The description of the tiefling racial feat Flames of Phlegethos states, in part (XGtE, p. 74-75):

  • When you roll fire damage for a spell you cast, you can reroll any roll of 1 on the fire damage dice, [...]
  • Whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage, you can cause flames to wreathe you until the end of your next turn. [...]

If a tiefling with the Flames of Phlegethos feat casts the dragon's breath spell (XGtE, p. 154) on an ally, do either/both of these benefits apply?

Judging by the answers to other Q&As about the interaction of Flames of Phlegethos with produce flame and with green-flame blade, I would assume that you can argue that the "cause flames to wreathe you" part of the feat either triggers when the spell is cast (casting a spell that deals fire damage at some point), or not at all (since the action to use it isn't you casting a spell).

As for rerolling the damage, best I could find was this Q&A about the feat's interaction with flame arrows, which I interpret as "Probably, but not definitely; check with your DM".


2 Answers 2


Regarding the rerolling of damage

For me, the caster is not rolling the damage, so it cannot be rerolled

When I run into dragon's breath I have whoever is using the effect roll its damage dice. Thus the caster would not be rolling these dice and they could not be rerolled.

If you cast this on yourself, I see no reason the feature wouldn't work. You would be rolling damage for a spell that you cast in the past.

A GM could easily rule otherwise.

Maybe you let the caster roll the fire damage for dragon's breath used on an ally or you simply ignore the fact that it says "when you roll damage". Either way, a GM is free to houserule or play the game out differently than I do.

Regarding the wreathing fire

For me, the dragon's breath spell is not a spell that deals fire damage when you cast it

This is going to be similar to the argument made in the following:

In that question the feature in question states:

When you cast a spell of 1st level or higher that restores hit points

Meanwhile, Flames of Phlegethos states:

Whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage

These are similar enough that I would use the first as evidence in ruling on the latter. And the extremely well upvoted answer to the first question states that the Blessed Healer feature does not work with spells that do not immediately heal and I would similarly conclude that Flames of Phlegethos does not work with spells that do not immediately deal damage.

Flames of Phlegethos triggers when you cast "a spell that deals fire damage", but we cannot actually know that this spell will deal fire damage when we cast it. Thus, this part of the feature does not trigger.

We can compare its wording to something like the Life Cleric's Disciple of Life feature:

Whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage

Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points

The first happens when you actually cast the spell and not when it happens to actually deal damage. Meanwhile, Disciple of Life triggers when it actually heals damage and not when you cast it.

GMs are free to rule otherwise and have done so regularly

A GM is well within their rights to rule otherwise, like Crawford does with a similarly worded feature, or people have in answers to the following:

Q. If a Storm Sorcerer casts Dragon's Breath and chooses lightning as the damage type, does that initial casting trigger the extra damage from "Heart of the Storm"?

A. Yes, dragon's breath can trigger Heart of the Storm if you pick lightning.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Different rulings abound for this one. We have multiple questions about this feature and spells that don't necessarily immediately deal fire damage, and its been ruled multiple ways. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2021 at 13:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The first portion of the feat does not say "when you cast". \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2021 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, but what about if the tiefling casts the spell on themself? Also, why did you reverse the order? I think that makes it more confusing. The features should be addressed in the same order they appear in the feat IMO. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2021 at 14:21

You can utilize both features of the Flames of Phlegethos feat when casting Dragon's Breath.

Thanks to the wonders of the modern English language, both parts of this feat can be read two different ways, but from context, I think we can suss out the correct reading.

When you roll fire damage for a spell you cast, you can reroll any roll of 1 on the fire damage dice, but you must use the new roll, even if it is another 1.

This can be correctly read as either "At the time you cast a spell, if it deals fire damage, you can reroll one of the damage dice" or as "Whenever a spell that you have cast deals fire damage, you can reroll one of those damage dice". I'm strongly inclined to believe that the second should be the correct reading, for the simple reason that if it was intended to only be useable at the time of casting, they would almost definitely have written it as "when you cast" rather than "when you roll damage".

There are two points of evidence that support this. Firstly, there are a number of fire spells that can deal damage on a turn other than when it was cast, Dragon's Breath of course, as well as Wall of Fire, Delayed Blast Fireball, and Flaming Sphere, to name a few.

The other reason is because the very next portion of the feat uses the exact language that would limit when the feat could be applied, "when you cast". While it's not a guarantee that this means that my interpretation is 100% correct, it does make the alternative highly unlikely.

This means that the first portion of the feat will trigger every time Dragon's Breath is activated, assuming that you are the one rolling the damage. As a technical note to that, I believe the correct person to be rolling damage is the person who Dragon's Breath was cast on, not the person who cast it.

The last portion of the feat is less problematically worded, but still a bit of a problem.

Whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage, you can cause flames to wreathe you until the end of your next turn. The flames don’t harm you or your possessions, and they shed bright light out to 30 feet and dim light for an additional 30 feet. While the flames are present, any creature within 5 feet of you that hits you with a melee attack takes 1d4 fire damage.

As mentioned above, this very explicitly does specify that it can only be done "when you cast". However, "that deals fire damage" can be read in two ways, either as "is currently dealing fire damage to someone" or as "has the capacity to deal fire damage to someone".

I believe the second reading to be the correct one in this case as well. Lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford has made comments in the past that that's how he would allow similar abilities (namely, the Storm Sorcerers' Heart of the Storm feature, which is nearly identically worded, except for the damage type) to be used in his games.

Further, if it was intended to only be used when casting and dealing damage, it would have been phrased something more like "Whenever you cast a spell and deal fire damage with it" which would explicitly limit the ability to only triggering when dealing damage at the same time the spell is cast.


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