If I hit a vulnerable target with an effect that hits it twice, such as Static Charge or Chromatic Bolt, does it count the damage for vulnerability twice?


The simple answer is yes

I don't have my rule books to hand, but I remember this coming up in our 4e game. What we found out is that a vulnerability is applied to each source of damage. If a power grants you two attack rolls, i.e "Twin-Strike" (Ranger at-will) then they are counted as separate sources.

I think we couldn't find a direct ruling for it, but take for example "Twin-Strike" that lets you target two different creatures 'A' & 'B'

Your character is equipped with +n Flaming Sword x2 (required for Twin-Strike in melee) You attack creature 'A' which has vulnerability fire 'X' with your main-hand and creature 'B' which also has vulnerability fire 'X' with your off hand and hit both creatures. You roll for damage and apply the fire damage from your weapons, causing them to take 'X' additional damage.

This is rules as written. So logically why would using the same power on creature 'A' alone and hitting it twice only cause it to take it's vulnerability once?

Note this also applies to resistances!

Additional scenarios:

Ongoing damage:

Though this is coming from the same source each round, the vulnerability will still apply each time it is taken.

Dire Radiance:

Hit: 1d6 + Constitution modifier radiant damage. If the target moves nearer to you on its next turn, it takes an extra 1d6 + Constitution modifier damage.

This extra damage will not trigger the Vulnerability as it is un-typed damage. However if it stated "it takes an extra 1d6 + Constitution radiant damage" it would trigger the vulnerability.

Rain of Blows:

Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage. Weapon:
If you’re wielding a light blade, a spear, or a flail and have Dexterity 15 or higher, make a secondary attack.
Secondary Target: The same or a different target
Secondary Attack: Strength vs. AC Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage.

Similar to "Twin-Strike" in the fact that it is two separate attacks. But what is different here is that in Twin-Strike the attacks happen simultaneously, these and sequential.

Static Charge:

Hit: 1d8 lightning damage, and one enemy adjacent to the target takes lightning damage equal to your Charisma modifier.

If the adjacent enemy had lightning vulnerability it would be applied despite the fact that no attack roll was made against them directly. They still took damage from a source, you can just assume here it is an auto-hit roll.

Chromatic Bolt

Hit: 1d8 + Charisma modifier psychic damage, and one creature within 5 squares of the target takes psychic damage equal to your Constitution modifier.

This is the same as Static Charge as above with one interesting caveat. The second creature cannot be the original target causing it to trigger the vulnerability twice.
Rather than just say "because" I will attemp to explain why.

In Static Charge it states "one enemy adjacent to the target" This can also be written as "one enemy within one square of the target" So for the same reasons that you do not count an enemy adjacent to itself, you do not count it within "X" squares of itself.

WotC Ruling:

As mentioned in the comments WotC support have apparently stated that a creature is within "X" squares of itself for the purpose of the second target. If this is the case it will trigger vulnerability twice rules as written.
This damage is not additional damage and instead works more like an auto-hitting attack roll counting as a new source.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For instance if paladin uses Bless Weapon, Strike of Hope and Holy Smite, only the last two get the extra damage from vulnerability, because Bless weapon adds "extra damage". So I am unsure if there is any additional info on this. Its not additional "attack" - if you hit, then you deal extra CON dmg to one foe near the target, can be the same one. \$\endgroup\$ – ZickZak Aug 27 '16 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't find a power that has this kind of effect. Can you give me an example and the book it's in? I am also generating a few other examples to edit into my answer for you. \$\endgroup\$ – Kalcipher23 Aug 27 '16 at 9:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited to include more information. \$\endgroup\$ – Kalcipher23 Aug 27 '16 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ On the Static Charge - I thought it says the same as Chromatic Bolt. Its slightly different though. Can you include the Chromatic Bolt in your explanations? "and one creature within 5 squares of the target takes psychic damage equal to your Constitution modifier" - its possible to hit the same target that was the original for the attack \$\endgroup\$ – ZickZak Aug 27 '16 at 10:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have asked if both instances of Chromatic Bolt can hit the same target WotC support about 3 years ago or something and they said yes. So it can hit the same target or could at the time. \$\endgroup\$ – ZickZak Aug 27 '16 at 11:55

Unless it's been Errataed since 5th edition came out (which is doubtful) yes it does.

Vulnerability applies to each instance of damage, whether that instance be from one hit of ongoing damage, or one of multiple attacks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean, since 5e came out? If you're somewhat implying that whatever 5e did with the rules has any influence on 4e, well, you'd be wrong. If you mean "unless some errata was issued before 4e stopped being a thing", maybe a different wording would be clearer, because this got me confused :( \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 27 '16 at 0:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean "unless some errata was issued after 4e stopped being a thing" aka "since 5e came out". \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Coffey Sep 1 '16 at 23:55

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