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Flame Arrows says that:

The spell's magic ends on the piece of ammunition when it hits or misses, and the spell ends when twelve pieces of ammunition have been drawn from the quiver.

Does the Flame Arrows' magic end on the pieces of ammunition when the spell ends, even though the spell does not say so? If so, then Flame Arrows effectively only enchants 11 pieces of ammunition because the magic ends on the 12th piece before you can fire it.

On the other hand, if Flame Arrows' magic does not end on the piece of ammunition when the spell ends, then nothing is stopping me from stockpiling several dozen enchanted arrows days in advance.

The first reading seem weird and disappointing, while the second one is even weirder, but I do not see an alternative. If either reading were the intent, I would expect the Flame Arrows to be more explicit...

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The spell's magic ends when the spell ends

Since the spell has a duration that is not Instantaneous, it will cease to persist when the spell ends, causing the effects to end.

A spell's duration is the length of time the spell persists

What happens to the 12th arrow?

While intuitively, you draw the arrow before firing it, in the rules these events are concurrent. This means the twelfth arrow is fired at the "same time" as it is drawn (assuming you draw it as part of an attack and not just to pull it from the quiver) and will still be affected by the spell when it hits (or misses).

Here is the rule on Ammunition weapons from the Player's Handbook:

Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack

It is also worth noting that the arrows are not enchanted

The quiver is actually the only thing affected by the spell (and eventually any target hit by a ranged weapon attack).

When a target is hit by a ranged weapon attack using a piece of ammunition drawn from the quiver...

This quote from the spell shows that the ammunition is still mundane but the fact that it was drawn from the quiver grants the effect on hit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would also note that the spell is actually enchanting the quiver, not the arrows themselves. The quiver then enchants the arrows as they are drawn. So at the end of the hour the quiver simply stops enchanting arrows as they are drawn, regardless of other conditions. \$\endgroup\$ – A Very Large Bear Jul 9 '18 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AVeryLargeBear added \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 9 '18 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm still unconvinced that I can shoot the 12th arrow before the spell ends. Even if I draw the arrow as part of the attack, that doesn't change the fact that the attack hits after I've drawn the arrow. But I still chose your answer, because it thoroughly addressed the rest of my question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Jul 9 '18 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse I understand your realism concerns, but as written there is no travel time for the arrow. As soon as you attack the arrow hits or misses (and the drawing an arrow is part of that same time frame). Timimg isn't as well defined in 5e as I would like so it's mostly up to the GM what happens in certain situations. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 9 '18 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse: While I can understand your confusion, it may help to think of it in light of the upcasting rule: "When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the number of pieces of ammunition you can affect with this spell increases by two for each slot level above 3rd." (emphasis mine). To me, the implication is that for a 3rd level spell you can use 12 pieces of magical ammunition. The reason for the weird wording, I think, is that this spell is also available to sorcerers and wizards, who might use it on their e.g. fighter ally. \$\endgroup\$ – sharur Jul 9 '18 at 18:23
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No, as the arrows are not directly enchanted

Notice that flame arrows does not actually enchant arrows directly. Its target is a quiver:

You touch a quiver containing arrows or bolts.

The arrows are affected one by one, as they are drawn. While in the quiver, they remain ordinary pieces of ammunition. You could target an empty quiver and fill it up later and the effects would be the same.

If you draw an arrow, but do not fire it, then when you do, it will no longer be (directly) "drawn from the quiver", it will be drawn from somewhere else. Thus the effect would not trigger. So you cannot stockpile them. You obviously cannot stock quivers, due to the limitations of the spell's duration.

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The 12th arrow is also affected.

When a target is hit by a ranged weapon attack using a piece of ammunition drawn from the quiver...

So the last piece of ammunition gets drawn, it gets the bonus (if it then hits) and the spell itself ends (meaning another piece of ammunition drawn won't get affected anymore).

You cannot stockpile.

The flame arrows spell requires concentration, so you cannot keep more than one enchanted quiver (creating a new one would require you to end the spell on the old one) and so cannot have a another set of flaming ammunition.

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