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The Distant Spell metamagic option's first effect enables a sorcerer to double the range of a spell (that has a normal range of 5 feet or greater).

The counterspell spell has a listed range of 60 feet, but also has the following casting time (emphasis mine):

1 reaction, which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell

Interestingly, it says "within 60 feet", instead of "within range".

If a sorcerer applied the Distant Spell metamagic to a counterspell in order to counter a spell that he sees being cast from somewhere between 60 and 120 feet of him, would the counterspell work?


The same logic goes for the feather fall spell, which also has a range of "60 feet"; its casting time is listed as "1 reaction, which you take when you or a creature within 60 feet of you falls".

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    \$\begingroup\$ A ruling on this question probably needs to answer whether the 60' specified in the cast time is presumed to merely be a restating of the spell's natural range, or if said number is intended to be its own limitation on the range within which a caster is capable of detecting a cast spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Jul 30 '18 at 20:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think there have been similar cases with some other spells as well in which they restate the normal range in the description, rather than simply referring to the range. They're not immediately coming to mind, though. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 30 '18 at 21:12
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Won't work the way that you think.

Reactions are only granted by very specific things. In this case the spell defines the parameters very explicitly what would trigger that reaction.

The range is essentially only to make sure that the recipient of that reaction can be reached.

So to be very specific your ability to cast the spell can only happen "...when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell" although you could extend the range to 120ft of the spell it is moot because they are within that range already. This should not be conflated with the range of the spell albeit they are the same number.

Metamagic has no effect on the requirement for the reaction only the range of the spell.

Edge Case

Feather Fall: You could game the system by witnessing an enemy falling with 60ft of you to trigger the reaction and then use Distant Spell to reach your ally who is 61 - 120ft (assuming they both fall or are falling at the same time). I can't see a case in which this would really work with Counterspell though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer makes me sad... But it does seem accurate. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Jul 30 '18 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ This feels like a development oversight, because if not to increase the range of the "when you see a creature within 60 feet", the "range" of counterspell does nothing and might as well be self or 1 mile, because it doesn't actually matter by this ruling. I think the ruling is correct, but I don't think any reasonable designer would've intentionally done it this way. \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Jul 31 '18 at 14:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that this might be RAW, but it probably isn't RAI or RAF. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jul 31 '18 at 14:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I am not so sure, Metamagic can only be used when you cast a spell, and casting times are not affected. They go into some detail on how Reactions work and what grants them... so you can't cast the spell until you meet the first requirement at which point you can now cast the spell. Metamagic isn't supposed to be a panacea. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jul 31 '18 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth I'm wondering if this question could mean Distant Spell counteracts the reaction's range limit like it does with touch spells and their descriptions \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jul 12 '19 at 21:41

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