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I’m playing an artificer for the first time and trying to decide whether or not to use an infusion for the homunculus servant. But I’m wondering about the channel magic ability. It says

The homunculus delivers a spell you cast that has a range of touch.

I’d like to know if I can use a spell with a range of self in place of a spell with a range of touch.

As far as I understand it, broader ranges are inclusive of smaller ranges, so if you can cast a spell at sixty feet, you can also cast it at fifteen feet because fifteen feet is closer than sixty feet. And if you can cast it at a distance of touch you can cast it on yourself, because you are closer than the furthest thing you can touch.

Can the same reasoning that applies to the effect of the spell apply to the ability to cast the spell?

Question to answer: if a creature has the ability to cast a spell at a range of touch, is there any reason why it would not have the ability to cast a spell with a range of self? If the DM allows this, would it cause any problems, or are there any spells that would be overpowered or have unreasonable side-effects if a homunculus could cast spells centered on itself?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What spell with a range of self were you expecting to want to have the homunculus deliver? \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Feb 6 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ My armorer uses sword burst. But if that can't be cast through the homunculus servant, then I'd switch to something like shocking grasp, which is a perfectly good spell but doesn't quite fit the tactics I've been using. \$\endgroup\$
    – AreToo
    Feb 8 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ sword burst if the homunculus could cast it effectively turns the spell into a re-useable grenade instead of having to really put the character out there and minimize having allies next to them. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Feb 8 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's just a 1d6 grenade though, it seems like a waste when you could keep it back from the front line and cast force strike repeatedly. I see your point, but honestly, my armorer is much more resilient than the homunculus. In most circumstances, I think I'd be more likely to put myself in harm's way and keep the homunculus in relative safety. \$\endgroup\$
    – AreToo
    Feb 8 at 15:58
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Touch and Self are entirely separate ranges for spells

The section on "Range" states:

[...] 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. [...]

The ranges are entirely separate, and though spells with a range of touch can be cast on yourself (in most cases; some spells may require that they be cast on a creature other than yourself), this does not give them a range of Self.


In all honesty, I can't find any truly definitive way of showcasing that Touch range spells are not also Self range spells other than the fact that the rules never explicitly make such a claim and that this is the conclusion I have seen most people come to. That said, ruling otherwise as a houserule would probably effect some features in unintended ways such as the Sorcerer's Twinned Spell Metamagic feature no longer working with Touch range spells:

[...] 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). [...]

This feature does work with spells with a range of Touch, and only doesn't work with spells with a range of Self.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The twinned spell comparison is interesting. Although, it seems like the limitation on twinning is more logical than mechanical. You don't have two selves, so how could you target two creatures if the range is self? \$\endgroup\$
    – AreToo
    Feb 6 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AreToo But you can target two creatures within reach, which you wouldn't be allowed to do with the houserule that "Touch range spells are also range Self". There's probably other features that impact Touch range spells in particular, but it'll be a while before I can look for more. Note also that I'm not saying Touch range spells can't be cast on yourself, they usually can, they just don't have the range of Self \$\endgroup\$
    – Medix2
    Feb 6 at 20:51
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Allowing self spells to be considered touch spells would be unbalancing.

Spell casters are already very versatile and powerful characters. The downside is often the risk of exposure to melee combat. Increasing the versatility of the self range spells and decreasing the risk to the caster would allow the character to outshine others.

Improves the uses of cantrips

Increases the range for cantrips like produce flame and lightning lure as the humunculus could be 120 feet away from the artificer. In the case of lightning lure it also allows the caster to avoid pulling the opponent toward themselves.

It would make the sword burst cantrip much nastier as the caster could us it without putting themselves in melee range of enemies. If the homunculus could cast it effectively turns the spell into a re-useable grenade.

Taking a level(s) of Wizard opens up the use of a lot of spells via scrolls.

Many of the self ranged spells are powerful as they have to originate from the caster, and the caster has to put themselves in harms way to use them optimally. Allowing the homunculus to take the risk would be a great boon to the caster.

Many self buffs would also benefit the homunculus allowing to to soak up some of the opponent's action economy. E.g. mirror image makes the homnuculus difficult to hit. Combined with damaging spells, it also make them difficult to ignore.

Using the homunculus as the point of origin increase the versatility of spells and greatly decreases the danger to the caster. Examples include:

  • Gust of Wind wouldn't have to blow things away from the caster.
  • Thuderwave without risking being near enemies.
  • Burning hands gains range and angles of attack.
  • Lightning Bolt has more options for lines of effect.
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you could finish this thought ... Spells like booming blame or green flame blade wouldn't make sense, but if they were permitted, it \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a difference between a spell with a Range of Self and a Range of Self (XYZ). The former is a spell that can only target the caster; the latter is a spell with an area of effect of XYZ and which originates from the caster. An effect that effects spells with a Range of Self would effect the former, but not the latter. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Feb 7 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 eyebite and dream are examples of spells with range of self that target other creatures. I can't find references in the text supporting Self (XYZ) a separate range category. The closest I found is "a spell that can target yourself" as a condition of contingency \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Feb 7 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @glc if you check the top comment or the range section! however, the eyebite and dream spells are definitely interesting! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ayden s
    Feb 8 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aydens you mean the range section of rules? It says the cones etc "also have a range of self..." which seems to state they're range self spells not some other range category. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Feb 8 at 16:21
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if a creature has the ability to cast a spell at a range of touch, is there any reason why it would not have the ability to cast a spell with a range of self?

The homonculus delivers a spell you cast...

(emphasis mine). The homonculus is not a caster: it's just a delivery mechanism (like your hand) for touch spells. The caster is always "you" ... so spells with a range of "self" affect the thing casting the spell ("you" per this text).

A familar has a similar ability ( https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Find%20Familiar#content ) but I could find no reference where a familiar could deliver anything but touch spells .

Here's an example where "self" has a "special" category, that's different from anything else:

Can my sorcerer use Twinned Spell to affect a particular spell?

You can use Twinned Spell on a spell that ...

  • targets only one creature
  • doesn’t have a range of self
  • is incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level

Emphasis mine, source https://media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is interesting. Thematically, the delivery mechanism thing is helpful. If you think of the homunculus like a third hand (sort of) then it would make sense that a touch spell would occur at the homunculus's location, but a self spell would still be centered at the caster's location. On the other hand, thinking this way, range spells would still work (but would be overly powerful). \$\endgroup\$
    – AreToo
    Feb 8 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ But range spells would not work, as it specifically says, "The homunculus delivers a spell you cast that has a range of touch." And the "third hand" idea is pretty much what I read from it -- but only for touch spells. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joe Marley
    Feb 12 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure. I meant that thematically, range spells would make sense with this reasoning. Obviously, the rules don't allow for range spells to be cast in this way. \$\endgroup\$
    – AreToo
    Feb 13 at 17:13

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