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"Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, deal lethal damage to the creature" that possesses the extraordinary ability regeneration (Monster Manual 314). However, no attack forms are listed as dealing normal damage to elemental weirds (Monster Manual II 90–3). This likewise goes unmentioned by errata and the free Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 accessory update Play More (that changes the weirds' DR to DR 10/—, for instance).

It seems odd—although not out of the range of possibility—that, by implication, a fire weird, for example, is dealt normal damage by only acid, it being immune to fire due to its fire subtype.

I know that I'm desperately late to this party, but are the damage forms that elemental weirds suffer normal damage from something that a more skilled reader can tease from the creatures' descriptions? (I mean, maybe I just overlooked something. It happens.) Or were the elemental weirds' regeneration abilities addressed, even informally like on the long-lost Wizards of the Coast messageboards? Or is this just something for DMs to work out on their own?


Note: Yes, I'm using an elemental weird in a campaign. Yes, the PCs may fight it. But don't worry! I'll be really careful—I've used 'em before, and I know how crazy they are. Also, just so folks don't think elemental weirds should instead have fast healing, the Monster Manual II in that text's Special Qualities section has the elemental weirds as examples of creatures that possess the special ability regeneration (16).

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No, the regeneration does not have a weakness

I have researched the weirds listed in the MM2, Dragon mag, and Frostburn. They do not have any damage categorization exception for the regeneration entry. As such, I believe that there is no damage that prevents regenerating, and that it is intentional.

As a cross check against possible intent I also checked earlier versions (such as the original Temple of Elemental Evil).

Even the original versions in 1st edition have no elemental weakness. In fact, the water weird takes only half damage from fire attacks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So the weirds are supposed to be unkillable except by, like, making them fail a saving throw? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 24 '18 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is what the monster entries are saying, and it is internally consistent. I agree that it makes for an unusual opponent, but it is also a great role-playing opportunity - what can you ethically and morally do to defeat an enemy that just won't die? Gives a chance to make the players think of a different solution than killing. Makes for a great reoccurring opponent, to boot. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Dec 24 '18 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Weirdly, both of your answers make sense to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Narf the Mouse Dec 24 '18 at 7:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I think that Glorian"s makes sense from how the rest of the monsters work, while mine is focused on the actual text and looks at the history as well. Maybe they didn't want their oracles killed off so easily, given how some PCs treat every NPC as a nail to be hammered with weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Dec 24 '18 at 12:12
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This is a bit like ancient history — you have to deduce from very little. In fact there is an article devoted to elemental weirds in Dragon Magazine #347, p.66–71, that does not cover this point.

But I would like to give it a try.

The regeneration description says:

Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, deal normal damage to the creature. The creature’s descriptive text contains these details. Monster Manual II, p. 16

If you look in the descriptive text section of the elemental weird there is no entry on regeneration. As

[a] monster’s statistics block supersedes the descriptive text. MM Errata

… this means: the fire weird has regeneration 10, but no attack form is explicitly listed to deal normal damage. As the regeneration entry only lists fire and acid as "typical" regeneration counters, it does not necessarily mean these attack forms are fire and acid by default. I would go with acid (excluding fire) if I had nothing else to work with. But there is the section on the fire subtype in the fire weird's entry:

A fire weird is immune to fire damage but takes double damage from cold unless a saving throw for half damage is allowed. In that case, the creature takes half damage on a success and double damage on a failure. MM II, p. 93

In this section, there is no mention that cold damage dealt to the creature is subdual damage. As the description of regeneration demands "certain attack forms" that "deal normal damage" mentioned in the "descriptive text" and the only attack form that is mentioned in the descriptive text that the fire weird is not immune but even vulnerable to is cold damage, I would deduce: the fire weird’s regeneration ability is countered by cold attacks. This would also make sense from the thematic point of view.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's pretty clever. I suspect—given the unorthodox method of reaching the conclusion—that there'll be some pushback against this answer—steel yourself! :-) Also, does it affect the answer to know that nonlethal damage isn't actually damage per se but, instead, a running tally of how close a creature is to unconsciousness? (Also, I was unaware of the article. Thank you!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 23 '18 at 12:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your kind judgement. Concerning nonlethal damage being just a tally this strengthens my argument: The fire weird's entry explicitly calls cold damage "damage", not a tally. \$\endgroup\$ – Giorin Dec 23 '18 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ This works for fire weirds, but unfortunately the other weirds don't have subtypes with built-in vulnerabilities to leverage. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Dec 23 '18 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I feel like I am perhaps the most likely candidate for push-back, but honestly this seems like an excellently-argued answer to me: it makes clear that the approach is non-standard and not ideal, but merely the best available, and then ties the pieces together very well. I also appreciate that it doesn’t fall into the trap of assuming that the “typical” attack forms are also the “default” attack forms, which is reading more into the Monster Manual regeneration entry than is actually there. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 23 '18 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Well, frankly, yes, you are the most likely candidate, but only because you're also the most frequent. (Not to sell you short, but I can think of others! [Waves at other readers.]) I do share Carcer's concern that the answer doesn't address the other weirds, but, fortunately, although I've used an earth weird in the past, this question was spawned by my upcoming use of a fire weird. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 23 '18 at 16:22

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