Q: Dear Sage,
If a duskblade scores a critical hit when channeling a spell through a melee attack, is the spell’s damage multiplied just like the weapon’s?
A: The rules aren’t as clear as they could be, but the Sage is inclined to say no. Here’s the key sentence, from the PHB II, page 20: “If the attack is successful, the attack deals damage normally; then the effect of the spell is resolved.”
If you score a critical hit, the attack deals the normal (critical) damage. Then the spell resolves normally, but it’s just a rider effect applied due to the successful attack roll—you’re not actually using the spell in the normal manner, so it can’t score a critical hit.
About the Author
The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.