Power Attack and Touch spells


Rules Questions


This came up during my session last night, one of my other teammates and the gm said that they interpret Power attack does not apply to touch attacks. I read the last line of it as touch attacks and effects that do not deal hit point damage, like Enervation and its negative levels for example. When doing something like a Shocking Grasp or the Close Range Magus Arcana for my Magus it should apply as long as it deals hit point damage. Thoughts?

Power Attack (Combat)
You can make exceptionally deadly melee attacks by sacrificing accuracy for strength.

Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.


You highlighted the answer already. OR is used in this case as an either/or or more accureately neither/nor function in essence it does not work on either. Also this does not work as evidenced by the rework of deadly aim in the gunslinger playtest to address this issue which that feat shares the same clarifiying sentence as power attack.


You may have read it as "touch attacks and effects," but it actually says "touch attacks or effects," so neither one works with Power Attack.

EDIT: ninja'd


touch attacks don't benefit from power attack. They don't deal damage through strength of impact, which is why they by pass armor and just need to make contact.

It specifically says it does not apply to touch attacks OR effects that don't deal hit point damage. That's exactly what it says, no touch attacks.


Thanks for the quick responses everyone. It still works out for me since I can take the penalty on my melee attacks and not have my melee touch or ranged touch to hit altered.


Gerrard Dixon wrote:
Thanks for the quick responses everyone. It still works out for me since I can take the penalty on my melee attacks and not have my melee touch or ranged touch to hit altered.

Actually, it only says that the bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks. It doesn't say anything about the penalty not applying. Looks like the penalty applies to "all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks," so the penalty wouldn't affect ranged attacks, but it looks like penalty applies to all melee attacks. Once you start swinging wildly with melee until your next turn, it affects all melee until your next turn.

Although, I am not able to think of an example where you Power Attack with a sword in the same round that you can also cast a spell that requires a melee touch attack. Both would be standard actions in most instances, so usually impossible to do in the same round.


reefwood wrote:
Gerrard Dixon wrote:
Thanks for the quick responses everyone. It still works out for me since I can take the penalty on my melee attacks and not have my melee touch or ranged touch to hit altered.

Actually, it only says that the bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks. It doesn't say anything about the penalty not applying. Looks like the penalty applies to "all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks," so the penalty wouldn't affect ranged attacks, but it looks like penalty applies to all melee attacks. Once you start swinging wildly with melee until your next turn, it affects all melee until your next turn.

Although, I am not able to think of an example where you Power Attack with a sword in the same round that you can also cast a spell that requires a melee touch attack. Both would be standard actions in most instances, so usually impossible to do in the same round.

magus spell strike from ultimate magic playtest he TWF with a touch spell.


Dragonsong wrote:
reefwood wrote:
Gerrard Dixon wrote:
Thanks for the quick responses everyone. It still works out for me since I can take the penalty on my melee attacks and not have my melee touch or ranged touch to hit altered.

Actually, it only says that the bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks. It doesn't say anything about the penalty not applying. Looks like the penalty applies to "all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks," so the penalty wouldn't affect ranged attacks, but it looks like penalty applies to all melee attacks. Once you start swinging wildly with melee until your next turn, it affects all melee until your next turn.

Although, I am not able to think of an example where you Power Attack with a sword in the same round that you can also cast a spell that requires a melee touch attack. Both would be standard actions in most instances, so usually impossible to do in the same round.

magus spell strike from ultimate magic playtest he TWF with a touch spell.

I think that you mean spell combat, not spellstrike.


leo1925 wrote:
magus spell strike from ultimate magic playtest he TWF with a touch spell.
I think that you mean spell combat, not spellstrike.

You are correct I have glanced over the class but not played with it.


reefwood wrote:


Although, I am not able to think of an example where you Power Attack with a sword in the same round that you can also cast a spell that requires a melee touch attack. Both would be standard actions in most instances, so usually impossible to do in the same round.

It doesn't take any action to declare power attack.

You could elect to declare power attack when firing a bow during your turn.

Why might you ever decide to do this?

If you still threatened and wanted to make AOOs with the power attack active. I've had PCs double move in 3e declaring power attack for full, which drew some strange looks from DMs until the AOOs occurred.

The penalty applies to all melee attacks that you make until the start of your next turn...

-James

Liberty's Edge

james maissen wrote:


It doesn't take any action to declare power attack.

You could elect to declare power attack when firing a bow during your turn.

Why might you ever decide to do this?

If you still threatened and wanted to make AOOs with the power attack active. I've had PCs double move in 3e declaring power attack for full, which drew some strange looks from DMs until the AOOs occurred.

The penalty applies to all melee attacks that you make until the start of your next turn...

-James

All of this is quite right, but you can also wait till the AoO to declare Power Attack (before making the attack roll obviously).

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