Damage types are the particular sort of harm a weapon, spell, or other effect induces. While there are no rules specifically about damage types, they are often a key factor in many fights due to the existence of other rules, such as resistance and vulnerability.
There are 13 different types: acid, bludgeoning, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, piercing, poison, psychic, radiant, slashing, and thunder. Silvered and magically-enchanted are not damage types of their own, but are also important for overcoming resistances.
Acid damage is a corrosive effect, dissolving what it touches. A vial of acid can be bought for 50gp.
- Effects that cause acid damage include Melf's Acid Arrow and Vitriolic Sphere.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable to acid damage.
- Creatures resistant to acid damage include ghosts, gray oozes, and water elementals.
- Creatures immune to acid damage include black and copper dragons, black puddings, and mimics.
Bludgeoning is a brute slam, dealing damage from the hard impact.
- Effects that cause bludgeoning damage include Erupting Earth, a warhammer, and falling.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable, resistant, or immune to bludgeoning damage without any sort of clause. Skeletons are the only known creature to be consistently vulnerable to bludgeoning damage.
Cold damage chills and freezes its targets with subzero blasts of ice.
- Effects that cause cold damage include Ray of Frost, Cone of Cold, and Ice Knife.
- Creatures vulnerable to cold damage include magma mephits and salamanders.
- Creatures resistant to cold damage include many fiends, many oozes, and storm giants.
- Creatures immune to cold damage include white and silver dragons, frost giants, ghosts, flameskulls, and winter wolves.
Fire damage is intense heat and flames, burning what it touches. Many spells that deal fire damage also light unheld flammable objects on fire.
- Effects that cause fire damage include Fire Bolt, Fireball, Flame Strike, Wall of Fire, and Fire Storm.
- Creatures vulnerable to fire damage include most plant creatures, dust and ice mephits, and mummies.
- Creatures resistant to fire damage include most fiends, dragon turtles, oozes, and ghosts.
- Creatures immune to fire damage include brass, red, and gold dragons; many fiends; fire elementals; and fire giants.
Force damage is the manifestation of magical energy into a tangible form. While it's primarily used for dealing damage, it can also simply exist in cases such as Wall of Force.
- Effects that cause force damage include Magic Missile, Disintegrate, and Spiritual Weapon.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable, resistant, or immune to force damage.
Lightning damage is much of what the name implies: bolts of lightning, which are overcharged and overheated particles shooting out in a blast of energy.
- Effects that cause lightning damage include Shocking Grasp, Call Lightning, and Lightning Bolt.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable to lightning damage.
- Creatures resistant to lightning damage include air elementals, many oozes, ghosts, specters, and several fiends.
- Creatures immune to lightning damage include blue and bronze dragons, krakens, storm giants, and shambling mounds.
Necrotic damage deals with the forces of death. It withers matter and the soul. It sucks life, but also gives it in the cases of spells such as Revivify.
- Effects that cause necrotic damage include Chill Touch, Enervation, Finger of Death, and an evocation Wizard's Overchannel ability.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable to necrotic damage.
- Creatures resistant to necrotic damage include most undeads and lichs.
- Creatures immune to necrotic damage include many undeads and certain demon lords.
Piercing damage punctures what it strikes to a fine point.
- Effects that cause piercing damage include daggers, rapiers, and bite attacks.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable, resistant, or immune to piercing damage without any sort of clause.
Poison is one of the most common damage types and notorious for being among the most resisted. It's toxic substances that harm the body by interrupting its processes.
- Effects that cause poison damage include Poison Spray, Cloudkill, and Ray of Sickness.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable to poison damage.
- Creatures resistant to poison damage include many constructs, fiends, elementals, demons, and undead, as well as dwarves.
- Creatures immune to poison damage include many constructs, fiends, elementals, demons, celestials, and undead; as well as nagas, yuan-ti purebloods, and green dragons.
Psychic damage targets the mind, inducing pain such as intense headaches. This damage type is most commonly associated with Mind Flayers.
- Effects that cause psychic damage include Vicious Mockery, Psychic Scream, Synaptic Static, and most of the Mystic's abilities.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable or resistant to psychic damage.
- Creatures immune to psychic damage include most constructs.
Radiant damage is divine light, searing flesh like flames and overloading the spirit with power.
- Effects that cause radiant damage include Word of Radiance, Guiding Bolt, and a Sun Blade.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable, resistant, or immune to radiant damage. Aasimar and celestials are noted for usually having resistance to radiant damage.
- Many fiends and undead with health-regenerative capability are unable to regenerate for one round after taking radiant damage.
Slashing damages punctures and slices through its target, dealing damage by ripping open large wounds.
- Effects that cause slashing damage include most swords and an attack from a Tabaxi's claws.
- Very few creatures are vulnerable, resistant, or immune to slashing damage without any sort of clause.
Contrary to what the name implies, thunder isn't related to lightning damage. Instead, thunder is meant to represent loud bursts of sound or a shockwave, caused by things such as a sonic boom. It's harsh on the ears and may even shatter glass.
- Effects that cause thunder damage include Thunderwave, Shatter, and Destructive Wave.
- Creatures vulnerable to thunder damage are most earth elementals.
- Creatures resistant to thunder damage include wraiths, will-o'-wisps, air elementals, and ghosts.
- Creatures immune to thunder damage are djinni and storm giants.
Also called weakness, vulnerability represents a special attribute that says a creature takes twice as much damage for a specific damage type. Vulnerability is regarded as rare, and most damage types have few, if any, creatures that are vulnerable to it.
Some of the more well-known cases of vulnerability include vampires and radiant damage, earth elementals and thunder damage, and plant creatures and fire damage. When an effect hits a creature with damage they are vulnerable to, they take double the amount of damage rolled for the effect. If the damage taken is determined by a save, and would normally do half damage on a successful save, they instead take the full damage rolled. However, if a successful save would do no damage, they would take no damage if they pass.
Resistance is the opposite of vulnerability. Where vulnerability indicates weakness, resistance is fortitude. For creatures hit by a damage type they're resistant to, they take half damage from it. Resistance is very common and can be found on most monsters.
The most commonly resisted damage types are fire and poison. In the case of poison, notable examples include most undead, fiends, constructs, and devils, as well as several individual monsters that don't fit into these broad categories. The player race dwarf is also resistant to poison damage.
When an effect hits a creature that is resistant to its type, they take half as much damage as was rolled for the damage type. If the effect is determined by a save and would do half damage on a successful roll, they instead take one quarter damage, or half of the already-halved damage. Even if they fail and are meant to take the full damage, they would still take only half of the damage rolled due to their resistance.
Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage are the three types of damage that normal weapons can do. Many monsters are also resistant to said damage types, but include specific clauses. The most prevalent clauses are being resistant if hit with a non-magic, non-silvered, and/or non-adamantine weapon.
Magic weapons are most easily identified by having some sort of property beyond what weapons normally have. They may have special effects, such as dealing extra damage to certain types of creatures, or are enchanted to add 1, 2, or 3 to their damage and attack rolls.
Silvered and adamantine weapons are not inherently magical. Silvered weapons are normal weapons with a coat of silver over them, and adamantine weapons are made of a particularly hard mineral. They must have a property beyond being silvered or adamantine to count as magical, or their description must specify that they are, despite not having additional properties. Silvering a weapon takes 100gp, and the adamantine version of a weapon costs the weapon's normal price with an additional 500gp.
Typically, if a creature is resistant to a weapon damage type unless it is silvered or adamantine, they are also not resistant to the normal damage from magic weapons.
Shapechangers such as werewolves are infamous for being resistant to non-silvered weapons, and many constructs or golems are resistant unless a weapon is adamantine.
Immunity is a step up from resistance. Instead of taking halved damage, they take no damage from the specified damage type, regardless of saves or attack rolls.
Also like resistance, fire and poison are among the most that creatures are immune to. However, immunity itself is fairly uncommon.