In the middle of combat, one of your players, the Barbarian, “Would like to rage”. Great! So now they get a whole slew of bonuses, one of them being resistance to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage. But…
What exactly does this mean?
In this article I will briefly explain:
- Damage Type Overview
- Resistance, Vulnerability, and Immunity
- Damage Types + Examples
D&D 5e Damage Types Overview
In total, there are 13 different types of damage in Dungeons and Dragons 5e:
For the sake of remembering everything I like to split these damage types into a few groups based on similarities:
- Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning
- Poison and Acid
- Fire vs. Cold
- Radiant vs. Necrotic
- Lightning and Thunder
- Force and Psychic
D&D 5e Damage Types: Resistance, Vulnerability, and Immunity
Certain monsters or characters may have abilities which make them resistant to fire damage or vulnerable to acid damage, for example. Each of these essentially acts as a modifier to the total damage taken by that specific type of damage. If multiple types of damage are done, the damage modifier is only applied to the relevant damage rather than the total.
Resistance: The target takes half damage
Vulnerability: The target takes double damage
Immunity: The target takes zero damage
D&D 5e Damage Types and Examples
Description: Imagine this as any type of cut, gash, or – if you’re feeling extra fancy – laceration.
Example: A longsword and a greataxe inflict slashing damage.
Description: A big ole’ hole being poked in you from a sharp and pointy object.
Example: An arrow and a spear inflict piercing damage.
Description: Straight up just getting smacked by something hard.
Example: A club, a quarterstaff, and falling on your face all deal bludgeoning damage.
Knowledge is power: In DnD 5e, you take 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10ft of falling.
Description: A toxic substance that is “ingested” and causes harm to the body.
Example: A giant scorpion’s attack and the spell Poison Spray inflict poison damage.
Knowledge is power: It is worth pointing out the difference between poison and venom! For D&D 5e damage types there is not a distinction between poison and venom. In reality, these are both toxic substances which can cause harm or death. The difference lies in the method of delivery. Poison is “ingested” (swallowing, inhaling, or absorbing through the skin), while venom is directly injected (snake bite, bee sting).
Description: Not the good kind… Simply put: An excess of H+ ions in a solution. This causes intense burning and stinging and can corrode through certain materials if strong enough.
Example: A flask of acid and a black pudding inflict acid damage.
Description: Fire bad. Hot. Hurt. Fire damage should be fairly self explanatory, however if you are truly unsure feel free to hold your hands near a flame.
Example: The spells Burning Hands, Fire Bolt, and Fireball all deal fire damage.
Description: Frigid pain leading to potential numbness caused by temperatures approaching zero Kelvin.
Example: Ray of Frost, Armor of Agathys, and Cone of Cold are all spells inflicting cold type damage.
Description: A divine smiting from the highest heavens. I typically think of how the sun sears the skin of a vampire.
Example: Spells that inflict radiant damage include: Sacred Flame and Moonbeam.
Description: I think of this as the destruction of ‘life force’. Death, decay, rotting, and corruption. Smells like the geriatrics ward.
Example: Inflict Wounds and Vampiric Touch deal necrotic damage.
Description: Lightning damage is caused by a high voltage of electricity (approx. 1.21 jiggawatts).
Example: Lightning Bolt and Shocking Grasp inflict lightning damage.
Description: Percussive noise that is loud enough to cause damage. It’s like standing next to the speaker at a concert.
Example: Thunderwave and Shatter both inflict thunder damage.
Description: A raw form of magical energy that hits targets like a brick wall.
Example: Eldritch Blast and Magic Missile are two common spells inflicting force damage.
Description: Telepathic abilities inflicting massive damage to the mind.
Example: A mind flayer and the spell Vicious Mockery inflict psychic damage.
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I hope you found this article helpful! If so, please be sure to share with any fellow Dungeon Masters that would find it useful. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, reach out to me (email@example.com)!
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