For Druid Wild Shape:

PRIMAL STRIKE Starting at 6th level, your attacks in beast form count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

For the Monk:

KI-EMPOWERED STRIKES Starting at 6th leveI, your unarmed strikes count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

The text seems to indicate the ability to bypass magical immunity requires a feature.

Alternatively, I have read that natural attacks and unarmed attacks aren't "weapons," and therefore you should just be able to pummel the Werewolf with your hands if your sword fails:

Melee Attacks (PHB p.195 (or in errata), emphasis mine). The rule on unarmed strikes should read as follows: “Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons).

However the errata for Monster Manual I guess clears that loophole:

Global Damage Resistances/Immunities. Throughout the book, instances of “nonmagical weapons” in Damage Resistances/Immunities entries have been replaced with “nonmagical attacks.”

We temporarily ad hoc'd an answer in our game to say the Stirges summoned by the druid were magical creatures(Fey) and hence had magical attacks against the Werewolves, even though they were 1HD(d4). Now I see the druid made the Fey part up, and they are beasts, but oh well.

What is the real rule here?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related \$\endgroup\$
    – Randomorph
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 5:23
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ Looking at the mechanics of one edition for help with another is very, very rarely a good idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 6:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the 2e rules are relevant. This question would be better with them left out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 18:49

3 Answers 3


The damage listed in a creature's stat-block does exactly what it says, nothing more.

The section of the monster manual covering how to interpret stat blocks is only about 10 pages long. In that section the only text related to what defines a magical attack I could find was on p.8 of the MM:

Particular creatures are even resistant or immune to damage from nomagical attacks (a magical attack is an attack delivered by a spell, a magic item, or another magical source).

Given this, fifth editions reliance on plain language, and the result of the question here, it appears summoned creatures, and creatures in general, including fey and PCs, only do nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, unless stated otherwise.

Also of note, there are no weapons beyond +3 in fifth edition, and a +1 or magical weapon is a much bigger deal than in previous editions of the game.

For unarmed strikes, with the exception of a level 6 or higher monk, they still count as bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage from a non-magical source. See the question and answer here.


RAW, a fight between Werewolves last until one of them collapses from dehydration or exhaustion

They can not hurt eachother. This does look stupid to me, but these are the rules for now.

Every edition of DnD is quite PC focused, this one more so. Describing and regulating interaction between monsters is not a priority for the authors, so I suggest creating some houserules.


Option 1: Everyone can hurt itself without problems.
If a monster has resistance to non-magical weapons, its attacks are considered magical.

Option 2: Big and scary can hurt anyone.
Above a certain CR (I suggest 10) every monster hits as if magical.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree, that is why I posted the 2nd/3rd ed rule table. Honestly, I am beginning to think there should be three answers to every question: What is the RAW, what is the RAI, and what makes sense, but stack exchange allows one answer. My question asked for the RAW. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Werewolves are smart enough to understand their limitations. If they're the alpha of their pack or vying to become the alpha, they'd be wise to find a weapon capable of harming another werewolf. Or, they should consider suffocating/drowning their opponent. \$\endgroup\$
    – JWeir
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 12:24

Possibility: Attacks from any creature other than beast or humanoid are considered magical:

so aberration, monstrosity, dragon, etc. all count as magical for overcoming magic resistance. In additional humanoid subtype of shapechanger is considered to have magical attack when using its natural attacks. So a werewolf using a longsword couldn't damage another werewolf, but a werewolf using its bite could.

This explains why monk and druid must specify (since their forms are humanoid and beast)

However it does leave a door open for unusual races such as Shifter, and Changeling.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is there any basis in the rules for this? I'm pretty sure this is incorrect, however this would be most welcome if you could back your answer up with citations (and ideally quotes) from the source material (ie. rule books in this case). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .