5
\$\begingroup\$

When reading stat blocks in the Monster Manual there's once in a while a mention of monsters having immunity to certain damage types.

While the natural language understanding of that term is certainly clear, I could never find a written definition akin to those for resistance, vulnerability, etc.

Is there any RAW definition for immunity in the source books?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ What problem are you trying to solve here ? Do you have a situation where you need a formal definition of immunity from WOTC ? \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre Cathé Nov 12 '19 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast the thing is that other, similarly understandable terms get a proper explanation and rundowns. And this doesn't. \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T Nov 13 '19 at 8:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Another issue would be that while the plain English meaning can suffice for native speakers, it might pose an issue for non-natives using the English source books (which is sort of a forced decision due to availability of translations and online material) \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T Nov 13 '19 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your point about non native speakers is of interest - the point from WoTC was during development that it was going to be written in plain English. (As a native speaker, I am not impressed with the prose style), Words as written in American English can be understood (when unclear) if one has a usable American English dictionary to use where a term isn't a familiar term. (I still dig up a dictionary when I read, as I now and again run across terms I am not familiar with ... and I've been speaking, writing, and reading at post-graduate level for decades). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 13 '19 at 12:14
9
\$\begingroup\$

Immunity is not formally defined beyond its natural language meaning

From Monster Manual, page 8:

Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and Immunities

Some creatures have vulnerability, resistance, or immunity to certain types of damage. 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). In addition, some creatures are immune to certain conditions.

This relies entirely on the natural language definition of "immunity" though, since it doesn't explicitly say that it results in the creature taking no damage if the damage type is one that it is immune to.

Note that the quote above also mentioned immunity to conditions. This kind of immunity would of course not involve "taking no damage", so perhaps the designers didn't formally define it as a game term because they are using the term for multiple purposes, and they felt that simply using its natural language definition would be simpler?

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is still valuable, because essentially the answer is that "immunity" has no special meaning in the game beyond the natural English meaning of the word: "The state of being insusceptible to something". \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 13 '19 at 5:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Fair enough, I shall undelete it. I was just aware, after finding that quote, that it doesn't actually expand on "immunity", but maybe that is the answer, as you say... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Nov 13 '19 at 7:27
7
\$\begingroup\$

The section on damage threshold is probably your best bet

I could not find any sort of formal definition but the following exists, from the section on "Damage Thresholds" (DMG, 247):

An object with a damage threshold has immunity to all damage unless it takes an amount of damage from a single attack or effect equal to or greater than its damage threshold, in which case it takes damage as normal. Any damage that fails to meet or exceed the object's damage threshold is considered superficial and doesn't reduce the object's hit points.

This shows us that damage you are immune to does not reduce your hit points which is the closest thing I could find to a workable definition outside of the natural language meaning.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't Damage Threshold for things like walls? \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Nov 12 '19 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JohnP Though damage threshold is used for objects the description basically defines what it means to be immune to damage. The threshold is just what makes the object immune \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Nov 12 '19 at 16:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.