"Instance of Damage"?


Rules Discussion


Does anyone know if there is an actual definition for what an 'Instance of Damage' is?

Looking at weakness and resistance rules and they do not seem to define it and some of the examples given frankly only confuse it more.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=335 <--- damage rules AoN

Weakness:

"If you have more than one weakness that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable weakness value. This usually happens only when a monster is weak to both a type of physical damage and the material a weapon is made of."

Resistance:

"If you have more than one type of resistance that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable resistance value.

It’s possible to have resistance to all damage. When an effect deals damage of multiple types and you have resistance to all damage, apply the resistance to each type of damage separately. If an attack would deal 7 slashing damage and 4 fire damage, resistance 5 to all damage would reduce the slashing damage to 2 and negate the fire damage entirely."

What really confuses me here is how is - in the example given for resist all 5 - resist all 5, and having resist 5 to both slashing and fire any different in this case?


A Cold Iron club deals 1D6 damage that has both the Bludgeoning and Cold Iron damage types. That's one source.

A +1 Striking Flaming club deals 2D6 damage that has the Bludgeoning damage type, and 1D6 damage that has the Fire damage type. That's two sources.


Aratorin wrote:

A Cold Iron club deals 1D6 damage that has both the Bludgeoning and Cold Iron damage types. That's one source.

A +1 Striking Flaming club deals 2D6 damage that has the Bludgeoning damage type, and 1D6 damage that has the Fire damage type. That's two sources.

I would agree, however it is a question of whether that still counts as one 'instance' or if instance = source, and thus it is two 'instances'. I would generally say it does, but that would benefit my PC in a coming fight, hence wanting to get a second opinion as DM and I try to figure it out.


If you count one source of damage in one attack damage "roll" is 1 damage instance.

Ex.:
If you attack with a silver pierce weapon the damage 1d8. The type of weapon and type of damage is counted as same instance, because the both of them do the same damage calc.

Maybe I can't explain well, but it's just like Silver add a trait to the damage of that weapon, you don't have a specific additional silver damage, it's still a pierce damage but with silver trait. So the both damage is calculated as one, so they have the same damage instance.

But if you poison this weapon, you add a poison damage to it in another instance (other separated damage calc).

The same to precision strikes, it's add damage to an attack, but have their own damage formula, so are another instance.


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I think you look at it as one instance of damage = one discrete number. If you can't tease it apart into two separate numbers, it's one instance of damage with multiple types. If you can separate one source into two separate numbers, then the components are discrete and you can say "this one source deals two instances of damage: one amount of this type, and another amount of that type."

So, if an attack somehow deals 12 fire and bludgeoning damage, then either fire or bludgeoning resistance would reduce it, and, if you have both, you pick the highest. If the same attack instead deals 8 bludgeoning damage and 5 fire damage, using different damage calculations, then bludgeoning resistance reduces the 8 damage that comes specifically from bludgeoning and fire resistance reduces the 5 damage that comes specifically from fire.

It's exactly what YuriP said about damage calculations being separate instances, even if they come from an individual source. Just trying to frame it in a different way to see if that helps.


From designer commentary, we happen to know that Resistance to all damage applies twice to attacks with flaming weapons and such, which I'd say is pretty definitive proof that that is two different instances of damage. I think the two different instances thing is gonna be very rare in practice.


npaulagain wrote:

Does anyone know if there is an actual definition for what an 'Instance of Damage' is?

Looking at weakness and resistance rules and they do not seem to define it and some of the examples given frankly only confuse it more.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=335 <--- damage rules AoN

Weakness:

"If you have more than one weakness that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable weakness value. This usually happens only when a monster is weak to both a type of physical damage and the material a weapon is made of."

Resistance:

"If you have more than one type of resistance that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable resistance value.

It’s possible to have resistance to all damage. When an effect deals damage of multiple types and you have resistance to all damage, apply the resistance to each type of damage separately. If an attack would deal 7 slashing damage and 4 fire damage, resistance 5 to all damage would reduce the slashing damage to 2 and negate the fire damage entirely."

What really confuses me here is how is - in the example given for resist all 5 - resist all 5, and having resist 5 to both slashing and fire any different in this case?

While there is no proof of what that definition is, I'd say if something is caused by the same source, in that instance, then it's only one instance of damage. For example, if I am using a Silver Flaming Weapon against a Werewolf, the Silver weakness only applies once per action or attack. This is especially true with abilities like Twin Takedown or Double Slice, which sets a precedent that simultaneous attacks (Magic Missiles is a spellcasting example of this) only trigger these things once. Conversely, if you spend two independent actions to strike(, or cast two spells in the case of Magic Missiles), then yes, this creates multiple instances of damage.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
From designer commentary, we happen to know that Resistance to all damage applies twice to attacks with flaming weapons and such, which I'd say is pretty definitive proof that that is two different instances of damage. I think the two different instances thing is gonna be very rare in practice.

I would like a citation for that commentary if you can provide it, please, as I'm curious what it exactly entails. If it is what I think it is, then this creates a lot more issues than it solves.

So if I'm hit with a Flaming weapon and am put into Dying, that means I'm Dying 2 instead of Dying 1? Or Dying 4 instead of Dying 2 (since both effects critically hit me)?

Your ruling would suggest that yes, a critical hit from a Flaming weapon would one-shot a character without Diehard, whereas a non-Flaming weapon would not. Which is both ridiculous and probably not intended with that ruling. But is technically allowed with that ruling if that were the case.

Silver Crusade

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
From designer commentary, we happen to know that Resistance to all damage applies twice to attacks with flaming weapons and such, which I'd say is pretty definitive proof that that is two different instances of damage. I think the two different instances thing is gonna be very rare in practice.

I would like a citation for that commentary if you can provide it, please, as I'm curious what it exactly entails. If it is what I think it is, then this creates a lot more issues than it solves.

So if I'm hit with a Flaming weapon and am put into Dying, that means I'm Dying 2 instead of Dying 1? Or Dying 4 instead of Dying 2 (since both effects critically hit me)?

Your ruling would suggest that yes, a critical hit from a Flaming weapon would one-shot a character without Diehard, whereas a non-Flaming weapon would not. Which is both ridiculous and probably not intended with that ruling. But is technically allowed with that ruling if that were the case.

Instances of damage vs attacks.

I'd say you'd be Dying 1 (only 1 attack even though there multiple damages in that attack).


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I would like a citation for that commentary if you can provide it, please, as I'm curious what it exactly entails.

I'd be curious too: would a Flaming Fire Poi deal 3 instances of damage? Activate resistance to fire twice? Seems like an odd situation.


Captain Morgan wrote:
From designer commentary, we happen to know that Resistance to all damage applies twice to attacks with flaming weapons and such, which I'd say is pretty definitive proof that that is two different instances of damage.

I'm not sure it is. The rules for 'resist all' specifically call out working on things that do multiple types of damage as a feature of the ability, which could just as easily mean it's a special exception to the normal resistance rules.

The most compelling argument I think for multiple instances is the way the text of Weaknesses singles out special material weapons as the only way to normally deal multiple types of damage with a single instance.

That's not conclusive, since it's just an example, but it seems weird to single out that as the only 'normal' way when flaming runes are readily accessible in the same book.


Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
From designer commentary, we happen to know that Resistance to all damage applies twice to attacks with flaming weapons and such, which I'd say is pretty definitive proof that that is two different instances of damage.

I'm not sure it is. The rules for 'resist all' specifically call out working on things that do multiple types of damage as a feature of the ability, which could just as easily mean it's a special exception to the normal resistance rules.

The most compelling argument I think for multiple instances is the way the text of Weaknesses singles out special material weapons as the only way to normally deal multiple types of damage with a single instance.

That's not conclusive, since it's just an example, but it seems weird to single out that as the only 'normal' way when flaming runes are readily accessible in the same book.

Even more explicitly than that, the Flame Rune is specifically called out as being a second instance of damage in the Resistance example. (It doesn't say Flame Rune, but 7 Slashing and 4 Fire is what a sword with Flame Rune does.)

Whereas the situation described on page 492 would be a single instance of damage that is both Slashing and Fire, as it adds only a Trait, not additional Fire damage.

CRB 492 wrote:

You can also add traits to actions. Let’s say that during a

fight, Seelah dips her sword into a brazier of hot coals before
swinging it at an enemy with a weakness to fire. You could
add the fire trait to this attack. A PC getting an advantage
in this way should usually have to use an action to do so,
so Seelah would get the benefit for one attack, but to do it
again she’d need to bury her sword in the coals once more.


https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42bxf?Two-Small-Flaws-in-the-Weakness-System#2 4

It's pretty clearly intended to work the way I said, based on that comment. Whatever conclusions you want to draw from he RAW is up to you, but that's how it is intended to work, which is what matters IMO.


Captain Morgan wrote:

Link

It's pretty clearly intended to work the way I said, based on that comment. Whatever conclusions you want to draw from he RAW is up to you, but that's how it is intended to work, which is what matters IMO.

I mean, I guess I stand corrected, since the example is pretty concise. Unfortunately, the RAW still contradicts it, since it says:

Resistances wrote:
If you have more than one type of resistance that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable resistance value.
Weaknesses wrote:
If you have more than one weakness that would apply to the same instance of damage, use only the highest applicable weakness value. This usually happens only when a monster is weak to both a type of physical damage and the material a weapon is made of.

Even if you want to argue that it doesn't, I can assure you that the present language causes enough confusion. The Resist All entry sounds more of a "specific trumps general" rule than an example rule, and the Weakness section specifically refers to multiple weaknesses of the same damage type (physical in the expectation).


graystone wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I would like a citation for that commentary if you can provide it, please, as I'm curious what it exactly entails.
I'd be curious too: would a Flaming Fire Poi deal 3 instances of damage? Activate resistance to fire twice? Seems like an odd situation.

From Mark's commentary, you would combine all of the same types of damage together before applying weaknesses or resistances, since he has Inspire Courage damage plus Holy Weapon and Paladin Aura combined before weaknesses and resistances are applied. So based off that info, would only be applied once and not multiple times.


This fact doesn't seem super well known, so I won't argue it isn't confusing. It is also pretty significant though, especially when discussing the relative value of abilities. It is why dragon totem isn't quite as good as people thought compared to giant totem-- it gets double dinged for damage against ghosts and stuff.

Also, I'm still to this day not sure how hardness (and particularly shield hardness) interacts with this rule.

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