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It has come to my attention that the text of Warding Bond, the legal target(s) of Warding Bond, and the rules as written for target's and spell casting and such; leave it possible that Warding Bond can be cast on multiple targets; each casting of the spell targeting a new willing creature; so long as you are able to provide the material components to each creature.

PHB pg 287.

1 Action

Range of Touch

Components: A pair of Platinum Rings which you and the target must wear for the duration.

This spell wards a willing creature you touch and creates a mystic connection between you and the target....

The spell ends if .... the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures ...

So we know Warding Bond only targets one creature, as emphasized by me above, the creature that you touch and thus designate as the singular target of the spell. The spell doesn't have a target of 'Self' , nor does the spell have the ability to target more than the designated touched creature when you cast it. The spell also lasts for a full hour of non concentration.

So it occurs to me that, if I have several complete sets of Platinum Rings, let us say 3, and I am wearing 3 of them on separate fingers and give each matching ring to 3 of my companions; I can cast this spell 3 times on each of them, never once targeting anyone already affected by the spell and never once being affected by someone else casting the spell. I would then be sharing 1/2 damage from 3 separate sources for about 1 hour.

Nothing I have found prevents this except for A: I cast the spell again on one of the already affected companions. B: Someone ELSE casts the same spell on one of the already affected companions OR on me, effectively ending the spell.

Does anything, RAW, prevent me from having multiple instances of Warding Bond active as long as a different creature has been targeted for each separate instance?

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5 Answers 5

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Departing from my previous answer from the rules perspective, Jeremy Crawford has answered this question in a tweet:

Airatome118 @Airatome

@JeremyECrawford Can Warding Bond have multiple active casts if mats are fulfilled? 3 SETS of rings divided out = 3 ongoing separate spells?

Jeremy Crawford @JeremyECrawford

You can maintain warding bond on multiple creatures at once if you have a pair of the rings for each casting. #DnD

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean that you cast it once, and as long as all of the other creatures have a ring on they all get the benefit? Sounds like Crawford tweeted before thinking. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 20, 2021 at 22:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, this is why we don't accept "someone said in a tweet" as evidence here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jan 20, 2021 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Crawford usually tweets before thinking of all the implications, but back when I used to believe there can still be a correct way of handling things from a rules perspective in 5e, his tweets were the de-facto accepted answer no matter how little sense it made. If this finally changed and tweets are no longer accepted as evidence as \@MarkWells says, I'm really glad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, Crawford did that to himself by trying to engage at the speed of the twitverse: it's OK to think before tweeting. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 26, 2021 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the four downvoters from yesterday, please leave a comment explaining what can be improved here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    2 days ago
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This spell ... creates a mystic connection between you and the target

It's hard to read this and come to your conclusion that the spell has not been cast on you in some way, shape or form.

Casting a spell "on" someone does not require that they be the target of the spell; if you are rendered unconscious by a Sleep spell then the spall has been cast on you even though a creature is not a valid target for Sleep. Similarly, if you are part of the mystic connection and you are affected by another Warding Bond then the first mystic connection breaks irrespective of if you were the target or the caster.

The spell ends if you drop to 0 hit points or if you and the target become separated by more than 60 feet. It also ends if the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures.

The caster is one of the "connected creatures."

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No

As long as you are affected by the spell's magic, you are one of the targets for the spell.

Targets (PHB p. 204)

A typical spell requires you to pick one or more targets to be affected by the spell’s magic. A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect.

So the second casting of Warding bond also targets you, breaking the first casting of it.

The spell ends if you drop to 0 hit points or if you and the target become separated by more than 60 feet. It also ends if the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Warding Bond's description is worded as "between you and the target", so the target is the other creature, not you. \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2016 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @anaximander Couldn't that be seen as creating a link between two targets, but restricting one of them to yourself? While I agree that it's stretching the wording a bit, I think it's a perspective worth being mentioned in an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    May 6, 2016 at 12:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the phrase "the target" is pretty self-explanatory. If the caster was considered a target, it would say "the other target". \$\endgroup\$ May 6, 2016 at 12:17
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No, because Warding Bond is still cast on the caster despite them not being the target of the spell.

The core question we have to answer is "Does a spell being 'cast on' a creature mean the same as a spell targeting a creature?"

If the answer to that question is yes, then you can cast Warding Bond as many times as you have spell slots and pairs of platinum rings, as you are not the target of the spell when you cast it. If the answer is no, then you can't benefit from multiple castings, as you can have a spell 'cast on' you without being the target of the spell.

Per Blessed Healer (PHB page 60),

Beginning at 6th level, the healing spells you cast on others heal you as well. When you cast a spell of 1st level or higher that restores hit points to a creature other than you, you regain hit points equal to 2 + the spell's level.

This feature seems to be written specifically to include Mass Cure Wounds, which is the only Cleric spell that uses a point of origin rather than targeting a creature. Otherwise the class feature could have stated "when you target a creature other than yourself with a spell that restores hit points". Mass Cure Wounds, despite being a spell cast on a creature, is not targeting a creature. So the answer to "Does a spell being cast on a creature mean the same as a spell targeting a creature?" would appear to be no. Thus the caster of Warding Bond would count as having the spell "cast on" themselves, and would not be able to benefit from multiple castings.


Incidentally, we can also check to see if Warding Bond is a valid spell to be Twinned by a multiclassed sorcerer. Per Twinned Spell (PHB, page 103),

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. To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell's current level.

If you can cast Warding Bond as many times as you have spell slots and pairs of platinum rings, as you are not the target of the spell when you cast it, then Warding Bond is an eligible spell to be Twinned. By the contrapositive, if Warding Bond is not an eligible spell to be Twinned, then you can't benefit from multiple castings of Warding Bond.

This question has been asked before. According to Rykara's accepted answer, Warding Bond is not eligible to be Twinned. Therefore you cannot benefit from multiple castings of Warding Bond.

Per Sage Advice Compendium,

[NEW] Can my sorcerer use Twinned Spell to affect a particular spell? 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

If you know this rule yet are still unsure whether a particular spell qualifies for Twinned Spell, consult with your DM, who has the final say. If the two of you are curious about our design intent, here is the list of things that disqualify a spell for us:

  • The spell has a range of self.
  • The spell can target an object.
  • The spell allows you to choose more than one creature to be affected by it, particularly at the level you’re casting the spell. Some spells increase their number of potential targets when you cast them at a higher level.
  • The spell can force more than one creature to make a saving throw before the spell’s duration expires.
  • The spell lets you make a roll of any kind that can affect more than one creature before the spell’s duration expires.

Additionally, and I'm not positive this interview is accepted in answers on this site, from this interview starting at 28:03,

There are a few other types of spells that cause questions related to Twinned spells. ... The ones that are in a gray area are spells that have you choosing a creature, doing something to that creature, and then something else happens that might affect more creatures. Great examples of this sort of spell are ice knife and green flame blade. ... In each of those spells, you target a creature and you do something to them. ... Then green flame blade lets you pick a different creature to cause some additional damage to that creature, and then ice knife causes this explosion around the creature you hit with your spell attack. And so people ask, "Are those secondary creatures targets for the purposes of twinned spell?" The answer is yes they are.

These taken together would indicate that Warding Bond counts the caster as a "secondary creature target", and would therefore not be eligible to be Twinned. By the contrapositive, since Warding Bond is not an eligible spell to be Twinned, then you can't benefit from multiple castings of Warding Bond.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "when you target a creature other than yourself with a spell that restores hit points" is not equivalent for spells that targets a creature. The difference is that Blessed Healer's wording requires hit points to be restored. It will not work on a creature with full HP or any effect that prevents healing. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with you. Casting a spell on a creature and having a creature be the target of a spell are, by my own argument, not equivalent. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not completely get the 1st part of your answer. On the other hand, the second part has a big flaw: it relies on an answer related to Warding Bonds and Twinned spell, answer whose strength is based on material component rather than the target issue of Warding bond. Indeed, the answer that you cited says "It's arguable that you can't twin Warding Bond because it has two targets [...]. Even if you don't subscribe to this interpretation, [...]". \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jan 25, 2021 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the thing is that the rules here are ambiguous. There's not a hard-and-fast "you can/can't do this", so what I'm trying to do is see if the language used in the spell description is effectively a synonym of "target", or if the usage implies a different meaning. The fact that Mass Cure Wounds benefits from a class feature that uses the same language but itself does not target a creature should therefore imply that Warding Bond is cast on the caster without the caster being considered a target. It's kind of a proof by contradiction, although I could reword it to make that more apparent. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jan 25, 2021 at 19:09
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No. The "Combining Magical Effects" rule limits you to one active warding bond.

The Combining Magical Effects rule states:

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don’t combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

Since the effect of warding bond applies to you, the caster, you cannot have multiple warding bond spells affecting you at the same time. If you cast warding bond multiple times, only the most recent casting will be active, the effects of the other castings will be suppressed. Many of the other answers focus on the meaning of the word "target", but as you can see, this rule never mentions "targets" or "targeting", so the issue of what it means to be a target is sidestepped entirely - this rule only cares if the spell is affecting you in some way. So even if casting the spell again does not end the first spell (as these three answers argue that it does), you can still only be affected by one warding bond at a time.

To elaborate, one of the effects of warding bond is:

a mystic connection between you and the target

This is the "bond" part of the spell's name. With multiple castings, all but one of the castings' effects are suppressed for the caster, meaning there is no mystical connection between the caster and the target of the suppressed casting. No connection, and none of the other effects work either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the spell itself specifically says, "It also ends if the spell is cast again on either of the connected creatures." \$\endgroup\$
    – nonymous
    Sep 22 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Crawford's tweet refers to options like Twin Spell, I imagine, which requires consideratinos independent from the ones you listed here. twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/727306599576952832 \$\endgroup\$
    – nonymous
    Sep 22 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nonymous My point with this answer was “even if you do understand the spell incorrectly, you still can’t combine the same spell”. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22 at 14:23

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