The Way of the Sun Soul monk (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 35) gets the Radiant Sun Bolt feature at 3rd level:

You gain a new attack option that you can use with the Attack action. This special attack is a ranged spell attack with a range of 30 feet.

They also get the Searing Arc Strike feature at 6th level:

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 2 ki points to cast the burning hands spell as a bonus action.

The Spell Sniper feat (PHB, p. 170) has the following prerequisite:

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell

I was recently designing a Shadar-kai Monk who would take the Way of the Sun Soul archetype (ironic, I know). In the process, I began thinking about how he would benefit enormously from the Spell Sniper feat (increase his range from 30 to 60 ft). I then noticed the prerequisite on the feat and began thinking...

Does a ranged spell attack count as casting a spell (thus allowing the Sun Soul to pick up Spell Sniper at level 4)?

Or does the Sun Soul have to wait until he gains Searing Arc Strike at level 6 to qualify for Spell Sniper for his level 8 feat?


4 Answers 4


The Sun Soul will have to wait until level 6 to qualify for Spell Sniper

A ranged spell attack is not the same as casting a spell. Several different sources could give a character the ability to use a ranged spell attack, but unless the feature says "cast [some spell]" it doesn't count.

Searing Arc Strike on the other hand explicitly says the monk casts the spell, so it makes the character qualify for the the Spell Sniper feat.

Note that Spell Sniper wouldn't enhance the range of Radiant Sun Bolt, because it's not a spell. It would make RSB ignore half and 3/4 cover, since that applies to all ranged spell attacks

  • \$\begingroup\$ This was my thought as well, but figured I'd post it because it's an interesting and, AFAIK, unique position for a character to be put in. Certainly given the short range of Radiant Sun Bolt and the Sun Soul's presumed reliance on this ability throughout their career, Spell Sniper seems almost mandatory if feats are allowed in the campaign. And certainly most Sun Soul Monks would be looking to take this as early as possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joshu's Mu
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joshu'sMu Note that Spell Sniper wouldn't enhance the range of Radiant Sun Bolt, because it's not a spell. It would make RSB ignore half and 3/4 cover, since that applies to all ranged spell attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right. I began reading that in a related question after I posted this. That is something of a bummer, but I think the Sun Soul is already an intensely powerful class, so I guess in the end it is fair... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joshu's Mu
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András Between delivering ranged spell attacks that deal radiant damage (rarely, if ever, resisted) and being able to shoot radiant damage fireballs, they strike me as a class that can rely upon their abilities no matter the foe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joshu's Mu
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 23:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joshu'sMu if an enemy can fly away from an Open Hand monk, it can most likely fly far enough away from a Sun Soul too. An Open Hand is bettet at control, and does better damage (Radiant Sun Bolt does not benefit from weapons). Sun Soul is not bad at all, but far from "immensely powerful" \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 15:11

Not as soon as you hope, and not as well as you hope.

Any character who can cast a spell by any means qualifies for Spell Sniper. The ability to do so via Ki points still qualifies, you just have to wait until you actually have the ability (L6 in this case).

However, Radiant Sun Bolt's range will not benefit from Spell Sniper. That specific benefit requires "a spell that requires you to make an attack roll". Radiant Sun Bolt is very specifically still the Attack action - it is not a spell.

Radiant Sun Bolt will benefit from the cover mitigation, because that only affects "your ranged spell attacks".

There are other feats that work the same way. Crossbow Expert allows the character to avoid disadvantage for any ranged attack roll within 5 feet. It isn't restricted to just crossbows, despite the name of the feat.


Spell sniper would effect cover for sun bolt since sun bolt is a spell attack. Since sun bolt is a special attack and not casting a spell, spell sniper would not increase the range. Normally, you would need to wait to level 6 to meet the prerequisite as a monk of the sun soul with searing arc strike and unless your dm gives you a special opportunity to take a feat you actually have to wait to level 8 to take it instead of an ability score improvement. However, certain races do start with cantrips/spells such as Shadar-Kai who can cast misty step, which would allow you to take the feat instead of an ability score improvement at level 4.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The first two sentences of your answer don't actually address the question, though the rest of the answer does. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 7:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ My first two sentences are at least related to the question unlike your entire response. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bob
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:45

I would say that it does. I will describe why with very colorful hyperbole's and circular logic, and all the things that make it difficult to find the information you are looking for.

When relying on descriptions 100% of the time to do 100% of your thinking for you: If you relied on every single spell description to tell you that your spell indeed exists on your current plane of existence, few spells would exist at all. Or if you wanted to argue that this is more of a divine ability, then its still a spell, because those are spells too. (I would argue that this is a divine ability).

"R.S.B." is a spell attack and would benefit from spell sniper. I can see that other people have their way of "interpreting" the rules. They have valid points, but the only thing "very clear" about this is that its vague at best, like most other things. Now read my favorite line that never helps out the player. "It can be a D.M. ruling."

I believe in the song "don't stop believing" and I also believe "R.S.B." count's for spell sniper because: "This special attack is a "ranged spell attack" with a range of 30 feet." A ranged spell attack counts with, you guessed it, spell attacks. If it was a non-spell like attack, you still would have the infamous non-magical "ranged attacks." It's like the division between fiction and non-fiction. Its either one or the other. Or both. Or neither?

If you look at the wording it just sounds like the author didn't want to create a whole spell, spell category, and meta for this "spell-like ability." When they can just use the blanket "special attack" for it. "R.S.B."really is unique. It's an at-will, holy damage, instant attack, that can be used multiple times in an action, and only monks can use it. That is a lot of clarification they need to do to put it neatly in their already established spell schema.

Lastly, I don't know why this has to be clarified but, Spell attacks are used on attack actions and bonus actions. You use your attack action and or bonus action to cast a spell. There is no such thing as a spell action.

Saying, "Radiant Sun Bolt is very specifically still the Attack action - it is not a spell." is non-sense. The spell says "When (you) take the (Attack action) (on your turn) (and use) this (special attack) (as part of it)" it is used exactly like every single action timed spell ever (in combat).

It very specifically and clearly says special attack during an attack action. Which is the exact scientific equivalent of an apathetic shoulder shrug, while eating a bland cheese sandwich, and saying "It's an attack... that's special..." There is a reason they started labeling things as "Special Melee Attack" now.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Radiant Sun Bolt uses the "Attack action" not the "Cast A Spell action." This alone is a clear indication it is not a spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I will describe why with very colorful hyperbole's and circular logic, and all the things that make it difficult to find the information you are looking for." Is probably also not the best way to introduce your answer. If you are trying to make a point to an audience you should try to make it in the most effective way you can. This line reads as if you are intentionally not doing that which is certainly not something that will endear your answer to readers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, can you provide an example of a "Special Melee Attack"? \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 0:25

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