So there's an assassin in my group who uses Shade Form to go insubstantial. He also has resist 10 to cold from an item he attained.

My question is this: What comes first in terms of resistance, the resist 10 cold or the half damage from insubstantial?

He thinks that the damage should be halved first from the insubstantial, so 20 cold damage would do no damage at all. But I think it's more fair that the resist 10 cold should apply first, so 20 cold damage would instead do 5 damage. Any thoughts on this?


1 Answer 1


You are correct, you apply resistance first then the half damage. This is stated in the Rules Compendium, and the glossary entries entries of MM2 and MM3 say almost the same thing.

Rules Compendium p226 (or MM3 p217 and 218, or MM2):

Half Damage

Some powers deal half damage when they miss, and some effects, such as the weakened condition, cause damage to be halved. When a power of other effect deals half damage, first apply all modifiers to the damage, including resistances and vulnerabilities, then divide the damage in half (rounded down).


Some creatures, such as wraiths, are naturally insubstantial, and some powers can make a creature insubstantial. While a creature is insubstantial, it takes half damage from any attack that deals damage to it. Ongoing damage is also halved.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome! You guys are the best for quick and efficient replies. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Seiat
    Dec 16, 2013 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've updated this with the Rules Compendium wording, since it's basically the final word on 4e's rules. This means the situation's expressly the same for players, too. Welcome to the site! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2013 at 9:52

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