Does an attack roll that 'hits' according to an the attack roll, but deals zero damage (perhaps through damage reduction or through poor rolls and resistances, as in this question about raging barbarians) still count as a hit for the purposes of things like hunter's mark or hex?

Does it count if the target is immune?

I found a similar question - Does a successful hit that does no damage due to DR still count as a hit? - but that's for Pathfinder rather than 5e.


2 Answers 2


Yes, a hit that deals 0 damage for any reason is still a hit.

This is because the attack roll dictates whether it is a hit or not, not the damage roll (see Player's Handbook p. 194 in the section on Attack Rolls):

When you make an attack, your attack roll determines whether the attack hits or misses.

The attack roll occurs prior to rolling damage and dictates whether you hit. That is, by the time you roll for damage, the attack roll will already have resulted in either a hit or a miss. If it resulted in a hit, it still counts as a hit even if the resulting damage ends up being 0 when it is calculated later due to damage resistance, damage immunity, damage threshold (see the Dungeon Master's Guide for this obscure property), or what have you.

Note that many features that are reactive to attacks use different wording. A feature that triggers "when you are hit/when you hit" and a feature that triggers "when you are damaged/when you deal damage" are not quite the same thing. The "hit" kind of feature would trigger on a hit even if the damage is 0, whereas the "damage" kind would trigger only if the damage was 1 or greater. Therefore, be careful of the wording when evaluating such a feature.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have citations for the phrase "whereas the "damage" kind would trigger only if the damage was 1 or greater. "? I ask because I tried to find RAW on this case but I couldn't find anything that clarified if 0 damage counted as "taking damage". I would assume what you said was true, but I have a DM that disagrees and a citation would be useful to convince him ;). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2017 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BillNadeau It's possible there's no RAW because the rules already pretty clearly differentiate between hitting and dealing damage. If you take zero damage, you've taken no damage -- in other words, you haven't taken damage. If you take zero pencils from the teacher's desk, have you taken pencils from the teacher's desk? \$\endgroup\$
    – Doktor J
    Mar 1, 2017 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DoktorJ Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. But without explicit RAW it's up to my DM to make the call. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2017 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ The following is a relevant Crawford ruling that makes it clear that 0 damage means you haven't taken damage: twitter.com/jeremyecrawford/status/784550483507744769 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2017 at 22:16


Per page 194 of the PH, the Attack Roll section:

When you make an attack, your attack roll determines whether the attack hits or misses ... If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits.

Per Step 3 of the header titled Making an Attack, found directly above in the PH (italics mine for emphasis):

Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage….

The damage is caused on a successful hit, regardless of whether that damage is reduced or eliminated.


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