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| Y | - | C | - | T |

Y = You
C = Invisible Creature
T = Target

The DM rules that C provides half cover for T. The table uses the optional rules for hitting cover:

If a creature is providing cover for the missed creature and the attack roll exceeds the AC of the covering creature, the covering creature is hit.

Y tries casting fire bolt on T and does not hit T, but is high enough to exceed the AC of C (who is invisible).

How is the attack against the invisible creature resolved?

  • Does the attack roll get disadvantage against the invisible creature (because of the invisible condition)?

  • Or, does the fire bolt simply hit the invisible creature per the text of the optional rule for hitting cover?

  • Or am I missing something else entirely?

It seems to me like the second reading (simply hits the invisible creature), would make it easier to hit the creature than by targeting it directly which seems very odd to me.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting question, but is it me or the title and the text ask two different questions? Do you want to know how the rule is supposed to work (Does it hit or not) or if the optional rule mathematically makes the invisible creature easier to hit. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Nov 16 '18 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @3C273 fair point, I changed the title. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Nov 16 '18 at 0:26
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The DMG states:

When a ranged attack misses a target that has cover, you can use this optional rule to determine whether the cover was struck by the attack[...] If a creature is providing cover for the missed creature and the attack roll exceeds the AC of the covering creature, the covering creature is hit.

The attack roll is/was made against the target, not the invisible creature providing cover and it's not stated that you have to re-roll an attack to hit the 'covering creature'.

Therefore, the attack would simply hit the invisible creature.

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