Touch attack and Ranged Touch attack Spells


Rules Questions


I don’t fully understand Touch attack and Ranged Touch attack Spells. Do I have to actually “touch” the target on touch attacks? Do ranged touch attacks are ranged or melee? Do I use my DEX bonus on the attack roll?


You actually have to touch them.

Touch attack are melee attacks and thus use strength, for whatever reason.

Ranged Touch Attacks are touch attacks that are done at range, rather than in melee, and use the rules for ranged weapons (including using Dex to hit).


Touch and Ranged Touch could use some cleaning up in future rules, IMHO.

A touch attack requires a successful melee attack against a target's touch AC. A ranged touch attack is a ranged attack against a target's touch AC.


Uninvited Ghost wrote:

Touch and Ranged Touch could use some cleaning up in future rules, IMHO.

I can't agree more! :)


Touch attacks are much easier to land on big slow opponents who might be otherwise impossible have its regular ac overcome.

As previously mentioned, ranged touch attacks use caster's dex, and touch attacks use caster's strength, unless you take weapon finesse (touch attack/unarmed attack).

You cannot use ranged touch attacks against someone adjacent to you (e.g. melee touch attack) without added penalties (with perhaps the special exception if you have 0' reach), unless you have some special ability to do this otherwise.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A touch attack is simply an attack that targets a character or creature's touch AC. They can be melee or ranged (using Strength or Dexterity modifiers and various other bonuses as appropriate for melee and ranged attacks). Melee touch attacks can also be finessed with the Weapon Finesse feat, just like unarmed strikes, which might allow someone to use Dexterity for both melee and ranged touch attacks.


Takamonk wrote:
You cannot use ranged touch attacks against someone adjacent to you (e.g. melee touch attack) without added penalties (with perhaps the special exception if you have 0' reach), unless you have some special ability to do this otherwise.

Are you talking about Shooting into a Melee, or some other kind of penalty?

You would technically take the penalty for shooting into melee when shooting an adjacent foe, which doesn't make much sense (and I would probably hand-wave it outside of PFS).

If you're a ranged or ray-focused caster, remember you also may have to deal with Cover and Soft Cover.


Are there ranged touch spells that aren't effect: ray? If so, does missing with the 'ranged touch' spell hold the charge as per the rules regarding touch spells?


evolved wrote:
Are there ranged touch spells that aren't effect: ray?

Yes. For example: Acid Splash, Acid Arrow, Deafening Song Bolt, Dread Bolt, Shard of Chaos, Spear of Purity, Spit Venom.

evolved wrote:
If so, does missing with the 'ranged touch' spell hold the charge as per the rules regarding touch spells?

No. Touch Spells are spells with a range of "touch." A ranged touch spell does not have a range of "touch" and thus is not a touch spell, and thus doesn't follow the special rules for touch spells.


Thanks Grick.

Are there any effective differences between usage of a 'ranged touch' spell in combat and the use of a ray? Would things like weapon focus - ray not work on ranged touch spells? Is there any particular reason you can think of why the two are seperate entities?


evolved wrote:
Are there any effective differences between usage of a 'ranged touch' spell in combat and the use of a ray?

A ray is a weapon, and thus qualifies for Weapon Specialization or Improved Critical, as well as spells and effects that affect weapons such as Inspire Courage or Arcane Strike. FAQ1, FAQ2.

evolved wrote:
Is there any particular reason you can think of why the two are seperate entities?

I don't have any insight as to why some spells are not rays, other than it being thematically weird. Tossing a ball of fire that's sitting in your hand doesn't have the same flavor as shooting a beam of energy out of your finger.

Sczarni

Here are some Useful Links:

Magic Range Page

Magic Aiming a Spell Page


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Weapon Focus - ray only works on spells that say "Effect ray" in the spell description.

Acid Splash is "Effect one missile of acid" but says "You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit your target.", so it is a ranged touch attack, but not a ray.

Touch attacks exists to represent (I won't say "simulate", that way lies madness) attacks that aren't affected by a targets armor, usually because they rely on a magical effect rather than the transfer of kinetic energy.

Why are there rays and other not-ray ranged touch attacks ? Because variety is cool ? Functionally, there's not a lot of difference but there might be some. A ray is direct LOS only, a non-ray might be a lob or even guided like a magic missile is (but that's not even a touch attack, it just hits).

EDIT: Ninja'd lots. *grumble*

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Touch attack and Ranged Touch attack Spells All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.