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Can a ranged cast also count as a touch if done right next to it?

Where this came up:
My wizard player wants to have their owl familiar cast floating disk so the wizard can sit on the disk and have the owl fly along the ground with the disk following it 20 ft away like a magical floating sled.

They know you can cast a spell through the familiar as though the familiar had cast it so long as it's a touch spell, I point out it's not a touch spell, it has a casting range of 30ft. They say sure, but the owl is casting it right underneath its feet which is touch distance. Any ranged distance includes all ranges shorter than that distance, so it would have to include touch wouldn't it?

It's kind of hard to fault that logic, does that work under RAW?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking if a spell whose range is not listed as "touch" can be delivered through a familiar as long as its listed range is... basically anything other than "self"? Also, I assume you're asking about the find familiar spell? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 19 at 9:35
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No, a familiar can't deliver a spell unless its listed range is "touch"

The Find Familiar spell states:

... when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell ...

By RAW, this means that the familiar is only able to deliver spells that have a range of Touch. For ranged spells, being able to physically 'touch' the target point or creature while casting the spell does not circumvent this rule.

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Your familiar has a specific ability that allows it to deliver spells with the range of touch.

Find Familiar:

when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell.

The condition is explicit, the range in the stat block of the spell has to be touch. If the spell has any other Range (Spellcasting Range, PHB 202), then it is invalid for the purpose of fulfilling the conditional.

Even if a spell's range allows you to target a creature or location within the range of the spell (including something right next to you), that doesn't change the range of the spell.

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No. There are a lot of false assumptions in your question.

Any ranged distance includes all ranges shorter than that distance [...]

No. Any ranged distance can reach all spaces shorter than that distance. It does not mean it counts as that kind of range. You can cast disintegrate at point-blank and you could even poke the target with your finger for dramatic effect, it still does not become a Touch spell.

They say sure, but the owl is casting it right underneath its feet which is touch distance

touch distance (lowercase intentional, lexical meaning) is not the same Touch range (game concept). Idem above.

They know you can cast a spell through the familiar as though the familiar had cast it so long as it's a touch spell, I point out it's not a touch spell, it has a casting range of 30ft.

This is correct.

And now the core of the question:

My wizard player wants to have their owl familiar cast floating disk so the wizard can sit on the disk and have the owl fly along the ground with the disk following it 20 ft away like a magical floating sled.

This doesn't work even if the familiar could deliver the floating disk as a Touch spell. Because of the wording on the familiar spell:

[...] your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell [...]

The caster of the spell is still you. It (the familiar) can't move the floating disk away from you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what this answer adds that our answer don't already cover. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 19 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It breaks down the assumptions of the question in-depth and addresses the real question of the OP (if the caster can use FD + FF to get his own floating sled). The other answers posted so far don't address that, @akixk - This question is an A/B question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Mar 19 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your logic is that if the familiar is treated as if it is the caster, then it is not treated as if it is the caster in terms of the Floating Disk following the caster of the disk? (In the case that the Floating Disk is a touch spell) \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 19 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it's more that your familiar can deliver touch spells as if it had cast the spell, but that doesn't actually change the fact that you cast the spell nor cause any other effects (such as the Floating Disk's positioning) to treat the spell as if the familiar had cast it. \$\endgroup\$ – Lunin Mar 20 at 0:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ The way I'd rationalise it is that Touch is "charging the spell into an entity or object", while ranged is hurling a fireball or otherwise treating the spell as a projectile. You can hurl a fireball at something in touching-distance, but you're not imbuing the target with explodium, you're just shooting them point-blank. Fundamentally different behaviour. \$\endgroup\$ – Rowan Mar 20 at 10:19

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