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At 2nd level, a Wizard of the Evocation School gains the Sculpt Spells feature (PHB p 117).

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.

By RAW, it seems as if evocation wizards are unable to protect themselves against fireballs they cast in their space even if they can protect their nearby friends. These seems to go against the flavor of the spell sculpting feature.

In the Adventurers League FAQ (v8.2), it says:

Sage Advice/Twitter. Sage Advice (SA) and tweets from the Wizards of the Coast staff are a great barometer for the ‘rules-as-intended’, in any case. Whether or not your DM chooses to utilize them for rules adjudication in is at their discretion; as always, the DM remains the final arbiter of rule disputes.

That seems to allow for a little discretion on the part of an AL DM to weigh Sage Advice against the RAW.

With this tweet from Mike Mearls, along with any other evidence and logic that can be added, how should an AL DM should rule on this?

Question: An evocator wizard using Sculpt Spell can be one the creatures who automatically succeed on their saving throws?

Mike Mearls: Yes - effect applies to creatures you can see, so you can apply it to yourself.


I understand the RAW in the PHB. It's very clear. I am asking how an AL DM should resolve this RAW vs this designer tweet in light of the AL FAQ which says that such tweets help indicate designer intent. Is it clear in this case that an AL DM should rule one way or the other, or does an AL DM have enough flexibility to define the ruling how they would like?

This question about whether JC's tweets are still official may be relevant to my question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, Sage Advice is a document that WoTC 'publishes' online and is separate from the tweets that the designers send. Crawford's tweets used to carry weight as 'official' (and was the only designer who had that), but they have rescinded that and now it's just the document. Sageadvice.eu is a website operated by a third party who consolidates their tweets and has no relation to WoTC or their published Sage Advice. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 29 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related on What is the purpose of the Evocation wizard's Sculpt Spells feature?. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 29 at 15:18
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There's nothing in the text that suggests that the intention was for the Evocation Wizard to be able to include himself.

As you pointed out, the Sculpt Spells feature reads (emphasis mine):

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.

There is no ambiguity here. Both RAW and RAI, the Evocation Wizard cannot apply the feature to himself. Mearls was answering for how he would treat the feature at his table, not how it was intended to work normally (or at least, if that was his intention, he was mistaken in his interpretation of the text).

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown I'm sorry you feel the answer is incomplete, but I'm not sure exactly what kind of support you'd like. Based on the ALFAQ you quoted, designer tweets can act as a barometer for RAI, and according to Crawford RAI is to be applied in the case of rules ambiguities. There doesn't seem to be any ambiguity in the Sculpt Spells text, so an AL DM should not be turning to designers' tweets to understand how to rule on the feature. \$\endgroup\$ – Cacse Aug 29 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. (I've moved all the chat-only messages over from the other room to this one, but due to timestamp weirdness they'll actually appear above all the existing comments in that one. Sorry for the inconvenience.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 at 22:17
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Sage Advice/Twitter. Sage Advice (SA) and tweets from the Wizards of the Coast staff are a great barometer for the ‘rules-as-intended’, in any case. Whether or not your DM chooses to utilize them for rules adjudication in is at their discretion; as always, the DM remains the final arbiter of rule disputes.

The bold in the above quote should answer your question. Sage Advice tweets are always considered valid rulings, but it is up to each DM's discretion. If it were myself DMing, I would absolutely allow spell sculpt to prevent the wizard from targeting itself, because there doesn't seem to be any logical reason to me why it would not be allowed. If I, as a player, attempted to do it and the DM said it wasn't permitted, I would mention the Sage Advice ruling but if the DM insisted on RAW, I would respect their ruling.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain what you mean by "valid rulings"? As you later highlight, any DM ruling is a valid ruling (whether it's by Mearls, Perkins, Crawford, or me.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 30 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. There are no such things as "Sage Advice tweets". Tweets by designers are not "Sage Advice"; that's just the name of a third-party website that chooses to compile them. (Also, as of the 2019 Sage Advice Compendium; the only official rulings appear in the SAC; tweets are just unofficial guidance.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 at 22:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch it absolutely doesn't. It states that the DM is the final arbiter of rules disputes. AL has numerous rules which all DMs are expected to agree to. The quoted text says that official tweets are always considered valid interpretations when there is uncertainty about the rules. That doesn't mean AL DMs have unlimited power to fiat, as they would in home games - they in fact do not. \$\endgroup\$ – Hugh O'Mahony Sep 2 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ For non-rule based rulings, yes they do have that ability. The tweets and SA by WoTC staff are purely just as "barometer", nothing more. Not everything is covered by 5e, and in those cases, AL DMs are expected to rule to the best of their ability, but they are the final arbiter of rule disputes. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 2 at 18:44

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