The Path of the Zealot barbarian (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 11) gets the Divine Fury feature at level 3, which states:

At 3rd level, while you're raging, the first creature you hit on each of your turns with a weapon attack takes extra damage equal to 1d6 + half your barbarian level. The extra damage is necrotic or radiant; you choose the type of damage when you gain this feature.

The RAI intent seems as though it should be the first successful hit to a creature on your turn deals an additional 1d6 damage, but it doesn't seem as explicit as Sneak Attack, which states that it only happens once per turn.

Does Divine Fury truly work the same way as the rogue's Sneak Attack, or can you proc Divine Fury multiple times if you focus fire?

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    \$\begingroup\$ tl;dr the confusion is arising from "the first creature" vs "the first time you hit a creature" \$\endgroup\$ – Dumpcats Jul 16 '18 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where is the "the first creature" quote coming from? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Jul 16 '18 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, wasn't quoting anything in particular, just showing two distinct ideas if there was confusion on what I was asking. \$\endgroup\$ – Dumpcats Jul 16 '18 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it may just be because you are misunderstanding the text or conflating ideas that may seem obvious to others. But Im not sure \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Jul 16 '18 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ravery: It does actually point to the Zealot path if you own the corresponding book on DNDBeyond. The subclass is from Xanathar's. I'll edit in a book citation with page number for those who don't own it there. :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 16 '18 at 22:22

Divine Fury:

At 3rd level, while you're raging, the first creature you hit on each of your turns with a weapon attack takes extra damage equal to 1d6 + half your barbarian level.

Sneak Attack:

Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an Attack if you have advantage on the Attack roll. The Attack must use a Finesse or a ranged weapon. roll20 compendium

The difference in wording produces the following effect:

The Divine fury is applied to the first creature hit on your turn. This is only applied once. The target of a second hit would be "the second creature hit" (even if it is the same creature).

Once per turn, Sneak attack can be applied to a hit at the rogues choosing (provided the conditions for sneak attack are met). This includes Attacks of Opportunity, Readied actions, and other reaction attacks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, so the difference is that sneak attack can be selectively applied, where Divine Fury cannot, and if you hit a creature twice, the second time you hit it, it's the second creature. \$\endgroup\$ – Dumpcats Jul 16 '18 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dumpcats -- Correct. Granted the rogue will generally apply sneak attack the first chance he can instead of risking a miss on a following attack. \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Jul 16 '18 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ravery I've chosen to hold my sneak attack before for crit chance when I was a multiclassed Champion and dealing a lot of damage was very important (has Elvish Accuracy too though). That's not generally I know but it does happen \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 16 '18 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron -- Yes, I've seen rogues hold sneak attack also if they have a high chance of hitting. \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Jul 16 '18 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another distinction between the two features (besides that choice) is that Divine Fury only works (once) on your turn, whereas Sneak Attack works once per turn on any turn in which you're able to make a qualifying attack: sageadvice.eu/2018/03/27/… \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 16 '18 at 22:17

The damage is dealt once

The extra damage is not a consequence of the attack except for that it is triggered by hitting the first creature. Instead, the creature merely takes extra damage (not as part of the attack, but resulting from the feature).

Contrast this with Sneak Attack which states that you deal the extra damage to the creature you hit:

you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack

Nothing says Divine fury triggers multiple times on the first creature you hit, so it only triggers once.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you’re right about RAI and your distinction is the best justification. At the same time, RAW I don’t think it’s a home run. Sneak attack says once per turn, this one doesn’t. Quoting you, I can say “nothing says it doesn’t happen more than once” and I’m right. This should have just been more explicit to either link the damage with the attack or say it happens only once. \$\endgroup\$ – jerclarke Mar 23 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notably in the related question about Whether the fury qualifies for doubling the dice on critical hits, they are treating it as equivalent to sneak attack. It seems to me that one of these must be wrong, or that the text as written is unfortunately ambiguous. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/113434/… \$\endgroup\$ – jerclarke Mar 23 at 16:27

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