19
\$\begingroup\$

The Ring of the Ram (DMG p. 193) states the following:

While wearing the ring, you can use an action to expend 1 to 3 of its charges to attack one creature you can see within 60 feet of you. The ring produces a spectral ram's head and makes its attack roll with a +7 bonus.

What kind of attack roll is being made by the ring? Is it a melee or ranged attack? Furthermore, is it a weapon or spell attack?

Is there such a thing as a generic non-melee non-ranged attack in D&D5e? Or a melee or ranged attack that is neither a weapon or spell attack?

\$\endgroup\$
16
\$\begingroup\$

It is just an attack, not ranged, not melee, not a weapon, not spell

Let's start with the obvious, the item doesn't say it's melee/ranged/weapon/spell.

The ring isn't a weapon, and although it is magic it isn't creating a spell.

The ring hits at 60ft, so it's not melee.

The attack can hit a target 60ft away, so maybe it is ranged?

Ruling that it is ranged has consequences

We need to think carefully about whether or not the attack should be classified as ranged, because that ruling has consequences. If we say it is ranged then when it hits a target 5ft away you will be rolling at disadvantage. There are other interactions with ranged attacks (eg Arrow-Catching Shield) which you are imposing on the ring with this ruling.

The rules do not include a description of how to classify attacks as "ranged attacks"

While the ring does seem similar to a ranged attack, we should try not to bend the rules to our ruling. Rules do not exist to be rules lawyered into a conclusion that we are trying to confirm, we should instead read the rules to discover what the correct conclusion is. The rules say:

When you make a ranged attack, you fire a bow or a crossbow, hurl a handaxe, or otherwise send projectiles to strike a foe at a distance.

They do not say:

When you fire a bow or a crossbow, hurl a handaxe, or otherwise send projectiles to strike a foe at a distance, you make a ranged attack.

We should be careful to not think these are equal. The first is not a definition of can be classified as a ranged attack, it is a description of what things we already know are ranged attack are.

The rules go on to say:

You can make ranged attacks only against targets within a specified range.

Not:

Attacks made against targets within a specified range are ranged attacks.

Is there even a projectile?

Even if we do incorrectly interpret this rule as "anything that sends a projectile to strike a foe at a distance is a ranged attack", then in this case what is the projectile?

The ring says it "a spectral ram's head", to me that sounds like the ram's head appears, it doesn't seem to imply that the ram's head is shooting from the ring at the target. In my mind, the ram's head appears by the target and hits them.

Ring of the Ram is an attack at up to 60ft

We can conclusively say that Ring of the Ram does not make weapon or spell attacks. It is also not listed as a melee or ranged attack, so we can conclude it is neither of them either. It's just an attack at up to 60ft, that's all.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ The fact that the attack uses its own +7 modifier seems like a sign that it's not dependent on the wielder doing the final pinpoint aiming. (Except I think that's common for things like a Circlet of Blasting, casting Scorching Ray with a fixed +hit from the item. That's explicitly casting a spell so it's different in other respects, similar only in having a fixed +hit when clearly it's the person using the item that's casting and aiming, not a ram appearing and attacking.) Good point about the ram appearing, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Jul 24 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just because it can manifest its damage at up to 60ft away doesn't make it not melee. If that ram head appears anywhere within 60ft, and it makes the attack, it could very well be melee from its perspective. \$\endgroup\$ – Blindy Jul 24 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Blindy I agree, that not only makes sense to me, but it is also the way I interpret the item. However, it doesn't say it is melee, so I don't rule that way. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jul 27 at 1:20
2
\$\begingroup\$

Ranged Spell Attack.

This is stated in the Sage Advice Compendium:

Does the ring of the ram use spell attacks or weapon attacks? The text doesn’t specify. The attack of the ring of the ram is a ranged spell attack. Future printings of the Dungeon Master’s Guide will reflect that intent.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.