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Sneak attack says:

Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon.

Would the extra damage from sneak attack bypass the resistance of a creature that had damage resistance/immunity to damage from weapons?

Damage Immunities: Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons

One aspect I am specifically curious about is that sneak attack does not say that it is weapon damage (nor does it say it isn't); all it says is that it is "extra damage". Is sneak attack considered to be damage from a weapon or is it something separate?

For example, consider the case of a rogue with a nonmagical dagger hitting a creature with the above damage immunity. Obviously the dagger does not do any damage, but what about the sneak attack damage? What about when the creature only has resistance?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What type of damage is Sneak Attack? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 28 at 17:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I may be missing something (or maybe it's just obvious), but the related question seems to inherently provide an answer here. Is your question merely looking for the last link in the chain or is there something I'm missing that isn't restating the related question? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 28 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Well the linked answer only provides the answer if the only factor to applying resistnace/immunity to sneak attack was damage type. However, that is not the case as the old wording implied it must also be a weapon attack (something the previous question doesn't ask or answer at all) and the new wording just changes to an attack. Still, it is an additional condition that must be met (and there may even be conditions/arguments I haven't considered). So, yes the damage type of SA does overlap, but that is only one of at least two parts that need answering. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 28 at 19:36
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Resistance/Immunity would apply (because the rule used in the question is defunct)

It's debatable whether or not sneak attack's damage is from the weapon: but one thing I can be sure of is that sneak attack damage is from the attack. This can be seen in the PHB (p. 196, bold added), where it states:

When you score a critical hit, you get to roll extra dice for the attack’s damage against the target... If the attack involves other damage dice, such as from the rogue’s Sneak Attack feature, you roll those dice twice as well.

That's very important, because the rule you're quoting about "nonmagical weapons" is now defunct. See the Monster Manual Errata which states:

Damage Resistances/Immunities. Throughout the book, instances of “nonmagical weapons” in Damage Resistances/Immunities entries have been replaced with “nonmagical attacks.”

The same errata goes further, explaining what magical attacks actually are (and implies what they aren't):

Particular creatures are even resistant or immune to damage from nonmagical attacks (a magical attack is an attack delivered by a spell, a magic item, or another magical source). (MM, p. 8 post errata)

And rules designers have explicitly stated that sneak attack is intended to do the same type of damage as the weapon used in the attack. Jeremy Crawford has stated:

Sneak Attack damage is meant to be of the type that's dealt by the weapon, and it's subject to resistance.

So although it may be debatable whether or not sneak attack damage comes from the rogue's weapon, it definitely is part of an attack and will do "bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing" damage if that's the type of damage done by your weapon. And so, if the weapon used in this attack is a nonmagical dagger, sneak attack is part of a nonmagical attack and would deal piercing damage, and thus the resistance/immunity to "piercing... from a nonmagical attack" would apply.

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The damage is weapon damage; whatever the weapon does for damage, you still do that damage, plus additional damage of the same type.

As proof, I will use the English dictionary:

extra: a) more than is due, usual, or necessary : ADDITIONAL

D&D is not a game full of "lawyerese." RAI, it is presumed that all the normal rules of English apply, unless the rules explicitly state otherwise. Once you start reading rules as if they were written in English, and not a computer language, you'll see this class feature isn't ambiguous at all.

If you're not fully convinced, try this exercise:

You hand your friend a napkin.

Your Friend: Thanks, can I get a few extra?

What would you do in this situation, assuming you wished to accommodate your friend?

A: Hand them 2-4 more napkins.

B: Hand them 2-4 packets of mustard.

The RAW is depending on the ordinary use of the word extra to tell readers what kind of damage it is. As a DM, and as a player for other DMs, I've always seen the word "extra" used in the normal sense of the word, unless explicitly stated otherwise. For example, flaming burst weapons explicitly state that they deal fire damage, such as "... an extra 1d10 points of fire damage ...". Short of any words in the book or errata that contradict the ordinary meaning of English as we use it today, we must assume that the normal usage was intended.


This is also further supported by the apparent "fluff" in the rules:

Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe's distraction.

But this isn't fluff. This is telling you how the ability works. The rogue looks for an opening to hit a weak spot, such as armpits, gonads, etc, and then expertly guides the strike to that location. The rules aren't more explicit than just "general weak spot," but is basically saying it's a "called shot."

The weapon is still doing all the damage, but it's hitting a particularly weaker spot, causing more damage than normal. This is a common trope (warning: TV tropes) in games, and the rogue is the epitome of such a combat fighter that takes advantages of distractions to take down opponents quickly.


JC says:

Sneak Attack relies entirely on the weapon you're using. The weapon sets the damage type of the extra damage, and the weapon determines whether you can Sneak Attack at all; the weapon must be in the ranged category or have the finesse property. #DnD

If the weapon is setting the damage type, then surely it must be the source of the damage. That must be, otherwise we're saying that the rogue has some Supernatural Ability to turn their hands or something into blades or be able to cast spells that mimic a weapon's damage, neither of which are true. Occam's Razor applies here. The most simple answer is the correct one.

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Yes, according to Jeremy Crawford in this tweet:

Twitter User: sneak attack has the same damage type of the weapon used?

Jeremy Crawford: That's correct.

The attack damage is the same type as the weapon. If the sneak attacker used a magic weapon, the additional damage would be magic damage of the same type of damage as the weapon and would would not be resistant (the condition of being non-magical would not apply). If the attacker used a non-magical weapon, the resistance\immunity would apply.

In the example written above, a rogue with a nonmagical dagger hitting a creature with the above damage immunity (Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons) the sneak damage is also non-magical piercing damage and the immunity will apply. Likewise, the resistance to non-magical piercing damage would reduce the damage by half.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @David - if the sneak attacker used a magic weapon, the additional damage would be from a magic weapon (same type of damage as the weapon) and would would not be resistant (the condition of being non-magical would not apply). \$\endgroup\$ – VVilliam Jan 28 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ And if the sneak attacker uses a nonmagical weapon? This is the whole confusion. If the weapon damage is resisted, what happens to the Sneak Attack damage? We all know the S/A damage goes through if the weapon damage goes through \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 28 at 18:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't answer my question fully. Sure the damage type might be the same, but is it considered weapon damage? Your answer misses a core part of my question. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 28 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Downvoted, since it is an answer to the wrong question. "Damage from magic weapons" is not a damage type. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 28 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ To help with others review, you may want to be more explicit across the board and answer Rubikmoose's specific scenario to make sure you completely answer their concern. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 28 at 19:16
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It doesn't matter in this specific case

As Gandalfmeansme addresses in his answer, the nonmagical weapons bit has been replaced with nonmagical attacks (which Sneak Attack usually is). This removes the ambiguity of this particular inquiry. However, in case it comes up in connection to another feature:

RAW is unclear on whether it is damage from a weapon

Whether or not the Sneak Attack damage is considered weapon damage is ambiguous. There is no source of the damage listed, and even the damage type is only implied (and reinforced by the lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford). While it may be inferred that it is from the weapon, there is insufficient evidence to this claim in the RAW.

Because of the ambiguity in the rules you'll have to ask your GM how it will work at your table.

Some possible rulings...

... and my issues with them:

  1. The damage type proves the damage source
    • The status of the damage type as the damage source (i.e. the same as the weapon) is not to say the damage source is the same. While I can see where this assumption comes from, it lacks hard support.
  2. The requirement of a weapon proves the damage source
    • Just because the feature required a finesse or ranged weapon, doesn't mean the damage itself is "from a weapon." There is a counterexample involving sneak attack and magic stone where the sling attack is a ranged spell attack.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m not sure 5E supports this kind of hard RAW scrutiny, to be honest. \$\endgroup\$ – sevenbrokenbricks Jan 28 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sevenbrokenbricks sorry if I came off as exceptionally meticulous. I edited to take a more speculative tone. My answer was intended to draw attention to the ambiguity. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 28 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the magic stone portion of you are just throwong the stone it doesnt trigger, but of your attaclong with the sling even though its a spell attack its still sneak attack \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 28 at 19:22
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The wording of sneak attack could be clearer, but lets break it up.
Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll.

Above shows how much damage and that you have to hit a creature with an attack at advantage

The attack must use a finesse or ranged weapon. So this is showing the attack must use a ranged or finesse weapon. The rest of the text for the spell goes into a way to get it without advantage and that you can do as long as the ally is within 5 ft and you don't have disadvantage.

If you compare sneak attack to other features. Features that have a specefic damage type say so. Whereas features such as Sneak Attack and Collosus Slayer do not.

This is because the they state they deal an extra amount of damage. Since the damage isn't specified then you use the general rule that it is the same as the weapon.

In Xanathars guide the Gloom Stalker Ranger has a same kind of effect , but they made sure to specify that it dealt weapon damage.

When it came to releasing more content they realized that this had caused issues due to having been asked about it so they made sure to specify.

How it interacts with Specefic instances

Resistances- it is treated as weapon damage if you don't meet requirements.

Silvered weapon- if your weapon is Silvered then so is your sneak attack damage it is part of the weapons damage.

Shadow Blade- a spe'll that counts as a finesse weapon. Thus sneak attack does psychic damage.

Magic Stone- This is a spell attack that can be done with a ranged weapon. Sneak attack states the attack has to be from a finesse or ranged weapon. You are still using the ranged weapon therefore your sneak attack deals magical bludgeoning.

In short in the PHB it doesn't state weapon damage but it is intended to be damage that is the same as your weapon. Xanathars Guide and other additional books it does because WOTC realized that it may have been unclear.

If you run into additional problems try to simplify it for yourself a bit because 5e isn't meant to be complicated and is meant to be read in plain English.

Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack that must be made with a ranged or finesse weapon This is simplifying it by taking out the advantage requirement for a moment and adding it to underneath. So that the way the damage works can be read in a way that is easy to understand and easy to rule.

In addition to attacking with a finesse or ranged weapon you need to either have advantage on the attack roll for the attack that hit, or have an additional enemy of the target within 5 feet of it that isn't incapacitated. You also cannot sneak attack while at disadvantage.
This is just the requirements you already know.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If they "realized that this had caused issues due to having been asked about it so they made sure to specify", would they not have included that in the recent errata to fix that unclear portion of the PHB (which has been done in the past). I like your answer, but it is claiming a RAI stance ("it is intended to be damage that is the same as your weapon"). This stance requires extraordinary evidence as determining what the designers intended is extemely difficult (If not impossible) without direct input from them. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 28 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't feel like finding the link, but they have stated in the past that if a majority is already using the rule correctly then often times it doesnt get errata. They might get around to fixing it, and maybe they already did Idk I still have the phb from before grappler errata. \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 28 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be simple putting it in a new book is cheaper than trying to re-edit older ones \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 28 at 19:20
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You still get to add Sneak Attack, but it might not matter anyway.

As MarkTO pointed out, the prerequisites for Sneak Attack are in the type of weapon used, not the kind of damage it deals.

However, as stated here, Sneak Attack damage is of the same type as the weapon used to deliver it. So if the weapon’s damage is already affected by the target’s resistance or immunity, Sneak Attack damage will be similarly affected. If not, then not.

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