Something I have been wondering about since I started DM'ing: in the Monster Manual, most actions specify "one target", while some have "one creature".

Example with Ghouls & Ghasts: Bite specifies one creature, Claws specify one target.

What is the difference? Does it matter for regular play?

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, Nice find. Welcome to the stack. We look forward to your next questions (and answers too!) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


A target includes: creatures, objects, and locations.

The PHB p194 states:

Pick a target ...: a creature, an object or a location.

For spells, PHB p204 states:

A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin...

The Ghoul can use its Bite Action to target only other creatures, e.g. PCs, NPCs, beasts and other monsters. It cannot use the Bite action to target an object, e.g. a door.

The Ghoul can use its Claws Action to target a creature or an object. For example, to do damage to a door.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The ghoul can, in a 10 wide by 10 tall long corridor, bite a 10x10 gelatinous cube whose corners are not reachable, but it cannot bite the door (unless it is a mimic... good for detecting mimics). Oh, 5e, what realism. Lolz. +1'd \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 13:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @davidrice From the makers of "Magic the Lawyering..." \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin It can still probably bite the door (and a real treasure chest), it just can't do so as an attack in RAW... now I have the image of a random ghoul just curiously gnawing on everything around it to see if it should scratch it or bite it harder... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 17:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Spells often have similar restrictions. Most can only target creatures while only a few can target objects. For example, fire bolt can target a creature or object while eldritch blast can only target creatures. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 21:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrSpudtastic RAW you cannot perform an action on an invalid target, it fails. Mimic or bust. Of course we are not OCD DMs. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2018 at 14:28

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