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The Monster Slayer Ranger's Hunter's Sense ability gives insight into immunities, resistances and vulnerabilities. The important bit saying this:

"At 3rd level, you gain the ability to peer at a creature and magically discern how best to hurt it. As an action, choose one creature you can see within 60 feet of you. You immediately learn whether the creature has any damage immunities, resistances, or vulnerabilities and what they are."

I am wondering for example about the following, focussing on resistances...

The Sorrowsworn statblocks (Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse p.222-224) state "bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing while in dim light or darkness" under damage resistances.

The Young Red Shadow Dragon (Monster Manual p.85) only has "necrotic" listed under resistances, but also has the Living Shadow trait that states "While in dim light or darkness, the dragon has resistance to damage that isn't force, psychic, or radiant.", but this is stated outside resistances list.

Is there any ruling for how to handle these conditional resistances when using Hunter's Sense? Also, should the resistances listed in the trait be handled differently to the ones listed in the stat block list?

My thinking is that I should state the resistances that the specific creature has at the time the Hunter's Sense ability is used, which in the examples above would depend on whether or not the creatures is in dim light/darkness or bright light. But I would also state that there are factors that could change the resistances.

But I feel it is ambiguous so the player may be expecting to learn all the resistances and conditions. Perhaps it would be better to just give them all the information related to resistances and the conditions.

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The conditions for damage modifiers are important for knowing how best to hurt a creature

The rules are indeed not entirely clear. It says what they are which means the damage types but does not say when or why. One could therefore argue that one can only learn about the Shadow Dragon's resistances while in dim light and not learn the condition. But this defeats the feature's purpose. The ability says you learn

how best to hurt it

and while it's clear that the information is restricted to damage type modifiers I would argue that the intention is to include the information that the resistance is tied to dim light: How can you best hurt it? Make sure it's not in dim light because it had many resistances there!

Additionally, besides the damage types the most important difference between the two abilities you cite is the format for the stat block: once the info is listed under resistances and so on, once it is listed as a separate ability. It seems pretty clear that the ability should not depend on this kind of difference.

There is no reason to hide information

The feature in question has the sole purpose of acquiring information and even costs an Action. It is also restricted to damage modifiers of which there aren't so many in the Monster Manual (I did an analysis but don't have the numbers on me). There is no reason to restrict an already narrow ability further over a technicality if you doubt the intended function.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Magically discern" seems to give pretty broad narrative latitude \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 15:37

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