The Perfect Strike ability states:

At 4th level, when a kensai hits with his chosen weapon, he can spend 1 point from his arcane pool in order to maximize his weapon damage. Don’t roll for damage—the weapon deals maximum damage. This affects only the weapon’s base damage dice, not additional damage from sneak attack, magical weapon properties, spellstrike, or critical hits. If the kensai confirms a critical hit, he can instead spend 2 points from his arcane pool to increase his weapon’s critical multiplier by 1.

However there is nothing on the table of bonuses that effect crit multipliers or even says that it is a bonus in the first place. Can the Kensai use perfect strike multiple times to continuously increase the crit multiplier?

  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "[T]here is nothing on the table of bonuses that effect crit multipliers…." What does the question mean by table of bonuses? (Can the question include a link to that table?) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2019 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


A trigger of the form “if X happens then Y happens” seems, to me, to indicate that Y happens once—and in this case, that Y is the opportunity to spend 2 points from the arcane pool, once, for an increase by 1 in the critical multiplier. But, the wording is just ambiguous enough that I could see interpreting Y as something like “you gain the ability to spend 2 points...” and then argue that you can use that ability as many times as you want in this moment. So the wording is ambiguous on whether or not the ability can be used repeatedly on a given critical hit.

But normally, if intended to be used repeatedly, the wording would be “for every 2 points from his arcane pool spent, his weapon’s critical multiplier increases by 1.” That would eliminate any ambiguity, and that’s wording that Paizo uses often. The fact that they did not here—even though the wording they did use is ambiguous—is strong circumstantial evidence against interpreting things so that you can use that ability repeatedly.

If you successfully make that case, you can make a RAW argument that an “increase” is not a “bonus” and thus is not subject to the bonus-stacking rules. This, to me, is even more dubious, since quite frankly Pathfinder isn’t that careful about its wording and that is some fine splitting of hairs. But you could make the argument. And if your GM agrees with both arguments, you could spend \$2x\$ points in order to increase your multiplier by \$x\$.

I really, really doubt you are going to find any GM out there willing to let you do this. Even beyond how weak the arguments are (at least in my opinion), the more glaring issue is that this would be exceptionally imbalanced—letting a critical hit deal ×10 damage or something would cause huge problems in the game. So, on those grounds, I would not allow it as GM, and I doubt any other GM is going to, either.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you give an example of an ability that does "for every x points" as a reference \$\endgroup\$
    – ninjahX
    Dec 12, 2019 at 22:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ninjahX First one to come up in my Google search is the Arcane Strike entry for the variant Stamina rule, which reads “Arcane Strike (Combat): You can spend any number of stamina points to increase the duration of this feat’s effects by 1 round for each stamina point spent.” Here it is “for each” rather than “for every” but it’s the same thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 12, 2019 at 22:59

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