The Vital Sacrifice feat from Tal’dorei Campaign Setting: Reborn says you can expend a blood boon to gain the following benefit:

When you hit with an attack or spell, you deal an additional 2d6 necrotic damage.

Fireball and Magic Missile clearly do not involve attacks, so this is not a duplicate of questions asking what it means to hit with an attack.

But Fireball and Magic Missile are spells. Does damaging a creature with a non-attack spell such as Fireball count as a "hit with a spell"? What about damaging a creature with a non-attack spell that uses the word "hit" in its spell description, such as Magic Missile?

This is not a duplicate of questions asking if one can hit with an attack without an attack roll, because this question is about "hit with a spell", not "hit with an attack."

Does dealing damage with a spell such as Fireball count as a "hit with a spell" for the purposes of this feat, thus dealing additional 2d6 necrotic damage? What about Magic Missile, where the word "hit" is used explicitly, even without an attack roll? If so, does it deal the additional 2d6 necrotic damage to every creature that took damage from the spell, or only the ones that did not make their saving throw, or only one creature of your choice?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also related: What counts as an attack? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 4, 2023 at 3:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Both of those cover "hit with an attack" but not "hit with a spell" \$\endgroup\$
    – Kerrick
    Nov 4, 2023 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


The rules or spell tell you when a spell "hits"

The PHB rules for spellcasting (p. 205) say:

Some spells require the caster to make an attack roll to determine whether the spell effect hits the intended target

That is, to hit with such a spell, you make an attack roll. This language is different from the one for spells that require a saving throw, which says

Many spells specify that a target can make a saving throw to avoid some or all of a spell’s effects. The spell specifies the ability that the target uses for the save and what happens on a success or failure.

Success or failure for spells that ask for saving throws, like fireball's area effect, do not use the "hit" language. Neither does fireball itself.

The Tal'Dorei feature however is not just written confusingly, because there are spells that can hit without requiring an attack roll. For example magic missile says

You create three glowing darts of magical force. Each dart hits a creature of your choice that you can see within range.

There is no attack roll involved here. So this feature would work with magic missile, because it says it hits, or with a spell attack, but not with fireball, which does not say it hits.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In order to prevent this question being marked as a duplicate, I had to add details about Magic Missile into the question's title and body. Unfortunately that makes the blanket "no" at the top of this a bit awkward. For future readers' context, the question initially only mentioned Fireball by name, and the No is about Fireball. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kerrick
    Nov 4, 2023 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kerrick No problem, I took off the "No" \$\endgroup\$ Nov 4, 2023 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I doubt that "hit" is a 5e game term. From all readings it is used in it's normal english meaning, in which case a Fireball also hits when the save fails. DnD is not a grammar competition but a game using regular language a lot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Nov 4, 2023 at 21:10

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