[RPG] How big is the area affected by Earth Tremor


I am looking to choose spells for my Sorceror, and I found Earth Tremor in XgtE.

Range: 10 feet

You cause a tremor in the ground within range. Each creature other than you in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone. If the ground in that area is loose earth or stone, it becomes difficult terrain until cleared, with each 5-foot-diameter portion requiring at least 1 minute to clear by hand.

My problem is that no where in the spell description does it tell you how big of an area is affected. You clearly can choose a point within 10 feet (the range of the spell) but there no area listed.

I looked on DnD Beyond and they enter the information as "Range/Area: 10 feet", but they also do the same thing for every spell even when there is no area involved (compare and contrast Fireball and Firebolt).

How big is the area affected by Earth Tremor?

Best Answer

The area is the ground within a 10 foot radius of you.

The wording of the spell is a little ambiguous, but it intends a 10 foot radius from the caster.

1) A previous version of the spell has a range of "Self (10-foot radius)" and explicitly states that "you cause a tremor in the ground in a 10-foot radius." (See: this older edition of the Elemental Evil Player's Companion from 2015). This indicates the original design intent.

2) The current version of the spell specifies that "you cause a tremor in the ground within range." Literally, the ground within the range of the spell includes precisely the ground within 10 feet of you. Therefore the range of the spell itself sweeps out the area: a circle with a 10 foot radius centered on you.

Yes, the new wording is dissimilar from how most spells indicate a similar area (using a range of "Self" and mentioning the nature of the area in the spell text), but I conjecture that the designers revised the spell to simplify the wording and inadvertently introduced an ambiguity.