Do spells such as Hex or enhance ability affect attack rolls made using the affected ability score?

These spells reference advantage/disadvantage on ability checks, but I am unsure whether an attack roll constitutes an ability check.

I did reference these spells specifically in case there is a difference between a specific ruling and the general rule.


1 Answer 1


Both of these spells affect ability checks, not attacks.

Attacks are not ability checks.

Ability check:

Ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws are the three main kinds of d20 rolls, forming the core of the rules of the game. (p4 BD&D)

You can see the difference here. You have an ability check, an attack roll and a saving throw. They are three distinct rolls and when you should do each is called out in the text. The case here is for ability checks, these are not attacks and thus the benefit/penalty does not apply.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are 3 general types of d20 rolls: Attacks, Ability Checks, and Saves. They are distinct and are always called out explicitly in the rules! \$\endgroup\$
    – Mag Roader
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, this answer could be much shorter if it just quoted that rule, which makes the situation very explicit. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle I didn't literally mean just that rule, but quoting it instead of the separate descriptions of attacks and ability checks. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @starwed yeah, I just hadn't thought to look for it concisely stated (I honestly didn't think it was), went back through the intro to basic and found the listing. Updated and condenced. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 17:47

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