The lightning arrow spell says:

The next time you make a ranged weapon attack during the spell’s duration, the weapon’s ammunition, or the weapon itself if it’s a thrown weapon, transforms into a bolt of lightning. Make the attack roll as normal. The target takes 4d8 lightning damage on a hit, or half as much damage on a miss, instead of the weapon’s normal damage.

When I hit with lightning arrow, do I add my Dex modifier and or Sharpshooter's extra damage to the damage of the spell?

Example: 4d8 + 5 + 10

  • \$\begingroup\$ yes thats how it works \$\endgroup\$
    – Morthanal
    Oct 7, 2022 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


No, you don't add those

The section of the rules on damage rolls states (PHB, p. 195):

When attacking with a weapon, you add your ability modifier—the same modifier used for the attack roll — to the damage. A spell tells you which dice to roll for damage and whether to add any modifiers.

While you are making a ranged weapon attack, the damage is that specified in the spell (4d8 lightning) "instead of the weapon’s normal damage." The weapon's normal damage may include your Dex (or Str) modifier and may include sharpshooter but the spell damage doesn't.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that it's worth to mention that Colosus slayer do apply here in the case of a Ranger, as it triggers on a weapon attack hit and only on a hit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Manner
    Sep 10, 2017 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Manner I think your comment is missing a "not" somewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Sep 11, 2017 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik No, I meant exactly what I said. You apply the extra 1d8 from Colossus Slayer on a hit, otherwise this would be an even bigger waste of a Third Level spell slot then it alredy is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Manner
    Sep 11, 2017 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer is incorrect as Crawford has commented on the matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mavoc
    Jun 12, 2021 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mavoc no, the answer is right - Crawford is wrong \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 12, 2021 at 3:53

You actually do, as stated by official rules designer Jeremy Crawford:

Q: [Can you] add dex mod or sharp shooter damage [to Lightning Arrow?]

Crawford: The lightning arrow spell replaces the weapon's normal damage. Roll the damage in the spell, and apply any modifiers that apply to your damage and that aren't specific to the weapon you're using.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi woodelf, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange. Check out our tour to see how we work here. Answers here should not be purely a link, but should instead cite the relevant text in case the link goes down. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21, 2018 at 17:38

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