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Just wondering if there are any disadvantages to casting the spell Catapult within melee range of an opponent. Latest DM I had argued that the enemy would gain advantage on their DEX save to make it match up with other ranged spell attacks.

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There is no basis in the RAW for them to have Advantage on the saving throw, though the rules do give DMs latitude to change things as they see fit. In this particular instance, the spell is 'aimed' by virtue of the magic you're wielding as opposed to you yourself, hence the reason for the Dex save.

While I assume your DM's intent was to balance it when compared to ranged attacks in melee range being made with disadvantage, there's no basis for this to apply to an opponent's need to make a Dexterity save. I suspect part of the reason for the rules to be written this way is that a Ranger missing his shot is simply down 1 arrow, while a Wizard missing with this spell would be down a 1st level spell slot which can be a significant loss at early levels.

By your DM's logic, it would seem the opponent is entitled to make any Dex save with advantage provided they were within 5' of the caster at the time of casting. Possibly only if the attack requiring a Dex save emanates from the caster. The specific issue I would take with this is that the Mage Slayer feat allows such a thing to be done. Unless the opponent has that feat, it can be a bit unfair for them to have access to that feature without paying for it.

RAW, the opponent doesn't have advantage on the save. However, also RAW, the DM has the final say provided they understand this is a notable nerf to casters. If you're feeling particularly metagamey, you could use it to your advantage and later on claim advantage when the evil wizard is cornered and trying to force a Dex save from their fireball, lightning bolt, burning hands or pretty much any other evocation spell that emanates from them (which might be almost all of them).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You might want to add some thing about Catapult being especially nerfed, because the projectile keeps moving if the first target succeeds his save -- which means someone else (including caster) might get hit by it if it doesn't run into a wall or reach the end of the range, because of the advantage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Logically that makes sense, but do the RAW allow it to continue? For example, if I miss my target with the arrow, is there an in-game risk of hitting my ally who's right behind the target? Logically this makes sense, but is there a basis for it in the rules? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Arrow has no RAW support to continue. But catapult is clear the projectile does keep moving. "The object flies in a straight line up to 90 feet in a direction you choose before falling to the ground, stopping early if it impacts against a solid surface." So if it doesn't hit something, i.e. successful save, it keeps going until it reaches the 90 foot range. Which is awesome if you can line up a lot of enemies, and sucks if an ally is behind the target. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 17:42

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