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Being new to D&D, I'm very intrigued with damage reduction. Creating a new level 1 fighter, I'm trying to acquire damage reduction, but have been unable to find a way to do it at first level, or a shortest path.

What is the quickest way to gain damage reduction from a character-creation and development standpoint?

I believe we're only using the Core, and Advanced Pathfinder books. Other credible sources would probably be acceptable, however.

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A barbarian can get DR early, at second level, by taking the "Invulnerable Rager" archetype from the APG.

A monk can get DR at level 13 if taking the Drunken Master archetype or level 9 if taking the Monk of the Sacred Mountain archetype.

Sadly there is no archetype to give actual fighters DR early; there are a variety of types but it's all at 19th level.

If you are from Irrisen you could take the "Fey Foundling" local feat which gives DR 1/cold iron; that applies to any class.

Anyone can gain DR at any level with a level 12 bard with the Savage Skald archetype singing at 'em. Or by wearing adamantine armor.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where'd you find a Fey Foundling that gives DR 1/cold iron? The Fey Foundling in the Inner Sea World Guide, according to d20pfsrd.com, gives a minor vulnerability to cold iron, not resistance to non-cold-iron, and then boosts incoming healing. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Mar 1 '15 at 13:28
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In Pathfinder, the Fighter gains DR 5/- at 19th level when wearing armor or using a shield. If you want DR sooner, you might consider foregoing Fighter in favor of Barbarian. (Their DR starts at 7th level (DR 1/-), and goes up to DR 5/- at level 19.) A Barbarian can also increase his damage reduction by selecting the Increased Damage Reduction rage power.

Edit: Also, a Summoner's Eidolon (summoned pet) can gain up to DR 10. At level 16, the summoner can merge and be protected by the Eidolon; at level 20, the summoner can also gain this power by becoming a double of his Eidolon. I'm not sure if this is appropriate for a fighter character; but, I thought it was worth mentioning.

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3rd level fighter ~ extra armor training ~ take armored juggernaut. It starts as 1 dr if wearing heavy armor,increases to 3 by lvl 11 and increases to 8 by lvl 19.stacks with adamine dr. Armor masters handbook pg 14 ~ paizo material

5th lvl stalwart~ fight defensively and trade the dodge bonus for upto 5dr that only stacks with class features . See above. Ultimate combat. 11th lvl improved stalwart. It increases to 10.

7th (recomended)bolstered resistance~double your dr to a max of 20 as an immeadiate action. Makes you fatigued next turn. Ultimate combat. Combine with cord of stubborn resolve. +2 con and Never fatigue but take 1d6 subdual dmg per use. Ultimate equipment.

Material mastery and expertise pg16 armor masters handbook. Special material Armor provides a bonus 2/4 times aday. Adamantine ..... Half damage is converted subdual. Dragon hide....dr 10 for type of dmg matching breath weapon.

By lvl 7 you could have 20 dr every round but also converting that incoming by half to subdual dmg. Unless your hit by 41 dmg your not hurt. But that does take a min of 7.5k plus 4k for crafting material to make your adamantine tatomi do.wizard friend withcraft wonderous plus using alternate craft rules for the armor ...dc30 7ranks 3 proficient 2 tools 5 crafters fortune 2 for friendly wizard hopefully +1int..total +20....pathfinder unchained pg 72 Granted it will take two years and many many beers for your wizarding friend.unless your using other cheaper materials below.

Dragon hide can be more easily enchanted for elemental dr Eel hide provides 1 or 2 electrical dr Elysian bronze dr 3 for heavy armor but only versus magical beasts. 1/5 the cost of adamantine. Fire forged steel ..fire dr 2 Frost forged steel..cold dr 2 Ultimate equipment pg 50

Sunsilk add dr 2 /bludgeoning to any clothing or other armor Qadira jewel of the east pg 33

This is a stretch but the properties are documented. Mimameith...dr 2 / slashing or piercing. Also 5 points dr versus fire.600 gold per 5 lbs. Now the dm may not allow a shield of it, but making one shot paste is what it normally does dc20 craft alchemy check. Can find 1d4 doses free with dc 25 survival/herbalist check. Ultimate wilderness pg 154

Take craft alchemy make the following with the alternate crafting rules(cheaper). Fireward gel,frostward gel,mimameith, brawlers brew. Educated drugist trait is awesome add 1 to the alchemical bonus(1 extra dr) of remedies and they heal 1hp. Healers handbook pg.10 A little off topic but if you do get the above trait. Spam alchemist kindess for 2.5 silver piece per 1hp healed.thats 2 gold for curing 8hp. Granted it takes 10 minutes per 1 health. Chugalug that soda. For faster healing troll stypic is also spam worthy. 25 gold if you make it. Heals 1hp plus fast healing 3(drugist) for 2d4 rounds. Averages 16 health per dose. But fort save is needed dc 15.adventures armory pg 24. This can be a cure moderate wounds in anti magic zones. Both of these will remove subdual dmg from the cord while healing normal dmg as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! Take the tour when you get a chance. This is a terrific first answer. Great job on all the research. It could be improved with a little formatting however. Check out the meta help on formatting for the available options. Thanks for contributing and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Dec 4 '18 at 5:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good thing that you updated this, the accepted answer has been outdated for years. Upvoted. Please add the Armor Master archetype from Ultimate Combat. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 4 '18 at 10:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tremorfireheart Just to be a little pedantic, you are mixing up DR and energy resistance here. Although similar, they are mechanically quite different things. Otherwise, great answer! \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Dec 5 '18 at 2:23
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I think the quickest way for your fighter to gain DR, is with Adamantine Armor. Anything else is only going to be at a much later level.

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Level 1. There are several ways of doing this:

Race

Some few player-character races have or can purchase via racial feats some small amount of damage reduction. The variant trait tables for Aasimar and Tieflings also have a small chance of granting alignment based DR.

Traits

haunted fey aspect is a level 0 spell that grants DR. You can gain access to this spell as a fighter via race, as above, or via the 'Magical Talent' magic trait. Certain other traits also grant access to sources of DR, and there may be a trait somewhere that grants DR directly, but there is certainly not one in the sources you list, and I don't know of any.

Magic Items

Many spells, like Iron Body, grant DR. Magic items that replicate those spells on an at-will or continual basis are therefore sources of DR. Some specific magic items, like the Hero's Hauberk, also grant DR. While effective, most of these are too expensive to purchase at level one, even with the 1800 gp you can potentially start with.

Mundane Gear

Some mundane equipment, most notably Adamantine armor, grants DR.

In Conclusion

Race is probably the best option if you want this to be a core feature of your character at as low a level as possible. Gargoyles are probably the best choices for this, especially if you can apply the gemstone gargoyle template.

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