How do different damage types work?

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Hello,

I'm very new to role playing games so my question might seem pretty obvious. I am just running the Beginner red box and am confused by what Psychic damage is and how it effects a charachter. If a PC takes 5 psychic damage, does that mean they lose 5 HP? Is that the same for Fire damage, necrotic damage, etc?
Damage is damage.

5 damage(longsword which is untyped) = 5 psychic = 5 acid = 5 fire.

The difference is the damage type.  Where damage type matters is feats and resists/vulnerabilities.  There are feats that say if you are rolling dice to figure out how much lightning damage you do, you add +1 to the total.  There are monsters that are vulnerable 5 fire so if you do 5 fire damage, they actually take 10 fire damage.  And then there are monsters that have resist 5 fire so that the 5 fire damage you do means they take nothing because they resist all of it.
Hello,

I'm very new to role playing games so my question might seem pretty obvious. I am just running the Beginner red box and am confused by what Psychic damage is and how it effects a charachter. If a PC takes 5 psychic damage, does that mean they lose 5 HP? Is that the same for Fire damage, necrotic damage, etc?



The damage type only matters if you have some kind of special resistance, vulnerability or immunity to that damage type, or some other game element that interacts with it.  So if you don't, you just lose 5 HP.  If you do, you might take more or less damage each time damage of that type is dealt to you.

As far as I know, all the different damage types are Acid, Cold, Fire, Force, Lightning, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, Radiant and Thunder.  Everything that doesn't have a damage keyword is considered untyped (but untyped is not a damage type).  

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Ah okay. So you would still lose HP but you may be able to resist it in special cases. Thanks!
Ah okay. So you would still lose HP but you may be able to resist it in special cases. Thanks!

Right.  If you have, for example Resist 2 Psychic, then each time you take Psychic damage you subtract 2 from it.  The opposite is true if you are Vulnerable 2 Psychic ... each time you take Psychic damage you would take 2 more.  If you are Immune Psychic ... well, you get the idea.

But don't ask about combined damage types ... damage that has more than one damage keyword.  It's just confusing sometimes.   

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

In addition, beyond increasing and decreasing damage, there can be other types of effects that can be connected to damage keywords though the use of feats, class features, and so on.

For example, as stated already, Psychic damage is inherently no different from Fire damage or untyped damage.  But if you have the Psychic Lock feat, every time you hit with an attack with the psychic keyword, the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
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