Last updated on January 22, 2023
I don't know if there is any D&D campaign that managed to avoid combat entirely. That would be pretty crazy, right?
Combat is one of the three pillars of gameplay, so it's fairly common.
I'm pretty sure most of us would like to get out of combat alive. Understandingdamage typesand the many ways creatures and characters can relate to them is key to making sure you're not forcing your allies to cast Revive after every fight.
In this article, we'll give you an overview of resistances, immunities, and vulnerabilities, along with a discussion of their frequency and how you can plan for them as a player or DM.
Table of contents
What is damage resistance in DnD 5e?
Resistance to a damage type means you take half damage when you are hit by damage of that type. You can gain resistance to a damage type, a damage source, or a specific damage case. As always in 5e, if you divide the damage by 2, you round up.
Damage Resistance is calculated after all other modifiers have been applied. That is, any additional damage bonuses beyond rolling the dice. Also, resistances to a specific damage do not stack.
Maybe as a dwarf you have a resistance to poison damage. Drinking a potion of poison resistance does not give you any additional benefits. This damage isn't halved and then halved again, and you certainly won't gain immunity.
Damage resistances are one of the most common relationships to damage that we will encounter in 5e. Many creatures, especially those with higher CR, have at least one damage resistance in their stat block. Of course, as a player character, there are also many ways to pick up resistance.
Some races, such as dwarfs and tieflings, have resistances due to their racial traits. However, most resistances will come from a class feature.
One of the best out there is the 3rd level bear totem ability from the path of the totem warrior barbarian. Incredibly early, this feature arouses resistanceatdamage other than psychic. Crazy? Perhaps. Great? Definitive.
What is damage immunity in 5e?
Damage immunity means you don't take damage of a certain type. Although this is not defined anywhere in the 5e sourcebooks, for clarity we use the dictionary definition by default. I also follow the wise advice of Jeremy CrawfordHere.
Immunity is quite interesting as there is no official 5e definition. It's shocking we don't get any considering it's everywhere. Immunity, like the other damage modifiers, isn't just limited to creatures and players.
You can find immunity to magic strongholds, ships, items, and basically anything you can damage. So... everything.
Damage immunity is a mechanic that is extremely absolute. Immunity to fire damage means you don't take fire damage, end of story. Magic fire, flaming swords, lava; No matter what flame damage comes your way, you'll be fine. If you can get your hands on this, even temporarily, it's a game changer.
There is also mention of condition immunities. while this isseparatedfrom damage, it's worth talking about a bit while we're on the subject. Condition immunities hypothetically work the same way. Again, there isn't a standardized definition floating around in our source books, so it's really up to DM's discretion.
In any case, immunity to a disease prevents any side effects you might normally get. Because of this, there will be times when immunity to poison conditions is said to save you from a coupled damage, even if it's not a damage type you're immune to.
I mention this because the line between condition and damage can sometimes be blurred. If it's part of a suffocating vinereservedCondition means you would take 2d6 bludgeoning damage and you are immune to bludgeoning damage, you take no damage.
This doesn't mean you're not still fixated, unless you also have fixation immunity.
The paragraph above may seem complicated.
The basics are that immunity to a condition translates into immunity to a condition's damage, while immunity to a damage type doesn't always mean immunity to the damaging condition.
A situation where this is common with poison, since poison is both a damage type and a condition. If you are immune to one, you are usually immune to the other as well. If not, pay close attention to what situation is happening to you.
Note that the wording is usually different: "You take x points of poison damage" sounds different than "You are now poisoned".
What is damage vulnerability in 5e?
Being vulnerable to a damage type means you take double damage when hit by it. If there is ever a situation where you have resistance and vulnerability to one damage type, then calculate resistance before vulnerability. This can sometimes save you a point of damage.
As the opposite of damage resistances, weak spots are either amazing or goddamn. It all depends if it's you or your enemy. One thing that needs to be made very clear is that the doubling effect is applied after all other modifiers.
Ofdo notdouble the number of dice rolled. The confusion makes sense, we double the number of dice we roll when we get a critical hit.
Exactly why we're doubling crit dice and doubling weak point damage probably has a lot to do with game theory that I'm not aware of. However, the mentioned bit about calculating weak spots by resistances is reason enough for me.
Now you might be thinking how someone could be vulnerable and resistant to the same source of damage. Well, you could gain a resistance or vulnerability from a potion or magical effect, effectively canceling the two if you already had the opposite of a racial or class trait.
However, there is an alternative. The damage could be of two types at once. More on that in the next section.
Immunity to Poison
If you come across a feature that grants "Immunity to Poison" without specifying the condition or damage, it grants immunity to both. This is most commonly addressed with the 10th level monk trait Purity of Body.
While magic damage isn't a "type" of damage per se, it is a quality that can have damage. It is also something both player characters and creatures can have resistance, vulnerability, or immunity to. The same goes for nonmagical damage.
This type of bonus damage quality is the source of most cases where a target has conflicting resistances and vulnerabilities. Let's say my barbarian has resistance to club damage while rampaging, but is afflicted with a disease that makes him vulnerable to magic damage.
If they get hit with a magic hammer and deal 2d6+3 magic club damage, we're puzzled.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to solve. We calculate raw damage first, let's say it averages out to 11. Then we calculate resistance to bludgeons first, halve it, and round down to 5. Next, we take into account the vulnerability to magic damage, which ends up being 10 total damage coming our way.
As you can see, we lost a point of damage there. But what about immunity? It's actually quite simple, because immunity just tells us that we won't take any damage.
We encounter many higher level fiends, elementals, and even undead that have resistance to nonmagicalClub, stab, and slash damage. The solution for a combat character is to pick up a magic weapon or have your caster enchant one of your weapons with itmagic weapon.
Unique damage resistances/immunities/vulnerabilities
Much like magical or nonmagical attacks, some creatures even have extremely specific relationships with damage types. One such creature is the Jabberwock from The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. It is vulnerable to slashing damage dealt specifically by aVorpal Sword.
Here are some other rare instances that are basically just for fun and not essential to your battle preparation.
Penetrating magical weapons wielded by good creatures - This can be found in Rakshasas, humanoid fiends with tiger heads.
Stab, Club, and Slam damage that isn't silvered - A fairly sizable group of fiends, some undead, and even Hellfire Engines have built up a strong resistance to the physical damage, but haven't figured out how to get around silver.
Stab, bludgeon, and slash damage that isn't unrelenting - If you want to hurt gargoyles and living statues,You will need a diamond weapon. Maybe call Wolverine? (I know it's Adamantium in Marvel, let me loosen a little)
The above resistances - if something is strong enough it may be immune to non-silver or non-diamond weapons, beware.
Club, pierce, and slash with metal weapons – The Lava Children are like nightmarish versions of the Heat Master's minions, and they don't care for metal at all. They can walk through metal doors as if they weren't there, perform attacks against metal armor with advantage, and obviously are immune to metal weapons.
What are the most common resistors in 5e?
Being prepared for battle means knowing what odds you will be up against. While the detailed answer is a bit more nuanced, cold, fire, lightning, and poison damage are the types your enemies are most likely to resist.
DISCLAIMER:Everything we discuss in this section assumes that the creatures are chosen at random and that you have an equal chance of dealing with each enemy.
This should be considered with the utmost caution, since the enemies we face are not only chosen by our DM, but also by the settings we are in.
An urban campaign will see a very different set of enemies than a set in the Underdark. Keep that in mind as you read on.
Below is a splendid list. It is a list of all damage types, including the "type" of nonmagical club, slam, and piercing attacks, with a count of all resistances, immunities, and vulnerabilities present in 5e creatures. Look no further, this is the main list if you want to know how common resistance is.
|type of damage||Resistance||immunity||vulnerability|
|Nonmagical bludgeon, slam, pierce||198||50||0|
For those of you who are a little more visual, here's a nice little chart I put together to compare all of that data. Remember, poison immunity goesAwaygoing beyond the limits of this chart and if the chart were to rise to 531 we would have little chance of spotting weakness.
All of this tells us that we're painting a really good picture of which types of damage to avoid and which to stock up on. Thunder, Psychic, and Violence will be your most reliable damage forms out there. They also do pretty well with the physical damage types as long as they're magical.
What we're seeing here is actually pretty balanced depending on what types of damage we're dishing out. Most stronger spells are resisted more often. That's why there are subclasses like the Soulknife rogue who always has onemental damageDealing Blade ready to go sind so begehrt.
Another great class for bypassing damage vulnerabilities, possibly the best, is the Order of Scribes Wizard. With their second level feature, Awakened Spellbook, they can temporarily replace a spell's damage type with a type that appears in another spell in your spellbook.
This means you are able to cast wildly powerful spellslike fireball with a damage type that isn't just deflected by an adult dragon.
What are the best resistances?
The best types of damage to have resistances to are fire, poison, andthe physical damage types. These explain the most common types of damage dealt by creatures and spells that any rival spellcaster might throw at you.
While resistance to these types of damage produces the best results, resistance to all damage is useful. As a DM, it's important to throw a good mix of enemies at your player's characters so they get a chance to see the value of their potential resistances.
There is a delicate balance to be struck between giving in to a character's resistances and avoiding them all together. Use your intuition.
How to get resistors in 5e
You can gain resistances from racial or class traits, magic items, or even some spells. Below are some common or impressive sources to find resistance.
Keep in mind that this is far from an all-inclusive list, but we may have one in stock so check back soon or keep an eye out for a link below.
- Water Genasi - Acid resistance as a racial trait.
- Dragonborn - Draconic Ancestry offers a resistance with a matching breath weapon; all kinds except bludgeon, stab, and slash
- Tiefling – Infernal Resistance provides resistance to fire damage
- Dwarf - Dwarven Resistance provides resistance to poison damage and condition
- Triton - Guardians of the Depths provides cold resistance
- Rage – 2nd level barbarian class feature
- Avatar of Battle – War Domain Cleric ability at level 17; only applies to nonmagical damage
- Fiendish Resilience - 10th level Warlock ability of the Fiend Patron; Choose resistance at the end of a short or long pause; magical andsilvered weaponsIgnore the resistance
- Elemental Affinity – 6th level caster of the draconic bloodline; Acid, Lightning, Fire, Poison, or Cold
- Transmuter's Stone - School of Transmutation Wizard 6th level ability; acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage; selected every time you use the ability
- fake death– 3rd level necromancy; all but psychic
- Hallo –5th level evocation; optional effect; a resistance of any kind other than club, gore, or slash
- protection from energy– 3rd level summon; one of acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder
- Wish– 9th level summon; Up to ten creatures gain resistance
- Steinhaut– 4th level summon; only applies to nonmagical damage
- wind walk -6th level transmutation; all non-magical weapons
Many of these have additional effects.
- Resistance Potion (Uncommon) – Provides a specified resistance for 1 hour
- Armor of Invulnerability (Legendary) - Resistance to nonmagical damage
- Brooch of Shielding (Uncommon) – Resistance to violent damage
- Lifewell Tattoo (Very Rare) – Resistance to Necrotic damage
- About the author
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Scott Lucaro(Expert Contributor // Editor)
As a child, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and stop living in a fantasy world. That never really suited me, so I decided to make a living with games, stories and all kinds of fantastic works. Now, as an adult, I want to remind people that sometimes a little imagination is all it takes when life gets too much.