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Vital Strike damage bonus


Rules Questions


Vital Strike says: "Roll the damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together, but do not multiply damage bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), or precision-based damage (such as sneak attack). "

Is that list meant to be exhaustive, meaning that other damage bonuses (e.g. enhancement and Weapon Specialization) are doubled? Or is it supposed to be in the vein of 4e's 2[W] damage codes, only doubling the weapon's base damage?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I treat it as 4E's x[W] format. Your base weapon damage goes up, not your bonus to damage rolls.


Staffan Johansson wrote:

Vital Strike says: "Roll the damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together, but do not multiply damage bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), or precision-based damage (such as sneak attack). "

Is that list meant to be exhaustive, meaning that other damage bonuses (e.g. enhancement and Weapon Specialization) are doubled? Or is it supposed to be in the vein of 4e's 2[W] damage codes, only doubling the weapon's base damage?

Have thought about this too and came to the conclusion, that you only use a weapon's damage dice as listed in the weapon's table PLUS any enhancement bonus (since this is not a weapon ability as per my gut feeling).

All other bonuses or penalies are derived from a wielder's ability (i.e. class feature, feat, other "training") and are not inherent to the weapon itself or are weapon abilities which are explicitely forbidden to be added.

However, something "official" would be nice.

Cheliax

In my opinion it's rather clear. You roll the damage dice twice. There's nothing about multiplying anything. The rules for critical hits mention rolling the damage, including all the usual bonuses. Vital Strike doesn't.


Jadeite wrote:
In my opinion it's rather clear. You roll the damage dice twice. There's nothing about multiplying anything. The rules for critical hits mention rolling the damage, including all the usual bonuses. Vital Strike doesn't.

The thing is that it specifically calls out "don't increase A, B, or C" (two of which consist of extra dice that generally don't get multiplied on things like crits). It doesn't say "Don't add [b]any[b] bonuses." It says nothing on D, E, or F. It is phrased in a rather weird way.

Giving a "real-world" example from a character I'm converting over to PF:

  • Falchion (2d4 base)
  • +2 enhancement
  • +6 Str (multiplied to +9 for a twohander)
  • +2 Weapon Training
  • +2 Weapon specialization

So on a regular attack I do 2d4+15. But when I use Vital Strike, do I do 4d4+15, or 4d4+21?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

By my interpretation, 4d4+15.


What happens if you critical hit with vital strike?
Nathan


NJDemke wrote:

What happens if you critical hit with vital strike?

Nathan

The extra damage from Vital Strike is not multiplied on a critical hit.

So, if you were to Vital Strike with a longsword and roll a critical, you would roll 3d8 for damage (1 from the base weapon damage, one from the critical x2, and one from the vital strike x2).

It's like when you 'double' a doubled threat range; it equals a triple, not a quadruple.


The Vital Strike bonus is most likely counted as 'Extra damage dice' and thus never multiplied. At least my GM ruled it so and I have the distinct gut feeling that Jason won't say otherwise.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html wrote:


Multiplying Damage:
...
Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon's normal damage are never multiplied.


NJDemke wrote:

What happens if you critical hit with vital strike?

Nathan

Vital Strike specifically says you don't multiply its damage bonus when you crit. In my example, It would always be +2d4+15 damage on a crit, regardless of what the verdict on Vital Strike comes out to.


Staffan Johansson wrote:


Vital Strike specifically says you don't multiply its damage bonus when you crit. In my example, It would always be +2d4+15 damage on a crit, regardless of what the verdict on Vital Strike comes out to.

Interesting, this constraint shouldn't be neccessary, unless the bonus dice from Vital Strike could indeed be multiplied with non-crit stuff like Deadly Stroke or Spirited Charge.

Btw.: Of course, the above interpretation is rules lawering mixed with a tiny bit of wishful thinking. ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Jason responded to this question on a thread for GenCon GM's:

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Tangible Delusions wrote:

I have a question about Vital Strike. The wording of it is a little confusing. It says

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make
one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals
additional damage. Roll the damage dice for the attack twice
and add the results together, but do not multiply damage
bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming),
or precision-based damage (such as sneak attack). This
bonus damage is not multiplied on a critical hit (although
other damage bonuses are multiplied normally).

It doesn't say anything about magic bonuses, spells or feat so do they multiply?

So at 6th level and a longsword +2 and 16 Str and power attacking (-2 to hit, +4 damage) using this feat would it be 2d8, +2 for the sword bonus, +4 for PA, and +3 for Str or 2d8 +4 for the sword bonus, +8 for PA and +3 for Str

And then what would the above damage be if a crit was rolled.

Thanks for any clarification!

The way to think about it is this.. roll the damage dice twice. Everything else is as per normal. If you crit, add the crit damage normally and then roll the base dice for the weapon again and add them all together.

So, in your example, the character would roll 1d8+5 attacking normally, 1d8+9 if using Power Attack, and 2d8+9 if using Power Attack and Vital Strike.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


The rules around Vital Strike are not very clear. It says "you can make a single attack that deals significantly more damage",so can I use it when full attack? during charge?
When I use this does my character get only one attack per round or I choose which attack is consider vital strike and multiple the damage dice?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yukarjama wrote:

The rules around Vital Strike are not very clear. It says "you can make a single attack that deals significantly more damage",so can I use it when full attack? during charge?

When I use this does my character get only one attack per round or I choose which attack is consider vital strike and multiple the damage dice?

I think you just get one attack.

If you think your target has low AC, then just use all your regular attacks, but if it has high AC, then use Vital Strike and do extra damage.


Kirth Gersen Houserule #3,874: Vital Strike Feat.

Prerequisites: BAB +6, iterative attacks
Benefit: As a standard action, make a single weapon attack. If you hit, the attack deals an additional +2d6 damage. If your BAB is +11 or better, the damage bonus increases to +4d6. If your BAB is +16 or better, the damage bonus increases to +6d6.
Special: If you choose to charge in combat, you can apply Vital Strike to the single attack you make as part of the charge. Even if you somehow gain the Pounce ability, use of Vital Strike still limits you to a single attack during any round in which it is used.

Andoran

yukarjama wrote:

The rules around Vital Strike are not very clear. It says "you can make a single attack that deals significantly more damage",so can I use it when full attack? during charge?

When I use this does my character get only one attack per round or I choose which attack is consider vital strike and multiple the damage dice?

Actually, the full quote is "When you use the attack action, you can make a single attack that deals significantly more damage."

Note, when you use the attack action. If you reference the section of the combat chapter that talks about actions, you'll notice that the "Attack" action is distinct and separate from the "Full Attack" action or the "Charge" action.

This makes it seem pretty clear to me that you can only use this during a standard attack. However, there is a chance I'm wrong :) Maybe the designers intended it to be used during a charge or full attack? You'll have to ask Jason.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yukarjama wrote:
The rules around Vital Strike are not very clear. It says "you can make a single attack that deals significantly more damage",so can I use it when full attack? during charge?

The wording is vague, but I think it's vague strictly for word-space purposes. The intention (I believe) behind VS is that it is a standard action under most circumstances. As such, you wouldn't be able to use a standard action VS with a full attack (a full round action).

However, the "single attack" terminology is intentional because that allows you to use VS as a part of other actions that grant a single attack, such as a charge. This is anecdotally supported by the Valeros preview blog where Jason mentioned Valeros' ability to use VS with the attack at the end of a charge.

Valeros' Preview wrote:
...he can charge up and make a single attack with his longsword using both Power Attack and Improved Vital Strike.
yukarjama wrote:
When I use this does my character get only one attack per round or I choose which attack is consider vital strike and multiple the damage dice?

You only get one attack/round. VS allows you effectively replace a full round's worth of attacks with a single attack that does more damage (and leaves you the opportunity to take a move action).

-Skeld


Jason just clarified this bit in the thread about the changes to Cleave:

Jason Bulmahn wrote:


Vital Strike can be used in place of an attack action. This means that whenever you take an attack action, you can use Vital Strike instead. An attack action is a type of standard action. While this is nearly identical to Cleave, there are a few subtle differences. Anything that applies to an attack action would apply to a Vital Strike attack, whereas it would not, necessarily, apply to Cleave. The two feats cannot be used in conjunction.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Hope that helps! :)

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dalesman
"Bringing Big D**n Justice to the Bad Guys Since 1369 DR"

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey there all,

Couple of notes. Generally speaking, when reading feats, the descriptive sentence at the very beginning is just that, descriptive. It is not generally rules text.

As for the Vital Strike issue... just roll the damage dice for the weapon twice. Everything else is as normal. If you normally deal 1d8+4 with a longsword, you would deal 2d8+4 with a longsword using Vital Strike.

Vital Strike is an attack action, btw, which is a standard action. You cannot use it as part of a full-attack action.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Skeld wrote:
VS allows you effectively replace a full round's worth of attacks with a single attack that does more damage (and leaves you the opportunity to take a move action).

That was the intent, I think, but what it really does as written is make sure that people Power Attack a high-AC opponent using the biggest low-crit-threat monkey gripped Anime weapon they can possibly find, when enlarged. In that corner case, they don't care about iterative attacks (which will all miss), and just want to deal an extra +6d6 damage on that one viable attack. Anyone with a longsword and a decent attack bonus should NEVER spend 3 feats on the Vital Strike chain as written... unless they just hate feats, and want to get rid of as many of them as they can so that they don't need to use them on anything.

Greater Two-Weapon Fighting was possibly the biggest ripoff feat in 3.5, because it made you spend extra feats on attacks that were progressively less likely to hit, and which did less damage than a normal attack. Vital Strike occupies a similar niche -- although intended to make a move-and-attack combo viable, it doesn't really accomplish that unless, as mentioned, you're enlarged and super-monkey-gripped and then have 3 extra feats to spend.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, you get one attack only. But think about it this way, as far as I know, this is one of the methods Jason implemented so that moving and attacking doesn't suck so much. Meaning, you can move and do a vital strike and do as much damage (assuming you hit) as if you attacked twice. Statistically its so the fighter is screwed less by moving. However, yes, if you are faced with a high ac opponent it then does make more sense to vital strike every time.


jreyst wrote:
Statistically its so the fighter is screwed less by moving.

As mentioned above, that's true only if the fighter in question is enlarged and already has an oversized weapon with huge base damage. For someone like Valeros, you'd be infinitely better off taking Dodge, Mobility, and Spring Attack with those same 3 feats.

Andoran

Also, I just read in another thread a reference to the GenCon DMs thread. Someone asked about the pre-gen Valeros, whose character sheet said he could use Vital Strike on a charge.

Jason pointed out that that was erroneous.

EDIT: Damn, I got ninja'd hardcore. I blame the post monster.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
jreyst wrote:
Statistically its so the fighter is screwed less by moving.
As mentioned above, that's true only if the fighter in question is enlarged and already has an oversized weapon with huge base damage. For someone like Valeros, you'd be infinitely better off taking Dodge, Mobility, and Spring Attack with those same 3 feats.

Agree. The damage bonus is not that great unless you go powergaming, that is enlarged and "oversized weapon with huge base damage".


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:


Vital Strike is an attack action, btw, which is a standard action. You cannot use it as part of a full-attack action.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Thank you for the clarification, and thank you for an awesome finished product!


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Couple of notes. Generally speaking, when reading feats, the descriptive sentence at the very beginning is just that, descriptive. It is not generally rules text.

As for the Vital Strike issue... just roll the damage dice for the weapon twice. Everything else is as normal. If you normally deal 1d8+4 with a longsword, you would deal 2d8+4 with a longsword using Vital Strike.

Vital Strike is an attack action, btw, which is a standard action. You cannot use it as part of a full-attack action.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

From the Valeros Preview: "he can charge up and make a single attack with his longsword using both Power Attack and Improved Vital Strike."

So bonus to damage but the dice and not with a charge?

Melee characters don't look so powerful if they have to charge or if they are forced to move and only use a standard attack.
Also. The rules doesn't really say that an attack action is a stadard attack.
But if it is, then step up can't be used with vital strike. If you use step up and get an attack of opportunity you can't use vital strike (nor cleave) because the attack is a free attack and not a stadard action.

So:
- not use vital strike and charge since charge is a full-round action
- not use cleave and charge (same reason)
- not use vital strike and cleave since both are stadard actions
- no use step up and vital strike if tagret you follow provokes an attack of opportunity (by casting spells, drinking potion, attack with a range weapon, etc.

Please say this is wrong :-)


I'm thinking about getting rid of the feats and making it a general option everyone can use.


Zark wrote:


Please say this is wrong :-)

In my understanding, the intention behind vital strike is this:

If you are unable to do more than one attack, for any reason (well, provided you can make usually make those attacks. Being 1st-level doesn't count as being unable to do more than one attack here), you get to make that one attack stronger as a small compensation.

This applies to charge, spring attack, being forced to move towards the enemy, being in a surprise round - you name it.


KaeYoss wrote:
Zark wrote:


Please say this is wrong :-)

In my understanding, the intention behind vital strike is this:

If you are unable to do more than one attack, for any reason (well, provided you can make usually make those attacks. Being 1st-level doesn't count as being unable to do more than one attack here), you get to make that one attack stronger as a small compensation.

This applies to charge, spring attack, being forced to move towards the enemy, being in a surprise round - you name it.

Let Jason or James or any of then ohters answer. They wrote the book.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

TOZ Houserule #1337: Weapon Damage

When you have a high enough BAB to receive extra attacks, any time you do not use those extra attacks, your damage increases. For each attack forfeited, add 1[W] where W = your weapons damage die.

When fighting with two weapons, only attacks with that weapon count to increasing the weapon dice.

I.E. Valeros has a +16 BAB. On his turn he chooses to move up to his enemy and attacks once with both his longsword and shortsword. He deals 4d8 and 4d6 respectively. On his next turn, he takes a full attack, attacking twice with his longsword and three times with his short sword. He deals 3d8 on his longsword attacks, and 2d6 on his short sword attacks.

(Yes, 2WF get to make one attack with each weapon as a standard action in my game.)


Answers can be found here
Nice it can be used with ranged weapons.

Taldor

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm getting ready to take this feat with my fighter. glad to see it already clarified. Thanks for the great thread.


I think that a scout archetype rogue could make nice use of vital strike with a two hander, go EWP(fullblade) and roll those dice!


can someone tell me one situation when vitalstrike(cleave or spring atk) is better than full atack?

if you can`t use those feats together or even afther a charge then they are uselessness after level 5


Nicos wrote:

can someone tell me one situation when vitalstrike(cleave or spring atk) is better than full atack?

if you can`t use those feats together or even afther a charge then they are uselessness after level 5

You can't vital strike with cleave or spring attack.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Nicos wrote:

can someone tell me one situation when vitalstrike(cleave or spring atk) is better than full atack?

if you can`t use those feats together or even afther a charge then they are uselessness after level 5

if you made a move action to reach your foe / place yourself;

or if you feinted your opponent via improved feint (another move action)
or if your chances to hit are so low that an iterative attack wouldn't probably hit...

that enough reasons for the feat to exist, even if it's not the uber-killing-machine feat.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nicos wrote:

can someone tell me one situation when vitalstrike(cleave or spring atk) is better than full atack?

if you can`t use those feats together or even afther a charge then they are uselessness after level 5

Now you slowly come to understand the rule of thumb about vital strike:

99% of the times you think of something good to do with vital strike, it's not working......


Vrischika111 wrote:

if you made a move action to reach your foe / place yourself;

or if you feinted your opponent via improved feint (another move action)
or if your chances to hit are so low that an iterative attack wouldn't probably hit...

that enough reasons for the feat to exist, even if it's not the uber-killing-machine feat.

Adding some:

- if you can't get past the monster's DR with the normal damage on a hit
- if you are staggered
- if you are attacking in the surprise round


So having read through a couple of these Vital Strike threads, I still have questions. Here's what I think I understand, based on what I've read:

Vital Strike does NOT work with Attacks of Opportunity.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Charging.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Cleaving.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Power Attack.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Spring Attack.
Vital Strike damage is NOT multiplied on crit, it's added after the original damage role is multiplied.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on these. Anyway, I have a couple of other questions for it:

First, does Vital Strike work with Flyby Attack?
Second, does Vital Strike work with Lunge?
Third, does Vital Strike work with Shot on the Run?
Fourth, does Vital Strike work with Parting Shot?
Fifth, does Vital Strike work with Pinpoint Targeting?

I'm asking because, having become only more confused by reading through a few of these, I'm attempting to find something tangible to hold on to. I don't want Vital Strike to be useless, but I have to see examples of it being useful now.

Cheliax

Ackattack wrote:

So having read through a couple of these Vital Strike threads, I still have questions. Here's what I think I understand, based on what I've read:

Vital Strike does NOT work with Attacks of Opportunity.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Charging.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Cleaving.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Power Attack.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Spring Attack.
Vital Strike damage is NOT multiplied on crit, it's added after the original damage role is multiplied.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on these. Anyway, I have a couple of other questions for it:

First, does Vital Strike work with Flyby Attack?
Second, does Vital Strike work with Lunge?
Third, does Vital Strike work with Shot on the Run?
Fourth, does Vital Strike work with Parting Shot?
Fifth, does Vital Strike work with Pinpoint Targeting?

I'm asking because, having become only more confused by reading through a few of these, I'm attempting to find something tangible to hold on to. I don't want Vital Strike to be useless, but I have to see examples of it being useful now.

RAW vital strike isnt compatable with spring attack. but its a common houserule that even the Dev's use

1- yes, fly by gives you a standard action in between your move.
2-yes
3- no, but can be house ruled like spring attack
4 ????
5 ???

Vital strike takes a standard action. any time you can preorm a standard action you can vital strike. if you are doing something else as a standard action, no vital strike for you.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ackattack wrote:

So having read through a couple of these Vital Strike threads, I still have questions. Here's what I think I understand, based on what I've read:

Vital Strike does NOT work with Attacks of Opportunity.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Charging.
Vital Strike is NOT compatible with Cleaving.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Power Attack.
Vital Strike IS compatible with Spring Attack.
Vital Strike damage is NOT multiplied on crit, it's added after the original damage role is multiplied.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on these. Anyway, I have a couple of other questions for it:

First, does Vital Strike work with Flyby Attack?
Second, does Vital Strike work with Lunge?
Third, does Vital Strike work with Shot on the Run?
Fourth, does Vital Strike work with Parting Shot?
Fifth, does Vital Strike work with Pinpoint Targeting?

I'm asking because, having become only more confused by reading through a few of these, I'm attempting to find something tangible to hold on to. I don't want Vital Strike to be useless, but I have to see examples of it being useful now.

No with spring attack, yes with flyby attack, yes with lunge, no with shot on the run, no with parting shot, no with pinpoint targeting.


Thanks for the answers fellas. I'm a little bummed that it doesn't form a nasty combo with Pinpoint Targeting, but I suppose I'll get over that. I've considered picking this up in the past, but its definitely dropped in terms of interest from all the stuff I can't do with it.

Still, if it works with Flyby Attack and Lunge, I suppose the flying Eagle Shaman with a spear can still use it.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ackattack wrote:

Thanks for the answers fellas. I'm a little bummed that it doesn't form a nasty combo with Pinpoint Targeting, but I suppose I'll get over that. I've considered picking this up in the past, but its definitely dropped in terms of interest from all the stuff I can't do with it.

Still, if it works with Flyby Attack and Lunge, I suppose the flying Eagle Shaman with a spear can still use it.

Keep in mind that there are a few fighters who pick vital strike at 6th level (by usually trading cleave) and trading it for another feat at 8th.

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