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For reference, Moonbeam:

When a creature enters the spell's area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it is engulfed in ghostly flames that cause searing pain, and it must make a Constitution saving throw. It takes 2d10 radiant damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Bob casts Moonbeam on an area occupied by an enemy on his turn. Then it's Chanel's turn. Chanel grapples said enemy successfully and moves the grappled opponent, first moving them out of the Moonbeam area and then back in. Does this count as "entering the area for the first time on a turn" for the damage? Certainly the enemy has not entered the area of the spell during the same turn before, but the enemy was in the area of the spell during the turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I’ve closed this as a duplicate since it has been asked before. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Question linked doesn't seem to answer this question at all? This one seems to be specifically about whether moving the creature out and then back in counts as "entering for the first time". The other question deals entirely with Moonbeam's interaction with the grappler. Maybe I'm missing something? \$\endgroup\$
    – smbailey
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 23:32

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Moonbeam triggers on entering or starting the turn in the area

If you move a creature out of the area and back in, it is entering the area for the first time that turn and will take damage. So yes, you can use this method to damage them.

There is no sentence that states you can not have been in the area before when it comes to entering. After you moved them back in, they then will likely take damage another time at the start of their own turn.

I think this is not overpowered -- you are using your action to grapple them, which can fail, for a chance to deal 2d10 damage to them, instead of directly attacking them. At least in tier 2, an attack with your primary weapon is likely going to deal a similar amount of damage.

The Sage Advice Compendium has some additional language, although it does not directly adress your point:

Entering such an area of effect needn’t be voluntary, unless a spell says otherwise. You can, therefore, hurl a creature into the area with a spell like thunderwave. We consider that clever play, not an imbalance, so hurl away! Keep in mind, however, that a creature is subjected to such an area of effect only the first time it enters the area on a turn. You can’t move a creature in and out of it to damage it over and over again on the same turn.
In summary, a spell like moonbeam affects a creature when the creature passes into the spell’s area of effect and when the creature starts its turn there.


P.S. Note that the rule for Grappling (page 195 PHB) says:

Moving a Grappled Creature. When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

Drag is defined in the dictionary as

pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty.

So you cannot push them in front of you, you need to pull them after you, or you would need to be strong enough to carry them. If you pull them (and possibly even if you carry them), it may be that your DM will rule you need to enter the area yourself to move them there, thereby also taking the damage yourself (although, dragging them sideways along may work).

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