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Can an evocation wizard's sculpt spell ability allow for an automatic safe use of throwing a delayed blast fireball bead?

Delayed blast fireball:

A beam of yellow light flashes from your pointing finger, then condenses to linger at a chosen point within range as a glowing bead for the duration. [...] If the glowing bead is touched before the interval has expired, the creature touching it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the spell ends immediately, causing the bead to erupt in flame. On a successful save, the creature can throw the bead up to 40 feet.

Sculpt spells:

When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ BTW, this also applies to sorcerer Careful Spell metamagic, which also allows chosen creatures to automatically succeed on their save. Similar wording without the no-damage provision: A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell. (The singular instead of plural saving throw wording introduces some doubt about what would happen if they're still in the area after throwing it.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 9 at 4:38

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Excellent question. With a successful save after touching (which Sculpt Spell automatically grants), the only change is that the bead will detonate when it strikes a creature or a solid object after you throw it. So just touching with a successful save doesn't trigger a premature detonation.

However, there is nothing in the spell about being able to move the glowing bead in any way other than by throwing it.

So you can stand there touching the bead all you want, and eventually throw it, but you can't actually grab and hold it for later.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Using that logic, wouldn't you be able to stand on top of the bead in order to reach something you otherwise couldn't? RAW, though, your explanation makes sense \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 8 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jasper that's a separate question, though I'm not it's a necessary one. I've always perceived the bead being the size of a marble, so the manner you're using the bead would be more easily handled by standing on your tiptoes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 8 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ To throw the bead I would think you would have to pick it up. Thus it feels to me that holding is implicit. The wording sounds like it's meant to put risk in a target throwing it back, not to deter doing something with it before detonation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 9 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical It would be a different question if I actually wanted to know that. If, instead, I was pointing out the consequences of the logic used in this answer, it wouldn't be a question, but it would be a comment on this answer... (as for the usefulness, the bead lingers wherever you target it, which doesn't have to be on the floor as far as I can tell) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 10 at 23:18
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Sculpt spell allows to safely pick up the bead.

You quoted the relevant part of the Sculpt Spells feature (emphasis mine):

The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

For picking up the bead without triggering the explosion, a creature must make a DEX saving throw. If they have been chosen at casting time as targets of Sculpt Spells from the same caster that cast Delayed Blast Fireball, then the DEX ST automatically succeeds.

Beware that if the original caster lose concentration (due to receiving damage, for example) while someone is carrying the bead, then another DEX ST is triggered for the explosion: anyway, the bead bearer (and possible other creatures) is safe, indeed this latter ST is again successful and they receive no damage, due to Sculpt Spells feature.


Do I succeed on all saving throws required by the spell?

Let me quote again the description of Sculpt Spells:

The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

Note the plural: this is read as all the saving throws triggered by the spell automatically successful.

A more strict reading may suggest that the plural refer to saving throws of the creatures, meaning a saving throw for each creature: but this leads to a complicated ruling, since one (the caster or the target of the feature) should choose which ST have success to and take trace of it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, Sculpt Spell is only supposed to work on the turn the spell was cast, but Jeremy Crawford admits that that wording didn't make it into the final text: sageadvice.eu/… - I'm not sure I'd take the plural use of "chosen creatures" with "saving throws" to mean what you say it does, in light of Crawford's tweet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Commented Mar 8 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelW. JC's tweets are not official anymore, since several years now. Anyway, he admits that works on all the saves. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Mar 8 at 22:52
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Sculpt Spell wouldn't help with the saving throw for touching the delayed fireball bead, but it would prevent all damage from the explosion on a failed save.

I'm saying this because Sculpt Spell allows a wizard to "create pockets of relative safety within the effects of [their] evocation spells". That gets left out in most places since, I assume, people think it's flavor text. But D&D5e doesn't have flavor text. Sculpting the flames or ice around certain characters is the entire thing the ability does. The part about auto-saves doesn't seem to be in addition, it seems more like clarifying how the pockets work. Sculpt Spell:

[...]you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell[...]

To me that reads that the choosing part is choosing creatures to sculpt the area around, putting them in pockets of relative safety, which rule-wise means they auto-save, because of the pockets. A hole around you in the area of effect can't help pick up the charging bead safely, since there's no area of affect yet.

Last, there seems to be agreement that Sculpt Spell is maintained for a full minute during, say, Storm Sphere. It seems reasonable it would also protect the targets in the instant fireball taking place a minute after casting delayed fireball.

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