Damage Reduction Question

Please note that I am new here, so I apologize if this question/post doesn't belong here.

I am a long time fan of classic 2e/3e D&D (before the Epic classes were introduced, let alone the to me bad 4e and 5e) so I know a lot about the game and enjoy it.  However, one thing has always puzzled me... damage reduction values.

Specifically, for example, Pathfinder Cthulhu's damage reduction is listed as "DR 20/epic and lawful".  I know the 20 part is that it soaks 20 physical damage unless the attacker has a magical weapon that is a certain enhancement bonus of X or above.  Now if the DR had read "20/+11" then I know that I would need a +11 weapon or better to bypass Cthulhu's damage reduction.

I have also heard that any "epic" damage reduction is at least +6, and any alignment is +5, but how much damage reduction, in this example, does Cthulhu have? Is it 20/+11 or am I missing something? 

Understanding his damage reduction would greatly help me know what +X weapon I need against him.

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  • avravr
    edited April 16
    Epic means the weapon needs to be +6 or more equivalent (e.g. +5 flaming, or +3 flaming frost corrosive, etc.).

    Lawful is a separate requirement - the weapon needs to be lawful (from the axiomatic quality, or from the align weapon spell or something). Having an enhancement bonus of +5 (not +5 equivalent) will also do if you can't get a lawful weapon.

    Epic and lawful means the weapon needs to meet both requirements to bypass the DR. A +5 flaming weapon will do, or +4 axiomatic, but a +3 flaming frost corrosive weapon won't. The requirements aren't added together, you just have to meet both.
  • avr said:
    Epic means the weapon needs to be +6 or more equivalent (e.g. +5 flaming, or +3 flaming frost corrosive, etc.).

    Lawful is a separate requirement - the weapon needs to be lawful (from the axiomatic quality, or from the align weapon spell or something). Having an enhancement bonus of +5 (not +5 equivalent) will also do if you can't get a lawful weapon.

    Epic and lawful means the weapon needs to meet both requirements to bypass the DR. A +5 flaming weapon will do, or +4 axiomatic, but a +3 flaming frost corrosive weapon won't. The requirements aren't added together, you just have to meet both.

    This is not actually correct. As noted here, only the enhancement bonus is counted. A +1 enhancement bonus weapon is needed for DR/magic, while a +6 enhancement bonus (NOT price equivalent bonus) is needed for DR/epic. No weapon enchantments aside from the enhancement bonus or the alignment properties will ever affect a weapon's ability to overcome DR.

    Now back to the original question:
    doomedguy said:

    Specifically, for example, Pathfinder Cthulhu's damage reduction is listed as "DR 20/epic and lawful".  I know the 20 part is that it soaks 20 physical damage unless the attacker has a magical weapon that is a certain enhancement bonus of X or above.  Now if the DR had read "20/+11" then I know that I would need a +11 weapon or better to bypass Cthulhu's damage reduction.

    I have also heard that any "epic" damage reduction is at least +6, and any alignment is +5, but how much damage reduction, in this example, does Cthulhu have? Is it 20/+11 or am I missing something? 

    Understanding his damage reduction would greatly help me know what +X weapon I need against him.


    Now this is a puzzle. You read correctly, ordinarily any weapon with a +5 or higher enhancement bonus would overcome DR based on alignment. This rule (along with +3 or better doing some metals, +4 covering adamantine) is new to Pathfinder, it was not a rule carried over from 3.5. As such, this is a gray area, but I believe I have the answer.

    Certain effects allow the bypassing of DR without their weapon possessing the necessary properties. Most notably, Mythic characters can gain the ability to overcome DR/epic. In this case, when fighting Cthulhu, a Mythic character with this ability would still need to overcome the lawful component (either by possessing a +5 weapon, or a suitable Align Weapon spell, the Axiomatic Enchantment, etc.)

    Hope this helped!
  • edited October 13
    doomedguy said:

    Specifically, for example, Pathfinder Cthulhu's damage reduction is listed as "DR 20/epic and lawful".  I know the 20 part is that it soaks 20 physical damage unless the attacker has a magical weapon that is a certain enhancement bonus of X or above.  Now if the DR had read "20/+11" then I know that I would need a +11 weapon or better to bypass Cthulhu's damage reduction.
    Any creatures with DR/Epic is also considered to have Epic attacks with it's natural weapons, thus certain creatures like solars will bypass the epic part of the DR but would require axiomatic traits on those natural attacks somehow.

    Additionally of note: Some attacks ignore DR entirely, such as a paladin's smite evil, an Antipaladins smite good, warpriests and fighters have archetypes for smite, inquisitor has faith hunter

    Also from Mythic Adventures: "DR/Epic: A type of damage reduction, DR/epic can be overcome only by a weapon with an enhancement bonus of +6 or greater. Weapons with special abilities also count as epic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction if the total bonus value of all of their abilities (including the enhancement bonus) is +6 or greater." Emphasis Mine, on the d20pfsrd it's listed here,But this means any Vorpal weapon will ignore DR/Epic, as will a +5 axiomatic weapon. If your DM uses the mythic rules for DR/Epic rather than the base ones where the actual enhancement bonus has to be +6
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