When a magus makes a successful hit with spellstrike, it is ambiguous whether the weapon damage resolves before or after the effects of the spell.

If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell

A similar RPG Stackexchange question from 2013 asks whether the order is specified by the rules, which it is not, and the accepted answer recommends that the GM arbitrate. I am asking whether the magus can, at the same time they make the spellstrike, choose this order.

There are scenarios where it would be advantageous to resolve the weapon damage before the spell, and vice versa:

Example 1: Alice the magus uses spellstrike to deliver vampiric touch against Bob, who is at low HP. Depending on how much HP Bob has left, Alice would regain some temporary HP from the vampiric touch effect:

You can’t gain more than the subject’s current hit points + the subject’s Constitution score (which is enough to kill the subject).

If the weapon damage resolved first, Bob would have less HP remaining before the vampiric touch resolves, and Alice would get less temporary HP. Whereas if the vampiric touch resolves first, Alice could get a lot of temporary HP, and then the weapon damage would resolve.

So in this case, Alice wants the spell effect to resolve before the weapon damage.

Example 2: Alice's scimitar is both ominous and keen, and she wants to use spellstrike to deliver some spell that involves a saving throw.

If the weapon damage resolved first, Bob might be shaken, and take a -2 penalty to that saving throw, which means Bob is more likely to fail against the spell. So in this case, Alice wants the weapon damage to resolve before the spell.

Can the magus choose which one resolves first? Or does this power lie with the GM? Or is there some errata or FAQ that I have overlooked?


1 Answer 1


I can't cite any specific rules for the order to resolve weapon vs spell, but logically, the only real possibilities would be simultaneous, or weapon first. Applying the spell before the weapon does not seem to represent how Spellstrike works.

Logically, the weapon has to hit for the spell to take effect, so any consequences of the weapon hit should be resolved prior to the spell being resolved. This would be akin to the Spell Storing enchantment, except that Spell Storing requires damage to be dealt, and so implicitly sets the order to require weapon damage to resolve first.

Equally logically, the spell is being triggered via the hit, so could be resolved simultaneously, with neither going first. This would be akin to, say, the flaming enchantment, where the damage from the enchantment and the weapon are resolved at the same time, with neither directly affecting the other.

Without further clarification, it would be a GM call in those cases where the order matters.

As to your specific examples, example 2 is able to be resolved regardless of the order of application, as the ominous ability applies shaken as soon as the critical hit is confirmed, which has to be prior to either weapon damage or spell being resolved. Example 1 is more reliant on the order.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In other words, the GM may decide but the magus cannot decide? That seems reasonable, although I was hoping for some RAW/FAQ to back it up. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sadly, there is no RAW I can find - expect table variation. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 22:49

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