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This question already has an answer here:

RAW:

When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

Is there a way other than a melee attack to achieve the same result? A spell or a ranged attack, maybe a feature or ability of a class I'm not aware of? Or is it simply impossible with RAW?

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marked as duplicate by NautArch dnd-5e Mar 18 at 19:31

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure what is being asked exactly. Are you asking for any feature or spell that can make someone unconscious or an ability that allows you to do change this specific rule so it can be applied to spells/ranged attacks? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Mar 18 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The latter, if there is a type of ranged action that can knock someone unconscious. Say someone is running away, the rest of his group is dead. The party wants to interrogate him, so they don't want to kill him, just knock him unconscious, but they can't catch up to him for a melee attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Ziga Mar 18 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the duplicated question answer yours? If not, please let us know what's missing and we may be able to reopen if it's different. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 18 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does, I just wrongly focused on the word unconscious, so I couldn't find it. You can keep this one closed, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Ziga Mar 18 at 19:57
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Any melee attack can be a knock-out blow.

You've quoted the complete rules on the matter. The type of damage is not relevant, only the source of the attack - melee or ranged. Both a melee weapon attack and a melee spell attack are melee attacks.

There are no general rules that allow a knock-out blow to be made with any kind of ranged attack, neither ranged weapon attack nor ranged spell attack. If there is a specific spell or weapon that allows it, I am unaware of its existence.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was wondering if there is a way for lower level characters to subdue someone from a distance without killing him, but I guess there is no such spell/feat. I haven't realised that a melee SPELL attack can be used in a nonlethal way, thanks for the clarification. \$\endgroup\$ – Ziga Mar 18 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ On a more literal level. Doesn't the spell sleep knock an enemy unconscious? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 18 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Sure, but there are some mechanical differences. If a person under the sleep spell gets a good swift kick in the head, they'll wake up (baring very-low maximum HP and instant death by overkill). If a person at 0 HP takes that same kick to the head, they immediately start dying (with two death saves, no less, because melee attacks against an unconscious person auto-crit). \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Mar 18 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Definitely, but I was wondering if there is a spell that does nonlethal damage. If I had remembered to word it this way I would have found the duplicate question, so my bad. \$\endgroup\$ – Ziga Mar 18 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ No worries! Either way I'm glad you found your answer :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 18 at 20:02

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