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Does rolling a critical hit on a spell attack do double damage? Specifically, do you double the number of damage dice if the spell attack roll is a natural 20?

This came up in a game with the Guiding Bolt spell, which seemed really powerful with twice the damage dice.

(I saw the Q&A Are there critical hits for spells?, but wanted to clarify the damage vs the attack hit chance.)

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Yes, you roll twice as many damage dice for the spell on a crit

The rule on critical hits on page 196 of the PHB says:

When you score a critical hit, you get to roll extra dice for the attack's damage against the target. Roll all of the attack's damage dice twice and add then together. Then add any relevant modifiers as normal.

Note that this only refers to the attack - it doesn't say weapon attack, or anything else that would mean that this did not apply to spell attacks. When you get a critical hit with a spell attack, you roll all damage dice twice.

So a critical hit with the cantrip Fire Bolt would deal 2d10 damage instead of 1d10. A critical hit with the 1st-level spell Chromatic Orb would do 6d8 damage instead of 3d8. And on a critical hit, Guiding Bolt would do 8d6 damage instead of 4d6.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally: When a spell is being cast at a higher level, using Guiding Bolt as an example, if it were cast using a level 3 slot, it would have 2d6 added to the original 4d6 and ALL of that would be doubled, resulting in a critical hit dealing 12d6. The same logic also applies to cantrips, so a level 5 caster of Fire Bolt would double the 2d10 of fire damage and deal 4d10 fire damage with a critical hit. \$\endgroup\$ – user40202 Nov 4 '17 at 7:41
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From page 194 of the Player's Handbook:

If the d20 roll for an attack is a 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target’s AC. In addition, the attack is a critical hit, as explained later in this chapter.

From page 196 of the Player's Handbook:

When you score a critical hit, you get to roll extra dice for the attack's damage against the target. Roll all of the attack's damage dice twice and add then together. Then add any relevant modifiers as normal.

This applies to all attacks, whether they are melee weapon attacks, ranged weapon attacks, melee spell attacks, ranged spell attacks, etc. If you are rolling a d20 versus AC, then you score a critical hit on a 20, and unless you have a class feature, feat, etc. that says otherwise, you roll damage dice twice when you get a critical hit.

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