The Elemental Adept feat (PHB, p. 166) states:

[When] you roll damage for a spell you cast that deals damage of that type, you can treat any 1 on a damage die as a 2.

The dragon's breath spell (XGtE, p. 154) deals damage, but not as a direct consequence of the spell:

Until the spell ends, the creature can use an action to exhale energy of the chosen type in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d6 damage of the chosen type on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Would these exhalations qualify for the application of the Elemental Adept feat? If so, who needs to have the feat (the caster or the exhaler)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the question about the specific interaction between Elemental Adept and Dragon's Breath, or is that interaction just being used to ask about the particulars of who "owns" the rolled dice when damage is rolled for a spell? \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Mar 18, 2019 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema I intended to ask both questions in one, but if damage roll ownership would have enough nuance on its own, I'd be fine separating the questions. I am unsure of the answer to either question. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2019 at 20:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the Damage Roll Ownership part deserves its own question, but it might not be necessary to change the scope of this question. I'm not sure it's possible to extricate the two questions apart without missing the point, IMO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Mar 18, 2019 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


Elemental Adept applies to Dragon's Breath when cast on yourself

The Elemental Adept feature doesn't qualify that any spell damage is required to be rolled on the same turn as when the spell is cast. So because the damage from Dragon's Breath comes from a spell, it would qualify for this feature.

The caveat is that this is only absolutely true if the caster targets themselves with the effect of the original spell. If they target someone else, then the ruling is different.

It is ambiguous as to whether other creatures that have Dragon's Breath cast on them could benefit from Elemental Adept

There's two scenarios to consider:

Caster A casts Dragon's Breath on Creature B, Creature B has the Elemental Adept feature

In this scenario, creature B does not benefit from Elemental Adept: the feat specifically requires that the damage come from a spell that the creature cast themselves. Because the effect was conferred upon them by someone else, it would not qualify in this scenario.

Caster A casts Dragon's Breath on Creature B, Caster A has the Elemental Adept feature

This is ambiguous, because when a creature buffed with Dragon's Breath rolls damage dice for their action, it's not clear whether they count as rolling the damage dice or whether it's the original spellcaster who does.

  • If, as DM, we adjudicate that Creature B is rolling the damage dice, then these damage rolls would not benefit from Elemental Adept.
  • If, however, we adjudicate that Caster A is rolling the damage dice, then these damage rolls would benefit from Elemental Adept.

So while I don't know the correct answer to this particular conundrum (maybe the topic of a different question?), I do believe that if you or your DM decides on the correct answer, then one of the two above statements is correct.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the rules lend themselves to "Caster A is rolling the damage dice"; the effect is still using your spell save DC, so it follows that the effect is still 'yours' and is using your other statistics/features as well. I view it very much like a call lightning, except instead of you taking an action to cause your spell to do something, someone else can take an action to cause your spell to do something; it's still your spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Mar 18, 2019 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CTWind Personally speaking, if I were DMing a situation like this, that's how I would rule. I'm not aware of evidence in the book(s), however, that supports this interpretation of the rules (or precludes them, for that matter), so if you know a specific rule or example that definitely proves things one way or the other, that would be very helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Mar 18, 2019 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Citations are needed to support this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 19, 2019 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Could you please tell me which parts need to be cited? The OP already quoted the relevant descriptions from the book, and everything in my answer is Rhetoric/interpretation. I have no idea what to even cite. \$\endgroup\$
    – Xirema
    Mar 19, 2019 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the whole issue. If you're going to use interpretation, you've got to support it with..something. otherwise, it's just opinion \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 19, 2019 at 1:12

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