Damage and Resistance

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Never doubt that light can kill.

There are two broad categories of damage in Epic Path: physical damage and energy energy. Within these categories, there are numerous specific types, each falling into either a common, uncommon, or rare abundance.

Physical damage is caused by physical things damaging the body. The most common examples are weapon damage, falling damage, claws, or bites. However, less common types of physical damage also exist, such as abrasion damage (such as getting caught in a sand storm), or rot damage. Physical damage can be reduced with Damage Resistance (DR).

Energy damage is most often caused by magic, but can also be caused by damage from the elements, rudiments, or fundaments of the universe. The classic energy damage types include fire, lightning, acid, and the like, but can also include bizarre and esoteric energies, such as necrotic, eldritch, or desiccation damage. Energy damage can be reduced with Energy Resistance (ER).

  • For a complete listing of the currently defined damage types, see Damage Types

Physical Damage

Common Physical Damage Types

Nearly all weapons, as well as natural attacks, such as a creature's claws, inflict common physical damage. The most frequently encountered "physical, common" damage types are:

Other sources of "physical, common" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "DR x/common", or "DR x/-".

Uncommon Physical Damage Types

Quite a few natural attacks include some combination of common physical damage types. When combined, they become a harder-to-resist version of physical damage. The most frequently encountered "physical, uncommon" damage types are:

Other sources of "physical, uncommon" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "DR x/uncommon", or "DR x/-".

Rare Physical Damage Types

Rare physical damage is caused by some truly horrific effects, where the very sanctity of the target's corporeal flesh is compromised, often at a molecular level. The most frequently encountered "physical, rare" damage types are:

Other sources of "physical, rare" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "DR x/rare", or "DR x/-".

Energy Damage

Common Energy Damage Types

Common sources of energy damage most frequently align with basic elemental forces. As a result, common energy damage is sometimes referred to as "element" damage. The most frequently encountered "energy, common" damage types are:

Other sources of "energy, common" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "ER x/common", or "ER x/-".

Uncommon Energy Damage Types

Uncommon sources of energy damage often originate from forces of a higher order, or more complex than elemental damage. Uncommon energy damage is sometimes referred to as "rudiment" damage. The most frequently encountered "energy, uncommon" damage types are:

Other sources of "energy, uncommon" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "ER x/uncommon", or "ER x/-".

Rare Energy Damage Types

Rare energy damage is usually caused by extra-dimensional beings of terrible power and uncertain form. These energies rage against the very foundation of the universe, or are the foundational forces to create new universes. Rare energy damage is sometimes referred to as "fundament" damage. The most frequently encountered "energy, rare" damage types are:

Other sources of "energy, rare" damage exist. In all cases, such damage is resisted with "ER x/rare", or "ER x/-".

Other Damage Considerations

The following subjects can be considered 'damage types', but they aren't types of damage in the same way as the types listed above. These are game mechanics which are relevant to how damage is inflicted, but are different from the kinds of damage that are inflicted.

Example – Longsword
Character Level Base Weapon Damage
1 – 7 1d8
8 – 14 2d8
15 – 21 3d8
22 – 28 4d8
29+ 5d8

Base Weapon Damage

Beginning at 8th level, base weapon dice damage is doubled. This does not double STR, feat, precision or other modifiers to the base weapon damage, just the base damage of the weapon. This applies to melee, ranged, and thrown weapons alike. This does not apply to classes with fixed damage, such as the monk or brawler unarmed damage. For example, a longsword deals 2d8 base weapon damage after 8th level. This bonus increases to triple weapon dice damage at 15th level, quadruple at 22nd level and quintuple at 29th level and above.

These adjustments DO get factored into a weapon's critical hit damage. For example, an 1st level character wielding a longsword who critically hits (longswords deal double damage on a crit) would deal 2d8 + double their strength modifier. The same character at 8th level would deal 4d8 + double their strength modifier.

Bonus Damage

Some classes (principally the Bard, Ranger, Prowler and Warlord) receive class abilities which apply bonus damage. In addition, some weapon properties add bonus dice to a weapon's attacks. Bonus damage has the following characteristics, except where the description of the item, feat or ability in question explicitly states otherwise:

  • Different sources of Bonus damage stack. A Ranger using a Flaming Sword with a Bard in the party would have three sources of bonus damage, all of which would contribute to his damage.
  • Bonus damage is never multiplied on a critical hit.
  • Bonus damage is not base weapon damage, so it does not improve at levels 8, 15, 22 and 29.
  • Bonus damage is not the same as precision damage, and therefore bypasses any resistance or immunity to precision damage.
  • If no damage type is specified, bonus damage deals the same damage type as the weapon or effect to which it is applied. That is, if a club has some property granting it +1d6 bonus damage of an unspecified type, the bonus damage is considered bludgeoning. If the same property were applied to a longsword, it would be considered slashing damage instead. Untyped bonus damage is never "unresistable" by DR or ER, unless it is specifically described as Primal bonus damage (see Primal Damage).

Critical Damage

Critical damage is generally associated with weapon damage. Critical damage is based upon chance. Critical damage is used to represent the 'lucky shot' that hits a vulnerable spot. As a result, critical damage is related to precision damage, but it is not the same, and uses completely different mechanisms. As a general rule, critical damage doubles (or triples or quadruples) the number of base weapon dice you roll (extra damage dice over and above a weapon’s normal damage are never multiplied), and doubles (or triples or quadruples) the amount of damage you do based upon your Strength and the enhancement bonus of your weapon. Note that several classes have variant, different, rules for how criticals are handled, primarily the Rogue and the Brawler. In all cases, refer to the more specific class-based rules. If your character is high enough level to have increased the base dice of your weapons, a Critical multiplies the CURRENT base damage dice of the weapon. Thus a level ten fighter wielding a longsword does a base of 2d8 of damage. A critical multiples that two dice by two, for 4d8 of base damage on a critical hit.

Illusory Damage

Illusions can cause damage, but the type of damage dealt is based on whatever the illusion is pretending to be. That is, an illusion of an ogre swinging a giant club would deal bludgeoning (physical, common) damage, while an illusion of a fire-filled pit would deal fire (energy, common) and falling (physical, uncommon), if someone fell into it. As such, the illusion itself dictates what type of resistance is needed to reduce its effects.

Massive Damage

There is an optional rule in Pathfinder that any monster or PC who deals 50 points of damage or more from a single blow causes 'massive damage' and the struck creature must make a saving throw or die. This rule is not used in Epic Path.

Mixed Damage Types

In any case where an attack or effect inflicts more than one type of damage at the same time, the attack or effect should specify how much of each damage type is inflicted. If it is not specified, the two damage types are split 50/50 across the damage being dealt. Each damage type is resisted individually, as though the creature were hit two separate times. That is, if an attack deals 50 points of damage as a combination of "holy (energy, rare)" and "fire (energy, common)", it really deals 25 points of holy damage, and 25 points of fire damage. The target creature can apply any resistances they have to each damage type. If they have a single resistance that applies to both types, it is applied twice. Continuing our example, if the target creature had ER 10/-, which applies to both common and rare energy types, the creature would only take 15 points of holy and 15 points of fire from this attack, for a total of 30 points of damage.

It is very common for a weapon to be enchanted with a magic property that adds additional energy damage to the weapon's normal damage. A flaming longsword deals 1d8 points of slashing (physical, common) and 2d6 points of fire (energy, common). Just as above, each damage type is resisted individually.

Of course, if a creature has neither ER, nor DR, it's just damage, and they take it all.

Non-Lethal Damage

Non-Lethal Damage (which is sometimes also called subdual damage or temporary damage), works differently from normal damage. Non-Lethal Damage is damage which is not intended to kill you, or is from a source which cannot kill you, but which can still impair your ability to continue fighting. Examples can include punching someone with your fist without the Improved Unarmed Strike, slashing someone with a (regular) whip, or striking someone with a sap. Exhaustion and even exposure to heat or cold temperatures can also deal Non-Lethal Damage.

Non-lethal damage cannot be reduced or mitigated with DR or ER, even if you have DR x/- or ER x/-. Only abilities or feats which specifically state that they reduce or mitigate non-lethal damage (e.g. Endurance (Feat)) can be used.

When you take Non-Lethal Damage, keep a running total of how much you've accumulated. Do not deduct the Non-Lethal Damage number from your current hit points. It is not "real" damage. Temporary hit points are not affected by Non-Lethal Damage in any way, and are ignored when determining whether your Non-Lethal Damage equals or exceeds your current hit points.

When your Non-Lethal Damage equals your current remaining hit points (not counting any temporary hit points), you become Staggered. You cease being staggered when your current hit points once again exceed your Non-Lethal Damage, or when you fall unconscious.

When your Non-Lethal Damage exceeds your current hit points, you fall Unconscious.

Spellcasters who fall unconscious retain any spell-based effects (such as Shield (Spell) or Mage Armor (Spell)) they had before going unconscious.

If a creature's Non-Lethal Damage is equal to his total maximum hit points (not his current hit points), all further Non-Lethal Damage is treated as lethal damage. This does not apply to creatures with regeneration. Such creatures simply accrue additional Non-Lethal Damage, increasing the amount of time they remain unconscious.

Healing Non-Lethal Damage
Unlike normal damage, Non-Lethal Damage is healed quickly with rest. You heal Non-Lethal Damage at the rate of 1 point per hour or rest per character level.
When a spell or ability cures hit point damage, it also removes an equal amount of Non-Lethal Damage.
Inflicting Non-Lethal Damage with a Weapon that Deals Lethal Damage
You can use a melee weapon that deals lethal damage to deal Non-Lethal Damage instead, but you take a -4 penalty on your attack roll.
Inflicting Lethal Damage with a Weapon that Deals Non-Lethal Damage
You can use a weapon that deals Non-Lethal Damage, including an unarmed strike, to deal lethal damage instead, but you take a -4 penalty on your attack roll.

Example of Non-Lethal Damage in Play

A sturdy orc warrior has 100 hit points. His orc war chief grants him 50 temporary hit points. A monk, hoping to capture him alive, begins punching him, doing Non-Lethal Damage, because monks can do that.

The first punch of the monk does 45 points of Non-Lethal Damage. (Ow.) The orc warrior's temp hit points and normal hit points do not change. The war chief is frustrated, because this is bypassing his best mojo.

The second punch does 56 points of damage. The orc warrior now has 101 points of Non-Lethal Damage and drops in his tracks, despite having all 100 normal hit points and all 50 temporary hit points remaining and intact.

The orc warrior is lying there unconscious. The war chief uses Encouraging Word and heals him for 50 hit points. This healing, like all healing, also heals an identical amount of Non-Lethal Damage and leaves the orc warrior with 51 points of Non-Lethal Damage. The orc warrior wakes up, ready to go.

The Monk is tired and stops hitting the orc warrior. The Rogue steps in to "help." The Rogue doesn't want to do Non-Lethal Damage, and stabs the hapless orc warrior for a whopping 80 points of actual hit point damage. This removes all 50 of the temporary hit points and does 30 hit points of real damage, leaving the orc warrior with 70 normal hit points and 51 points of Non-Lethal Damage. The orc warrior is able to continue.

The Monk, aghast at the deadly strike of the rogue, hits the orc warrior again, doing more non-lethal, before the rogue kills the orc. The monk does only 20 points of non-lethal. This leaves the orc warrior with 71 points of Non-Lethal Damage, but because he only has 70 current hit points due to the damage the rogue inflicted, down he goes again. It's a hard day to be an orc.

Exasperated, the war chief uses Encouraging Word again, and cures the orc warrior for another 50 hit points. This both heals 50 points of Non-Lethal Damage, leaving the orc warrior with 21 points of non-lethal, and also heals the orc warrior's normal hit points by 50. However, he only has 30 points of actual hit point damage (since the other 50 came out of his temporary hit points), so he heals those 30, back to his maximum of 100 (and, as usual, he doesn't get any of the temporary hit points back). The orc warrior wakes up and decides to start using a shield. All this getting knocked out and waking up again is starting to make him woozy.

Precision Damage

Precision damage is a form of physical damage which depends upon the skill of the attacker to strike a point in the structure of the target which is far more susceptible to harm than the norm. For example, a stab to the eye is more harmful than a stab to the meat of the arm.

  • Precision damage always requires the attacker to have a clear and unobstructed 'shot' at the target. In game terms this means that any level of concealment will stop the application of precision damage.
  • In general, precision damage is limited to only a few classes., which have the specific skills to apply precision damage. Each class description will detail how much precision damage each class gets, and what rules they must follow in order to apply that precision damage to a victim.
  • Note that precision damage is different from and handled separately to critical damage. Most physical attacks may strike for critical damage, but only a very limited set of classes have access to precision damage. It is possible to apply precision damage without making a critical strike, and vice versa. Precision damage is NOT multiplied when a critical hit is rolled.
  • With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a player character can make a precision damage attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage.
  • Some creatures are immune or specially resistant to precision damage. Despite the name, creatures "immune to precision damage" actually take half damage from precision damage. Any creature which has little to no specialized internal structure will take half damage (be immune) to precision damage.

Immunity to Precision Damage:

Creatures (or subtypes) Immune to Precision-Based Attacks (half damage from precision damage):

  • Elemental (subtype)
  • Incorporeal (subtype)
  • Ooze (Type)
  • Protean (subtype) - 50% chance to ignore precision damage.

Primal Damage

Primal damage cannot be reduced by any type of DR or ER or any other damage-reducing ability. Any attack dealing primal damage that hits will always do its full damage to its target. To balance this, Primal damage is rare and fraught with danger. Alchemists can inflict Primal damage at level 35, and there is a weapon property that inflicts primal damage both upon the target of your attacks and the wielder of the weapon, and that is IT.

Siege Damage

Siege damage is damage inflicted by siege weapons, and is distinguished from normal weapon damage in that it is aimed at destroying objects, rather than creatures. In a rare case where siege damage is used successfully against a creature, a single point of Siege Damage is treated as being equal to ten points of hit point damage. Rules for destroying objects, fortifications and structures are covered by the Sunder combat maneuver, and the Breaking Objects page. Most siege weapons deal bludgeoning or piercing damage, as specified in their description, but some higher level siege weapons are capable of dealing energy damage instead of, or in addition to, their physical damage.

Untyped Damage

Sometimes no damage type is listed for an attack. In these cases, the type of ability being used, whether extraordinary (Ex), supernatural (Su) or spell-like (Sp), determines which resistance is used to resist it (e.g. DR or ER):

  • Extraordinary Abilities (Ex): An extraordinary ability (Ex) that inflicts an unspecified damage type is treated as "physical, common" and can be resisted with "DR x/common", or "DR x/-". If it specifically calls out that the damage dealt is "untyped", it can only be resisted with "DR x/rare", or "DR x/-".
  • Supernatural Abilities (Su): A supernatural ability (Su) that inflicts an unspecified damage type is treated as "energy, common" and can be resisted with "ER x/common", or "ER x/-". If it specifically calls out that the damage dealt is "untyped", it can only be resisted with "ER x/rare", or "ER x/-".
  • Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): A spell-like ability (Su), or any spell, that inflicts an unspecified damage type is treated as "energy, common" and can be resisted with "ER x/common", or "ER x/-". If it specifically calls out that the damage dealt is "untyped", it can only be resisted with "ER x/rare", or "ER x/-".

Damage Resistance

Damage Resistance (DR) is a defensive trait that is used to reduce incoming physical damage. DR is most commonly acquired by wearing armor made from special Dweomermetals, such as Adamantine or Paramount Alloy. However, several character classes, such as the barbarian, can gain DR as a class feature without the need to wear armor.

DR is usually gained in one of six categories:

  • DR x/<single type> — provides protection only against attacks which inflict the specific type of physical damage listed.
  • DR x/common — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "physical, common"
  • DR x/uncommon — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "physical, uncommon"
  • DR x/rare — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "physical, rare"
  • DR x/<class>, bypassed by <type> — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of a given class (common, uncommon or rare), but is bypassed by a specific type of damage within that class.
  • For example, most skeletons have "DR x/common, bypassed by bludgeoning"
  • DR x/- — provides protection against any attacks which inflict physical damage.

Damage resistance always has a numerical value (in place of the "x"), which is the amount of damage reduced from any single attack, if that attack is of a damage type the DR protects against. For example, A paladin with "DR 5/common" will reduce any "physical, common" damage by 5 points each time he would take damage of that type. If he is struck three different times by a dagger-wielding rogue, each of those three hits is reduced by 5 points (assuming the dagger is dealing "physical, common" damage).

It is possible for other variations of DR to exist. For example, some skeletons possess "DR x/common, penetrated by bludgeoning", which protects against all "physical, common" damage sources except for bludgeoning, even though bludgeoning is also a "physical, common" damage type.

It is also possible to gain a weak form of DR that only protects against a single damage type, such as "DR 10/slashing (physical, common)". Only slashing (physical, common) damage would be reduced by this DR. All other physical damage types would go through without reduction.

Finally, it is possible to possess more than one type of DR. If you are attacked with a damage type that could be resisted by more than one of your types of DR, you only apply the single best DR type you possess, not both. For example, if you have DR 10/common, and DR 5/-, and are struck by an attack which inflicts "physical, common", you would only use the "DR 10/common", since it provides more mitigation than the "DR 5/-". Of course, if you have DR x/- with a value higher than all your other DR types, it is the only one that matters.

Neither Non-Lethal Damage, nor Primal damage can be resisted with DR, even with DR x/-. These two types of damage cannot be mitigated or reduced, except by abilities or feats which specifically grant you resistance to one or the other (e.g. Endurance (Feat)).

Energy Resistance

Energy Resistance (ER) is a defensive trait used to reduce incoming energy damage. ER is most commonly acquired by equipping a shield that has been enchanted with the Energy Resistance property. However, several character classes can gain ER with class features, without the need to equip a shield.

ER is usually gained in one of six categories:

  • ER x/<single type> — provides protection only against attacks which inflict the specific type of energy damage listed.
  • ER x/common — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "energy, common"
  • ER x/uncommon — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "energy, uncommon"
  • ER x/rare — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of the type "energy, rare"
  • ER x/<class>, bypassed by <type> — provides protection against attacks which inflict damage of a given class (common, uncommon or rare), but is bypassed by a specific type of damage within that class.
  • For example, a creature might have "ER x/common, bypassed by cold".
  • ER x/- — provides protection against any attacks which inflict energy damage.

Energy resistance always has a numerical value (in place of the "x"), which is the amount of damage reduced from any single attack, if that attack is of a damage type the ER protects against. For example, A sorcerer with "ER 5/common" will reduce any "energy, common" damage by 5 points each time she would take damage of that type. If she is struck three different times by fire darts, each of those three hits is reduced by 5 points (assuming the fire darts are merely dealing "fire (energy, common)" damage).

It is possible for other variations of ER to exist. For example, some drakes possess "ER x/common, penetrated by cold", which protects against all "energy, common" damage sources except for cold, even though cold is also an "energy, common" damage type.

It is also possible to gain a weak form of ER that only protects against a single energy type, such as "ER 10/acid (energy, common)". Only acid (energy, common) damage would be reduced by this ER. All other energy damage types would go through without reduction.

Finally, it is possible to possess more than one type of ER. If you are attacked with an energy type that could be resisted by more than one of your types of ER, you only apply the single best ER type you possess, not both. For example, if you have ER 10/common, and ER 5/-, and are struck by an attack which inflicts "energy, common", you would only use the "ER 10/common", since it provides more mitigation than the "ER 5/-". Of course, if you have ER x/- with a value higher than all your other ER types, it is the only one that matters.

Neither Non-Lethal Damage, nor Primal damage can be resisted with ER, even with ER x/-. These two types of damage cannot be mitigated or reduced, except by abilities or feats which specifically grant you resistance to one or the other (e.g. Endurance (Feat)).