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CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 12:35 AM
Somewhere a while back (maybe a year or three) I read that if a physical attack doesn't penetrate a target's DR, then a special attack that comes along with the physical attack doesn't work either. I don't know where I read it--although I'm thinking maybe "The Sage" in Dragon--or exactly what it said.

It makes sense, however, that if a giant scorpion tries to sting a target and fails to penetrate the target's SR, it can't inject its poison. Less clear might be the case of a flaming sword failing to penetrate a target's DR--as long as it actually hits the target, shouldn't the fire still burn the target? In the case of an improved grab or improved trip special attack, to go one step further, it would seem that doing actual physical damage would not matter--that as long as the claw, bite, tentacle or other grabbing or tripping weapon hits the target, that the weapon still gets to grab or trip even if it does no physical damage.

Then there's the case of sneak attack damage. While I doubt many people play it this way, it makes sense to me that if the attacker's weapon cannot penetrate your DR, that the attacker couldn't hit a vital organ or other vulnerable area and do the extra sneak attack damage. (I know people who love to play sneak attacker characters would hate that ruling, but it does seem logical.)

1. Does anyone know the source of what I read about DR and special attacks?
2. Does anyone know the actual wording?
3. Does anyone use a rule that requires penetration of DR for some special attacks, and if so, which ones?

Thanks! :)

nijineko
10-14-2008, 03:43 AM
dr covers only physical attacks. period. energy based attacks are not affected. nor are spells, spell-likes, or supernatural abilities.

here's the details (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#damageReduction).

if it bothers you, and you don't mind the extra detail, complexity, and tracking it, then by all means, send a letter.

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 04:09 AM
dr covers only physical attacks. period. energy based attacks are not affected. nor are spells, spell-likes, or supernatural abilities.

here's the details (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#damageReduction).

if it bothers you, and you don't mind the extra detail, complexity, and tracking it, then by all means, send a letter.

It seems like perhaps you didn't understand what I'm asking, and I certainly don't understand what you mean by "send a letter." :confused:

I'm not asking whether energy damage overcomes DR. I'm asking whether a special ability that requires an attacker to hit its target before coming into effect affects a target if the hit does no damage. While the fact that energy damage overcomes SR might suggest that in the case of an energy special ability the answer is yes, I'm not primarily interested in a special ability that does energy damage. I'm primarily interested in other types of special abilities that require the attack to hit. I'm particularly interested in finding the specific ruling I read and reading the specific language again now that I could use it. :)

tesral
10-14-2008, 10:26 AM
It seems like perhaps you didn't understand what I'm asking, and I certainly don't understand what you mean by "send a letter." :confused:

I'm not asking whether energy damage overcomes DR. I'm asking whether a special ability that requires an attacker to hit its target before coming into effect affects a target if the hit does no damage. While the fact that energy damage overcomes SR might suggest that in the case of an energy special ability the answer is yes, I'm not primarily interested in a special ability that does energy damage. I'm primarily interested in other types of special abilities that require the attack to hit. I'm particularly interested in finding the specific ruling I read and reading the specific language again now that I could use it. :)

I would play it by ear. The scorpion, no the poison doesn't work if it doesn't get damage. The flaming sword? If the target was contacted I would allow for the flame damage.

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 10:44 AM
I would play it by ear. The scorpion, no the poison doesn't work if it doesn't get damage. The flaming sword? If the target was contacted I would allow for the flame damage.

Thanks. I agree with those two, but what about sneak attack damage? It still seems to me that if the weapon doesn't penetrate the damage reduction then the sneak-attacker shouldn't be able to strike a vital organ and get the sneak attack damage.

What about incorporeal attacks? Do they bypass DR? If an incorporeal undead's attack doesn't overcome DR, and the DR prevents it from doing any points of damage, does the attack still get to inflict ability score damage, ability score drain, or negative levels, as appropriate to the particular incorporeal undead?

zergrusheddie
10-14-2008, 11:08 AM
Two weeks ago, one of the hardest fights of the night was a mass of 10,000 venomous insects. The DM rolled 2d20 to see how many attacked you and than would roll to hit you. He specifically said that these bugs were about the size of your fist, so they weren't getting inside your armor and therefore were not doing touch attacks. Each insect did 1 point physical damage and 2 points poison/disease damage on a DC 20 Fortitude save. You had to make Concentration checks of like 30 to cast + 1 for every insect that hit you a round, so not too many spells were going off.

However, my Fighter in his +5 Adamantite Armor with DR 3/- didn't take a single damage the entire 2 hour long fight. I convinced the DM that I would not take the Disease damage because the insects need to actually pierce my skin to inject the venom; I also showed him the rules for Stunning Fist. If it wasn't for that, the entire party would have wiped because we killed the swarm with everyone (aside from me) having less than 20 HP (The Rogue was at -7) and the Cleric was forced to use everything except 2 of his 0-level 1 HP heals. One extra guy taking 15 damage a round would have been very bad.

Jcosby
10-14-2008, 11:15 AM
Somewhere a while back (maybe a year or three) I read that if a physical attack doesn't penetrate a target's DR, then a special attack that comes along with the physical attack doesn't work either. I don't know where I read it--although I'm thinking maybe "The Sage" in Dragon--or exactly what it said.

It makes sense, however, that if a giant scorpion tries to sting a target and fails to penetrate the target's SR, it can't inject its poison. Less clear might be the case of a flaming sword failing to penetrate a target's DR--as long as it actually hits the target, shouldn't the fire still burn the target? In the case of an improved grab or improved trip special attack, to go one step further, it would seem that doing actual physical damage would not matter--that as long as the claw, bite, tentacle or other grabbing or tripping weapon hits the target, that the weapon still gets to grab or trip even if it does no physical damage.

Then there's the case of sneak attack damage. While I doubt many people play it this way, it makes sense to me that if the attacker's weapon cannot penetrate your DR, that the attacker couldn't hit a vital organ or other vulnerable area and do the extra sneak attack damage. (I know people who love to play sneak attacker characters would hate that ruling, but it does seem logical.)

1. Does anyone know the source of what I read about DR and special attacks?
2. Does anyone know the actual wording?
3. Does anyone use a rule that requires penetration of DR for some special attacks, and if so, which ones?

Thanks! :)


Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury type poison, a monk (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Monk)ís stunning, and injury type disease.

Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Touch_Attack), energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

Attacks that deal no damage because of the targetís damage reduction do not disrupt spells.

If a creature has damage reduction from more than one source, the two forms of damage reduction do not stack. Instead, the creature gets the benefit of the best damage reduction in a given situation.

This doesn't spell out your question completely, but I think it gives some basic guidelines. I'd agree with the acessment that if it's a spell like ability, etc you can still do damage. But if it's something that relies on physical damage like a sneak attack then it would not work if ALL damage is reduced to zero.

JC

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 11:29 AM
Two weeks ago, one of the hardest fights of the night was a mass of 10,000 venomous insects. The DM rolled 2d20 to see how many attacked you and than would roll to hit you. He specifically said that these bugs were about the size of your fist, so they weren't getting inside your armor and therefore were not doing touch attacks. Each insect did 1 point physical damage and 2 points poison/disease damage on a DC 20 Fortitude save. You had to make Concentration checks of like 30 to cast + 1 for every insect that hit you a round, so not too many spells were going off.

However, my Fighter in his +5 Adamantite Armor with DR 3/- didn't take a single damage the entire 2 hour long fight. I convinced the DM that I would not take the Disease damage because the insects need to actually pierce my skin to inject the venom; I also showed him the rules for Stunning Fist. If it wasn't for that, the entire party would have wiped because we killed the swarm with everyone (aside from me) having less than 20 HP (The Rogue was at -7) and the Cleric was forced to use everything except 2 of his 0-level 1 HP heals. One extra guy taking 15 damage a round would have been very bad.


That sounds like an exciting fight! I'm glad your fighter survived it, and that your DM agreed to the reasonable rule that allowed your fighter to survive.

Where is the rule that says that an unarmed attack must do hit point damage in order to allow the attacker to use Stunning Fist? Thanks!

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 11:32 AM
Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury type poison, a monk (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Monk)ís stunning, and injury type disease.

Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Touch_Attack), energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

Attacks that deal no damage because of the targetís damage reduction do not disrupt spells.

If a creature has damage reduction from more than one source, the two forms of damage reduction do not stack. Instead, the creature gets the benefit of the best damage reduction in a given situation.

This doesn't spell out your question completely, but I think it gives some basic guidelines. I'd agree with the acessment that if it's a spell like ability, etc you can still do damage. But if it's something that relies on physical damage like a sneak attack then it would not work if ALL damage is reduced to zero.

JC

Thanks JC! Are you quoting something in your first three paragraphs? If so, what are you quoting? Thanks! :)

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 11:54 AM
Thanks JC! Are you quoting something in your first three paragraphs? If so, what are you quoting? Thanks! :)

Oh, I found it on page 292 of the DMG. Thanks! :)

ignimbrite
10-14-2008, 04:21 PM
It would seem reasonable to say that contact, inhaled and ingested poisons bypass DR, but injury not so. So if the scorpion managed to deliver a contact poison then it would count (I know their poison is injury so it is hypothetical if).

flaming swords or whatever you could argue that the flame is a touch attack and therefore not subject to DR

sneak attacks are the tricky ones. For me the sneak attack damage is just more damage because you hit a vital spot like the armpit or an artery close to the surface. Therefore it counts as part of the physical damage to bypass DR. Just because your dagger cannot pierce Asmodeus' skin normally doesn't mean that when you shank him in the armpit because he's distracted he doesn't take damage.

CelestialBarbarian
10-14-2008, 09:06 PM
It would seem reasonable to say that contact, inhaled and ingested poisons bypass DR, but injury not so. So if the scorpion managed to deliver a contact poison then it would count (I know their poison is injury so it is hypothetical if).

flaming swords or whatever you could argue that the flame is a touch attack and therefore not subject to DR

sneak attacks are the tricky ones. For me the sneak attack damage is just more damage because you hit a vital spot like the armpit or an artery close to the surface. Therefore it counts as part of the physical damage to bypass DR. Just because your dagger cannot pierce Asmodeus' skin normally doesn't mean that when you shank him in the armpit because he's distracted he doesn't take damage.

With the flaming sword you don't have to argue touch attack because the DR doesn't apply energy damage anyway. If you were to argue touch attack, however, that would suggest that if the sword missed the target's normal AC but would have hit its touch AC then the sword should still do its fire damage. That's not an unreasonable approach either, but I'm pretty sure that's not what the authors intended. The description of the flaming (and other, similar properties) says that it does the fire damage if the weapon hits, with no suggestion that you could make a touch attack with it. Again I suppose you could argue that "hit" doesn't specify whether it hits on a normal attack or on a touch attack.

On the sneak attack, if you can't even penetrate Asmodeus' skin, you can't damage an artery underneath, no matter how close to the surface.

nijineko
10-15-2008, 01:16 AM
dr covers only physical attacks. period. energy based attacks are not affected. nor are spells, spell-likes, or supernatural abilities.

...send a letter.

that's what i said! energy attacks aren't affected by dr at all. as in they do full damage. the exact effect of why they don't take damage is left up to the dm. examples include bounce off, miss, heal instantly, etc.


heh, i don't remember what i meant by the letter bit either. ^^



according to sneak attack rules, if the person is successfully hit in a circumstance where sneak attack or precision damage applies, then they take the extra damage no matter if the base damage of the weapon would have penetrated or not. the only way to avoid sneak attack or other precision based damage is to be immune to crits. sneak attack damage does not mean damage to internal organs. it's just extra damage for hitting a vulnerable spot-nicely left undefined.

since weapons can be made to flame on command, i see no reason why they could not be used in a touch attack for flame damage only. or whatever energy it uses.

as for incorporeal... it depends on what kind of damage they are doing. if it is slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing, then dr affects it. if not, then dr does not affect the damage.

ignimbrite
10-15-2008, 12:13 PM
according to sneak attack rules, if the person is successfully hit in a circumstance where sneak attack or precision damage applies, then they take the extra damage no matter if the base damage of the weapon would have penetrated or not. the only way to avoid sneak attack or other precision based damage is to be immune to crits. sneak attack damage does not mean damage to internal organs. it's just extra damage for hitting a vulnerable spot-nicely left undefined.

exactly, even if you cannot normally pierce the skin, when you are doing a sneak attack you do pierce the skin because of all the extra damage from hitting a weak spot (like the armpit or inner thigh or similar soft spot)

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 12:03 AM
exactly, even if you cannot normally pierce the skin, when you are doing a sneak attack you do pierce the skin because of all the extra damage from hitting a weak spot (like the armpit or inner thigh or similar soft spot)

But if you can't penetrate the DR, then the spot isn't weak and you can't hit the vital spot to do damage. The armpit isn't a vital spot because the skin ins any softer there anyway. It's vital because it doesn't have bones immediately behind it to stop things from penetrating far enough to, say, sever arteries, and because it has arteries near the surface. But if your weapon can't even penetrate the skin because of DR, you can't damage anything vital under the skin.

nijineko
10-16-2008, 12:13 AM
vitals are not necessarily under the skin. you are applying logic to non-logical rules. it doesn't work. the rule says that if certain conditions are met the target takes sneak attack damage with no save! there is no counter to sneak attack damage short of a fortification effect or being flat out immune to criticals.

thus according to the rules it makes no difference if the base damage would penetrate the dr or not. it's up to the dm to figure out a way to describe just how that happens. the sneak attack damage is added to the base damage for calculating wether the dr is penetrated.

that's the rule. deal with it or throw it out or change it and inform your group that you are doing so. it is your game after all, if you don't like how that rule works as is, then clear it with your group and change it. or if for story reasons you don't want that particular villain subject to sneak attacks for whatever reason, then give them a fortification effect! ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 12:26 AM
vitals are not necessarily under the skin. you are applying logic to non-logical rules. it doesn't work. the rule says that if certain conditions are met the target takes sneak attack damage with no save! there is no counter to sneak attack damage short of a fortification effect or being flat out immune to criticals.

thus according to the rules it makes no difference if the base damage would penetrate the dr or not. it's up to the dm to figure out a way to describe just how that happens. the sneak attack damage is added to the base damage for calculating wether the dr is penetrated.

that's the rule. deal with it or throw it out or change it and inform your group that you are doing so. it is your game after all, if you don't like how that rule works as is, then clear it with your group and change it. or if for story reasons you don't want that particular villain subject to sneak attacks for whatever reason, then give them a fortification effect! ^^

Well, I have to give you kudos for admitting that I'm applying logic and you're not. :biggrin:

nijineko
10-16-2008, 12:34 AM
ah, correction please. it is not i who is not applying logic. it is the ruleset of d&d that is collectively not applying logic. =D

nonetheless, those are the rules, and logic is obviously not a factor. so live with them, or change them so you can live with them. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 12:46 AM
ah, correction please. it is not i who is not applying logic. it is the ruleset of d&d that is collectively not applying logic. =D

nonetheless, those are the rules, and logic is obviously not a factor. so live with them, or change them so you can live with them. ^^


Actually, the rules do not say what you say they say; that's just the popular interpretation, and I suspect what they authors would say if they ever even gave it any thought. As written, however, the rules can be interpreted the popular way, or my way. My way is simply more logical, as it doesn't allow the sneak attack damage to penetrate the DR to allow damaging the vital spot that the sneak attack requires in the first place. :lol:

nijineko
10-16-2008, 01:56 AM
oh really... now i'm going to have to look it up.

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 02:07 AM
oh really... now i'm going to have to look it up.

Tee hee! :lol:

nijineko
10-16-2008, 02:41 AM
okay, i see where you are drawing your conclusions from, but unfortunately your reading is not correct as far as i can tell. you are arguing that dr covers all vital spots equally. however the description of dr and sneak attack do not support that as written.

sneak attack implies that all creatures that are not immune to critical hits are vulnerable to sneak attack damage.

the idea that bonus damage can be negated if the based damage does not penetrate would be an important concept and something that has that large an impact on the game would have been explicitly stated in the dr rules. dr simply negates some of the damage from most weapon and natural attacks.

it seems that you are attempting to make the rules apply to a situation which in the real world might apply, but in the context of the game the rules are not designed nor intended to model.

arguing against your perspective, skin is not of the same density everywhere on a body, nor is armor biologically capable of covering all the vitals. sensory organs, reproductive organs, waste elimination and food intake locations, all of these require a lack of protection to function. biologically speaking, it is impossible to create a living biological organism which does not have some vital spot to which sneak attack damage could be applied to.

besides, damage to hp does not necessarily mean that the body is damaged. hp is a pseudo-representation of the total capacity of a character to fight. if it was intended to represent actual damage, we would have crit charts for body locations, and the effects of combat fatigue would also be present in the rules. the rules are not intended to be realistic, nor model logic in combat.

so in that sense, a successful sneak attack need not wound a given target in the slightest, only impair it's combat ability to the degree indicated by the "damage" dealt. to give an example of this, technically a nerve strike deals no damage to the body, but it can temporarily cripple or paralyze a limb.


gah. now i'm mixing our points of view in making my points! sorry, lousy debate skills here.





edit: found it! i quote from the faq:


...bypass damage reduction. If you
hit a designated foe, however, the extra damage you deal helps
you overcome any damage reduction the foe has.

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 02:57 AM
okay, i see where you are drawing your conclusions from, but unfortunately your reading is not correct as far as i can tell. you are arguing that dr covers all vital spots equally. however the description of dr and sneak attack do not support that as written.

sneak attack implies that all creatures that are not immune to critical hits are vulnerable to sneak attack damage.

the idea that bonus damage can be negated if the based damage does not penetrate would be an important concept and something that has that large an impact on the game would have been explicitly stated in the dr rules. dr simply negates some of the damage from most weapon and natural attacks.

it seems that you are attempting to make the rules apply to a situation which in the real world might apply, but in the context of the game the rules are not designed nor intended to model.

arguing against your perspective, skin is not of the same density everywhere on a body, nor is armor biologically capable of covering all the vitals. sensory organs, reproductive organs, waste elimination and food intake locations, all of these require a lack of protection to function. biologically speaking, it is impossible to create a living biological organism which does not have some vital spot to which sneak attack damage could be applied to.

besides, damage to hp does not necessarily mean that the body is damaged. hp is a pseudo-representation of the total capacity of a character to fight. if it was intended to represent actual damage, we would have crit charts for body locations, and the effects of combat fatigue would also be present in the rules. the rules are not intended to be realistic, nor model logic in combat.

so in that sense, a successful sneak attack need not wound a given target in the slightest, only impair it's combat ability to the degree indicated by the "damage" dealt. to give an example of this, technically a nerve strike deals no damage to the body, but it can temporarily cripple or paralyze a limb.


gah. now i'm mixing our points of view in making my points! sorry, lousy debate skills here.





edit: found it! i quote from the faq:

Actually I am correct so far as the rules are actually written. You're just making up nonsense with your "not all areas are equally covered by DR invention." :lol::laugh:

As far as the FAQ goes, I never disputed that the popular interpretation is likely what the authors intended--I just said that it's not the only valid way to read what they actually wrote, and that my way makes more sense. :p

tesral
10-16-2008, 09:50 AM
But if you can't penetrate the DR, then the spot isn't weak and you can't hit the vital spot to do damage. The armpit isn't a vital spot because the skin ins any softer there anyway. It's vital because it doesn't have bones immediately behind it to stop things from penetrating far enough to, say, sever arteries, and because it has arteries near the surface. But if your weapon can't even penetrate the skin because of DR, you can't damage anything vital under the skin.

Getting a little too into it. Either you get passed the DR or you don't. I'm not too into why. The combat is highly abstracted, it is possible to inject too much reality.

So, if the special attack depends on you causing damage, (Injected poison) it doesn't work if you don't penetrate DR.

If the special attack does not depend on causing damage (Energy attack) it does it's own damage.

I calculate all damage o a sneak attack before applying DR, so yes the normal 1d6 can get passed the DR 10 on a sneak attack.

nijineko
10-16-2008, 09:59 AM
Actually I am correct so far as the rules are actually written. You're just making up nonsense with your "not all areas are equally covered by DR invention."

As far as the FAQ goes, I never disputed that the popular interpretation is likely what the authors intended--I just said that it's not the only valid way to read what they actually wrote, and that my way makes more sense. :p

then please show me where it states explicitly that your interpretation is correct. or implicitly, even.

ignimbrite
10-16-2008, 10:20 AM
so you are saying that your skin is exactly the same all over your body? There are no softer or harder spots? No areas that are way more sensitive and hurt more when you pinch them? Those are the kind of spots that a sneak attack hits - more sensitive/weaker spots.

zergrusheddie
10-16-2008, 10:49 AM
But if you can't penetrate the DR, then the spot isn't weak and you can't hit the vital spot to do damage. The armpit isn't a vital spot because the skin ins any softer there anyway. It's vital because it doesn't have bones immediately behind it to stop things from penetrating far enough to, say, sever arteries, and because it has arteries near the surface. But if your weapon can't even penetrate the skin because of DR, you can't damage anything vital under the skin.

In ye olde war times, most Knights that were killed on the battle field were done in by soldiers pulling them from their horses and stabbing them in the arm pit. A big tin can is difficult to cut through, unless you attack where the joint is. Bones usually come off second best when someone rams a metal object through them.
DR does not, and should not, negate a Sneak Attack. Why would that make any sense?
"Well Bill, you were able to stab the werewolf in the back and pierce his heart but because of his 5 DR, I'm going to negate the 32 damage you did with your Sneak because you rolled a 5 on your weapon damage."
If that were so, than how the hell is a Rogue EVER going to damage anything with a DR 10/-?
"I'm attacking his liver with my Great Axe to deal extra damage..."

DR is not completely "His skin is tough, therefore he gets a DR." In the case of Werewolves, the attack appears to do severe damage before the wound closes instantly.

Also,you can't simply say "your weapon can't even penetrate the skin because of DR, you can't damage anything vital under the skin" because I'm sure there are Rogues who have attacked with a club before. I once played a Rogue who was a Damage Factory but he was deathly sickened by blood so he used a club instead of a Rapier; he killed his enemies by crushing their skulls or rips to fragments within their bodies.
Or using a Sap to deal non-lethal damage to knock your opponent cold doesn't work because you need to use a sharp weapon to pierce the brain to disrupt the electrical signals in order to knock them out? It doesn't make any sense.

Jcosby
10-16-2008, 11:18 AM
Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury type poison, a monk (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Monk)ís stunning, and injury type disease.

I think this statement is the one causing the problems. The problem is "Sneak Attack" damage isn't a "Special Effect" it's just additional damage to the attack. If the rogue meets the basic requirements for a sneak attack, flanking, denied Dex bonus, etc, etc and the target they are attacking can be sneak attacked; not undead, construct, etc, etc... Then you can in fact use sneak attack damage to over come DR. You would roll your attack normally if the attack hits you would roll not only your damage dice for the weapon but your damage for the sneak attack. All of that damage is applied at the same time. The total amount of the attack would then be applied against the DR of the target you are attacking. If you over come the DR amount you deal that much damage to the target. It's actually pretty simple.

JC

nijineko
10-16-2008, 11:36 AM
these are the sorts of points i was trying to make, if badly. ^^ i was up with a sick baby and too tired to think straight when i was posting last night. but baby finally went to sleep. he was still kinda cranky this morning. we hope he feels better soon!

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 06:17 PM
Getting a little too into it. Either you get passed the DR or you don't. I'm not too into why. The combat is highly abstracted, it is possible to inject too much reality.

So, if the special attack depends on you causing damage, (Injected poison) it doesn't work if you don't penetrate DR.

If the special attack does not depend on causing damage (Energy attack) it does it's own damage.

I calculate all damage o a sneak attack before applying DR, so yes the normal 1d6 can get passed the DR 10 on a sneak attack.

It's really gratifying that some people are admitting I'm being both more realistic and more logical than the popular interpretation of the rules. :D

tesral
10-16-2008, 10:10 PM
It's really gratifying that some people are admitting I'm being both more realistic and more logical than the popular interpretation of the rules. :D

Then you're playing the wrong game. D&D combat doesn't take to realistic well. It is logical. It follows a discernible patten of cause and effect to reach a conclusion, and it is straight forward enough that interpreting the rules is not difficult...unless...unless you try and inject a degree of reality that the assumptions that govern the D&D combat logic do not allow for.

Logic and realism cannot be conflated. You can be realistic, and illogical, logical and unrealistic. D&D combat is logical and unrealistic. Take it from someone that has tinkered with the rules for 32 years. D&D and realism do not go hand in hand. You can break the system that way.

How do I know? I'm an archer. I understand bows ands I understand arrows and their effects. Examining the effects of "realistic" arrows I quickly found they would own the game. Ergo, I stick with unrealistic arrows.

If you seek realistic combat, try another game.

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 10:16 PM
Then you're playing the wrong game. D&D combat doesn't take to realistic well. It is logical. It follows a discernible patten of cause and effect to reach a conclusion, and it is straight forward enough that interpreting the rules is not difficult...unless...unless you try and inject a degree of reality that the assumptions that govern the D&D combat logic do not allow for.

Logic and realism cannot be conflated. You can be realistic, and illogical, logical and unrealistic. D&D combat is logical and unrealistic. Take it from someone that has tinkered with the rules for 32 years. D&D and realism do not go hand in hand. You can break the system that way.

How do I know? I'm an archer. I understand bows ands I understand arrows and their effects. Examining the effects of "realistic" arrows I quickly found they would own the game. Ergo, I stick with unrealistic arrows.

If you seek realistic combat, try another game.


I didn't conflate anything. Nijineko admitted that I'm being more logical, and you admitted that I'm being more realistic. Nothing in that suggests that I need to dump the game I've been playing for 30 years. :D

tesral
10-16-2008, 10:29 PM
I didn't conflate anything. Nijineko admitted that I'm being more logical, and you admitted that I'm being more realistic. Nothing in that suggests that I need to dump the game I've been playing for 30 years. :D

Being logical or realistic is not of necessity a good thing in gaming.

CelestialBarbarian
10-16-2008, 10:40 PM
Being logical or realistic is not of necessity a good thing in gaming.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. :)

tesral
10-17-2008, 09:39 AM
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. :)


Don't let the search for perfect be the enemy of good. "Perfect" has yet to be located and the very rumor of it's existence may be a red herring in and of itself.

Never mind that my perfect isn't necessarily your perfect. In my experience, when you violate a game's basic assumptions you start to break it. You can have too much realism in D&D, really. Adding realism is not logical if it violates the game's internal logic, which the game does have. All games have an internal logic or they would not work as games. Changing these assumptions can have drastic consequences across the board, like the seemingly simple move of replacing the d20 with 2d10.

I have a simple metric by which I measure any rule change. It must add play value greater than the additional complexity the rule causes. (IME 80% of rule changes add complexity, not remove it. For "realistic" rules that is 100%.)

It is possible to construct realistic combat rules. You can create a fairly accurate simulation of hand to hand fighting. It would suck to be a character as your life would either be one long success after another or short and brutal. You will also spend 90% of your gaming time in combat without getting in any more combat. The simulation of realism is complex. I have played accurate simulation games, I enjoy them even. But they last for hours with very little happening.

While we are at it let's add realistic rates of post battle infection and disease. Realistic rates of disablement from loss of limbs and scaring. Adventurers don't tend to eat a balanced diet so we can factor in malnutrition on long treks. Don't forget bad water, strange illnesses from strange lands. Oh we can have lots of fun with realism, but keep that 4d6 handy, you'll need it.

It's called a fantasy because it is not realistic. It must have an internal logic, "fantasy" is not an excuse for no rules or consistency. However balance the desire for realism with the desire to have the game move and the internal logic of the game.

nijineko
10-17-2008, 10:08 AM
it seems that the attempts to apply real-world based logic is actually illogical within the context of d&d. so i guess you're being illogical in the end there, celestialbarbarian. ah, irony. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-17-2008, 10:25 AM
it seems that the attempts to apply real-world based logic is actually illogical within the context of d&d. so i guess you're being illogical in the end there, celestialbarbarian. ah, irony. ^^

It would be ironic were it true, but fortunately it's false. While a level of abstraction makes the game playable, thus limiting (but not eliminating) the desirability of realism, nothing limits the desirability of logic in the game.

Skunkape
10-17-2008, 12:24 PM
I think the main thing here about whether DR would affect sneak attack damage or not is that sneak attack damage is extra damage, not seperate damage, therefore, if the Rogue was able to sneak attack, then all damage from the attack would be added up before DR was considered, the same way that Strength damage is added to the weapon prior to DR being considered.

CelestialBarbarian
10-18-2008, 04:07 PM
I think the main thing here about whether DR would affect sneak attack damage or not is that sneak attack damage is extra damage, not seperate damage, therefore, if the Rogue was able to sneak attack, then all damage from the attack would be added up before DR was considered, the same way that Strength damage is added to the weapon prior to DR being considered.

Strength doesn't require that you hit a vital spot to work. Damage reduction does.

nijineko
10-19-2008, 12:08 AM
i think you mean (that according to you) that sneak attack requires a vital spot to work... as you can't attack with damage reduction. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-19-2008, 12:22 AM
i think you mean (that according to you) that sneak attack requires a vital spot to work... as you can't attack with damage reduction. ^^

According to me--and according to the rules. The PHB specifically says that the rogue most be able to reach a vital spot.

nijineko
10-19-2008, 12:28 AM
and reaching a vital spot has nothing to do with damage reduction. damage reduction has a deliberately vague definition. thick skin or armor is only two of the possible alternatives. another one is instant healing. in the latter case, the vital spot was reached, even by your definition. damage reduction in any case just reduces the total damage (including bonus damage) by the listed amount.

i realize that you are convinced that you are right about your interpretation of the rules, despite the, as you say, popular opinion to the contrary. it seems that we will not reach a resolution on this one between us, short of someone "authoritative" who could rule one side or the other.

CelestialBarbarian
10-19-2008, 12:48 AM
and reaching a vital spot has nothing to do with damage reduction. damage reduction has a deliberately vague definition. thick skin or armor is only two of the possible alternatives. another one is instant healing. in the latter case, the vital spot was reached, even by your definition. damage reduction in any case just reduces the total damage (including bonus damage) by the listed amount.

i realize that you are convinced that you are right about your interpretation of the rules, despite the, as you say, popular opinion to the contrary. it seems that we will not reach a resolution on this one between us, short of someone "authoritative" who could rule one side or the other.

Actually I've said before that I suspect the authors meant (if they thought about it at all) the popular interpretation and that otherwise we surely would have heard more from Wizards about my interpretation. The FAQ supports the popular interpretation, and while "The Sage" did get things wrong from time to time, and at least once even admitted it, I have relatively little doubt that he followed the authors' mean (if they thought about it at all) on this one. I maintain only that my interpretation fits at least as well if not better with what they actually wrote. :)

nijineko
10-19-2008, 12:57 AM
i see. i can respect that. =D even if i don't agree with your explanations which you have clearly given much thought to.

tell you what, wotc won't answer anything about 3e anymore (i've asked before about other things and they are being absolute irritants about it all...) and i've chatted with monte cook before, so i'll float an email his way, and see if he responds. ^^ should he care to respond, being one of the authors and all, we'll see.

CelestialBarbarian
10-19-2008, 02:15 AM
i see. i can respect that. =D even if i don't agree with your explanations which you have clearly given much thought to.

Great! Thanks! :) :tiphat:


tell you what, wotc won't answer anything about 3e anymore (i've asked before about other things and they are being absolute irritants about it all...) and i've chatted with monte cook before, so i'll float an email his way, and see if he responds. ^^ should he care to respond, being one of the authors and all, we'll see.

That could prove interesting.

Under previous editions of D&D, where creatures didn't have something called "damage reduction," but simply had immunity to weapons that weren't silver or better (with even a +1 magic weapon having the ability to damage something that required silver to damage), there would be no question that you couldn't do backstab damage with a weapon that couldn't damage it.

In 3rd Ed the authors replaced immunity with damage reduction to make encounters more balanced. DR allows lower-level characters at least some chance to affect higher-CR creatures--and allows lower-CR creatures at least some chance to affect higher-level characters. ;) To me, it makes sense that weakening damage immunity to damage reduction shouldn't suddenly allow the backstab/sneak attack to work marvelously better; it makes sense that your normal attack should have to penetrate the DR before you get to apply special ability damage. Indeed the 3.0 and 3.5 rules specifically say so--they just don't specify that sneak attack damage falls into the category of special damage that doesn't apply unless you first do regular damage.

The authors of 3.5 went further in the direction of weakening damage immunity/DR by slashing the points of DR and collapsing +1 through +5 into "magic" and +6 and higher into "epic." They did make some changes in the other direction. They got creative and eliminated the "magic is better than silver" rule, and expanded silver into the category of special metals, adding adamantine and cold iron. They also added yet another category, DR #/alignment. Having removed the "magic is better than silver" rule, they added combined DR types, like "magic and silver."

At lower levels the new DR system works pretty well. No longer does the werewolf automatically kill a while 1st-level party because they can't do any damage to it. (A werewolf also no longer has a set number of hit dice, so it can be a low-hit-die werewolf, but that's a different matter.)

At the high end, however, damage reduction starts to become meaningless. DR 10/anything become virtually meaningless when the 24th-level rogue does an average of 42 points on a sneak attack. Since the rogue is probably using a weapon that does 1d6 points of base damage, and it's probably magical, his average on a sneak attack probably rises to at least 46 (and probably higher). If it's a +5 weapon, which a 24th-level character could easily afford, then the average rises to 50, and that doesn't include any Strength bonus or weapon special ability damage. Add the flaming ability and an 18 Strength (with the +6 belt of giant strength) and the average damage rises to 58. That renders the DR 10/anything into a mere minor annoyance. :eek:

nijineko
10-19-2008, 02:18 AM
again, well thought points. =D

CelestialBarbarian
10-19-2008, 09:55 AM
again, well thought points. =D

Thanks. I was thinking that in the old days we as DMs would often say of an attack "it just bounced off" if it didn't have the required silver/+ "to hit," even if, in Hollywood portrayals, such a weapon would have penetrated but the wound immediately closed. Bullets fired at a werewolf, in Hollywood productions, typically appeared to strike it but not bounce off as they would with, say, Superman. Either way we described it, however, if a thief with a non-magical steel weapon tried to backstab the werewolf, the backstab did no harm to the werewolf. :)

nijineko
10-19-2008, 10:41 PM
huh, i always went the other way with it... i'd describe the massive damage done, major wound... pause... then have it heal right back up! the look on the player's faces when they have to face a seriously ticked off bad guy after doing pretty much no damage to it was priceless. after all, it may not have resulted in any real game effect, but is sure was painful! especially if they just ruined the dude's favorite shirt.

CelestialBarbarian
10-19-2008, 11:10 PM
huh, i always went the other way with it... i'd describe the massive damage done, major wound... pause... then have it heal right back up! the look on the player's faces when they have to face a seriously ticked off bad guy after doing pretty much no damage to it was priceless. after all, it may not have resulted in any real game effect, but is sure was painful! especially if they just ruined the dude's favorite shirt.


But you still didn't let backstab damage do any real damage, did you? :)

As for the descriptions, I started out with a killer DM (or "pimp out DM" back in the days that "pimp out" meant to treat someone like a cheap prostitute rather than to pretty something up with fancy bells and whistles) who tended to emphasize the weakness of the PCs, and thus would tell us how the weapons bounced off harmlessly, and so even though I tended to the other extreme at first and became something of a Monty Haul DM, I still tended to use his type of descriptions. Like I said, however, I think Hollywood typically depicts, or has depicted, the werewolf as taking damage that then heals immediately, so that it felt pain, and now it's angry. :D

I do recall one short-lived TV series, just called "Werewolf," about a young werewolf searching for the master werewolf that infected the others, because in the lore of the show you would remove the curse of the werewolf if you killed the master werewolf, who in the series was played by Chuck Connors, (formerly of The Rifleman). They tangled a few times as I recall, but the Chuck Connors werewolf always handed the young werewolf his head. The young werewolf needed to shoot the Chuck Connors werewolf fatally with silver bullets, not tangle with him in wolf form, but of course that would have ended the series so it could never happen. I enjoyed the series, and it got a full run of 29 episodes, but only the one season in 1987-1988. Oh, I just looked at the IMDb listing for the show and someone wrote that near the end Eric did dispatch the Chuck Connors werewolf, and then learned that there was a more powerful werewolf who'd infected Chuck Connors and that Eric had to kill him too in order to get rid of the curse.

When the party in my campaign encountered werecrocs, the toughest one, the mentor of one of the PCs, pretending not to be infected, told the party that to free the others they had to track down the natural werecroc and kill him. I got that idea right out of the Werewolf series. The big difference was that in my campaign world, the toughest werecroc used it to lead the party into a werecroc ambush, and it was just a lie. :eek:

nijineko
10-20-2008, 12:00 AM
well, the reason i didn't let the backstab do any lasting damage was because they were not using the right combo (silver), not because the base weapon didn't do enough damage to penetrate the reduction. in other words, the damage was all applied, and then instantly healed cause they were not using silver.

had they been using silver, then all the damage, including sneak attack/backstab damage would have been applied. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-20-2008, 12:06 AM
well, the reason i didn't let the backstab do any lasting damage was because they were not using the right combo (silver), not because the base weapon didn't do enough damage to penetrate the reduction. in other words, the damage was all applied, and then instantly healed cause they were not using silver.

had they been using silver, then all the damage, including sneak attack/backstab damage would have been applied. ^^

Exactly! The backstab doesn't help them overcome the lack of silver. :)

nijineko
10-20-2008, 12:10 AM
but the base weapon damage is moot. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-20-2008, 12:22 AM
but the base weapon damage is moot. ^^

The extra damage from the sneak attack is irrelevant. It can't overcome the weapon's lack of silver. :)

nijineko
10-20-2008, 01:10 AM
i see your point, but i'm still of my opinion about the whole deal. ^^

CelestialBarbarian
10-20-2008, 02:26 AM
i see your point, but i'm still of my opinion about the whole deal. ^^

Great! :)

I take it you haven't heard from Monte Cook. I'd be interested to hear whether they meant, in changing damage immunity to damage reduction, to radically alter the relationship between sneak attack damage and damage reduction. If I had to guess I'd guess that they didn't give that much thought, indeed didn't give much thought to how sneak attack damage would interact with damage reduction at all. I wonder if he'd even admit it if it were true. People often do not like to admit their oversights. I freely admit, however, that having played 3rd Ed now for 8 year I never before considered the issue myself. It's pretty clear that they didn't give much thought initially (or even subsequently, for that matter) about how things would work and interact at levels above 20. In my example above, I forgot to include the possibility that the rogue's favorite weapon would have the deadly precision ability, which adds 2d6 to the sneak attack raising the average damage from 58 to 65, and that was just at level 24.

nijineko
10-20-2008, 05:59 AM
haven't heard anything yet. i'd be surprised if i received an email within a week. ^^ he's pretty busy and gets lots and lots of mail he has to sort through.

nijineko
10-23-2008, 10:28 AM
ah, well, here i am surprised and all. ^^ i received a reply from monte cook. he weighed in on the side of applying the whole amount of damage, weapon and sneak attack, to see if the damage overcomes the damage reduction. i will happily pm/im the exact text to you if you should so desire. =D

CelestialBarbarian
10-23-2008, 02:10 PM
ah, well, here i am surprised and all. ^^ i received a reply from monte cook. he weighed in on the side of applying the whole amount of damage, weapon and sneak attack, to see if the damage overcomes the damage reduction. i will happily pm/im the exact text to you if you should so desire. =D

That was nice of him. Sure, I'd love to read what he wrote. I'd love even more to be able to ask him about it. Is his email address a big secret? :)

nijineko
10-23-2008, 02:49 PM
i just googled it. ^^ i'll pm you.

mage2323
11-17-2008, 03:03 PM
these are all good points. our group tends to give the gm the call. if i could say one thing though its that dr is not immunity its a reduction in the damage, not whether or not the attack hit. if a creature is immune from attacks of a certain type then that attack would not cause any damage, due to immunity. but if a rouge with a standard dagger sneak attacks a fey dr10/cold iron, hits the fey, the dagger does 1d4 damage with 3d6 sneak attack,the dr takes up all of the dagger damage and some of the sneak attack damge then the rest goes through. so you basically add up all the damage subtract 10 and thats what hits the fey, for every attack. sneak attack is basically taking advantage of weaknesses, chinks in armor, weakpoints in physiology, the missing scale on smog's belly in the hobbit.

mage2323
11-17-2008, 03:05 PM
sorry i was reading the fist page of the forum and i forgot to quote

CelestialBarbarian
11-17-2008, 04:20 PM
It didn't matter, as it turns out, because the character does a minimum of 10 points with an arrow anyway, and didn't ever roll a 1, so always penetrated the DR without sneak attack damage anyway. :)

MightySchoop
11-18-2008, 07:18 AM
exactly, even if you cannot normally pierce the skin, when you are doing a sneak attack you do pierce the skin because of all the extra damage from hitting a weak spot (like the armpit or inner thigh or similar soft spot)

I've always run the extra sneak attack damage as simply adding to the total. Damage reduction is then subtracted from the total.

e.g. A 3rd level rogue w/no Str bonus rolls a 4 for normal damage and 8 Sneak attack damage against a creature with DR 10/-. 4 + 8 - 10 = 2 damage is received by the critter.