Suppose an attack does 5 piercing and 5 poison damage (or 5 slashing and 5 fire, etc.) and the player parries the attack, and rolls to reduce 6 points of damage. Which type of damage is reduced first? Would the answer be different if it were 9 weapon damage and 1 elemental, or vice versa?


When another creature damages you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one superiority die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your superiority die + your Dexterity modifier.

This matters if, for example, the character has resistance to one of the damage types.

The kindest interpretation (and one that does make some "sense") would be that it reduces weapon damage first, and if it reduces the weapon damage to zero, none of the additional damage is done either, but that seems over powered. Unless someone can unambiguously point me to rules that support this interpretation, I prefer an interpretation where the total damage reduced is as rolled.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not directly related, but worth reading through: Handling the Ranger's proficiency bonus with multi-component Beast Companion attacks \$\endgroup\$
    – DaFluid
    Oct 5, 2015 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ You spend your reaction and your superiority die on it. By the time you have many of those, the amount reduced will not seem a lot. Reducing damage to 0 with those costs is hardly overpowered. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 6, 2015 at 6:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András I think you missed my point. If something does 5 piercing and 25 poison (not uncommon among creatures that use poison) being able to spend 1 SD to reduce the piercing to zero and then saying, "well it makes sense that since there is no piercing damage the poison can't get in so I take zero poison also" is Overpowered, in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2015 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont, I understood you perfectly, but I think Parry is quite weak compared Tripping or Precision Attack and especially Riposte. So letting it shine in special and rare circumstances will not be unbalanced. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 6, 2015 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel the question of whether the poison is negated if the weapon's base damage is reduced to zero is a valid (and separate) question. Though I feel even if the rules are ambiguous here the sane ruling is 'no' - no piercing damage doesn't mean no poison damage. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2, 2019 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


Jeremy Crawford said that this is not specified in the rules, and that he would let the player decide how the reduction is split between the damage types. This does not imply that any complete reduction to any one part of the damage reduces that of another.

From the basic rules chapter on combat: "Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage."


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