Thin Air is a spell in the Frostburn book (pg. 105).

Bracers of the Entangling Blast is a magic item in the Magic Item Compendium (pg. 80)

The Bracers mention "damage" multiple times in its explanation text. Yet doesn't specify anything about type(s) of damage. I would have to assume the Bracers could be applied to spells that do various different types of damage (Fireball = HP Damage ... Thin Air = Stat Damage).

That all said, if the Bracers could be applied to stat-damage spells like Thin air, how exactly would the "half-damage" process of the Bracers apply to the rather odd stat damage distribution of the Thin Air spell? If you look at halving each attributes 1 damage allocation, you get 0.5 damage per attribute. Per 3.5's rules, that # would get rounded up to 1.

Also, how would the Bracers' "additional 1 point of damage per level of the spell each round" (for 1d3 rounds) mechanic work for Thin Air's distribution spread of 1 damage point to each of the 6 attributes?

Thanks for your time and attention!


The description of the bracers of the entangling blast (Magic Item Compendium 80) (2,000 gp; 1 lb.), in part, says that they

allow you [the wearer] to reduce the damage dealt by your magic to ensnare those affected by it. When you activate these bracers, the next spell you cast or spell-like ability you use deals only half its normal damage; however, any creature damaged by the spell becomes entangled for 1d3 rounds, taking an additional 1 point of damage per level of the spell each round on your turn. This damage is of the same type as normally dealt by the spell (or your choice if the spell deals more than one type of damage). These bracers have no effect on a spell or spell-like ability that doesn’t deal damage.

When the description says, "This damage is of the same type as normally dealt by the spell (or your choice if the spell deals more than one type of damage)," it's talking about damage types, and "[d]amage types include weapon damage (subdivided into bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing) and energy damage (positive, negative, acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic)" (Player's Handbook 307). Note that ability damage is not a damage type.

Into thin air

If the DM rules that when the bracers description says the wearer can employ its effects by causing "the next spell [he] cast[s to] deal… only half its normal damage" that it means also ability damage, half of each 1 point of ability damage dealt to each ability score by the 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell thin air [trans] (Frostburn 105) rounds down to no ability damage, and employing the bracers to modify the spell thin air causes the spell do nothing.

And if the DM rules that the when the bracers description says that the wearer can reduce the damage dealt that the description means damage dealt of a damage type—rather than damage read broadly so as to include ability damage—, employing the bracers to modify the spell thin air also causes the spell to do nothing: the spell deals no damage of any damage type (not even of type added by a later text like the ersatz damage type city that can be added to some spells via the metamagic feat City Magic (Cityscape 59-60)).

This reader suspects the bracers were written with spells like the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell burning hands [evoc] (PH 207) and the 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell lightning bolt [evoc] (PH 248) in mind—probably to give some poor evoker a modicum of battlefield control—, with which they work just fine. However, when used in conjunction with a spell like the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell chill touch [necro] (PH 209) or the aforementioned 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell thin air, things get messy. Ultimately, ask the DM how the bracers work in his campaign.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, HICC. Your examples were very helpful. That Damage Type section in Pg. 307 (PHB) is very helpful to clarify this issue. By the way, I noticed that in Pathfinder, they modified Damage Types to include Ability Damage as a special subcomponent. Labeling it as "Special Damage Types". At least according to the formatted core rules at D20PFSRD.com ... \$\endgroup\$ – Crai Jul 3 '17 at 20:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Crai You're welcome. I'm not surprised Pathfinder is even looser on ability damage than 3.5e (wherein at least its codified what happens sneak attack damage is used with weaponlike spells). Personally, I think that damage refers almost always to lethal damage and ability damage needs to be called out separately. (That is, in the same way that cover is different from total cover—I mean, no one'd ever claim to receive total cover when he receives just cover, yet saying damage can be ability damage is pretty common. That's my opinion, anyway. [Shrugs.]) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 3 '17 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thats probably because damage usually refers to hit point damage whereas ability damage is always specified as such as you can see on the spells chill touch, shivering touch and thin air for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor Jul 4 '17 at 13:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.