers states:

you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain).

While the non-favored terrain section lists a specific range, the favored terrain version says "up to." Does this mean I can choose the range? If so, is 1 mile the minimum or is there no minimum?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would you want to do so anyway? \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 14 '18 at 14:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly enough, I agree with both answers. You can choose a range, but it cannot go further than your favored terrain. \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 14 '18 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlueMoon5 if I know there is a Fiend within 2 miles, that is a smaller search area than 6 mile. Essentially if you could reduce the area, you would know exactly how far away the nearest creature is after about an hour of focusing on it. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron May 14 '18 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very creative use of the ability, nicely done. \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 May 14 '18 at 14:59
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Probably.

The phrase used is "within up to 6 miles" rather than "within 6 miles." The preposition "up to" would be redundant if the range were a constant instead of a variable with an upper bound. By contrast with the "within 1 mile" wording for use outside your favored terrain, the "up to" wording seems to imply you can choose the number of miles.

The rules are generally consistent with their use of the "up to" phrasing, but this is the only instance of the phrase "within up to" in the Player's Handbook, so this isn't definitive, and as of this posting there is no other rule, clarification in the Sage Advice Compendium, or designer statement on the issue to be able to rule definitively. It's probably a matter for DM interpretation.

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Probably Not

Although it is worded poorly, it seems to be intended to work up to 6 miles of your favored terrain. If your favored terrain extends less than 6 miles, it covers less than 6 miles. Does it extend further? Primeval Awareness will cover anything within 6 miles of you.

For instance:

Your favored terrain is forest. You are currently in a forest but not in the dead center of the forest. Imagine the forest extends for 3 miles eastward from your location and for instance 10 miles westward.

Since Primeval Awareness covers up to 6 miles this would have the following effect:

Eastward: The range of Primeval Awareness is greater than the range of your favored terrain. Therefore you will sense creatures within the 3 miles of forest to the east of your position.

Westward : The range of Primeval Awareness is smaller than your favored terrain. Therefore you will sense creatures within 6 miles of you to the west of your position.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is the key with regard to the usage of "up to" - it's saying "up to 6 miles" because it can extend up to that distance while you're still within the favored terrain, but if your favored terrain only extends 1 mile in one direction and 4 miles in another from where you are, that's as far as Primeval Awareness goes. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 14 '18 at 19:02

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