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I'm trying to figure out Lightning launcher's extra damage text and if I'm reading it correctly. The part in question reads as follows:

Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with it, you can deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage to that target.

My question, is this just dealing 2d6 with the second being optional? I'm not sure in what situation this would be used as anything other than 2d6 outside of some form of house rules or homebrew world. Am I'm misinterpreting the text and missing something?

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2 Answers 2

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The extra 1d6 damage can only be applied once per turn and only on your turns.

This distinction matters because the Artificer Armorer gains the Extra Attack feature at level 5, allowing you to potentially hit twice instead of once but you will only be able to deal the extra 1d6 damage once. Additionally, readied attacks and opportunity attacks usually can not benefit from the extra damage because they generally do not happen on your own turn.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the effect is still slightly better than adding 1d6 to a single attack (e.g. to the single extra attack Gloomstalker Ranger's get on the first round of combat), because you choose to apply it once you have successfully hit. Effectively, once you have Extra Attack, the bonus 1d6 has "advantage", because if either of your two attacks hit, the bonus 1d6 "hits" (it just can't hit twice). (To be clear, not contradicting anything in the answer, which is good, just noting it's a little better than just adding 3.5 x chance-to-hit average damage) \$\endgroup\$ May 31, 2023 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also you might make your first attack against a target that you suspect has only a couple HP left, so you don't want to burn the extra d6 on them, instead saving it for your second attack that might go against a tougher target. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 1, 2023 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Suggestion: "Additionally, readying an attack and opportunity attacks likely won't benefit from the extra damage because they usually do not happen on your own turn." Cf. Can I trigger an Opportunity Attack by forcing an opponent to move out of my reach?, If you misty step 30 feet straight up do you have time to attack a foe next to you before you start falling? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 3, 2023 at 2:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt Very true, thank you. I added it. \$\endgroup\$
    – anon
    Jun 4, 2023 at 10:30
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If you have the Multi-attack feature, or if you have an ability that lets you use the launcher as a bonus action, you can add the extra damage to a single attack on your turn.

Lightning Launcher. A gemlike node appears on one of your armored fists or on the chest (your choice). It counts as a simple ranged weapon, with a normal range of 90 feet and a long range of 300 feet, and it deals 1d6 lightning damage on a hit. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with it, you can deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage to that target.

A strange note about this extra damage, is that due to the launcher being able to be on your "fists", this means that if you multi-class into monk, this extra damage could possibly be applied to one of your unarmed strikes since that fist has the gem on it.

This is due to the none specific terms used for its activation.

Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with it

This doesn't specify making any specific attack, only that it hits a creature. This means that this gem, if applied to your fist, will apply this extra damage to any attack, ranged or not, so long as,

you hit a creature with it

If anyone wants to disagree with this assessment, I am just a flawed human, so I can make mistakes sometimes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour and visit the help center if you need any guidance about posting Q&A! It is not clear to me why you say that the extra damage applies to any attack, without considering "Once on each of your turns [...]" wording. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jun 3, 2023 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting idea! So you're taking the phrase "hit a creature with it" to mean hitting a creature with the "gemlike node" (i.e. striking a creature with the gem physically, not using the ranged property of the gem). That's a really creative point! But that the gem is still "a simple ranged weapon." And since monk weapons are "shortswords and any simple melee weapons" (PHB, p. 78, bold added) and the Monk's Martial Arts feature can only be used "while you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren't wearing armor" (Ibid), you'd be giving up a lot for that 1d6. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2023 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage Maybe crystalkalem meant that it could be applied to "any [kind of] attack" when they said "any attack." After all, crystalkalem mentioned that "you can add the extra damage to a single attack on your turn" and "this extra damage could possibly be applied to one of your unarmed strikes" (bold added) elsewhere in their answer: so they're definitely aware of that limitation. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2023 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme Right, this makes sense! \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jun 7, 2023 at 21:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme I did make sure to clarify what I meant when suggesting it's use with unarmed strikes. The Lightning launcher is a gem like node that can be placed onto your hand, the extra damage option does not specify any specific type of attack, and thus so long as you can say you hit a creature with it, you fulfil its clause. Though again, I am but a flawed human and am prone to making mistakes. If you like my post, please give it an up-vote to help me build my rep. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 12, 2023 at 5:45

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