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As discovered by @Xirema, we have a significant number of questions about the Twinned Spell metamagic. More specifically, searching for 5e questions about "twinned spell" ([dnd-5e] is:question twinned spell) yields 50 results, while we only have 75 metamagic questions for 5e altogether (although not all twinned spell questions are even tagged with ).

I realize that there are arguments against adding the tag; more specifically, I don't think there is a precedent for a tag as "low-level" as this tag would be. While we do have tags for certain class features already (such as for Wildshape, Eldritch Invocations, Sneak Attack or Metamagic), I haven't found a tag for another "sub-feature" like Twinned Spell is (as in, an option of a class feature).

However, since the Metamagic class feature offers so many different new options (not just twinning spells) that are otherwise unique in 5e, I think it's worth splitting the tag up. As far as I know, no other class feature in 5e offers that many hugely different possibilities. Fighting style or a Battle Master's Maneuvers offer various options as well, but they're mostly mechanic and don't offer anything game-changing. Eldritch invocations, on the other hand, have a bigger impact on how you can approach problems or combine them with other features, but there are so many of them that creating tags for specific ones is not viable.

Specifically, the following metamagic options can have a huge impact on the game:

  • Twinned Spell: for less experienced or entirely new users, it's often difficult to tell whether or not a certain spell is valid for Twinned Spell, which is by itself an extremely powerful feature.
  • Subtle Spell: Relevant for silenced areas, Counterspell, etc.
  • Extended Spell: Several spells have a duration of 8 hours, so that they last pretty much the entire adventuring day - but not beyond a long rest, so you can't cast them, take a long rest, and then have them active AND full spell slots. Examples include Mage Armor, Foresight, Aid, etc. Doubling the duration obviously breaks this design principle.

In my opinion, these options - while being made available through the same class feature - are distinct enough to warrant having their own tags. Especially considering that there would be roughly 30-50 questions tagged with Twinned Spell alone, and that we have many tags with far less questions.

Either way, since creating metamagic-option-specific tags creates the issue of what to do with the existing tag, I think we should define the tags as follows:

  • : For questions that are about Metamagic in general, i.e. if you substituted any mention of e.g. Twinned Spell with another Metamagic option, the question would still work.
  • and other option-specific tags: For questions specifically about Twinned Spell, i.e. if you substituted any mention of Twinned Spell with another Metamagic option, the questions wouldn't make any sense.

Therefore, the tags would be mutually exclusive. I'm not entirely positive users would recognize this distinction, even if it were directly in the tag wiki summary, so maybe we should just use in addition to . I don't think we can remove the generic Metamagic tag, since not all metamagic questions are about a specific option.

Of course, distinguishing the tags in this way also makes tags for the other metamagic options necessary. I haven't searched for those in detail, but from what I can gather by counting the number of results when searching for [dnd-5e] is:question "metamagic option here", most questions about metamagic options are about twinning spells, followed by subtle spell in second place and quickened or empowered spells in 3rd and 4th place. The other options are in the single digits, question-count-wise.

Anyways, my question boils down to: Do we think that such a tag is a useful addition?

Assuming we do, I have identified a bunch of questions that would need to be edited to take the tag. Below is a list of questions that should get the and/or tags. The lists assume that the twinned-spell tag would be used in conjunction with the metamagic tag, since that's what I had in mind when I created them, but I've sinced figured out that it might be a good idea for the tags to be mutually exclusive.

Needs , and has :

Needs , doesn't have :

Is about Metamagic and potentially needs the tag (or a metamagic-option-specific tag), but is not specifically about Twinned Spell or already has the tag:

Has the maximum of 5 tags already; should we replace an existing tag with ?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note of clarification: I did indicate that I thought mods can add or remove tags without bumping. I may be wrong, but I don't think they can make traditional edits in that way. Regardless, for large scale tag additions or removals, Meta is the place to go, at the very least to give some record of when/who/why the change was made and to allow the community the chance to offer a second opinion on it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose yes, that's how I understood it. I'll clarify in the question. Regardless, even if mods can't edit tags without bumping, we do have to decide whether we want to use metamagic and [twinned-spell] mutually exclusive or in conjunction with each other, and whether to create tags for the other metamagic options as well. Hence, I agree that I should have gone to meta in the first place (even before editing the 5-6 questions that I did already give the twinned-spell tag). \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool! Just wanted to make sure I didn't miscommunicate there :). fwiw, it might be worth including links to the ones that were already edited, for completeness (if you already haven't) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ When we talk about diamond moderators being able to edit tags without bumping anything that's limited to mass operations on the tag itself: rename a tag, merge one tag into another, or delete a tag completely. All these operations affect every instance of a specific tag without bumping any questions. Here the edits are question by question and those kinds of edits work for us the exact same way they work for you: bumps will happen. Would you like to edit this into a "I plan to do this bulk edit" meta, or would you like me to leave an answer of this variety and mark this status-declined? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 27 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose well, you can just search for all questions tagged with twinned-spell to find those I already tagged (in addition to Xirema's question) \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener in that case, I will perform the bulk edit. I think I'll reverse the current question structure, so that the question is about how to differentiate between metamagic and twinned-spell questions, with the lists simply in the "appendix". Or do you think I should rather open a new question, instead of editing this one? Also, in this case, should I rather edit 5-10 questions a day, or should I edit all of them in one bulk? Is it irresponsible to bump numerous questions by adding tags? mentions both possibilities. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster I mean we already had one experienced member of the community express some hesitation at the creation of the tag (I'm not entirely convinced it is useful myself), I think it might be worth leaving the question of that creation open to debate honestly in case anyone has a compelling objection to its existence. That way, we can make the case of someone raising a valid objection later and having to have a mod remove the tag much less likely. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster And I would also wait on taking further action on the matter (as far as editing tags in) until that is settled. Just my opinion though. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I figured waiting for answer before further editing would be implicit anyways :) Either way, I think that while the site has many useless tags, for example class-feature, twinned-spell is not among them. It's extremely broad, even across different systems, and I don't think there's any benefit in linking these questions, nor do I think anyone will be interested in reading class-feature questions in general. At most, someone might be interested in [dnd-5e][sorcerer][class-feature] questions, but I think that in comparison, twinned-spell is still more useful. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 13:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster I'm not arguing against the creation of the tag fwiw, just unsure and think that it would be better if it was not assumed to be agreed on. I made an edit to the question to make that issue more distinct, do you agree with it? Also I might suggest taking the issue of editing the metamagic tag to its own question since that warrants its own discussion I think. I'm not sure if and how you want to disentangle that issue though. It is fine to have multiple linked metas. It is possible you can deal with the last group of questions and the tag edit request in one meta together possibly. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose well, I'm currently editing the question (more substantially than you did), so I'm afraid your edit will be overwritten ^^ Either way, since mods can't edit questions without bumping, the question list becomes more or less irrelevant for the matter of discussion. Whereas it was previously "mods, please edit these questions' tags, and also how should we handle metamagic vs twinned-spell tags?", it will now be "How should we handle metamagic vs twinned-spell tags, and also here's a list of questions that will need editing". \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener being that it has been about a week and discussion seems to have settled, it might be worth considering acting on this. Since the tag was already created it would need to be burned. I think this meta should suffice for that discussion, but if you think we need a burn meta for it I can write it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 3 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Thanks, that's been done now. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Apr 3 at 14:29
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In accordance with the consensus on this meta being fairly well settled in the negative (against the tag is at +15/-0, for the tag is at +0/-7) the tag has been burninated from the six questions it was on:

Those that were missing the tag have had it added in place.

This was done via a diamond moderator tag merge so the burnination won't show up in edit histories.

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Don't create .

seems to be not a useful tag

When looking at for D&D5e only makes up a vast majority of the metamagic tag. But that isn't an issue, we don't need a tag for every single feature or subfeature. A simple search of "twinned spell " will immediately bring up a list of twinned spell questions for answering.

There appear to be no issues with questions not being found by alternate wordings either. Searching for "[metamagic] twinned spell is:question" gets the same as for "twin" and "twinning" (in this case 31 questions). Though "[metamagic] "twinned spell" is:question" results in 7 fewer questions being found.

There's no need to have a tag to help find this material, just like we don't need to add a tag for the vast majority of spells and monsters that people ask about (though we do have a few of those as well).

I also don't think that twinned spell is that commonly asked about in the grand scheme of things. As a point of comparison, we have other confusing features in the game that are oft asked about and don't get their own tags. The Arcane Archer subclass has 50 questions. The 5e feat Spell Sniper feat has been in 39 questions. Another 5e feat, War Caster, has been in 84 questions. None of these should get their own tag, and I don't think that something with fewer questions and more issues (see below) should either.

The topic is easy to find in a search, completely encapsulated by another tag, and thus I just don't see how it is a useful addition as a tag.

This may not have been damning for me if it weren't for the issues also raised by the creation of the tag.

Creating the tag causes issues with

As you have noticed, creating causes problems with . Essentially, as currently written in each tag description, every question about Twinned Spell should get both tags. Since every question about twinned spells is also inherently about metamagic this essentially makes the tag an extra tag that must be added on.

Contrast this with and . In 5e, metamagic is a sorcerer ability. Despite that, can stand in a question apart from . In fact, there are 119 questions that do this (and this is despite the my observation that class tags are overapplied).

There aren't any viable solutions to this that I can see

The solution you propose of making them mutually exclusive would actually cause more issues:

  1. The mutually exclusive definition is unintuitive and will lead to many questions having to be retagged and possible edit wars over whether the tag is appropriate.
  2. The unintuitive nature of the new definition would also make it hard for new users to search for questions about general or specific metamagic abilities since they would be likely unaware that they needed to use specific tags only. (thanks @SevenSidedDie)
  3. If would only work in the general sense of a non-specific metamagic then it leaves the tag with almost no questions in it and no other way to tag the questions about specific metamagic abilities (which it seems people really want to do) unless we...
  4. Create a tag for each other metamagic option as well which we definitely shouldn't do.1

And, if you don't do #4 (which we absolutely shouldn't), then you end up with questions about quicken or silent or any other specific metamagic question besides twinned that end up having no tag at all about their metamagic-ness. This seems to be a distinct step backwards in tagging coverage and quality to me.

If there is another solution to the issue of the / overlap, I'm not seeing it. The best solution, as I see it, is to not create the problem (tag) in the first place.

Maybe I'm just throwing the baby out with the bathwater here, but it seems like the tag adds little to no value and it causes issues that need to be resolved (but seemingly can't be) and it just doesn't seem to be worth it to me.


1 - Note when you look beyond the D&D5e-centric view of the tag, the problem gets even worse. Pathfinder has an enormous amount of metamagic options and thus #4 is even more completely unfeasible and unnecessary (and I don't think anybody would or is proposing it) when taking PF and 3.5 into consideration.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the issue "for questions with 5 tags which one is more important" already exists all over the place. By that logic, questions about Metamagic wouldn't need the sorcerer tag, questions about eldritch invocations wouldn't need the warlock tag, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 27 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster Questions about metamagic don't need the sorcerer tag, same with eldritch invocations and warlock. IMO those tags are overapplied to these types of situations. metamagic can and is able to stand alone apart from sorcerer. However, every question about twinned spells is inherently a question about metamagic as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 16:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Making them exclusive would also make the questions harder to find. Someone new browsing [metamagic] would not see all the questions about metamagic, and may or may not know to look for another tag for this specific metamagic. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 27 at 17:31
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The case for the tag is that the Twinned Spell Metamagic is unique among Metamagics for its complexity and the questions it raises

The complexity of this particular Metamagic is a lot greater than the complexity of the other Metamagics in 5th edition D&D. Just for comparison:

  • Subtle Spell: removes Verbal and Somatic Components
  • Careful Spell: allows some creatures to automatically pass their saving throws
  • Distant Spell: doubles the range, or +30' for touch range
  • Empowered Spell: reroll the damage dice, may be comboed with other Metamagics
  • Extended Spell: doubles the duration
  • Heightened Spell: confers Disadvantage on Saving Throws
  • Quickened Spell: cast an Action spell as a Bonus Action
  • Twinned Spell: Cast a copy of the spell
    • But only if the spell cannot target more than one creature at its current level
    • And the cost scales with the level of the spell slot used to cast the spell
    • And also the nature of what a spell "target" is is nebulous and difficult to pin down, and the game's lead designers have been contradictory over what constitutes a "target", meaning different spells often have unexpected interactions with this particular Metamagic
    • AND ALSO the spell must not have a range of "self"

Clearly, there's an outlier in this group in terms of how much "and/but/however/therefore"'s need to be handled when adjudicating the feature in play.

The Twinned Spell Metamagic has seen extensive debates both on this stack and elsewhere in a way that the other Metamagics simply do not

The closest I've ever seen for the other Metamagics have been Quickened (because the 5th Edition Bonus Action spellcasting rules are weird) and Subtle (because removing Verbal/Somatic components has logical narrative implications), and even then, neither of these Metamagics produce nearly as many questions, nor do they produce questions that dig so thoroughly into the minutiae of their self.

For example, a question like "Can I quicken out Haste so that I may also cast Erupting Earth on the same turn?" is functionally equivalent to "Can I cast Misty Step and Magic Missiles on the same turn?" The fact that one deals with a particular Metamagic is immaterial; both are, fundamentally, about the Bonus Action spellcasting rules. Similarly, two questions like "Can I subtle-cast Cause Fear to avoid being noticed?" and "Can I cast Hypnotic Pattern (a spell that has no Verbal Component) to avoid being noticed?" both tap into questions about how to adjudicate the ability of enemy creatures to identify the source of a cast spell, and the incidental details of how the Subtle Spell metamagic works is important (because you need to know that it suppresses both Verbal and Somatic components) but not Fundamental (because the basic question could be applied to any spell that lacks either a Verbal or Somatic component).

Conversely, questions about Twinned Spell have to deal with the very specific details of how Twinned Spell works. For example:

  • We sometimes get questions like What happens if you Twin Spell a spell that requires concentration?, an issue that does not come up for other features or other Metamagics because no other [officially published] feature allows a character to sustain the equivalent of two Concentration spells at the same time.
  • We sometimes get questions like Can Eldritch Blast be Twinned?, an issue that comes up because no other feature has the highly restrictive "must be incapable of targeting more than one creature" language.
    • See also questions like Can Hex be Twinned?, which pop up because the semantics of a spells' "targets" is finicky

Conclusion: is weird enough that it deserves its own tag

The Twinned Spell feature represents an outlier among Metamagics, both by volume of questions and by the semantics of its behavior, and should receive its own tag for these reasons.

I agree with the proposed usage of in conjunction with

If the specific metamagic being used is immaterial, then the tag is good enough. If the specific metamagic has notable consequences on how the question resolves (i.e. the question would be very different if Subtle Spell were being invoked instead of Twinned Spell), then it should be tagged instead.

I'm generally agnostic on whether other Metamagic features deserve tags of their own. As I made the case above, I don't think the other features reach the same level of complexity or edge-case-ruling that reaches, but I do agree that in some cases it could be beneficial to call out those effects in particular.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How do you respond to the second half of the question regarding the problems that come from making it a tag with metamagic? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ out of curiosity, have you seen many questions about twinned spells that wouldn't be caught by the search [dnd-5e] twinned is:q? I ask because in my mind that's another good argument for a tag: it helps gather together questions on a topic that aren't easy to search for. (Like how a search for "pathfinder" in questions would miss posts that mention "PF" or "PFS" or "3.PF" or other clear signifiers of pathfinderism.) I'm not saying that sort of dynamic is necessary for a tag to exist, but it is an argument for it. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Mar 27 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I did try to do a search for "subtle spell" only to realize it was omitting a few questions that were written in the form "What happens if I cast a Subtle Healing Word?", and doing searches for "subtle" pulled up questions that were completely unrelated to the metamagic (like "How subtle must I move if I'm hiding in dim light?"). I didn't specifically check "Twinned" vs "Twinned Spell", but I imagine there are probably a few scenarios like that. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Mar 27 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I agree with the proposal for how you would use metamagic vs twinned-spell in practice, and have no strong opinion on whether other Metamagics deserve their own tags. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Mar 27 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema I'm confused by your update then. If you are agreeing with the change to the tag definition of metamagic, then what tag would you add to a question about subtle spell? Or are you just saying that you don't think they would need any tagging? Because the new definition would prohibit the metamagic tag from being added to any questions about specific metamagics. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 27 at 18:44

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