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Eddy the mage is facing 3 Azors, which are 15, 25 and 10 ft far away from him. Azors have the special trait Heated Body (emphasis mine):

Heated Body. A creature that touches the azer or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 5 (1d10) fire damage.

Eddy casts Steel Wind Strike (emphasis mine):

You flourish the weapon used in the casting and then vanish to strike like the wind. Choose up to five creatures you can see within range. Make a melee spell attack against each target. On a hit, a target takes 6d10 force damage.

You can then teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 5 feet of one of the targets you hit or missed.

hits all of them, and he does not teleport from his current position.

Since a melee spell attack is a melee attack, does Eddy take the fire damage given by the Heated Body trait? Is he considered to be within 5 feet during each attack?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This one is highly related rpg.stackexchange.com/q/134984/63061: not completely a dupe, because my question regards a different game mechanics, but I do believe that the accepted answer could refer also to this context. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Feb 28 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I hate this spell. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Yeah, it is a complicated relationship! As a player, this is a (too much?) powerful spell, as a DM its poor wording requires a lot of interpretation and improvisation... \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Mar 1 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ The spell actually fits perfectly within the guidelines outlined in the Dungeon Master's Guide about creating spells (page 283): 33 average damage against the recommended 35. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1 at 0:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage Successful save OR misssed attack are the equivalent. Read more carefully: "The table assumes the spell deals half damage on a successful saving throw or a missed attack.". The follow up sentence only mentions successful save to make it short, otherwise there are several spells that are ridiculously overtuned just because of having an attack roll. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1 at 10:15
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Steel Wind Strike does not trigger the Heated Body trait of the azer(s).

The Heated Body trait activates when (emphasis mine)

A creature that touches the azer or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it

The spell steel wind strike does not move the caster close to each target: the (melee) spell attacks simply happen when the spell is being cast. The spell proceeds by saying that the caster can then (only after having resolved the attacks) teleport within 5 feet of one of the targeted creatures. The Heated Body trait is not retroactive: the caster was not within 5 feet of the azer when making the attack.

If the caster were to be within 5 feet of one or more of those azers when casting the spell, the situation is different: the caster would already be within 5 feet of the azer when making the melee attack, thus activating both conditional clauses in the azer's Heated Body trait.

Unless the spell's intention was to prevent this scenario completely by saying "and then vanish". There's nothing in the rules telling us what this means, so it might just make you immune to the Heated Body trait from the last example I made.


As a footnote: melee attacks, with spells or weapons, do not entail having to be within 5 feet of the target. There are other spells that can make you roll a melee attack from farther away than 5 feet, amongst which spiritual weapon and thorn whip. Likewise, weapons with the reach property allow for melee attacks from a safe distance against azers or other creatures with a similar trait to Heated Body.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The vanish part is indeed the most problematic text in the spell description. Here there is a very interesting (and still open) discussion about it: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/176830/63061 \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Mar 1 at 10:46

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