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So, I've referenced the SRD and other RPG Stack Exchange questions on this, and can't find a definitive answer.

The SRD entry for Damage Reduction speaks only of weapons (using the word weapon 32 times, plus a number of weapon-exclusive mentions as well), saying that spells, supernatural abilities, etc. ignore DR.

In light of this, how does damage reduction work for a Wall of Thorns cast on/around creatures with DR 10/cold iron and good? Our group is divided and the DM remains uncertain of how to treat my actions.

The thorns deal slashing damage per the spell, but this is neither a weapon nor natural attack — it comes from magical (mundane-fire proof, materialized out of thin air, etc.) thorns.

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Only Complete Psionic tries to modify generally how damage reduction works regarding effects that are neither weapons and natural attacks: "Any damage-dealing metacreativity power that specifies piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage does not automatically overcome a creature’s damage reduction" (79). (This rule, like much of Complete Psionic, is often ignored.)

In all other cases, damage reduction just doesn't apply against spell effects (or similar effects) even if the damage is called out as being bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing. Damage reduction also doesn't apply to a lot of other things, too. Damage reduction only reduces damage from weapons and natural attacks. (Note that Pathfinder changes this, so there may be some confusion among those more familiar with 3.5e's later iteration.)

Thus the game would have the damage dealt by the 5th-level druid spell wall of thorns [conj] (PH 300) be unaffected by a creature's damage reduction.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. The DM of my current campaign hates my Planar Shepherd, however, so he dug up the Complete Psionics rule and ran with it ;). \$\endgroup\$
    – Alphaeus
    Nov 29, 2017 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alphaeus You're welcome. (And, to be fair, the prestige class planar shepherd is a druid-plus prestige class, taking what's already the game's most powerful class and making it even more powerful. If the DM's only limiting your shepherd by house ruling that CP's modification to DR apply generally… well, this DM thinks you're getting off easy. :-) If I may ask, what plane are you shepherding?) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2017 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the DM is doing other things at will (I -- NE -- and another evil player both agree he's meta-gaming a bit since we are the two most powerful players. Other char is a True Necromancer with Undead Leadership). One big thing for me that he's doing is drastically limiting my Animal Companion choices as well as overruling the abilities of certain forms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alphaeus
    Nov 29, 2017 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ That said, I'm still powerful. I'm attuned to the Abyss because, IMO, the Abyss and Mechanus (only because of Modrons, specifically the ridiculous Secundus at 18HD) are the best planes in terms of power. The Abyss just has such a myriad of forms that make it a superb option, and it has remarkable high-end scaling (mainly due to the Demon Lords, which are not true gods per the FC1 and therefore viable forms). With the "infinite layers" by reading the errata you can further reason many more creatures existing there with Fiendish (or similar) templates. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alphaeus
    Nov 29, 2017 at 18:13

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