I have a character playing a multiclass Barbarian/Monk. Does the resistance from rage combine with Deflect Missiles to negate the damage and make the reaction attack?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage Can you explain what is insufficient about the existing answers that motivated you to post your bounty? The "reputable source" reason in bounty itself isn't really specific enough. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson lack of citation for "However, resistance acts last" and that the answer by ogtrapcard seems worth exploring \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 0:22

5 Answers 5


Yes, they combine...

Barbarian Rage (PHB p.48) uses the Resistance mechanic (PHB p.197), while the monk's Deflect Missiles ability (PHB p.78) uses a flat (if dice-based) damage reduction. So the two can both work to reduce the amount of incoming damage.

... but probably not well enough for the reaction attack.

However, resistance acts last (PHB p.197):

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage.

So assuming you're hit for 20 damage, you're not resisting it down to 10 and then trying to deflect the 10, which is doable; you're trying to deflect the 20, which is less so, and then resisting whatever's left down to half of itself. If you don't cut it to zero with the first step, you won't with the second, because the only number that gives you zero when you halve it is already zero.

(Arguably, if you reduced the damage to 1, resistance would then reduce that to 1/2 which does round down to 0, which could be interpreted as "reducing the damage to zero" depending on your DM. But this already requires you to miss it by only one point, so it's a pretty slim edge case.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage Edited to address the perceived lack of citations. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for fixing that issue (and Exempt-medic for the assist), I'm not sure I agree but this is currently the most comprehensive answer here (and that was my original bounty reason) I'm heavily leaning towards it. My only slight reservation is that the Monk's reduction to the damage, isn't s 'modifier' which seems to occurs when the damage is rolled, as per dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/combat#DamageRolls (I'll probably assign to this answer anyway) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 10:56

Yes, but ...

The reduction from the monk feature is applied first; then the barbarian resistance is applied. So, if you reduce the damage to 0 you can catch and use the missile but if the damage becomes 0 from 1 using barbarian resistance, you can’t.

This is because deflect missiles is triggered by being hit while barbarian resistance happens when you take damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ although I would say it would be awesome to see a barbarian pull an arrow out of his side and then throw it back. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 4:41

Damage reduction is applied before damage resistance

Damage Resistance and Vulnerability (PHB p. 197) says:

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage.

XGE p. 5 reiterates this, explicitly enumerating the order of operations for damage calculation:

Here's the order that you apply modifiers to damage: [...] (2) any addition or subtraction to the damage, (3) one relevant damage resistance [...]

Ordering of events

Whether getting hit and taking damage are simultaneous events appears to be disputed. Does this override the above ordering in this case?

My position is no. In order to override the above ordering and put the damage reduction after the damage resistance, the damage reduction would have to occur strictly after the damage is applied. This would mean that Deflect Missiles retroactively reduces the damage dealt, which I see as a less natural reading as it introduces a new and unnecessary encroachment on causality.

Furthermore, the consensus on this question is that the trigger of Deflect Missiles occurs strictly before the damage is determined, in which case there is no reason to delay the damage reduction until after the damage is dealt.

Rounding 1 damage down to 0 using resistance allows throwing back

This has been discussed in other answers. My position is that this indeed works, because Deflect Missiles says "If you reduce the damage to 0" rather than something like "If this [Deflect Missiles] reduces the damage to 0".


They both happen, deflection first, but they don't combine.

The basic rules on damage resistance say (emphasis mine):

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage. For example, a creature has resistance to bludgeoning damage and is hit by an attack that deals 25 bludgeoning damage. The creature is also within a magical aura that reduces all damage by 5. The 25 damage is first reduced by 5 and then halved, so the creature takes 10 damage.

The example there is very explicit, and that's exactly how deflect missiles

[...] you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level.

If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition you just caught, as part of the same reaction

will interact with rage

You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

  • Step 1: While in a rage, the barbarian-monk is hit by a ranged weapon attack and damage is rolled.
  • Step 2 (optional): If the raging monk chooses to use his reaction to deflect the missile, rolling 1d10 + his dexterity modifier + his monk level and reducing the damage by that amount. If at this time the damage from the ranged weapon attack is reduced to 0, he has caught it, and can optionally spend a ki point to attack with it. If it's not reduced to 0, or he simply chooses not to deflect the missile, continue to step 3.
  • Step 3: If there's damage from bludgeoning, slashing or piercing, the raging barbarian-monk has resistance, so divide the damage in half. If the final damage is less than 1 it rounds down to 0.

The catch through damage resistance is not explicit or implicit, but is up to the DM

It is possible that the DM might rule that the raging monk could use his raging resistance to damage if only 1 point of damage 'gets through' the deflection, but these two abilities, while both affecting the damage from an attack, are separate abilities, and I know of no rules for combining them simultaneously. Whether to permit the raging monk to catch the missile if the deflection ability is not the final reason that the damage is reduced to 0 appears up to be the DM.

It's reasonable, both rules-wise and narratively, to rule either way:

  • The raging monk deflected the missile almost perfectly, but it still hit him for damage, which he then shrugged off due to his rage. The damage was reduced to 1, then halved, going down to 0. It was not reduced to 0, it was simply insignificant enough to be ignored.


  • The raging monk deflected the missile almost perfectly, but it still hit him for damage, which he then shrugged off due to his rage. The damage was reduced to 1, then halved, going down to 0. It was reduced to 0, and the raging monk caught it, with only insignificant damage, and may throw it himself, if he wants.

So, I wondered this question myself. I found this thread directly after reading the DMG definition of a reaction, which made me realize the other answers, by RAW, are totally wrong. Because Deflect Missiles is a reaction. As such, it can only occur after it's trigger has been resolved, which in this case is a hit. To resolve a hit, one must roll and deal damage. Ergo, because Deflect Missiles is a reaction, Resistance would apply and resolve before deflect missles attempts to reduce it further

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you add some rules citations to back up your claim that deflection would happen after applying resistance but before taking the damage? The "trigger" you mention is "being hit by an attack", so by the normal rules of a reaction, it would only do something after you take the damage, at which point reducing that damage becomes pointless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Phb. 78 - Deflect Missiles; "...you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are HIT by a ranged weapon attack. When you do so, the DAMAGE YOU TAKE from the attack is reduced.." and DMG. 252 - Adjudicating Reaction Timing; "For example, the opportunity attack and the shield spell are clear about the fact that they interrupt their triggers, If a reaction has no timing specified, or the timing is unclear, the reaction occurs after its trigger finishes, aas in the Ready action." \$\endgroup\$
    – ogtrapcard
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ the hit occurs, damage is rolled, resistance is applied because the attack has to HIT before the reaction can be used. Deflect Missiles occurs after the damage of the missile is determined, not before. \$\endgroup\$
    – ogtrapcard
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 12:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ogtrapcard Please edit your answer to include these details. Comments are temporary and may be removed after some time; information that needs to be kept should be edited into the answer post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ The reaction timing for Deflect Missiles is that it affects the damage calculation from the hit. You don't have to "resolve" the hit and damage, and then go back and reduce the damage later to account for Deflect Missiles, you just reduce the damage while calculating it in the first place. Resistance says it is applied after other modifiers, and Deflect Missiles modifies the damage taken by saying "damage [...] is reduced", so Deflect Missiles is applied first, and then resistance. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 15:21

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