Crit with Harm / Heal spell


Rules Questions


These spells are both touch attacks that need attack rolls, so they can both crit, right? This has to do when using them to damage creatures, such as Harm on the living and Heal on undead. One of my players said they couldn't because they don't have any dice to roll, and crits make you roll the damage dice twice, or however many times. RAW seems to support his interpretation, it does say "roll the damage", not just multiply the total damage.

Is there any decent reason why these spells should NOT be allowed to crit? Would they be overpowered to let them crit since they do a large set amount of damage? At level 11 that would be 110 damage, or 55 if you make the save. Potentially 220 on a crit and failed save. That's a lot, but compared to Chain Lightning doing 11d6 to up to 12 targets, or Flesh to Stone being save or die, it doesn't seem to me to be overpowered. Am I underestimating it?


the dice is there to point you roll them for each multiplier not just roll once and multiply.

from the critical rules :
"Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Appendix 1), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit."

from spells section rules:"If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit."

you will notice lack of any mention of 'rolling' in ether case. and a few spells with ray or drain are with a set number with no rolls.

the critical rules :
A critical hit means that you roll your damage more than once, with all your usual bonuses, and add the rolls together."

doesn't say if you do not roll for damage there is no double damage, hack that mean small damage weapon of 1 damage (like small shurikens) do not crit. and they do have a crit multiplier.
just treat the heal\harm standard damage as 0dX+10Xlevel


Don't forget, that even if you crit with it, Heal/Harm can't drop a targets HP below 1 - so that crit might not matter! :P

Shadow Lodge

These spells have a maximum effect of 150hp and technically speaking, nothing in the critical rules allows you to exceed a cap like this.

Personally, I find these spells plenty powerful without the possibility of a critical hit.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
These spells have a maximum effect of 150hp and technically speaking, nothing in the critical rules allows you to exceed a cap like this.

Can shocking grasp exceed 5d6 damage on a critical hit?

Grand Lodge

I have to agree with zza ni. I would allow a crit for harm/heal when used against an enemy. The damage scales up to 150, and is doubled on a crit just like any other crit (20 x2). The cap on damage in the spell would be doubled as well on a crit, but the restriction that it cannot drop them below would not be removed.

The specifics of a critical hit override the general spell cap, just as a weapon of 1d8 overrides its maximum damage to 2d8 on a crit.

Grand Lodge

you can’t crit heal a target but you can crit hurt them. But it still doesn’t change the fact you can’t bring a target below 1 hp


Weapon like spells can crit, and deliver sneak damage.

Non weapon like spells cannot.

Flame blade, scorching ray, ray of enfeeblement are weapon like.

Harm or heal are not, and therefore don't crit.

There is a difference between delivering a spell effect with a touch (heal, harm, teleport, dim door) and attacking with spell effect.


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Perfect Tommy wrote:

Weapon like spells can crit, and deliver sneak damage.

Non weapon like spells cannot.
Flame blade, scorching ray, ray of enfeeblement are weapon like.
Harm or heal are not, and therefore don't crit.
There is a difference between delivering a spell effect with a touch (heal, harm, teleport, dim door) and attacking with spell effect.

That's not correct. zza ni already quoted the rules, and the relevant part is whether it requires an attack roll, not whether it's a "weapon-like" spell. You can even crit with energy drain/etc, so Heal/Harm are absolutely fine.

zza ni wrote:

from the critical rules :

"Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Appendix 1), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit."

(emphasis changed for clarity)


What Mr Charisma and zza ni have said. If it involves an attack roll it can threatened and critical. Most of the time Heal won't involve an attack roll if used on a PC, but will if the PC's are attacking the Undead BBEG for example. Usually when the threat/crit is vs a PC it will involve Harm (and even then what Syries said above will likely apply).


zza ni wrote:

the dice is there to point you roll them for each multiplier not just roll once and multiply.

from the critical rules :
"Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Appendix 1), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit."

stuff:

from spells section rules:"If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit."

you will notice lack of any mention of 'rolling' in ether case. and a few spells with ray or drain are with a set number with no rolls.

the critical rules :
A critical hit means that you roll your damage more than once, with all your usual bonuses, and add the rolls together."

doesn't say if you do not roll for damage there is no double damage, hack that mean small damage weapon of 1 damage (like small shurikens) do not crit. and they do have a crit multiplier.
just treat the heal\harm standard damage as 0dX+10Xlevel

Eventhough I agree with you, that Harm/Heal can crit, your wording and quoting doesn't provide any evidence that it can.

Crit Rulezzz wrote:

from the critical rules:

"Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Appendix 1), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit."

Note that I've also highlighted the "Ability" damage, as this rule specifically and only mentiones ability damage and not hit-point damage. If it was worded in a fashion like "If a spell causes hit-point damage, or ability damage or drain...etcetc" it clarifies what happens to hit-point damage on a magical crit.

Grand Lodge

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CR pg 184
"unless otherwise specified, the threat range for a critical hit is 20, and the multiplier is x2."

The section about ability drain or damage being doubled is in addition to normal critical rules, not replacing them. Without any overriding statements in the section on spells, we have no reason not to multiply the HP damage. The text is simply adding explanation for those spells that do not deal HP damage.


Any spell that requires an attack roll has the ability to crit. Some spells this wouldn't matter on, such as touch of fatigue which doesn't do any form of numerical damage. Technically speaking you can crit a touch of fatigue, but your reward for doing so is...nothing.

I agree with Syries, you can crit with heal/harm if doing damage to a target, but cannot crit on healing a target. Otherwise every cleric would be shoving their fist down your throat for more efficient healing, which would be a very weird kink.

The damage is not capped at 150 if the spell crits, for the same reason that blahpers points out. A shocking grasp is not limited to 5d6 if it crits, so a heal/harm spell would similarly not be capped.

However, even if you are a level 25 mythic necromancer who decided to cast a harm spell on a peasant and you crit them, it would still not be able to reduce them below 1hp. That's what quickened inflict light wounds is for.


MrCharisma wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:

Weapon like spells can crit, and deliver sneak damage.

Non weapon like spells cannot.
Flame blade, scorching ray, ray of enfeeblement are weapon like.
Harm or heal are not, and therefore don't crit.
There is a difference between delivering a spell effect with a touch (heal, harm, teleport, dim door) and attacking with spell effect.

That's not correct. zza ni already quoted the rules, and the relevant part is whether it requires an attack roll, not whether it's a "weapon-like" spell. You can even crit with energy drain/etc, so Heal/Harm are absolutely fine.

zza ni wrote:

from the critical rules :

"Spells and Critical Hits: A spell that requires an attack roll can score a critical hit. A spell attack that requires no attack roll cannot score a critical hit. If a spell causes ability damage or drain (see Appendix 1), the damage or drain is doubled on a critical hit."
(emphasis changed for clarity)

I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.

The correct bit of rules is this:

Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Touch Attacks: Touching an opponent with a touch spell is considered to be an armed attack and therefore does not provoke attacks of opportunity. The act of casting a spell, however, does provoke an attack of opportunity. Touch attacks come in two types: melee touch attacks and ranged touch attacks. You can score critical hits with either type of attack as long as the spell deals damage. Your opponent's AC against a touch attack does not include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. His size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) all apply normally.


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Quote:
I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.

Heal can crit when used against Undead.

Text of Heal wrote:
If used against an undead creature, heal instead acts like harm.

When against Undead it does require an attack roll and therefore threaten and potentially critical but won't reduce the undead to less than 1 hit point.

Q: How do you slay a Ghost Ship packed with Undead Spectres
A: Mass Heal followed by Sunburst

True story how my party once took out a whole mess of undead nastiness in a high level Living City adventure.


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Perfect Tommy wrote:
I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.

That's a very heteroliving opinion, you should be more inclusive to our alive-challenged friends.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.
That's a very heteroliving opinion, you should be more inclusive to our alive-challenged friends.

No shirt, no shoes, no pulse, no service.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.
That's a very heteroliving opinion, you should be more inclusive to our alive-challenged friends.
No shirt, no shoes, no pulse, no service.

:'(


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
I was wrong; harm can crit. Heal cannot.
That's a very heteroliving opinion, you should be more inclusive to our alive-challenged friends.
No shirt, no shoes, no pulse, no service.
:'(

On the contrary, no service if you have no pulse or shoes. Shirts are optional.

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