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The evoker wizard feature Sculpt Spells is worded thusly:

Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell's level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

This is mainly designed to enhance instantaneous spells and is a bit tricky to interpret in relation to other evocation spells.

My question is about the Melf's minute meteors spell. Below, I have tried to collect the relevant parts of its description:

Range: Self

You create six tiny meteors in your space. [...] When you cast the spell — and as a bonus action on each of your turns thereafter — you can expend one or two of the meteors [...] Each creature within 5 feet of the point where the meteor explodes must make a Dexterity saving throw.

How does this spell interact with the Sculpt Spells feature? I have thought of some possible options:

  1. Not at all. The spell itself does not "affect other creatures", as it has a range of Self, and thus does not qualify for the feature.
  2. Only the first two meteors. Shooting the first two meteors is part of casting the spell, as it happens with the same action. You can protect creatures from these two explosions, but not from those created on other turns.
  3. Sculpted for the whole duration. The feature does not say that the damage has to happen instantly and it provides protection "on their saving throws against the spell", as in any and all of them. So, while you have to choose the creatures at the time of casting, they remain protected from all explosions created with it.

Is one of these right or is there maybe another option?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to make it clear, for your second point, the six meteors are created in one go, as the first sentence explains it. You then can expand them to throw them, but they're here from the beginning. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Jul 8 at 7:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zoma Yes, I am aware. Is the 2. point unclear in some way? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jul 8 at 8:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ In your 2. point, you write "those created on others turns". They aren't created on other turns as they are already created when you cast the spell. You may try to reword your sentence to move "created" out and use something like "those expended on other turns". I might be nit-picking as it don't really break the meaning of the point. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Jul 8 at 9:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zoma In that sentence "those" refers to "explosions", which are created on later turns. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jul 8 at 9:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ho sorry, didn't noticed it, looks like I failed to read correctly this sentence, even after multiples time. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Jul 8 at 10:03
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As written, Sculpt Spells affects all saves against the spell

As you quote in your question, the School of Evocation wizard's Sculpt Spells feature says:

When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell's level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

At the very least, the Melf's minute meteors spell can affect other creatures when it is cast. (I'm unsure whether/how Sculpt Spells applies if no creature besides the wizard is affected at the moment the spell is cast; it could be ambiguously interpreted to work if the spell would affect another creature in the future.) If Sculpt Spells applies, then by RAW, the creatures you choose automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell - all of them.

However, it's meant to apply only on the turn the spell is cast

Rules designer Jeremy Crawford unofficially clarified how the feature's intended to work with evocation spells that have repeated saves in a June 2017 tweet:

Evo. wiz casts Storm Sphere and uses Sculpt Spell on ally in effect. Ally succeed on future saves while remaining in sphere?

Sculpt Spells is used the turn you cast a spell and is intended to affect only saves made that turn. But RAW, it works on all the saves

As the tweet states, by RAW, it works on every saving throw against the spell. However, the intent is apparently to apply only to saving throws made by creatures at the moment the spell is cast. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're playing an evocation wizard), this is not reflected in the text at all. All it says is that the ability is used when you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures you see, not that the benefit of the ability only applies at that moment.

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Sculpted for the whole duration

The spell is an evocation spell and it definitely affects other creatures so an evoked can use Sculpt Spells on it. This allows “chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.” It doesn’t impose a limit on how many saving throws that might be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you only allowed to choose creatures within the area of the first two meteors (the ones that are launched when you first cast the spell)? Or can you also choose creatures that won't be hit until later (and may never be hit at all)? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Jul 7 at 21:34
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You sculpt the spell at the time of casting, and your choice affects all the meteors for the duration.

The key issue here is how you interpret Sculpt Spell's "choose a number of them" language. Are you choosing creatures from among those affected by the spell, or do they just have to be creatures you can see?

For most spells, it doesn't matter, as you know which creatures are in the area of effect at the time you cast the spell, and you're not going to choose creatures that are outside the area. Melf's Minute Meteors is special in that you can choose areas of effect on subsequent turns. Hence the problem. If Sculpt Spell requires you to choose creatures that are affected by the spell, you don't yet know which ones are valid choices.

But this situation isn't actually unique to this spell. Consider something like Earth Tremor:

You cause a tremor in the ground within range. Each creature other than you in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone.

Strictly speaking, at the time you cast this spell, you don't know who's going to be affected. You know who's going to have to roll a save, and they'll be affected if they fail. If they make the save, the spell doesn't affect them, so you couldn't Sculpt them out of it. You don't know in advance which creatures these are, any more than you know in advance who's going to run into the blast radius of a Minute Meteor.

So the logically coherent way to interpret Sculpt Spell is that you can choose any creature you can see, and if the spell somehow ends up hitting it, it's protected.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You are wrong about earth tremor. It does affect all those creatures: it makes them roll a save. Also, you must choose sculpt targets before the save, as they will not roll it. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jul 8 at 0:23

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