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In the Swarmkeeper ranger's 3rd-level feature Gathered Swarm, one of the possible effects after you hit a creature with an attack on your turn is:

The attack’s target must succeed on a Strength saving throw against your spell save DC or be moved by the swarm up to 15 feet horizontally in a direction of your choice.

Now, a Moon Sickle gives you:

a bonus to [...] the spell saving throw DCs of your [...] ranger spells.

Does the Moon Sickle also increase the DC for the Gathered Swarm feature?

As far as I understand, the Moon Sickle either (a) increases the ranger spell save DC (and thus applies to Gathered Swarm, too) – or (b) it only increases the DC for every ranger spell (and thus does not apply to Gathered Swarm).

However, if I equip the Moon Sickle on D&D Beyond, my ranger spell save DC increases, but the DC of Gathered Swarm does not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Other non-spell things that use druid/ranger spell save DC include Wildfire druid's summon wildfire spirit and fiery teleportation, Spores druid halo of spores, and Land druid nature's sanctuary. Also rangers: Fey Wanderer's beguiling twist, Drakewarden's drake's breath weapon, and Monster Slayer: magic-user's nemesis. Hopefully that'll help people searching on those find this question. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2023 at 13:17

2 Answers 2

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Gathered Swarm is not a ranger spell.

Moon sickle states:

you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and the saving throw DCs of your druid and ranger spells

Gathered Swarm is not a ranger spell, so it is unaffected by Moon Sickle’s effect.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the key is that it's "DCs", plural, meaning it's not referring to your spell save DC stat but rather affecting the DC of each spell you cast. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2023 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good catch, the plural does indeed make the difference! \$\endgroup\$
    – Pumpkinjo
    Jul 17, 2023 at 8:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pumpkinjo Because Spell Save DC is a statistic that exists independently of spells, the inclusion of “of your druid or ranger spells” specifically limits the application of the bonus to those particular uses of spell save DC. If the feature was meant to increase spell save DC for all purposes, it would just say you “you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and your spell save DC” without specifying that it was for spells specifically. The plural “DCs” isnt doing any of the lifting here. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2023 at 9:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think if it wasn't plural, you could argue that "the DC of your [class] spells" literally means your spell save DC stat. At the very least, it would be a lot more ambiguous. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2023 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ You say "Gathered Swarm is not a ranger spell". The answer might be more clear if you also said what it was. For example, your concluding sentence might become: "Gathered Swarm is not a ranger spell, it is instead a subclass feature. Thus it is is unaffected by Moon Sickle’s effect." \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:19
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Two Ways of saying the Same Thing

"your [ranger] spell save DC" and "the DC of your ranger spells" are two ways to state the same thing.

If you look at the Ranger (or other class) Spellcasting Ability:

In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

The "Spell save DC" and "Spell attack modifier" entries are just meant to record this in a simplified form.

Without good reason, you should never read a difference between the same thing stated slightly differently in 5e. There are only a few cases where doing so causes problems, and this is not one of them.

What more, this distinction would be annoying to use in actual play.

The use of "DCs" in the item description can be read to mean "ranger spell DC" and "druid spell DC", together forming 2 different DCs.

Now, while you deleted it in your paraphrasing:

you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and the saving throw DCs of your druid and ranger spells

is different than

you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and the saving throw DCs of your [...] ranger spells

Now, it would be perfectly mechanically valid for something to modify the DC of an individual spell while not modifying the general DC, or even (in theory) the DC of each and every individual spell while not modifying the general DC, but reading this ability as doing that is jumping through hoops and adding complications when none is needed here.

Keep it simple:

You have a ranger spell DC. Possibly you have a druid spell DC. The Sickle increases (both of) them (or one if you only have one). The ability refers back to your ranger spell DC.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I like your reasoning and would decide the same way as a DM, I do think that there are various cases in 5e where keeping it simple would've been the better solution, but it's just not RAW nor RAI (e.g., See Invisibility not removing the benefits from being invisible). Therefore, it being the simple solution is no indicator what is RAW or RAI unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pumpkinjo
    Jul 18, 2023 at 5:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pumpkinjo rpg.stackexchange.com/a/135042/8217 - the RAI of 5e is to read it in plain English. "Your ranger spell DC" and "the DC of your ranger spells" refer to the same thing in plain English. There is no rule in 5e that states the Ranger spell DC is not plain English. "Unless the rules explicitly expand, narrow, or completely redefine a word, that word retains the meaning it has in idiomatic English." "Reunification through Common Understanding" - treating those two phrases as different is the exact opposte if "common understanding". \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jul 18, 2023 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pumpkinjo Now, I agree that we should check when we see different wording. But how we should check (a) are there examples where the wording is used for clearly different purposes? (no) (b) what are the gameplay impacts of treating the different wording as different/the same. Here, the gameplay impact of treating it differently is "your character has two different save DCs". Treating it the same, "a niche subclass ability is slightly harder to resist; it never becomes harder to resist than a simple spell, however". (c) Is there any developer indication they should be read differently? (no) \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jul 18, 2023 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ For (a), there is an indication: In the wording of Arcane Grimoire, it says "saving throw DCs of your wizard spells". If there was only one such DC (namely THE spell save DC), why do they use plural here? Similarly, the wording of Amulet of the Devout doesn't even refer to any class, only to spell DCs, and since these items are in one category, why should they intend them to function differently with regards to the classes' spell save DC? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pumpkinjo
    Jul 19, 2023 at 4:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pumpkinjo I don't disagree that it is theoretically possible for some of your wizard spells to have different DCs than others. So using plural there is correct English grammar; nothing more. But when in practice they all have the same DC, distinguishing between "the DCs of your Wizard spells" and "Wizard spell save DC" is seeing a difference when none need exist. Read the rules as simple and clear unless there is a clear need to make them complex (such as, arguably, in the "attack" wording; I fully expect D&DOne to clear that wording up). \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jul 19, 2023 at 13:48

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