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As the title, for example, will a +1 Short Sword do:

  • 1d6 piercing, 1 magic damage; or
  • 1d6+1 piercing magic damage?

If I'm not mistaken, it does matter when concerning resistances and such. I've tried to find clear wording for either case, and am having a bit of trouble. I'd love for a decent source for the answer as well.

Reading some replies, I think I may have misunderstood some things, as I'm playing currently in both a 3.5 and a Pathfinder game, and dealt with a Shadow in each. It seems like Incorporeal creatures actually work a little differently in each ruleset. Originally that is what I had in mind with this question (how damage works with incorporeal creatures, should have mentioned). Would the sword do all of 1d6+1 damage, half of it, just 1 damage...it seems like it varies between Pathfinder and 3.5.

From 3.5:

Incorporeal creatures can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, by magic weapons, or by spells, spell-like effects, or supernatural effects. They are immune to all nonmagical attack forms. They are not burned by normal fires, affected by natural cold, or harmed by mundane acids. Even when struck by magic or magic weapons, an incorporeal creature has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source—except for a force effect or damage dealt by a ghost touch weapon.

Pathfinder:

An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms. Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy).

This seems to indicate that such a weapon would do all damage, but have a 50% miss chance in 3.5, and do half damage without the miss chance in Pathfinder, as far as I understand?

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Related – Hey I Can Chan Mar 28 at 23:27
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I think I understand what you're asking, but I want to make sure: When you say concerning resistances and such what, exactly, do you mean? Do you mean damage reduction or something else? – Hey I Can Chan Mar 28 at 23:30
    
I suppose I mean more in the sense of fighting an incorporeal creature. In games I've played, they're immune to normal weapons, but take some damage from magic weapons, I believe. I normally play on Fantasy Grounds, which, has 'magic' as a damage type for descriptors for weapons and such along with 'piercing', 'fire', 'acid', 'slashing', etc. I think I've confused things a bit, as I'm playing currently in both a 3.5 and a Pathfinder game, and dealt with a Shadow in each. It seems like Incorporeal creatures actually work a little differently in each ruleset. – ArcaneHero-phant Mar 29 at 12:12
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The addition about magic items and incorporeal creatures should probably be a different question, but the answer is "yes". – minnmass Mar 30 at 3:17

A magic weapon has an enhancement bonus; the size of the bonus is listed in the name of the weapon (a +1 short sword has a +1 enhancement bonus, a +2 short sword has a +2 enhancement bonus, and so on). Specifically, this is an enhancement bonus to the attack rolls and damage rolls made with that weapon.

A bonus is just a number that you add onto another roll. The “enhancement” term indicates the type of the bonus; the only significance of the type is that bonuses of the same type don’t stack. For example, a +2 short sword must also be a masterwork short sword (since all magic weapons must be masterwork). Masterwork gives a +1 enhancement bonus to attack rolls (not to damage rolls), but since this is also an enhancement bonus, attack rolls with the weapon only get the higher of the +2 enhancement bonus from its magic and the +1 enhancement bonus from its being masterwork, that is, you only add +2 to your attack rolls when you swing it.

The enhancement bonus to damage rolls works the same way: it adds on to the existing roll. A +2 short sword adds +2 to the damage roll. This is added on to the weapon’s damage die (1d6, assuming a Medium short sword), as well as any other appropriate bonuses (e.g. the wielder’s Strength bonus). Again, it would not stack with any other enhancement bonuses to the damage roll, for example from a magic weapon spell cast upon the sword.

It doesn’t actually change the damage type at all; it is just adding a certain amount to the piercing damage that the short sword deals. “Magic damage” as such is not really a thing.

What you are thinking of is the ability to penetrate damage reduction listed as “DR X/magic,” or perhaps “DR X/magic-and-piercing,” as well as the ability to attack incorporeal creatures. The entire 1d6+2 (or more, from Strength or other bonuses) penetrates these sorts of damage reduction and can attack incoporeal foes, because the rules for damage reduction (D&D 3.5, Pathfinder) say:

Some monsters are vulnerable to magic weapons. Any weapon with at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls overcomes the damage reduction of these monsters.

And the rules for incorporeal (D&D 3.5, Pathfinder) state:

Incorporeal creatures can be harmed only [...] by magic weapons [...] Even when struck by magic or magic weapons, an incorporeal creature has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source—except for a force effect or damage dealt by a ghost touch weapon.

Here you can see that it isn’t that the magic weapon changes the type of damage dealt, it’s that the damage reduction and incorporeal properties themselves specify that if the weapon is magic (has at least a +1 enhancement bonus), the entire damage roll ignores the DR or incorporeality.

So when people, or even the rules, talk about “magic damage” or “magic piercing damage,” they’re really using a shorthand: the damage is “damage, that is being dealt by a magic weapon” or “piercing damage, that is being dealt by a magic weapon.”

The types of damage are bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing (collectively, “physical” damage, affected by damage reduction), acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic (collectively, “energy” damage, affected by energy resistance), and then more exotic things like force damage (magic missile, automatically hits incorporeal targets and generally exempt from resistance or immunity), untyped damage (the Complete Arcane warlock’s eldritch blast, also generally irresistible), vile damage (various effects in Book of Vile Darkness, cannot be healed), dessication damage (some effects in Sandstorm, can cause fatigue), and so on. The City Magic feat from Cityscape wins for the bizarrest entry here: it converts half a spell’s damage to “city” damage.

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Worth noting (in this comment at least, since it's tangential), that the Pathfinder incorporeal rules changed it from "50% chance to ignore damage" to "ignore 50% of damage". In other words, you always do half damage instead of either all or none. – Bobson Mar 29 at 22:59

In the d20 SRD entry on Damage Reduction:

Some monsters are vulnerable to magic weapons. Any weapon with at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls overcomes the damage reduction of these monsters.

It doesn't say the bonus overcomes DR, it says the weapon with the bonus overcomes DR. So, the whole damage of the weapon is able to bypass DR/magic.

Magic weapons can also harm incorporeal creatures:

It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as magic weapons, and spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. It is immune to all nonmagical attack forms.

From this, we can see that an attack with a magic weapon counts as a "magical attack form".

As you note, there has been a change between 3.5 and PF, in how incorporeal creatures are damaged by magic weapons.

d20SRD says:

Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for positive energy, negative energy, force effects such as magic missile, or attacks made with ghost touch weapons).

So you either do 1d6+1, or nothing.

d20PFSRD says:

Even when hit by spells or magic weapons, it takes only half damage from a corporeal source (except for channel energy).

So you do 1d6+1, halved.

(Note that a weapon with the Ghost Touch ability will do full damage to incorporeal targets, in both versions)

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There isn't anything in Pathfinder (that I'm aware of) called "magic damage". Magic weapons have an Enhancement bonus to their damage, but it's rolled into the weapon's damage the same way that a STR mod is.

A +1 Short Sword does 1d6+1 piercing damage. In addition, it is a magic weapon, so it bypasses DR X/magic. Similarly, it would bypass DR X/piercing.

Damage Reduction says:

For example, DR 5/magic means that a creature takes 5 less points of damage from all weapons that are not magic.

It's worth noting that only attacks that deal Piercing, Slashing, and/or Bludgeoning damage can be affected by DR. Falling doesn't specify a damage type, thus it is untyped damage, thus it ignores DR. Most spells ignore DR, too: they generally inflict typed energy damage (eg., Fireball causing fire damage) or untyped damage; this last kinds is the closest Pathfinder comes to "magic damage", but it isn't called that anywhere I'm aware of: it's simply untyped damage.

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'Magical Damage' does not exist

Except in the sense of a sentence, aka a 'magical' source of 'damage'.

For the purposes of DR/Magic, it is the source of the damage rather than the type that determines whether or not the DR applies.*

If struck by a sword with a spell on it that did 1 extra point of damage to the foe struck, and that foe had DR 50/Magic (and the nonmagical sword did less than 50 points of damage), that foe would take 1 point of damage;

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. A certain kind of weapon can sometimes damage the creature normally, as noted below.

Because the SPELL is what did that 1 point of damage. The spell is the source of that damage, and 'the creature takes normal damage from [...] spells'.

In the case of a magical weapon, that is 'a certain kind of weapon', and it is noted below;

Some monsters are vulnerable to magic weapons. Any weapon with at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls overcomes the damage reduction of these monsters. Such creatures’ natural weapons (but not their attacks with weapons) are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Overcomes, in this sense, means 'negates completely for that attack'. So you do not apply DR/Magic to the damage from a magical weapon (or from the natural weapon attacks of a creature with DR/Magic).

Incorporeal Subtype

This applies equally to incorporeal foes.

An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons

So the source of the damage is still what makes it able to harm the incorporeal creature. The damage is still Piercing or whatever, it doesn't change damage type.

Incorporeal creatures can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, by magic weapons, [..] Even when struck by magic or magic weapons, an incorporeal creature has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source—except for a force effect or damage dealt by a ghost touch weapon.

Source is still something that determines what happens. A Ghost Touch Shortsword still does slashing damage - just due to the wording of ghost touch and the incorporeal entry it does damage to incorporeal creatures.

--

*Although, of course, certain types of damage innately ignore all types of DR, such as Fire damage, Electricity, and so on.

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I'm not aware of any spells that just add damage to an attack. There are some that treat a weapon as a magical weapon for the duration of the spell, though. – Adeptus Mar 29 at 8:26
    
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@JackLesnie - That doesn't buff the weapon's damage, though - it adds to the wielder's. So it would just count as one more point of damage for potentially bypassing DR, but wouldn't pass it by itself. – Bobson Mar 29 at 23:31
    
A flaming torch is an example of an improvised weapon that deals 1 point of damage not reduced by DR... but it ain't a magical source of damage. – GMJoe Mar 29 at 23:33

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