spells with sneak attack


Rules Questions

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I have gotten very confused between the rules I thought I knew, the FAQs, and the various threads on the topic, so here goes:

Which spells work with sneak attack? Rays? Melee touch attacks? Ranged touch attacks?

Which of those types can I take weapon focus in?

Do Ranged touch attacks benefit from point blank shot? How about precise shot? I'd read somewhere that ranged touch attacks don't suffer from cover/melee like regular ranged weapons and rays, is that right?

Scorching Ray only gets one sneak attack damage set applied. What about something like Fiery Shuriken? Would it matter if the shuriken were used at once or over multiple rounds?

And finally, from another thread that seemed to come to little conclusion: can you use Weapon Versatility feat on spells you have weapon focus for?


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The general rule is sneak attack applies to any attack roll that meets the conditions of sneak attack and applies damage.

Then we have a general rule that says rays and touch attacks are weapons

Finally we have a faq about volley spells specifically discussing scorching ray.

So what does this tell you? Sa applies to any spell that uses an attack roll and does damage. Furthermore if the spell has multiple attacks in its standard action Sa only applies once.


In other words if you have to roll to hit with it you are all good.


PRD: Rogue 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.

PRD wrote:
All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks

So as long as you flank your opponent or the target would be denied their dexterity bonus to Armour Class, a rogue can deal sneak attack damage.

That includes spells that deal damage like say fireball.

Sovereign Court

Rikkan wrote:
Thus you can sneak attack with any attack, for example a rogue can do sneak attack damage with a fireball.

RAW: maybe, based only on the definition of "attack"

RAI: No. Not at all. Based on precedence (sneak attack requiring attack rolls to hit) and the Arcane Trickster capstone ability.

Silver Crusade

No, you do not get sneak attack on fireball. Unless of course you are an Arcane Trickster with the surprise spells ability. ;)


Tempestorm wrote:
No, you do not get sneak attack on fireball. Unless of course you are an Arcane Trickster with the surprise spells ability. ;)

While the rules of the game say rogues can do sneak attack damage with fireballs, you're of course always free to rule differently in your home games :).

Sovereign Court

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Rikkan wrote:
Tempestorm wrote:
No, you do not get sneak attack on fireball. Unless of course you are an Arcane Trickster with the surprise spells ability. ;)
While the rules of the game say rogues can do sneak attack damage with fireballs, you're of course always free to rule differently in your home games :).

I know by just those two paragraphs from the PRD rogues can get sneak attack using anything 'technically' considered an attack - has there been any sort of Paizo "yay" or "nay" response on that?

That being said, if one can't admit this is clearly against RAI, they're being exceptionally obtuse.

Silver Crusade

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Rikkan wrote:
Tempestorm wrote:
No, you do not get sneak attack on fireball. Unless of course you are an Arcane Trickster with the surprise spells ability. ;)
While the rules of the game say rogues can do sneak attack damage with fireballs, you're of course always free to rule differently in your home games :).

That is an interesting stance, but I am not the one house ruling.

Sneak attack requires an attack. Making an attack requires an attack roll. A Fireball (or other aoe spell such as burning hands) does not constitute making an "attack" by the general rules as it requires no attack roll (note: I am not implying that hitting someone with a fireball isn't a hostile action, just that it does not fall under the "attack" category as defined in the book).

Such spells are called out via a specific rule in the Invisibility spell as counting as an attack based on the text, "For purposes of this sepll, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe wor whose area or effect includes a foe". This is expressly so that such spells break invisibility.

AOE spells such as fireball do NOT get sneak attack damage via general rules.

If it worked the way you imply then the Arcane Tricksters "Surprise Spell" ability would be useless, which it isn't. This ability specificaly allows what you are implying is general rule and does so via s specific rule. It is, to my knowledge, the ONLY way to apply sneak attack to an aoe type spell that requires no attack roll.


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Tempestorm wrote:
Sneak attack requires an attack. Making an attack requires an attack roll. A Fireball (or other aoe spell such as burning hands) does not constitute making an "attack" by the general rules as it requires no attack roll
You're mistaken. You don't need to make an attack roll for something to be an attack. See:
Quote:
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.

Fireball is thus definitely an attack and can qualify for sneak attack damage.


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Sneak attack happens when certain conditions are met that remove the targets dex modifier ro ac. Spells which use attack rolls are the only spells which target ac and benefit from this.

If you cast a at somone under these conditions they receive their full dexterity with no penalties. The fireball recieves no benefit whatsoever from these conditions.

Secondly flanking can be only done with melee weapons it doesnt matter if you have a melee weapon in hand when casting a boot blade or whatever.

Thirdly the arcane trickster as it is in pf was a wholesale rewrite of a godawdul prc (I looked it up to verify inreally want to use eye bleach).

What this means is the capstone the prc has exists alley for pf and is a good indicator of intent.


For reference, the passage Rikkan is quoting comes from the Special Spell Effects section of the Magic chapter.

It's an interesting interpretation. Rikkan, assuming your interpretation is correct, how do you explain Surprise Spells, the capstone ability of the Arcane Trickster prestige class?

If your interpretation is correct, then Surprise Spells is a simple restatement of how the rules work, and confers no additional benefit. Yet, if that were the case, why would the devs have taken the time to write the description as if it were conveying some new ability to the PC?

Silver Crusade

Yes, I know what he was referencing. It is the space in the magic section that expands on the bit called out in the invisiblity spell. Basicaly it ensures that hostile spells are counted as "attacks" for purposes of breaking invisibility and being generaly hostile. That is why is says they are "condidered" attacks.

However, it does not make them "Attacks" as defined in the combat section.

Sneak Attack requires an attack roll. The exception is the Arcane Tricksters Surprise Spells ability.

That is simply how it works. /shrug

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So it has been pointed out three times (at least) that one needs an attack roll to use Sneak Attack. I believe Mojorat has the best explanation of the concerns. Fireball, Icestorm, Grease, Lightning Bolt and a lot of others do not allow the caster to sneak attack with them. Notice, please, that those not able to use Sneak Attack includes Magic Missile.


DrakeRoberts wrote:

I have gotten very confused between the rules I thought I knew, the FAQs, and the various threads on the topic, so here goes:

Which of those types can I take weapon focus in?

Do Ranged touch attacks benefit from point blank shot? How about precise shot? I'd read somewhere that ranged touch attacks don't suffer from cover/melee like regular ranged weapons and rays, is that right?

Scorching Ray only gets one sneak attack damage set applied. What about something like Fiery Shuriken? Would it matter if the shuriken were used at once or over multiple rounds?

And finally, from another thread that seemed to come to little conclusion: can you use Weapon Versatility feat on spells you have weapon focus for?

Thanks, what about these? I bolded the part of the volley spell that wasn't answered yet. Also, I couldn't tell from the responses if Weapon Focus [touch attacks] or [melee touch attacks] and [ranged touch attacks] was appropriate or doable. If [touch attacks] is valid, doesn't that encompass [ray]?

Thanks for the responses so far.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Weapon Focus need to specify a weapon. Rays count as weapons in this regard, but Touch attacks are not covered by this. (rays are typically Ranged Touch Attacks themselves)

Likely, if your using Shuriken from stealth, you would get sneak attack damage from the first hit (If it hits).

If you have multiple targets that didn't see you, you can hit each one for sneak attack damage provided you have enough attacks to hit each target. This is assuming none of them saw you.


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thaX wrote:
So it has been pointed out three times (at least) that one needs an attack roll to use Sneak Attack.

Can you quote the rules were it says that sneak attack needs an attack roll?

Because I can't find that in the rules anywhere.

The only rules I can find, say you can apply sneak attack on attacks. And since spells like fireball are attacks, it would stand to reason you could apply sneak attack damage to those.


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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 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.

Explain how you strike a vital spot with an area effect again? because it's well established that if you can't strike a specific spot, such as through concealment, you can't sneak attack. I'd say that goes for AoEs too.

The RAW are a little unclear and it appears that some of the arguments about RAI are holdovers from 3.x, but it is clear that The AT capstone ability is supposed to be something different to how it works for everyone else, and, that in the context of sneak attack when they use the term 'attack' they mean it in the context of the 'attack' action in the combat section and it should not be conflated with the definition of what constitutes an 'attacking spell'.
In summary: you need an attack roll to sneak

to the OP
Weapon focus for spells is usually limited to touch spells and rays (I've never looked too hard as to whether it's relevant, but i extend rays to mean all ranged touch attacks)

Any spell requiring an attack roll benefits from the appropriate feats, bonuses and penalties as any other attack roll - so you get -4 to firing scorching ray into melee unless you have precise shot etc.

on fiery shuriken - as per the FAQ on spell volleys effectively you get to apply SA damage once per round, whether you fire off 1 or 4 shuriken.

and finally if by weapon versatility you mean martial versatility, then no as there isn't (that i could find) a 'spells' weapon group

Grand Lodge

remember if you are greater invisible/Blinking you get sneak attack on all of your scorching rays.


dragonhunterq wrote:


and finally if by weapon versatility you mean martial versatility, then no as there isn't (that i could find) a 'spells' weapon group

No, I mean this

Humphry B ManWitch wrote:
remember if you are greater invisible/Blinking you get sneak attack on all of your scorching rays.

Is this true?


DrakeRoberts wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:


and finally if by weapon versatility you mean martial versatility, then no as there isn't (that i could find) a 'spells' weapon group
No, I mean this

Dear God, please tell me there wasn't actually a discussion about this!

In case it needs spelling out - NO, how exactly are you shifting your grip?. Being a "weapon - like" effect is not synonymous with actually being a weapon.


Humphry B ManWitch wrote:
remember if you are greater invisible/Blinking you get sneak attack on all of your scorching rays.

Not sure where you get that idea from. The rules on spell volleys are clear - you only get to add SA to one, no exception, provisos or quid pro quos.

http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9qqm (i hope that works i'm a noob with links)


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Rikkan are you serious Bro? O.o


Nowhere does it say Sneak Attack requires an attack roll, so people insisting it does need to cite something if they want me to buy that.

Now, can Precision Damage be applied to an AoE spell? That is a separate question. RAW is a little murky since it doesn't say outright, but the language "must be able to pick out a weakspot to attack" seems to mean RAI the answer is No.


I went with fireball doesn't care esther your flat footed or denied dex nor does a magic missile. Mm does the same damage 5 ft or 300 ft away nor does it care if they are prone standing or asleep/helpless. It simply does not care what the victims. Ac is.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
CommandoDude wrote:

Nowhere does it say Sneak Attack requires an attack roll, so people insisting it does need to cite something if they want me to buy that.

Now, can Precision Damage be applied to an AoE spell? That is a separate question. RAW is a little murky since it doesn't say outright, but the language "must be able to pick out a weakspot to attack" seems to mean RAI the answer is No.

the idea is, that flat footed only pertains to attack rolls I believe. You can't be flat footed against a AOE spell, as you get all your normal benefits to save versus it.


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CommandoDude wrote:

Nowhere does it say Sneak Attack requires an attack roll, so people insisting it does need to cite something if they want me to buy that.

Now, can Precision Damage be applied to an AoE spell? That is a separate question. RAW is a little murky since it doesn't say outright, but the language "must be able to pick out a weakspot to attack" seems to mean RAI the answer is No.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/prestige-classes/core-rulebook/arcane-trick ster

The level 10 Arcane Trickster feature Surprise Spells allows you to deal sneak attack damage with ANY spell that deals damage. With the associated FAQ specifically calling out Fireball and Magic Missle. AoE and Single Target spells that don't make attack rolls.

Since there are specific call-outs to Melee and Ranged touch attack spells adding sneak attack damage and a precedent for AoE and Single Target non-attack roll spells requiring Surprise Spells to deal sneak attack damage that only Spells that make attack rolls qualify for sneak attack damage.


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CommandoDude wrote:

Nowhere does it say Sneak Attack requires an attack roll, so people insisting it does need to cite something if they want me to buy that.

Now, can Precision Damage be applied to an AoE spell? That is a separate question. RAW is a little murky since it doesn't say outright, but the language "must be able to pick out a weakspot to attack" seems to mean RAI the answer is No.

Meh I'll nibble:

Quote:


Area

Some spells affect an area. Sometimes a spell description specifies a specially defined area, but usually an area falls into one of the categories defined below.

Regardless of the shape of the area, you select the point where the spell originates, but otherwise you don't control which creatures or objects the spell affects. The point of origin of a spell is always a grid intersection. When determining whether a given creature is within the area of a spell, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares just as you do when moving a character or when determining the range for a ranged attack. The only difference is that instead of counting from the center of one square to the center of the next, you count from intersection to intersection.

You can count diagonally across a square, but remember that every second diagonal counts as 2 squares of distance. If the far edge of a square is within the spell's area, anything within that square is within the spell's area. If the spell's area only touches the near edge of a square, however, anything within that square is unaffected by the spell.

From: Aiming a spell

Obviously if you can't even control which creatures or objects are affected you cannot be able to pick out a weakspot to attack with the spell.

Now this does leave as your only last type of spell to worry about the targets creatures option -- but even that is "choose creature" not "target a particular part of the creature" so again... no precise targeting.

Quote:


Creatures

A spell with this kind of area affects creatures directly (like a targeted spell), but it affects all creatures in an area of some kind rather than individual creatures you select. The area might be a spherical burst, a cone-shaped burst, or some other shape.

Many spells affect “living creatures,” which means all creatures other than constructs and undead. Creatures in the spell's area that are not of the appropriate type do not count against the creatures affected.

Of course the surprise spell ability of the arcane trickster does change this.


More importantly, the reason sneak attack does more damage is more precise targeting. This, pretty plainly, implies that you have to be making a targeted action to target better.

If I found a GM that let me apply sneak attack to an AoE spell, I'd probably not play with him anymore, as he's completely lost focus on the game.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The reason Magic Missile doesn't Sneak is that the missiles automatically hit, giving the rogue/caster no way to pin point vital organs to apply sneak attack damage. Basically, you need to roll to hit AC to be able to Sneak Attack a target. There are exceptions, one particular that has already been mentioned, but they specifically point out the change in their respective abilities.

Sczarni

People who don't know what a sneak attack affects simply haven't read enough of the rules, FAQs, and threads about it.

Its there, just read. No, precision damage does not apply to non-precision attacks like AoEs and auto-hits. (Unless you have the arcane trickster ability, and then it only applies to one person hit, not everyone effected, per FAQs).

Spoiler:
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.

Note: even with the AT 10th level ability, it still has many many limitations to what and how it can be applied. One could argue that only a precision damage spell could be added to with the poor poor wording on this ability. ("the additional damage is of the same type as the spell - ie Precision damage!")


dragonhunterq wrote:
Explain how you strike a vital spot with an area effect again?

Explain how you can fail to strike a vital spot with an area effect. Alternatively, explain how the AT capstone is intended to work. That is now your explanation for how Sneak Attacking with an AOE spell works.

dragonhunterq wrote:
The AT capstone ability

The AT capstone ability removes a limitation that didn't exist RAW. Look at the original Prone Shooter feat for another example of this situation.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nxuo?The-Prone-Shooter-Feat-Does-Nothing


Torchlyte wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Explain how you strike a vital spot with an area effect again?

Explain how you can fail to strike a vital spot with an area effect. Alternatively, explain how the AT capstone is intended to work. That is now your explanation for how Sneak Attacking with an AOE spell works.

dragonhunterq wrote:
The AT capstone ability

The AT capstone ability removes a limitation that didn't exist RAW. Look at the original Prone Shooter feat for another example of this situation.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nxuo?The-Prone-Shooter-Feat-Does-Nothing

maouse wrote:
FAQ
This is what ends the debate, but the FAQ is adding something that would otherwise not be RAW.

Explain how saving against a fireball reduces damage without moving from the spot.

Prone Shooter feat was admittedly a mistake in it's original form which is why it was errataed. Why haven't the AT capstone ability been errataed if that was a mistake? Unless you are saying that it is just now being noticed? Because if so then I feel relatively sure that if they decide to do anything then it will be to FAQ that spells without attack rolls cannot have sneak attack applied to them... At least by standard.


Torchlyte wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Explain how you strike a vital spot with an area effect again?

Explain how you can fail to strike a vital spot with an area effect. Alternatively, explain how the AT capstone is intended to work. That is now your explanation for how Sneak Attacking with an AOE spell works.

I can strike someone three different ways all in the same spot and have different effects on them based on how I struck them.

Same with this -- it doesn't matter if the area effect could (or even does) strike the vital spot -- it's the fact you don't have the control to precisely target that spot (and hit it correctly) to do extra damage.

Sneak attack doesn't say you simply need to hit the spot, it says you have to be able to target it.

Which you can't do if you can't control what the spell affects.

double checks for affect/effect errors... I think I'm good


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Torchlyte wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Explain how you strike a vital spot with an area effect again?

Explain how you can fail to strike a vital spot with an area effect. Alternatively, explain how the AT capstone is intended to work. That is now your explanation for how Sneak Attacking with an AOE spell works.

dragonhunterq wrote:
The AT capstone ability

The AT capstone ability removes a limitation that didn't exist RAW. Look at the original Prone Shooter feat for another example of this situation.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nxuo?The-Prone-Shooter-Feat-Does-Nothing

In 3.5 and PF what you are suggesting has NEVER been RAI. I do agree that the rules should go into greater details on which attacks work with certain abilities, but this hardly a new rule. It has been that way for 14 years now.


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Sneak attacks also occur when you lose your dex to AC versus the attack. You can't lose dex to AC against something that does not even target AC.

SKR, game designer wrote:
Sneak attack normally works with weapon-like spells, including rays. It doesn't normally work with magic missile because that is not a weapon-like spell or ray.

The ability from the AT allows you to use a spell that would not normally work, but hey must be flat-footed, which is not the same as losing dex to AC.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thus far, we have determined in this thread that one can not sneak attack with a fireball, Lightning bolt and a varity of other AoE spells. (Not without abilities like the Arcane Trickster capstone mentioned above)

The simple, shorthand version is, if you don't roll to hit AC, you don't get sneak. Now, you can shift through the rules, quote a sentence here and there, but that is the basic structure used.

Never had been a question at my tables, either as a GM or as a Player.


thaX wrote:

The simple, shorthand version is, if you don't roll to hit AC, you don't get sneak. Now, you can shift through the rules, quote a sentence here and there, but that is the basic structure used.

Never had been a question at my tables, either as a GM or as a Player.

You can sneak attack just fine with a coup de grace, even though you don't make an attack roll. There is also nothing in the sneak attack text limiting sneak attacks to needing attack rolls.


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Rikkan wrote:
thaX wrote:

The simple, shorthand version is, if you don't roll to hit AC, you don't get sneak. Now, you can shift through the rules, quote a sentence here and there, but that is the basic structure used.

Never had been a question at my tables, either as a GM or as a Player.

You can sneak attack just fine with a coup de grace, even though you don't make an attack roll. There is also nothing in the sneak attack text limiting sneak attacks to needing attack rolls.

Your example of the coup-de-grace isn't really valid.

Quote:

Coup de Grace: As a full-round action, you can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grace (pronounced “coo day grahs”) to a helpless opponent. You can also use a bow or crossbow, provided you are adjacent to the target.

You automatically hit and score a critical hit. If the defender survives the damage, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or die. A rogue also gets her extra sneak attack damage against a helpless opponent when delivering a coup de grace.

Because you automatically hit and score a critical when performing a coup-de-grace it implies you are essentially rolling a 20 on the die, without being required to roll. But staing that automatically hit implies that there is a roll, but the conclusion is already deicded so it is not necessary to actually roll.

While the rules could be more clear, as a general rule unless there is an attack roll involved it does not get sneak attack damage. Barring the Arcane Trickster's ability spells like Magic Missile and fireball do not qualify for sneak attack because they do not involve an attack roll.


Claxon wrote:
Because you automatically hit and score a critical when performing a coup-de-grace it implies you are essentially rolling a 20 on the die, without being required to roll.

It does not imply that at all. It is a mechanic that auto-hits, that might need two rounds to complete in case of concealment.

Quote:
While the rules could be more clear, as a general rule unless there is an attack roll involved it does not get sneak attack damage.

That rule does not exist. If it does, please quote it.


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Rikkan wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Because you automatically hit and score a critical when performing a coup-de-grace it implies you are essentially rolling a 20 on the die, without being required to roll.

It does not imply that at all. It is a mechanic that auto-hits, that might need two rounds to complete in case of concealment.

Quote:
While the rules could be more clear, as a general rule unless there is an attack roll involved it does not get sneak attack damage.
That rule does not exist. If it does, please quote it.
Quote:

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 the unfortunate problem of what they mean specifically when they say attack.

You are going to argue that attack includes things like fireball and maic missile, while the rules as intended (as obviated by the Arcane Trickster capstone ability) makes it clear that such is not the case.

For reference:

Quote:
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.

With this it indicates that normally not just any spell that deals damage can be used to sneak attack. Spells like fireball don't have any precision to them, and we know Sneak Attack is an example of precision damage.

I agree the rules don't make it as clear as they need to be, but it is plain to see that Sneak Attack normally requires an attack roll to deal it's additional damage on a spell.


Here are some other semi-relevant FAQs:

Quote:

How does the Surprise Spells class feature of the Arcane Trickster prestige class (Core Rulebook, page 378) work with spells like magic missile and fireball?

The Surprise Spells class feature allows the Arcane Trickster to add his sneak attack dice to spells that deal damage that target flat-footed foes. This damage is only applied once per spell. In the case of fireball this means it affects all targets in the area, with each getting a save to halve the damage (including the sneak attack damage). In the case of magic missile, the extra damage is only added once to one missile, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.

Quote:

Sneak Attack: Can I add sneak attack damage to simultaneous attacks from a spell?

No. For example, scorching ray fires simultaneous rays at one or more targets, and the extra damage is only added once to one ray, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.
Spell-based attacks which are not simultaneous, such as multiple attacks per round by a 8th-level druid using flame blade, may apply sneak attack damage to each attack so long as each attack qualifies for sneak attack (the target is denied its Dex bonus or the caster is flanking the target).


Rikkan wrote:
thaX wrote:

The simple, shorthand version is, if you don't roll to hit AC, you don't get sneak. Now, you can shift through the rules, quote a sentence here and there, but that is the basic structure used.

Never had been a question at my tables, either as a GM or as a Player.

You can sneak attack just fine with a coup de grace, even though you don't make an attack roll. There is also nothing in the sneak attack text limiting sneak attacks to needing attack rolls.

Put it this way. You must be making a form of attack that normally has their AC as the target.

For a coup de brace you are still making a ranged or melee attack which normally targets AC. That is what thAX was saying. He was not saying you have to actually roll the dice.

As an example if you had an ability that allowed you to autocrit once per day you would not have to roll the dice, but since you are using an attack method that normally requires an attack roll you could get sneak attack damage.

With that said, did you really not understand what he meant, or were you just arguing semantics?<-------I am not trying to be offensive. That is a serious question.


Claxon wrote:
Rikkan wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Because you automatically hit and score a critical when performing a coup-de-grace it implies you are essentially rolling a 20 on the die, without being required to roll.

It does not imply that at all. It is a mechanic that auto-hits, that might need two rounds to complete in case of concealment.

Quote:
While the rules could be more clear, as a general rule unless there is an attack roll involved it does not get sneak attack damage.
That rule does not exist. If it does, please quote it.
Quote:

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 the unfortunate problem of what they mean specifically when they say attack.

You are going to argue that attack includes things like fireball and maic missile, while the rules as intended (as obviated by the Arcane Trickster capstone ability) makes it clear that such is not the case.

The rules of the game are very very clear that spells like fireball and magic missile are attacks:

PRD wrote:
All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks

It is obviously intended that those are attacks.

And you do agree that there is no rule anywhere in the rule text that sneak attack requires an attack roll?

The Exchange

One of my players who's running a sorceror/rogue (OK, who just groaned?!) discovered last session what happens when you back up a crit while sneak-attacking with scorching ray - and then roll well. I'll admit, it isn't likely to happen again for a long long time - but 40 points of fire damage, no save, is the sort of thing that the player of a 5th-level character will go to great lengths to replicate. ;) I sense Improved Initiative, maxed ranks in Stealth, and invisibility in the character's future now that he knows what the spell can do.

As it happens, three rooms later he was up against something with fire resistance and SR, so he was quick to understand that scorching ray is "a sometimes spell."


Quote:


As a full-round action, you can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grace (pronounced "coo day grahs") to a helpless opponent. You can also use a bow or crossbow, provided you are adjacent to the target.

Unless your spell counts as one of the three bold bits in that quote you cannot coup de grace with the spell in question.

Additionally the coup de grace is the only attack form called out that does not require an attack roll as such that still gives sneak attack damage.

As for creature targeted spells I am waiting to hear how anyone is precisely targeting a vital spot with said spells.

Can we all agree I have given sufficient evidence that area of effect spells do not normally gain extra damage from sneak attack?

Just so we can cross off each case as we go.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Rikken, your cherry picking.

To be able to sneak attack an opponent, there is a set of circumstances that need to be prevelant to do it. One is the pricise hit that targets a particular vunerable place, another is being unseen and not heard.

A fireball and simular AoE spells have no way to target particulars, it just hits them. An Arcane Trixter works through 10 levels of a PrC to be able to twist the spells to effect that precision. Even though it is consider an offensive action (an "attack") that would, for example, end the effect of the Invisibility spell, it still just goes "boom" and everyone reflexes and takes damage. No sneak.

It is just like a marine throwing in a stick of dynomite in a room full of bad guys, or a granade.

The shorthand is to have an attack to hit ac, you can attempt to stealth and sneak attack. It is how the rules intent it to be. The problem stems from the expansion of spells and other attacks that can sneak when they could not in other versions of the game. The other thing is that there is rules in three different places of the CRB that reference this subject. Even though they are consistant, if you don't include one with the other, discussions such as this begin to surface. One points here, the other points there, never wanting to corrilate the two.


Actually you are correct it never explicitly says it requires an attack roll.

What we do have is it requires conditions that fireball and magic missile never meet.

All the conditions except flanking (which explicitly requires a melee attack) involve a negation of dex to ac.

To be clear you never. Ast fireball /at/ somone there is no placement of it beyond a grid intersection. You can 700 ft away stick a fireball with pin point accuracy next to orc warrior #678. You cannot however hit him in the nose or anywhere specific.

Sneak attack and other precision damage when they do not just refer ro sneak attack refers ro attacking vital spots which neither fireball or mm can do.


Rikkan wrote:

The rules of the game are very very clear that spells like fireball and magic missile are attacks:

PRD wrote:
All spells that opponents resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks

It is obviously intended that those are attacks.

And you do agree that there is no rule anywhere in the rule text that sneak attack requires an attack roll?

The are multiple definitions of "attack" within the game rules, Rikkan. They do not meet the specification for attack in sneak attack though. It's not made clear, and that is unfortunate. However, I feel you often make arguments on this board, only to find you are wrong later. And this is another case of it. I'm not pointing this out to be mean, but when you have the majority of people agreeing on a position you should consider more carefully whether you are correct.

There isn't a explicit statement that sneak attack requires an attack roll, but it is heavily implied and the rule as intended. Otherwise, Surprise Spell ability of Arcane Trciksters does nothing.

If we bother to FAQ this topic, I'm 100% certain you will be wrong. The other unfortunate problem being that it takes entirely too long to get developer responses for these sort things, as they often have more important things to do.


14 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here, lets get an FAQ request going, just to settle this:

Do spells require an attack roll to qualify for sneak attack in addition to the requirement that the target be flanked or otherwise denied their dexterity to AC?

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