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I was going to ask a question about which damage type is reduced by the "magical aura" referenced in the PHB under Damage Resistance and Vulnerability if the damage in question has multiple damage types, and I realised I didn't know of any such effect, perhaps rendering the question moot.

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. - (PHB 197)

Obviously this is a hypothetical situation purely to illustrate how a rule works, but it does suggest that there is an effect that would work in this way.


To illustrate the issue:

Barny, the monster, attacks Vera, dealing 5 bludgeoning damage and 7 fire damage.

Vera is in a -5 to damage aura, and has resistance to fire damage.

Do we reduce all of the bludgeoning damage, and then halve the fire damage? Do we reduce the fire damage by 5, and then halve it, leaving the bludgeoning damage completely alone? We can't apply the resistance first (see above) so how would we resolve this?


I can only think of Cutting Words, which says:

When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll, you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a bardic Inspiration die and subtracting the number rolled from the creature's roll. - (PHB 54)

However, this applies to a specific damage roll. It would be up to the bard if we're reducing the fire damage or the bludgeoning damage, as they're always going to be separate rolls.

Is there a RAW (official content only, no homebrew) effect that reduces damage by a flat modifier (not a percent of the total damage), and that is indiscriminate of damage type, like the one suggested by this passage?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, regarding the definition of a "damage roll", see here: If I roll 2d8 and 1d6 for damage, how many “damage rolls” is that? 1, 2, or 3? ...And here: Hexblade’s Curse, Hex and Bestow Curse stacking \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 24 '18 at 8:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you're mistaken about one part of your question: you said "It would be up to the bard if we're reducing the fire damage or the bludgeoning damage, as they're always going to be separate rolls." Although that's a reasonable thought, its contradicted by this tweet by Crawford. It says that an attack roll with additional damage added to it (like Hex, which adds necrotic damage) all counts as one big damage roll. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Aug 24 '18 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ That actually means you have a very interesting question here, that isn't the one in your main title: who decides which part of the damage roll is reduced in your Barny and Vera scenario? The monster? The one taking the damage? The Bard? The DM? This may warrant its own separate question. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Aug 24 '18 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is a flat damage reduction? A reduction with a constant value or a reduction that applies to all kind of damage? (I'm not a 5e expert but in 3.5 the barbarian and warlock had a damage reduction 1/-, which meant nothing bypassed it. Still, DR only applied to physical damage to start with, so it might be appriopriate to specify.) \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Aug 26 '18 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme I totally forgot about that! I guess that's true. Another question coming right up (when I get the time). \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 26 '18 at 23:29
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6th-level barbarians with the Ancestral Guardian archetype have the Spirit Shield feature (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 10):

Beginning at 6th level, if you are raging and another creature you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to reduce that damage by 2d6.

When you reach certain levels in this class, you can reduce the damage by more: by 3d6 at 10th level and by 4d6 at 14th level.

It reduces any damage type, although the modifier is not a fixed number (and it uses the barbarian's reaction, so it can only be done once per round). You can have a mix of "weapon" and "magic" damage type as your scenario suggested: bludgeoning+fire.

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    \$\begingroup\$ When you say "although it is not a flat modifier" this is correct from one perspective but ambiguous. Because this question is about "flat damage reduction" specifically it might be better to say something like "although it is not a constant modifier" instead of "flat modifier". \$\endgroup\$ – Captain Man Aug 24 '18 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Constant often means an unchanging value moreso than an always-present value (in math/programming), so it's not much of an improvement over flat. I'd suggest something more like persistent, which should help to communicate that this is a one-off effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Phlarx Aug 24 '18 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ rolled damage reduction definitely applies to the question as I intended it, so this is a great example! \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 26 '18 at 23:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman: Lore Bards can use Cutting Words to subtract their inspiration die from a damage roll (including on an AoE like dragon breath that will affect multiple targets). open5e.com/classes/bard.html#cutting-words \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Dec 2 '18 at 6:23
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All I can think of is the Heavy Armor Master feat

Besides Cutting Words that you already mentioned in your question, all I can think of that reduces damage by a number rather than halving it is this feat.

From the PHB, pg. 167:

While you are wearing heavy armor, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage that you take from non-magical weapons is reduced by 3.

Unfortunately, this is not damage of any type, it is specifically bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage, and non-magical at that. But it is a reduction rather than resistance, etc.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This suggests a new question again - if a single attack (and single "one big damage roll") dealt both bludgeoning and piercing damage, would this reduction apply twice? Or is that in the text? (goes to look in book) \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 26 '18 at 23:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, no reference. How many times per attack does this apply? Once per applicable damage type? Goodness. I wasn't aware of how much of a rabbit hole this would open up! \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 27 '18 at 3:01
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The monk's Deflect Missiles ability gives flat damage reduction.

Starting at 3rd level, 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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry about the late responses to comments, but I've now updated the question. Rolls are fine, as long as the amount isn't a percentage, basically. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 26 '18 at 23:36

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