Played my first game of D&D5e last weekend, and the DM kept referring to different damage types (Necrotic, Slashing, Bludgeoning, etc.).

Do these damage types affect HP differently, or do you just add up each damage type and subtract from the player character's total HP?

Why specify the different types of damage? Thanks for your help!

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a copy of the Players Handbook? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Dec 8, 2020 at 20:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to our stack! Please take the tour to learn more about how we operate here and you can also visit the help center for more information. Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Dec 8, 2020 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I just purchased a copy and I'm still reading through it. I figured it was in there somewhere, but couldn't find it as of yet. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2020 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Basically, if you don't have any features that interact with the particular damage type you take, just mark down your hitpoints total and don't worry about the type.

The rules for damage can be found here in the Basic Rules document at DND Beyond. The quotes below are taken from this section. You can also find a pdf download of the Basic Rules here.

Subtract damage from HP.

The rules for damage say:

Whenever a creature takes damage, that damage is subtracted from its hit points. The loss of hit points has no effect on a creature's capabilities until the creature drops to 0 hit points.

So when you take damage, you just subtract that damage from your current hitpoints. Easy enough.

Damage types have no rules of their own.

The rules for damage types say:

Different attacks, damaging spells, and other harmful effects deal different types of damage. Damage types have no rules of their own, but other rules, such as damage resistance, rely on the types.

This means that the damage types are not special on their own. Apart from some feature that respects the damage types differently, fire damage and cold damage will affect the target in the same way - reducing your current hitpoints.

Other features can rely on damage types.

For example, resistance and vulnerability are going to be type-specific:

Some creatures and objects are exceedingly difficult or unusually easy to hurt with certain types of damage.

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

It is other features that distinguish between the damage types.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You might want to add in a specific example; such as a scorpion sting; it deals 1 point of piercing damage and (on a failed save) 1d8 of poison. Raging Barbarians have resistance to piercing so they take take half rounded down, or 0 hp of damage, but still take the poison damage. Some creatures are immune to poison, so they would take the full 1 hp piercing, but none of the poison. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Dec 8, 2020 at 22:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe mention "immunity" as well? Currently you only mentioned vulnerability and resistance :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Opifex
    Dec 9, 2020 at 8:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks, Thomas! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2020 at 16:53

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