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 5th Edition: Hellish Rebuke.

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Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 07:56:39
So I'm part of a Facebook group called "D&D 5th RAW - Ask a simple question, get a simple answer"

On that group I posted the following question.

Regarding the casting time of Hellish Rebuke: Can I target myself with the spell if I use a dagger to cut the palm of my hand, or otherwise harm myself. To make things a bit easier I will leave the RAW for this spells casting time below.

Casting Time:
1 reaction, which you take in response
to being damaged by a creature within 60 feet of you
that you can see

To my delight I was told "Well you're a creature and you can see yourself so yea, you could target yourself with it."

So to most people it would be pointless to post the same question again on a different forum or online group. However I have a friend who is very adamant that it is not possible to do this, and insists I post it here as well.

To any and all who bother to respond to this post. Thank you for your time.
17   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Diffan Posted - 25 Jul 2017 : 23:49:39
As I read the spell and description, by RAW, you would deal 2d10 fire damage to yourself. Lets see:

1. Melee attack vs. Yourself (dagger cutting your hand will suffice)
2. You trigger Hellish rebuke and deal damage to the triggering creature.
3. Can you see the target? Yes
4. Is the target within 60-ft? Yes.
5. Yes you can Hellish Rebuke yourself.
Ezzard Posted - 25 Jul 2017 : 23:34:44
The stage is made of stone and the time I'll be on fire is (we estimate) about 6-12 seconds. Just long enough for a brief fight scene. It would be safer but alas we have none and we are Certain the DM isn't going to give our wizard time to go buy a scroll. This is a problem unique to our situation so I understand why you asked. Yes, if I was the Tiefling bard I'm playing as there is a great many things I would do differently from what I normally do in real life. "Methinks a savings throw on wisdom is in order." Ordinarily statements like this upset me but I'm honestly just curious why wisdom instead of intelligence? How would my will power determine my reasoning skills?

Yes as the spell states there is a Verbal(V) and somatic(S) component. But if you read the spell description you will notice that the somatic component is simply pointing in the direction of the target. Holding a small blade in one hand and squeezing it while discreetly pointing at myself with my other hand will be no hard task.

I'm a bit confused at the mention of an atonement quest. It may be, due to the name of the spell, that you assume I am a cleric of paladin. Or some other divine class who's actions upset the "powers that be." In fact I am a Tiefling Bard. I would also like to take this time to clear up how I am able to cast Hellish Rebuke. Is is a spell that wizards/sorcerers can use however if is also a Tiefling racial ability gained at third level and able to be used once per day.

@Wooly Rupert
Not only is your stated assumption incorrect, and let's be honest a bit rude, it would also seem that you think I'm preforming this task at an exceptionally low level. When in fact I am not. the initial 2d10 should not be enough to end my life. Nor the frost attack that we plan to use to put it out or even the fire that will burn on my already flame resistant skin. The fact that you also assume this is just "a play" means you have also assumed that the act we are performing as a group serves no real plot purpose. Remember the first sentence in the quote in your last post. "Well the details aren't all worked out yet." They are not. Because this is bigger than just my characters life or death. We need to make sure it's done right, and that it's done well.

To be fair though I was vague so let us assume that you are right. Yes there could be a risk of death but that only increases the entertainment value. Think Harry Houdini. Yes his death did take place on stage but that was due to his stubbornness in refusing to see a doctor, it had nothing to do with his act.

Also I do not like to fall into what is called "My guy" syndrome. Any decision my character makes is ultimately a decision I make for him. I will never throw a campaign off the rails because "It's what my character would do" I say this to help compound the fact that we are aware as a party of the dangers. I did not post about the lack of illusion magic in my initial post because I assumed logic would lead the reader to assume I would not post the question if there was a safer solution. This seems to be a critical error on my part. In the future I will elaborate more on why the question is being asked.

As always thank you for your continued contributions to this topic. It is good to know there are people willing to listen to your ideas even if they do not always agree.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 23 Jul 2017 : 16:51:59
Originally posted by Ezzard

That was answered in the above post but I will post it again for clarity.

"Well the details aren't all worked out yet. I can tell you that our group intends to preform a play of sorts. My character has taken on the role of the vile Devil that attacks the villagers. Being over dedicated to the role my character has decided it would be more authentic to be covered in actual Hellfire."

I'm going to assume that your character's mental attributes are rather low, because risking death in a play just for accuracy is not the smartest thing to do.
Markustay Posted - 23 Jul 2017 : 07:13:06
You could possibly set the stage, or other actors, on fire. Wouldn't just using an illusion be simpler and safer? Also, I realize 'its just a game', and this is the sort of stuff you can do in games, but in RL would you actually cut yourself and then set yourself on fire? Methinks a savings throw on wisdom is in order.

And lastly, is their a somatic component?

Ya know... because you just CUT YOUR HAND.

My opinion here is that under RAW, 'maybe', but its a stretch. Definitely not RAI. The way its written implies a creature other than yourself, whether it actually says that or not. However, because of the completely innocuous reason your attempting this, I'd let it slide if I were the DM.

And THEN you'd find out the burns won't heal, not even with magic. If you get some sort of augury, you'll find out you have to go on a 'quest of atonement' because you've 'pissed off the powers that be'. (In my games, its not always good to get what you want... there's always a Monkey's Paw when someone tries to bend the rules).
Ezzard Posted - 22 Jul 2017 : 18:16:52
That was answered in the above post but I will post it again for clarity.

"Well the details aren't all worked out yet. I can tell you that our group intends to preform a play of sorts. My character has taken on the role of the vile Devil that attacks the villagers. Being over dedicated to the role my character has decided it would be more authentic to be covered in actual Hellfire."
Wooly Rupert Posted - 22 Jul 2017 : 18:12:32
So why are you wanting to do 2d10 damage, at least, to yourself?
Ezzard Posted - 22 Jul 2017 : 16:46:31
So it's been a lot longer getting back to this but I just got back from vacation so you'll have to excuse the delay.

First my friend who asked me to post here finally explained his problem with me doing this. Apparently he thought that by cutting myself I could also target creatures other than myself. This is really my fault for only posting the casting time and not the full spell description. So here it is in full. Just in case anyone else thought the same thing.

Hellish Rebuke

1st-level evocation

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take in response to being damaged by a creature within 60 feet of you that you can see

Range: 60 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

You point your finger, and the creature that damaged you is momentarily surrounded by hellish flames. The creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. It takes 2d10 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. At Higher Levels, when you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 1st.

I am currently waiting on Crawford to reply to my Tweet on the subject of RAI. I also gave him this link in case he wanted to look into what was discussed here.

Now another problem I'm having is how to sustain the hellfire. As I'm sure you read it only manifests for a moment before dissipating. My brightest idea so far is to wear a black cloak that has been lightly drenched in highly flammable oil. Anyone else have any ideas?

Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 22:49:09
Also I found this.
Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 22:44:15
@ Wooly Rupert

Yes. Each turn you have 1 action, 1 move action, and 1 Reaction (I think minor actions have been removed though the 5E book doesn't always have all it's rules in one place, at least not in the place you'd think they would be). This spell can only be cast as a reaction. Oh I forgot Bonus actions are a thing. You know I'm going to copy past casting times from the book. Maybe that will clear things up.

-Bonus action
A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You
must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell,
provided that you havenít already taken a bonus action
this turn. You canít cast another spell during the same
turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

Some spells can be cast as reactions. These spells
take a fraction of a second to bring about and are cast
in response to some event. If a spell can be cast as a
reaction, the spell description tells you exactly when
you can do so.

-Longer Casting Times
Certain spells (including spells cast as rituals) require
more time to cast: minutes or even hours. When you
cast a spell with a casting time longer than a single
action or reaction, you must spend your action each
turn casting the spell, and you must maintain your
concentration while you do so (see ďConcentrationĒ
below). If your concentration is broken, the spell fails,
but you donít expend a spell slot. If you want to try
casting the spell again, you must start over.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 21:49:13
My question was if cutting your hand would be the action, thus preventing you from casting a spell on that turn.

You're cutting your hand as an action -- and the spell is a reaction to damage. So can you cut your hand and then, in the same turn, cast a spell?
Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 18:21:39
@Wooly Rupert

I believe this is the logic, at least in 5E.

"Since the spell does not specify a creature other than myself I am able to became the target by harming myself. Thus becoming the hostile creature and caster at once."

Regarding your question. Yes, technically yes. Let's say you are under the affects of an enemy casters spell. Said spell damages you at the beginning of your turn. I'm pretty sure that damage would trigger the spell using up your "Reaction" for that turn. You could then proceed with your turn as normal. Casting a spell of your own.

Now in my case cutting my hand while also hiding the fact that I'm doing so from the audience would count has my action. In short I do not think you can Free action or minor action harm yourself to trigger this spell. Cutting my hand (or harming myself) would take up the same action you would normally use to cast a spell of make an attack.

So no using my method you cannot cast Hellish Rebuke and then cast another spell.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 17:41:16
Since it says a creature within 60 feet of you, that to me indicates someone other than yourself. I would think if the caster was an intended target, it would say "any creature" instead.

Also, not familiar with actions in 5E -- but can you cast a spell after you've done this action?
Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 17:21:03
Nevermind. I found this in the ruling for 5th Edition.

"Targeting Yourself
If a spell targets a creature of your choice, you can
choose yourself, unless the creature must be hostile or
specifically a creature other than you. If you are in the
area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself."

Since the trigger for the spell only requires the target of the spell to deal damage to me the caster there is no reason I can't become the target by damaging myself. I do plan to contact the individual mentioned by KanzenAU simply because of the huge split on this topic. I'm curious to see what happens. Thank you again for taking the time to post.
Ezzard Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 16:39:41
First I will address Delwa as it's easier for me to do so. Honestly I was going to avoid explaining my motivations because I feel it has little to do with my ability to target myself with a spell. Also my motivation could cause if to be ruled as "yes" under RAF and I feel like that would be a false victory on my part. Regardless I'll give you the same answer I gave the FB group.

"Well the details aren't all worked out yet. I can tell you that our group intends to preform a play of sorts. My character has taken on the role of the vile Devil that attacks the villagers. Being over dedicated to the role my character has decided it would be more authentic to be covered in actual Hellfire."

Next up KanzenAU. Could you go into more detail on how you see the system saying no? I'm not asking to argue I'm genuinely curious. You see my friend mentioned that the rules of the spell implied I couldn't do it but never went into detail. Also I'll admit that I only ever looked at the spells rules and affects, and paid little mind to what it was actually called. Thinking on it now it does seem a bit odd to "rebuke" oneself. Also as far as the damage goes we (the party) are working to mitigate it. In fact I think there is a way to gain temporary immunity to fire though I need to run it by the DM and places like this before I'm sure it will work. In other words hurting myself with this spell was never the intent, and the only reason I have to cut my palm is because the spell can only be triggered when I the caster take damage. Granted if it ends up being a "no" for the use of this spell I'll resort to simply finding another caster with the same spell (or any Tiefling) and have them target me with the spell. Of course we'd have to work them into the scene.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 16:28:33
Usually spells that are intended to work on the caster specifically state that.
KanzenAU Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 15:56:13
Personally as DM I'd rule no.

RAI I'd argue there's no way a "rebuke" would be targeted against oneself. That's some stupid shit, as far as the Hells are concerned.
Even RAW, I'd argue the question "can one even "damage" oneself, metaphysically? That's you, right there, no matter the self harm. And arguably death-dealing damage can be dealt to any "realistic" human by 4 hp of damage. So that gets into definitions of what hp means, etc..

Bottom line I'd say no. That's a player attempting to abuse the system, and even the system says no, in my opinion.

Try Jeremy Crawford on twitter for this kind of stuff, he often responds and it gets recorded as Sage Advice.
Delwa Posted - 24 Jun 2017 : 14:58:11
I'll definitely agree that it's RAW, but RAI.... not so sure.

I'm curious what motivates your character to undertake this action?

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