If this has been asked, I could not find it. My Sorcerer has the sword burst cantrip, and I'm thinking of taking the 'Distant Spell' metamagic option. Will it change the range to 10 feet?

Similar to Metamagic Distant Spell and AoE spells but not quite answered, though Crawford's tweet seems to imply it would work.

Although the spell has a range of 5 feet, it seems like Distant Spell would increase the area of effect in this case. So RAW it works, but likely shouldn't?



The Distant Spell metamagic option states:

When you cast a spell that has a range of 5 feet or greater, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double the range of the spell.

And sword burst (SCAG, p. 143) states:

You create a momentary circle of spectral blades that sweep around you. Each creature within range, other than you, must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 force damage.

Sword burst has a range of 5 feet and the effect hinges on that distance. Increasing the spell's range therefore increases the AoE to 10 feet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems RAW, but I doubt intended. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jun 22 '19 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ser Sword Burst came out in Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide which was subsequent to the meta magic option from the PHB. I'd be more sympathetic to the argument that this interaction was not intended be the designers if the order is publication were reversed. Using the combo requires the sorcerer be within 10 feet of hostiles and that the caster forego other, arguably more beneficial meta magic options. So there are significant opportunity costs to pulling it off that I'm sure were taken into design consideration. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jun 22 '19 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plus it does expend a limited resource. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Jun 23 '19 at 2:03

Yes, but expect table variation

The spell description does use the word "range" but comparing it to fireball, I think the range of sword burst should really have been written "Range self (5ft sphere)".

The rulebooks don't distinguish range and area of effect consistently. For example: sword burst and thunderclap state "Range 5ft" for effects centered on the caster, but arms of hadar says "Range self (10ft sphere)", and spirit guardians just has "Range Self" with the 15ft radius mentioned in the description text.

As a GM I wouldn't let distant spell metamagic increase the radius of a fireball, so I I'd rule the same for sword burst.

Damage Potential and Cost

(Assuming 5ft grid rules) A normal sword burst has the potential to affect 8 targets standing around the caster. Extending its radius to 10 ft can affect 24 targets. It seems a very low cost if 1 sorcery point can triple the number of targets.

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