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Dilemma

The feat Roll With It (Savage Species, p. 39) contains come text that is confusing1:

This applies in addition to any damage reduction you have from other sources.

This appears contrary to what the SRD states about Damage Reduction:

If a creature has damage reduction from more than one source, the two forms of damage reduction do not stack. Instead, the creature gets the benefit of the best damage reduction in a given situation.

Could this be an oversight since Savage Species is 3.0? Especially since it contains:

You may take this feat multiple times.

But it doesn't contain what, in D&D 3.5, is usually also stated after that bit of text:

It's effects stack.

Would the damage reduction of 2/- stack with existing damage reduction of x/-, or is it an exclusive damage reduction of 2/- that applies at the same time to x/magic (for example)?

If one took this feat multiple times, would it's effects stack?


Hypothetical (but very plausible) situation

7th Level Mineral Warrior Barbarian has DR 1/- from being a barbarian and DR 8/adamantine for being a Mineral Warrior. He takes the feat Roll With It. Does that simply improve his DR 1/- into DR 3/-? Is it an exclusive 2/- that also applies at the same time to DR 8/adamantine?

Actual situation

7th Level Dwarf Barbarian wants to take Roll With It, and plans on taking it every time he gains a feat.


1After searching with "roll with it" [dnd-3e] & [dnd-3.5e] and not finding anything.

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The DR from the feat doesn't stack but is in addition

The feat Roll with It (Savage Species 39) says

Benefit: You gain damage reduction 2/—. This applies in addition to any damage reduction you have from other sources. Damage reduction cannot reduce damage you take to less than 0.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times.

Thus the damage reduction from each iteration of the feat is in addition to any other damage reduction the creature already possesses. Don't think of it as stacking (i.e. combining for a cumulative effect and not generally possible with damage reduction); instead, think of it as another layer of damage reduction (also usually not possible, but the feat's specific phrasing trumps the general rules for DR).

In other words, after damage has been dealt to the creature and the creature's other damage reduction has reduced damage appropriately, then the creature applies the damage reduction from the feat Roll with It, each iteration of the feat applying individually and sequentially.

For example, a dwarf barbarian 7 with the feat Roll with It that would have been dealt 10 points of damage by a longsword applies his barbarian level's DR 1/— to that damage first then the DR 2/— from the feat Roll with It. The dwarf is dealt 7 points of damage. Were the dwarf to have taken the feat Roll with It twice, he would apply his barbarian DR 1/— then his first Roll with It DR 2/— then his second Roll with It DR 2/— so that the longsword would deal 5 points of damage.

The feat's phrasing is unique, and it (rather pointlessly, in my opinion) breaks some rules, but feats are allowed to do that, so it's no big deal. It would have been much clearer were the feat's Benefit simply to have read that it reduced the damage from manufactured and natural weapons by 2 each time the feat's picked, but that's not what we got.

If you still don't like it, have the DM fix it

The DM is allowed to revise to 3.5 standards items from Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition that weren't upgraded to 3.5. The Dungeon Master's Guide (2003) says

This [i.e. from Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5] is an upgrade of the d20 System, not a new edition of the game. This revision is compatible with existing products, and these products can be used with the revision with only minor adjustments. (4)

The DM, presumably, makes these minor adjustments. This, for your group, may be one.

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D&D 3.0 SRD has no mention of whether damage reduction stacks or not.

Given that they specifically tell you that enhancements etc don't stack, and given the Savage Species rules you have quoted, it appears that in 3.0, DR always stacked.

As 3.5 changed this, Roll With It is outside 3.5 RAW, and the result is down to house rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good catch. I wasn't aware that there was no general rule for damage reduction in 3.0. I'll amend my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim C Jul 9 '15 at 6:03
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If you're playing 3e, it stacks

In 3e, there are no rules regarding how Damage Reduction stacks. The Barbarian's DR doesn't say that it doesn't stack, and Roll With It specifically says that it does. There is no ambiguity in the rules here.

Mineral Warrior and Roll With It don't exist in the same game

Mineral Warrior comes from 3.5e, which is a different game from 3e. Thus, a Mineral Warrior Barbarian cannot take Roll With It any more than it could take levels in Jedi Guardian.

If they did exist in the same game, it would probably stack

The rules for specific feats and spells will occasionally contradict the general rules. When it does, there is the implied statement of "even if the general rule says otherwise." For example, the Improved Feint feat allows a character to make a feint as a move action, even though the general rule says that Feinting is a standard action.

For example, your quoted text from Roll With It would read

This applies in addition to any damage reduction you have from other sources. Its effects stack even if the general rule says otherwise.

While Mineral Warrior's damage reduction does specifically say that it doesn't stack:

A mineral warrior gains damage reduction 8/adamantine. If it already has damage reduction, it retains both versions and uses the best one that applies.

Mineral Warrior comes from a 3.5e supplement, so I'd interpret that wording as merely a reminder the player of the general rule, and the specific rule for Roll With It would supersede it.

In that situation, the Mineral Warrior would have the following three sources of Damage Reduction:

  1. 1/- Damage Reduction from being a barbarian
  2. 8/Adamantine Damage Reduction for being a mineral warrior
  3. 2/- Damage Reduction from Roll With It, which stacks with either of the above.

Thus, they would effectively have 3/- OR 10/Adamantine damage reduction in any situation.

Taking the feat multiple times would increase those values by 2 each time, as the additional Roll With It copies would stack with eachother, and with either of the others.

But again, that's a house rule!

As you've mentioned, Savage Species is a 3.0 book. Assuming you're playing in a 3.5e game, Roll With It is not part of Rules As Written. The barbarian is no more entitled to the Roll With It feat than a wizard would be to the 3.0 version of the Haste spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 3.0 content that is not explicitly replaced by 3.5 content is valid in a 3.5 game, so Mineral Warrior and Roll With It do exist in the same game: 3.5. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 9 '15 at 13:55
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It stacks


I agree with the interpretation from Tim C:

  • As per the text Roll With It applies in addition to any other source of Damage Reduction, so if you have pre-existing DR/- (such as a high-level Barbarian), your first applies the regular DR, then you apply the DR from Roll With It
  • Since it would be meaningless to be able to take the feat multiple times if its effect did not stack with itself, then it is clear that the intent of the feat was that it would stack with itself

Therefore, I would expect a 20-th level Barbarian (DR 6/-) who has taken the feat Roll With It 6 times (DR +12/-) to have a DR 18/-.

If the Barbarian is also a Mineral Warrior (DR 8/adamantine) then with its 6 Roll With It feats, it will have the equivalent of DR 20/adamantine.


However, unlike Tim C, I would contend that the feat is far from broken:

  • the DR granted scales much more slowly than damage, so while at level 1 a DR 10/adamantine makes the character nigh invulnerable to damage (unless the foe makes a critical hit), at level 20 DR 20/adamantine in face of hits over 100 damage points is merely a 20% reduction; it will just make the character very good against swarms/minions, those that the casters from the group will wipe out with an area spell in the first round of combat
  • in exchange for this DR, the character will not get: Power Attack, Leap Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper, ... that is, this character will hit like a moist sponge and will have no combat control option, in short, as the enemy, I would ignore it to hit more juicy (squishy) targets and come back to finish it afterwards

In terms of role-play, the choice of feat is fun and really keeps with the tradition of the tough Dwarf and tough Barbarian; in terms of optimization I would rank the character somewhere along Tier 5 (providing it keeps up with Barbarian).

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