An adventure pours a vial of acid on an enemy combatant. I assume the enemy will try to avoid this.
How can this be handled with the rules of the game? How does this change if the acid vial is thrown?
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This is written in the Player's Handbook on page 148:
Acid. As an action, you can splash the contents of the vial onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw the vial up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. In either case, make a ranged attack against a creature or object, treating the acid as an improvised weapon. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 acid damage.
Remember that a ranged attack in melee range gives you disadvantage, so that covers the part where the enemy is trying to avoid the attack.