Specifically, does a damage reduction reduce the damage from each dice of falling damage or from the total?

If it is the former, does this combination worth less than 2000 gp make me immune to falling damage (for 24 hours)?

Boots of the Cat (1000 gp) The boot’s wearer always takes the minimum possible damage from falls (as if the GM had rolled a 1 on each die of damage incurred by the fall) and at the end of a fall always lands on his feet.


Shoanti War Paint [...] Once applied, the effects granted by the war paint last for 24 hours. [...] Orange (900 gp): You gain damage reduction 1/—. This effect stacks with the damage reduction granted by the barbarian class.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This question also provides some other damage reduction clarifications \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 8:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer is for D&D 3.5, which is similar. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


DR doesn't work here at all, since DR doesn't apply to environmental damage. The Boots of the Cat are fine, though, and will still cap your damage to 20 and let you land on your feet.

However, you may also have some confusion about how precisely DR or falling damage works. As a refresher, falling damage is defined with this key sentence:

Creatures that fall take 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6.

I'll attempt to clarify what you might be getting confused about.

  • You take 20d6 damage if you fall 200 feet, once, not 1d6 damage 20 times.
  • Damage reduction applies to the final damage amount, not each individual damage die. (But damage reduction won't apply to the falling damage anyway.)

You take fall damage all at once, when you finally hit the ground. You don't progressively take 1d6 fall damage per 10 feet whilst falling through the air. The increasing number of damage dice is not taking damage from the air, but an increasing measure of how hard you're going to hit the ground when you finally reach it. Someone with 1hp will survive the entire fall, so long as they have some kind of strategy for not hitting the ground too hard when they finally reach it.

If damage reduction worked with falling damage, and you fell 200 feet: Boots of the Cat would reduce that to only 20 fall damage, and Shoanti War Paint's DR 1/— would reduce that to 19 fall damage.

If you want to take no fall damage at all, maybe you'd prefer a Wand of Feather Fall, or a Ring of Feather Falling.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ ... so long as they have some kind of strategy for not hitting the ground too hard when they finally reach it. - I suggest simply missing the ground. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 12:58

Technically, with the Rules As Written, damage reduction does not apply to falling damage, only to attacks.

This is because DR says only that it is the ability to:

instantly heal damage from weapons or ignore blows altogether as though they were invulnerable.

and that

damage reduction (or DR) is the amount of damage the creature ignores from normal attacks.

Since the damage from falling is not from an attack, it doesn't count. That said, every group I've ever played with has house ruled that damage reduction should apply as normal to bludgeoning damage.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Never ran into a post? More than once I've heard people say "that post attacked me" and from a pure physical force perspective (equal opposing force) it might as well have attacked you... \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Julix The term "Rules as Written" (or RAW for short) indicates a purely literal interpretation of the game mechanics, and that's what I address in this post. As I note at the end, I don't actually play it like this -- I just thought it was worth noting, since there are folks who do. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 1:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure, based on the history of the DR rules, that the point of including the words "normal attack" is to emphasise the "normal" part, not the "attack" part. (Further supporting this is that a "blow" isn't limited to attacks, it's any impact of any kind.) DR protects against normal sources of damage is the reading I'm most familiar with. This reading also makes the most sense, as DR then protects from both hurled stones as well as naturally-falling stones, rather than only the first in the super-literal reading in the answer. Insert usual note about the dangers of literalism here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 20:16

Falling damage is untyped damage, which cannot be stopped by any DR or resistance:

Spells and effects that do untyped damage are pretty rare in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, since these spells are quite powerful since their damage can't be stopped by any form of immunity, resistance, or damage reduction.

(A quick aside: Most physical damage sources do bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage, all of which can be stopped by DR. Most magical damage sources do elemental, sonic, or force damage, all of which can be stopped by resistances. Untyped damage cannot be stopped. Most feats that allow you to damage yourself for an effect do untyped damage so that you can't use DR or resistance to get around the cost of the effect.) 

And I agree with other answers that it makes sense to houserule falling damage as bludgeoning — my answer is only relating to strict RAW.

Either way, boots of the cat are amazing, as they cap your maximum falling damage to 20. A terminal-velocity fall averages 70 damage with a max of 120, but with boots of the cat you take exactly 20. I've used them to great effect on mid- or high-level non-casters. Much cheaper than a ring of feather falling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I could've sworn that falling dealt the same kind of 'Crushing' damage dealt by rooms with walls that slam against each other, and that those were the only two sources of the 'crushing' damage type mentioned in the rules. Maybe I'm thinking of 3.5? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would make a fine houserule, and it's been so long since I read 3.5 (or 3.0) that it's very possible it was changed in Pathfinder. Pretty sure in Pathfinder most forms of "crushing" do untyped damage, although I think a handful do bludgeoning (and therefore can be prevented by DR). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 19:17

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