[RPG] In the descriptions of monster action options, what’s the difference between “one target” and “one creature”

dnd-5emonsterstargeting

Something I have been wondering about since I started DM'ing: in the Monster Manual, most actions specify "one target", while some have "one creature".

Example with Ghouls & Ghasts: Bite specifies one creature, Claws specify one target.

What is the difference? Does it matter for regular play?

Best Answer

A target includes: creatures, objects, and locations.

The PHB p194 states:

Pick a target ...: a creature, an object or a location.

For spells, PHB p204 states:

A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin...

The Ghoul can use its Bite Action to target only other creatures, e.g. PCs, NPCs, beasts and other monsters. It cannot use the Bite action to target an object, e.g. a door.

The Ghoul can use its Claws Action to target a creature or an object. For example, to do damage to a door.

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