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The Bardic College of Spirits, published in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, has a feature called "Tales from Beyond":

You reach out to spirits who tell their tales through you. While you are holding your Spiritual Focus, you can use a bonus action to expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration and roll on the Spirit Tales table using your Bardic Inspiration die to determine the tale the spirits direct you to tell. You retain the tale in mind until you bestow the tale’s effect or you finish a short or long rest.

You can use an action to choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you (this can be you) to be the target of the tale’s effect. Once you do so, you can’t bestow the tale’s effect again until you roll it again.

Rolling a 2 on the spirit Tales table gives the "Tale of the Renowned Duelist":

You make a melee spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes force damage equal to two rolls of your Bardic Inspiration die + your Charisma modifier.

Given that Tales from Beyond states "You can use an action to choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you (this can be you) to be the target of the tale’s effect", can you use "Tale of the Renowned Duelist" to make a melee spell attack against a target within 30 feet that is outside of your usual melee attack reach?

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Anywhere in 30 ft.

I don't have access to Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, but based on the description of the features you have provided the "melee spell attack" from the 2 result can be made against any target that is valid as described in the main Tales from Beyond feature, i.e. "one creature you can see within 30 feet of you" including yourself. Melee spell attacks at range have various precedent, but the most comparable one I can find is Thorn Whip, which has a range of 30 ft. and says:

You create a long, vine-like whip covered in thorns that lashes out at your command toward a creature in range. Make a melee spell attack against the target. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d6 piercing damage, and if the creature is Large or smaller, you pull the creature up to 10 feet closer to you.

The listed range of 30 ft. would make no sense if it could only work within your existing melee range, and being able to pull a creature 10 feet would make no sense either. Thus, "melee spell attack" does not mean that the target must be in melee range, and the Tale of the Renowned Duelist should work basically the same as Thorn Whip.

(I will note that some spells that involve a melee spell attack aren't explicit about their range, such as Flame Blade, and the DM would need to make a ruling based on the description, but I don't believe that is the case here.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just making sure I understand properly, you're saying this feature is specific about its range when it says "choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you (this can be you) to be the target of the tale’s effect."? Similar to thorn whip having its range called out and different from how flame blade does not call out its range? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 26 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Yes, the feature says "Choose one creature you can see within 30 feet to be the target of the tale's effect". I can see no way that this isn't an explicit statement of range. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari May 26 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Steel Wind Strike is another example of a spell that makes melee spell attacks at range (specifically, at a range of 30 feet, in fact). \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson May 26 at 23:03

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