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So we had an arena style session in 5e last night, and at one point, I was playing a sorcerer, and was facing a barbarian. The barbarian was raging, giving him resistance to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning. I cast Cloud of Daggers, which does specify slashing damage.

So my question is: even though it is slashing, does it count as magical damage for the sake of overcoming resistance?

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In this particular case, the magicalness of the damage matters not.

The Barbarian has resistance to piercing/slashing/bludgeoning damage regardless of whether or not it it's from a magical weapon. Thus they have resistance to the damage from Cloud of Daggers.

However, if you did encounter someone who had resistance to slashing damage from non-magical weapons, that one is up in the air. It's probably magical since the source is from a spell, but that is not certain. Most likely, the reason why it's not spelled out clearly is that it's painfully obvious, these count as magic weapons. However, it's definitely something where you'd need to talk to your DM about it as they may choose to rule that they are, in fact, not magical.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For example, if you play with Feats, Heavy Armour Master protects from non-magical weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2015 at 9:12
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Damage from the spell cloud of daggers is magical.

This is clarified for us in the Sage Advice Compendium, in response to the question "Is the breath weapon of a dragon magical?", the official ruling given broadly defines magical features for us:

Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

  • Is it a magic item?
  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?
  • Is it a spell attack?
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
  • Does its description say it’s magical?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.

Cloud of daggers is a spell, and it is fueled by spell slots, ergo, it is magical. (But as noted in WaxEagle's answer this doesn't actually matter for the particular situation described in the question).

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Resistances are explained in PBH 197.

Resistance and vulnerablity is calculated and applied only once, so whether magical or not since the barbarian has resistance to slashing, they still gain resistance the slashing. If the barbarian was "vulnerable" to magic, then the question would be more interesting. In the end however, the vulnerablity and resistance would cancel each other out. 1/2 for slashing and 2x for magic would equal 1x damage.

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As best I can tell, the damage is from physical objects that the spell puts in place for the duration. The daggers themselves are not magical weapons since its not specified in the spell description.

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