I recently asked this question about usage of a melee attack spell when you are already touching the target. although it's pretty must answered, I had a non-fighting situation in mind and ended up with several fighting situations answers.

So here I reiterate my question for a non-fighting situation : Can we get some kind of leverage from already touching or being in proximity of an eventual target?

Take this situation: You are a caster and you are in a parlay with a foe. Discussion goes pretty well and you keep talking and moving around while arguing as peacefully as possible. You get to a point where both you and your foe are now close to each other. You put your hand on his shoulder (or shake his hand) and your foe confesses an abominable betrayal. At that moment, you decide this parlay was useless and prefer to see your foe suffer rather than become your ally.

Since you are already touching you target, can you get any kind of advantage from the fact that you are already making a contact that would allow you to inflict the spell's effect on the target?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a duplicate. Whether you are fighting or not fighting doesn't change the mechanics of attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 28 '17 at 21:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ it is : it was my question, but I was suggested to make a new post about a non-fighting situation since the answers could differ \$\endgroup\$ – Sirmyself Sep 28 '17 at 21:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I was the one who made this suggestion. My point was it should be different question (not about spell attacks actually, but about unexpected attacks, surprised opponents, etc.). Not a link to the previous one with the note "now the same, but let's say I've touched him before combat begins". \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Sep 28 '17 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ my misunderstanding then \$\endgroup\$ – Sirmyself Sep 28 '17 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sirmyself imagine a unarmed attack (an unexpected punch) or a sneaky dagger attack (a backstab) instead of melee spell attack. Does this actually change the question? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Sep 28 '17 at 21:12

It is the same as a fighting situation. Once you initiate an attack, a fight is happening.

From the wording of your questions, you seem to be assuming the target won't react. This is not true. Once you begin casting a spell, even if its using stealthy metamagic, the target has a chance to react and move. The fact the caster is already touching the target is irrelevant. It is at most a social interaction that one can break from easily.

What you can achieve is to gain advantage, if you can distract the enemy or attack from hiding.

In a social situation, you might be able to win a dispute of Deception vs Insight to win advantage and/or surprise on your first attack.

But you still need to roll versus AC all the same.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The question was not about ignoring armor bonus like a touch-attack in previous editions. it was more about getting leverage of a situation you can achieve in a roleplay situation and you initiate the fight by the action of casting a touch spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Sirmyself Sep 28 '17 at 21:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sirmyself the roleplay situation you can leverage is the Deception vs Insight contest i mentioned above. The best you can achieve is to win advantage and/or surprise on your first attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Sep 29 '17 at 7:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought you were talking about the surprise mechanic, which does not give advanage. Although it gives some other benefits. \$\endgroup\$ – Sirmyself Sep 29 '17 at 10:49

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