I know that there is Crossbow Expert. But, I'm looking for something more beneficial to spellcasters than the other perks of Crossbow Expert.

Crossbow Expert

  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

Aside from this feat, and also not including touch range spells, are there any other options available to Spellcasters to attack with ranged spells in melee proximity?

To clarify, I mean any passive means, such as an inherent ability, feat, etc. of replicating the above mentioned feature of the Crossbow Expert feat. I would like to avoid spells, as I am looking for something specifically along the lines of a passive ability.

A magic item may work so long as it is generally easy to obtain or purchase, but I'd prefer an ability or something.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, casting a spell would take up a turn that I'd rather use for combat. I'll add that to the question. I meant passive as in some form of passive ability. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 6:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose either would work, but I'd like something inherent as I'd have to obtain the magic item first. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 6:07
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Can we assume you are aware that there are plenty of offensive spells and cantrips that don't require attack rolls, and thus can be cast without penalty while in melee? Maybe clarify that by "attack with ranged spells" you specifically mean "make ranged spell attack rolls". \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jul 5, 2017 at 6:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you can make that assumption. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


While it's from Unearthed Arcana, the Close Quarters Shooter Fighting Style does this.

Close Quarters Shooter

You are trained in making ranged attacks at close quarters. When making a ranged attack while you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature , you do not have disadvantage on the attack roll . Your ranged attacks ignore half cover and three‑quarters cover against targets within 30 feet of you. Finally, you have a +1 bonus to attack rolls on ranged attacks.

Note that, for most spellcasters, you'll need a level of Fighter to get a fighting style. If you do, it's worth taking it first for extra proficiencies and proficiency in Constitution saving throws.

Be invisible. Yep, it's yet another way in which being invisible is awesome.

Aiming a ranged attack is more difficult when a foe is next to you. When you make a ranged attack with a weapon, a spell, or some other means, you have disadvantage on the attack roll if you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature who can see you and who isn’t incapacitated.

If you use regular Invisibility, it'll end as soon as you cast a spell, so you'll only get the lack of disadvantage on that single spell. Greater Invisibility allows you to overcome this and keep doing whatever you want.

As @J.A. Streich points out, any other way of being unseen will work just as well. For Warlocks with Devil Sight, Darkness is especially nice.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not only does this remove the disadvantage from being in melee range, but it also adds the benifit of advantage. And there are there are other ways to be unseen than to be invisable, like Darkness (if you can see through it [Warlock with Devil Sight]) or a Fog Cloud. Also any thing that would grant advantage Faerie Fire, Guiding Bolt, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich Good point, I'll add a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jul 5, 2017 at 5:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich ... or just being Hidden. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jul 5, 2017 at 7:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ This and Spell Sniper would be quite a dangerous combination. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 12:59

Spells that don't need attack rolls.

Are there any abilities for a Spellcaster to attack with ranged spells in melee distance, without imposing disadvantage?

Yes, there are such abilities; and every spellcaster already has them. All spellcasters have spells that can be used offensively at range but which don't require a ranged spell attack roll, and as such attract no penalty when used while the caster is within 5' of a hostile creature.

A select few spells don't involve any rolls at all; magic missile is the most commonly-used example, but power word kill or stun also fall into this category.

More common are spells that call for saving throws from the target or targets, instead of making a spell attack. At most levels, for most spellcasting classes, there are saving-throw based attacks that are comparable to the attack-roll based spells of the same levels. Often the saving-throw based spell attacks multiple targets in a (small) area, while the attack-roll based spell affects only one target (but there are exceptions to both of these).

So a spellcaster that expects to be within 5' of hostile creatures some of the time might want to invest in non-attack roll spells — acid splash or poison spray instead of firebolt; shatter instead of scorching rays, and so on.

In fact, most spellcasters only have a small number of spells that call for ranged attack rolls -- according to the SRD (searching via D&D Beyond):

Bard: none!

Cleric: guiding bolt.

Druid: produce flame.

Sorcerer: chill touch, firebolt, ray of frost, scorching ray.

Warlock: chill touch, eldritch blast, ray of enfeeblement.

Wizard: chill touch, firebolt, ray of frost, acid arrow, ray of enfeeblement, scorching ray.

If you are using the SRD, it is only those nine spells (out of more than 300) that are penalized when cast within 5' of a hostile creature. The PHB and other sources add more, of course, but they also add many additional spells that don't require attack rolls.


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