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If I increase the threat of my natural weapon (improved crit) (19-20) does this affect my touch spell cast through it?

Pg 213: A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical on a 20 and deals double damage.... pg 186:.... Alternatively, you can make a normal unarmed attack (or attack with a natural weapon)while hold the charge.....If the attack hits you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges.

What does "score a critical hit just as a weapon can" mean? does this and "If the attack hits you deal normal damage" mean that the crit threat is changed?

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2 Answers 2

No.

For that, you would want to take Improved Critical specifically for your melee touch spells.

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Might want to mention that, while you can (by holding the charge) deliver touch spells with an unarmed strike/natural attack, in such cases the damage from the spell isn't doubled on crits. –  starwed Feb 12 '13 at 19:11
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@KRyan You can deliver them as per Holding the Charge here. The spell triggers but as an additional consequence of the attack, so it wouldn't benefit from any crit. (It's now "extra damage" rather than the base weapon.) –  starwed Feb 12 '13 at 19:37
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@KRyan Reading it more closely, the spell isn't damage added to the weapon roll, it's a second effect triggered by the successful attack. Since you never actually make an attack with the spell, it cannot crit. –  starwed Feb 12 '13 at 22:52
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@KRyan Oh, after typing all that out, I thought to look in Complete Arcane, and it states this explicitly on p73, so there's a direct citation. –  starwed Feb 12 '13 at 22:53
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@starwed At this point, I think you should make your own answer, including that citation (which is really about the actual answer to the question and not your initial comment). Anyway, I see your argument and agree you could see things that way; I'm just not entirely convinced since it does require interpreting a combination of rules. Since there is no explicit rule, it's easily as good as any other interpretation, and better than many. –  KRyan Feb 12 '13 at 23:24

From the Magic chapter of the Core book -

Touch: You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. If the spell allows you to touch targets over multiple rounds, touching 6 creatures is a full-round action.

From the Touch Spells in Combat portion of the Combat chapter -

Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.

So, from this RAW, I would actually say it is unclear, but I believe the intent is that when using an unarmed or natural attack to deliver a touch spell, it discharges AFTER the attack, meaning it is unaffected by the crit roll on the attack, and does not crit.

In addition, the spellstrike of the Magus explicitly mentions crits, and -

Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the magus makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon's critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

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