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Recently had a player's Wizard cast flaming sphere. According to the spell description (emphasis mine):

Any creature that ends its turn within 5 feet of the sphere must make a Dexterity save.

His Wizard had a higher initiative (12) than the oncoming Orcs (7). So, naturally, after he used his action to move it next to a few, all the Orcs moved away from its 5' threat range when it was their turn.

1) Is there any way the Wizard could choose to get a lower initiative (Ignore the Dex modifier when rolling?) so that he can attack (and move the flaming sphere) AFTER the Orcs have positioned themselves?

2) If the sphere is rammed into a creature, that creature takes the 2d6/1d6 damage. IF that same creature then cannot move out of the way (already moved, or is cornered, etc.), does it then take the "within 5'" damage from the Sphere again?

Such a complex, fun spell!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Those are two totally different questions. As such, you should edit it to remove one of the questions and ask it separately. (The first question might already have been asked; I'm not sure.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 9 '18 at 17:33
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The Wizard may Ready an action to cast a spell setting the trigger to be when the orcs have finished moving.

What will occur on the Orcs' turn is they will move (potentially in a cluster), the Wizard will cast the spell, and the Orcs will do something with their Action. It should be noted, they might respond to the spell by using their Action to dash, which would let them run away; they could choose to just attack the Wizard and attempt to break his concentration, or something else.

In addition, your question suggests that you might be confusing a Round and a Turn, which are separate and distinct things from a timekeeping perspective. A Turn is an individual's activities that occur during a Round. A Round is the sum of all the creatures' activities and always equals 6 seconds. Some effects will say that they occur at the beginning or end of a Turn, which refers to the individual creature; other effects will indicate they occur over some number of rounds (most often represented with time increments like 1 minute).

So for your specific issue, the damage is dealt at the end of a creature's turn. This is an individual determination. For example, were there Orcs and Wizards in this fight, the sphere deals damage to the Orcs only if they qualify (are within 5' of the sphere) at the end of the Orcs' turn. At the end of the Wizards' turn, the same assessment is made to determine if the Wizards take damage. The spell also permits an additional effect that allows the Wizards to attack with the sphere more directly during their turn.

In tight spaces, it's possible to deal a lot of damage with this spell passively by virtue of its presence, but in most fights it's probably only dealing damage on the Wizard's turn. Otherwise, it's serving to deny access to an area because most folks don't want to end their turn taking 2d6 fire.

Regardless, if the sphere is still adjacent to any Orcs at the end of their turn, they will suffer the effects as described in the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great call on the Ready Action! You may want to also provide some info on Round vs Turn as it seems there is some confusion there. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 9 '18 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, but here is where I admittedly get a little confused: The Wizard may Ready an action. Moving the sphere counts as a bonus action after the first round. Can you Ready a bonus action? \$\endgroup\$ – Leoff Da Grate Jul 9 '18 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeoffDaGrate You can not use a bonus action outside of your turn. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 9 '18 at 16:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeoffDaGrate per Naut's comment, you might be confusing Round vs Turn. I'll edit my answer to address that, but be aware that the Wizard can place the sphere anywhere within the spell's range when the casting is completed. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 9 '18 at 17:34
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  1. A lower initiative wouldn't help, as that would just put the Wizard's turn after the end of the orcs' turn. Getting this spell to do its area damage is tricky!

Readying the spell might help, though:

Sometimes you want to get the jump on a foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn.

First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it. Examples include “If the cultist steps on the trapdoor, I'll pull the lever that opens it,” and “If the goblin steps next to me, I move away.”

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. Remember that you can take only one reaction per round.

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell's magic requires concentration. If your concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect. For example, if you are concentrating on the web spell and ready magic missile, your web spell ends, and if you take damage before you release magic missile with your reaction, your concentration might be broken.

You'd want to use the readying a spell paragraph there. The trigger has to be observable, so you couldn't say "once the orc has used his movement and Action and Bonus action", but you could say "when the orc moves" and the spell would trigger at the end of the orc's move. Then you could place your spell where the orcs ended up, and they would not be able to escape it if they didn't use their Action to Dash away.

  1. Yes.

As a bonus action, you can move the sphere up to 30 feet. If you ram the sphere into a creature, that creature must make the saving throw against the sphere's damage, and the sphere stops moving this turn.

This clause and the "ends their turn" clause are distinct instances of the sphere's damage. A creature you rammed the sphere into that then, say, didn't move on their turn, would take the damage twice.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. Unfortunately the spell is not QUITE as powerful as I'd first thought, but still very useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Leoff Da Grate Jul 9 '18 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LeoffDaGrate it might be better to think of it as "initial damage and area denial" rather than "ongoing damage". In an open field it's not that useful, but if there is interesting terrain it can be very useful. \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Jul 9 '18 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @starchild, Turning a Wizard's mostly unused bonus action into extra DPR is very useful. If it is worth the Concentration depends more on the enemies than the terrain. \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 9 '18 at 21:10

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