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The Dragonfire Assault feat lets you turn your power attack bonus damage into fire type damage.

Are there any advantages to this? All I can see are disadvantages, as a creature can be immune to fire, and therefore be immune to your extra damage.

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It depends, but probably not.

While fire damage is far and away the most-resisted energy type, fire damage is still resisted much less than normal damage. Many more creatures have DR than have fire resistance. The nominal benefit of this feat is to let your power attack damage bypass a creature's DR.

That said, it's going to be pretty rare for DR to matter past level 10 or so. Once you have access to the various ways of penetrating DR, fire resistance is going to come up as a useful defense way more than DR. Especially at later levels, where energy resistance in general becomes more common, you will end up having your fire damage resisted when you can still bypass enemy DR pretty easily.

Also note that both DR and fire resistance will apply to this attack. If an enemy has both, and you can't bypass their DR, then you will do less damage by converting your power attack damage into fire damage.

The times that I can see this being useful are:

  • You can't bypass DR, and the enemy doesn't have fire resistance.
  • You're fighting a cold-element enemy, and fire damage will be doubled.
  • You need to deal fire damage for some other reason (burning down a building, for example).

The times that this will not be useful are:

  • Your enemy has fire resistance or immunity.
  • You can bypass your enemy's DR.

The conditions that make this feat not useful are way more common than the conditions that make it useful, so unless you're playing in a campaign where, for example, most of the enemies are cold type, standard Dragonfire Assault isn't really useful.

One final thing to note is that you can get a different energy type if your draconic heritage would give you that type. Getting sonic damage on every power attack sounds pretty cool, but it still doesn't make this feat worth it. At best, you end up bypassing a little bit of resistance, but you're not going to significantly increase your power with this feat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My character does 75 flat damage per attack at level 9. I don't think I will be needing it then. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho Apr 18 '15 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not useful when there are valuable burnable items like scrolls next to your enemies and you don't want to burn the building that you are in. \$\endgroup\$ – user2617804 Apr 19 '15 at 10:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ From my experience, Fire Resistance comes in much greater amount than DR too. In classes it is at least somewhat evident, a 19th level Barbarian would have only DR 5/- for example, while at the same level the martial stance Flame's Blessing grants immunity to Fire. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Apr 19 '15 at 14:03
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Energy damage (such as fire) is one way to bypass damage reduction, which would normally apply to manufactured and natural weapons, including bonus damage from Power Attack. From the d20 SRD:

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.
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Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains.

Emphasis mine. So by making your bonus damage into fire damage, it's no longer affected by DR. Note that this doesn't affect your normal weapon damage, but could be useful if you rolled low on the dice and wouldn't have done enough damage to overcome DR.

The flipside of energy resistance/immunity is vulnerability to energy:

Some creatures have vulnerability to a certain kind of energy effect (typically either cold or fire). Such a creature takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from the effect, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

Of course, that will depend on whether fire-vulnerable creatures show up in the campaign for you to take advantage.

Finally, you might be able to talk with the GM/group and try to use this fire damage to ignite flammable things when you Power Attack, without needing to bring out a common source of flame (oil, flint and steel, torch, etc.)

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Advantageous against monsters that are vulnerable to fire.

The Dragonfire Assault feat gives you the option to deal fire damage instead of the weapon's normal damage, and provide an advantage against monsters with vulnerability to fire.

According to the SRD, this is the text for vulnerability to energy:

Some creatures have vulnerability to a certain kind of energy effect (typically either cold or fire). Such a creature takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from the effect, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure. (D20srd.org)

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