(inspired by this answer)

Dangerous Sorcery:

When you Cast a Spell from your spell slots, if the spell deals damage and doesn’t have a duration, you gain a status bonus to that spell’s damage equal to the spell’s level.

Enervation for example seems to satisfy both criteria. It does not have a duration, and it deals damage (CRB 3rd printing, page 451):

Persistent damage is a condition that causes damage to recur beyond the original effect.

Question 1: does "causes damage" satisfy the "deals damage" criteria?
Question 2: if yes, is it just 4 negative damage when the spell is cast, or is the persistent damage increased by 4?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related (might have partial answers to this?) : rpg.stackexchange.com/q/179874/77044 \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Sep 28, 2022 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Matthieu, it was inspired by brandon's answer \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Sep 28, 2022 at 12:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like since both of those are worded the same way, they should also work the same way. However I'm nowhere near an expert on Pathfinder, so I'll leave properly answering (or closing as duplicate) to those. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Sep 28, 2022 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ By contrast, in 5e most such abilities are worded such that they only apply to damage (or healing) that happens "when you cast a spell", i.e. the up-front portion, not over time parts that clearly happen at a different time. example / with witch bolt Also usually limited to "one damage [or healing] roll" to make extra clear, unlike this PF2e ability which is somewhat ambiguous. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 28, 2022 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


Dangerous Sorcery does not affect persistent damage

In line with my related answer, causing damage via a Condition is not the same as dealing damage. One is inflicting the target with an effect that has damage associated while the other is the damage being inflicted at the moment by the spell.

If for no other reason, this should fail the Ambiguous Rules' "too good to be true" guidance; Dangerous Sorcery is written such that it should typically only affect each target creature once per spell cast (by disallowing using it on spells that cause damage over a duration). By allowing it to affect persistent damage, you are bypassing this restriction with a number of spells such as enervation and acid arrow. This would increase the feat's power by about 3.3x for those spells, compared to it's expected output.

The result is that enervation gains no benefit from Dangerous Sorcery and acid arrow benefits from it exactly once (assuming a successful attack roll) for the initial damage, just like every other damaging spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Expected ~3.3x damage does assume that the affected creature survives for 3+ turns with the effect and doesn't seek Assisted Recovery, which is generally not the case in my experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Sep 28, 2022 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe, but it depends heavily on how much the GM is willing to spend expendable creatures' turns on them maybe lasting longer as well as the intelligence and tools available to those creatures. AFAIK there are not many examples of what Assisted Recovery looks like for enervation's persistent negative energy and I wouldn't expect any high-HP ooze, beast, or any of most low-level encounters' humanoids to have such tools available. As for them lasting 3 rounds, it depends on if they're the focus of the single-targeters like martial classes or happened to get clipped by the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Sep 28, 2022 at 20:20

Persistent Damage is Dealt

Damage "recurring" seems appropriate to what is written about damage being dealt from a damage roll:

In the midst of combat, you attempt checks to determine if you can damage your foe with weapons, spells, or alchemical concoctions. On a successful check, you hit and deal damage. Damage decreases a creature’s Hit Points on a 1-to-1 basis (so a creature that takes 6 damage loses 6 Hit Points).

Damage is sometimes given as a fixed amount, but more often than not you’ll make a damage roll to determine how much damage you deal.

With persistent damage coming from a spell, it would also qualify as damage dealt by that spell.

Persistent Damage is Damage

The wording of persistent damage has been updated as of the 3rd Core Rulebook FAQ/printing to be more clearly both a condition and damage.

Persistent damage is a condition that causes damage to recur beyond the original effect. Like normal damage, it can be doubled or halved based on the results of an attack roll or saving throw. Unlike with normal damage, when you are subject to persistent damage, you don't take it right away. Instead, you take the specified damage at the end of your turns, after which you attempt a DC 15 flat check to see if you recover from the persistent damage.

A bonus to damage applies when that damage is rolled, and this wouldn't be any different.

It's worth noting that enervation does not have a basic Fortitude save, so the damage with Dangerous Sorcery wouldn't be changed by the degree of success:

  • Successful Save: 2d8+4 persistent negative damage
  • Failed Save: 4d8+4 persistent negative damage
  • Critically Failed Save: 4d8+4 persistent negative damage

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .