Ok so I understand that the same continuous effects from spells do not stack but I am running into an issue here...

Let's say I cast ray of flame which deals 1d6 dmg round one and potentially another 1d6 round 2.

We will compare this to magic missle dealing let's say lvl one 1d4 dmg round one instantaneous nothing round 2.

Now imagine round 2 I cast ray of flame at the same target. If I was casting magic missle I would again deal 1d4 instantaneous damage. But since ray of flame has a continuous 1d6 effect during this round from the round before is the new damage dealt by ray of flame negated for that round?

Let's compare this to if my party member also casts magic missle (instantaneous no issues) or ray of flame, would his ray of flame stack with mine for damage?

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    \$\begingroup\$ How's this different from your other similar question and from this other similar question? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2017 at 5:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The questions you referenced above deal with fear effect stacking and damage stacking for spells with varying durations and not particularly direct damage stacking. As this is neither a fear effect stack nor a varying duration stack I felt it was a different category altogether. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2017 at 5:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ So it's the variable duration of the spell power word pain that's the differentiating issue? Why, when the crux of both questions is just Do these effects stack? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2017 at 5:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose the main idea of the questions is similar to be sure but it is my understanding these are two different situations. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2017 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


Continuous effects from the same source doesn't stack, but immediate effects happen and are resolved instantly, so stacking doesn't apply to them.

If the spell's effect is simply that "the subject takes 1d6 fire damage per round", and you cast it twice on someone in consecutive rounds, they won't take any more damage in the second round than they already would to begin with, the same way that "target is afraid for 10 rounds" doesn't stack; they'd just suffer for 11 rounds rather than ten.

If the spell's effect is that "the target takes 1d6 fire damage immediately, and also takes 1d6 fire damage for the next two rounds" (for example), when cast on them a second time they would suffer the immediate 1d6 fire damage when you cast and continue to suffer the 1d6 ongoing damage in the same round. On subsequent rounds they'd suffer the normal non-stacking 1d6 fire damage from the ongoing effect.

The wording of Ray of Flame (assuming the version of the spell I have found from google is the one you're using):

A burning ray shoots out at the target from your upturned palm. The sound of a crackling fire follows the ray’s path. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack with the ray to strike a target. If your attack is successful, the ray deals 1d6 points of fire damage per two caster levels (maximum 5d6). The target must also make a Reflex save or catch fire, taking 1d6 points of fire damage each round until the flames are put out (requiring a DC 15 Reflex save; see Catching on Fire, DMG 303).

Your attack does an instant Xd6 fire damage, so that part will always happen and isn't subject to any rules about stacking. The secondary effect of this spell isn't ongoing magical fire damage, it's that you literally just catch fire, and then suffer the effect of being on fire as per the normal rules for being on fire taken from the DMG:

Characters at risk of catching fire are allowed a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. If a character’s clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another 1d6 points of damage that round. Success means that the fire has gone out. (That is, once he succeeds on his saving throw, he’s no longer on fire.)

The ongoing damage isn't actually a magic effect subject to rules about how spells can stack, it's just a result of being on fire in a totally mundane way. As it happens though, you can't be on fire twice, you're either on fire or you're not; so if you cast the spell at someone who's already on fire, the secondary effect does nothing.


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