So I'm just starting out in DND and I'm confused about what allows a character to have proficiency bonuses in spellcasting.

For example my level 1 Ranger has a +2 on shortbow attacks because he's proficient in simple weapons.

How could I get a +2 in spellcasting, by being proficient in what? Because the Wizard/Sorceror don't have a simple proficiency like "spells".

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All spellcasters are proficient with spell attacks.

There is no specific proficiency for spell attacks. Instead, the general rule for spell attack rolls is:

Your attack bonus with a spell attack equals your spellcasting ability modifier + your proficiency bonus.

(PHB, p.205)

So: Any character that casts a spell that requires an attack roll is "proficient", and adds their proficiency bonus. This includes spells cast by means of a magic item, or spells cast without using spell slots from class or racial features.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The above holds true even if the spell is originated from an item or some unusual feature. All spell attacks are made with proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jun 5 '17 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Exactly so, which is why the answer says "Any character that casts a spell". Do you think that needs more emphasis or clarification? \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Jun 5 '17 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe, probably yes. Some people only think the character has "cast a spell" if he spends a spell slot. I've had one such discussion last month at a RPG gathering. After almost an hour of heated debate, we came to the conclusion that even if the character has no spellcasting features, he still adds proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jun 5 '17 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Done, thanks for the feedback! Let me know if it needs more work. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Jun 5 '17 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Marq You should point out that if you don't have a spellcasting ability you do not get the spellcasting ability modifier (you always get the proficiency bonus) see DMG p.141 \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jun 5 '17 at 22:59

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