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This question is very similar to my previous question here, and is more what I was originally trying to ask.

Jeremy Crawford clarified in the 19/JAN/2017 Sage Advice segment of the Dragon Talk podcast that a spell targets something if it affects that thing.

The Twinned Spell Metamagic states:

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self... Emphasis mine

I am not sure how to interpret this section though and see two options.

  1. The spell needs to target exactly one creature and nothing else.
  2. The spell needs to target exactly one creature and then also any number of non-creature things, such as objects.

However, in the podcast Crawford does say fireball is not eligible to be twinned "Not only because initially you're not even targeting a creature, you're actually targeting a point in space...", and this seems to imply that my first interpretation is correct, but I am not sure.

This matters because light has the following in its spell description:

You touch one object that is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension... If you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature, that creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw to avoid the spell.

This spell explicitly targets an object and yet it also affects, and thus targets, a single creature, as they are forced to make a saving throw.

Which interpretation of "only one creature" is correct?

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2 Answers 2

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If you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature, that creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw to avoid the spell.

The target is an object, the spell cannot be twinned. The fact that a creature can make a saving throw to avoid the effect on the object is irrelevant.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Being affected by something secondarily is not the same as being the primary target. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Jun 28, 2019 at 12:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 It sounds like you've got a self-answer in mind. Rather than debating this answer, post yours! \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Jun 28, 2019 at 12:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that the save isn't to avoid being affected by the spell at all. Part of the casting is touching the object, the save is simply to move that object out of the way and is optional rather than an effect of the spell. Still can't be twinned however as there is no creature being affected. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jun 28, 2019 at 12:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 there is disagreement about Crawfords ruling re; dragons breath, so only one creature isn't well defined, especially now the ruling isn't official. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jun 28, 2019 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I think the issue with Crawford's ruling on Dragon's Breath is a misunderstanding on the question, thinking it was about the targets of the breath weapon, rather than the spell itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Journer
    Jun 28, 2019 at 14:45
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No, because light can target an object (but you should allow it anyway).

The Sage Advice Compendium provides an official ruling that makes this completely unambiguous for us:

Can my sorcerer use Twinned Spell to affect a particular spell?

You can use Twinned Spell on a spell that …

  • targets only one creature
  • doesn’t have a range of self
  • is incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level

If you know this rule yet are still unsure whether a particular spell qualifies for Twinned Spell, consult with your DM, who has the final say. If the two of you are curious about our design intent, here is the list of things that disqualify a spell for us:

  • The spell has a range of self.
  • The spell can target an object.
  • The spell allows you to choose more than one creature to be affected by it, particularly at the level you’re casting the spell. Some spells increase their number of potential targets when you cast them at a higher level.
  • The spell can force more than one creature to make a saving throw before the spell’s duration expires.
  • The spell lets you make a roll of any kind that can affect more than one creature before the spell’s duration expires

Since light can target an object, it is not eligible for Twinned Spell.

However, it should be noted that there are no balance concerns when allowing it anyway. So I've always just allowed sorcerers in my games to twin light, as well as many other spells that fall afoul of this rule.

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