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Can the flaming sphere spell be cast to have it initially appear 60 feet from you, then be moved 30 feet farther away on the following turn? In other words, can it be moved on subsequent turns outside its 60-foot range?

I was wondering whether the 60-foot range on flaming sphere is the max range it can ever be from you or only the max range you can cast it at (i.e. whether on subsequent turns you can move it even farther away).

The same question goes for moonbeam and other similar spells. I could not find a clear answer googling it, and asking my friends groups returned a split decision.

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Yes, flaming sphere can be moved outside the original range

PHB p. 203 (Casting a Spell; Range) states:

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren’t limited by its range, unless the spell’s description says otherwise.

Regarding the specific question about flaming sphere, since the spell does not specify any limits to its range after casting, it can therefore can be moved outside of the spell's original range.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I saw that but read it more along the lines of you cast Fireball at its max range of 150ft and when it explodes it does damage in a 20ft radius out to 170ft from it's point of origin. That's what I would think it means by "effects" whereas the flaming sphere doesn't feel like an "effect" of the spell but the whole spell in totality. \$\endgroup\$ May 1 '20 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't believe there is a distinction drawn between a spell and the effects of a spell as stated in the description. What is Fireball except for a fireball? If we consider spells like Blindness/Deafness that are ongoing debuffs with limited range it would be unfortunate if all the enemy needed to do was move more than 30ft away. \$\endgroup\$
    – user60913
    May 1 '20 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you're exactly right, there is no differentiation between casting a spell and the effect that spell then result in. And if that's true, then what @someone_evil posted from the PHB means you can indeed move it as far as you like. Thanks for chiming in! \$\endgroup\$ May 2 '20 at 1:34
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I don't think it is that clear and dry. I rule it on a spell by spell nature.

Blindness has a 30ft range - you target someone in range, if they fail the save the magic is transferred to the target and range is no longer an issue.

Fireball - the range is only for the point of impact and does not effect the explosion that occurs after the fireball impacts, thus if it impacts at 150ft range the explosion then reachs 170ft mark.

Flaming sphere - range 60ft, gives you a 120 diameter circle in which to control/maneuver the sphere, the sphere can not be sent out of that range, however if the sphere is at the edge of the range the 5ft radius of fire damage can extend to the 65ft mark. Since the magic is still tied to the person who cast the spell, the sphere cannot be made to go further away from the caster than the spells range, however the caster can walk further away from the sphere, in which case they lose control over the sphere. Now It is up to the DM at this point, but a couple things could happen;

  1. The sphere could just wink out as it is no longer close enough to the spellcaster for it to continue to receive magical energy.
  2. the sphere just stops where it is, the caster can't control it until they have returned to the proper range, of course the sphere continues to radiate fire damage during this time.
  3. my favorite, the sphere is now out of control and randomly moves 30 each round until the caster stop concentrating on it, or moves back within range of the spell an succeeds at a DC 12 arcana (intelligence) check (10 plus the spell level).

Just to note I have no real rational for #3 I just like it, and it have proven fun in my games.

I think its best to look at each spell and discuss the ruling with my players, both for their fun, and to ensure balance from a DM's point of view.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You've given a ruling, but no rationale for it. What is your reasoning for not allowing the Flaming Sphere to move more than 60 feet from the caster? What happens if the caster walks away (or is forcibly moved away) from the sphere? \$\endgroup\$ May 20 at 22:20

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