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I own both the English and German version of the D&D 5e Player's Handbook. On pages 204 and 205 it talks about area of effect spells and whether or not the point of origin is included in it.

The English PHB states:

A [cone,cube,line]'s point of origin is not included in the [cone,cube,line]'s area of effect, unless you decide otherwise.

and

A [cylinder,sphere]'s point of origin is included in the [cylinder,sphere]'s area of effect.

While the English version differentiated between two types of point of origin, the German version states the same sentence for all 5 types. Which is a translation of the sentence used in the English version for the cone, cube and line.

Der Ursprungspunkt [des/der] [Kegels,Linie,Sphäre,Würfels,Zylinders] ist nicht Teil [seines/ihres] Flächeneffekts, es sei denn, du möchtest, dass er es ist.

Both the Basic Rules PDF and the System Reference Document use the same wording as the English PHB.

My English PHB says its version is:

Tenth Printing: October 2018.

While my German one says:

  1. überarbeitete Auflage, 2019

Is this a mistake in the translated version? If so, who can I report this too?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is obviously to show that casters using German as their arcane language have a greater degree of control over the shape of their spells ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Sep 23 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 23 at 23:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 I assume German casters can also communicate more information using Sending within the 25-word limit. \$\endgroup\$ – user37158 Sep 24 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related, asking about reporting printing errors in another book: Where should I report printing errors in Xanathar's Guide to Everything? \$\endgroup\$ – user37158 Sep 25 at 16:03
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That does appear to be a mistake. A line/cube/cone's origination point is defined to be on the exterior surface of it (at the end point of the line, the tip of the cone, or anywhere on a cube face), so it makes sense that the effect could include the point or not; but a cylinder or sphere's point of origin is by definition inside the area, so it doesn't make much sense to be able to not include that point.

Realistically, it probably doesn't matter; even if the exact origin point is excluded, the effect still hits the square the point was in, so it's not like this change would allow you to avoid the effect. Setting off a fireball at the tip of your finger and excluding your fingertip won't save the rest of your body.

As far as where to report it, I would probably look for a customer service form on the D&D website, but you could also tweet this to Jeremy Crawford.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't a cylinder's point of origin be on the exterior surface of the area as well? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 23 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Depends on if the point of origin is considered to be the base or the center. \$\endgroup\$ – Suthek Sep 24 at 10:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ "it's not like this change would allow you to avoid the effect" IIRC there was some discussion as to whether or not you could set off 15-foot-cube effects to hit the squares around the caster without hitting said caster a while back. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Sep 24 at 11:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 If you include your space in a cube, you are affected by the cube. Including or excluding the point of origin only really has an effect when the point of origin is part of your body, so you can choose to include yourself in the effect without being inside the actual area. Most of the time you won't want to include yourself in a cone/cube/line spell, so I mostly just see this as a way to future-proof against some possible future cone-shaped buff wave or the once in a blue moon when you really need to cause yourself some thunder damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Sep 24 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Suthek: Per the description of cylinder AoEs: "The energy in a cylinder expands in straight lines from the point of origin to the perimeter of the circle, forming the base of the cylinder. The spell's effect then shoots up from the base or down from the top, to a distance equal to the height of the cylinder." The point of origin is the center of the circle either at the top or bottom of the cylinder. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 24 at 18:31
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Sometimes the translated versions of books contains corrections to the rules or are just mistakes, I had such things in Rolemaster and Warhammer FRPG 2nd Edition and other systems.

In most cases we use the original English version, except when it is illogical.

In this case I would use the English version, it seems more logical to me that a cone's origin is not included, but within a cube it is (which is normally the center).

Just for the topic opener: Auf Deutsch zu antworten wäre mir leichter gefallen. :D Hoffe es ist verständlich was ich meinte. ;)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's probably the route I should take. In doubt always use the english version. \$\endgroup\$ – TreeSpawned Sep 24 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 25 at 5:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TreeSpawned i wanted to say: "in doubt, use your common sense." aka gesunder Menschenverstand :-) As mention in my answer the english version isn't always correct or logical though the german or other translation. Both could contain the corrected version, but in your particular case, I would use the more logical english version instead of the german translation. \$\endgroup\$ – Mirko Sep 30 at 6:48

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