Melee Touch Attacks and Channel Smite


Rules Questions


Can you channel smite with shocking grasp (lighting subdomain cleric w/ channel smite)

From channel smite - "Before you make a melee attack roll, you can choose to spend one use of your channel energy ability as a swift action."

From shocking grasp - "Your successful melee touch attack deals 1d6 points of electricity damage per caster level (maximum 5d6)."

Is a melee touch attack a type of "melee attack role", or does "melee attack" roll imply that I must use a melee attack (as with a weapon) to use channel smite?

Thanks!

Silver Crusade

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Channel Smite applies to melee touch attacks. So-called Bad Touch Clerics sometimes use this trick. It works fine.

Optimization note about Channel Smite:

Consider that Standard Action channel for damage, with no feats spent, might be better than Channel Smite. It depends on your character, team, and world. Channel Smite increases your single target nova damage at the expense of your AoE damage ability.

5th level channeler vs single target, using Channel Smite: Say 75% of your attacks hit and foes save 50% of the time. Channel Smite then inflicts ~10 HP extra per hit. Considering both miss chance and save chance, you inflict about ~4 hp per channel use.

5th level channeler vs 3 foes using Regular Channel to Harm: Each use of channel will harm every foe on the field. Foes will make their Wisdom save about 50% of the time. Each foe will take about 7 hp damage per channel use (~5 hp if they save and ~10 hp if they fail to save). There are three foes, so each channel use inflicts about ~21 hp.

Compare ~4 hp per channel with Channel Smite, vs ~21 hp per channel with Regular Channel. Channel smite reliably delivers this small extra damage. Regular channel unreliably (due to concerns about friendly fire) delivers ~21 hp per channel. Numerically, Channel Smite begins to look good when more than 80% of your Regular Channels would otherwise go to waste.

In other words, if you can make effective use of at least 20% of your channels, even without Channel Smite, then Channel Smite might not a good investment.


Magda Luckbender wrote:

Channel Smite applies to melee touch attacks. So-called Bad Touch Clerics sometimes use this trick. It works fine.

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks, still getting a grasp on the rules!

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