Do touch attacks bypass DR?


Rules Questions


Under DR from the SRD:
Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk's stunning, and injury-based disease. Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

Emphasis mine.

Silver Crusade

That depends on the result of the attack. Since most touch attacks that deal damage are energy damage, they will bypass DR.


Looks like it's referring to the fact that damage reduction doesn't negate touch attacks that an attack carries along.
So, say your tengu wizard casts Shocking Grasp. If he holds the charge and hits with a claw the following turn, even if the claw damage is completely reduced the Shocking Grasp still discharges.

Alternatively, it's just referring to the fact that few, if any, touch attacks actually deal damage that can be reduced by damage reduction.


I think it's referring to touch attacks that don't do damage but have an effect. Since in the line before it says if the damage is reduced to 0 for a stunning fist you're not stunned. It's making sure you know that if a touch attack, say to blind, hits it still has it's effect.

Also would refer to inflict spell that they still do damage, since the damage isn't a physical source(BPS).


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That's interesting. Based on that text alone, it would look like firearms would punch right through DR regardless of type. Some touch attacks deal hit point damage, so I'm curious if this is addressed anywhere.

My gut is saying that the RAI is thus:
Should a character successfully strike an opponent with DR using a natural attack or unarmed strike to deliver a touch attack, but the damage of that attack is reduced to or below 0, the touch still counts and delivers the spell. Firearms, brilliant energy weapons, and such, are still subject to DR.


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As to your title question directly: Touch attacks that deal hit point damage still are mitigated by DR. If that attack does not deal damage because the DR reduces it to zero, secondary effects may be negated as per that clause in the SRD. And conversely, touch attacks that do not deal hit point damage but only have other affects (spells, poisons, inappropriate touching) are resolved normally.

SRD wrote:
Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks

As to this particular clause, parse out that attack rolls and damage rolls are separate. So DR does not negate the attack roll, but may negate the damage. That's all. No need to make it more convoluted, eh?


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The intention of the part of the rules is to say that rider effects of touch attacks aren't negated by DR.

However, guns would still be reduced by DR. Brilliant energy isn't actually a touch attack, it still targets normal AC, it just happens to ignore non-living sources of AC such as armor and shield bonuses. It doesn't however ignore NA, which touch attacks normally would.

Guns are the only form of touch attack in which the attack itself actually deals damage (usualy it's a spell delivered via touch). And further:

Quote:
Early Firearms: When firing an early firearm, the attack resolves against the target's touch AC when the target is within the first range increment of the weapon, but this type of attack is not considered a touch attack for the purposes of feats and abilities such as Deadly Aim. At higher range increments, the attack resolves normally, including taking the normal cumulative –2 penalty for each full range increment. Unlike other projectile weapons, early firearms have a maximum range of five range increments.

Firearms aren't really touch attacks. They just kind of work like one at certain ranges. I would include DR under the auspices of "abilities" which a firearm attack is not considered a touch attack.


Flaming Duck I totally agree with your assessment of how Touch AC works against Damage Reduction . But the group I'm playing with believes that DR is a form of natural body armor, and because of that, Touch AC attacks should bypass DR. I've tried to explain (and even highlighted the description of DR that says it's a form of invulnerability) but they still don't believe I'm right. So my question is, does paizo have an official update to Touch AC vs. DR? It seems as if that's the only way I can convince these guys how DR truly works.


Well regardless whether the rules say they are correct or not, if they have more fun playing that way, they should.

Though this is the rules forum, so lets get to it.

DR wrote:
Sometimes damage reduction represents instant healing. Sometimes it represents the creature's tough hide or body. In either case, other characters can see that conventional attacks won't work.

So we can see that DR represents different things, depending on the creature ( or situation or spell etc), not just natural body armour.

To quote the op:

Quote:

Under DR from the SRD:

Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk's stunning, and injury-based disease. Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

As written, the rules state that DR does not negate touch attacks. It does not state DR does not affect touch attacks.

So if we have a hypothetical dagger touch attack that does 10 damage while the target has DR 5, the dagger's damage is still reduced to 5 damage.


Claxon is usually right about things. DR is typically versus nonmagical attacks. Energy Resistance is typically versus magical attacks. I know there is one magical item that grants DR only vs. touch attacks, but that is a very rare exception. As for nonmagical guns.....hmmmm...


It seems explicit that DR does not apply to touch attacks.

So a spectre whose incorporeal touch does 1d8 plus energy drain does its 1d8 damage to a dragon despite the dragon's DR/magic.

Similarly for the bhuta with its 5d8 incorporeal touch claws that cause bleeding.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Voadam wrote:
It seems explicit that DR does not apply to touch attacks.

I disagree, by taking the entire sentence into consideration.

"Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains."

This tells me that even if damage reduction negates the damage from the touch attack, effects that are not specifically riders on the damage are NOT negated.

So if a touch attack ability is composed of bludgeoning damage and injury poison, then negating the damage prevents the poison from taking affect.

If it has bludgeoning damage and contact poison, negating the damage does NOT negate the poison.

If it has bludgeoning damage and energy drain, negating the damage does not negate the negative levels.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Voadam wrote:
It seems explicit that DR does not apply to touch attacks.

I disagree, by taking the entire sentence into consideration.

"Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains."

This tells me that even if damage reduction negates the damage from the touch attack, effects that are not specifically riders on the damage are NOT negated.

So if a touch attack ability is composed of bludgeoning damage and injury poison, then negating the damage prevents the poison from taking affect.

If it has bludgeoning damage and contact poison, negating the damage does NOT negate the poison.

If it has bludgeoning damage and energy drain, negating the damage does not negate the negative levels.

So "Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks," says to you "Damage reduction negates the damage from touch attacks but not any energy or energy drain riders on the touch attack" because of the rest of the sentence addressing energy damage riders and energy drains?

To me the sentence says DR specifically does not block three separate things: 1) touch attacks of any kind, 2) energy damage along with any attack, 3) energy drains of any kind.

Are you suggesting that the concepts are linked, that energy damage along with an attack and energy drains are only not negated for touch attacks?

That a spectre's energy drain is not negated by stoneskin but a wight's is if the claw damage is blocked? That an ice elemental's slam that hits but is negated will not do any cold damage?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Voadam wrote:
To me the sentence says DR specifically does not block three separate things: 1) touch attacks of any kind,

This is where I disagree. Most touch attacks do not deal damage. This text is speaking about rider effects, which touch attacks are usually used to deliver. It does not say that DR never reduces damage from touch attacks, only that it never negates effects that only require a touch.


That's exactly how I read it TriOmegaZero!

Just so that I'm clear and haven't miss interpreted Damage Reduction:
Damage Reduction is a "supernatural ability to instantly heal damage from weapons or ignore blows altogether as though they were invulnerable." It's not another form of armor. The main difference being, is that armor increases the difficulty to inflict damage (increases AC) and DR reduces the amount of damage the attack does.

"Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack" This section to me says, that if a creature with DR 10/- is hit with a poison dagger or a monk's stunning fist, that if the attack does not inflict more than 10 points of damage then the effect that accompanies the attack (poison or stun effect) also doesn't take affect.

"Damage Reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains." I read this line as saying if a touch attack is made (a spell casted on a character, that doesn't need to penetrate armor. For example, changing a character into a mouse, or some magical attack that causes energy drains, or damage from some energy attack, then DR does not negate the touch attack. In other words the creature take full damage from the attack.

When it comes to the Gunslingers Touch AC attacks, it doesn't act as Touch AC because it not considered a spell or energy attack and the damage will be reduced by DR. In other words the bullet is directly challenged by the tough skin, invulnerability, healing factor or whatever you want to call it, of the creature.

I'm almost certain this is how it should be interpreted but if I'm missing something please let me know.

Grand Lodge

That's what I get for not knowing how casters work >_<. As a magus the other night (my first offensive caster character), my PFS gm was applying the monster's DR to both my weapon damage and the spell.

That's wrong, right? DR should almost* never apply to spell damage?

*almost because I'm sure there's probably corner cases, but in general, this should be correct, right?

Liberty's Edge

DR should ONLY apply to spell damage in cases where the spell specifically states that it does Bludgeoning, Piercing or Slashing damage.

Such as with Ice Storm, where half of the damage is physical, the other half is elemental (cold).

Certain conjuration spells work this way as well, by creating projectiles, but in every case where they do, it is called out in the spell description.


If a touch attack just delivers an effect, it bypasses DR.
If a touch attack does energy damage, it bypasses DR.
If a touch attack does weapon damage (slashing, piercing, bludgeoning), DR applies and cannot be bypassed unless it meets the DR requirement(s).

It really is that simple.


That's perfect Fourshadow! Couldn't have stated it any clearer.


Fomsie wrote:
DR should ONLY apply to spell damage in cases where the spell specifically states that it does Bludgeoning, Piercing or Slashing damage.

Is this (stealth?) errata somewhere. Because according to the PRD:

The PRD wrote:
Damage Reduction (Ex or Su) A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

Normal damage from spells, with no qualifiers. So to override that, the spell would need to specifically say that DR applied, not just that it was physical or slashing or whatever.

glass.


glass wrote:
Fomsie wrote:
DR should ONLY apply to spell damage in cases where the spell specifically states that it does Bludgeoning, Piercing or Slashing damage.

Is this (stealth?) errata somewhere. Because according to the PRD:

The PRD wrote:
Damage Reduction (Ex or Su) A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks. Wounds heal immediately, or the weapon bounces off harmlessly (in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective). The creature takes normal damage from energy attacks (even nonmagical ones), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.

Normal damage from spells, with no qualifiers. So to override that, the spell would need to specifically say that DR applied, not just that it was physical or slashing or whatever.

glass.

yeah there was a faq somewhere stating that physical damage from spells doesnt bypass DR or something like that, dont have time to actually search for it though

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