dnd 5e – For spells, what is a range of “Self”; what is a range of Self (XYZ)?

The ranges “Self” and “Self (XYZ)” are different

The Player’s Handbook gives us two definitions of the range of Self in the Range section of the Spellcasting chapter:

Most spells have ranges expressed in feet. Some spells can target only a creature (including you) that you touch. Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self.

Spells that create cones or lines of effect that originate from you also have a range of self, indicating that the origin point of the spell’s effect must be you (see “Areas of Effect” later in the this chapter).

So, we have two definitions of Self, and since D&D 5e is governed by the Specific vs General rule, both are valid:

  • “Self”: means that the spell targets the caster
  • “Self (XYZ)”: means that the spell is an area of effect spell, whose point of origin must be the caster

So, if a spell has a Range of “Self (XYZ)” the caster is not a target of the spell, unless the spell’s description includes them as a targeted creature (by being affected by the spell).