Unforeseen Consequences of Vital Strike and Weaponized Spells


Rules Questions


Rays are considered weapons, as they are legal for Weapon Specialization, from the FAQ. A weapon (even an unarmed strike) of some kind is needed to perform an attack. This is how they qualify for Weapon Focus, Specialization, Improved Critical, etc.

Vital Strike does not specify a melee or ranged attack. RAW, it can be used along with bows, crossbows, thrown daggers, rocks, etc. Unfortunately this also means (so far) that it can be used with rays.

Enter the Dread Snowball of Doom, or just Snowball. Close range, ranged touch, 1d6/level cold damage, capped at 5d6 cold damage. That goes up to 10d6 with a Vital Strike, 15d6 with Improved, 20d6 with Greater. Few casting classes will get the BAB and the CL for it, but it's there. The Magus will get CL 20 and enough BAB for Improved Vital Strike.

But that's not all. Intensify Spell raises the cap by 5d6, though the spell continues to grow at the original rate. That Snowball now does 10d6, 20d6 on a Vital Strike, 30d6 on an Improved Vital Strike, on a second-level slot. I've found nothing yet that forbids multiple applications of Intensify Spell. Note that this does not add extra damage, but lets the spell's basic damage continue to grow. Let's keep with the Magus for a bit.

At 9th level he'll have enough BAB and have an available feat to take Vital Strike. His Snowball is Intensified once and deals 18d6 on a Vital Strike. It'll go up by 2d6 each level until he hits level 17. That's when he takes Improved Vital Strike. His Snowball has been Intensified three times and deals 51d6 on a Vital Strike. That's ridiculous for a 4th-level slot, on a spell that has yet to be Empowered or Maximized to boot.

Precedent already exists for a Vital Strike delivered as part of another standard action's attack (Felling Smash), though I suspect that it's more the case that the Felling Smash can trigger from a Vital Strike. The attack roll is part of the standard action used to cast the spell, but if that is not enough to qualify it as an attack action then the charge can also be held and delivered next round as a standard action (or the same round as a standard action if it was Quickened), thus making it an attack action.

Yes, I suppose I am a spoilsport, blowing the whistle like this, but something should probably get set in motion for the official games, while the individual GMs can just say, "No, I'm not allowing that".


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Artful Dodger wrote:

Rays are considered weapons, as they are legal for Weapon Specialization, from the FAQ. A weapon (even an unarmed strike) of some kind is needed to perform an attack. This is how they qualify for Weapon Focus, Specialization, Improved Critical, etc.

Vital Strike does not specify a melee or ranged attack. RAW, it can be used along with bows, crossbows, thrown daggers, rocks, etc. Unfortunately this also means (so far) that it can be used with rays.

Enter the Dread Snowball of Doom, or just Snowball. Close range, ranged touch, 1d6/level cold damage, capped at 5d6 cold damage. That goes up to 10d6 with a Vital Strike, 15d6 with Improved, 20d6 with Greater. Few casting classes will get the BAB and the CL for it, but it's there. The Magus will get CL 20 and enough BAB for Improved Vital Strike.

But that's not all. Intensify Spell raises the cap by 5d6, though the spell continues to grow at the original rate. That Snowball now does 10d6, 20d6 on a Vital Strike, 30d6 on an Improved Vital Strike, on a second-level slot. I've found nothing yet that forbids multiple applications of Intensify Spell. Note that this does not add extra damage, but lets the spell's basic damage continue to grow. Let's keep with the Magus for a bit.

At 9th level he'll have enough BAB and have an available feat to take Vital Strike. His Snowball is Intensified once and deals 18d6 on a Vital Strike. It'll go up by 2d6 each level until he hits level 17. That's when he takes Improved Vital Strike. His Snowball has been Intensified three times and deals 51d6 on a Vital Strike. That's ridiculous for a 4th-level slot, on a spell that has yet to be Empowered or Maximized to boot.

Precedent already exists for a Vital Strike delivered as part of another standard action's attack (Felling Smash), though I suspect that it's more the case that the Felling Smash can trigger from a Vital Strike. The attack roll is part of the standard action used to cast the spell, but if that is not enough to qualify it as an attack...

vital strike:

When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

emphasis mine.

when you cast a spell you don't use the "attack action" you are spending a standard a ction to cast a spell.


Vital strike just gives you an additional die and none of the pluses...In the above case I would rule that your 5d6 snowball becomes 6d6 as it is just doubling the original 1d6 base spell damage.
If anyone showed at my table and argued the above I would laugh in the face and say.."No...not only no but hell no!!". If they persisted they would be shown the door and told to find someone else to annoy


Shroud hit it on the head.


The spell is not a ray. Assuming that you get to throw the ball as part of the spell it will not work.

It will work if you have to take an action to cast and a second to throw.

Intensify may work more then once. Spell perfection would allow in to add 10 in one go.

Since the spell is instant and there is no language about how long the snowball last I assume you throw it as part of the spell.


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This is a non-issue. See the bolded portion below:

PFSRD wrote:
Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn (see FAQ below for more information.)

You can't hold the charge on ranged touch spells, so you can't hold on to the ray until next round to Vital Strike with. Shroud already covered why you can't Vital Strike as part of casting the spell.


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to clarify on your second thought (about withholding your charge and delivering in the next round WITH an attack action)

vital strike:

When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

(emphasis mine again)

so:

you cast a melee touch attack spell that does 5d6 damage on round one and you hold the charge.

next round you do an attack action (let's say punch) that delivers it:

by RAW (and RAI) your punch now does 2d3 damage up from 1d3, +STR, +whatever, +5d6spell (that is extra damage and not multiplied since it is extra damage)


I think were you are wrong is when you say that Ray is considered as weapons because you can Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with it...
Making an exception rule for two feat doesn't mean that it work for all feat, just for the feat that are listed as an exception...


shroudb wrote:

vital strike:

When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.
emphasis mine.

when you cast a spell you don't use the "attack action" you are spending a standard a ction to cast a spell.

This is correct.

It should also be noted that certain monster attacks that deal large numbers of dice of damage CAN be modified by Vital Strike. Eye Rays for example are activated using the attack action (See the Jabberwock), so if the monster has an Eye Ray that does, say, 15d6 damage and Greater Vital Strike he could use the two together for a total of 60d6 damage.

Kingmaker spoilers:

Spoiler:

Players fight a Jabberwock in Kingmaker, and it calls this tactic out specifically in the monsters tactics block.

Silver Crusade

This will work with thrown alchemist bombs though, correct? I figure it only doubles the original 1d6, but it still works if I recall.


Shroud has it right. RAW, the damage you deal with a spell like Scorching Ray is not weapon damage, but damage caused from the spell. You could do it with a spell like Flame Blade, since the damage you deal with that is the damage the fire scimitar weapon deals.

Even so, Vital Strike is it's own special action (Attack Action), something which, when casting a Touch Spell, can't emulate, since it's only restricted to granting a free attack, not a free Vital Strike.

I will say that Shroud is wrong for Punch delivering, since a Touch Attack in itself can be done in place of the punch (though if you were a Monk with scaling unarmed damage, you lose all your other attacks if you wanted to do a FoB), but it still falls apart since the subject being delivered is not a weapon, but a spell, and so isn't affected.

Remember that feats like Weapon Focus/Specialization state that subjects such as rays count as weapons for those feats; they are not in themselves a weapon, as you don't see them in any Fighter weapon group or in the Weapon tables...


sowhereaminow wrote:
This will work with thrown alchemist bombs though, correct? I figure it only doubles the original 1d6, but it still works if I recall.

That's tricky; if it's an SU or EX ability, then I'd say it probably would, but if it's an SP, then I'd say no since it's a spell and not a weapon.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


I will say that Shroud is wrong for Punch delivering, since a Touch Attack in itself can be done in place of the punch (though if you were a Monk with scaling unarmed damage, you lose all your other attacks if you wanted to do a FoB), but it still falls apart since the subject being delivered is not a weapon, but a spell, and so isn't affected.

erm, i actually said that:

Quote:
by RAW (and RAI) your punch now does 2d3 damage up from 1d3, +STR, +whatever, +5d6spell (that is extra damage and not multiplied since it is extra damage)

i didn't say that you can't deliver it via a punch, i just said that the damage won't be multiplied because it is extra damage

if you choose to deliver it through a standard action touch attack then you will do 0*2 +spell damage (since the spell damage is just a carrier on the touch and not the damage of the attack action, which is 0)


Bombs unfortunately are Standard actions, not attack actions. Therefore, no vital strike. While it does say that bombs can be effected by feats that affect weapons (Weapon Focus, PB shot, etc.), it follows nearly the same wording as casting a spell. Just because you attack with a spell or bomb doesn't make it an attack action, which is what vital strike needs.


ZZTRaider wrote:

This is a non-issue. See the bolded portion below:

PFSRD wrote:
Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn (see FAQ below for more information.)
You can't hold the charge on ranged touch spells, so you can't hold on to the ray until next round to Vital Strike with. Shroud already covered why you can't Vital Strike as part of casting the spell.

"In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action." If an attack action must be a standard action, then no, vital strike is not possible with the any spell cast in that round.

As for the rays quote, I found it since you showed me what to look for. Thank you kindly. That puts one ugly leper lizard to bed. I won't worry about ray vital strikes anymore. Now there's only the issue of Touch spells.

"Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity."

This, with holding the charge, still opens the door for Shocking Grasp to repeat the shenanigans, if you'd like to make your attack action the round after casting. Unless there's something else I'm missing. (Do educate me!)


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Aldarionn wrote:

It should also be noted that certain monster attacks that deal large numbers of dice of damage CAN be modified by Vital Strike. Eye Rays for example are activated using the attack action (See the Jabberwock), so if the monster has an Eye Ray that does, say, 15d6 damage and Greater Vital Strike he could use the two together for a total of 60d6 damage.

Kingmaker spoilers:
** spoiler omitted **

Odd that it calls this tactic out in Kingmaker. By the rules I'm reading, it shouldn't be possible

Eye Rays (Su) wrote:
The jabberwock can project beams of fire from its eyes as a ranged touch attack as a standard action, with a range increment of 60 feet.

That's definitely not an attack action. Unless I'm missing something, the AP writer seems to have made a mistake.


Artful Dodger wrote:
ZZTRaider wrote:

This is a non-issue. See the bolded portion below:

PFSRD wrote:
Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn (see FAQ below for more information.)
You can't hold the charge on ranged touch spells, so you can't hold on to the ray until next round to Vital Strike with. Shroud already covered why you can't Vital Strike as part of casting the spell.

"In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action." If an attack action must be a standard action, then no, vital strike is not possible with the any spell cast in that round.

As for the rays quote, I found it since you showed me what to look for. Thank you kindly. That puts one ugly leper lizard to bed. I won't worry about ray vital strikes anymore. Now there's only the issue of Touch spells.

"Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity."

This, with holding the charge, still opens the door for Shocking Grasp to repeat the shenanigans, if you'd like to make your attack action the round after casting. Unless there's something else I'm missing. (Do educate me!)

vital strike will just double(or triple or whatever) the base damage. in case of a punch is 1d3 (or whatever if you are a monk and etc), in case of a touch attack it is 0. The spell is just "riding" on that touch and thus, according to vital strike's text about not affecting anything other than the WEAPON'S damage (0 for a touch) it will not multiply it (the spell, as a rider, is considered to be a part of "other damage bonuses")

you CAN theoritically use vital strike with a weapon-like spell that you can use a standard action to attack with, but those are few and far betwee, like p.e. the mentioned flameblade and etc

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Artful Dodger wrote:
ZZTRaider wrote:

This is a non-issue. See the bolded portion below:

PFSRD wrote:
Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn (see FAQ below for more information.)
You can't hold the charge on ranged touch spells, so you can't hold on to the ray until next round to Vital Strike with. Shroud already covered why you can't Vital Strike as part of casting the spell.

"In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action." If an attack action must be a standard action, then no, vital strike is not possible with the any spell cast in that round.

As for the rays quote, I found it since you showed me what to look for. Thank you kindly. That puts one ugly leper lizard to bed. I won't worry about ray vital strikes anymore. Now there's only the issue of Touch spells.

"Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity."

This, with holding the charge, still opens the door for Shocking Grasp to repeat the shenanigans, if you'd like to make your attack action the round after casting. Unless there's something else I'm missing. (Do educate me!)

PRD wrote:

Vital Strike (Combat)

You make a single attack that deals significantly more damage than normal.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon's damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

A touch spell is an attack and you can use it with a attack action if you are holding the charge, but it don't deliver weapon damage (some spell can be an exception, but we are speaking of the general rule).

So there is nothing to double.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rhatahema wrote:


Odd that it calls this tactic out in Kingmaker. By the rules I'm reading, it shouldn't be possible

Use spoilers for the text following this piece, please.

There is a thread in the Kingmaker forum about that use of the vital strike feat.


It's worth noting that you cannot Intensify a spell more than once.

Quote:
Multiple Metamagic Feats on a Spell: A spellcaster can apply multiple metamagic feats to a single spell. Changes to its level are cumulative. You can't apply the same metamagic feat more than once to a single spell.

Didn't see anything calling out that part, so there's my two cents.


kestral287 wrote:

It's worth noting that you cannot Intensify a spell more than once.

Quote:
Multiple Metamagic Feats on a Spell: A spellcaster can apply multiple metamagic feats to a single spell. Changes to its level are cumulative. You can't apply the same metamagic feat more than once to a single spell.
Didn't see anything calling out that part, so there's my two cents.

This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for, something lifted directly from the rules or, at worst, minimally interpreted from the rules. I looked from there and thought, "Is that a change from 3.5?" Nope, it isn't. My understanding of magic has just been wrong for a long time. No more multiple-heightened spells either.

Thank you kindly.


Whats nasty is when you give a shadoe improved vital strike


Rogar Stonebow wrote:
Whats nasty is when you give a shadoe improved vital strike

Wouldn't do anything. Ability damage =/= weapon damage.


This is pretty doable though.
Say reach metamagic on any of the spells that grant you multiple attacks. Since yo uare not A) holding the charge and B) you are now using a ray like entitty (there is an argument that it won't be a ray and just a normal touch attack). so in theory you can use vital strike with it then. As long as one sees the now reach enabled thing as a weapon. I thin kit still counts as usuable for vital strike.


Zwordsman wrote:
B) you are now using a ray like entitty (there is an argument that it won't be a ray and just a normal touch attack)

Your interpretation is incorrect at this point of your argument. A spell doesn't magically gain the ray descriptor just because you applied reach metamagic. There are plenty of non-ray ranged touch attacks, so there isn't even a precedent.


Loengrin wrote:

I think were you are wrong is when you say that Ray is considered as weapons because you can Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with it...

Making an exception rule for two feat doesn't mean that it work for all feat, just for the feat that are listed as an exception...

Rays are considered weapons for all purposes. I mean, even bardsong bonuses to weapon damage rolls apply to rays. There are a half-dozen FAQs, and all treat rays as weapons for any purpose.

Zwordsman wrote:

This is pretty doable though.

Say reach metamagic on any of the spells that grant you multiple attacks. Since yo uare not A) holding the charge and B) you are now using a ray like entitty (there is an argument that it won't be a ray and just a normal touch attack). so in theory you can use vital strike with it then. As long as one sees the now reach enabled thing as a weapon. I thin kit still counts as usuable for vital strike.

Multi-attack touch spells are in fact holding the charge.

Core Rulebook FAQ:
Touch Spells: If a spell allows multiple touches, are you considered to be holding the charge until all charges are expended?

Yes.

So with a spell-like chill touch with reach metamagic you would only get one attack, since you can't hold the charge. Therefore, no vital strike.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Snowball is not a ray spell, so this argument is moot.


Rays are weapons, so if you can take the attack action to fire your ray, you can use vital strike.
-with spellcasting at range, you can never "hold the charge" in order to use the attack action. If you use Reach Spell, you now have a ranged touch spell, not a touch spell, thus no holding the charge.
-most monster abilities cannot vital strike, because they're "use supernatural ability" or "use spell-like ability" actions. a lantern archon uses it's ray as an attack, and could vital strike, if it had the feat.
-it gets a bit vague around (melee) touch spells. last time we did a couple hundred posts on the issue, the general consensus was that, while touch attack spells share many properties of armed attacks, they ultimately are not weapons and as such not eligible for Vital Strike.
-Stop arguing about the bombs ability and vital strike, the ability explicitly tells you how it interacts with vital strike.


Pupsocket wrote:

Rays are weapons, so if you can take the attack action to fire your ray, you can use vital strike.

-with spellcasting at range, you can never "hold the charge" in order to use the attack action. If you use Reach Spell, you now have a ranged touch spell, not a touch spell, thus no holding the charge.
-most monster abilities cannot vital strike, because they're "use supernatural ability" or "use spell-like ability" actions. a lantern archon uses it's ray as an attack, and could vital strike, if it had the feat.
-it gets a bit vague around (melee) touch spells. last time we did a couple hundred posts on the issue, the general consensus was that, while touch attack spells share many properties of armed attacks, they ultimately are not weapons and as such not eligible for Vital Strike.
-Stop arguing about the bombs ability and vital strike, the ability explicitly tells you how it interacts with vital strike.

Even if you did allow holding the charge, including melee touch attacks, the spell deals the damage, and the spell is not a weapon. If it's not listed in the Fighter Weapon Group, it's not a weapon, bottom line. Rays and such only count as weapons for the purposes of spells and abilities that affect weapons, and for taking feats like Weapon Focus/Specialization, Improved Critical, etc. to use with them.

A lot of those abilities require a Standard Action to activate, not an Attack Action, which is a specific Standard Action, one that is required for Vital Strike to work, and cannot be emulated with merely taking a Standard Action. The Lantern Archon is no exception; Rays aren't weapons, meaning it would fall under the "Use Extraordinary Ability" action, a specific Standard Action separate from the Attack Action.

Lantern Lodge

There are some spells that qualify for vital strike.

Produce flame, for example, works with vital strike. You make an attack as with a thrown weapon, with the standard attack action. Also, the spell that creates a Scimitar of Flame for you to use would also qualify for Vital Strike.

I know DnD 3.5 had rules regarding weaponized spells, but alas this isn't DnD 3.5.

IF there was a way for a ray to be used as an attack action, then you would be able to use vital strike with it. However, those options are very few, if they exists.

The closest options you have come from metamagic feats. Quickened might work, with lenient DM interpretation. Not only would you use a spell slot that is 4 higher, but you'd have to use both your swift and standard actions to do it (The DM would have to ignore the fact that the ranged touch attack is made as part of casting the spell).

The Reach metamagic opens up a few options. The requirement here is that the melee touch attack would have to explicitly say that it can be held to the next round, in order to appease the "Holding the Charge" section in CRB:Combat. However, you run into the issue that your touch attack isn't necessarily a ray, which is, for sure, a weapon.

@Pupsocket as one who participated in several of those threads, I'm pretty sure we never really reached a consensus. :P

Lantern Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Pupsocket wrote:

Rays are weapons, so if you can take the attack action to fire your ray, you can use vital strike.

-with spellcasting at range, you can never "hold the charge" in order to use the attack action. If you use Reach Spell, you now have a ranged touch spell, not a touch spell, thus no holding the charge.
-most monster abilities cannot vital strike, because they're "use supernatural ability" or "use spell-like ability" actions. a lantern archon uses it's ray as an attack, and could vital strike, if it had the feat.
-it gets a bit vague around (melee) touch spells. last time we did a couple hundred posts on the issue, the general consensus was that, while touch attack spells share many properties of armed attacks, they ultimately are not weapons and as such not eligible for Vital Strike.
-Stop arguing about the bombs ability and vital strike, the ability explicitly tells you how it interacts with vital strike.

Even if you did allow holding the charge, including melee touch attacks, the spell deals the damage, and the spell is not a weapon. If it's not listed in the Fighter Weapon Group, it's not a weapon, bottom line. Rays and such only count as weapons for the purposes of spells and abilities that affect weapons, and for taking feats like Weapon Focus/Specialization, Improved Critical, etc. to use with them.

A lot of those abilities require a Standard Action to activate, not an Attack Action, which is a specific Standard Action, one that is required for Vital Strike to work, and cannot be emulated with merely taking a Standard Action. The Lantern Archon is no exception; Rays aren't weapons, meaning it would fall under the "Use Extraordinary Ability" action, a specific Standard Action separate from the Attack Action.

Saying that Rays are weapons for one several feats, but not all the others is weird. If I had a ray gun, and it fired ray attacks, would that count? My finger = my ray gun.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If it's not listed in the Fighter Weapon Group, it's not a weapon, bottom line.

What rubbish. I'm looking at the Fighter Weapon Groups, and the Falcata isn't there. Nor are there any firearms, or thrown bombs. Clearly, none of those things can be weapons, then.

Your argument is that the term "weapon" is defined on p. 56 of the core book (6th printing), which as a) unsupported by the actual text, b) patently ridiculous given the number of pointy stabby things published in later books. ,


Pupsocket wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If it's not listed in the Fighter Weapon Group, it's not a weapon, bottom line.

What rubbish. I'm looking at the Fighter Weapon Groups, and the Falcata isn't there. Nor are there any firearms, or thrown bombs. Clearly, none of those things can be weapons, then.

Your argument is that the term "weapon" is defined on p. 56 of the core book (6th printing), which as a) unsupported by the actual text, b) patently ridiculous given the number of pointy stabby things published in later books. ,

Core Rulebook only includes Core content because Core doesn't assume you have the other splatbooks; if you want splatbook inclusion for Fighter Weapon Group listings, you look toward the splatbooks.

Ultimate Equipment has all of the splatbook extras, and those subjects you listed are defined in that book under Fighter Weapon Groups, including that which is listed in the Core. Not one of those weapon groups, both the Core and the splatbook UE, have Rays or what not listed in any group, ergo they don't count as weapons.

Similarly, the feat text specifically calls out as Rays counting as a weapon for the purpose of how the feat affects it, including being a valid choice for the feat, meaning that it otherwise is not a weapon.

@ FrodoOf9Finger: If it has a set weapon damage dice and is listed in a Fighter Weapon Group (i.e. if Rayguns were a Weapon Group), then yes, you could Vital Strike with it. But if the Ray in question by say, Scorching Ray, were used to attack, it wouldn't work because it's a Spell, not a Weapon; it counts as a weapon for the purposes of spells and effects and for qualifying for certain feat selections, but is otherwise not a weapon. It's no different than Spells V.S. Spell-Like Abilities.

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