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After being targeted with a Heat Metal spell, does it continue to function if the caster is concentrating but the target has moved out of range?

The RAW doesn't specify in the spell description and I want to know if just running away is a reasonable strategy to survive instead of trying to doff armor.

The only range limitation mentioned is in the initial casting of the spell. I find it hard to believe a 2nd level spell has an infinite range of effect, but maybe there are other examples.

Related questions:

Power of spell: Is heat metal too powerful?

Doffing armor: How long would it take to doff armour heated by the Heat Metal spell?

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marked as duplicate by SevenSidedDie dnd-5e Aug 6 '16 at 3:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Yes.

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren't limited by its range, unless the spell's description says otherwise. (PHB p. 203)

You have to be within 60' to heat the metal. After that, the onus is on the target to either break your concentration, or get out of the armor/drop the metal object. Concentration is the limiting factor on this spell. You have one minute (10 turns of combat) maximum to do as much damage as you can with this spell ... and anything that breaks your concentration ends it.

The Sage Advice clears this up, per Jeremy Crawford.

You don’t need to be within line of sight or within range to maintain concentration on a spell, unless a spell’s description or other game feature says otherwise.


If, as a DM, you think this is too powerful of an effect, you could houserule this to where the bonus action to keep the damage going requires you to be within 60' of range, but as written, the spell does not require that in the spell description on page 250 of the PHB. IMO, the concentration requirement is sufficient to keep it within the box. At lower levels, it might seem overpowered for single creature targets: against a mob, the number of times you might get hit and need to make a concentration check acts as a counter. At higher levels the damage is less telling on the target and the concentration requirement (consider all of those other spells you may want to be using) begins to factor in to a greater amount.

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The PHB explicitly mentions on Page 203 right at the top:

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren't limited by its range, unless the spell's description says otherwise.

The Spell "heat metal" does not mention anything about it requiring to have sight or be in a specific range of the target object after being cast, thus it will stay active until the duration is over or the concentration is broken.

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Most spells with a range require the range to cast, but the effect typically continues even if the caster leaves the range -- unless the spell says otherwise. For instance, casting Sleep and leaving the area leaves the creatures asleep; but getting too far away breaks the effects of Witch Bolt.

Heat Metal reads the way sleep does, and thus would continue to stay hot outside of the range. As answered in this related question: Does going outside of range or line of sight after casting a spell have any effect?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the related question link, which explicitly mentioned Heat Metal. I swear I try to research these questions before asking, and look at the related ones that come up... \$\endgroup\$ – highbandwidth Aug 6 '16 at 3:27

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