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The Scrying spell allows players to look at distant targets. Are there abilities or spells that allow players or characters to launch attacks against a target they are scrying?

While I am aware that characters could teleport in, I'm more concerned about zero-risk attacks from super far away.

This question was spurred by the UA sorcerer ability, Hound of Ill Omen. Recently, one of my players cast Scrying on an commoner NPC from a great distance, and then used her Hound of Ill Omen feature on the NPC. The text of the feature reads,

As a bonus action, you can spend 3 sorcery points to summon a hound of ill omen to target one creature you can see. The hound uses a dire wolf’s statistics ...

Because the character could see the NPC, I couldn't find a good reason to disallow this, and the NPC was torn to pieces.

I'm not sure if this is just a quirk of the UA wording, or if there is a precedent for this kind of attack.

Just to be clear, my question is not whether Hound of Ill Omen works this way. My question is whether other abilities/spells/etc. also work this way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ More specifically, are you asking whether Scrying allows a sorcerer to use Hound of Ill Omen over great distances, or are you asking what other abilities can be used with Scrying to attack over great distances? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Apr 12 '17 at 11:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman, I'm asking about the latter. I have already ruled on the use of Hound of Ill Omen through scrying, and I think it's probably correct; I'm just concerned about whether that's a UA specific issue, or if there are other abilities that allow Scrying attacks. I suppose there are three possible types of answers to this question: "You ruled incorrectly," "Here are other abilities like this," and "There are no other abilities like this". \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Apr 12 '17 at 15:49
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I would say no to the spell you are quoting (which states "summon a hound of ill omen to target one creature you can see.) as this seems to go against the PHB section on "targets" for spells. Nearly all spell types or effects it must target something (odd exceptions such as teleport and sending etc) and the PHB section on spell targeting says: (emphasis mine).

To target something, you must have a clear path to it, so it can’t be behind total cover. If you place an area of effect at a point that you can’t see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction.

since it is highly likely that scrying wouldn't have a clear path to the target (possible if you are on a flat plane with EXTREME line of site but generally speaking)

The scrying spell only notes that you can see and hear as if you were there, it does not say you have a clear path to the target (speaking as a rules-as-written) or can act as if you were there.

Other spells depend. I would say no to long range "sight" spells such as meteor swarm as they would break the need for a clear path to the sighted target. Sending would be irrelevant as you need the same criteria for scrying anyway. Teleport would also be iffy - simply seeing somewhere does not make the location "known to you" as such. I suppose that is a DM call on what they consider "known to you" (I wouldn't consider a "common" room as "known to you", but if there were identifying parts that made it "known to you" such as a window looking onto a recognised item or location then OK you draw where you want to go and teleport into that stone wall).

An episode of the WotC podcast also clears targeting up: You always need a clear path to target a creature with a spell. You don't necessarily need to be able to see them (i.e. heavy fog wont impede) but the travel path of the spell must be clear. The spell originates from the caster so the travel path from the caster to the target must have a clear travel path. Full cover stops travel path (including glass).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For my own understanding: If I am scrying on someone and I see they are outside, and I am on top of my hypothetical wizard tower (also outside), does that count as a clear path? \$\endgroup\$
    – lostgrail
    May 10 '17 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. From the spell description: "the spell creates an Invisible sensor within 10 feet of the target. You can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there." The key is "through the sensor", you aren't actually at the target - you can only see and hear as if you are there. A clear path would need to be from you to the target still, even though you can see and hear them. \$\endgroup\$ May 11 '17 at 12:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I need to rephrase my quesiton: there is a clear path as we are both outside. It's a long path (call it a kilometer or mile), but there is no physical barrier separating us. What I lack is a direct line of sight (that's what the sensor gives me). Does that still work if the spell has sufficiently long range? Additional parameters: let's assume the scrying caster is on one side of a hill, and the intended target is on the other. They cannot see each other directly, but if they yelled they could hear each other. No barrier to physically walking over to the other side. \$\endgroup\$
    – lostgrail
    May 11 '17 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, I already covered that is paragraph 3 and 2; The wording of targeting is path to target not sight to target (this was cleared up in the podcast; for example heavy fog will not impede path to target but will impede "line of sight" - this is still allowed). \$\endgroup\$ May 12 '17 at 8:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks. I see how you clarified it but I failed to understand. \$\endgroup\$
    – lostgrail
    May 23 '17 at 18:22
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This can be done

If we check the wording of Scrying (emphasis mine)

You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence.

As stated in the question, the only restrictions to using the feature is that you have to see the target and spend 3 sorcery points. As Scrying specifically states you see the creature you are Scrying on, it would appear you ruled correctly!

As Slagmoth pointed out however, this is still Unearthed Arcana material and there will likely be some more limitations in place if / when it gets published.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would have to say that this will likely gain a hard range on it when/if it is actually published. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Apr 12 '17 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given the discussion in the comments on the question, are there other features like this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Apr 12 '17 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire any feature that simply states you have to see the target, without any other limitations such as range, touch, etc, would be legal. I don't have a PHB in front of me right now so I can't check but there could well be others like this. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12 '17 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JamieBrace, based on SevenSidedDie's comment on the other answer, spells don't seem to work for this unless there's text specifically allowing this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Apr 13 '17 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed and perfectly reasonable to allow, if an NPC is so weak as to die by a Dire Wolf, and has earned the ire of PCs with access to 5th-level spells, that NPC is doomed. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Apr 25 '17 at 4:04
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You will be hard-pressed to find attack spells with infinite range (infinite range includes millions of lightyears away into space). You can, however, create attacks from super far away.

  • Meteor Swarm: 1 mile range, requires sight only.

    • If you wanted to nuke, call meteors from the sky
  • Storm of Vengeance: Range of sight (see this question for distances)

    • Summon a 9th-level storm spell above your enemies. The fact that the range is listed as "sight" qualifies you to cast SoV.
  • Mirage Arcane: Range of sight (link as above), 1 square mile AoE

    • If you're an Illusionist Wizard, Mirage Arcane plus Malleable Illusions and Illusory Reality grant you reality warping powers. The fact that the range is listed as "sight" qualifies you to cast Mirage Arcane through Scrying. And Malleable Illusions allows you to manipulate the illusion through Scrying.
    • There is no damage here, but you can mess with them for 10 days. A bit tricky because the cast time of MA is 10 minutes, which is also the duration of Scrying.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I considered some of these, but the requirement to have an unblocked path between you and the target (“A Clear Path to the Target”, PHB p. 204) seems to disqualify spells that don't make specific exceptions. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12 '17 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie, wouldn't the scrying sensor have a clear path, allowing the caster to bypass that requirement? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Apr 12 '17 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire It only provides sight and sound, no ability to cast through it. A spell that uses it for choosing a “target you can see” is like using a mirror around a corner: even though you can see your target, you still can't send the fireball through the wall that's in the way. Some spells don't care about what's between you and the target (Sending), but without exceptions like that, most spells need a clear physical path between caster and target. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12 '17 at 20:18
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Yes, but only if you're in range.

Hound of ill omen targets "one creature you can see within 120 feet of you". Scrying counts as being able to see them, but you must still be within 120 feet of them. So unless you're scrying on the next room over, you can't call forth your hound against them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is relevant for Hound of Ill Omen, but the OP specifically states "Just to be clear, my question is not whether Hound of Ill Omen works this way. My question is whether other abilities/spells/etc. also work this way." Admittedly, it's poor wording on their OP's part to spend so much time talking about Hound of Ill Omen and then state "but I'm not asking about it," but you should consider updating your answer to speak directly to the question about attacks in general as well / instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Nov 20 '19 at 22:19
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You can only attack through it with a spell that has a range of sight. If you can see a creature, you can attack it through a spell that has a range of sight. In a scrying sensor, you are allowed to see the target. Therefore, you may attack him with a spell of a range of sight. But the DM has the last call.

Storm of Vengeance: Range Sight

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Since there are Magic Items that let you cast spells through them, the 5th level spell Scrying, that uses an object (a focus worth 1000 GP), should let you cast through it if the spell requires you to see the target (as long as that it is on the same plane of existence as you).

You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence as you.

The Crystal Ball of Mind Reading and Crystal Ball of Telepathy are both items that let you cast spells that affect targets on the other side of the Scrying spell that you can see.

Crystal Ball

While touching it, you can cast the scrying spell (save DC 17) with it. {snip}
Crystal Ball of Mind Reading. You can use an action to cast the detect thoughts spell (save DC 17) while you are scrying with the crystal ball, targeting creatures you can see within 30 feet of the spell’s sensor.
Crystal Ball of Telepathy. While scrying with the crystal ball ... You can also use an action to cast the suggestion spell (save DC 17) through the one of those creatures. {that you can see}

A less powerful spell, find familiar (1st level) also let’s you cast spells through it without a physical line of path from you to the target (as long as the familiar is within 100’ of you).

Source:D&D5e SRD 5.1, p. 176(Scrying); p. 214-215 (crystal ball); p. 143 (find familiar)

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