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If the PC has damage reduction 5/bludgeoning because of wearing an magic item could the shadow's incorporeal touch damage do 1 on 1 or the DR decrease it the amount of 5?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't find the reference, but I am under the impression that DR is applied only to things that reduce hit points. It has been quite a while since I played 3.5 regularly though. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2023 at 18:32

2 Answers 2

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The Shadow's damage is unaffected.

The Shadow's incorporeal touch attack has specific rules.

Strength Damage (Su)

The touch of a shadow deals 1d6 points of Strength damage to a living foe. A creature reduced to Strength 0 by a shadow dies. This is a negative energy effect.

These rules bypass DR X/Bludgeoning in two ways.

  1. The attack is a supernatural ability. Damage Reduction has limits. "The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities."
  2. The attack is a negative energy effect.

Good gaming.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are all incorporeal attacks (Su)? For example (not an issue with this fine answer, though), the Wraith deals 1d4 plus 1d6 Con drain. The Con drain has the same arguments as the Str damage here, but what about the 1d4 untyped damage? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 6, 2023 at 16:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin "A creature that has damage reduction (DR) ignores some of the hit point damage from weapons, natural weapons, and unarmed attacks that don’t meet certain criteria" (Rules Compendium 41). The dread wraith has Improved Natural Attack (incorporeal touch), so, generally, DR should apply to its incorporeal touch attacks. Now, whether that dread wraith's incorporeal touch attack is bludgeoning enough to overcome DR 5/bludgeoning is the DM's call. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 6, 2023 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the quick and detailed answer! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2023 at 6:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin Unlikely. 3.x is extensive, and I'm sure there are some incorporeal attacks that are spells, spell-like abilities, and possibly even Extraordinary abilities. The Wraith's base damage seems to be affected by DR. \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Nov 7, 2023 at 14:13
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Damage Reduction

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. A certain kind of weapon can sometimes damage the creature normally, as noted below.

(Damage reduction special ability rules, emphasis mine)

Shadow
Attack: Incorporeal touch +3 melee (1d6 Str)
Full Attack Incorporeal touch +3 melee (1d6 Str)

Strength Damage (Su)

The touch of a shadow deals 1d6 points of Strength damage to a living foe. A creature reduced to Strength 0 by a shadow dies. This is a negative energy effect.

(Shadow monster description)

A shadow’s incorporeal touch is a supernatural ability and a negative energy effect. Damage reduction does nothing to supernatural abilities and it also does nothing against energy effects. So the shadow does the full 1d6 Strength damage regardless of your damage reduction.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you again KRyan! :) \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2023 at 6:49

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