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D&D 5E Weapon Damage Immunity buff

Some monsters are resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and others are immune. The monster building guidelines treat the immunity as worth more. But if you have access to magic weapon attacks (whether through spells, features, or magic weapons) immunity is no better than resistance. At higher levels, in almost any game it can be assumed that anyone attacking with a weapon is attacking with a magic weapon, even if you are playing a game without magic items and they are just using class features and spells. And yet, even at 17+ level it is still enough to multiple their effective hp by 1.25 for design purposes. In other words, they still think it's going to matter.

In my experience, outside of the very lowest levels, resistances and immunities that can be easily bypassed by magic weapons and cantrips matter very little. They are just a way of giving players free XP by fighting creatures that aren't as tough as they are rated.

I'm not going to worry about trying to fix the whole thing, but there is one part that bothers me the most, and that's the part I have a potential fix for; submitted for your feedback.

Suggested House Rule: If a character is immune to non-magical weapon attacks, they are also resistant to magical weapon attacks.

There could be special materials that could get past that resistance also, so maybe magic+adamantine or magic+silver or whatever based on the creature. But the main point is not having those very few epic creatures have an awesome looking feature that is in fact absolutely useless against any party fighting them.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
I have replaced "Resistant to non magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage" to "Resistant to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing" saying it doesn't matter if it is magic or not... I am hesitant to do that with immunity.

Putting the resistant to B/P/S (no magic override) on to ones that are immune to non magic ones seems to fit.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Someone recently regretted that 5e does not really posses the concept of "you must be this cool to fight this monster" like previous editions did, but this is one of the only vestiges. It's not that hard to bypass, though, you're right.

That being said, although 5e kept it simple, it's perfectly OK, at higher level, to create monsters differently with different resistances, and to resurrect the 3e (it was one of the most developed) way of dealing with resistances and immunities.

Remember, the monster manual and the rules are not in chare, you are, and if you want to create a monster with DR 5/Adamantine, nothing in the system prevents you from doing it. You just have to be careful about the effects of bounded accuracy, which means that a lvl 20 5e character is barely equal to a lvl 12-15 in 3e in terms of damage dealing capacity, which means that creating monsters with DR 20/something would mean that almost nothing could damage the monster. But using 5/something or 10/something or even -/something (as long as it's restricted, like simply bludgeoning) is absolutely fine, and it allows for easy conversion as well.
 

aco175

Legend
I do not recall running any monsters that are immune to weapons but that may be a point on my campaigns not getting above 13-14th level. I tend to give out magic weapons to all PCs by 6-7th level so most of what is being said is true. I would not see the rare monsters with immunity be resistant to magic. Not sure how much this would limit the fun of those classes over casters.
 


jgsugden

Legend
Some monsters are resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and others are immune. The monster building guidelines treat the immunity as worth more. But if you have access to magic weapon attacks (whether through spells, features, or magic weapons) immunity is no better than resistance. At higher levels, in almost any game it can be assumed that anyone attacking with a weapon is attacking with a magic weapon, even if you are playing a game without magic items and they are just using class features and spells....
This is not true as a universal statement as you make it.

If you follow the DMG guidelines for treasure, and there are no ready places to buy magic items, then magic weapons are unlikely to be available for all PCs in a 5 PC party. Using magic to get there would require a concentration slot be used, generally, for each magic weapon, which costs you one round of spellcasting unless you're always devoting your concentration to it (yes, most of these spells are bonus spells, so you could be casting a cantrip as well, but that still means you are not casting a higher level spell for benefit).

About 5 to 10% of the 5E games I've played in have not allowed magic items to be purchased, and have had typical levels of found treasure per the DMG. The games I run allow for the purchase of magic items, both items found and resold as well as items created on demand (although these are for profit situations - and the wizards making magic items are doing it to make as much as they can).

I also have retained tiered resistance in my homebrew rules, but use the higher tiers rarely. Creatures can be immune/resistant to common/uncommon/rare/very rare weapons or less. Generally about half of the monsters you encounter in my games that are listed as being resistant to non-magical weapons will be resistant to the type of magic item you could buy at your tier of power.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
As for me, I do give a reasonnable amount of magic items, but out of those, most are not weapons and even less armor, actually. So while most characters at level 10 (my current campagin) have one magic weapon, most of them don't have a secondary magic weapon, for example for ranged instead of melee, or the other way round.
 

I'm not sure that making weapon attacks less effective would make the game more fun. Maybe a specific monster, that is subject to non-attack options on a fighter, could be fun, but in general if you can't hit it with weapons your fighter and barbarian can't do much.

Yes, you can grapple - if they aren't huge or gargantuan - but so what? They probably didn't want to move anywhere anyways (no need to get away from melee) and knocking them prone would give ranged attacks (like most spell attacks) disadvantage. It's a bad move, tactically, and fighters don't get a lot of alternatives.

Now, if there are damaging environmental effects to shove the monster into, (lava vents, poison gas, cliffs) that could be cool, especially if the pc is built for grappling.

It's kind of like anti-magic - make sure you're not just removing a pc without removing the player.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I'm not sure that making weapon attacks less effective would make the game more fun. Maybe a specific monster, that is subject to non-attack options on a fighter, could be fun, but in general if you can't hit it with weapons your fighter and barbarian can't do much.

Yes, you can grapple - if they aren't huge or gargantuan - but so what? They probably didn't want to move anywhere anyways (no need to get away from melee) and knocking them prone would give ranged attacks (like most spell attacks) disadvantage. It's a bad move, tactically, and fighters don't get a lot of alternatives.

Now, if there are damaging environmental effects to shove the monster into, (lava vents, poison gas, cliffs) that could be cool, especially if the pc is built for grappling.

It's kind of like anti-magic - make sure you're not just removing a pc without removing the player.

You're right, it's exactly like antimagic, it can enhance situations by having people detect that there's a problem, and make some choices and find clever tactics, but just don't shut down a player, especially not repetitively.

This is why the DRs n/X of 3e were interesting, it made one less efficient but not completely inefficient, 5e is a bit more all or nothing with the immunities. But then 3e was really complex so I can understand 5e not wanting to inject that complexity in the core rules.
 

ninjayeti

Adventurer
I think that approach makes sense. For some creatures, like lycanthropes, being harmed only by a particular material is a big part of their schtick. Making magic weapons, which most PCs already have, equally effective pretty much eliminates that genre convention from the game. Giving creatures immune to normal weapons resistance to damage from magic weapons would mean that seeking out, e.g., silver weapons for a fight against werewolves would still be a useful tactic.
 

You're right, it's exactly like antimagic, it can enhance situations by having people detect that there's a problem, and make some choices and find clever tactics, but just don't shut down a player, especially not repetitively.

This is why the DRs n/X of 3e were interesting, it made one less efficient but not completely inefficient, 5e is a bit more all or nothing with the immunities. But then 3e was really complex so I can understand 5e not wanting to inject that complexity in the core rules.
The way regeneration works on 5e is closer to that - just make the ways of shutting down regeneration more interesting than a troll's setup.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The way regeneration works on 5e is closer to that - just make the ways of shutting down regeneration more interesting than a troll's setup.

Yes, and then you can have both regeneration and immunities... :D

All is fair in love and war, especially at high level... ;)
 

I think that approach makes sense. For some creatures, like lycanthropes, being harmed only by a particular material is a big part of their schtick. Making magic weapons, which most PCs already have, equally effective pretty much eliminates that genre convention from the game. Giving creatures immune to normal weapons resistance to damage from magic weapons would mean that seeking out, e.g., silver weapons for a fight against werewolves would still be a useful tactic.
I'm making a different change to lycanthropes. The newer presentation of wereravens gives up the immunity in favor of regeneration. It's deactivated by silver...but also by spells. Which is ridiculous because PC parties pack cantrips from first level.

My change to that will be that it has to be silver or a spell of 1st-level or higher to count. That way those low-level parties have to spend (and risk running out of) resources if they don't have any silver weaponry.

Now, the loup-garou is actually silver only, spells don't count, and that I can approve of.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
This is not true as a universal statement as you make it.

If you follow the DMG guidelines for treasure, and there are no ready places to buy magic items, then magic weapons are unlikely to be available for all PCs in a 5 PC party.
This used to be true, until Xanathar's guide broadly expanded access to common magical items, such as the moon-touched blade.

Edit: I should add that as a DM, I'm not... very pleased with this. It makes the resistance to non magical weapons almost meaningless. It also makes some of the magical weapons kind of... meh? Like a +1 sword isn't very exciting, but it's a magical weapon, that counts for something. Now, less so.

On the other hand, as a player, I like it because it means that I don't "need" to find a magical sword for my warrior because I can get a budget option. That way, a player who gets their first "real" magical item and is a warrior won't be upset if it isn't a magical weapon.

So clearly, both benefits and drawbacks.

Lastly, I will mention that something rather cool happened in a game where I am playing as a "warrior scholar" - a historian and an alchemist with such a "budget" magical sword. We started at mid levels, and my character's background is that he had learned the secret to creating a moon touched blade - a yearlong process involving elven prayers and moonlight; and had thus enchanted his own sword. Given that the item is common, it felt not too outrageous for a player who is a student of the arcane know this. The GM agreed

... a few levels later, my PC found the secret to transmuting a moon-touched blade into a sun blade. And if you think about it, it makes sense - what is moonlight but the reflected sun? :D
 
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toucanbuzz

Legend
Alternate proposal. Like @Lyxen proposed, it's okay to beef monsters up if they aren't a challenge. For the Demon Lords (Out of the Abyss), it rubbed me wrong that these eons-old demigods could be struck down so easily. So, besides being beefed up in abilities, they also got immunity to nonmagical and resistance to anything below +3.

I'm also not averse to old-school "damage reduction." It's a simple and handy mechanism.
 

Giving all these monsters resistance to weapon damage is going to seriously nerf martial characters. Older editions used to require a certain magical plus to bypass resistance/immunity. Since magical weapons no long have an inherent bonus, I'd recommend using rarity instead. Thus for a CR 17 monster, they'd be immune to non-magical weapons and resistance to magical weapons less than Very Rare. Since spells can also cause B/P/S damage, I'd probably group them by level, such as Common: Lv 0-1, Uncommon Lv: 2-3, Rare: Lv: 4-5, Very Rare: Lv 6-7, Legendary: Lv 8-9.
 

toucanbuzz

Legend
There could be special materials that could get past that resistance also, so maybe magic+adamantine or magic+silver or whatever based on the creature. But the main point is not having those very few epic creatures have an awesome looking feature that is in fact absolutely useless against any party fighting them.
It's all relative to what the DM hands out as treasure. As magic weapons tend to be pretty iconic for D&D, you can plan ahead and make ways the weapons do their job, but not against everything from Demon Lord to werewolf.

I quoted the above because it sounds pretty cool for characters to know they're facing the Golem Guardians of Xak-Made-Up-City, and they'll need adamantine blades, a +1 long sword won't scratch them.

Unfortunately, the only known source are drow elves....or lost in some fabled dwarven vault forged from strange meteorite material...and so on. It becomes a quest.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Giving all these monsters resistance to weapon damage is going to seriously nerf martial characters. Older editions used to require a certain magical plus to bypass resistance/immunity. Since magical weapons no long have an inherent bonus, I'd recommend using rarity instead. Thus for a CR 17 monster, they'd be immune to non-magical weapons and resistance to magical weapons less than Very Rare. Since spells can also cause B/P/S damage, I'd probably group them by level, such as Common: Lv 0-1, Uncommon Lv: 2-3, Rare: Lv: 4-5, Very Rare: Lv 6-7, Legendary: Lv 8-9.
I like it... it might also make some weaker weapons "better" - like a vicious sword (rare) is objectively worse than a basic +1 sword (uncommon).
 

The rarity idea did occur to me as a possibility to bypass the resistance. Still considering it.

Most of these creatures (and there are only a very small number—tarrasque and kraken are the ones that come to mind) also have immunities to the sorts of things that spells do also. So one thing I could look at is how much of an issue it is. If casters are already substantially nerfed against them, then martials doing half damage unless they get a special weapon isn’t necessarily a problem.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
As for me, I do give a reasonnable amount of magic items, but out of those, most are not weapons and even less armor, actually. So while most characters at level 10 (my current campagin) have one magic weapon, most of them don't have a secondary magic weapon, for example for ranged instead of melee, or the other way round.
What I've done is say that only +1 or better weapons can hurt these creatures, not simply magic ones. That way I can still give out cool magic weapons without +s and the balance isn't destroyed. Not that I never give out a weapon with a +, but it's rare.
 

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