[RPG] Does an enraged barbarian have resistance to only the +X damage or the damage in its entirety


When a barbarian is enraged, it says it has resistance to damage such as piercing, slashing etc. (which to my knowledge just halves the number and rounds down). So does that mean it has resistance to any non-magical melee attack, or does that just mean the extra bit of damage at the end (e.g +2 bludgeoning) is halved? I'd really appreciate any info on this.

Best Answer

It resists the entire damage that has that damage type.

It seems you are misunderstanding how the damage works. I randomly picked a monster from the monster manual to exemplify the scenario. The Deva has this attack:

Mace. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. , one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 18 (4d8) radiant damage.

This reads as: (1d6 + 4) damage is bludgeoning damage. This damage is halved by the barbarian resistance. Say you got a 3 in the d6, the total bludgeoning damage would be 7. This is then reduced to 3 (as you said, rounded down). The (4d8) damage is not resisted by the barbarian, though, so let's say the monster rolled 3, 5, 1, 4 = 13 radiant damage. The barbarian is taking a total of 16 damage.

In particular, it seems you might be thinking that only the +4 would be bludgeoning damage, but that's a misunderstanding - the 1d6 is also part of the bludgeoning damage, thus is also reduced.

Every point of damage (dice or constant) has its own type1 2 . The barbarian resists every damage done by the types listed. For completionism, Crawford makes the same statement in his tweet:

All damage has a type. #DnD

A final minor misconception is that you state

So does that mean it has resistance to any non-magical melee attack

It resists to magical damage from these types too, though. There are spells that do Bludgeoning damage, as well as magical weapons that do these types of damage.

1 For the sake of completionism and clarity, the possible types of damage are listed in the Damage and Healing section, under the Combat chapter, in a sub-section specific for Damage Types. They are: Acid, Bludgeoning, Cold, Fire, Force, Lightning, Necrotic, Piercing, Poison, Psychic, Radiant, Slashing and Thunder.

2 Some features, such as Hunter's Mark from Ranger or Sneak Attack from rogue do not specify the type of damage. This is clarified by Crawford in this sequence of tweets.

Hunter's mark uses the same damage type as the attack that triggers it. If the attack has more than one damage type, choose one.

This can be explained by the fact that the Hunter's Mark or the Sneak Attack simply increase the damage being done by the current attack, not changing its type.