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The secondary damage on Green Flame Blade makes no mention of requiring a saving throw (like a DEX save) or a melee spell attack. Does this mean that the secondary damage from GFB can be used to circumvent a target's AC and save mechanics?

How is it possible that this loophole was ever allowed? Is this comparable to other attack mechanics or is it overpowered?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Overpowered" compared to what? \$\endgroup\$ May 14 '16 at 15:25
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Does this mean that the secondary damage from GFB can be used to circumvent a target's AC and save mechanics?

Yes. If you successfully hit the first creature, the second creature's AC and Dex doesn't matter.

How is it possible that this loophole was ever allowed?

Not a loophole, it is how the spell works.

Is this comparable to other attack mechanics or is it overpowered?

This is a matter of opinion, but no.

We're talking about an amount of damage equal to spell casting attribute mod. Using standard array or point buy the max is a +3 at level 1, and gets up to a +5 when you max the stat out at 20 (can be higher with magic items, etc.) but we're not talking a lot damage here. Moreover it is fire damage which is (one of) the most common type of resistance/immunities.

Since you use "Cast a Spell" action to use this feature, you can't use dual wielding rules to make a second attack that action. Meaning you are likely giving up a strike with a second light weapon by casting this spell.

Compare it to Eldritch Blast, also a cantrip, which gets up to 4 beams each doing 1d10 (+CHA Modifier each with agonizing blast, each pushing 10 feet with repelling blast, etc.). Eldritch Blast is also Force damage, so it touches the Ethereal and resistence and immunity to it are rare. It is clear that Green Flame Blade isn't even the strongest cantrip.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The secondary damage increases at higher levels, up to 3d8 + Spellcasting mod, so it does become a decent source of free damage. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12 '16 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking at it again, and specifically at the "At Higher Levels" I may have jumped the gun with the ". Each time it leavels you are adding 2d8 to total damage output. At max it deals 6d8+5 total damage ON TOP of the weapon attack. Yes, that is a lot of damage but it still is in line with EB. I suppose that might make me question the choice of the designers not to put in a save for the second creature. I may have to revist this answer after some math and thought. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12 '16 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Except it's not "free" damage, because you still have to hit with the primary attack. If you whiff, you have to wait until round 2 or Quicken Spell/Action Surge to try again. Granted, it's a neat way to get around high AC or saves...but there are other ways to get around high AC, and getting this off on a boss monster requires a lot of set-up. \$\endgroup\$
    – chif-ii
    Jan 18 '17 at 16:37
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Yes, this circumvents defenses on the secondary target.

This is almost exactly the same as Cleave mechanics in previous editions, except that you're using a different attribute for the first attack and second attack. It's nice to add on a little damage when making a weapon attack, but is nowhere near overpowered. It doesn't scale with getting multiple attacks and requires you to have high weapon attack and high spellcasting mod.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How is it like Cleave? You still need to roll to hit with Cleave's extra attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    May 16 '16 at 1:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus dnd4.wikia.com/wiki/Cleave \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle W
    May 16 '16 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, you meant 4e. I was thinking 3.x d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#cleave (that's the problem with saying "previous editions" - you mean one previous edition) \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    May 17 '16 at 2:28

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