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The Undead warlock has a feature called Grave Touched that states:

Grave Touched: At 6th level, your patron’s powers have a profound effect on your body and magic. You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe. In addition, once during each of your turns, when you hit a creature with an attack and roll damage against the creature, you can replace the damage type with necrotic damage. While you are using your Form of Dread, you can roll one additional damage die when determining the necrotic damage the target takes.

The part I am interested in is the part that states that you can roll an extra damage die when determining the necrotic damage a target takes. Would it be possible to use this feature on any source of necrotic damage, or does it only apply to attacks converted to necrotic damage with Grave Touched? I'm thinking of making a Topaz Dragonborn warlock and am wondering if I could use Grave Touched to amplify the necrotic damage from the Topaz dragonborn's breath weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The example may be a duplicate, but the question isn't about the example, it's about replacing damage types \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Dec 12, 2021 at 10:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to note about the reopening: as far as I can tell, this question is about adding necrotic damage to any non-attack source. Answers should then explain why (or why not) the extra damage applies to non-attack sources. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Dec 12, 2021 at 12:51

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The extra damage is part of the necrotic damage ability.

The benefits of the Grave Touched feature can be parsed thusly (emphasis mine):

  • You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe.
  • Once during each of your turns, when you hit a creature with an attack and roll damage against the creature, you can replace the damage type with necrotic damage. While you are using your Form of Dread, you can roll one additional damage die when determining the necrotic damage the target takes

We can tell that the last two sentences are part of the same ability because of how the second sentence is phrased; it refers to “the target”, which in this context can only refer to the target of the attack mentioned in the previous sentence.

If the intent of the last sentence of this feature was that it would add damage to all necrotic damage sources, it would be worded differently —- something like “whenever you deal necrotic damage, you may roll one additional damage die”.

So, no, the Grave Touched feature doesn’t allow the warlock to increase all necrotic damage dealt while using Form of Dread; just the damage done by replacing an attack with necrotic damage.

Note that the attack whose damage is replaced in this way can be one which normally does necrotic damage -- if the warlock casts chill touch and hits while using Form of Dread, this feature allows them to roll an extra d8 of damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can the warlock not choose to replace the normal necrotic damage with new necrotic damage that does get this benefit? There are no restrictions on the damage types it can replace \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri If the warlock uses the ability on an attack that does necrotic damage, sure. But dragonborn breath weapons aren’t attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a good point, but the breath weapon was just an example, the actual question just talks about 'any source of necrotic damage'. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri The question was “any source” vs. “only attacks converted to necrotic damage with Grave Touched”. I’m saying it’s the latter, although certainly an attack can be “converted from” necrotic damage and qualify. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:36
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The simplest answer here is that a dragonborn's breath weapon does not have an attack roll. Therefore it does not count as an attack, and does not qualify for that grave touch ability.

For reference:

PHB p.194

If there's ever any question 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

Related:

What counts as an attack

Is a dragonborn breath weapon an attack action

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how this actually answers the actual question. They aren't asking to change the damage type (a topaz dragonborn breath attack already deals necrotic), but to add an additional die. It's possible that this is still part of the answer, but you should give the reasoning for why it only applies to attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Dec 12, 2021 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question was changed, I answered the original question. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2021 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not seeing any revisions on the question? Is there something else somewhere I'm missing? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Dec 13, 2021 at 14:34

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