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Does a Level 4 Monk deal full damage against a creature with DR 5/Slashing?

From the D20 SRD regarding Damage Reduction: "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."

At Level 4, the Monk gains Ki Strike as a supernatural ability, allowing the strikes to be treated as magical for the purposes of damage reduction.

However, does the bit about being treated as Magic matter? The strikes are now a supernatural ability, and supernatural abilities bypass damage reduction. This interpretation would seem to make Ki Strike very broad, and the addition of the Lawful characteristic at level 10 superfluous.

I would expect that a monk would not be able to bypass DR 5/Slashing, but Rules As Written seems to be murky.

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The monk description mentions the Improved Unarmed Strike feat which says that it is an unarmed strike which is listed on the weapon table as bludgeoning. Thus, it's not slashing and doesn't bypass the damage reduction. The ki strike being considered magical would only make a difference when fighting a creature with DR 5/magic such as a barghest.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Although your answer of "no, it's not slashing" is technically correct, you've arrived at it by entirely inaccurate means; a monk's Improved Unarmed Strike attacks are not, and never have been, natural weapons. They are unarmed strike attacks, and except as noted, are as per the weapons table in the PHB, which lists unarmed attacks as dealing bludgeoning damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Burrito Al Pastor Sep 7 '10 at 2:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ You are right. I fixed my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Schröder Sep 7 '10 at 8:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not understand the detour into Improved Unarmed Strike at all. That's just not necessary and it's confusing. The unarmed strike is a bludgeoning weapon, and neither the monk's unarmed strike feature nor ki strike change that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 24 '14 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1. This answer does not cover the misunderstanding about monk's unarmed attacks becoming supernatural. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Mar 24 '14 at 15:44
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No, it does not bypass the DR. In this case, the supernatural ability does not target the creature as a damage dealing attack - it is a buff targeting the monk's hands. If you have a supernatural ability to summon a badger, that badger does not bypass someone's DR when it attacks them. It is not supernatural, the ability you used to summon it is. Similarly, when you use a supernatural ability to turn your hands magic, they don't then get other properties, they just get the buff.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "(...) monks hands" and legs, hips, knees, feet, head, shoulders, and any other are of the body the attacking monk decides to use to perform an unarmed strike. (As a side note, everyone can Attack with any part of their body as an Unarmed Strike, Monks just explicitly mention hat in their class ability, the mention is buried somewhere in the general description of Unarmed Strikes). Yes a minor issue, but I kinda felt the need to point that out. \$\endgroup\$ – Drejzer Feb 23 at 19:45
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Normally it does bludgeoning. So as the other commenters have said it would not overcome dr/slashing. However there is a nice little feat called versatile strike that allows unarmed strikes to do piercing, slashing,or bludgeoning at your choice as a swift action each turn. Hope that helps. The feat is in player's handbook II.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site! I was hoping someone would mention this feat, but I have to say, the name of the feat would improve this answer massively. Versatile Strike, it might have been? Point is, if you can edit in the name, it would make this a much better answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 24 '14 at 14:08
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No, a 4th level Monk doesn't deal full damage to a creature with DR5/slashing
unless he deals slashing damage with his attacks, or deals damage not subject to DR altogether

The "treated as magic for purposes of Damage Reduction" means exactly that.

If the targeted creature has DR X/magic a monk will deal damage normally with unarmed strikes. Any other type (like /slashing, /+3, /adamantine etc.) will still reduce damage as normal (unless there are other effects that counteract them, like Higher level monk's ki strike (adamantine), getting a +3 enhancement bonus on unarmed strikes, or making the unarmed strikes deal appropriate damage type.

Also: the (SU) in the ability description means that the Ki Strike (ability to treat unarmed strikes as magical for purposes of bypassing DR) itself is a Supernatural ability (Therefore it stops working in an antimagic field among other things) it doesn't turn monk's Unarmed Strikes (both the class ability and the same-named general capability of creatures) into a supernatural ability.

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