I'm currently playing a Duergar Barbarian who I'm playing as a grappler, great fun, but neither me or the DM are entirely sure how the Duergar's sunlight sensitivity affects a special melee attack. It reads as follows.

Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight

I've seen similar situations ruled differently by different DMs. I suppose I'm asking is an attack roll strictly against AC, or is a contested roll from a special melee attack also defined as an attack roll?

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RAW, it doesn't affect

While grappling and shoving are considered special melee attacks, they don't require attack rolls, they are a contest of ability checks. From Player's Handbook, page 195 (emphasis mine):

Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check instead of an attack roll: a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check [...]

Sunlight Sensitivity is clear: the only ability check it affects is Wisdom (Perception).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Narratively, a grapple does not require good eye sight because it is not a weapon attack that needs to avoid a parry or find an opening in armor. It is simply a grab or a shove. \$\endgroup\$ – krb Jun 7 '19 at 9:31

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