Is a Smite Evil attack considered magic or holy? Does it bypass enemies with neutral damage reduction?


Smite Evil says, in its entirety (aside from some explanatory notes about invalid targets and uses per day as you level up):

Once per day, a paladin may attempt to smite evil with one normal melee attack. She adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to her attack roll and deals 1 extra point of damage per paladin level.

Nothing in that description says anything about the attack being magic or holy, nor does it say anything about bypassing DR of any type. Searching through the d20srd.org site for Smite Evil returns nothing to counter that.

As written, Smite Evil does not inherently bypass any form of DR, nor does it inherently count as Magic or Good for any purpose. Of course, the weapon through which the smite is delivered would bypass DR as normal.

Note that the Pathfinder version of Smite Evil does bypass any DR that the (valid) target might have. It's also more powerful in several other ways.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In PHB it says on the example: For example, a 13th-level paladin armed with a longsword would deal 1d8+13 points of damage, plus any additional bonuses for high Strength or magical affects that would normally apply. So It means if is the case of the character use some magical weapon, not the effect of Smite Evil itself? \$\endgroup\$ – Kaval Apr 22 '17 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kaval : yes; its just saying that the 13 points of damage from Smite is over and above whatever the attack would normally do. \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Apr 23 '17 at 1:09

Smite Evil is a Supernatural Ability; as such, there are some restrictions on when it can be used, but Damage Reduction explicitly mentions that:

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

(emphasis mine)

Since Smiting is (Su), DR wouldn't apply regardless of type.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The smite doesn't deal damage, it adds extra damage to a successful attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Chemus Apr 23 '17 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems like it might make more sense as an edit. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 23 '17 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer: It's a complete reversal of my other answer (that one is "no", this one is "yes"). \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Apr 23 '17 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass In that case this one needs its own section addressing whether or not the ability counts as 'holy' (by which I assume the OP meant good-aligned) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 23 '17 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chemus: Smite appears to be a (Su) that grants an attack as part of the action; that attack does extra stuff, but it's still a (Su) that triggers it, so the whole action is (Su). \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Apr 23 '17 at 19:05

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