5E DnD Damage Guide: Every D&D Damage Type You Need To Know

One thing players learn very quickly in 5th Edition D&D is that not all damage types are created equal. The fire mage is a great build until you find yourself facing fire elementals and their demon lords on the wrong level of hell. Then suddenly that spellcaster learns the hard way the importance of diversifying at least a few back up spells of a different damage type.

But just how many different damage types are there in Dungeons & Dragons?

Officially there are 13 types of damage in 5th Edition DnD, although many players consider one or two extreme examples (falling and suffocation/drowning) to be their own damage types despite technically being under forms of damage.

The thirteen types of damage in D&D are:

  1. Acid
  2. Bludgeoning
  3. Cold
  4. Fire
  5. Force
  6. Lightning
  7. Necrotic
  8. Piercing
  9. Poison
  10. Psychic (aka Psionic)
  11. Radiant
  12. Slashing
  13. Thunder

This generally stays the same from one edition to another, although that doesn’t mean it will always remain that way with future editions, especially as more books are added.

We’ll look closely at every damage type, familiarizing you with where you’ll see it, the types of creatures that will use kinds of damage types, and even the number of enemies resistant, immune, and vulnerable to them. Hope you packed your adventurer’s pack – we’re heading off now!

wizard over glowing orb
The Wizards must understand magic…and that gives them a thorough understanding of damage types in D&D!

What Are The Different Damage Types In D&D?

There are 13 different damage types that exist in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. They come from various sources, like creature abilities, weapons, spells, items, and the ever popular bad decisions.

Let’s get you some experience so we can level you up and prepare you before you start your next quest. We’ll cover the strengths and weaknesses and creatures to look out for that wield that damage type – bonus XP and maybe even inspiration if you come out of this with some exciting strategies!

Let’s dive in!

Acid Damage

Acid damage is a corrosive damage type wielded primarily by reptilian creatures. The acidic breath of black dragons, bandits that throw acid vials, or non-humanoid creatures like Oozes, Gelatinous Cubes, and Ochre Jellies all employ acid damage.

Spellcaster classes may also adopt acid damage spells like Acid Arrow and Acid Splash. Some races, like Dragonborn, get a racial ability called Breath Weapon due to their draconic ancestry. Those with copper & black dragon ancestry can exhale acid damage once between every short or long rest.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Acid Damage?

Acid damage ranks as one of the more reliable damage types than other non-physical damage types. If you were to delve into the Monster Manual, you’d find that 18 creatures resist acid, 15 are immune to acid damage, and no creatures are vulnerable to acid damage.

Can Acid Damage Melt Doors And Locks?

While it’s true that acid has corrosive properties that weaken metals, it does not apply to all acids.

When examining creatures that cause Acid damage, such as Oozes, it is important to note that not all of them can corrode metal. The Monster Manual specifies that the Gelatinous Cube and Ochre Jelly, while they both deal Acid damage, do not have the ability to corrode metal.

A Dragonborn’s Breath Weapon, modeled after a Dragon’s Breath, cannot melt metal objects, even for Copper and Black Dragons.

Ultimately, the final call will depend on your DM, who can permit you to melt locks and metals with your acid damage, especially if the metal is visibly worn and rusted. Tough metals like tungsten are highly-resistant to acid and will likely be impervious to corrosion.

Interestingly enough, there are very few acid damage spells in other core books, and even those tend to be revisions from other books like Elemental Evil. Almost all the spells that can do acid damage are from The Player’s Handbook.

Notable Spells for Acid Damage

  • Acid Splash
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow
  • Elemental Weapon
  • Storm of Vengeance

Notable Enemies That Inflict Acid Damage

  • Gelatinous Cube
  • Ochre Jelly
  • Black Dragons
  • Copper Dragons

Bludgeoning Damage

Bludgeoning damage is crushing damage from heavy, flat, or rounded objects like warhammers, one-handed & two-handed maces, scepters, quarterstaves, morningstars, clubs, and unarmed attacks. Some spells have bludgeoning properties, too, like Arcane Hand, Black Tentacles, Catapult, Erupting Earth, and Ice Storm.  

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Bludgeoning Damage?

Bludgeoning does reasonably well when it comes to dealing damage to creatures. The Monster Manual shows that 8 creatures resist bludgeon attacks, 0 are immune, and 4 are vulnerable. Enemy barbarians also are likely to resist it, but it just goes to show this is not a widespread resistance in the base game.

Interestingly, while a Demilich might be immune to bludgeoning weapon attacks, which count as physical damage, a spell with bludgeoning damage counts as magical damage, bypassing bludgeoning resistance or immunity.   

If you’re ever unsure whether something is magical or nonmagical, do a quick check and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it a spell, or can you create the effects of a spell according to its description?
  • Is it a spell attack?
  • Does it require a spell slot to use?
  • Does its description say it’s magical?
  • Is it a magic item?

The Player’s Handbook talks about damage immunities, clearly stating that bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage types that are non-magical and not made with sliver weapons are subject to immunities.

In other words, a creature or object is immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks, except if you silver your weapon. (Coat your weapon with silver to damage monsters with resistance or immunity to non-magical weapons).

Notable Spells for Bludgeoning Damage

  • Evard’s Black Tentacles
  • Catapult
  • Meteor Swarm
  • Storm Sphere
  • Tsunami

Notable Enemies That Inflict Bludgeoning Damage

  • Ogres
  • Giants
  • Golems (multiple)
  • Earth Elemental

Falling Damage

While technically falling damage is just extreme bludgeoning damage, it’s different enough that it sticks out. Falling damage is covered by the DMG, and it is not very nice if you reach maximum velocity because you fall from too high a height without Feather Fall. When someone thinks there’s more than 13 types of damage, they are usually counting fall damage as one of those “forgotten” ones.

While many of us who have played D&D long enough have stories and experiences with falling damage, it isn’t a separate damage. The speeding fall into the ground, or building top, or whatever hard surface makes falling damage a unique off-shoot of bludgeoning damage for sure, but it’s still bludgeoning damage.

Cold Damage

Cold is a magical damage type with piercing or bludgeoning properties. Several creatures, including Frost Giants, Frost Dragons, Yetis, and Winter Wolves, deal cold damage. Spells can also do cold damage (Cone of Cold), be a combination of cold & bludgeoning (Ice Storm), or cold & piercing (Ice Knife).  

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Cold Damage?

Cold damage may have a hard time in certain areas because it has the second-highest number of creatures that resist it, at 48 creatures. There are 20 creatures immune to cold and 4 vulnerable to it.

For an elemental type of damage, this is actually pretty reasonable. You assume anything found in the great north or related to winter and frost has at least resistance, while those found anywhere else are likely

Can Cold Damage Slow Or Freeze Your Opponents?

While there is no frozen solid condition in D&D, cold damage has some interesting effects when used on some enemies. Page 125 of the Monster Manual states that if a water elemental takes cold damage, it will partially freeze, reducing its speed by 20 feet until the end of its next turn.

In some cases, your DM can use their discretion and rule that a creature is frozen solid when they sustain a large chunk of cold damage, such as when you roll a natural 20.

If you combine water spells like Wall of Water with ice spells like Cone of Cold, the wall of water will freeze within a 5-foot-square area, gaining 5 AC and 15 HP per square where the water occupies.  

If a body of water blocks you from crossing over to your destination, you can attempt to freeze the acid and walk over safely.

Notable Spells for Cold Damage

  • Cone of Cold
  • Ice Knife
  • Ice Storm
  • Ray of Frost
  • Sleet Storm (kind of)

Notable Enemies That Inflict Cold Damage

  • Frost Giants
  • White Dragons
  • Yeti
  • Ice Devils
  • Bheur Hags

Fire Damage

Fire damage is all about unrelenting destruction and exists with creatures that prefer that disposition, like Fire Elementals, Brass, Red & Gold dragons, Salamanders, and Giant Fire Beetles. Fire is one of the more common elemental damage types,

Spells can also deal fire damage and may have additional damage properties. Spells can deal only fire damage (Fireball), fire and radiant damage (Flame Strike), or fire and bludgeoning damage (Meteor Swam).  

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Fire Damage?

Fire damage has the third highest number of creatures that resist it, at 37 creatures. It also has the second highest number for immunities, at 40, but the most creatures vulnerable at 9.

Which Creatures Are Vulnerable To Fire Damage?

Treants are among the creatures vulnerable to fire damage. Creatures or objects vulnerable to a damage type take double damage for that type. If you blast a treant with fire for 10 damage, it will take 20 damage because of its vulnerability.

Creatures with resistance to damage types will take half damage for that type, but you apply it after all other damage modifiers. Imagine you sling a fireball at a creature for 30 damage, but it’s resistant to fire and has a barrier that reduces all incoming damage by 5. You’ll first subtract the barrier and then half the result (30 – 5) / 2.

Trolls can be tricky to kill unless you focus your efforts and stop their regenerative traits. Fortunately, a well-placed fireball will prevent them from regenerating their health points (HP) or any severed limbs (including their head).

What Can You Do With Fire Damage?

Fire is not always the best defensive option because you cannot control how a fire spreads, but they are great for offensive strategies.

A little fire goes a long way if you need to stop someone from escaping or flush bandits from their stronghold. Be careful that you don’t toast any valuables or hostages in the process, so do your reconnaissance correctly the first time – you get one shot!

Notable Spells for Fire Damage

  • Burning Hands
  • Fire Bolt
  • Fireball (was there ever any doubt?)
  • Flame Strike
  • Hellish Rebuke
  • Scorching Ray

Notable Enemies That Inflict Fire Damage

  • Fire Elemental
  • Hell Hound
  • Red Dragon
  • Multiple Devils & Fiends
  • Salamander
  • Slaad

Force Damage

Force damage is one of the most feared or loved types of damage in Dungeons & Dragons depending on what side of things you’re on. There are only two enemies in all of 5E who have any type of immunity to force damage, making it almost a sure thing.

Force damage is magical damage in its purest form and used by dangerous creatures like Beholders, Maruts, and Poltergeists.

Beholders can shoot a devastating Disintegration Ray dealing 45 (10d8) damage, turning anyone with 0 HP into dust. A Marut’s physical attacks are imbued with force damage, and Poltergeists can use Forceful Slam that deals force damage.

Spells can also have the force damage property, like Eldritch Blast, Magic Missile, Spiritual Weapon, and Disintegrate.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Force Damage?

Force damage is hard to come by for both players and creatures. The good news is that abilities, spells, or items with force damage are exceptional for combat because 0 creatures are resistant, 1 is immune (Helmed Horror), and 0 are vulnerable.

Technically Rakshasha are immune to most force spells as they are immune to spells under 6th level, but that immunity is general, not because of force in particular.

Can You Revive A Disintegrated NPC Or Player?

If you, one of your party members, or an important NPC gets turned to dust from the Disintegrate spell or a Beholder’s Disintegration Ray, everything the victim wears or carries – apart from magic items – will turn to dust.

It may not necessarily be the end, however. You can bring a disintegrated creature back to life with True Ressurection or the Wish spell. 

Is Force And Bludgeoning Damage The Same Thing?

While bludgeoning damage requires a forceful swing, it is not the same as force damage.

If bludgeoning damage derives from raw physical power, then force damage is raw magical power – or magic in its purest form. It is not an element like fire and ice but something outside the normal boundaries of the magical and physical realm. It’s an invisible manifestation of visible power.

Notable Spells for Force Damage

  • Disintegrate
  • Eldritch Blast
  • Force Cage
  • Magic Missile
  • Wall of Force

Notable Enemies That Inflict Force Damage

  • Beholder
  • Death Tyrant
  • Helmed Horror* (doesn’t inflict force damage, but is one of the only enemies immune to it – which will put that six person party of level three wizards in their place from magic missiling their way through every challenge)
  • Warlocks
  • Wizards (or other spellcasters)

Lightning Damage

Lightning damage sends mighty jolts of electricity to demolish friends or foes. You’ll run into lightning damage from the breath of Blue & Bronze Dragons, Behirs, and Krakens. In other words when the lightning damage shows up, you can forgive an experienced D&D party from having game-based PTSD flashbacks at that point.

Just a small sample of the spells that do lighting damage include Shocking Grasp, Lightning Bolt, and Chain Lightning.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Lightning Damage?

Lightning damage is somewhere between Cold and Fire damage in terms of resistant and immune enemies. The Monster Manual has 35 enemies resistant to lightning damage, 10 immune enemies, and 0 vulnerable enemies.

Can Lightning Damage Paralyze Opponents?

While there is a paralysis condition in D&D, lightning damage is not the cause. An ally or foe can suffer from paralysis if someone uses Hold Person and Hold Creature on them.

Magic items like the Wand of Paralysis or creatures’ abilities like the crawler mucus also cause paralysis. However, just plain lightning does not cause opponents to be paralyzed.

Does Lightning Damage Interact With Other Damage Types?

Lightning damage does not interact with other elements in the same way that they do with other RPG games. While you would expect water creatures or wet creatures to take more damage from lightning attacks, this is not the case with D&D.

In reality, water doesn’t make electricity stronger; it only gives it room to travel into places it would otherwise not be able to go. If you poured water under a door opening and cast lighting on the water, you could electrocute whoever was on the other side of the door without opening it.

It is ultimately at the discretion of your DM and whether they might consider creating personalized rules for spell and environmental interactions.

What Can You Do With Lightning Damage?

While lightning does not combine with other elemental damage types or cause paralysis, you can use it to interact with objects. Lightning damage can ignite flammable objects where it strikes, given that no one has the object equipped or on their person.

Notable Spells for Lightning Damage

  • Shocking Grasp
  • Witch Bolt
  • Lightning Arrow
  • Chain Lightning
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Storm of Vengeance

Notable Enemies That Inflict Lightning Damage

  • The Kraken
  • Blue Dragon
  • Bronze Dragon
  • Storm Giant
  • Behir
  • Elder Tempest

Necrotic Damage

Necrotic damage utilizes the power of the dead to smite the living and usually exists with undead creatures. Creatures like Spectators, Vampires, Nothics, and Chasmes can deal necrotic damage with attacks and spells. Spells with a necrotic damage type include Inflict Wounds, Blight, Harm, and Finger of Death.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Necrotic Damage?

Necrotic damage is on the rare side, similar to force damage. Still, you will run into it more frequently if you venture into tombs, graveyards, abandoned towns, mineshafts, and other areas where the dead may linger.

The Monster Manual reveals 11 creatures resistant to necrotic damage, 11 immune, and 0 vulnerable creatures.

Does Necrotic Damage Reduce Your Maximum HP?

By default, necrotic damage does not decrease a character’s maximum hit points. It is a separate effect caused by particular undead creatures or magic – like the spell Harm.

Many effects that cause damage also reduce a character’s hit points, but this is done by subtracting the damage dealt from the current hit points.

Remember that your maximum hit points can never exceed your current hit points. Some effects that cause damage also decrease the maximum hit points, which prevents the character from fully healing back to their original maximum hit points.

If a character has 27 / 30 HP and an effect reduces their maximum hit points by 10, they would have 20 / 20 (taking only 7 points of damage).

Notable Spells for Necrotic Damage

  • Toll the Dead
  • Finger of Death
  • Inflict Wounds
  • Chill Touch
  • Blight

Notable Enemies That Inflict Necrotic Damage

  • Lich
  • Mummy Lord
  • Specter
  • Vampire
  • Nothic
  • Banshee

Piercing Damage

Piercing damage occurs when a thrust motion is possible with weapons, spells, or objects. Longbows, rapiers, and daggers can cause pierce damage, as can creatures with sharp limbs or claws, like Bulettes, Chimeras, and Barbed Devils. Spells such as Faithful Hound, Insect Plague, and Wall of Thorns can also deal piercing damage.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Piercing Damage?

Piercing damage is reliable when comparing it to resistant and immune enemies. There are 10 creatures resistant to pierce damage, 0 immune, and 0 vulnerable.

Does Pierce Damage Ignore Armor Class (AC)?

All damage types, including piercing damage, do not ignore armor because it has no connection with someone’s armor class (AC).

When you want to attack a creature, you first roll a d20 die and add any relevant modifiers to see if you hit the enemy. If the final number equals or surpasses the target’s AC, the attack is successful, and you get to roll again to deal damage.

If your AC is 16, and the enemy rolls a 15, they miss and do not get to roll for damage, and vice-versa. A character’s armor class is set during character creation.

Can Piercing Damage Penetrate Thin Walls?

Walls made from rigid materials like tungsten and concrete will be tough to penetrate; it might not be the case for thinner walls. Some walls may have weak spots, or their weakest point may be in the center.

It is not entirely unreasonable to attempt to pierce through such weakness. Feel free to ask your DM to describe the wall you wish to pierce, and perhaps you could spot vulnerabilities within its construction.

Notable Spells for Piercing Damage

  • Thorn Whip
  • Grasping Vine
  • Insect Plague
  • Wall of Thornes
  • Cloud of Daggers

Notable Enemies That Inflict Piercing Damage

  • There are so many that you will have no problem finding a large list

Poison Damage

Poison damage is venomous and toxic, originating from the breath of Green Dragons and attacks from Wyverns, Scorpions, and Yuan-ti. Spells that do poison damage include Poison Spray, Cloud Kill, and Prismatic Spray. It is also possible for players and foes to craft poison vials that allow them to coat their weapons in poison and will enable them to do poison damage when they attack.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Poison Damage?

Poison damage faces the highest number of immune enemies among all the damage types in D&D. There are 5 creatures resistant to poison damage, 95 immune enemies, and 0 vulnerable creatures.

Poison damage is not the most effective damage type for creatures, but it is useful. It works well against humanoids and animals and can be helpful if you need your elaborate scheme of overthrowing the King and his guards to succeed.

It will remain undetected unless someone knows your intentions and actively looks for your toxic concoction.

Creatures or humanoid enemies that suffer from the poisoned state must roll with disadvantage on all their attack rolls and ability checks. When someone rolls with disadvantage, the player will roll two d20 dice and must use the lower number.

If the player rolls with advantage, the player will also roll two 20-sided dice (d20) and use the higher number. If a player rolls with both advantage and disadvantage, they cancel each other out, and the player rolls with a regular, single d20 dice.

Notable Spells for Poison Damage

  • Poison Spray
  • Contagion
  • Ray of Sickness
  • Cloudkill

Notable Enemies That Inflict Poison Damage

  • Basilisk
  • Purple Worm
  • Giant Spiders
  • Green Dragons
  • Carrion Crawlers

Psychic (Psionic) Damage

Psychic damage revolves around mind attacks, typical of creatures that assault the mind and prefer to assault players with negative conditions. Creatures that wield psychic damage are Mind Flayers, Shadow Demons, Banshees, and Githyanki. Spells that deal psychic damage are Phantasmal Killer, Feeblemind, and Weird.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Psychic Damage?

Psychic damage is good since few creatures can resist it or are immune. There is 1 creature resistant to psychic damage, 10 monsters immune, and 1 vulnerable enemy.

Does Psychic Damage Count As Magical?

Psychic damage counts as magical because the source of the psychic spell is magical (the magic from within a player or creature’s body, from within a wand).

In the same way that a spell that does piercing damage is not a physical attack, psychic damage with visible results on the target is not a physical attack.

Does Psychic Damage Work On Unconscious Minds?

When someone falls unconscious – whether through a spell or attack – they are not dead, meaning their brain is still alive and susceptible to psychic damage.

Are Undead Creatures Immune To Psychic Damage?

If the description of a creature doesn’t explicitly state that it is resistant or immune to psychic or any other damage type, then you can blast and hack away freely.

It’s important to note that the monsters in 5th edition D&D are distinct from those in earlier versions, mainly 3rd edition.

In 3rd edition, monsters were classified into types, and players had to refer to the abilities and immunities associated with that type according to the specific monster.

The 5th edition did away with that system and included all relevant information within each monster’s stat block.

Notable Spells for Psionic Damage

  • Geas
  • Phantasmal Killer
  • Vicious Mockery
  • Mind Spike
  • Psychic Scream

Notable Enemies That Inflict Psionic Damage

  • Mind Flayers
  • Banshees
  • Gith (Yanki & Zeri)
  • Shadow Demons

Radiant Damage

Radiant damage is a form of spiritual or divine power employed by clerics and paladins. Creatures like Devas or other angel creatures also deal radiant damage. Spells that have radiant properties are Divine Favor, Guiding Bolt, Branding Smite, and Sunbeam.

Generally, radiant damage is considered the opposite of necrotic and will also often be divine in nature which is why it shows up so often with Paladins or Clerics.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Radiant Damage?

Radiant damage is arguably the strongest damage type because, while there are 4 enemies resistant to radiant damage, there are 0 immune and 2 vulnerable enemies.

The chances that you will encounter the four radiant-resistant enemies are slim; when you do, it will only be for a portion of your time adventuring.

Does Radiant Damage Do Extra Damage Against Undead?

While radiant damage is the D&D 5th edition version of holy damage, it does not necessarily affect the game’s rules. The traditional meaning of the word holy does not translate to radiant, even though they often overlap and thematically basically work the same way.

Some creatures associated with darkness or evil may be weak to radiant damage, but not all of them. Holy water, which is typically associated with holy or radiant damage, can be effective against certain types of undead and fiends but may not be effective against other types of undead, such as skeletons.

Fiendish creatures like ghouls, zombies, and ghasts also have no vulnerabilities to radiant damage, despite being undead. Using a different weapon or technique against these types of creatures may be more advantageous than relying on radiant damage.

Notable Spells for Radiant Damage

  • Many Smites
  • Spiritual Weapon
  • Spirit Guardians
  • Moonbeam
  • Holy Weapon

Notable Enemies That Inflict Radiant Damage

  • Hopefully none – creatures that have radiant damage are almost always good meaning if you are facing off against them and you’re not in the rare “Evil Character Campaign” then you have seriously messed up.

Slashing Damage

Slashing damage indicates a cutting motion and is typically the result of bladed weapons or objects. Creatures that deal slashing damage include Planetar, Ankheg, Cloakers, and Marilith. Spells that deal Slashing damage include Wall of Thorns, Blade Barrier, and Cloud of Daggers.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Slashing Damage?

Slashing damage is a good pick, having few resistant and immune enemies. There are 6 creatures resistant to slash damage, 2 immune enemies, and 0 vulnerable enemies.

It’s wise to be aware of slash-immune enemies, especially if you know quickly it can turn the tables on your party. Both Black Pudding and Ochre Jelly belong to the ooze family and have a reaction ability (an ability that triggers as a result of another action) called Split.

When a medium or large black pudding or ochre jelly takes slash or lightning damage, it will split into two new puddings or jellies, provided it has at least 10 HP. Each new creature has HP equal to half the original, rounded down. The new creatures are also one size smaller than their originals.

Is Slashing Better Than Bludgeoning And Piercing Damage?

If you compare slashing, bludgeoning, and piercing damage according to resistant, immune, and vulnerable enemies, it will look like this:

  • Slashing – 6.2.0
  • Bludgeoning – 8.0.4
  • Piercing – 10.0.0

If you compare the ratios, they are pretty much even.

Slashing damage is the least likely to run into resistant enemies and even less likely to run into immune enemies.

Bludgeoning damage has a higher chance of running into resistant enemies but will never run into immune enemies. The high vulnerable number makes up for the higher resistant number.

Piercing damage has the highest resistant enemies but will never run into immune enemies. There are no enemies vulnerable to piercing.

Notable Spells for Slashing Damage

  • Cloud of Daggers
  • Blade Barrier

Notable Enemies That Inflict Slashing Damage

  • Anything with claws plus most bladed weapons


Thunder damage utilizes the sound of roaring thunder to demonstrate its presence. Creatures that deal thunder damage include a Djinni and a Lich. Spells that deal thunder damage typically belong to druids, with Thunderclap, Thunderwave, and Shatter.

Are Many Creatures Resistant To Thunder Damage?

Thunder damage has an average amount of resistant mobs but very few immune enemies. There are 14 enemies resistant to thunder damage, 2 immune enemies, and 1 vulnerable enemy.

Is Thunder And Lightning Damage The Same Thing?

Thunder damage draws its power from the sound of an attack, spell, or ability, while lightning damage uses actual electricity. Think of Thunder Damage as being the same as the idea of Sonic Damage.

Since these are related, creatures with one of these damage types or resistances will often have the other one. Storm Giants deal lightning damage and are immune to lightning and thunder damage.

Does Thunder Damage Have Unique Effects?

While not all thunder damage has unique properties, some spells bring out the realism of thunder damage.

Some thunder damage spells like Thunderous Smite do thunder damage and require that the target roll a successful Strength saving throw, lest the spell pushes them back or knocks them prone (depending on whether they roll low or high).

Notable Spells for Thunder Damage

  • Shatter
  • Thunder Clap
  • Thunder Wave
  • Thunderous Smite

Notable Enemies That Inflict Thunder Damage

  • Djinni (seriously, that’s the only one barring custom brew or individual adventures)

A fantastic resource that divides all magic spells that do damage by damage type can be found in this Google Doc of Spell Damage Types.

Constitution Saving Throws

There are ways for your character or NPCs to die in D&D that don’t always seem to obviously fit in with one of the above options. This usually comes from damage that comes as the result of a Constitution saving throw, and depending on the situation in-game these can be very brutal.

Two of the examples we’ve run across in our real-world games would be drowning and suffocating. There is no drowning or suffocating damage in 5th Edition, and they don’t easily fit into something like bludgeoning damage the way that falling does.

But each are very valid dangers in a wild fantasy world and while there might be others, these are two that have claimed characters in our D&D campaigns.


Is there anything more dangerous to a low-level D&D party than a river? Water has done so much damage and there’s a reason that we have 10+ year veterans of the gaming table who ALWAYS take Water Breathing or Water Walking no matter what their spellcaster build for the campaign.

There are rules in 5E for handling Constitution saving throws and drowning, though most DMs I know have their own version they prefer to use. This is one of those CON saves that is important to be prepared for.


Suffocation is the other CON saving throw that has come up and actually almost created a TPK one time. This probably doesn’t come up quite as often, but it’s a very interesting curve ball to throw in a campaign.

5E Damage Types, In Conclusion

The 13 damage types of D&D all play a role in balancing your encounters. While poison damage faces a lot of immunity enemies, you can find some interesting uses for it during storytelling. Equip your imagination and make the best of your adventure.

What would your character do, according to their personality and skill set? You’re all leveled up now, so get going!

The various types of damage fascinate me as it’s always interesting to see if our feelings about what is often resisted versus what is nearly unstoppable actually match up to the data or if our feelings are off in surprising ways.

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