Question about Scorching Ray and Fire Resist


Rules Questions


Okay, this may sound like a dumb question, maybe my brain isn't working yet. Scorching Ray, despite shooting up to three rays, is considered one spell, obviously. DR and Energy Resistance normally apply to each attack. Now, after reading a few times in the past couple weeks about how things like Sneak Attack only work for one ray per casting of Scorching Ray, it's made me curious. Let's say I fire two rays at one creature. SR checks apply to both rays, correct? Does Resistance apply to both hits? Or is it somehow that it's one spell so it only applies once? That would make no sense to me, because that would make it weird when you target multiple creatures. "Sorry, Jim the Pyromancer, but that thing has Resist 30, and its one spell...so it reduced the damage for his friend as well."

I'm going to assume that, despite being one spell, and SA only working on one ray, Resistance applies to both rays. Just wanted to double check, as I'm playing in a gestalt campaign as a Pyromancer/Magus, and I want as much fiery damage as possible.

Scarab Sages

The legalistic part of me wants to say that yes, each ray is subject to the individual energy resistance of a creature, so a creature with Resist 5 Fire takes 5 less fire damage from each ray.

The anti-legalistic crap part of me wants to say that, if you don't get to do cool stuff like sneak attack multiple times due to some stupid Volley rule that makes NO sense, then energy resistance should only count once, per the same rule.


By RAW SR applies only once unless you target multiple creatures in which case you have to overcome both. Energy resistance applies seperately against each ray.

Personally speaking I think that it nerfs the spell too much to have energy resistance apply once per ray so I would always suggest houseruling it.


Okay, so I was interpreting that right. I figured it was still apply resistance to each ray separately, as they are different attacks, but that Sneak Attack thing threw me a bit. Thank you!

Grand Lodge

If it were the case that energy resistance did not apply to each ray separately (it does) then a particular PFS scenario would have lead to a certain TPK. There's a boss in the a level 8-9 adventure who does a Quickened Scorching Ray every combat round, and takes a long time to put down. Even with Communal Energy Resistance (at level 6) on everyone it still almost wiped us out. Had every attack done an additional 20 HP there would have been no doubt.


Rodinia wrote:
If it were the case that energy resistance did not apply to each ray separately (it does) then a particular PFS scenario would have lead to a certain TPK. There's a boss in the a level 8-9 adventure who does a Quickened Scorching Ray every combat round, and takes a long time to put down. Even with Communal Energy Resistance (at level 6) on everyone it still almost wiped us out. Had every attack done an additional 20 HP there would have been no doubt.

That is a terrible reason for nerfing the spell universally. By lvl 11 where it caps the spell is virtually unusable, because while not everyone has resist energy fire on themselves you don't take the time to find out who does and who doesn't so it is a waste of a spell/action because you never know if it is going to be effective or completely useless.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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I've always had it apply resistance to each ray, and despite that it's still remained relevant in my games far longer than most other 2nd level spells.


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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
I've always had it apply resistance to each ray, and despite that it's still remained relevant in my games far longer than most other 2nd level spells.

This

But in some folks games a spell caster that cannot end a encounter with every spell is being nerfed.

Dark Archive

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I'm not necessarily agreeing with that logic, but I've heard it argued that dividing up the damage of scorching ray into discrete chunks, and how that makes it less effective against fire resistance, is intentional design, and keeps it from remaining the 'go to' spell used by people who should be using 4th, 5th, etc. level spells in combat.

IMO, if the individual rays need individual 'to hit' rolls, then they count as separate attacks for the purpose of energy resistance / spell resistance.

If there was a 'Vital Strike' like feat for spellcasters using magic missiles or scorching rays or similar multiple-attack spells, that would be a different kettle of fish.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Set wrote:

I'm not necessarily agreeing with that logic, but I've heard it argued that dividing up the damage of scorching ray into discrete chunks, and how that makes it less effective against fire resistance, is intentional design, and keeps it from remaining the 'go to' spell used by people who should be using 4th, 5th, etc. level spells in combat.

IMO, if the individual rays need individual 'to hit' rolls, then they count as separate attacks for the purpose of energy resistance / spell resistance.

If there was a 'Vital Strike' like feat for spellcasters using magic missiles or scorching rays or similar multiple-attack spells, that would be a different kettle of fish.

Yea, there is no doubt in my mind, that the spell resistance applies separately for each ray.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Cap. Darling wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
I've always had it apply resistance to each ray, and despite that it's still remained relevant in my games far longer than most other 2nd level spells.

This

But in some folks games a spell caster that cannot end a encounter with every spell is being nerfed.

+1 +1

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