Let's say a creature (like a devil) is normally immune to fire damage. The unfortunate devil is within 30ft of a Grave Cleric and their Sorcerer friend.

The Grave Cleric uses their Path to the grave feature:

As an action, you choose one creature you can see within 30ft of you, cursing it until the end of your next turn. The next time you or an ally of yours hits the cursed creature with an attack, the creature has vulnerability to all of that attack's damage, and then the curse ends.

Is the devil still immune? Or are they instead vulnerable to the damage?

To put it another way, does the Path to the Grave replace the immunity with a vulnerability? Or does it add a vulnerability on top of the immunity?

Note: The linked question is asking "what happens if a creature somehow has both immunity and vulnerability" (presupposing that they can get into that situation in the first place). This question isn't making that presupposition, in fact it's explicitly asking if that presupposition can even happen.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, if not a duplicate: "How do Damage Immunity and Vulnerability work together?" \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not a duplicate, because I'm effectively asking does the path to the grave feature replace the immunity, or does it add vulnerability \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ The linked question is asking "what happens if a creature somehow has both immunity and vulnerability" (presupposing that they can get into that situation in the first place \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've edited your question title to try and clarify the question you're asking. (Also note that the comments in the format "Does this answer your question [link]" are automatically generated by SE when you vote to close a question (if there is not such an auto-generated comment already - I think SE also generates a new comment if the text of such a previous auto-generated comment has been edited).) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 1, 2020 at 11:01

3 Answers 3


Adding vulnerability doesn't remove immunity

There's nothing in the rules about any of vulnerability, resistance, or immunity being mutually exclusive. In fact, in the case of vulnerability and resistance, the rules explicitly cover the case of a creature having both (emphasis added):

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage.

Given that resistance and vulnerability are allowed to co-exist, and given that there is no specific rule preventing vulnerability and immunity from co-existing, the reasonable ruling is that vulnerability and immunity can also co-exist. (Most likely, there is no specific rule for this because there is no ambiguity: the damage is always zero regardless of which order you apply them in.) Hence, if a creature has immunity to a damage type, giving it vulnerability to the same damage type doesn't negate that immunity.

XGtE explicitly allows for all 3 damage modifiers to coexist

The section on resistance and vulnerability in the introduction to Xanathar's Guide to Everything makes this coexistence explicit:

Here’s the order that you apply modifiers to damage: (1) any relevant damage immunity, (2) any addition or subtraction to the damage, (3) one relevant damage resistance, and (4) one relevant damage vulnerability.

(Thanks to Someone_evil for pointing this out.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Here is a Crawford tweet supporting your case. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ My point was, why is that not a case of specific vs general? As opposed to a general rule that includes immunity (but doesn't mention it), violating the "no hidden rules" principle \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @illustro Specific vs. general is not relevant here because there is no conflict to be resolved. If you use Path the the Grave, the creature has both immunity and vulnerability. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @illustro Something would say whether or not it removes immunity. The feature doesn't say it so it doesn't happen. Which means the damage ends up being either: 2x * 0 = 0 or (x*0)*2 = 0 \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @illustro Because it's never specific vs. general. Disputed cases are almost always corner cases (as this one is) where neither mechanic is clearly "more specific" than the other. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:37

No, it doesn't

The definition of 'vulnerability':

If a creature or object has vulnerability to a damage type, damage of that type is doubled against it.

If a creature is immune to a damage type, then damage of that type is reduced to 0. This is from a plain English reading of the meaning of "immunity" - to be unaffected by something.

There is nothing in the wording of the 'vulnerability' trait to suggest it overrides any other trait or condition. All it states is that it doubles damage.

Twice 0 is still 0!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain why you believe the creature in question would still be immune? (the plain reading of both immune and vulnerable would indicate they are mutually exclusive conditions). The creature has been magically cursed to be vulnerable. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have access to the books at the moment, but have expanded my answer a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've actually upvoted Ryan C Thompson's answer, which is saying the same thing but with more references to support the answer! \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:49

The Specific Effect of the Feature Beats the General Immunity

This is a case of specific beats general via a class feature effect.

For instance, an adventurer can’t normally pass through walls, but some spells make that possible.

In this instance, a creature can't normally be damaged by fire, but the class feature makes that possible for a very specific instance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you explain why/how this happens? Is the target no longer immune? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ The class feature doesn't remove immunity. The effect gives a more specific rule for applying damage to the target and beats the general immunity. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is it more specific? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ What says you can't have both vulnerability and immunity? \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 31, 2020 at 18:35

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