Sneak attack spell use


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Does a spell or spell like ability require damage to utilize sneak attack?

Specifically, I am thinking the enchanter daily power of dazing touch. Could I apply sneak attack damage to the melee touch attack?


Shoemaker wrote:

Does a spell or spell like ability require damage to utilize sneak attack?

Specifically, I am thinking the enchanter daily power of dazing touch. Could I apply sneak attack damage to the melee touch attack?

You wouldn't be able to apply this effect to a Sneak Attack. The only thing that would benefit you is your target would lose their Dex bonus against the touch-attack, if anything.

Grand Lodge

lucesque wrote:
Shoemaker wrote:

Does a spell or spell like ability require damage to utilize sneak attack?

Specifically, I am thinking the enchanter daily power of dazing touch. Could I apply sneak attack damage to the melee touch attack?

You wouldn't be able to apply this effect to a Sneak Attack. The only thing that would benefit you is your target would lose their Dex bonus against the touch-attack, if anything.

Can anyone explain why according to RAW?

The sneak attack ability says clearly that all that is required is an attack roll and the necessary circumstances for a sneak attack.

Assuming I had flank, why no sneak attack damage dice on a melee touch attack without damage?

Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to find the RAW to support it when I need it show others.


Shoemaker wrote:
lucesque wrote:
Shoemaker wrote:

Does a spell or spell like ability require damage to utilize sneak attack?

Specifically, I am thinking the enchanter daily power of dazing touch. Could I apply sneak attack damage to the melee touch attack?

You wouldn't be able to apply this effect to a Sneak Attack. The only thing that would benefit you is your target would lose their Dex bonus against the touch-attack, if anything.

Can anyone explain why according to RAW?

The sneak attack ability says clearly that all that is required is an attack roll and the necessary circumstances for a sneak attack.

Assuming I had flank, why no sneak attack damage dice on a melee touch attack without damage?

Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to find the RAW to support it when I need it show others.

I think the only handy thing I can find is for Arcane Tricksters.

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. This additional damage only applies to spells that deal hit point damage, and the additional damage is of the same type as the spell. If the spell allows a saving throw to negate or halve the damage, it also negates or halves the sneak attack damage.

A lot of everything else I'm finding is along these lines. I don't really find anything that talks about delivering touch attacks on a sneak attack (at least with an ability that deals no damage), but I'm not sure of being able to pass touch attacks through a weapon in that way. Maybe someone else can provide perspective for you. My impression has been always that Sneak Attack and Touch Attacks cannot stack without some special ability.


I suppose if you go by the Sneak Attack definition:

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

You'd have to be dealing damage in the first place for a Sneak Attack.

Grand Lodge

lucesque wrote:
Shoemaker wrote:
lucesque wrote:
Shoemaker wrote:

Does a spell or spell like ability require damage to utilize sneak attack?

Specifically, I am thinking the enchanter daily power of dazing touch. Could I apply sneak attack damage to the melee touch attack?

You wouldn't be able to apply this effect to a Sneak Attack. The only thing that would benefit you is your target would lose their Dex bonus against the touch-attack, if anything.

Can anyone explain why according to RAW?

The sneak attack ability says clearly that all that is required is an attack roll and the necessary circumstances for a sneak attack.

Assuming I had flank, why no sneak attack damage dice on a melee touch attack without damage?

Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to find the RAW to support it when I need it show others.

I think the only handy thing I can find is for Arcane Tricksters.

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. This additional damage only applies to spells that deal hit point damage, and the additional damage is of the same type as the spell. If the spell allows a saving throw to negate or halve the damage, it also negates or halves the sneak attack damage.

A lot of everything else I'm finding is along these lines. I don't really find anything that talks about delivering touch attacks on a sneak attack (at least with an ability that deals no damage), but I'm not sure of being able to pass touch attacks through a weapon in that way. Maybe someone else can provide perspective for you. My impression has been always that Sneak Attack and Touch Attacks cannot stack without some special ability.

The Arcane Trickster's surprise spells is a special ability that allows SA damage on any spell doing damage WITH OR WITHOUT AN ATTACK ROLL.

A rogue can definitely use sneak attack with a spell such as ray of frost or scorching ray per FAQ and RAW because they have attack rolls. However, I am not convinced that a spell requiring an attack roll which does not deal damage misses out on the sneak attack damage.

My research has not found an official ruling. Anyone know if damage is required to enable sneak attack?


The rule has always been that sneak attack can only be applied to spells that deal damage, and it was same type of damage done by the spell. You sneak with ray of frost and all your damage is cold.

If you aren't dealing damage, you can't deal extra damage by hitting a creature in a vulnerable spot.

Grand Lodge

TyrKnight wrote:

The rule has always been that sneak attack can only be applied to spells that deal damage, and it was same type of damage done by the spell. You sneak with ray of frost and all your damage is cold.

If you aren't dealing damage, you can't deal extra damage by hitting a creature in a vulnerable spot.

Can anyone find where this is stated as RAW?


It's really all in the wording.

From the Magic chapter:

PRD wrote:

Special Spell Effects

Many special spell effects are handled according to the school of the spells in question. Certain other special spell features are found across spell schools.

Attacks: Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don't damage opponents, are considered attacks. Attempts to channel energy count as attacks if it would harm any creatures in the area. All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks. Spells that summon monsters or other allies are not attacks because the spells themselves don't harm anyone.

So we have here an explanation that just because it's called an attack doesn't mean it does damage.

From the Rogue abilities:

PRD wrote:

Sneak Attack: If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The rogue's attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the rogue flanks her target. This extra damage is 1d6 at 1st level, and increases by 1d6 every two rogue levels thereafter. Should the rogue score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a rogue can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty.

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.

You can't do "extra" damage if you don't do damage to begin with. Why? Because the definition of "extra" when used as an adjective.

Shadow Lodge

Reposted my question here to seperate from the OP:
Sneak Attack: Am I missing Something


Since Sneak Attack does the exact same type of damage as the attack it is delivered with the question becomes moot. You end up dealing Xd6 of non damage with Dazing Touch.

3.5 had rules allowing you to to do hit point damage with spells that did not do hit point damage, like Ray of Enfeeblement, but Pathfinder got rid of that.


why not just put conductive on your weapon, do a sneak attack as normal, then add Dazing Touch via conductive? this is an easy fix...


lucesque wrote:

I suppose if you go by the Sneak Attack definition:

If a rogue can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

You'd have to be dealing damage in the first place for a Sneak Attack.

and "strike a vital spot". Your spell has to to be precise, not an area effect.

Shadow Lodge

Quote:


and "strike a vital spot". Your spell has to to be precise, not an area effect.

This is an Erroneous assumption. the portion of the text you refer to is flavor text. there is nothing that defines what a "Vital Spot" with reference to sneak attack.

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