Can you choose to use abilities like Stunning Strike or Divine Smite after rolling damage?

There are certain abilities that require you to first make a hit, then you can choose whether or not to use that ability.

Two examples that I can think of are a monk’s Stunning Strike and a paladin’s Divine Smite (there are others, but I won’t enumerate them all here; an answerer is welcome to if they wish to do so):

Stunning Strike
Starting at 5th level, you can interfere with the flow of ki in an opponent’s body. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a stunning strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of your next turn.

Divine Smite
Starting at 2nd level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is an undead or a fiend, to a maximum of 6d8.

Neither of these abilities specify whether or not you can declare these abilities before or after resolving damage. There are other abilities that say "after you know the roll, but before the DM tells you whether it was a success" or similar wording, but that usually relates to the d20 roll, not damage rolls.

Question

Am I able to roll to attack, hit, roll damage, then make the decision as to whether to spend resources on an ability like Stunning Strike or Divine Smite? If I am allowed to do so after rolling damage, what about before or after the DM tells me the effects of the damage (e.g. did it kill the enemy or not)? Intuitively, it feels to me as though the answer is before damage only, but I’m not seeing anything that implies that this is the case RAW.


If this is something that isn’t specified and is up to the DM, then so be it, but I’m specifically interested to know if there’s any general rule anywhere that resolves this RAW, or whether I’m just not reading those abilities quoted above correctly (or whether there’s another, similar ability that does make it a bit more explicit, and I just chose poor examples).

How does multiple creatures sharing a turn interact with once-per-turn abilities?

This question was brought to mind upon reading one of the bullet points in this answer (regarding a Marilith’s ability to take a reaction every turn), which reads:

  • This limits you to one attack per group for certain implementations of group initiative, as well as for groups of summoned monsters that share a turn

This is noticeable in many of the "Conjure …" spells which share this common line (emphasis mine):

The summoned creatures are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which has its own turns.

The language reads "a group…has its own turns", not "the summoned creatures…have their own turns", which lends to the idea that the summoned creatures are not just sharing an initiative, but actually sharing the turn. This Q&A brings up other cases as well, so it does not seem out of the ordinary that multiple creatures could share a turn. My question is: how does that interact with once-per-turn abilities such as the Marilith in the question referenced above, the Cavalier Fighter’s Vigilant Defender, or monsters’ legendary actions.

Pricing with flat gp cost abilities?

How do I calculate the cost of upgrading a piece of equipment with a flat gp cost ability? It costs the same amount to add, for example, the Expeditious ability to a set of +1 armor as it would to add it to a set of +3 armor. Expeditious, disregarding its price, counts as a +2 equivalent ability.

This, to me, is fine for factoring into the maximum effective armor bonus a piece of equipment can have. However, if the Expeditious ability were to factor into the price for further upgrades to the armor, such as upgrading the +1 Expeditious armor to +3 Expeditious armor, it would create a price discrepancy of over 40% compared to simply forging a new set of armor, enhancing it to +3, then adding Expeditious to it, and that price gap only gets wider as the enhancement bonuses get higher.

Is this price gap intentional, or do flat cost abilities not affect the price of upgrades?

Does casting a spell from an item allow you to apply class abilities that are used when casting a spell?

This question is updated to request additional answers and details in light of information now available in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

In the released DM basic rules, Lost Mine of Phandelver, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and the DMG teaser there are wands, staves, and rings that you can use to cast spells.

  1. Do abilities that trigger from casting a spell activate when casting a spell from an item?

  2. Can the character modify the spell using class abilities when casting a spell from an item?

Examples include:

  1. An abjurer Wizard’s arcane ward recovering hit points from a Dispel Magic cast from a Ring of Spell Storing

  2. A sorcerer using Twinned Spell on a ray of enfeeblement from a Staff of Power

  3. An evocation wizard using Sculpt Spell on a fireball from a Wand of Fireballs.

Now that the DMG is out we have some clearer rules on casting spells from items (DMG p. 141):

Some magic items allow you to cast a spell from the item. The spell is cast at the lowest possible spell level, doesn’t expend any spell slots, and requires no components, unless the item’s description says otherwise The spell uses its normal casting time, range and duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the spell requires concentration.

A magic item, such as certain staffs, may require you to use your own spellcasting ability when you cast a spell from the item.

Does whether or not you can apply class abilities to the casting of the spell depend whether the item uses the user’s own spellcasting ability (such as the Staff of Fire) versus an item that comes with a fixed spellcasting ability built-in (such as the Wand of Fireballs)?

Does it matter if it’s something that triggers more or less automatically like Arcane Ward, versus something you have to control, like Careful Spell?

Do racial features which grant advantage on specific ability/skill checks provide a benefit skill checks made with different abilities?

The rules for making skill checks are usually cut and dried. If a character is making a check to see if they can swim against a current, this would usually be a Strength (Athletics) check.

But the rules allow for unique circumstances to require skill checks with atypical abilities.

For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your DM might call for a Constitution check to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your DM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athletics and ask for a Constitution (Athletics) check.

Certain races afford the character advantage on specific checks (most commonly Wisdom (Perception) checks that involve smell or vision).

I can imagine a situation where a DM might request an Intelligence (Perception) check to see if a character is able to identify which of two glasses of wine is poisoned or a Constitution (Perception) check to see if a character can keep their eyes on something flying very close to the sun without squinting.

In these atypical scenarios, does the creature’s racial benefit still give them advantage on the check in spite of the fact that the fundamental ability being used with their skill is not the one explicitly cited in the description of their racial feature?

Which armor special abilities can be applied to Bracers of Armor?

The Bracers of Armor page states:

Bracers of armor cannot have any armor special abilities that add a flat gp amount to their cost.

And, a Q&A with Jason Bulmahn clarified that Bracers of Armor do not count as any wieght class of armor, so any ability that specifies that it can only be put on light/medium/heavy armor can’t be put on Bracers of Armor.

With those restrictions in mind, which Armor Special Abilities can you put on Bracers of Armor?

Are there any abilities or magic items that allow weapon attacks to ignore damage immunity?

DnDBeyond recently released a League of Legends themed adventure that introduces new unofficial subclasses that, while certainly interesting, pose some serious balance ramifications.

One of the biggest offending abilities allows a PC’s weapon attacks to ignore resistances and immunities for any damage inflicted by the weapon attack. I can’t think of single feature or item that grants this effect.

Are there any features or magic items that allow weapon attacks to ignore damage immunity against the weapon’s damage type?

This effect can be permanent or transient.

Do special abilities still function after death?

I know that, for example, the paladin’s class feature Aura of Courage specifies that it doesn’t function if the paladin is dead. But what about passive abilities granted by race?

For example, can you take out a beholder’s antimagic eye (or lift the whole dead creature) and point it at enemy mages to prevent them from casting spells (supernatural ability)? Can you glue a hellcat’s severed limb (or full corpse) to a doorway to create an invisible barrier (extraordinary ability)? Can you cook meat from a red dragon (or roast it whole) (extraordinary ability but with a possibly different source)?

Are wizards with the Improved Familiar Attunement and the Enhanced Familiar feat restricted to only picking familiar abilities?

From PF2E Core Rulebook p. 218:

Familiar and Master Abilities

Each day, you channel your magic into two abilities, which can be either familiar or master abilities….

Which is fine and makes sense. On p. 205:

Improved Familiar Attunement

…Your familiar gains an extra ability, and it gains an additional extra ability when you reach 6th, 12th, and 18th levels.

And on p. 210:

Enhanced Familiar

You infuse your familiar with additional magical energy. You can select four familiar or master abilities each day, instead of two.

Special If your arcane thesis is improved familiar attunement, your familiar’s base number of familiar abilities, before adding any extra abilities from the arcane thesis, is four.

Does having all these features restrict me to picking only familiar abilities, and not master abilities?