This is a broader version of this question about barbarians and slashing-immunity.

There are many creatures that are immune and/or resistant to the normal sources of physical damage, such as a Black Pudding, or Lycanthrope. This can make combat difficult for physical damage based characters (rogues, barbarians, etc).

How can I, as a player, prepare my character for combat with these creatures?

(This might count as a sign post where the other question answers this question)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this about how to do non-physical damage as physical-damage class, or about how to avoid random resistances/immunities? \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlueMoon93 I'm not sure what you mean by "avoid", but I mean "how to overcome the situation of encountering creatures one's character cannot effectively damage in combat due to resistances/immunities". \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 15:50
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This question is being discussed on meta: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7965/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Have a wide array of damage sources.

If you only have a single type of damage, then a single resistance will counter you. If you're a physical character, carry slashing, bludgeoning, piercing weapons. Carry enchanted, silver and cursed weapons. Keep Torches with you for Fire damage, buy poisons for Poison damage, use racial features (like the Dragonborn's Breath Weapon) if available. If necessary, multi-class or follow a spec with access to spells.

As a magical character, pick spells that do different damage types. For example, Chromatic Orb is excellent in this regard. Also try to pick spells that focus on different Saving Throws (don't just have everything being resisted by a DEX save).

Prepare beforehand for a combat. If you know you're going to fight undead in a Zombie apocalypse, get some bludgeoning weapons, or hand grenades. If you know you're fighting Vampires and Lycanthropes, coat your weapons with silver. This isn't always possible, but studying your environment and probable enemies can give you an edge when actually facing them. Those INT checks do come in handy!

That being said, you don't always have to do everything. Let's imagine you're a melee barbarian, fighting some creature immune to physical damage. Sometimes, you just can't do anything. In this case, think outside the box. Protect your team, grapple the enemy, but mostly, support the players that are efficient here.


I will almost replicate my answer, but make it a little broader.

Have different types of physical damage

Many creatures are immune to one type of physical damage, such as Black Pudding is immune to Slashing. Having at least one weapon that you can use from each type (Slashing/piercing/bludgeoning) is usually worth it. If you are low level and short on gold, take the cheap options, 1d4+STR is still more than zero.

If your DM is nice enough to you, magic weapons solve the problem as well.

But that depends on your DM giving you a magic weapon that solves the problem. For example, if you are fighting a Black Pudding, it depends on your DM giving you something with elemental damage. If any damage done by a magic weapon is fine, then simply having any magic weapon is enough. At higher levels, this is the solution that is going to work most of the time, since you might have accumulated enough items if your DM was kind to your party.

Silver Weapons

Many monsters are affected by non-magic weapons as long as they are silver-coated. It shouldn't be too expensive to get some silver-coated weapons.

Gather Intel

You should know where you are heading - and your party can do some research on what should be effective there. You know you are going into a cave full of skeletons, and someone in the city should be able to tell you that a Mace is more effective than a Shortsword against them.


Well, this one is an optional rule and should be done carefully to not be awful, but yeah, some classes rely TOO MUCH in only physical damage. Multiclassing into something that can deal some magic damage, or buff your weapon so it is treated as magical, should work.

You can't and don't need to be useful every fight

As I mentioned in the other answer, if you are a melee fighter (without a magic weapon) against a Black Pudding, you just run. It is clearly designed to wreck melee fighters and your rangeds should be doing the job. It is slow and can be kitted efficiently, most of the time.

Obviously that doesn't mean "do nothing the entire fight" - check what other actions you can do to help. Aid/help is a possible action to give your ranged members constant advantage. Yes, it feels lackluster to just help the other guys in the fight, but well, it is also lackluster to be the guy with 8 CHA in the heavily social part of the game, and it is lackluster to be a skill monkey in most combat situations. Point being you should be used to situations where you can't shine at all and the spotlight is for someone else.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "But that depends on your DM giving you a magic weapon that deals elemental damage" That's true of the black pudding, (wrt slashing weapons) but most creatures aren't immune/resistant to any of the physical damage types if the weapon is magical at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 19:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zeus My bad that was something carried over from the other answer. What I meant (will edit the answer as well) is it depends on the DM to even give you magic weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 19:33

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