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Is it possible to target 2 allies with the Warding Bond spell using the Sorcerer's Twinned Spell metamagic option?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I assume you would have access to warding bond via multiclassing? ...Or Divine Soul sorcerer subclass, come to think of it. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 19 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would it not be possible? Questions like this typically have an underlying ambiguity or uncertainty, and answers would need to address that to be more than a yes or no. \$\endgroup\$ – 40355 says Reinstate Monica Jul 19 at 23:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related but not a duplicate (due to Twinned Spell): Can you affect multiple targets with multiple Warding Bond casts? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 19 at 23:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Elvenis. You selected an answer pretty quickly. I'd recommend unselecting it and allowing more answers to be posted before deciding on one. We typically recommend waiting about a day to allow people from different time zones a chance to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jul 19 at 23:21
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No

It's arguable that you can't twin Warding Bond because it has two targets (the other creature and the caster), which means it's not eligible to be twinned. Even if you don't subscribe to this interpretation, the description of Warding Bond states that there is a material component:

a pair of platinum rings worth at least 50 gp each, which you and the target must wear for the duration

The second creature targeted would have to wear a ring or else the spell would end. Because it's the same spell with its effect extended to a second target, the entire spell would fail (meaning no one was protected).

But what if you had 3 or 4 rings? Unfortunately, the spell requires exactly 2. You're only casting one instance of the spell, so adding more rings does not allow you to target additional targets because the spell uses the first 2 rings and only those 2.

At the same time, consider that the rule for twinning a spell does not dictate that the material requirements for casting a twinned spell are doubled (ie, to allow you to use additional rings to maintain the spell):

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn't have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell

So, because Warding bond's material requirement does not say "at least 2 rings," additional rings would be extraneous to the material components and therefore of no benefit.

Thus, the would end as soon as it was cast because the third leg of the bond is not (and could not) wear a required ring.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not two pairs of two rings? The caster wearing two, and both of the targets wearing one? This way both copies would use only two rings. \$\endgroup\$ – John Stoneman Jul 20 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @John As I say in my answer: the material component for the spell is exactly 2 rings. Twinning doesn't allow or require extra material components for the extra target. Each cast uses 2 rings, so using 2 pairs would be 2 casts. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jul 20 at 18:08
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Warding Bond may or may not be compatible with Twinned Spell, the rules are somewhat ambiguous here

I personally don't think you can use Twinned Spell because Warding Bond has effects that apply to both the touched creature and to the spell's caster. From the spell description (in the basic rules, and online here):

While the target is within 60 feet of you, it gains a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws, and it has resistance to all damage. Also, each time it takes damage, you take the same amount of damage.

Twinned Spell can only effect spells that target a single creature. From the Sorcerer class features (in the basic rules, and here):

To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level.

Usually for this rule, the word "target" should be interpreted broadly to mean "has an effect on". So for example, a Fireball cannot be twinned because even though you only choose one target (a point in space), it effects any creature in the are of effect of its blast. Fireball is also unambiguously ineligible since the chosen target is a point in space rather than a creature, but even a spell like Ice Knife (that targets a single creature but then has further effects in an area) is no good.

Alas, the situation in this case is a bit more ambiguous, as a tweeted ruling by the game's creator, Jeremy Crawford for a related question suggests that the caster of Warding Bond should not count as a target:

Airatome118 @Airatome

@JeremyECrawford Can Warding Bond have multiple active casts if mats are fulfilled? 3 SETS of rings divided out = 3 ongoing separate spells?

Jeremy Crawford @JeremyECrawford

You can maintain warding bond on multiple creatures at once if you have a pair of the rings for each casting. #DnD

The normal reason to expect you couldn't cast Warding Bond multiple times if the caster was a target is that there's a clause in the spell rules saying when it ends early:

It also ends if the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures.

So if the caster was a target, they'd end the previous casting when they cast the spell again, since they're a target of both spells.

While Jeremy Crawford's tweets are not official rulings these days, given his interpretation, I'd expect him to say Twinned Spell should work too. Who knows how the material components should work in that case, as both the caster and the willing target need to wear a ring for the duration. Maybe you'd need three or four rings (with the caster possibly needing to wear two)?

It's a bit of a mess. Personally, if I was GM and had to interpret these rules for my own table, I'd not allow Warding Bond to be twinned. You'll likely need to ask your GM for a ruling for your game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a better answer than mine. I wish the OP hadn't chosen an answer so quickly :-/ \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jul 19 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I've read somewhere that a twinned spell casting is a single casting, which should invalidate your last argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Jul 20 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix: Correct. Twinned Spell changes the target of a spell (or rather, adds a target) - it's not a new casting. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 21 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix: Right, the spell's termination cause would only apply if you cast it two separate times. But Jeremy Crawford's ruling suggest it doesn't apply even then, which means that the caster shouldn't be considered a target of the spell. If the caster isn't a target, then the spell could be used with Twinned Spell. Frankly I think the ruling is wrong, and Jeremy Crawford was only thinking about the material components issue (that you would need separate pairs of rings for two or more simultaneous castings), and he didn't think about the termination clause when the caster gets targeted again. \$\endgroup\$ – Blckknght Jul 22 at 11:52
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No, because it targets two creatures.

Based on the extensive discussion Jeremy Crawford (the Sage in Sage Advice and official WotC rules guy) had in the January 19th, 2017 episode of the official DragonTalk podcast about spell targeting in general and twinning in specific, warding bond is not a valid spell for twinning.

When the Twinned Spell metamagic says "target", it does not just mean "in the target line of the spell", but rather "affect in any way". He was very clear on this point; spells like green-fire blade or ice knife -- which attack a single creature but then deal damage to another creature or a zone around that initial target -- are not valid for twinning because they have the capability to affect more than one creature. Based on this, you are indeed a target of your own warding bond, thus the spell targets two creatures and is not valid for twinning.

Podcast time codes:

  • 5:20 - Beginning of the Sage Advice segment
  • 10:20 - What do we mean when we say "target"?
  • 19:20 - Discussion of twinned spells begins
  • 28:30 - How twin works with spells that have secondary targets
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Yes, you will probably need a third ring though

In order for a spell to eligible for Twinned Spell1 it needs to only be able to target one creature:

Twinned Spell

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip).

To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level. For example, magic missile and scorching ray aren’t eligible, but ray of frost and chromatic orb are.

The description of warding bond includes (emphasis mine):

This spell wards a willing creature you touch and creates a mystic connection between you and the target until the spell ends.

So, warding bond has one target and is eligible for Twinned Spell. However, the material component of warding bond reads:

a pair of platinum rings worth at least 50 gp each, which you and target must wear for the duration

Now that the spell is twinned, there are two targets, both of whom need to wear a platinum ring for the duration. While it might be possible for the two targets to share one that sounds... impractical, and so a third platinum ring worth 50 gp seems like a reasonable requirement. As a final note, the range of Touch does require you to touch both targets, however you are free to use whatever appendage you like (feet, tentacle, trunk, etc.) to do so.


A counter argument might be made that the spell affects two creatures, and thus has two targets, however target is not a well defined game term (please take that argument elsewhere) and I would argue twinned spell has a single target by virtue of its own grammar referring to as "the target" as opposed "that target" or something similar.


1: If using the Player's Handbook (page 102), make sure to check the Errata.

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Twinned Spell:

When you Cast a Spell that Targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip).

Warding Bond:

This spell wards a willing creature you touch and creates a mystic connection between you and the target until the spell ends [...]

The spell ends if you drop to 0 hit points or if you and the target become separated by more than 60 feet. It also ends if the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures.

Verdict:

Note that Twinned Spell only selects a second target in range, it doesn't cast the spell again. As long as you are able to fulfill the requirements (touching targets, saying the spell, and using two platinum rings to cast), you could theoretically cast it on multiple targets.

Because you need each target (and yourself) to be wearing a ring, and you can only cast the spell with two rings (not three or four to make it work), with base rules it doesn't seem possible to correctly cast the spell. If you were to talk to your DM and work out the ring situation, then the spell could be cast "correctly" under house rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Twinned Spell adds an extra target to a single casting. It doesn't cast again, so I don't think the termination clause in the spell text would apply. \$\endgroup\$ – Blckknght Jul 19 at 23:07

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