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Alchemist can take Sticky Bombs, an Additive that allows you to cause persistent damage when you hit with a bomb.

You mix in an additive to make your bomb’s contents adhere to the target and continue to deal damage. A creature that takes a direct hit from one of your sticky bombs also takes persistent damage equal to and of the same type as the bomb’s splash damage. If the bomb already deals persistent damage, combine the two amounts.

I believe it comes down to if the persistent damage is considered part of the attack damage per critical hits.

If you critically succeed at a Strike, your attack deals double damage.

Notably, persistent damage can double on a critical hit but it's unclear, to me, if the Sticky Bombs damage is part of the attack damage or not.

If your attack roll is a critical hit, is this persistent damage doubled?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last link links to Splash Damage rules; is that intentional, or did you mean to link to the Persistent Damage rules? None of those seem to mention critical hits. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Sep 7 '21 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I assume he’s linking to the splash damage rules because they explicitly cite an example of a splash weapon (a bomb even!) that doubles its persistent damage on a crit. The thing is that that’s an Acid Flask which deals such persistent damage baseline, as well as fixed splash damage that does not double on a crit. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '21 at 16:47
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NO.

The key phrase here is “persistent damage equal to and of the same type as the bomb’s splash damage.

So we’re doing an amount equal to our splash damage. Now, what are the rules for critical hits and Splash damage?

Most bombs also have the splash trait. When you use a thrown weapon with the splash trait, you don't add your Strength modifier to the damage roll. If an attack with a splash weapon fails, succeeds, or critically succeeds, all creatures within 5 feet of the target (including the target) take the listed splash damage. On a critical failure, the bomb misses entirely, dealing no damage. Add splash damage together with the initial damage against the target before applying the target's resistance or weakness. You don't multiply splash damage on a critical hit.

Since the splash damage is not multiplied on a critical hit, the persistent damage, which is equal to that splash damage, is also not multiplied.

To use the example from the linked text on Nethys;

For example, if you throw a lesser acid flask and hit your target, that creature takes 1 acid damage, 1d6 persistent acid damage, and 1 acid splash damage. All other creatures within 5 feet of it take 1 acid splash damage. On a critical hit, the target takes 2 acid damage and 2d6 persistent acid damage, but the splash damage is still 1. If you miss, the target and all creatures within 5 feet take only 1 splash damage. If you critically fail, no one takes any damage.

With Sticky Bombs added to this equation, on either a normal or a critical hit, you would add the 1 point of splash damage, as persistent damage, to the 1 or 2d6 persistent acid damage (on a hit or crit respectively) caused by the base bomb. These numbers are combined into a single persistent damage effect.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While it's hard to conclusively prove, my impression is that in most cases what to do with persistent damage on a critical hit (or critical failure on a save) is explicitly mentioned; but given that absence here, this seems like a very reasonable and accurate interpretation. Well done! \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Sep 7 '21 at 16:03
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Yes

As you pointed out, persistent damage is normally doubled when the attack is a critical hit. Some sources of persistent damage explicitly have an exception against that, but most follow the base rules for critical hits.

There is the argument that Sticky Bomb's persistent damage wouldn't double because it's "equal to and of the same type as the bomb’s splash damage." by your quote. Reading through the different damage types here, it seems that splash is not a type of damage but rather some other qualifier of damage, and that "types of damage" are things like fire, slashing, bleed, good, etc. Further evidence of this is in the absence of universal splash damage: all sources of splash damage are tied to one of the types of damage listed in addition to being splash damage. So it seems clear the persistent damage wouldn't count as splash damage and be limited by the explicit exception for splash damage.

But the splash damage definitely doesn't double on a crit, so would this persistent damage double when it is "equal to...the bomb's splash damage"?

Sometimes you’ll need to halve or double an amount of damage, such as when the outcome of your Strike is a critical hit, or when you succeed at a basic Reflex save against a spell. When this happens, you roll the damage normally, adding all the normal modifiers, bonuses, and penalties. Then you double or halve the amount as appropriate (rounding down if you halved it). The GM might allow you to roll the dice twice and double the modifiers, bonuses, and penalties instead of doubling the entire result, but this usually works best for single-target attacks or spells at low levels when you have a small number of damage dice to roll. Benefits you gain specifically from a critical hit, like the flaming weapon rune’s persistent fire damage or the extra damage die from the fatal weapon trait, aren’t doubled.

Other abilities/items like a barbarian's rage ("You deal 2 additional damage with melee Strikes.") or flaming rune ("The weapon deals an additional 1d6 fire damage on a successful Strike") that add a set amount of damage to a Strike don't mention that they double on a critical hit, and yet the example used in the book shows that at least the flaming rune's additional damage does double. If you consider that the persistent damage from Sticky Bomb is just another source of damage equal to a static value, then it follows that this damage would also double despite the verbiage that it's equal to the splash damage.

The rules for critical hits doubling damage in PF2e are very broad as to what applies, only damage that is specifically granted on a critical hit isn't doubled. Because Sticky Bomb applies in cases other than a critical hit and it isn't splash damage or otherwise noted as not doubling, it would be doubled just as most other sources of damage are.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But the number to which sticky bombs damage is pegged, explicitly does not double. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '21 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LessPop_MoreFizz Thanks for pointing out the other answers argument more clearly to me, I've edited my answer to hopefully explain my reasoning a bit more thoroughly. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Sep 7 '21 at 17:22

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