This situation arose recently where my Kineticist was firing a Chain Lightning blast at an enemy who was under the effects of a Mirror Image spell. The lightning struck an image, and we were not sure whether it could even continue on to another target or if it would simply destroy the image and then end.

The entry in the Mirror Image sidebar regarding Cleave (you "can’t cleave to an image as if it were an actual creature") and in the spell text itself regarding spell touch attacks ("Spells that require a touch attack are harmlessly discharged if used to destroy a figment") lead me to think that the Chain Lightning would in fact end after striking an image, but I wondered if there was an official ruling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How exactly are you using Chain Lightning? There are several abilities that could reasonably be called that, and they have different wordings. Are you applying the Chain wild talent to your Electric blast? \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 8:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you guessed correctly, it's the Chain form Infusion on a Lightning blast, so it does require a successful attack roll that hits a target in order to chain to the next target. The answer below cleared it up for me, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – K.L.R.
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 6:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ If my answer cleared up your confusion, I'd appreciate it if you would accept the answer by clicking the green check mark below the voting buttons. This indicates to people who find this question later that my answer was helpful, and I get points for it. :) Looking at your question history, it looks like you haven't accepted any answers, so I wanted to make sure you knew about that feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


A Chained Lightning Blast would stop at the image.

Your train of thought is correct. According to the FAQ on mirror image:

If your initial attack hit an image, you failed to hit your intended target (the caster), and therefore can’t cleave.

This FAQ refers to Cleave specifically, but the overall principle is clear: if you hit an image, then you didn't hit at all, and nothing that triggers on a "hit" happens.

According to the Chain Infusion Wild Talent:

When you hit a target with your infused blast, you can attempt a ranged touch attack against an additional target that is within 30 feet of the first.

A chain only triggers if you hit your initial target. If you hit an image, you haven't hit your target. Ergo, if you hit an image, you don't chain.

I can't find an official ruling on Chain Blast specifically, but the FAQ on Cleave clears up the language in a way that's pretty unambiguous.


Though I am not aware of an official ruling....

Generally speaking, with rules interpretation and interaction of things such as spells, it is best to work in a "top down" fashion, since that more or less follows the order in which the Devs thought when they created the materials.

Your first line of reference is to look at the spell. What it does, and what type of spell it is.

Secondarily you then move to what it is hitting.

These two points alone lead you to the conclusion that the Spell is discharged because it meets those qualifications. In essence, you quoted your own "official ruling."

In other words, the spell will end with the image.

Unlike it's roots in DnD 3.5e, Pathfinder does at least try to be consistent and orderly in its function, and more often than not what is a general dynamic -- such as the function of touch attacks with figments -- will remain true in all cases unless explicitly stated otherwise.

(That said, someone with more experience dealing directly with these spells in PF might totally correct me here.)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't really understand what your answer says. Like, I don't know if you are saying that it should discharge without effect or with effect, and I don't know why you think that should happen, whichever it is. I only know that 1) you think Pathfinder is better than 3.5 with respect to trying to have consistent interpretations of rules, and 2) you think that the answer should be obvious given the spell and 'what it's hitting' (I'm not sure what 'what it's hitting' refers to, though. Editing for clarity and relevance would make this a much better answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 7:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added an additional line clarifying. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alphaeus
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1: You provide general guidance on how to approach rules, but you do so in a confusing way, and you make unwarranted and uncited assumptions about how RPG design works. In addition, your editorial aside about the differences between PF and 3.5 is largely inaccurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 9:01

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