The Rakshasa has the Limited Magic Immunity trait:

Limited Magic Immunity. The rakshasa can't be affected or detected by spells of 6th level or lower unless it wishes to be. [...]

As noted in this Q&A about its interaction with the UA Revived Rogue's Bolts from the Grave feature, the Rakshasa can be affected by Bolts from the Grave because this source of damage is not a spell, but rather a class feature.

It appears that the Rakshasa can also be affected by the paladin's Divine Smite feature, whose description says (emphasis mine):

Starting at 2nd level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage.

Even though the feature is powered by spell slots, it is not a spell; it is a class feature. The radiant damage is in addition to the (nonmagical) weapon damage, which seems like it is not part of the weapon damage itself.

I am less sure how to rule on the School of Evocation wizard's Empowered Evocation feature (emphasis mine):

Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +1) to one damage roll of any wizard evocation spell that you cast.

Suppose an Evoker of 10th level or higher targeted a Rakshasa with an evocation spell of 6th level or lower: the Rakshasa would be immune to the damage from the spell itself.

But the damage addition from the Empowered Evocation is not from the spell; like the Divine Smite, it is from a class feature, which argues for it not counting for the immunity.

The two features use similar language to describe this damage; 'added to' vs. 'in addition to'. I don't think either term is a game term, and there is considerable overlap between their natural use in English.

One clear difference between the two is that the type of damage for Divine Smite will typically be different for the Smite than for the weapon - unless the weapon itself is doing radiant damage. Whereas for the Empowered Evocation, the empowered damage will typically be the same as the damage type of the spell, although this has exceptions as well.

Another difference is that Divine Smite adds 'dice' of damage while Empowered Evocation adds a static modifier.

Is 'usually similar damage type' enough to rule that the Empowered Evocation just increases the damage to which the Rakshasa is already immune? Is the distinction between 'added to' and 'in addition to' important enough for the answer to turn on that? Does it matter that one damage is determined by a roll and the other not?

Is the damage from Empowered Evocation a separate source of damage, to which the Rakshasa is not immune? Or does it simply add to the existing spell damage, so that now there is a bigger pile of damage to which the Rakshasa is immune?

A good answer will not only respond with a ruling, but will explain which of these factors are important and which are not in considering the ruling.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the downvotes (certainly mine) stem from the thought that you don't provide any possible reasons that the damage doesn't work exactly like the seemingly unambiguous rule says it does when it says 'add'. If you have genuine reasons to expect it to be different maybe you could clarify them. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Edited, hopefully now more confusing. That is, hopefully it is now more clear why I am confused about the question and do not think, as you do, that it is unambiguous. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 23:22

2 Answers 2


No, it does not take damage

As you already stated, Empowered Evocation works as follows:

Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +1) to one damage roll of any wizard evocation spell that you cast.

This is a bonus damage that you add to damage roll, meaning it is the same kind and instance of damage as the spell itself, like Great Weapon Master feat, or rogue's sneak attack is the same type and instance of damage as the one weapon used to to make an attack deal. If something is unaffected by the base damage, then it is unaffected by increase of that damage as well. In that regard, it's just spell damage, which rakshasa is immune to. It would work, if the spell was 7th level or higher, but beyond that nothing in Empowered Evocation feature's description states that it is a separate damage instance, or anything that would make you deal this damage regardless of the rakshasa's immunity.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure the same "instance" of damage matters, since the Divine Smite is the same instance of damage as the weapon damage, unless you are arguing that a Rakshasa would be immune to Divine Smite used with a nonmagical weapon. That it is different because it is a different kind/type of damage is a separate and independent argument. That may be correct, but I would like to see the argument made explicitly about why the Empowered damage is 'just spell damage' but the Smite damage is not 'just weapon damage'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 23:41

What’s in a name?

This time it’s the answer. Cezaryx’s answer covers the rules here nicely, so I want to focus on something else: the name “Empowered Evocation”. Feature names are not rules text, feature descriptions are. But sometimes feature names can give us insight into what a feature is doing within the narrative, and sometimes we can circle back to a mechanical ruling motivated by what is happening in the narrative. In this case, the rules are telling us the player to add a number to another number when playing a game. But the name Empowered Evocation is telling us the character that a Wizard can take one of their evocation spells and empower it, causing it to do a little more damage than usual. It isn’t doing something different from the evocation spell, it is empowering the evocation spell. And since an empowered evocation spell is still a spell, the Rakshasa is still immune to it.


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