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I'd like a few clarifications on bonus damage and effects when using Maneuvers. I'm going to be playing a Stalker, and finally have a GM who is OK with me using this book (so much fear about the original 3.5 book turned everyone else away instantly).

First off, I know I get Deadly Strike damage, because it says "attack or strike" in the wording, but what about Flaming and other damaging effects tacked on to my weapon? Bonus damage from stances like Outer Sphere Stance should add it to strikes even from other disciplines, but it doesn't say outright what triggers on your weapon properties. I want to know if I activate things like Flaming or Enchantment bonus when I land ANY strike, even one that does no damage, or only strikes that do damage (and if that's the case, whether stuff like stance damage and Deadly Strike also trigger on strikes that attack but do not deal damage), or if I only add in the weapon's base damage.

Second related issue is Vorpal. If I confirm a nat20 with a maneuver, using a Vorpal weapon, or if I use, say, Thrashing Dragon Frenzy and just happen to throw a nat20 on a swipe with it from my Vorpal weapon, does it trigger the effect?

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If you make a weapon attack as part of a strike, then you add anything and everything that any other weapon attack would add. Certainly any and all weapon properties, from enhancements to flaming or vorpal, would definitely apply.

If you don’t make a weapon attack, like with some of the strikes that involve a ray attack, then your weapon doesn’t come into play.

The only exception that’s particular to Path of War is that on a critical, bonus damage from strikes are not multiplied. Normally, any flat bonus damage (but not bonus damage dice) is multiplied on a critical hit.

Now, there are some things to keep in mind here: when the rules talk about “the attack action,” they mean specifically the standard-action option to attack once. For example, the Vital Strike feat says

When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage.

This only applies when you use that particular standard-action attack. It does not apply when you make an attack for any other reason: it does not apply to attacks in a full-attack, it does not apply to attacks of opportunity, and it does not apply to attacks, if any, made during a Path of War strike. So you cannot combine the Vital Strike with Path of War strikes (but you can use a Path of War boost, and then attack using Vital Strike, and include the boost’s benefits in your Vital Strike).

So you do have to be careful about which bonuses you have apply to any and all attacks (like those from your weapon, or from the Power Attack feat) and which only apply to particular kinds of attacks (like the Vital Strike feat).

On the flip side, you also have to note things that have their own particular action requirements: for examples, the magus’s spell combat and the alchemist’s fast bombs are each their own full-round actions. These cannot be combined with a strike, because if you’re using a full-round action to use these, by definition you are not using those actions to use a strike. Again, a boost would apply however.

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