An interesting problem came up in game the other day:

A Battle Master fighter (PHB p. 73-74) successfully used the Goading Attack maneuver against a wizard and then successfully disengaged in an attempt to draw fire from the spellcaster.

The spellcaster then hit the main party with an area-effect spell.

For Goading Attack, the rules state the following:

...You add the superiority die to the attack's damage roll, and the target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target has a disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets other than you until the end of your next turn.

However, there is nothing in this that covers spellcasting. It appears Goading Attack has no effect if the spellcaster to cast a spell on another member of the party.

This seems... off. Sure, the wizard took an extra D8 of damage, but shouldn't there be some consequence to the successful Goading Attack?

I'm pretty sure that because it doesn't expressly cover spellcasting, Goading Attack is only meant to cover weapon attacks or spells that require an attack roll. Is that correct?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about rules clarification, or looking for homebrew? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 16:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question seemed to fit what our Q&A is for, right up until the end where it asks for opinions and ideas. We can help with what is correct, but the site’s not designed for questions of opinion. Would you be satisfied with answers simply about what is correct, possibly including any aspects of the interaction that your group may have overlooked? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ "While I'm pretty sure (1) is the correct answer, I'm curious if folks see things differently "-Edited this down to leave out any possibility of confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Σ of eDπ
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is still asking for what people think instead of what is, and inviting discussion of those house rules by including them without a clear question about them. I’ll give it a further edit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ How does that look? Is this question still useful to you? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


This is embarrassing, but I think I've found an answer to my own question:

The definition of an attack is provided on Player's Handbook p. 194 under the "Making an Attack" heading, or here in the basic rules:

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.

If the spellcaster has to make a spell attack roll (as opposed to spells that force the targets to make a saving throw), then if they are "goaded" they do so at a disadvantage when attacking anyone but the "goader".

Otherwise, there's no other effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe you've the correct answer here, but I will concur it is an irritating exemption within the skill. What you might ask as a separate question is to propose a house rule to address this and inquire on the imbalances created by it (if any). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Self-answering is a-okay here! (But FYI, there are a lot of attack spells besides cantrips.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I originally asked for opinions but the question was edited down to what you see. Regardless, I'm thinking a house rule that gives advantage on saving throws to spells on everyone by the 'goader' is more in the "come at me bro" spirit of the effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Σ of eDπ
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The original iteration of your question was indeed too opinionated to provide a singular answer (which is the goal of the RPG.SE), but providing a narrow scope question and soliciting opinions on potential issues with it provides a means (and possibility) of there being a singular answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would just like to point out that there is nothing embarrassing in finding an answer to your own question, it actually shows that you put effort and didn't just sit down waiting for someone to solve your problems :P \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 6:15

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