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I stumbled on this old FAQ entry which contains this sentence:

If it's a confirmed critical hit on a sneak attack while employing Power Attack with a flaming greataxe, the single damage roll is 3d12+3xStrength+2xPower Attack+1d6 sneak attack+1d6 fire.

I know the entry is about Society but I guess the way to calculate damage should be the same as in standard Pathfinder. I always thought the Power Attack bonuses were multiplied by the critical factor of the weapon, not only by two. The description of Power Attack states nothing special so I don't think I am wrong, but I would like to have a confirmation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The strength for a greataxe is normally x1.5, so that's also only x2 in that example... \$\endgroup\$
    – WeirdFrog
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 14:35

3 Answers 3

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That is a typo

There are examples on published adventures of how power attack works when being multiplied. And an official ruling has been given by Jason Bulmahn (Lead Developer):

So at 6th level and using a longsword +2 and 16 Str and power attacking (-2 to hit, +4 damage) using the Vital Strike feat would it be 2d8, +2 for the sword bonus, +4 for PA, and +3 for Str or 2d8 +4 for the sword bonus, +8 for PA and +3 for Str? And then what would the above damage be if a critical hit was rolled?

The way to think about it is this. . roll the damage dice only twice. Everything else is as per normal. If you crit, add the crit damage normally and then roll the base dice for the weapon again and add them all together. So, in your example, the character would roll 1d8+5 attacking normally, 1d8+9 if using Power Attack, and 2d8+9 if using Power Attack and Vital Strike. On a critical hit you would roll 3d8+10 if attacking normally, 3d8+18 if using Power Attack.

And again on this thread, when answering a question about Mythic Power Attack.

When bonus damage shouldn't be multiplied on a critical hit, it is mentioned in the effect (ex: Raging Brutality and Vital Strike). Otherwise, it's noted as Precision Damage, which never multiplies (ex: Studied Combatant)

We have this on the combat chapter as well:

Multiplying Damage:

Sometimes you multiply damage by some factor, such as on a critical hit. Roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results.

Exception: Extra damage dice over and above a weapon's normal damage are never multiplied.

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Their notation is odd. But the damage is greataxe x3 => 3d12+3x (magic enhancement + (str x1.5) + (3*power attack)) +1d6 sneak +1d6 fire

So with a Str 18, BAB of 4 and a +1 greataxe, you deal:

3d12 + 3*(1+6+6) + [...]

= 3d12+3*13 + [...]

= 3d12 + 39 + [...]

= PAIN

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    \$\begingroup\$ so the formula in the FAQ is wrong, isn't it? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ More like "They don't understand the correct use of parentheses..." :D \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I missing something? 1+6+6 = 13, not 11. \$\endgroup\$
    – McCloud
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Math before coffee... Bad idea... Edited to correct the numbers \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ it is still wrong. 3 * (magic enhancement + (str * 1.5) + power attack) \$\endgroup\$
    – rdllopes
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 15:53
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Just found that answer and I would like to clarify one small point.

There is no multiplication on critical

Really, that sounds strange but that is true: http://legacy.aonprd.com/coreRulebook/gettingStarted.html#multiplying

Critical ADDs roll-damages. A GreatAxe 3x means, when critical is confirmed, grant the character two additional damage dice. In each roll, all the damage modifier should be added with two exceptions: anything that adds a die or precision damage.

Let us consider a critical hit for Power Sneak Attack with Flaming Greataxe +1

  • First roll damage: 1d12 + sneak attack + flaming + magic enhancement + power attack + strength modifier
  • Second and third roll damage: 1d12 + magic enhancement + power attack + strength modifier

Notice: power attack on 2h weapon is 3 * (1 + round(BAB/4)). Normally it would be only 2 * (1 + round(BAB/4).

Sure, your 3rd Grade teacher would be happy if you can group everything:

  • Total damage: 3d12 + sneak attack + flaming + 3*(magic enhancement + power attack + strength modifier)

yes, for most of the cases, Critical 3x can be translated to multiplier factor somehow. But, if there is another multiplier it would not be the case anymore. Classical example: Mounted Spirited Charge Lance Critical.

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