If you use Distant spell on a touch spell, is it still considered a melee spell attack?

One thought on “If you use Distant spell on a touch spell, is it still considered a melee spell attack?

  1. D. Walker says:

    Cripes, Crawford really is clueless, isn’t he?

    Yes, Distant Spell changes the range. But it’s still pretty weird to for an attack which is now being made at range to still count as “melee”. If that’s the intended effect, the rules should bother to state so, and make it clear.

    We’re constantly reminded that 5E uses natural language, and yet here is a case where the natural course of language goes utterly against the rules as they’re intended. You would not, in natural language, describe an attack from 30 feet away as being a “melee” attack. You would describe it as a “ranged” attack.

    So is it any wonder, then, that people aren’t certain how to interpret this sort of thing? The rules tell them two completely different and contradictory things!

    When the rules tell you to make a melee attack at range, how do you make sense of that? Do you intrepet their meaning based on the logic of natural language? Or do you interpret them based on their exact technical presentation? Because the rules somehow expect you to do both, at different times, without indication of when one or the other intepretation should apply or be favored over the other.

    And then when people quite naturally ask for clarification, they get Crawford’s signature unhelpful rulings that you have to read two or three times to properly understand what he’s actually trying to say.

    It would be so much more helpful if he actually clearly stated a direct answer to their question before trying to explain why the answer is so.

    “Is this still considered a melee attack? I ask because it happens at range.”
    “Yep, it’s still considered a melee attack. This is a case where technical terms for game mechanics supercede natural language.”

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