Eldritch blast (PHB, pg. 237) says:

[...] Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage.

The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels: two beams at 5th level, three beams at 11th level, and four beams at 17th level. You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.

So if I cast Eldritch Blast at a higher level, I must roll a separate attack roll for each beam. For example, if I'm a 5th level Warlock and I roll a 19 and a 20, I would only double the number of dice for the one beam it applied to, giving a total of 3d10, not 4d10.

Hex (PHB, pg. 251) says:

Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target when you hit it with an attack.

Ordinarily, the way I understand this is: if I rolled a 19 and a 19 to hit with eldritch blast (again, assuming a 5th level Warlock), I would do a total of 2d10 + 1d6 damage (ignoring damage type for the moment, since I'm focusing more on the number of dice; also let's assume this Warlock doesn't have Agonizing Blast).

But what if I crit with eldritch blast? Under what circumstances do I double the number of dice for hex as well? Is this different if I were to roll a 19 and 20, critting with only one beam, or if I rolled 20 and 20 to crit with both beams?

I did wonder if it was the case that hex is unaffected by crits, such as if it were to be treated as secondary damage (like extra damage from saving throws, see: How does extra damage work for critical hits?), but Jeremy Crawford says hex is included in the crit, so if I crit with something like chill touch or some other warlock cantrip that involves a single attack roll, then the hex damage is clearly doubled. My confusion comes from having multiple attack rolls.

Just to restate the question: How is the additional damage from hex affected by an attack that has multiple attack rolls, some or all of which may be critical hits? Does eldritch blast's multiple attack rolls effectively increase the likelihood of getting to double the damage from hex via a critical hit?

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Hex Damage Applies on Each Attack

As you stated in your question, the description from Hex states:

Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target when you hit it with an attack.

There is no limit to the number of attacks that you can apply this damage to, thus you can apply it to both attacks that you make with Eldritch Blast (or for both melee attacks if you are Pact of the Blade with the Thirsting Blade invocation)

As a reminder, on page 193 the PHB states:

Making an Attack

Whether you're striking with a melee weapon, firing a weapon at range, or making an attack roll as part of a spell, an attack has a simple structure.

And for further clarification on page 194 it states:

If there's ever any question about whether something you're doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you're making an attack roll, you're making an attack.

As you are making 2 different attack rolls (one for each Eldritch Blast) these are 2 separate attacks and so you are able to add Hex damage to each of the rolls.

How the Dice Work

So from the examples that you gave in your question, assuming you hit both times:

  • If you roll 19 and 19 on your attack rolls, you will deal 1d10 + 1d6 for each hit (EB damage plus Hex damage), for 2d10 + 2d6 total damage
  • If you roll 19 and 20 on your attack rolls (in either order), you will deal 1d10 + 1d6 for the normal hit and 2d10 + 2d6 for the critical hit (doubling all damage dice), for 3d10 + 3d6 total damage
  • If you roll 20 and 20 on your attack rolls, you will deal 2d10 + 2d6 for each hit (doubling all damage dice), for 4d10 + 4d6 total damage!

Hope that helps!

  • 1
    It seems there was a flaw in my understanding; I didn't know that hex applied to each beam, because I assumed it was only one "attack" (meaning one "Cast a Spell" Action), so I assumed it would only "trigger" hex once. This answer has helped clear things up for me, thanks! – NathanS Oct 23 at 12:01
  • 3
    This answer does not make the causal link that Hex dice are doubled on a crit even though the examples show them to be doubled. - I also think that the damage dice on the examples should be separated by attack. Some factors might mitigate the damage on one attack but not on the other. – Mindwin Oct 23 at 16:56
  • Yeah, I was about to suggest what Mindwin says above. The math is right, but it's not spelled out clearly why it is what it is. – V2Blast Oct 23 at 22:34
  • I have tried to flesh out the reasons behind the damage dice in each of the attack examples. I hope that makes it clearer. – shadydave Oct 24 at 8:39

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