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I had a question regarding this ability and what causes it to trigger. It says a 'hit' but does a hit necessarily include a damage roll or does this include when an attack is above the character's touch AC but not the character's total AC?

Here's the description of the ability.

Wrath of the Storm

Also at 1st level, you can thunderously rebuke attackers. When a creature within 5 feet of you that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the creature to make a Dexterity saving throw. The creature takes 2d8 lightning or thunder damage (your choice) on a failed saving throw, and half as much damage on a successful one. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

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In 5e, there is no such thing as "touch AC", so a hit is a hit is a hit.

A 'hit' is defined as (PH page 194):

If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target's Armor Class (AC), the attack hits.

Causing damage doesn't always mean a hit, and not all hits cause damage. Certain spells, class features, magic items, immunities and so on can (partially) negate the damage of a successful hit. But negating the damage doesn't make a hit a miss.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah okay, that's pretty much what I expected when I didn't see Touch AC mentioned but I was not sure. I kind of thought the idea of someone hitting a cleric's armor and then him just staring at them as they get struck by lightning somewhat comical. \$\endgroup\$ – JMcCallum88 Jul 15 '16 at 15:38
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Another answer has clarified the lack of a "touch AC", but note that a "hit" is not specified in the description, but specifically a "hits you with an attack". An attack is a particular action, and not everything that a person does to you in combat is an attack. An attack rolls against AC. to determine a hit. Many harmful abilities do not require a hit roll, and are thus not attacks. For example, a Magic Missile is not an attack, nor is Hold Person, nor any spell that requires a saving throw in place of a roll to hit.

A consequence of this is that if two tempest clerics are fighting one another, and Ann smacks Bob with her mace, Bob may use Wrath of the Storm on Ann as a reaction, but Ann cannot retaliate in turn, even though she might have a reaction available, because Wrath of the Storm does not qualify as an attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. I was using the capital for emphasis, but I can see how it might confuse the issue (attack vs attack action). I have edited. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jul 15 '16 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm starting to think that Attack/attack is 5e's new "level" \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 15 '16 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ha! I agree completely. If it's not Attack/attack, it's "attack with a melee weapon" vs. "melee weapon attack". \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jul 15 '16 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, Attack (action) is different than an attack. Eldritch blast is an attack that uses the Cast a Spell action, not the Attack action, but is still an attack… ** head explodes ** \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Jul 15 '16 at 20:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ You get an action. One of the things you can do with that action is to use it for an "Attack action". Within the attack action, you may make an "attack". This last is what this question is concerned with. Note that some classes allow you to make multiple attacks with your attack action. (or in some cases, take an extra action, which may be used for an attack.) Blame WotC for the confusing terminology. I hope this is not veering into discussion territory. I think we are still clarifying the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jul 15 '16 at 22:07

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