Eldritch Smite: Can you decide whether the enemy goes prone or do they always go prone?


Once per turn when you hit a creature with your pact weapon, you can expend a warlock spell slot to deal an extra 1d8 force damage to the target, plus another 1d8 per level of the spell slot, and you can knock the target prone if it is Huge or smaller.

Since it says "can knock the target prone." I assumed it was optional, (though you wouldn’t have much reason not to if in melee, within 5 ft.)

Can a paladin use the Divine Smite feature with a thrown weapon?

A paladin’s divine smite says (PHB. 85), “…when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack…”, which I’m seeing two ways to interpret.

  1. “A melee attack with a weapon”, so as long as it’s a melee attack and you’re using a weapon smite away.

  2. “An attack with a melee weapon”, is where things get odd. Under (PHB. 149), “Simple Melee Weapons”, includes spears which have the Thrown property. Thrown states (PHB. 147), “…you can throw the weapon to make a ranged attack. If the weapon is a melee weapon…”, so even while being thrown it is still a, “melee weapon”

Since it would be easy to house rule this (Rule of Cool: Smiting with a spear sounds neat) I’d like an answer that either references word of god or provides a convincing argument that this type of reading applied to other parts of the rules results in absurdities.

Improved Divine Smite Differentiation

Improved Divine Smite (PHB, p. 85) says in part:

… Whenever you hit a creature with a melee weapon, the creature takes an extra 1d8 radiant damage. If you also use your Divine Smite with an attack, you add this damage to the extra damage of your Divine Smite

Emphasis to show the part I’m focusing on.

So it was my understanding that Improved Divine Smite deals an extra 1d8 Radiant damage whenever I swing on a creature with a Melee weapon and hit them, no matter what else I’m adding to the weapon attack (such as Searing Smite, Divine Smite, poison I put on my sword before combat, etc). This definition makes a purpose of differentiating what happens if I also use Divine Smite with my attack.

I am more than likely confused or reading too far into the definition but I’d like to know why the book is making such a differentiation. What is it saying? That if I make a weapon attack without Divine Smite, the extra (non magical?) 1d8 radiant is added to the weapon damage, but if I do include a Divine Smite on the end, then the extra (now magical?) 1d8 radiant is added to the smite damage instead?

Does that change anything at all? Is this differentiation important to some sort of tactic or resistance I’m not considering?

Could a Paladin use the Divine Smite ability on a disarm attack?

The Oath of Redemption Paladin that I DM for has asked me for clarification on disarming rules. I’ve decided to use the optional rules from page 271 of the DMG, which state:

Disarm
A creature can use a weapon attack to knock a weapon or another item from a target’s grasp. The attacker makes an attack roll contested by the target’s Athletics or Acrobatics check. If the attacker wins the contest the attack causes no damage or other ill effect, but the defender drops the item.

However, I am wondering if he would be able to activate his Divine Smite on that disarm.

Divine Smite
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.

Technically the Paladin has hit the target with a melee weapon attack which leads me to want to rule yes. The disarm rules do state that the attack causes no damage or other ill effects, but the Divine Smite wouldn’t be strictly part of that attack. I feel like I am leaning towards allowing Divine Smite to work after a successful Disarm, but wanted to see if there is any precedent for something like this as I have found no specific rulings to this question anywhere.

Can multiple castings of Glyph of Warding be used to activate multiple “Smite” spells on the same triggering attack?

Suppose a character has cast multiple Glyph of Warding spells, each with a different "Smite" spell (such as Searing Smite and Thunderous Smite). Assume the character somehow has access to all these spells and the necessary material resources. Each glyph is set to trigger at the character’s next successful melee weapon attack.

When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast.

Each "Smite" spell requires concentration, and has a target of "self", so the character specifies their self as the target when they create the glyphs. Each "Smite" spell also has an on-hit effect that can occur during the spell’s duration, triggered by a successful melee weapon attack.

For example, the character has one glyph set to activate Searing Smite, and another glyph set to activate Wrathful Smite.

Searing Smite:

The next time you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack during the spell’s duration… the attack deals an extra 1d6 fire damage to the target…

Wrathful Smite:

The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack during this spell’s duration, your attack deals an extra 1d6 psychic damage…

Upon the character’s next successful weapon attack, all the glyphs activate. Since the duration of each "Smite" spell begins on this weapon attack, can the character use this same attack to activate the on-hit effects of each spell? (In the above example, that would mean adding +1d6 fire and +1d6 psychic damage to the weapon’s damage roll.)

Or does only one spell effect occur, because they all require concentration and their durations would overlap?

Or do none of the on-hit effects occur, because the spell’s duration began after the weapon attack?

Is there an upper limit to the damage that Eldritch Smite can deal?

The Eldritch Invocation "Eldritch Smite" says the following:

Eldritch Smite

Prerequisite: 5th level, Pact of the Blade feature

Once per turn when you hit a creature with your pact weapon, you can expend a warlock spell slot to deal an extra 1d8 force damage to the target, plus another 1d8 per level of the spell slot, and you can knock the target prone if it is Huge or smaller.

Unlike a paladin’s Divine Smite, which says "to a maximum of 5d8", Eldritch Smite says no such thing, so does that mean that a Warlock 5/Sorcerer 15 can use an 8th level spell slot to deal 9d8 damage using Eldritch Smite?


Related: What is the damage dealt by Eldritch Smite?

What is the damage dealt by Eldritch Smite?

Eldritch Smite is an Eldritch Invocation for Warlocks similar to the Divine Smite feature from Paladins. It is available in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and states

Once per turn when you hit a creature with your pact weapon, you can expend a warlock spell slot to deal an extra 1d8 force damage to the target, plus another 1d8 per level of the spell slot, and you can knock the target prone if it is Huge or smaller.

So, let us say a 5th level Warlock (single class) uses its 3rd level spell slot to proc Eldritch Smite on an enemy they hit.

What damage do they roll?

I am asking this because a Warlock that I have been playing with recently (we are running Dungeon of the Mad Mage) has been rolling 3d8, but my reading is that it should be 4d8.

To be clear on the reasoning, these are the two interpretations clashing:

  1. Casting it as 1st level is 1d8, and any extra level is +1d8. This gives 3d8.
  2. Casting it naturally deals 1d8, independent of spell slot. Then another (level)d8 dice from the spell slot. This gives 4d8.

Ultimately I find the wording confusing. The first interpretation is in line with how spells are usually described, but the second is what I understood when reading it. I figured I would ask before telling the other player he has been rolling wrong for weeks (and maybe being wrong myself when doing so).

For comparison, Divine Smite is way more precise in its wording:

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 be clear on my expectations on the answers: either a compelling and careful argument on the reading, or any further clarification from any official source, even as simple as an example of damage calculation where it is clear which damage was rolled.


Related: This answer seems to be using my interpretation in its math, as well as this. This answer also seems to be using the second interpretation (4th level spell slot = 5d8 damage). Finally, this question also assumes the second interpretation.

How does removing crit damage for divine smite and sneak attack affect balance?

At my table, there is a house rule that divine smite and sneak attack do not recieve critical hit bonuses.

I’m worried this would heavily affect the balance of the game and am trying to petition for going back to the core rules. But the DM and a couple players believe that that would be too OP.

This is a continuation of a previous question.

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).

What is the break even point for using a level 1 spell slot for Divine Favor rather than for Divine Smite?

Divine Favor (from a level 1 spell slot) lasts for up to 10 rounds, and on a hit does 1d4 radiant damage.
On a critical hit it adds 2d4 radiant damage.
Divine Smite (from a level 1 spell slot) is good for 1 hit, but does 2d8 radiant damage.
If the hit was critical it does 4d8 radiant damage.

Assumption 1: Combat lasts from 3-6 rounds

Why? a. That’s how long it tends to last with this particular group
b. For a two round fight divine smite is without question the better choice.

Case 1: hit Armor Class 14
Case 2: hit armor class 16

While I can see Divine Favor being a good use of a level 1 slot once the Paladin has two attacks per Attack Action at level 5, I am trying to nail down (in tier 1 play) how many rounds the combat needs to last for Divine Favor to be the better choice for a level one spell slot.

Assumption: the paladin does not fail the concentration save if hit during this combat.

That’s to keep the question with a tight scope, but as I discuss this with my paladin player a separate risk assessment needs to be made vis a vis loss of concentration.

Assumption 3: single class paladin, level 2, 3 or 4.

My back-of-the-napkin-math says “4 rounds” but I may not be setting the problem up correctly.

How many rounds does combat have to last to make divine favor the best choice?

My instinct is that agaisnt one big monster, use divine smite to nova the monster down; against a mob of small creatures use divine favor to whittle down a lot of targets – but that is a separate question/problem.