Please Note That the Question is Written as Intended

Please do not edit my question so that it becomes a duplicate of another question, then flag it as a duplicate. I specifically stated that I am not asking for what is correct at least twice in this post. My question is specifically about the source of that information not the interpretation of the ruling.

The Question

Questions have been asked in this regards before, but never have I seen actual sources quoted on it. This is not a question of what is correct. I am looking for a source that is official / authoritative (or from Sage Advice.)

In the players handbook it states.

  1. If the Attack involves other damage dice, such as from the rogue's Sneak Attack feature, you roll those dice twice as well. (PHB 196)
  2. Some attacks cause special effects in addition to or instead of damage (PHB 194)

The Attack Involves ...

The question that has come up is what "the attack involves" means. I have seen multiple interpretations of what "the attack involves means" and can see most interpretations having valid points. Seeing as all of the differences hinge on the DM's interpretation of what "the attack involves" means I cannot use the above quote as a sole basis for discussion.

Examples that I have encountered;

  1. Paladin's Divine smite.

    Most argue that it is part of the attack and a Paladin gets to choose what level of spell slot he uses on divine smite after he sees that he gets to double the damage dice. Some say that it is not involved in the attack and the smite is an a separate ability.

  2. Other smites

    Most claim same as above, some claim it is a separate spell, and that it is a different instance of damage that Triggers on a hit and is not part of the attack itself. (see also hex and hunter's mark)

  3. Poisoned weapons

    This one is more evenly split in my experience. Half say it is part of the attack since it triggers on a hit and should have its dice doubled. Others say it is a saving throw effect and so it does not have its effect doubled.

  4. Attacks that trigger saving throws

    Several monsters have attacks that when they hit trigger saving throws against affects and do additional damage. Like poisoned weapons above, some argue that it is all part of the same attack so, based on the second quote above, all of the dice should be doubled. Others say that the damage effect is behind a saving throw and should not be considered "part of the attack".

Some have quoted the below trying to interpret it the way that most benefits them.

Each weapon, Spell, and harmful monster ability specifies the damage it deals... Magic weapons, special abilities, and other factors can grant a bonus to damage. ((PHB 196))

Some have used the above quote claiming that any and all effects that damage a creature that have any association with an attack roll have their damage dice doubled including the Area Effect portion of the Ice knife spell. (Their argument was full of holes but I decided to include it here to have more examples.)

Just to be clear, I am not asking for interpretations of these examples. Each of these questions boils down to an interpretation of what is "involved in the attack" for the purpose of Critical hits.

What makes for a good answer?

what I am looking for is any Wizards of the Coast associated material that can be used to more clearly define what is and is not "part of the attack."



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