In D&D 5e, a location is effectively a space in a place or a point on a map, as opposed to constituting a discrete object (a location can be a point in midair, for instance). They are defined relative to the plane of travel which that location occupies, such as a particular position on the deck of a ship, or in a cave somewhere on an oblate spheroid. In specific cases, a location might be defined relative to an object or creature, but mechanically speaking, each location is a space, not necessarily what's in the space.

By RAW, attacks can target a creature, object, or location:

(emphasis mine)

Making an Attack (PHB p193)
Whether you're striking with a melee weapon, firing a weapon at range, or making an attack roll as part of a spell, an attack has a simple structure.

  1. Choose a target. Pick a target within your attack's range: a creature, an object, or a location.

Attacks targeting an object (including doors & walls) are well established, including the AC & HP of objects of varying material.

(Some magical structures are given damage ratings; one spell even gives its effect a standard stone AC & HP, while measuring wall area destroyed by the inch.)

Attacking objects (whether discrete objects or structures) seems pretty well covered, with multiple examples, & even things like Adamantine weapons that deal critical damage to objects on a hit.

Attacking creatures is of course the main focus of the game, so there's no shortage of examples for that.

However, even though the rules state that a location can be targeted by an attack... I haven't found any attack that would be relevant to a location!

The only Spell Attacks that aren't specifically limited to targeting creatures & objects, are Magic Stone, Flame Blade, Acid Arrow, Scorching Ray, & Mordenkainen's Sword, & based on their wording, none of those attack rolls appear to accomplish anything when targeting a location (unless a creature in a location could be hit by a spell attack targeting that location)...

Note that specific thrown items such as a Bomb, Dynamite stick, & other items with effects that target a location, use an Action, not an Attack roll; throwing a Bomb does not entail an Attack roll.

For whatever reason, throwing a Net at a location to hit a creature in that location, is disputed (see the mess I made of this question), although as @Jason_c_o has noted in their suggested answer below, the 5e OpenSRD mentions targeting a location in order to hit an unseen creature. (I guess whether that'a a good Answer is for voters to decide.)

I've been looking through magical items & weapons & features, & found absolutely nothing else that would target a location with an attack.

The only thing I could think of was using an item ≥10ft across to attack multiple creatures in an area, but it seems there's just no RAW to support that.

When an effect applies to creatures or objects within an area, that effect's description defines the terms of its location & extent, and specifies what creatures or objects within the area can be affected and how. There are so many area effects, but none of them involve an attack roll that would target a location!

What are some use cases for attack rolls that target a location?

IE: What is an example of a situation wherein there is mechanical reason to target a location with an attack roll, & what are its use cases?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You state, "By RAW, attacks can target a creature, object, or location." Can you site where it says that? It might be easier to answer if we know the context in which your RAW mentions attacking location. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 6:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Anyone answering this question should be aware that OP is trying to prove that you can capture four creatures with one net attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 8:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve voted to close for “needs focus”, there seem to be a couple distinct questions here. The title question and the concluding question are quite different, and I count at least one other question that could be a separate post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please don’t respond to answers or give commentary on answers in the question. The question is for the question, the answers are for answers. If you wish to endorse a particular answer, do so by upvoting, accepting, and possibly leaving a brief note as a comment on that answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 15:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it is. For the reasons I said above. You are trying to insert an answer into a question, which makes it difficult to understand. But I've tried, you do you. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


You're targeting a location whenever you aren't targeting an object or a creature

When you make an attack you declare its target. While some attacks may specify they only work with specific types of target, others are variable and the decision is made when the attack is declared.

You can declare an attack as targeting a location when the other two options (creature or object) do not apply.

Examples of targeting a location include, but are not limited to:

When you believe something in the space is hidden or invisible.

If you believe there is an invisible creature next to you, you may declare an attack on the empty space to see if you hit something. It wouldn't make sense any other way since you, as a player and in character, shouldn't know if something is occupying the space and you need to be able to declare an attack. Of course, the GM knows whether this is actually an attack on the creature or not.

When you attack a target that you can’t see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you’re guessing the target’s location or you’re targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn’t in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the GM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target’s location correctly. - Unseen Attackers and Targets, 5e SRD - Emphasis mine

You're either guessing a target's location or you're targeting a creature you've somehow otherwise detected.

When you want to throw an item into a specific square.

The DM may have you roll an attack against a location if you want to throw/shoot something, with accuracy, into a specific square or space. Perhaps near a creature or object, but not directly at them. For example: you want to throw a dagger past someone's ear. You aren't attacking them, you're attacking the space next to them.

If you want to embed your throwing axe at someone's feet or throw something next to a barrel, you're targeting a location.

In these types or situations, you wouldn't be rolling against an AC but a DC set by the DM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a great note about an attack roll to hit a creature in the location targeted, when "you're guessing the target's location"! I don't know where I'd find that particular bit of (OpenSRD) text in the published books, either? ... That's incorrect about throwing bombs, grenades, & other throwable AoEs though: Every single one of them specifies that an action is used to throw them at a point, not an attack roll targeting that location... (except the Net; which once again might come down to whether a net attack targeting a location can affect a 10ft area if it's a 10ft net? 🤷Disputed?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 8:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, this question is part of OP trying to prove that you can capture four creatures with one net attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 8:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a question related to trying to prove or disprove that, yes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 10:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ProphetZarquon You asked about the net in a different question. It looks like you're trying for a specific answer you're not getting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 12:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: some answers to Can an Unseen Servant be attacked?, What mechanics allow you to target an Unseen Servant? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 15:42

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