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Being new to D&D, I'm very intrigued with damage reduction. Creating a new level 1 fighter, I'm trying to acquire damage reduction, but have been unable to find a way to do it at first level, or a shortest path.

What is the quickest way to gain damage reduction from a character-creation and development standpoint?

EDIT: I believe we're only using the Core, and Advanced Pathfinder books. Other credible sources would probably be acceptable, however.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

A barbarian can get DR early, at second level, by taking the "Invulnerable Rager" archetype from the APG.

A monk can get DR at level 13 if taking the Drunken Master archetype or level 9 if taking the Monk of the Sacred Mountain archetype.

Sadly there is no archetype to give actual fighters DR early; there are a variety of types but it's all at 19th level.

If you are from Irrisen you could take the "Fey Foundling" local feat which gives DR 1/cold iron; that applies to any class.

Anyone can gain DR at any level with a level 12 bard with the Savage Skald archetype singing at 'em. Or by wearing adamantine armor.

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Where'd you find a Fey Foundling that gives DR 1/cold iron? The Fey Foundling in the Inner Sea World Guide, according to, gives a minor vulnerability to cold iron, not resistance to non-cold-iron, and then boosts incoming healing. – Matthew Najmon Mar 1 '15 at 13:28

In Pathfinder, the Fighter gains DR 5/- at 19th level when wearing armor or using a shield. If you want DR sooner, you might consider foregoing Fighter in favor of Barbarian. (Their DR starts at 7th level (DR 1/-), and goes up to DR 5/- at level 19.) A Barbarian can also increase his damage reduction by selecting the Increased Damage Reduction rage power.

Edit: Also, a Summoner's Eidolon (summoned pet) can gain up to DR 10. At level 16, the summoner can merge and be protected by the Eidolon; at level 20, the summoner can also gain this power by becoming a double of his Eidolon. I'm not sure if this is appropriate for a fighter character; but, I thought it was worth mentioning.

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I think the quickest way for your fighter to gain DR, is with Adamantine Armor. Anything else is only going to be at a much later level.

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Level 1. There are several ways of doing this:


Some few player-character races have or can purchase via racial feats some small amount of damage reduction. The variant trait tables for Aasimar and Tieflings also have a small chance of granting alignment based DR.


haunted fey aspect is a level 0 spell that grants DR. You can gain access to this spell as a fighter via race, as above, or via the 'Magical Talent' magic trait. Certain other traits also grant access to sources of DR, and there may be a trait somewhere that grants DR directly, but there is certainly not one in the sources you list, and I don't know of any.

Magic Items

Many spells, like Iron Body, grant DR. Magic items that replicate those spells on an at-will or continual basis are therefore sources of DR. Some specific magic items, like the Hero's Hauberk, also grant DR. While effective, most of these are too expensive to purchase at level one, even with the 1800 gp you can potentially start with.

Mundane Gear

Some mundane equipment, most notably Adamantine armor, grants DR.

In Conclusion

Race is probably the best option if you want this to be a core feature of your character at as low a level as possible. Gargoyles are probably the best choices for this, especially if you can apply the gemstone gargoyle template.

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