Short version: Do melee spell attacks take into account armor when the range is Touch?

Longer version: Assuming a prepare an Inflict Wounds (PHB253) spell, that has the following properties:

  • Range: Touch
  • Description: Make a melee spell attack against a creature you can reach. On a hit [..]

Assuming that the opponent that I choose as a target has a total 15AC:

  • 10 Base
  • 3 Armor (possibly natural armor)
  • 2 Dexterity

What should my attack roll be to successfully hit? 15 (the whole above) or 12 (since just touching, armor offers no protection)?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Was about to add an answer, but this does indeed look like a duplicate. You may be thinking of earlier editions which included the concept of a "Touch AC", but see duplicate question for 5th edition answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did not even remember the name "Touch AC", thought it was a given. This however pretty much sums it up, on to homebrewing the rule back in! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


It's 15, the whole above

In 5e, armor might protect you from spells. Armor Class (AC) protects you from all attacks, as the PHB says:

Armor Class (AC). Armor protects its wearer from attacks.

Also, Jeremy Crawford, the lead game designer, explicitly said that so-called "melee spell attacks" were stoppable by armor.

Keep in mind that "attack" is a game term. For more details, see What counts as an attack?


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