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The group I'm DM'ing for has a warlock-sorcerer, and she claims that the wording of the metamagic option Empowered Spell works on the whole spell, and not a single attack, so therefore all of her Eldritch Blast beams can be affected using just one sorcery point.

Empowered Spell: When you roll damage for a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.

I found it hard to argue with her, because it doesn't say one attack, it says "a spell" so I just let her play it that way. Did I do the wrong thing? Should it be one sorcery point per beam?

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Your Player is Probably Correct

Empowered Spell requires only that the spell have at least one damage die, and that the player choose to expend a sorcery point on those dice.

A few people here have argued that because Eldritch Blast involves multiple attack rolls, that only one die per roll would be eligible for each use of the Empowered Metamagic, but Crawford argued for Chaos Bolt that the sorcerer would get to reroll as many damage dice as the player's charisma modifier, even if those dice come from other attack rolls than the original. So there's clearly a precedent that those other damage rolls count as part of the overall "damage roll", even if they come from separate Attack Rolls.

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It should be 1 point per beam.

The Metamagic states:

When you roll damage for a spell...

For eldritch blast, you are rolling for the beams separately, thereby rolling damage for the spell multiple times. As such, you must use the Metamagic option multiple times (once each per beam).

You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.

Affecting multiple damage dice (equal to your Charisma modifier) is better for spells that increase damage dice rather than attack instances such as chill touch:

This spell's damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

In this case, you would reroll more of the dice for only the one sorcery point since the single damage roll contains multiple dice.

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She is correct

The question at hand is, whether or not Eldritch Blast is considered, as a spell, to have multiple damage rolls, or if it just has multiple attacks that happen to have their own separate damage rolls.

A similar issue comes up with Scorching Ray (shoots several fire beams, each with their own attack) and the Sorcerer feature, Elemental Affinity.

Elemental Affinity states that it only applies to a single damage roll, and Jeremy Crawford has explained that Scorching Ray is considered to use multiple damage rolls.

If Scorching Ray (which is functionally identical to Eldritch Blast) is considered to use multiple damage rolls (and only gets a single bonus from Elemental Affinity), then that means Eldritch Blast also uses multiple damage rolls.

The difference is, Elemental Affinity only applies to a single roll, where Empowered Spell is allowed to work on multiple rolls. You made the correct call on letting her apply it.

Balance-wise:

This seems to be fine, since it does not guarantee a better roll. On a max level Eldritch Blast, assuming each blast hit, it would deal an average of 5.5 per hit, 22 damage total from rolls, and a minimum of 4. We could assume that she's dealing less-than optimal damage. That's about 0-14 points of damage that she's roughly going to get from an optimal use.

Compared to Toll the Dead (also a Warlock spell), which would deal 26 from rolls, and could be Twinned for 2 sorcery points to 52 damage if neither attack misses.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 17 '18 at 20:03

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