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Recently, I encountered one of the abilities of Sanctified One:

Holy Fire (Su): Whenever you cast a spell with the fire subtype, you can choose to change all the fire damage it deals into raw divine damage that is treated as good-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. This choice must be made at the time of casting.

(Complete Champion, emphasis mine)

However, the points about damage reduction seems kind of moot, as the d20srd says:

The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

(d20 System Reference Document)

The way I see it is that the spell in question is not concerned with DR anyways, so it really doesn't need to and cannot overcome it. Am I missing something, or did the writers of this class miss something?

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As far as I can tell, that is a real rule discrepancy.

3.5's authors frequently made such oversights, not having had the benefit of years of internet scrutiny before publishing.

Another example of the authors not always being clear on how spells and DR interact is in the Evard's Black Tentacles spell, which superfluously mentions that it does bludgeoning damage.

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I think the DR thing could be needed in some specific cases that might actually happen during a D&D game. Let's take a fire spell that creates a wepon, such as Flame Blade.

The spell creates a weapon which is normally dealing energy damage (fire is one type of energy along with cold, acid, lightning and sonic, as evident from most energy spells descriptions). Now the SU ability turns that fire damage into "raw divine damage".

This damage is not energy, it's not coming from a spell (which summons a blade that, in turn, deals damage*), it's not coming from the SU ability itself (which merely turns one type of damage into another) and it's not coming from a SLA.

So, this attack would normally be influenced by DR, but if the creature's DR is trumped by good it is not thanks to the very text you emphasized.


*this is arguable but looks like a valid interpretation to me.

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    \$\begingroup\$ At which point, one would ask "what's the benefit"? The only benefit I can see is when you're forced/limited to using an energy-based attack against creatures that are resistant/immune to that energy and have DR/good. Devils and demons fit this, but that's a pretty limited circumstance. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '13 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Holy fire is always active once you got it. You get it if you want to have a damage that bypasses fire resistance/immunity (most probably you get it because you wanted some other benefit of the PrC and you get this as well) and the wording just prevents the ability from actually reducing your damage output in the case you regularly use flame blade-like spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Nov 16 '13 at 11:44
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It’s a mistake

They meant Resistance, not Damage Reduction. Damage Reduction does not apply to energy attacks, as you note, but Resistance does. Divine-energy damage would ignore Fire Resistance, even if the divine energy looks or even feels flame-like.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a reference for this? It sounds plausible, but it'd be good to have a source. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 19 '13 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe I don’t and I strongly doubt there is one. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 19 '13 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is certainly an interesting viewpoint, but I have never once encountered a formulation about "being aligned for the purposes of overcoming Energy resistance", and I don't think it would even make sense. Was this what you were suggesting? \$\endgroup\$ – kravaros Nov 19 '13 at 23:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kravaros No, there is no “aligned energy resistance” to my knowledge. Aligned energy damage is, itself, quite rare (eldritch blast, flame strike, and hellfire are the only things that spring to mind), and is almost always explicitly indicated to bypass any form of resistance. Also, in none of these cases is it actually “energy” damage per se, they just make a point of explicitly stating that it isn’t and doesn’t work like other energy damages. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 20 '13 at 5:47
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This is not an issue about damage reduction, but more of a question about resistances and vulnerabilities. If a creature has resistance or immunity to fire, you could easily damage it by changing the damage to divine.

Fire Immunity -> http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#fireImmunity

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer! While I understand that the ability was made to do this, I was asking about the specific sentence mentioning DR, which doesn't quite fit in. \$\endgroup\$ – kravaros Nov 19 '13 at 23:54

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