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Assume we're a Swarmkeeper Ranger who's fighting a werewolf and attacking with a magical weapon.

Does the swarm's damage affect the werewolf?

More precisely, there are two questions:

  1. Is the swarm's damage technically part of an attack? If not, the werewolf's immunity wouldn't apply, right?
  2. Is the swarm's damage considered to be magical for the purpose to overcome resistance or immunity?

The Swarmkeeper Ranger's Gathered Swarm feature states

A swarm of intangible nature spirits has bonded itself to you and can assist you in battle. While you’re alive, the swarm remains in your space, crawling on you or flying and skittering around you within your space. [...] Once on each of your turns, you can cause the swarm to assist you in one of the following ways, immediately after you hit a creature with an attack:

  • The attack’s target takes 1d6 piercing damage from the swarm. [...]

Meanwhile, the werewolf has the trait:

Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered

As far as I understand it, the only way for the werewolf to be unaffected would be that the damage is part of the attack, but still not considered magical - even if the attack was made with a magic weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for accepting my answer. I do want to note though that it's usually better to wait about 24h before accepting an answer, to give time to the community to confirm whether or not the answer is valid. For all I know I could be entirely wrong, or a better answer could be posted from someone in another timezone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Jun 16, 2023 at 7:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're right but I do think your answer is explained well. Thanks for the suggestion, though, I'll keep it in mind for the next question I'll post! \$\endgroup\$
    – Pumpkinjo
    Jun 16, 2023 at 7:29

1 Answer 1

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The werewolf takes the swarm's damage

The damage dealt by the swarm is a separate instance of damage from your attack. The damage is described as "1d6 piercing damage".

There is no mention of dealing this damage as magical damage, or as if the attack was done with a silvered weapon. As such, by default, this is nonmagical piercing damage.

However, do take note of the exact wording of the Werewolf's stat block (emphasis mine) :

Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered

The damage dealt by the swarm is just that : direct damage. It is triggered by your attack, but is not part of your attack, and is not an attack itself.

As such, because it is not an attack, the Werewolf's immunity does not apply here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this answer is correct per the exact rules as written, I personally think making Werewolf immunity work only on per-se attacks results in a goofy situation where a werewolf can completely no-sell getting hit with a giant's club but takes damage from falling off a roof or walking through a thorn bush. (That said the fact that damage done by a swarm of intangible bug-spirits is nonmagical is also weird.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16, 2023 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym Goofy? Perhaps. Correct? Yes. Apparently, it be like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 16, 2023 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the damage magical, as per the SA litmus test for magic? 'If it says they are magical...' "Feeling a deep connection to the environment around them, some rangers reach out through their magical connection to the world and bond with a swarm of nature spirits." I'm not sure how else intangible spirits could cause piercing damage, unless the damage or the spirits or both were magical. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 16, 2023 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right? But read in the most straightforward way, the bond is magical, not the spirits themselves. These are places where the DM should probably rule differently than the RAW. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16, 2023 at 20:04

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