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Sneak attack using spells?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think this is a legal combo, but I just want to make sure it works under RAW before trying to use it.

If a rogue has a way of casting a direct damage spell at a flat footed target from a range of less than 30 feet, does he add sneak attack damage?

For instance, a rogue with the Minor Magic rogue talent, taking Acid Splash as their cantrip that they can cast 3 times per day as a spell like ability. Would it do 1d3 plus SA damage if used in a situation where other ranged attacks would do SA damage (within 30 feet, target denied dex bonus to AC)?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The answer, I believe, is yes. See the Arcane Trickster -- Sneak Attack with spells is how they operate.

The question I want to know is -- if such a Rogue casts a spell with multiple attack rolls (Scorching Ray), does the Rogue get the sneak attack just once, or on each attack? I seem to recall that 3.5 had a ruling that said you couldn't do it more than once, but I've seen no such stipulation for Pathfinder.


Assuming the rogue meets the qualifications for sneak attacking, they can use a ranged touch spell to sneak attack with, yes.

As far as adding sneak attack to spells via Arcane Trickster surprise spells ability, see the FAQ entry (pasted below).

How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class (Core Rulebook, page 378) work with spells like magic missile and fireball?
The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

—Jason Bulmahn, 05/31/11

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Troubleshooter wrote:
The question I want to know is -- if such a Rogue casts a spell with multiple attack rolls (Scorching Ray), does the Rogue get the sneak attack just once, or on each attack?

Pathfinder has no limit whatsoever on how many times per round you can sneak attack. Any time an eligible attack hits an eligible target, sneak attack happens automatically.

This is part of why TWF is popular for rogues.

Grand Lodge

As long as the spell attack meets all the requirments for Sneak Attack, then yes. If the spell (is treated like a weapon) requires an Attack Roll (even a touch attack or ranged touch attack), deals damage (HP damage) directly, and all the normal requirments for Sneak attack are met (like you said within 30ft, Flat Footed, Flanked, etc. . .) you are good.

Spells that allow more than one attack only allow for 1 Sneak Attack normally. A good rule of thumb is if you can crit with the spell, you should be able to sneak attack, granted it deals damage.

Magic Missile does not allow for an Attack roll, so is out, though a lot of people and designers have mistakenly kept using it as an example and confussed it. Scorching Ray allows for more than one ray at higher levels. It is arguable that each ray, if they meet the Sneak Attack requiremnts may get Sneak Attack, as Paizo is not really answeing this, but in 3E it was clear only one did, (if all made in the same round/attack).
Edit, I didn't see the last few responces when I posted this, and I feel it is going to confusse things even more now. . .

You may also take Weapon Focus - Ray or Touch Attack, and some other Feats also may help, like Weapon Finesse for Touch Attack Spells.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Spells that allow more than one attack only allow for 1 Sneak Attack normally.

No such restriction exists in Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

That's why I went back and reposted my edit. It is caught up in different designers and personal motivations. Normally, Sneak Attack and other extra precision type damage like Sneak Attack only applies to one attack (in cases where one <lowercase> action allows multiple attacks in it like spells or Multishot). Paizo has meddled this up and not given an answer to the question since the begining. It could go either way honestly, (in the same way that it is arguable that rue Strike could apply to all Scorching Ray attacks), but it has been clear in the past that it is not suppossed to work that way, including before this iteration of PF came out that left out so much of the rules and reasonigs for them.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:

Normally, Sneak Attack and other extra precision type damage like Sneak Attack only applies to one attack. ... It could go either way honestly, but it has been clear otherwise that it is not suppossed to work that way.

Where are you getting this?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Erm, it's not unclear at all. If you make an attack roll, and you would get your sneak attack, you get your sneak attack, no matter how many times you've sneak attacked before in the round. The reason Jason mentioned magic missile sneak attack in the FAQ was because it was specifically about the surprise spells ability, which doesn't care if there's an attack roll.

There are 0 limitations on the number of sneak attacks per round.

Fromper, remember that the spell requires an attack roll to get sneak attack damage. Scorching Ray, yes. Fireball, not until you get Surprise Spells (which, btw, only works when the enemy is flat-footed, not when they're denied dex). And that if they're flat-footed, the moment they're struck, they following attacks won't be sneak-attacks.

Grand Lodge

I edited that around to make it more clear to look like this

"Normally, Sneak Attack and other extra precision type damage like Sneak Attack only applies to one attack (in cases where one <lowercase> action allows multiple attacks in it like spells or Multishot). Paizo has meddled this up and not given an answer to the question since the begining. It could go either way honestly, (in the same way that it is arguable that True Strike could apply to all Scorching Ray attacks), but it has been clear in the past that it is not suppossed to work that way, including before this iteration of PF came out that left out so much of the rules and reasonings for them."

I'm not saying you are wrong. I am saying that it is far from clear and that Paizo refusses to answer specifically. It is arguable either way. PF does not specifically say it is not allowed, your right, but at the ame time, most rules related to this topic are not included in the PF Core and it is not normally allows in the d20 system that PF is based off of.

Andoran

I do seem to recall seeing that a trickster with scorching ray should only be able to sneak attack a single target 1 time, despite all three rays being eligible to receive sneak attack damage, though I have no source for that.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Failing to state that a rule from a different RPG does not exist in Pathfinder does not make anything unclear. Rules not contained in Pathfinder material are not part of the Pathfinder rules. Simple as that.

Grand Lodge

Funny how everyone insists that 3E Dungeons and Dragons is a completely different RPG in cases like this. . . ha ha ha.

No they are not connected or related at all.

Grand Lodge

However, under Many Shot it says this:

"When making a full-attack action with a bow, your first attack fires two arrows. If the attack hits, both arrows hit.

Apply precision-based damage (such as sneak attack) and critical hit damage only once for this attack.

Damage bonuses from using a composite bow with a high Strength bonus apply to each arrow, as do other damage bonuses, such as a ranger's favored enemy bonus."

A point to make is that Manyshot is one of the only examples of something like this, but Manyshot is also specifically making two seperate attacks (in addition to possibly others) at the same target at the same time. IT IS UNCLEAR if it is because of the specifics of the Manyshot example, two arrows hitting one target as a single <lowercase> attack <lowercase> action, or if all precision-based (INCLUDING SNEAK ATTACK) that allow multiple Attacks all only allow for 1 single Sneak Attack no matter what the other circumstances are.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If it was a rule that SA only applied once in such situations, then it wouldn't have to be spelled out as an exception in Manyshot, would it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:

However, under Many Shot it says this:

"When making a full-attack action with a bow, your first attack fires two arrows. If the attack hits, both arrows hit.

Apply precision-based damage (such as sneak attack) and critical hit damage only once for this attack.

Damage bonuses from using a composite bow with a high Strength bonus apply to each arrow, as do other damage bonuses, such as a ranger's favored enemy bonus."

A point to make is that Manyshot is one of the only examples of something like this, but Manyshot is also specifically making two seperate attacks (in addition to possibly others) at the same target at the same time. IT IS UNCLEAR if it is because of the specifics of the Manyshot example, two arrows hitting one target as a single <lowercase> attack <lowercase> action, or if all precision-based (INCLUDING SNEAK ATTACK) that allow multiple Attacks all only allow for 1 single Sneak Attack no matter what the other circumstances are.

The difference is that with Manyshot you're getting two arrows with only one attack roll. With Scorching Ray you have to make up to three attack rolls (one attack roll per ray).

Generally you can get one sneak attack per attack roll.

Grand Lodge

No it is more along the lines that that is how it works normally, but Manyshot is adding a slightly different twist to it that. Or rather IT COULD BE either way. Many Shot, like the Scorching Ray, goes outside the normal model of sucessive attacks. It is unfortunate that Paizo does not clear this up, as I have seen 10-20 of these threads to date, and your arguement is very common for people that want it it work. But evidence suggests and history tells it doesn't work that way, and should not work that way.

I also understand the Magic Missile + Surprize spell thing, but you may also understand that Paizo (and WotC) have mistakenly used Magic Missle as the example for things like this, not realizing tht you can not (normally) Sneak Attack or add extra damage to the spell because it does not have an attack roll. That is what I mean when I'm saying it confusses things.


suggestion: any one touch attack spell from Cantrips list as arcane caster/rogue

Is there a guard you can see and with the back to you, but is not exactly in a position you could stab a dagger in him? (example, you sneak across a hidden corridor in a castle and you see the guard in a room of the castle through the "eye" opening of a painting) Use a cheap spell sneak attack on him. Level 0 touch spells give you something like a permanent extended reach.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Manyshot is also specifically making two seperate attacks

No, it is specifically making one attack that deals extra damage. Perhaps that's the source of your confusion?

If there were any instances in all of Pathfinder where more than one attack roll got you only one instance of sneak attack, you'd have a point about it being unclear. But that's not the case.

If a rule is entirely absent from Pathfinder, then that means they deliberately removed that rule, not that they somehow accidentally removed it and then failed to address that error in 5-6 erratas spread over several years.

Grand Lodge

Let me say it in a different way. Surprize Atack does not give you the ability to bypass any Sneak Attack Requirements. Nor does Impromptu Sneak Attack from the Arcane Trickster.

They both instead declair that for the attack(s) you meet a requirment for Sneak Attacking. Impromptu Sneak Attack state "but only for that attack", and Surprize Attack makes "opponents" Flat-Footed.

But, if you read Sneak Attack, it does not say that to use Sneak Attack you actually need to attack. In fact, if you read it, it seems to imply (common sense and history of Sneak Attack obviously contrdict this) that Sneak Attack hapens if the Rogue is just standing there in a position that meets the Requirements, such as Flanking. In other words, any time, (on their action) a Rogue is Flanking a valid opponent for Sneak Attack, they take damage, even if the Rogue is not attacking, almost like an offfensive radius around a Rogue.

Grand Lodge

If we all assume that it was intended for Sneak Attack to be a action, or attached to an action to actually work, we can say that statements like "The rogue's attack deal extra Damage" means the Rogue must be doing some sort of attack? Right?

But we do have clarification on what constitutes an attack. Right?

Attack:
Attack Roll

An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target's Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

Automatic Misses and Hits

A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit (see the attack action).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Trollin', trollin', trollin', keep those dice a-rollin', where's that website golem?"

Grand Lodge

Invisibilty also helps to add a little more to that by including things like direct attack, direct damage.

But so far, at no point is either Magic Missile or Fireball (against Flat Footed targets) legal for Sneak Attack. It was a mistake from the start.

Throughout the book, there are vaguely similar exceptions, like for instance the Many Shot, or under Critical hits "Precision damage are not multiplied in a crit". All the examples of multiple attacks/Attacks in the book are specifically about the normal, sucessive Full Attack type of action. Every example that is somewhat similar to this issue with Sneak Attack and multiple simultanous attacks/Attacks implies only 1 Sneak Attack for all the attacks that happen in that way. For example, Many Shot does specify only the 1st Attack (that shoots 2 arrows at once) get 1 Sneak Attack. All the other shots following it get Sneak Attack normally if they meet the Sneak Attack requirements, (flat footed, flanking, etc. . .)

Grand Lodge

Precision-based damage is called out as being different from other "extra damage", such as froma Flaming Weapon. But, how it is handled differently is not clear in the book. So along the lines of what you said to Many Shot, why call it out if it works the same, though obvously it actually doesn't. Paizo neglected to keep this in.

Paizo did try to simpllify a lot of the rules, and this is just an area, a crack that fell through.

In Vital Strike, for example, again a similar but not exactly the same thing it says:

"When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage <my book says "such as Sneak Attack" here, the site does not>, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total."

Grand Lodge

So the point I am making is that there are no rules for or against. But the Scorching Ray + Sneak Attack itself is not covered in the rules, (and is kind of an uncmmon thing, so should not be). However, all the rules that are partially similar do not allow for it, nor does the system that the game is built off of.

There also is not clarification on Sneak Attack to say what type of "extra" damage Sneak Attack is. By the book alone, (unless I'm missing it), a Sneak attack with Acid Splash is all Acid Damage, ie can of worms.


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Every example that is somewhat similar to this issue with Sneak Attack and multiple simultanous attacks/Attacks implies only 1 Sneak Attack for all the attacks that happen in that way.

Manyshot is one attack. Vital Strike is one attack.

Do you have any examples of multiple attacks in which sneak attack would only apply once?

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
There also is not clarification on Sneak Attack to say what type of "extra" damage Sneak Attack is. By the book alone, (unless I'm missing it), a Sneak attack with Acid Splash is all Acid Damage, ie can of worms.

Correct, it's the type of damage based on the attack. Stab with a rapier, it's piercing. Smash with hammer, bludgeoning. Shoot with fire, fire.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
But so far, at no point is either Magic Missile or Fireball (against Flat Footed targets) legal for Sneak Attack.

Surprise Spells: "At 10th level, an arcane trickster can add her sneak attack damage to any spell that deals damage, if the targets are flat-footed."

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
So the point I am making is that there are no rules for or against.

Sneak Attack: "The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC... Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet."

You can sneak attack with ranged attacks.

A ray is a ranged attack.

Thus: You can sneak attack with a ray.


To clarify for most people looking to not try to play a Devil's Advocate.

Sneak Attack of any kind is considered Precision Damage, however just because it is considered Precision does not mean it can't be Precision Acid Damage.

Beyond this, Anytime the proper qualifications match for Sneak Attack you may use said Precision Damage. If you have the basic Invisible Spell cast on you & you fire 3 attacks, the general consensus is after the first hit your invisibility drops & subsequent attacks no longer qualify for SA. so you have 3 shots, 1 SA.

Scorching Ray is a spell that has been of great debate as it suggests all 3 rays hit simultaneously which has often been asked does it get 3 sneak attacks or 1. This one has been answered & asked several times over.

my input on the topic.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Modules Subscriber
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Precision-based damage is called out as being different from other "extra damage", such as froma Flaming Weapon. But, how it is handled differently is not clear in the book. So along the lines of what you said to Many Shot, why call it out if it works the same, though obvously it actually doesn't. Paizo neglected to keep this in.

Actually, check out the rules for concealment, and you will find out where and why precision damage is handled differently.

Against a target with concealment (ignoring feats that give th eability back), you cannot add precision damage. However, non-precision extra damage, like Strength damage, Power Attack damage, weapon enhancement damage, Weapon Specialization damage, et all, still apply.

It is also spelled out in the critical hit rules, where, again, precision damage, and extra dice damage enhancements to weapons, don't multiply, but non-precision damage does get multiplied on a critical hit.

For anything with an attack roll, if you qualify for sneak attack with a thrown dagger, you would also qualify for sneak attack damage with that other attack.

If, after the first attack roll, the target is still in a state that would continue to qualify it to be the subject of a sneak attack, you would get sneak attack damage on additional attacks, whether it is extra rays from Scorching Ray or multiple daggers thrown due to iterative attacks.

Note that if you only qualified for sneak attack due to being Invisible, and you aren't under the effects of Greater Invisibility, so that you become visible after the first attack, the later attacks do not qualify for sneak attack damage.


Sneak attack doesn't apply to concealment but that's due to something specifically in sneak attack:

Quote:
The rogue must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

Beyond that old topic is old.

Grand Lodge

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Every example that is somewhat similar to this issue with Sneak Attack and multiple simultanous attacks/Attacks implies only 1 Sneak Attack for all the attacks that happen in that way.
Grick wrote:

Manyshot is one attack. Vital Strike is one attack.

Do you have any examples of multiple attacks in which sneak attack would only apply once?

No, because in both cases they are presenting something outside the norm, which is to say attacks not based off of extra attacks from a High BaB and also multiple attacks based off of one attack role. The difference is they are multiple attacks, but only one attack roll.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
There also is not clarification on Sneak Attack to say what type of "extra" damage Sneak Attack is. By the book alone, (unless I'm missing it), a Sneak attack with Acid Splash is all Acid Damage, ie can of worms.

Correct, it's the type of damage based on the attack. Stab with a rapier, it's piercing. Smash with hammer, bludgeoning. Shoot with fire, fire.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
But so far, at no point is either Magic Missile or Fireball (against Flat Footed targets) legal for Sneak Attack.
Grick wrote:
Surprise Spells: "At 10th level, an arcane trickster can add her sneak attack damage to any spell that deals damage, if the targets are flat-footed."

You are correct, but what I am saying is that neither Magic Missile or Fireball as given are actually counted as Attacks and do not have an attack roll. They do deal damage, but even if the target is Flat Footed and denied Dex, the spells themselves can't be (shouldn't be) Sneak Attacks because you are not rolling an attack roll, and neither can you crit with them for that same reason.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
So the point I am making is that there are no rules for or against.
Grick wrote:

Sneak Attack: "The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC... Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet."

You can sneak attack with ranged attacks.

A ray is a ranged attack.

Thus: You can sneak attack with a ray.

This I fully agree, and I said you can Sneak Attack with spells if they are "weapon-like", meaning that they deal direct damage, require an Attack Roll of some sort to hit (touch, ranged touch) and deal HP damage. Magic Missile is, however, not a Ray. Fireball does not have any Ranged Touch Attack to it, (with the exception if you want to specifically target something). Acid Splash is perfectly fine, by RAW. Magic Missile and Fireball, are not, in the sense that there is no correct answer, it's up to the DM, and that is what the OP was specifically asking, a RAW answer for it.

I'm thinking this is going no where, though, just like every other time this thread pops up, and it is kind of pointless to argue. Paizo has said, last I heard that they want to leave it open for individual DM's, including in PFS play as I understand.


any spell that deals damage if the target is flat footed.

Does the spell do damage?

Yes.

Is the target flat footed?

Yes.

Add sneak attack damage.

We could always check the FAQ on the subject though...

Oh look:

Quote:

How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class work with spells like magic missile and fireball?

The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

Joy.

Grand Lodge

kinevon wrote:
It is also spelled out in the critical hit rules, where, again, precision damage, and extra dice damage enhancements to weapons, don't multiply, but non-precision damage does get multiplied on a critical hit.

Yes, but throughout the book, some precision damage is handled differently than others, for instance Sneak Attack vs Favored Enemy. Sometimes it is identified as Precision based damage, and sometime FE is handled different than Sneak Attack. It is inconsistant within the rules, and there is no definition for precision based damage.

kinevon wrote:

If, after the first attack roll, the target is still in a state that would continue to qualify it to be the subject of a sneak attack, you would get sneak attack damage on additional attacks, whether it is extra rays from Scorching Ray or multiple daggers thrown due to iterative attacks.

Note that if you only qualified for sneak attack due to being Invisible, and you aren't under the effects of Greater Invisibility, so that you become visible after the first attack, the later attacks do not qualify for sneak attack damage.

For the most part this is correct, but simultanious attacks and multiple attacks are the key difference. Wha you have just said IS true for multiple attacks. It's when they are lumped together, (either deal multiple damages off of one attack <Many Shot> or they happen simultaniously <Scorching Ray>).

Abraham spalding wrote:

We could always check the FAQ on the subject though...

Oh look:

Quote:

How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class work with spells like magic missile and fireball?

The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

Joy.

That was the confussion part I was talking about, as they where used as a quick example, but neither of those spells actually work with Sneak Attack, and the person who answered that had not concidered that in the answer, and somewhere mentioned that afterwards.

Like was said though, old topic is old, and I apologize for keeping on dipping back in. Even by RAW, it's going to be up to the DM.


No... they fully considered it and gave you an official answer you don't like Beckett.

Can't help it if the rules actually bother you, surprise spell gives an ability you don't normally have.

Your position would be like arguing that evasion doesn't work since the spell descriptions don't list it as negating the damage.

Grand Lodge

I wouldn't mind it, and I really don't care personally. It's not that I don't like it. I thin that question was taken from the "Ask Jacob" thread, and was later mentioned when pointed out for those two spells, it didn't work, but for explanation purposses, they did.


Except that's the official FAQ and position of the rules.

Surprise spell isn't sneak attack either. It is its own special ability that happens to add your sneak attack dice to something else when specific conditions are met.

It doesn't have to meet the sneak attack conditions because it isn't sneak attack. The language is also all inclusive -- it's not, "Any spell that you can add sneak attack dice to normally" it's "any spells that does damage if the targets are flat footed."

Now that means if they are simply denied their dexterity bonus that isn't enough, but if they are flat footed you get to add your sneak attack damage as per the surprise spell ability even if you normally couldn't because that's exactly what the ability says.

Of course this means anyone with uncanny dodge is nearly immune to this ability since they can't be caught flat footed.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Abraham spalding wrote:
Except that's the official FAQ

Sometimes it's amazing how many times one has to repeat oneself before the other party even acknowledges what's been said.


Um, I seem to be missing something here. That FAQ entry is about Surprise Spell, not sneak attack. Nowhere does it say whether or not you can sneak attack with magic missile, which is what the argument seems to be about.


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Yes, but throughout the book, some precision damage is handled differently than others, for instance Sneak Attack vs Favored Enemy.

They are handled differently because they are in no way related. Sneak Attack is precision damage. We know this because the rules say so. Favored Enemy is not precision damage, because the rules don't say so.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Sometimes it is identified as Precision based damage, and sometime FE is handled different than Sneak Attack.

Favored Enemy is always handled differently than sneak attack, because it's not precision damage. FE doubles on a crit, applies to each arrow, etc.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
For the most part this is correct, but simultanious attacks and multiple attacks are the key difference. Wha you have just said IS true for multiple attacks. It's when they are lumped together, (either deal multiple damages off of one attack <Many Shot> or they happen simultaniously <Scorching Ray>).

Provide an example. Manyshot is one attack. Scorching Ray can have multiple attacks. As a result, SA applies once to manyshot, and can apply multiple times to Scorching Ray.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
That was the confussion part I was talking about, as they where used as a quick example, but neither of those spells actually work with Sneak Attack, and the person who answered that had not concidered that in the answer, and somewhere mentioned that afterwards.

Here's your confusion: The Surprise Spells ability does things that normal sneak attack cannot. Since Sneak Attack is a prerequisite for that prestige class, then it would have to do something sneak attack doesn't, or else it wouldn't do anything at all.

Here's how it works:

Normal Rogue gets SA damage on any attack in which the targets meets SA qualifications. (denied dex, flanking, etc.)

Normal Rogue can SA with a dagger, with a bow, with a ray. They're all attacks, they can all get SA damage.

We know this is true because the rules say so. If you would like to contradict this, please provide the rules that support your argument.

An Arcane Trickster with the surprise spells ability can do all those things the normal rogue can do. In addition, the surprise spells ability lets him do something a normal rogue can't do, which is add her sneak attack damage to any spell that deals damage to a flat-footed target.

A fireball deals damage, so if an arcane trickster with the surprise spells ability casts fireball on a flat-footed target, she gains sneak attack damage.

We know this is true because the rules say so. If you would like to contradict this, please provide the rules that support your argument.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Even by RAW, it's going to be up to the DM.

Yes, it's always up to the DM to choose to follow the rules or not. In this case, you can follow the RAW, which is also clearly the RAI, and allow surprise spells to function, or you can make a house rule that surprise spells does nothing at all for no reason. Just be polite and let your players know ahead of time so they don't spend ten levels in a bad prestige class to have their capstone ability removed.

MagiMaster wrote:
Um, I seem to be missing something here. That FAQ entry is about Surprise Spell, not sneak attack. Nowhere does it say whether or not you can sneak attack with magic missile, which is what the argument seems to be about.

The original post was asking about sneak attack with acid splash. It was answered in post 3. Yes, you can, because acid splash is an attack.

The main discussion now is revolving around DA's claim that sneak attack can only apply once, even when multiple attacks are made. His arguments aren't very clear, so we're having to go back and explain how sneak attack works, and how surprise spells works, and how they're not the same thing.

Here's the summary:

Scorching Ray is an attack. Sometimes, multiple attacks. A normal rogue can sneak attack with Scorching Ray. If the rogue fires multiple rays, she's making multiple attacks, and she can sneak attack with all of them assuming conditions are right.

Magic Missile is not an attack. A normal rogue can't sneak attack with magic missile.

Magic Missile is a spell that deals damage. An arcane trickster with the surprise spells ability can get sneak attack damage (once) when he casts it on a flat-footed target.


While there hasn't to my knowledge been an official post concerning multiple attack spells JJ has said how he handled it and I think that is the same as it was handled in 3.x edition (not really a different game), which is also the way I handle it in my games.

* Volleys, meaning attacks that do not use itterative attack rules, like scorching ray and telekinesis, do not get sneak attack more than once.

Sensible, balanced, non-cheesy, works for me.

** since this is the rules forum and that is to be taken as RAW by most posters I will add to the OP yes that is entirely legal.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Remco Sommeling wrote:

While there hasn't to my knowledge been an official post concerning multiple attack spells JJ has said how he handled it and I think that is the same as it was handled in 3.x edition (not really a different game), which is also the way I handle it in my games.

* Volleys, meaning attacks that do not use itterative attack rules, like scorching ray and telekinesis, do not get sneak attack more than once.

Sensible, balanced, non-cheesy, works for me.

** since this is the rules forum and that is to be taken as RAW by most posters I will add to the OP yes that is entirely legal.

*checks* Huh, you're right. I thought that you could get a sneak attack with each ray in 3.5.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20040309a

Anyway, yea I agree that this may be more balanced, but for balance sake you'll probably want to also use a houserule so that things work in a similar way for smite and favored enemy. By the raw rules, there's nothing to keep smite from being applied to every single ray in a set of scorching rays. Heh, I made a topic discussing the possibility of a Smite Meteor Swarm a while back since there's actually a creature with the ability to do both at the same time, and you can make attack rolls with meteor swarm.

It annoys me to no end that sneak attack gets hit with so many limitations just because people are scared of dice, while more powerful abilities like Smite and Favored enemy are simply applied to all attacks when they're activated... even both arrows on a multishot. (I call them more powerful because of the attack bonus)

Sczarni

Dosgamer wrote:

In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

—Jason Bulmahn, 05/31/11

Wow is that fail - sneak attack doesn't apply to magic missile (normally). Its a non-directed spell...

As the question was regarding a ROGUE, and not arcane trickster that is.


maouse wrote:
Dosgamer wrote:

In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

—Jason Bulmahn, 05/31/11

Wow is that fail - sneak attack doesn't apply to magic missile (normally). Its a non-directed spell...

As the question was regarding a ROGUE, and not arcane trickster that is.

Reading Comprehension isn't your thing is it?

Quote:

How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class work with spells like magic missile and fireball?

The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

It wasn't about sneak attack it was about surprise spell.

I mean sure if all you want to do is take the last sentence and then apply it to something it isn't talking about then yeah you are right.

But of course when read the entirety of it with the question it was answering, not so much.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

maouse wrote:
Dosgamer wrote:

In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

—Jason Bulmahn, 05/31/11

Wow is that fail - sneak attack doesn't apply to magic missile (normally). Its a non-directed spell...

As the question was regarding a ROGUE, and not arcane trickster that is.

The line you quoted from Jason Bulmahn is from the FAQ on Arcane Tricksters.

EDIT: Ninja'd.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
While there hasn't to my knowledge been an official post concerning multiple attack spells JJ has said how he handled it and I think that is the same as it was handled in 3.x edition (not really a different game), which is also the way I handle it in my games.

JJ's waffled a bit.

James Jacobs (Creative Director) Mar 4, 2011, 07:04 PM wrote:

I'd rule scorching ray would do additional sneak attack damage per ray, honestly. But ONLY if the target is flat footed.

Treat multiple scorching rays on a single target the same way you'd treat a full attack action on a single target, in other words.

If you're popping out of stealth, you'd only get the sneak attack damage on the first ray of multiple rays on a single target, since he's only flat footed against your first attack; after that, even a split second later, he sees you and can react and isn't flat footed.

If you're hitting a target before he goes in combat or while under greater invisibility, all of the rays count.

Since scorching ray, unlike magic missile, uses a damage type (fire) that's actually often reduced by resistances, and since you DO have to make an attack to hit (however easy that attack might normally be), it's not nearly as gross to let all the rays be viable surprise spells, in other words.

James Jacobs (Creative Director) Mar 4, 2011, 10:17 PM wrote:
Dragonslie wrote:
why would only the "first ray count" when popping out of stealth?? On surprise spells I would say yes. But why only the first when he would clearly be "flat footed" vs ALL rays.

Because the rays created by this spell don't all fire at the same time. At least, I don't see them as firing all at the same time. They fire in rapid succession, one after the other.

If your GM instead says they all fire at once... then sure... they would all gain the sneak attack in that situation. I've just always envisioned them as going one after the other because they increase in number as you get higher level, just like how your iterative attacks increase as you get higher level.

James Jacobs (Creative Director) Mar 5, 2011, 12:02 AM wrote:
james maissen wrote:
(points out that Scorching Rays are fired simultaneously)

Well then!

The rays DO fire simultaneously, which is not something I knew they did (turns out, I don't have the core rules memorized!).

In light of this development, I probably would let all of those rays do sneak attack damage.

But then a few months later, in the Ask JJ thread:

James Jacobs (Creative Director) Oct 26, 2011, 08:00 PM wrote:

Sneak attack applies to any attack you make with an attack roll against a foe denied their dexterity.

AKA: There's no difference between doing 3 scorching rays and three thrown daggers as far as sneak attack cares. In the vast majority of situations, the target will become aware of you after that first hit, though, so the 2nd and 3rd scorching ray or dagger would often not get sneak attack at that point.

And of course, if you're arguing that all three rays hit at once—that's effectively one attack, and that means that you only get sneak attack once. That's not how the spell's described, though.


Looking at sneak attack with scorching ray, the only class that can really do 3 rays and add significant sneak attack is the AT. Sure, there are other possibilities, but the AT can do it the easiest.

To cast a scorching ray with 3 rays, a standard AT would have to be 14th level or so. They'd add 6d6 on a successful sneak attack. If we say it applies to all rays, that's potentially 30d6 damage.

That is, IF they all hit, and IF the target isn't resistant/immune to the energy type, and IF the caster beats the SR.

The whole "volley of rays" thing in 3.5 was a a silly, unnecessary nerf to a class that was nerfed enough, already.

If you think the PF rogue and AT are weak now, try playing one in 3.5. You got to sneak attack about once every alternate Tuesday. It practically never applied to anything you were fighting at high levels, and getting 6 or 7d6 added to a very occasional scorching ray one freaking time from 30' away per spell made it fairly useless.

Do the math, guys. There's nothing OP about adding sneak to 3 scorching rays instead of 1. There are plenty of other reasons why it's usually underwhelming. It sure as heck won't insta-kill a CR 14 monster, so why the fuss?

Let the trickster sneak blast with some semblance of effectiveness. It won't ruin the game.


A highly regarded expert wrote:

Looking at sneak attack with scorching ray, the only class that can really do 3 rays and add significant sneak attack is the AT. Sure, there are other possibilities, but the AT can do it the easiest.

Do the math, guys. There's nothing OP about adding sneak to 3 scorching rays instead of 1. There are plenty of other reasons why it's usually underwhelming. It sure as heck won't insta-kill a CR 14 monster, so why the fuss?

Let the trickster sneak blast with some semblance of effectiveness. It won't ruin the game.

First, AT does have it's issues, but this is not the way to fix them. Actually work and make the class an arcane trickster, rather than a poor sneak attacker that has to rely on shady rulings.

Second, why bother with scorching ray.. look at telekinesis. A ring is only 9th CL iirc, so that would only be 9 sneak attacks per round, rather than the cap of 15 that say a rogue or alchemist with UMD could get from a staff... but the ring is unlimited uses, so take your choice.

Invest in sniper goggles and take advantage of the long range to deal a few hundred damage from a quarter of a mile away.

-James


james maissen wrote:


First, AT does have it's issues, but this is not the way to fix them. Actually work and make the class an arcane trickster, rather than a poor sneak attacker that has to rely on shady rulings.

Nothing shady at at all. It makes perfect sense and fits the rules with admirable precision. The class isn't as broken as some people say, unless, of course, they intentionally try to weaken it with inconsistent rulings that ignore how spells work.

Quote:

Second, why bother with scorching ray.. look at telekinesis. A ring is only 9th CL iirc, so that would only be 9 sneak attacks per round, rather than the cap of 15 that say a rogue or alchemist with UMD could get from a staff... but the ring is unlimited uses, so take your choice.

Invest in sniper goggles and take advantage of the long range to deal a few hundred damage from a quarter of a mile away.

-James

Nope. Direct damage spells, only. They need to mention that. If the devs read the guide and heed my wisdom, all will be well. I wish they'd have listened to all my points about the class during beta, but alas, a version of tricky spells was all they used.

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