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An awakened cat with wizard levels has fire shield active, and is melee attacked by a goblin within 5 feet of it. The goblin hits the cat but exceeds the cats AC by 4 or less.

Fire shield states:

In addition, whenever a creature within 5 feet of you hits you with a melee attack, the shield erupts in flame. The attacker takes 2d8 ... damage..

Hooray! That pesky goblin will get their comeuppance. However, the cat does not feel like taking any damage from this attack, so it casts shield which has the following cast time and trigger:

1 reaction, which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell

So the cat has clearly been hit by the attack, triggering fire shield and allowing it to take a reaction to cast shield as well. But shield has this effect:

... Until the start of your next turn, you have a +5 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack, ...

Which would cause the attack to miss! Now we have Schroedinger's fire shielded cat!

Does the damage from fire shield affect the attacking creature when you also cast shield to negate the attack? Or does negating the hit also negate the trigger which allowed shield to be cast at all?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Very similar question: "Does blocking an attack with the Shield spell still trigger Armor of Agathys?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 26 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 That is a good question that I missed in my search, thank you! It does appear to still be somewhat contested, based on an answer outperforming the accepted answer, and neither answer feels definitive. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Feb 26 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be different enough for shield/fire shield vs shield/armor of agathys, but i'm having a hard time parsing what it may be. It really feels like a duplicate and that you're not totally satisfied with the answer. But if that's the case, you should bounty that question. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 26 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch That's fair. I'm fine closing this as a duplicate, as it is very similar, although new information may be around since that questions asking. I'll do some digging, and if necessary ask for a reopen with new information. \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Feb 26 at 19:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch oh I agree, the cat was more for comedic effect! \$\endgroup\$ – Randomorph Feb 26 at 20:24