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There are a number of spells with a range of "Self", and a number of spells with a range of "Self (XYZ)" where XYZ is some modifier.

Is the range of Self consistent between these two? Are the targeting rules different in each case? What is the difference between these two ranges?

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In an unofficial tweet from November 2020, Lead Rules Designer Jeremy Crawford stated the following:

A note about D&D spells with a range of "Self (XYZ)": the parenthetical—which says "5-foot radius," "15-foot cone," or something else—means you are the spell's point of origin, but you aren't necessarily its target. You're creating an effect that originates in your space.

That is how the designers intended such spells to work. How it works at your table is up to your table.

The relevant rules for this situation are probably the following, from the "Range" section of the Spellcasting chapter of the PHB/basic rules:

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Spells that create cones or lines of effect that originate from you also have a range of self, indicating that the origin point of the spell's effect must be you (see “Areas of Effect” later in the this chapter).


I personally do not want to address the various ramifications and interpretations of these terms as other questions already exist:

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is also detailed on p202 of the PHB under "Range". \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth After having read a lot of posts about targeting and range and people arguing in various directions. I have concluded that the rules are at best unclear on this, so I have left them out as they can be (and have been) interpreted in various ways \$\endgroup\$ Nov 12 '20 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since it's a hot issue right now, I think it would be worth addressing if there's a difference between how Range: Self and Range: Self (X-foot radius) interact with various abilities that increase range like the Spell Sniper feat, Battlemaster Fighter's Lunging Attack, Sorcerer's Distant Spell and Twinned Spell metamagic features. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Nov 12 '20 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara I do think those are better left in their own question, if not especially since each one has varying camps of belief so this would amount to an immense listing... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 12 '20 at 18:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Med That makes sense and I think that, in linking to the various related questions, you've handled the matter perfectly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Nov 12 '20 at 19:15
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The ranges "Self" and "Self (XYZ)" are different

The Player's Handbook (p202) gives us two definitions of the range of Self in the "Range" section of the Spellcasting chapter:

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Spells that create cones or lines of effect that originate from you also have a range of self, indicating that the origin point of the spell's effect must be you (see “Areas of Effect” later in the this chapter).

So, we have two definitions of Self, and since D&D 5e is governed by the "Specific vs. General" rule, both are valid:

  • "Self": means that the spell targets the caster
  • "Self (XYZ)": means that the spell is an area-of-effect spell, whose point of origin must be the caster

So, if a spell has a Range of "Self (XYZ)", the caster is not a target of the spell, unless the spell's description includes them as a targeted creature (by being affected by the spell).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 probably not, but it a salient example of "Self (XYZ)" spells that is topical, it was in related to the original wording of the Errata...or at least my recollection of it) which had both spells listed as "Self (5 feet)", which doesn't conform to either an area of effect, or the normal "Self" delimiter, potentially bringing in a 3rd category of "Self" style spells. However, as I grabbed the exact quotes, right at the end of writing the answer, the wording was different to my recollection from last night, and I just inserted the quote in. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ And if they'd just have called that "from self(XYZ)" we'd not have this confusion. 😯 Prepositions, For The Win! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 12 '20 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since it's a hot issue right now, I think it would be worth addressing if there's a difference between how Range: Self and Range: Self (X-foot radius) interact with various abilities that increase range like the Spell Sniper feat, Battlemaster Fighter's Lunging Attack, Sorcerer's Distant Spell and Twinned Spell metamagic features. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Nov 12 '20 at 18:25

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