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Do the Enlarge Spell penalties mean the damage can become negative?

Benefit: Before using a wizard at-will or encounter attack power, you can choose to take a -2 penalty to each die of damage rolled with the power to increase the size of its blast or its burst by 1.

So for example, on a 2D6 + Int mod. damage spell, with a roll of two 1's ... is the damage Int - 2, i.e. Int + (1 -2) + (1 - 2), or just Int + 2, i.e. the minimum on a D6 is 1 ?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Total damage CANNOT be negative; damage per die CAN be.

If you roll 2d6+Int with a -2 penalty to each die, and get a 1 on each die, your total damage is Int-2. If you have an Int modifier of -1, 0, or 1, you still do zero damage even though your damage total should be negative. Nothing prevents damage per die from being negative, only total damage dealt by a single damage packet.

From PHB1, pg276 (emphasis mine):

Resistance means you take less damage from a specific damage type. If you have resist 5 fire, then any time you take fire damage, you reduce that damage by 5. An attack can't do less than 0 damage to you.

While that's from the section on resistances, the emphasized line doesn't say that it only applies to damage made negative by resistances.

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You beat me to it! But your answer has references so you win :) –  ioanwigmore Jun 11 '12 at 15:27

The total damage cannot be negative, i.e. you cannot be healed by taking negative damage. But your question seems to be asking if penalties to an individual damage dice roll can cause it to be negative, which they can.

Think of it this way for your example: you are rolling 2 dice, hence there is a total penalty of -4 to your damage roll. So the total damage is

2D6 + Int - 4,

which has a minimum of 0.

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No - but not just for the 'minimum damage' reasons.

A penalty to a die might reduce that die to a negative number, but the difference should be written off. If it is not, there are only two ways the negative number could still be subtracted - by subtracting the difference from the other die/dice, which means die Number Two would end up with an extra penalty, or by subtracting it from the total of the Int bonus. As the penalty is only to the die roll, and is applied per-die, and not to the total score, this should not be the case.

For example:

2D6 + 5 (INT)

Die 1: 1 Die 2: 4

Either Die 2 would end up having 3 subtracted instead of 2, or the Enlarged Spell would be penalising the INT score.

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