# can sneak attack boost the damage of a fireball?

### Rules Questions

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Crimeo wrote:
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So things that cause damage, cause damage. Things that don't, don't.

Right? It has to start off causing damage to be used with accuracy to increase that damage.

No one laser won't do any points of damage to you, because it would calculate out to like 0.0001 hitpoints or whatever, and you round down. I've never agreed that things that don't cause damage normally are somehow "locked into" never causing damage, I think that's complete nonsense that is never stated or written anywhere AND that doesn't match up with physics either (due to tiny portions still being able to exist and rounding down in an integer as in above sentence). It is discussed earlier in the thread. Except the rounding thing is actually a new additional argument against it.

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A burst of light 1 inch off your face and 1 meter off it, if it has the same intensity
Um no. Brightness is an inverse square function of distance, not a constant... seriously?

You understand that this is because of INTENSITY and not position right?

With sneak, you don't change the intensity.

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In game terms, non-damaging effects are non-damaging. Damaging effects that deal zero damage are entirely different things.

Which game terms are those? I disagree that this is a concept that exists, is established anywhere, or is any sort of meaningful dichotomy.

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You understand that this is because of INTENSITY and not position right?

Yes, and changing the position of a burst of light WILL change the intensity incident on a target area. SA is all about changing the position of an attack. In the case of light, a change in position can = a change in intensity, because inverse square law. A light bright enough to blind at 20 feet, moved strategically and skillfully to 1 inch WOULD very realistically burn the s+** out of your tissues.

Does this math apply to light sensitive creatures? No idea, it doesn't give any physics we can use about their eyes or other physiology useful enough to know. So you can't actually use physics here for real rulings, like sometimes you can for real life equivalent mundane things. I'm merely providing a plausible storyline for how something like this might roughly work. Just as good as any storyline about traditional sneak attacks, if not better in some cases. The actual rules relevant part is simply that you add 1d6 damage for sneak attack.

Crimeo wrote:
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In game terms, non-damaging effects are non-damaging. Damaging effects that deal zero damage are entirely different things.

Which game terms are those? I disagree that this is a concept that exists, is established anywhere, or is any sort of meaningful dichotomy.

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You understand that this is because of INTENSITY and not position right?

Yes, and changing the position of a burst of light WILL change the intensity incident on a target area. SA is all about changing the position of an attack. In the case of light, a change in position can = a change in intensity, because inverse square law. A light bright enough to blind at 20 feet, moved strategically and skillfully to 1 inch WOULD very realistically burn the s*** out of your tissues.

Does this math apply to light sensitive creatures? No idea, it doesn't give any physics we can use about their eyes or other physiology useful enough to know. So you can't actually use physics here for real rulings, like sometimes you can for real life equivalent mundane things. I'm merely providing a plausible storyline for how something like this might roughly work. The actual rules relevant part is simply that you add 1d6 damage for sneak attack.

just... no.

take the brightest flashlight. one bright enough to blind you if you look at it's light.

it still won't burn a damned thing.

in order to have intisity so high to actually burn tissue, the initial light effect wouldn't "dazzle", it would actually be intense enough to do damage itself.

even on intensities as high as a flashbang, the "light" won't burn skin even on contact distance.

In order to do that, you would actually need entire different wavelength.

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one bright enough to blind you if you look at it's light.

1) Blind you from 20 feet away? I can't say I've ever heard of such a flashlight. It would be immensely powerful and YES it would probably burn the hell out of your skin, too. Despite #2:

2) This is very much cheating anyway because flashlights already have parabolically directed beams, so they already direct almost all their light in one direction and thus do not increase in intensity at the same rate that an omnidirectional light burst would. Flashlights are much much closer to lasers in this sense. So you are massively underselling the range difference by using an already-directionally-reoriented example. A flashlight without the parabola would have to be many many times higher energy in order to still look as bright to you as you are used to from a flashlight at 20 feet. And much of that much higher energy is now hitting you when it gets within 1 inch, whereas it isn't when the flashlight gets within 1 inch.

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even on intensities as high as a flashbang, the "light" won't burn skin even on contact distance.

Flashbangs are extremely brief duration. Nothing about the Dark-spell, however, tells you the duration of the light, other than we know it must fit within a standard action-ish time, of 3 seconds. Leave a flashbang level intensity light on for 2 seconds from a close distance, and yes it very well might burn the hell out of you. I don't know how many watts or whatever one is.

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In order to do that, you would actually need entire different wavelength.

And what wavelength is Dark-Light? It doesn't say. And since it mentions no area visibility effects, it could quite easily be non-visible wavelengths even. Maybe it's microwave. Maybe it's infrared. Maybe it's Gamma. (though even visible should be sufficient for the above, don't think any of this is necessary. Just saying.)

Crimeo wrote:
But when there's a contradiction and one thing is completely vague like that and not clearly invoking any technical term, then the crystal clear thing should just steamroll right on over it.

So close to realisation, and yet so far....

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So close to realisation, and yet so far....

Key detail.

And I agreed pages ago that this is not RAI if that's all you're getting at. Just discussing RAW.

shroudb, you are kinda off on how light works. Crimeo has covered most of it, but I'd like to give a couple examples using a very familiar light source: the sun. I won't go into the details of WHY light physics work this way, but consider the following:

If you stare at the sun, you'll go blind.
If you stare at another star in the sky, or even millions of them at once, you won't go blind.

Magnifying glasses.
They can be used to focus light to create extremely hot areas. The more concentrated the photons (aka, the more photons striking the area per second), the more damage which can be caused.

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ye gods people let it go

On the topic of "you can't add damage to a non-damaging effect", I recently had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about his Winter Witch.

In his opinion, the following ability adds cold damage to all of his touch spells because that's exactly what the text says (from d20pfsrd):

"Frozen Caress (Su) Whenever the winter witch casts a touch spell, she can infuse the magic with cold as a swift action. This grants the spell the cold descriptor, and adds 1d4 points of cold damage to the spell’s effect. If the touch spell allows a saving throw, a successful save negates this additional cold damage."

Does the word "add" as opposed to "extra" make a difference, or is he flat out wrong? Because the ability has no wording to imply it doesn't work (even if that seems really strange)...

On a completely different topic, in 3rd edition, sneak attack COULD, in fact, add damage to non-damaging effects. I'm having a hard time finding the reference now, but I do recall the developers coming out and saying that sneak attack could add damage to a Ray of Enfeeblement (though I think it was negative energy damage or something).

Oh, found it, it was on page 79 of Tome and Blood. Did they reverse that stance in 3.5? I don't recall it ever coming up.

TOZ wrote:
ye gods people let it go

Charity starts at home.

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
TOZ wrote:
ye gods people let it go
Charity starts at home.

Have you seen me arguing in this thread?

Gorbacz wrote:
Byakko wrote:

Btw, another question that is becoming a common theme in this thread:

How precise does an attack need to be in order to qualify for Sneak Attack damage?

While a fireball may seem to be a rather imprecise attack, I submit that a giant's hammer is similarly imprecise against a tiny sized creature - the hammer's striking area is much larger than the target in this case. Yet I have yet to see anyone rule that this situation disqualifies Sneak Attack.

That's Rogues for you - they can hit precisely a pixie's left kidney with a Huge hammer without making it messy. That's how awesome they are. You don't come close. You don't compare. Talk to the hand, talk to the hand.

yeah...my example of this isn't a hammer, it's a snag net.

You can probably deal sneak attack damage with a snag net. You can deal sneak attack damage to a swarm (usually using magic). We don't have a definition of a 'precisable' weapon, which means the line is perhaps arbitrarily drawn at weapons->yes, spells->no.

anyway, I've no idea what Crimeo and alexd are talking about...

Crimeo wrote:
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Well if all he wants is circular arguments fine, but like all conversations it comes down to a prove your point or let it go. Nothing shutS down the thread if he can't prove his point. He can continue to voice his point of view forever.

But at the least he could admit that he can't find the presidence for his pov.

I don't need precedent if something fits what is written. Actually, I'm not even sure what you mean by precedent? Like FAQ interpretations? There are all kinds of things with no FAQs clearing them up or providing precedent that you just do because it's written. Is there FAQ precedent that 5 foot rach means centered on a square, not on a corner between squares? No, but the written text makes it clear that one of those is right and one wrong, you still know what to do without any further clarification

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RAW, even if you CAN add sneak attack to non-damaging spells, then you MUST also make sure you are within reach of your target when you do so.

It explicitly says you can do it from a ranged attack at 30 feet. I may normally be sympathetic to this poor wording being taken literally in the absence of anything clearer, but something written down and very well defined like this takes precedent over forced meaning pushed onto vague word choice, when there is a conflict between the clear phrase and the vague one.

Also in general, I am always of the opinion that if a block of text becomes completely pointless / had no reason to be printed, then that CAN itself be taken as a violation of RAW.

If you want anyone to take this arguement seriously, then you really need to prove a precedent, show me where Paizo has used your POV. Show me where a NPC has used a fireball in a sneak attack. Show me where any NPC has used Charm Person or any other non damaging spell to inflict sneak attack damage. If you can you will have RAI and RAW.

Lynceus wrote:

On the topic of "you can't add damage to a non-damaging effect", I recently had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about his Winter Witch.

In his opinion, the following ability adds cold damage to all of his touch spells because that's exactly what the text says (from d20pfsrd):

"Frozen Caress (Su) Whenever the winter witch casts a touch spell, she can infuse the magic with cold as a swift action. This grants the spell the cold descriptor, and adds 1d4 points of cold damage to the spell’s effect. If the touch spell allows a saving throw, a successful save negates this additional cold damage."

Does the word "add" as opposed to "extra" make a difference, or is he flat out wrong? Because the ability has no wording to imply it doesn't work (even if that seems really strange)...

In this case, I would say that yes the non-damaging spell IS doing 1d4 cold damage.

I still wouldn't allow a wizard/rogue build to deal sneak attack damage with Charm person, for example.

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On a completely different topic, in 3rd edition, sneak attack COULD, in fact, add damage to non-damaging effects. I'm having a hard time finding the reference now, but I do recall the developers coming out and saying that sneak attack could add damage to a Ray of Enfeeblement (though I think it was negative energy damage or something).

Oh, found it, it was on page 79 of Tome and Blood. Did they reverse that stance in 3.5? I don't recall it ever coming up.

No idea

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