One of the new spells from Xanathar's Guide to Everything is Dragon's Breath. Even though the spell is attacking, nowhere in the spell description does it specifically say that you are attacking with it, only that you use an action. My question is can a familiar that has this spell cast on it use its action to use this spell, or because it's technically considered an attack, would it not be a viable thing for the familiar? And if it is viable, are there any other spells like this that could be used in a similar fashion, essentially allowing your familiar to attack?

Based on What counts as an attack?, I would assume that this would be a perfectly acceptable move, but again, not entirely sure.


Yes it can

The Find Familiar description says the familiar "can’t attack, but it can take other actions as normal". "Attack" means you're making an attack roll. You don't need to attack in order to use the Dragon Breath effect, because there is no attack roll involved, but a saving throw instead:

You touch one willing creature and imbue it with the power...

the creature can use an action to exhale energy of the chosen type in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw

"An attack" in 5e is anything with an attack roll:

If there's ever any question whether something you're doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you're making an attack roll, you're making an attack
(Player's Handbook, page 194)

See also What counts as an attack?

Since the familiar doesn't make one, it can use the Dragon Breath effect.

Sage Advice confirms this

As @V2Blast has pointed out, a tweet from Jeremy Crawford supports this answer:

Dragon's breath is cast on a willing creature. Your familiar is a creature that can be willing. Find familiar prevents a familiar from attacking, but dragon's breath involves no attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I figured this was the case. It's just that this seems to be the first spell I've seen (I'm not too familiar with all the spells, just some of the more popular ones) that allows you to give an attack method to a creature, so I just wanted to make sure I was interpreting the rules correctly. \$\endgroup\$ – Jay Kay Nov 19 '17 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JayKay It's even better; not only can your familiar act on its own initiative and use its action to shoot the Dragon's Breath -- the spell is itself a touch-range spell, which means don't even have to have the familiar with you to pull this off. You can cast as a bonus action, and have the familiar deliver the touch instead of you, targeting itself to give it the power-up from up to 100 feet away. (I have to assume this is very much the intended use of the spell, since the actual spell effect is pretty lackluster for a 2nd level spell otherwise.) \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Nov 20 '17 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym Wow, I didn't even consider that! That's a really cool trick there, thanks for that! \$\endgroup\$ – Jay Kay Nov 21 '17 at 3:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Sage Advice" tweet from Jeremy Crawford that supports this answer: sageadvice.eu/2018/02/07/… \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 8 '18 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast thank you, added to the answer \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor May 8 '18 at 21:31

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