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If a caster uses a higher level slot for the Enhance Ability spell, can they specify different effects for different targets?

Example: target 1 gets Bear's Endurance, and target 2 gets Bull's Strength.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a perfect question for Sage Advice and a possible Errata. Regardless of the actual answer, this should have been very clear within the book itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Gates VP May 11 '16 at 18:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could the question be generalised to other spells? For example, enlarge/reduce (enlarge one target while reducing another), blindness/deafness. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker May 12 '16 at 0:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GreenstoneWalker The answer here would be applicable to any spell with the same wording. (Enlarge/Reduce doesn't, but Blindness/Deafness does.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 12 '16 at 0:21
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I think "yes." But I don't think it's very cut-and-dry, so let me explain my thinking.

First, let's look at the "higher level clause" of Enhance Ability:

When you cast this spell using a slot of 3rd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 2nd. (PHB p.237)

Okay, we can target more creatures. So let's go back to the first lines of the spell description:

You touch a creature.... Choose one of the following effects; the target gains that effect until the spell ends. (ibid., emphasis mine)

So to my mind the higher-slot clause starts modifying the earlier spell description starting on word three. Now you're allowed to {touch a creature, choose an effect, target gains...} more than once.

For contrast, imagine if the authors had chosen to phrase the description this way: "choose an effect, touch the target and it gains that effect." If so written I think the multiple targets would all gain the previously-chosen effect. But in our world the target is chosen first and--to my thinking--that "reboots" the whole spell.

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Choose one of the following effects; the target gains that effect until the spell ends.

The spell description says that at higher levels you choose another target, but it does not say anything about choosing another effect. In my opinion, at higher levels the spell becomes

Choose one of the following effects; the targets gain that effect until the spell ends.

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The wording is ambiguous.

You touch a creature and bestow upon it a magical enhancement. Choose one of the following effects: the target gains the effect until the spell ends.

Could either one of the following:

  • For each of the creatures you touch, choose one effect for that target until the spell ends.
  • Choose several creatures you touch, choose one effect for all of them until the spell ends.

The book doesn't give us any hints at which is intended. So, the interpretation will be up to the DM until Jeremy Crawford weighs in.

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