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We all know that a character's damage bonus gets enhanced by many kinds of bonuses — item bonus, feat bonus, power bonus, enhancement bonus, etc. Once all is said and done, a higher-level character's damage bonus is way more than their base ability modifier.

So my question concerns powers and feats that deal "ability modifier damage." When the text says "ability modifier damage," does it always include all damage bonuses from feats, features, items, etc.?

For example, one of my players’ warlock characters has both the White Lotus Riposte feat and the Hellish Rebuke power, and I'm not 100% sure how much damage they do.

The ability modifier in question is Constitution (+6 for this character). After all items, feats, etc. it's actually +21 for his Hellish Rebuke power, which is a big difference.

White Lotus Riposte feat says

when an enemy you hit with an arcane at-will attack power attacks you before the start of your next turn, that enemy takes damage (of the same type the attack power deals) equal to the ability modifier to the attack power's damage.

In this case, would the target take 6 damage, or 21 (or 14, what his other at-will damage bonus is)?

Hellish Rebuke, on a hit, deals

1d6 + Constitution modifier fire damage. The first time you take damage before the end of your next turn, the target takes an extra 1d6 + Constitution modifier fire damage.

On a hit, the target for this character would take 1d6 + 21 fire damage. If the character takes damage before the end of their next turn, does the target take 1d6 + 6 fire damage, or 1d6 + 21 fire damage?

Again, for the curious, the damage-adding elements are:

  • +3 from Fundamental Mastery (Academy Master Paragon path feature; +3 damage to at-will arcane attack powers)
  • +3 enhancement from wand
  • +1 from Hellfire Blood feat (+1 to attack and damage with fire and fear powers)
  • +3 from Blood Pact of Cania (+3 damage on CON based warlock powers)
  • +2 from Dual Implement Spellcaster (+2 pact blade in off-hand)
  • +3 from Blood of Levistus (+3 bonus to damage rolls with attacks that have the cold keyword; Arcane Admixture added cold to this power)

The problem is that I can see the argument for both sides. I've looked around and haven't been able to find anything definitive. On one hand, for Hellish Rebuke, I can see the argument that the target should take 1d6+21 damage twice — you deal the damage, and you deal the damage again. That's how the power works, and the power card makes no mention of anything different. On the other hand, that basically gives each feat and feature double the power — Fundamental Mastery, for example, would add +6 total damage to one application of the spell instead of +3.

The power cards from the character builder don't specify either way. Which should it be?

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When the text says "ability modifier damage," does it always include all damage bonuses from feats, features, items, etc.? In this case [White Lotus Riposte], would the target take 6 damage, or 21 (or 14, what his other at-will damage bonus is)?

Actually, ability modifier damage has nothing to do with it- sources of extra damage and bonuses to damage rolls do exactly what they say they do, when they say they do. As you'll see below, none of the things you highlight would apply to White Lotus Riposte. On the other hand, if we were talking about a Ranger with Twin Strike, they could apply, even though ability modifier damage isn't added to Twin Strike hits.

Most of the things you're asking about are bonuses to damage rolls, which are covered on RC 222:

Also, an attack power might contain multiple damage rolls, such as a melee attack power against multiple targets. If a creature has a bonus to damage rolls and uses such a power, the creature applies the bonus to every damage roll of that power.

Now, in response to your specific question, let's take these one at a time:

Fundamental Mastery says "When you hit an enemy with an arcane at-will attack power, you deal 3 extra damage of the same type as the at-will power deals."

First, note that this is "extra damage," so it can apply whether there's a damage roll or not. Second, note that this one requires a hit. The Hellish Rebuke damage is on the hit line, so it should apply here.

+3 enhancement from wand

Bonus to damage rolls, so it applies to Hellish Rebuke, but not White Lotus Riposte, because White Lotus Riposte doesn't have a damage roll.

+1 from Hellfire Blood feat (+1 to attack and damage with fire and fear powers)

It's actually to damage rolls "when you use a power that has the fire or the fear keyword." So again, it would apply to Hellish Rebuke, but not White Lotus Riposte. (Note that "use" is never defined in official rules, but since the bonus to damage rolls language also says "uses," the damage should apply here).

+3 from Blood Pact of Cania (+3 damage on CON based warlock powers)

Bonus to damage rolls that use CON for attack rolls. Definitely applies to Hellish Rebuke, definitely not to White Lotus Riposte.

+2 from Dual Implement Spellcaster (+2 pact blade in off-hand)

The "use" language is in here again, so it follows the same logic as Hellfire Blood.

+3 from Blood of Levistus (+3 bonus to damage rolls with attacks that have the cold keyword; Arcane Admixture added cold to this power)

I actually had to look an extra time here to make sure that none of the previous bonuses were feat bonuses, but none of them are. Hellish Rebuke is an attack, it does a damage roll, it has the cold keyword, it gets the bonus.

So yes, the Warlock would get their damage bonuses again on Hellish Rebuke. None of the things you've specified would trigger on White Lotus Riposte because it is not an attack, does not hit, and does not roll damage, but there are other things that would- for example, vulnerable cold from Lasting Frost would apply there, and anything that gives extra damage (but not a bonus to damage rolls) on fire or cold damage would apply as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you -- I see! For Hellish Rebuke, it gets two damage rolls, so it gets the bonus on each. Gotcha. \$\endgroup\$ – Clawfoot Aug 4 '18 at 15:40

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