Vital Strike chain and Deadly Stroke


Rules Questions

The Exchange

I researched posts on our boards here concerning this feat chain combo and was not convinced by the decisions made by the one thread I found. Vital Strike can be used when you make an attack action; Deadly Stroke requires one to use a standard action to make a single attack. Would it be correct to assume that making a single attack is an attack action?

If they can be combined, I am also assuming that the math would work as thus:

Short Sword damage: 1d6.
Vital Strike bonus: an extra 1d6 (do not add any other damage other than the damage dice). The total becomes 2d6.
Deadly Stroke bonus: the damage would increase to 4d6.

Because Vital Strike asks us to add the results of the weapon damage dice together before adding bonuses to damage such as strength, precision damage or elemental damage, we apply Deadly Stroke's doubling power to the result after Vital Strike as it doubles normal damage. To clarify, I see Deadly Stroke asking us to calculate all damage before doubling, which would include Vital Strike because it specifically states to add the results of the weapon damage dice BEFORE adding extra flat damage or precision/elemental damage.

Deadly Stroke uses the term 'normal damage'... I wonder what would be included in normal damage. Weapond damage of course, but what about Strength bonus to damage? Challenge and Smite bonus damage? Enhancement bonus to damage?

So my three main questions are as follows:

1. Do they work together?
2. When does Deadly Stroke double the damage?
3. What is included in normal damage?


Vital Strike is a standard action. Deadly Stroke is also a standard action. You cannot do both at the same time. I know Vital strike says the attack action, but it means the standard attack action in contrast to the full attack action.

The two don't stack, but long story short Deadly Stroke is better because it doubles all damage like a critical. Vital Strike is scalable because it only affects the weapon dice which is usually a very small part of the overall damage of an attack. You get more passive bonuses to damage than your weapon dice will often give you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There is very little that Vital Strike can be combined with, as it is a standard action.
Other than some niche builds, Vital Strike is a trap feat.


yeah only one build i can think of that uses vital strike as a main point in the build. the build is a furious finishing druid.

The Exchange

Here is a valuable reference:

http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz1grg?Charging-with-a-Vital-Strike#22

Jason Bulmahn, halfway down the page, concludes that Vital Strike is an attack action which is a kind of standard action.

Poor Vital Strike... /patpat.

Grand Lodge

As always, you should ask your gm. If you are in PFS go with the side of caution and don't try it. That being said. When compaired with a sneek attack of a rouge of the same level (wpn+6d6sneak) and say your using a geat sword not a toothpick (2d6wpn+2d6vs+2d6ivs)(6d6).
Even before they both screw with it with other feats and abilities.
Doubleing that would be what your doing for 12d6 before str and weapon abilitites. With what I have seen rouges and other classes do at that level "I" would say "go for it" and allow it at my table.
I compare rouges and your question here because both the rouges sneak attack and what your looking for require conditions (flat-footed)to work.
Vital strike does say attack action and that is a standard action and deadly stroke is a standard action that requires a single attack... They look to me to be made for one another.


Xyllen wrote:

As always, you should ask your gm. If you are in PFS go with the side of caution and don't try it. That being said. When compaired with a sneek attack of a rouge of the same level (wpn+6d6sneak) and say your using a geat sword not a toothpick (2d6wpn+2d6vs+2d6ivs)(6d6).

Even before they both screw with it with other feats and abilities.
Doubleing that would be what your doing for 12d6 before str and weapon abilitites. With what I have seen rouges and other classes do at that level "I" would say "go for it" and allow it at my table.
I compare rouges and your question here because both the rouges sneak attack and what your looking for require conditions (flat-footed)to work.
Vital strike does say attack action and that is a standard action and deadly stroke is a standard action that requires a single attack... They look to me to be made for one another.

No, they can't be combined at all.

Deadly Stroke says that the action of Deadly Stroke is a Standard Action.

Vital Strike is stated to be an Attack Action, with a Clarification Rule that it is intended to be a Standard, Stand-Alone action.

Due to their separate descriptions and conditions, they are mutually exclusive in that you cannot use them in conjunction with each other.

The Exchange

Well thanks for being optimistic Xyllen, my GM does indeed find Vital Strike to be a joke compared to other methods of dealing damage. Even within RAI I could make the Furious Finish druid or a Fighter/Gunslinger with a Double Hackbutt, enlarged (via spell or what have you), and Imp Vital Strike to throw out 18d6 damage 2 out of every 3 rounds. Hehe, that's funny to me.


Hellim wrote:

Well thanks for being optimistic Xyllen, my GM does indeed find Vital Strike to be a joke compared to other methods of dealing damage. Even within RAI I could make the Furious Finish druid or a Fighter/Gunslinger with a Double Hackbutt, enlarged (via spell or what have you), and Imp Vital Strike to throw out 18d6 damage 2 out of every 3 rounds. Hehe, that's funny to me.

Vital Strike is still a very powerful ability. It is great for overcoming set amounts of (or half damage) DR, and is great to use against High AC targets, where your other attacks would most likely otherwise miss.

However, the easiest way to combat a Vital Strike user is with the Crane Style, and Crane Style combined with high amounts of AC make you a character that is nearly invincible to melee.

Even if you were allowed to combine the effects of Deadly Stroke with Vital Strike, high AC and Crane Style would more than likely render such tactics as futile.


actually a 12th level druid can hit for something crazy like 12d8+35 maximized every round, as an earth elemental. its a pretty brutal build.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you are going to create a build that pivots on the use of Vital Strike, you really need to know what you are doing.
It is, as I have seen, one of the most commonly misunderstood feats.
If used in the right kind of build, it can be great. If used under common misconceptions of the feat, it can be crippling.

Grand Lodge

In my original theory crafting of vital strike I thought that a fighter would be ideal. At the same time that vital strike fighter would also have to be a mobility fighter and perhaps a duelist ignoring parry as an option. I also took the critical route for condition spreading into thought as a support mobility fighter. (using a high critical weapon) a
What I came up with was a very good support fighter. Not a power house mind you. An Elf with an elven curved blade works well I thought.
I did not use the deadly stroke feat because I wasn't sure if it could be used (most say it isn't) and you didn't need to be effective.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

If you are going to create a build that pivots on the use of Vital Strike, you really need to know what you are doing.

It is, as I have seen, one of the most commonly misunderstood feats.
If used in the right kind of build, it can be great. If used under common misconceptions of the feat, it can be crippling.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter...

I've got a half-elf Titan Mauler Barbarian/Infiltrator Ranger with a Large Bastard Sword. I've been toying with the idea of going down the Vital Strike chain, but I've seen enough debate on the forums that I'm hesitant. Any advice?

(I know that the multi-classing is suboptimal).

Grand Lodge

I have been working on a vital strike fighter (core class) using a great sword and at level 12 no str added I have a planed out a single attack with 6d6+17 damage without magic items.
Now add +5 for getting a +5 weapon as fast as possible.
Now add +5 for strength at that level (assuming a 18 start and increase at 4 and 8).
For a single sustainable attack of 6d6+24. Min 30 damage max 60 damage.
That is almost 1/3 the hp that a fighter will have at level 12.
x2 on a critical would be 2d6(x2)+4d6+4(x2)+9(x2)+4(x2)= 8d6+34. 42-82.
Sorry but I think the vital strike losses.


It's 3pp, but Rite Publishing's Way of the Samurai has a ranger archetype called the Yojimbo, with a new combat style called Iaijutsu which include the Vital Strike chain and Deadly Stroke. Being a combat style a ranger does not require to take prerequisites, so as not to be caught in the feat tree trap. But it's not Core.


vital strike is very useful. How often does the poor melee guy get to have full round actions anyway. By the time he has got into position the baddies have been taken out by archers anyway


Vital Strike is handy for that rush-in-and-hit-them with a greatsword action that opens a fight, once you have Power Attack and Furious Focus. It's handy for an archer to use in a surprise round.

But you don't go out of your way to get it, you just pick it up as and when with your bonus feats for added gravy.

Silver Crusade

I prefer a Ranger with a Huge Sun Blade (Huge Shortsword that hits like a Huge Bastard Sword for 3d8), enlarge person (4d8), and lead blade (6d8).

12d8+ 1.5xSTR @ 6th lvl
18d8+ 1.5xSTR @ 11th lvl
24d8+ 1.5xSTR @ 16th lvl

thenovalord wrote:
vital strike is very useful. How often does the poor melee guy get to have full round actions anyway. By the time he has got into position the baddies have been taken out by archers anyway

Well, if you must ask, there's Pounce(Ex), Rapid Attack (Ex), and the Mounted Skirmisher Feat, for starters.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Vital Strike chain and Deadly Stroke All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.