The Ancient Green Dragon can inflict a target with ongoing 15 poison damage (save ends) with its Bite attack (as well as immediate normal damage). It also has an ability it can use on its next turn called Mind Poison which "only affects a target taking ongoing poison damage" and inflicts -2 penalties to checks, dazed, and finally a form of charm/domination.

Similarly the Zythar can inflict fire damage and ongoing 10 fire damage on a target with Flame Bolt, and has another attack called Tendrils of Flame which can only target "one creature taking ongoing fire damage", which does extra damage and also strips the target of its fire resistance (save ends).

If a character has resist 20 poison and resist 20 fire and is hit with the initial attacks which cause damage and ongoing damage, but suffers no damage from the ongoing damage due to resistance, can it still be targeted/affected by the follow-up attacks? Technically the character would still be coated in poison or would still be on fire, it would just be suffering no damage from them, so abilities which manipulate the poison/fire on a target might still apply. Would you still roll to save against non-damaging effects in the first place?


2 Answers 2


Yes, it still can be targeted. The ongoing damage is an effect that lies upon a character and the condition for casting that abilities is, that that target is afflicted with this status.

That is why it makes sense to role against that effects also, because you would not like to suddenly have this major effects upon yours. You could also loose resistance and then take the damage.

Immunity is handled differently.

For example: You have poision resistance, but you are not immune to poison. So it might not do damage on you, but ist still can daze you. When you are immune to poision, you won't take poison damage and you won't take poison effects either. Anything with the poison keyword does not affect you.

I know it seems to be weird, but that are the rules (according to my understanding). This is because "taking ongoing damage" would not take place in the creatures turn. So it can only be interpreted as being a condition of the character instead of "really" taking damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You could also be targeted by something that strips away your resistance, and then you'll still take the damage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ So when this ongoing damage is applied to the character, the player should make the appropriate roll to end it each round, even though it's not doing anything to affect the character? \$\endgroup\$
    – Temp
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. The effect is still on you, and you are still "taking" the damage, it's just that you have enough resistance to negate it completely. It isn't any different than if you had only 5 resistance against 10 ongoing damage. \$\endgroup\$
    – firedraco
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:46

To state it simply:

The ongoing damage is an effect placed on the creature. Resist just means that it does not take as much/any damage from that effect, not that the effect is cancelled.

So yes the character still counts as taking ongoing damage even though they may suffer no actual damage, and secondary effects or abilities based on the effect will still occur.

The character still must make rolls to end the effect as appropriate.


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