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One of my players just hit level 3 and is taking the soulknife rogue subclass, as written in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.

The weapon granted by the class has a weird specification that it has "no long range." I'm curious how this should be interpreted, seeing as I can't find other examples of such a property.

This is what Tasha's says:

You can manifest your psionic power as shimmering blades of psychic energy. Whenever you take the Attack action, you can manifest a psychic blade from your free hand and make the attack with that blade. This magic blade is a simple melee weapon with the finesse and thrown properties. It has a normal range of 60 feet and no long range, and on a hit, it deals psychic damage equal to 1d6 plus the ability modifier you used for the attack roll. The blade vanishes immediately after it hits or misses its target, and it leaves no mark on its target if it deals damage.

There are two possibilities in my mind:

  1. The knife simply can't go beyond 60 feet, just like the range of a ranged spell attack.

  2. The knife can go arbitrarily far, and after 60 feet the attack is at disadvantage.

I'm inclined to lean for the first choice since an arbitrary distance ranged attack seems dumb. Though I suppose there's an argument to be made that the manifested blade is a "psychic attack" so you can attack someone so long as you can see them.

This is the language of ranged weapon attacks, per the PHB:

A weapon that can be used to make a ranged Attack has a range in parentheses after the Ammunition or thrown property. The range lists two numbers. The first is the weapon’s normal range in feet, and the second indicates the weapon’s long range. When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the Attack roll. You can’t Attack a target beyond the weapon’s long range.

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The first option

The Soulknife can make attacks out to 60 feet and no further. These attacks are made with a straight d20 roll (absent some other situational factor).

Normal range is the range at which attacks are made with a straight d20 roll. Long range is the range beyond normal range that attacks may still be made but at disadvantage. The Soulknife's ranged psychic blade attacks do not have this latter distance.

In essence, what is happening is the Soulknife's attacks are treated like a spell attack (which do not feature a long range, either the target is within range or it isn't) except that it isn't a spell attack. It is a conventional ranged attack that does psychic damage.

The Soulknife rogue checks to see if a target is within 60 feet. If so, it may roll a d20 to attack. If the target is outside of 60 feet, no attack may be made.

The reason the wording for the feature is a bit verbose is that the attack works in a unique way but which still fits within the conventions for attacks in fifth edition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In other words, if a weapon with the same characteristics of Soulknife would be in the handbook, its stats would read "Simple melee weapon, finesse, thrown (60/60), 1d6 psychic" \$\endgroup\$ – STT LCU Nov 26 '20 at 13:52

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