Defeating damage reduction
This ability is not a perfect protection as it is possible to still cause enough damage to overwhelm the ability, or bypasses it if certain conditions are met. Take note of these three caveats:
- Creatures with this ability will still take damage from:
- Providing the attack does at least some physical damage, this ability will not negate any of the following dealt along with an attack:
- Damage reduction does not affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or (touch) contact.
Damage reduction is written as "value/type" where the "value" is a numeric number stating up to how much damage can be ignored each time the creature is injured and "type" is the condition which can bypass the ability.
A creature with damage reduction 10/silver:
- is struck with a weapon for 5 points of damage.
- if the weapon is not made of silver, all the damage is completely ignored.
- If the weapon is made of silver, the creature receives the full 5 points of damage.
- is struck with a weapon for 17 points of damage.
- if the weapon is not made of silver, the creature receives 7 (17-10) points of damage.
- If the weapon is made of silver, the creature receives the full 17 points of damage.
There are numerous different conditions which damage reduction can be bypassed with:
- Weapon material:
- Alignment: Good, evil, lawful, chaotic etc. Usually this is not a specific alignment like chaotic neutral.
- Damage type: piercing, bludgeoning, or slashing damage etc.
- Magic: Any weapon with at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls. Such creatures’ natural weapons (but not their attacks with weapons) are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- Epic: Magic weapons with at least a +6 enhancement bonus. Such creatures’ natural weapons are also treated as epic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
- Multiple conditions:
- OR conditions: A few creatures are harmed by more than one kind of weapon. A weapon of either type overcomes this damage reduction.
- AND conditions: A weapon must be both types to overcome this damage reduction. A weapon that is only one type is still subject to damage reduction.
Some damage reduction has no bypass conditions. This is written using a dash: - (e.g. 5/-) and means it is always in effect. (See Damage Resistance).
Ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an enhancement bonus is treated as a magic or epic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Similarly, ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an alignment gains the alignment of that projectile weapon (in addition to any alignment it may already have).
Generally, If a creature has damage reduction from more than one source the two forms of damage reduction do not stack. Instead, the creature gets the benefit of the best damage reduction in a given situation. Exceptions are listed later below with their sources.
A creature with damage reduction 10/silver and 5/evil is struck with a weapon for 15 points of damage.
- if the weapon is neither made of silver nor evil-aligned, the creature receives 5 (15-10) points of damage.
- If the weapon is only evil-aligned, the creature still receives only 5 points of damage.
- If the weapon is only made of silver, the creature receives 10 (15-5)points of damage.
- if the weapon is made of silver and evil-aligned, the creature receives the full 15 points of damage.
Preventing additional attack effects
- Whenever damage reduction completely negates physical damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as:
- The below items are worth repeating here:
- Attacks that deal no damage because of the target’s damage reduction do not disrupt spells.
- Barbarians gain 1/- damage reduction at 7th level. At 10th level, and every three barbarian levels thereafter (13th, 16th, and 19th level), this damage reduction rises by 1 point. At 28th level the final value is 8/-. Barbarian damage reduction stacks with Greater Resiliency and Epic Damage Reduction.
- Monks gains 10/magic damage reduction at 20th level.
- Warlocks gain 1/cold iron damage reduction at 3rd level. At 7th level, and every four warlock levels thereafter (11th, 15th, and 19th level), this damage reduction rises by 1 point. At 27th level the final value is 7/cold iron. Warlock cold iron damage reduction stacks with Fey Skin.
- Dwarven defenders gains 3/- damage reduction at 6th level. At 10th level, this damage reduction rises to 6/–. Dwarven defender damage reduction stacks with Epic Damage Reduction.
- Divine champions gain the divine wrath 1/day at 5th level. When active, this feature provide 5/- damage reduction for a number of rounds equal to her charisma modifier (minimum 1 round).
- Favored Souls gain 10/cold iron (chaotic aligned) or 10/silver (lawful aligned) damage reduction at 20th level. If chaotic aligned, their cold iron damage reduction stacks with fey skin and Spirit Shaman's Spirit Who Walks.
- Spirit Shamans gain 5/cold iron at 20th level. This damage reduction stacks with fey skin and chaotic aligned Favored Souls.
- The Fey Skin feat provides up to 5/cold iron (1 for each Fey Heritage feat taken). It stacks with classes as indicated above.
- The Greater Resiliency feat adds 1/- damage reduction. Greater Resiliency stacks with Barbarian damage reduction (a prerequisite for this feat, obtained at barbarian level 7) and Epic Damage Reduction.
- The feat Epic Damage Reduction adds 3/- damage reduction. It can be selected up to three times and stacks with itself as well as classes indicated above.
- A monk's ki strike feature grants their unarmed attack enhancements to meet some damage reduction conditions. At 4th level their unarmed attacks are treated as magic weapons, at 10th level they are treated as lawful and at 16th level they are treated as adamantine. Each upgrade does not replace the previous effect so at 16th level a monk's unarmed attack count as a magical, law-aligned adamantine weapon.
- Spells may temporarily enhance attacks to meet the conditions of damage reduction, while weapons also provide more permanent methods.
- NWN's implementation of damage reduction only required a specific magic enchantment (e.g. +1 or +7 etc) to bypass damage reduction. This also included basic bonuses to-hit or damage not from enhancement (which provides both to-hit and damage bonuses).