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If a character had levels in both Sorcerer and Cleric, and had the Twinned Spell Metamagic ability and the Death domain Reaper ability, would they be able to use twinned spell if one of their intended targets was within 5' of another creature who was not an intended target?

I believe this is a different question from Can I twin cast a cantrip used with reaper from the death domain? and Can the sorcerer's Twinned Spell metamagic and the Enchantment wizard's Split Enchantment feature be used at the same time? as it is not asking about targeting 3 or more creatures, I am asking if Twinned Spell can be used to target two creatures more than 5' away from each other if there is a third creature that the Reaper ability could target even though the caster does not want to.

The abilities:

Twinned Spell 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). (PHB p.102)

Reaper At 1st level, you learn one necromancy cantrip of your choice from any spell list. When you cast a necromancy cantrip that normally targets only one creature, the spell can instead target two creatures within range and within 5 feet of each other. (DMP p.96)

Take the situation below, where CS is the cleric/sorcerer, dashes are empty squares, and T1 to T3 are potential targets.

CS - - - - T1 T2 - - T3

The Cleric wants to target T1 and T3 with a Twinned Chill Touch cantrip. Does the existence of T2 5' away from T1 and the Cleric's Reaper ability preclude this use of Twinned Spell, as the Reaper ability modifies the spell so "the spell can instead target two creatures within range and within 5 feet of each other"?

Does the fact that it can target two creatures because of the Reaper ability mean that twinned spell will not work?

Additional points of interest: Is the Reaper ability "always on"? Can the character choose not to use it, as the Reaper description uses the word "can" which might be read to imply choice?

Finally a further note about the intent of the question: it is about whether in this specific case having the Reaper ability is actually detrimental to the character, limiting their use of the Twinned Spell metamagic ability, not about trying to use both at the same time, which has already been discussed elsewhere as noted above.

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Rules as written, Reaper will disqualify cantrips that would be otherwise eligible for Twinned Spell.

Twinned Spell’s eligibility condition is based on a spell’s potential for targeting more than one creature:

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self

This is given an official rules clarification in the Sage Advice Compendium:

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

Normally, chill touch would be eligible for Twinned Spell, but having the Reaper feature means chill touch is disqualified according to the third bullet above. Having the Reaper feature means that chill touch is capable of targeting more than one creature, and so would be ineligible for Twinned Spell.

Multiclassing interactions often need patching.

There are too many classes and subclasses in the game for the developers to have considered all the possible combinations, so it is not uncommon for multiclassed characters to have features that interact in strange or undesirable ways. This is one of those ways. It would not be an issue for a DM to ignore this rule in the particular instance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it worth explicitly noting that a DM may of course find this silly and ignore the interaction, as the ability to twin a spell shouldn't prevent you from twinning a spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Jul 6 at 10:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also may be worth adding that the third bullet canonically (ie. SAC IIRC) covers the caster's level giving the spell extra targets, most notably for the eldritch blast case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Jul 6 at 10:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a source for the statement "The classes and subclasses in this game were not designed with multiclassing in mind"? I know the designers have said explicitly that Unearthed Arcana material typically isn't balanced for multiclassing, but my impression was that by the time new classes and subclasses are released in official expansions, they have had multiclassing considered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jul 6 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq I'll dial back that statement a bit. It's not that the developers have stated that things aren't tuned for multiclassing, so much as it is that my observations have led me to determine it. There are just too many combinations to have considered all of them, that multiclassing almost always has a glitch somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 6 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov the title of the answer has the words "can disqualify" rather than "will disqualify", which implies there may be circumstances when it doesn't, a similar issue as with the description of the Reaper ability which also uses the word "can" implying that sometimes it might not. Later in your answer you are more definite. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Jul 6 at 15:34

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