Sneak Attack and Scorching Ray


Rules Questions

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Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Matthias_DM wrote:

Guys, Sneak attack + Scorching ray is super dee duper powerful if it goes on every single ray.

** spoiler omitted **
So... YES..... tricksters are the best wielders of Scorching Ray (not rogues with UMD) and YES.... it could have been abused out of control).

There are a lot of arguable points in your little calculation there, such as your assumption of two crits every round. But really doing 400-500 points of fire damage isn't super impressive at level 15. Every 10 points of fire resistance strips away 60 points of damage from this attack. SR really messes it up. It's pretty easy for a well-built fighter or barbarian to achieve those kinds of numbers by that level.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Drachasor wrote:

Precision Damage wrote:
Precision damage is a special type of damage, which might more appropriately be called a "category" of damage because any of the other damage types listed here might also be considered "precision" damage under the right circumstances. Precision damage is usually dealt by classes like the rogue when he is able to catch an opponent unable to fully protect itself. Precision damage assumes that the target has a somewhat normal anatomy or at least has a physical form which might have weak spots which could be detected or taken advantage of.
...

And this, from whence it came, seeing as it don't seem to appear in any page of the PRD?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Quote:
You want me to tell you if those attacks are done simultaneously without looking at the rules? Why would I do that? If I'm going to be using a spell, I'm going to have the necessary references readily available.
To avoid halting the game every time someone use a spell.
That's why it's incumbent upon the person using the spell to understand how it works, beforehand. This ruling does nothing to change that. Spellcasters should always know how their spells function, and they should have the resources available to double-check or answer any questions, should the need arise.
It does. Before this ruling, I can tell you with ease if I roll to attack 2,3 or 15 times with those spells. I can check range, damage, or if it allows Spell Resistance with a glimpse to the stats of the spell. Now I have to read the entire description, and even then, I'm unsure, as the spells don't use a standarized vocabulary. Hence Fiery Shuriken. Also, I'm unsure about stuff like adjudicting sneak dice before I roll to hit or not. It opens a new can of worms, while "once per attack roll" is consistent through the whole system and does not need double checking the exact words in the spell description

You don't read all of a spell description to see what it do?

Almost all spells have some little (or not so little) quirk hidden in their description.
When you start using a spell you need to read it carefully and make a mental notes of it particularities.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
Drachasor wrote:

Precision Damage wrote:
Precision damage is a special type of damage, which might more appropriately be called a "category" of damage because any of the other damage types listed here might also be considered "precision" damage under the right circumstances. Precision damage is usually dealt by classes like the rogue when he is able to catch an opponent unable to fully protect itself. Precision damage assumes that the target has a somewhat normal anatomy or at least has a physical form which might have weak spots which could be detected or taken advantage of.
...

And this, from whence it came, seeing as it don't seem to appear in any page of the PRD?

Hmm, it was on the PFSRD, in the Terms section.

But I see now it says that it doesn't actually appear anywhere in the books or PRD. Though there are feats and such that talk about "precision" damage. It's mentioned in the rules on darkness.

I love undefined terminology. It's awesome.

Well, I have told my DM for the PF game my group is about to start to just ignore the FAQ. The last thing he needs to worry about is a bunch of non-RAW rules that have been added online and outside of a proper errata. I am only now beginning to realize just how much of a nightmare Pathfinder is in this regard. 3.5 was much cleaner -- granted the FAQ for 3.5 was wrong here and there, but Wizards readily admitted that if the FAQ said something wrong then it was wrong, rather than try to pretend that's what the rules secretly said.

Feel free to ignore what you quoted. Well, as long as you don't play PFS, I guess people that do that need to worry about the FAQ house rules.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Diego Rossi wrote:

You don't read all of a spell description to see what it do?

Almost all spells have some little (or not so little) quirk hidden in their description.
When you start using a spell you need to read it carefully and make a mental notes of it particularities.

Some spells are unclear. There are literally only 4 or so spells that have "simultaneous" as part of the attack terminology. Without that, you can't really tell how the attacks are timed. With regards to Invisibility and some other effects, this matters. Outside of that, it doesn't -- so most of the time it doesn't matter.

More to the point though, going by FAQ rules opens a huge can of worms in that it means there's a huge list of rules you have to memorize that aren't in the errata or any books and aren't well-organized.


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Something odd is that if you do not define attack as per sneak attack as something requiring an attack roll and instead define it as an offensive action (say something that would break invisibility or isn't per-attack-roll) then the arcane trickster's capstone is pretty useless because if attack rolls do not indicate sneak attacks then any attack form would allow sneak attacks unless it states otherwise. Hence every spell or ability that could be considered an attack would gain sneak attack damage unless it explicitly said otherwise.

I'm not really into that. I'm also not really into FAQs that don't follow the rules. Especially when they complicate things to an extreme degree, begin adding strange exceptions not stated in the rules, adding limitations not mentioned in the rules, using terms never mentioned in the rules, etc.

Lately the FAQ has just looked more and more like "here's a suggested house rule" rather than an answer that actually explains how it works in game by the rules.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Drachasor wrote:
With regards to Invisibility and some other effects, this matters. Outside of that, it doesn't -- so most of the time it doesn't matter.

Actually it matters each time you could have a second target.. that seems like it should be a reasonable amount of the time.

As to

Drachasor wrote:
3.5 was much cleaner -- granted the FAQ for 3.5 was

Over 120 pages, and not otherwise different from what you are complaining...

I see too many people grumbling over this just to grumble. The rule is exactly what 3.5 had as printed rules. If your DM went by the 'cleaner' 3.5 rulings you still wouldn't get what you want to be true. Essentially you've been happy to say 'well they didn't reprint this, so I can feel good about ignoring it' and now they've said that things haven't changed and you're upset at that, and that alone.

Pathfinder going with a 3.5 ruling when the respective Pathfinder rules haven't changed is frankly part and parcel with their concept backwards compatibility. Frankly, I would be more upset if they willy-nilly 'interpreted' such rules differently without spelling them out in the edition change.

-James


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
james maissen wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
With regards to Invisibility and some other effects, this matters. Outside of that, it doesn't -- so most of the time it doesn't matter.
Actually it matters each time you could have a second target.. that seems like it should be a reasonable amount of the time.

No, it doesn't matter any time you have a second target. You attack two guys, make two attack rolls. Both of them are at the same bonus. There's no difference between the two. It only matters if you have something that makes some attacks special.

james maissen wrote:


As to
Drachasor wrote:
3.5 was much cleaner -- granted the FAQ for 3.5 was

Over 120 pages, and not otherwise different from what you are complaining...

I see too many people grumbling over this just to grumble. The rule is exactly what 3.5 had as printed rules. If your DM went by the 'cleaner' 3.5 rulings you still wouldn't get what you want to be true. Essentially you've been happy to say 'well they didn't reprint this, so I can feel good about ignoring it' and now they've said that things haven't changed and you're upset at that, and that alone.

Pathfinder going with a 3.5 ruling when the respective Pathfinder rules haven't changed is frankly part and parcel with their concept backwards compatibility. Frankly, I would be more upset if they willy-nilly 'interpreted' such rules differently without spelling them out in the edition change.

-James

Oh, so PF uses 3.5 Rules even when they don't appear anywhere in the PF books now? Except when PF doesn't use those rules, right? And when that is the case isn't exactly clear if you're going by such an ill-defined thing. And it isn't like the FAQ quoted the rules from the Complete Arcane, now did it? Nope. it didn't, and in fact the reasoning used in the FAQ is not at all the Complete Arcane rules on the matter. (Btw, to those that care: looking over that, seems I was wrong about weapon-like spells. Any spell with an attack roll that deals damage is a weapon-like spell in 3.5).

PF is NOT backwards compatible. I thought that was common knowledge by now. Heck, PFS doesn't even pretend at being backwards compatible, right? No 3.5 stuff allowed. Some 3.5 stuff you can port, some you can't. But 3.5 Rules certainly don't take precedence over a new system of compiled rules. That's ridiculous. Any such thing would be house-ruling 3.5 rules in. The PF Core rules are the ruleset for PF.

For the love of sanity, what you are proposing is such a mess that it is unplayable short of DM fiat left and right. Use the PF books, except when the DM thinks a 3.5 rule applies, then use that rule from whatever book it was in, unless there's a PF FAQ (but not 3.5 FAQ!) that goes over that then use whatever rule that was. Given the massive amounts of sources that requires that's just not a feasible way to run any sort of game.

If you want such a mess of rules at your table, then go ahead. But everyone else certainly has every right to point out that it IS a mess.

And again, the 3.5 FAQ was ONLY rule clarification. And if the 3.5 FAQ disagree with the actual rules text (which did happen), then the 3.5 FAQ WAS WRONG, and you ignored it. The FAQ for 3.5 was solely meant to clarify some points for people who might have trouble reading the text. It did not make new rules or terms. It did not change the rules. It had no power that way. The PF FAQ does not follow this principle, so PF is entirely different.


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I will say this, of all the whining that has come up one thing is relevant here. Spells and such could use some standardized rules language for spells and what makes a spell simultaneous. I would say multiple attack rolls in a single standard action would probably count as simultaneous effects, but I shouldn't have to interpret that.

Also, since you don't aim the javelins with Holy Ice (They launch themselves, rather than you throwing them, which sounds a lot like Clenched Fists and Spiritual Weapon to me) do you even get SA with that?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
DetectiveKatana wrote:
Also, since you don't aim the javelins with Holy Ice (They launch themselves, rather than you throwing them, which sounds a lot like Clenched Fists and Spiritual Weapon to me) do you even get SA with that?

You must succeed on that attack rolls, according to the text. So given that and that you are making the rolls, then it is clear you are making the attacks. If you make the attacks, then you get SA. Those are the SA rules.

The "hurl themselves" bit seems pretty much there just to indicate that you don't have to personally throw each one with your hand. That's especially important when it is calling them javelins.

Personally, I think the problem with the spell is the amount of attacks. It is well beyond any sane number ANY spell should have. It just takes up too much game time to deal with all of those attack rolls.


Drachasor wrote:

No, it doesn't matter any time you have a second target. You attack two guys, make two attack rolls. Both of them are at the same bonus. There's no difference between the two. It only matters if you have something that makes some attacks special.

Actually it does matter. If you want to drop one of the enemy, then how many rays do you fire at them? An archer simply fires successively until the enemy drops then shoots another. Scorching ray (and magic missile, etc) has to make those calls beforehand.

Likewise if one of the targets has SR, you check that after you decide all of the allocations, etc.

It's always mattered if you played the game according to the rules.

Drachasor wrote:
And again, the 3.5 FAQ was ONLY rule clarification. And if the 3.5 FAQ disagree with the actual rules text (which did happen), then the 3.5 FAQ WAS WRONG, and you ignored it.

And if you don't like the Pathfinder FAQ then you ignore it as well. What's the difference? As far as organized play went you were required to follow the FAQ and the errata... whether it is PFS now, or LG back in 3.5.. nothing's changed in that regard. In 3.5 you had over a 120 pages of the FAQ, while here you have far, far less to complain about.

When you really want something to be one way, then you can always close your eyes and say that's the way it is. Just don't come on the boards crying that the sky is falling because your eyes weren't closed tight enough. Many people have been able to handle this level of complexity and far more, so if you are willing, then you certainly can. But if you are not willing.. then don't. Easy and simple.

-James


So after reading through this whole thread the FAQ seems to have had an opposite effect than was intended, we now know that simultaneous spells only have SA dice added once. But we have confusion on:

1.What spells are simultaneous? Does it need the word in the description or do implied simultaneous spells have this restriction too?

2.What spells are "weapon like"?

3.How is the SA target determined, is it the first attack or can the attacker decide which effect is modified?

4.How do misses work? If the spell fires three rays and two miss does the third automatically get the SA dice?

5. Does this ruling apply to non magical simultaneous attacks as well?

Here's my suggestion on how to roll all these up in to one rule:

Sneak Attack and Spells:

Sneak attack damage may be added to magical attacks that require an attack roll as long as the normal sneak attack conditions are met. A caster may only apply SA damage to one target per attack roll. If the spell has multiple targets per attack roll the target of the sneak attack must be specified prior to making the attack roll, if the attack misses that target the SA dice are wasted. If a spell grants multiple attack rolls the SA dice may be added to one attack roll per 5 caster levels attained (minimum 1).

So now any spell with an attack roll can get SA, no more questions about it being "weapon-like" or simultaneous. Woohoo!

SA is capped at a number similar to the amount given to non-magical attacks. At a maximum of 4 SA per each casting you no longer have the worst offenders like TK or Holy Ice breaking things but you do still have utility for tricksters and UMD rogues. Worst case scenario I can imagine is a trickster casting a quickened and normal spell for 8 SAs per round at 7d6 each at 20th level. That would be an additional 196 damage that is subject to SR, Savings throws, Evasion, and Resistances. It's good, but not broken at that level especially when you have to spend several feats and lots of resources to get there.


Drachasor wrote:
DetectiveKatana wrote:
Also, since you don't aim the javelins with Holy Ice (They launch themselves, rather than you throwing them, which sounds a lot like Clenched Fists and Spiritual Weapon to me) do you even get SA with that?

You must succeed on that attack rolls, according to the text. So given that and that you are making the rolls, then it is clear you are making the attacks. If you make the attacks, then you get SA. Those are the SA rules.

The "hurl themselves" bit seems pretty much there just to indicate that you don't have to personally throw each one with your hand. That's especially important when it is calling them javelins.
.

Sounds fair. I was comparing it to Spiritual Weapon but I see that for SW the weapon makes the attack and it specifies that "It" makes the attack roll rather than you. Thanks for the answer though.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Honestly, I'm more concerned with the rules being consistent (i.e., "one SA per targeted spell") than the rules protecting DPR of a niche build of one type of specialized character (i.e., "now my rogue using scorching ray can't get sneak attack on every single shot!").

In the case of Fiery Shuriken:

Quote:
Effect: Two or more fiery shuriken

Does this count as a weapon-like spell(shuriken specifically)?

Assuming it does:
When launching more than 1 at a time (either initially or using a standard action), it appears that sneak attack will only be applied once, due to the attacks being caused by the same standard-action. Is that correct? Or does sneak attack apply to all shurikens due to the lack of the specific word simultaneous?

Then, if you use 2 actions in a round to launch shurikens, (swift, standard) would you get 2 sneak attacks(1 per action)?

Shadow Lodge

hraithe wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Honestly, I'm more concerned with the rules being consistent (i.e., "one SA per targeted spell") than the rules protecting DPR of a niche build of one type of specialized character (i.e., "now my rogue using scorching ray can't get sneak attack on every single shot!").

In the case of Fiery Shuriken:

Quote:
Effect: Two or more fiery shuriken

Does this count as a weapon-like spell(shuriken specifically)?

Assuming it does:
When launching more than 1 at a time (either initially or using a standard action), it appears that sneak attack will only be applied once, due to the attacks being caused by the same standard-action. Is that correct? Or does sneak attack apply to all shurikens due to the lack of the specific word simultaneous?

Then, if you use 2 actions in a round to launch shurikens, (swift, standard) would you get 2 sneak attacks(1 per action)?

Late reply, but as best I can read it, Fiery Shuriken is still a "targeted spell," and thus would only get 1 sneak attack by SKR's reasoning for every wave of shuriken fired. It still has the potential to get sneak attack on every shuriken, but they'd have to each be fired by a separate action and each would have to qualify.

Also, THREAD NECRO! Sorry. :)


anything you can take weapon focus or improved critical in should count as a weapon attack for purposes of sneak attacking.


jlighter wrote:

Late reply, but as best I can read it, Fiery Shuriken is still a "targeted spell," and thus would only get 1 sneak attack by SKR's reasoning for every wave of shuriken fired. It still has the potential to get sneak attack on every shuriken, but they'd have to each be fired by a separate action and each would have to qualify.

Also, THREAD NECRO! Sorry. :)

I like SKR, but I'm not sure this is the best ruling for this particular thing. There are only a few character types who would use this to any extent, and it wouldn't make them overpowered.


Flori the Fabulous wrote:
jlighter wrote:

Late reply, but as best I can read it, Fiery Shuriken is still a "targeted spell," and thus would only get 1 sneak attack by SKR's reasoning for every wave of shuriken fired. It still has the potential to get sneak attack on every shuriken, but they'd have to each be fired by a separate action and each would have to qualify.

Also, THREAD NECRO! Sorry. :)

I like SKR, but I'm not sure this is the best ruling for this particular thing. There are only a few character types who would use this to any extent, and it wouldn't make them overpowered.

The rulings are not made by SKR alone. They are made by the entire design team. Individual members use to post the rulings, but since posters used to blame individual devs they are now stated as being posted by the design team.


wraithstrike wrote:
Flori the Fabulous wrote:
jlighter wrote:

Late reply, but as best I can read it, Fiery Shuriken is still a "targeted spell," and thus would only get 1 sneak attack by SKR's reasoning for every wave of shuriken fired. It still has the potential to get sneak attack on every shuriken, but they'd have to each be fired by a separate action and each would have to qualify.

Also, THREAD NECRO! Sorry. :)

I like SKR, but I'm not sure this is the best ruling for this particular thing. There are only a few character types who would use this to any extent, and it wouldn't make them overpowered.
The rulings are not made by SKR alone. They are made by the entire design team. Individual members use to post the rulings, but since posters used to blame individual devs they are now stated as being posted by the design team.

Yes. I still think this isn't much fun.

Sovereign Court

Good FAQ candidate. Keep in mind:

*Ranged weapons do not threaten or flank by default
*Thrown weapons do not flank by default or threaten
*Spells do not threaten or flank by default, unless through a melee weapon as per Magus or Spellblade (etc.)
*Only melee weapons threaten as a default, though rogue talents, feats and teamwork feats exist that allow it

A lot of Rogue players and some DMs run this wrong. Flanking by default is only for melee, though Sneak Attack can also apply when the target is flat-footed, unaware or otherwise denied his DEX bonus to AC (not acting in combat, invisible attacker, stealth, etc.). Also keep in mind any spell with an attack roll can critically threaten and has a critical damage multiplier of x2.

Unrelated note:

There's a controversial Pathfinder Society Magus-villain from the Dalsine Affair that used a keen rapier to critically hit on a 15-20, using shocking grasp (CL 5th) channeled through said rapier. On a confirmed critical hit he'd be doing 10d6 electrical damage from shocking grasp. No save, since the spell has no save. Then there's the STR mod and the normal rapier damage. For extra cheese, add a level of draconic or orc (or both) sorcerer. For more cheese, take aasimar and consecrated spell. Then the metamagic trait, metamagic master. Watch the DM's face contort to absolute horror when you tell him that he just got critically hit with a maximized, critical shocking grasp. And that it has no save.

Don't forget the +to hit vs. against targets in armor. ^^ (And they wonder why some people get banned from Society...)

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