Split Shot seems very weak, if I spend a class feat and an action, I expect a big benefit.

You fragment a ranged spell into a pair of smaller shots. If your next action is to Cast a Spell without a duration that requires an attack roll against a single target and has no effect beyond dealing damage, you roll a single attack roll and compare the result to the AC of two targets within the spell's range. The spell deals only half its usual damage to each target. This counts as one attack for your multiple attack penalty.

However, the only situation I can imagine is when I want to take out an enemy that only has a few HP left, a spell's full damage would be overkill, so half of it is targeting the next foe.

Are there any other cases?


2 Answers 2


It is as bad as it seems (probably worse)

This is the only case, and even Electric Arc does it better, while spending less resources.

Most spells that do nothing but damage tend to scale 2d6/level1, half of it is 1d6. So 3.5 damage if you hit, 0 if you miss.

Comparison with Scorching Ray

Scorching Ray does exactly twice the damage for one less action2, or twice the damage to one more target for the same number of actions, without ever spending a feat.

Comparison with Electric Arc

Spells with basic saves deal half damage even if the enemy saves. To simplify calculation, say they do 50% more damage (actually, it is even more).

So now we can compare that spell in your highest slot, modified by Split Shot with Electric Arc. The latter scales with 1d4/level, which is 3.75 after the 50% increase. It wins easily, even when we ignore the extra damage from the spellcasting ability modifier, the fewer actions, and the fact that you don't have to spend your highest slot.

The slot + Split Shot can still be better in three cases: the enemy is further than 30 feet away, or is immune / resistant to electricity, or you do not have Electric Arc.

  • The first can usually be fixed by Reach Spell, which is not only more versatile than Split Shot, but also of a lower level
  • The second is rare, more than offset by the fact that good spells with an attack roll are even rarer
  • You can get Electric Arc for a General and an Ancestry feat3 (Adopted Ancestry + Adapted Cantrip)

Also, if one of the enemies has so few HP, it might even die if it saves, while an attack spell does nothing on a miss.

Homebrew fix 1

Just replace "two" with "three" in the feat description:

If your next action is to Cast a Spell without a duration that requires an attack roll against a single target and has no effect beyond dealing damage, you roll a single attack roll and compare the result to the AC of three targets within the spell's range

I still would not take it probably, but now it has a chance to be better than a common cantrip.

Homebrew fix 2

Just remove "only half"in the feat description:

The spell deals its usual damage to each target.

Still worse than Scorching Ray, while more costly (more actions, costs a feat).4

  1. if you find a spell with higher damage that works with Split Shot, let me know in the comments, and I will run the numbers
  2. assuming the base spell takes 2 actions, as most spells do
  3. you should, it is that good, and I (like most guides) consider it cheaper than a class feat
  4. you know something is horribly weak when you double its damage output and it is still worse than other, existing options (especially when it does nothing but damage)
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you used any of your homebrew methods? How did they play? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5, 2022 at 14:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ There are frustratingly few spells that qualify for Split Shot... that being said, triggering weaknesses is another good use case here, even better against things like Golems where they'd take a static amount of damage instead of the spell's damage. A niche enough reality to make it probably not worth it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Oct 5, 2022 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild I haven't tried it. I know what the guidelines say, but in this case math is enough, you don't need a playtest. The feat makes sure that only damage is dealt. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE good find. But unless an adventure comes out about the golem apocalypse, it is not nearly common enough to be included in the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso so now for a feat and an extra action I get to do the same damage as Scorching Ray, but only agains a few types of enemies. Searing Light is nice, but it does not change the fact that you do not want to spend resources on reducing your damage :) \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 16, 2022 at 14:07

There is one benefit...

The main benefit of Split Shot (and I'm not saying that makes it a good choice for a Feat) is to hit two targets' Weaknesses at the same time. This could result in significant damage output if you are in the (not-unlikely) position of facing more than one of a creature whom you know their weakness.

The biggest limitation remains that there are not very many options that call for Spell Attack Rolls. As of writing this, Archives of Nethys lists 29 standard spells, and 10 Focus spells, that have the Attack Trait; many if not most of those have additional effects associate. In most cases, you're better off hoping that you have an acutal AoE spell prepared of the correct energy type (or trying to get Access to Detonating Spell at the same level).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ At least Detonating Spell does not decrease the damage on the primary target. And it works with a lot more spells \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 11, 2022 at 21:03

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