When describing the type of attacks that can be made by a creature, there are two axis of description: Melee-Ranged and Weapon-Spell.
Melee. These attacks target or effect creatures or objects within reach.
See: Melee Attack
Ranged. These attacks target or effect creatures or objects that are not within reach, but are within a given range.
See: Ranged Attack
Weapon. These attacks are made with weapons, natural such as claws and teeth or manufactured (swords, arrows, etc.)
Spell. These attacks are magical attacks, such as spells or spell-like abilities (such as dragon's breath).
Magic Attack. A magical attack is an attack delivered by a spell, a magic item, or another magical source.
Thus, the following combinations are possible:
- Melee Weapon Attack - An attack with a melee weapon against a target within reach.
- Melee Spell Attack - An attack with a spell or spell-like ability (with a range of touch) against a target within reach.
- Ranged Weapon Attack - An attack with a ranged weapon or thrown weapon against a target within range.
- Ranged Spell Attack - An attack with a spell or spell-like ability (with a range other than Self or Touch) against a target within range
- Magical Attack - This form of attack often ignores resistances and immunities.