Can someone please explain radiant damage?

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Page 92 of the PHB shows a Holy Strike to have a Hit of 1[w] + Strength Modifier radiant damage. How do I find radiant damage?
Page 92 of the PHB shows a Holy Strike to have a Hit of 1[w] + Strength Modifier radiant damage. How do I find radiant damage?

Radiant is a damage type. Like fire damage.

Unless your target is vulnerable to the damage type (For instance, Undead hate Radiant damage, they take an extra 5 points of damage from any radiant damage attack), the damage functions just as it would if it were untyped.
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It is a damage type, akin to elemental damages like fire damage, cold damage and the like. The only factor that may affect it is if a creature happens to have a resistance or weakness to a specific type, in which case the value of the weakness or resistance is added or subtracted respectively. Certain feats and properties might also modify elemental damage in certain ways.
On top of the above, in case it's not clear, "radiant" is a merging of the old concepts of "holy" damage and light (or "sunlight" damage). You'll typically find undead have a vulnerability to it. I tend to run it as the skies parting and beams of radiance descending, but other players sometimes describe it as beams of light being thrown around by the caster, leading to ranged clerics being described as "laser" clerics.
Radiant can also be shimmering colors, so....Care Bear Stare!
Well, since HP is the ability to keep fighting, not just damage sponging, it could even be taken as intense light. Like that annoying glare that comes through a windshield. Keep getting that flashing in your eyes in a battle, and it would probably get pretty intense. Some attacks explain what they do, so the fluff kinda gives a clue. However, Radiant could even be like UV rays intensified, I just leave it up to the player.
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Well, since HP is the ability to keep fighting, not just damage sponging, it could even be taken as intense light. Like that annoying glare that comes through a windshield. Keep getting that flashing in your eyes in a battle, and it would probably get pretty intense. Some attacks explain what they do, so the fluff kinda gives a clue. However, Radiant could even be like UV rays intensified, I just leave it up to the player.

Mechanical effects aside, flashing lights in someone's eyes is just really... unsatisfying. It's like gently pushing someone until they fall over: it may yield the same effect, but it's just not as fun as searing their skin with divine wrath.
Mechanical effects aside, flashing lights in someone's eyes is just really... unsatisfying. It's like gently pushing someone until they fall over: it may yield the same effect, but it's just not as fun as searing their skin with divine wrath.

Think of the bragging rights though. I killed Orcus with a strobe light :D
Radiant can also be shimmering colors, so....Care Bear Stare!

Hah, can't wait to make fun of my cleric next time he uses a radiant power.
I haz lazers! PEW PEW!!!


...


PEW PEW!!!

:p

Honestly. This is about right. It's light. It can be holy, unworldly, purifying, strange. But it's light used as a weapon.
Holy epic sunburn, Batman!

(Honestly, I have a really hard time conceptualizing radiant damage. You should probably ignore me.)
It doesn't have to be "light" per se. It can also be described as "divine power."
I call it "really shiny zapping that isn't electricity"
the Prismatic spells now deal Radiant damage, for a great example of not-divine radiant damage.

Radiant, in other words, is the damage type that "hella epic" attacks have.
It's light.

Essentially, you're blasting them with a broad wave of radiation. :D
So it can be either light or holy power, depending on the source.
At its most basic all liught is is electromagnetic radiation.

So while Lightning damage is causing harm by damaging a targets nervous system and frying their flesh...

You're using unrefined electromagnetic radiation to destabilize the enemy's cellular structure, which is cool.
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It is obviously a magical effect because radiation strong enough to cause serious instant surface damage to something would be so bright it would blind everyone nearby, probably permanently.

So it pretty much has to be magic. It may also be bright and shiny, but it darn well sure is magic.
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It is obviously a magical effect because radiation strong enough to cause serious instant surface damage to something would be so bright it would blind everyone nearby, probably permanently.

Naw, man.
There's plenty of radiation that can burn without you seeing light...

Heck, that's what happens in your microwave. :P
The basic meaning of the word radiant is something to the effect of 'emitting radiation'. As others have already covered, much to my annoyance ( :D ) there are plenty of forms of radiation that are not visible spectrum light.

Gamma rays for instance, in an intense directed burst, similarly microwaves to boil the water inside you, making you explode. In fact, this has been tested as a potential weapon by more than one military organisation, before those pesky international laws made it clear that this might be considered 'not nice'.
Reality is a reference point, not a limitation.
Page 92 of the PHB shows a Holy Strike to have a Hit of 1[w] + Strength Modifier radiant damage. How do I find radiant damage?

Radiant is a damage type like fire element is.

4th edition : Radiant
3rd edition : Positive Energy

4th edition : Necrotic
3rd edition : Negative Energy

4th edition : Fire
3rd edition : Fire

4th edition : Cold
3rd edition : Cold

4th edition : Lightning
3rd edition : Lightning

4th edition : Thunder
3rd edition : Sonic
Those of you who fear the Darkness have never seen what the Light can do!

Honostly, i think it's probably safe to say that "Radiant" is a mixture of holy and light energies. Normal Radiant damage would probably usually show up as blinding beams of warm holy light that sears the flesh and impure souls.

It's not always holy though; Star Pact Warlocks tend to use Cold and Radiant powers, which i imagine would generally show up as a cold blue light that sears with cold rather than holy power.


Basically; at it's core it's magical lasers.
Naw, man.
There's plenty of radiation that can burn without you seeing light...

Heck, that's what happens in your microwave. :P

And again, if you were putting out enough energy in ANY wavelength, be it microwave, x-rays, etc. to damage your enemies it would be lethal to everyone around. You could fluff it that way, it isn't any less realistic than most of the rest of the game, but it certainly wouldn't work like it does in the game IRL. So it is pretty safe to say it is magic.
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4th edition : Thunder
3.5 edition : Thunder
3.0 edition: Thunder
2nd edition: Thundercats
1st edition: Ho!

Fixed your typo.
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That's radiant damage.

Nothing better for melting the faces off Nazis.
Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".
And I feel I ought to point out that the advantage of radiant damage is that it's among the least common resistances and the most common vulnerabilities found in the monster manual.
Ever seen the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark?


That's radiant damage.

Nothing better for melting the faces off Nazis.

True, Nazis have Vulnerable 10 to Radiant Damage.;)
To the OP: The actual definition of radiant is page 55 of the PHB.
Radiant:Searing white light or shimmering colors.

Which is pretty much along the lines of what most everyone has said here.
And remember, a wizard casting one of the prismatic spells has to use a disco ball for their orb implement.

Ahem. More on topic, another good example of a radiant keyword attack would be cyclops' eye beams- its not fire nor lighting, but it blows big holes in things with just a glowing red line.
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To the OP: The actual definition of radiant is page 55 of the PHB.

Radiant: Searing white light or shimmering colors.

Which is pretty much along the lines of what most everyone has said here.

This seems to work with the majority of radiant powers, but tends to fall apart when you're talking about "darker" classes like star-pact warlocks and evil clerics. It just seems a bit weird for a Cleric of Lloth to be shooting rainbows at people.

In these cases, it's a good idea to reflavor the form of the powers to fit the deity. For instance, the prayers of a cleric of Pelor would emit golden light, while a cleric of Sehanine would shoot silvery moonlight at foes. For dark gods like Vecna or Lloth, the "light" might take the form of a sickly green glow which horrifically melts their enemies.

Other solutions may include:
1. Evil clerics use necrotic in place of radiant damage. I seem to recall this was suggested somewhere in one of the DM guides.
2. "Priests" of evil gods aren't actually clerics, but members of other classes (warlocks or wizards) trained in Religion and using ritual casting.
This seems to work with the majority of radiant powers, but tends to fall apart when you're talking about "darker" classes like star-pact warlocks and evil clerics. It just seems a bit weird for a Cleric of Lloth to be shooting rainbows at people.

In these cases, it's a good idea to reflavor the form of the powers to fit the deity. For instance, the prayers of a cleric of Pelor would emit golden light, while a cleric of Sehanine would shoot silvery moonlight at foes. For dark gods like Vecna or Lloth, the "light" might take the form of a sickly green glow which horrifically melts their enemies.

Other solutions may include:
1. Evil clerics use necrotic in place of radiant damage. I seem to recall this was suggested somewhere in one of the DM guides.
2. "Priests" of evil gods aren't actually clerics, but members of other classes (warlocks or wizards) trained in Religion and using ritual casting.

The OP wasn't really looking for a solution, just an explanation of radiant damage.
Good clerics use radiant Damage is a conjuring of gods wrath punishing you for your past sins... with uhm... light effects.

Evil Clerics use radiant damage as a conjuring of hell, to punish you for... thier amusement... with... light... effects.

Saying it's radioactive damage or something along those lines, or even trying to rationalize it makes it less mystical. Same goes for Necrotic. The damage types might as well be good and evil. Or Nature and Undead. The imagination of the effect is up to you. Both of those types are inheritly divine, which we as humans or mortals shouldn't be capable of understanding because were not on the same level of gods that grant the classes with radiant abilities. However.... Color Spray is clearly a rainbow... Just go with the description and don't try to rationalize it.
Rationalisation actually doesn't have any major problems, IMO. Saying what the magic does is one thing. Saying HOW it does it is another.

Rationalisation of that sort is in fact no different to flavour text. 'x damage, condition y' says the same as 'a burst of electricity arcs from your hand, grounding itself on your foes weapon, throwing him back as his muscles spasm. They take 2d8 electricity damage, and you may push them 3 squares'.

Adding flavour text can be done to any flavour. One person's rainbow lights is another persons focused high frequency EM spectrum burst with high mutative properties, and immediate severe health issues.
Reality is a reference point, not a limitation.
1. Evil clerics use necrotic in place of radiant damage. I seem to recall this was suggested somewhere in one of the DM guides.

Page 163 of the DMG, "Divine Evil" suggests this. It is more for NPCs, but a DM could apply it to a PC playing an evil alignment.
And again, if you were putting out enough energy in ANY wavelength, be it microwave, x-rays, etc. to damage your enemies it would be lethal to everyone around. You could fluff it that way, it isn't any less realistic than most of the rest of the game, but it certainly wouldn't work like it does in the game IRL. So it is pretty safe to say it is magic.

Actually, a microwave is lethal to the cat you put in it but not the guy who touches the button.

Focused radiation only hurts what you focus it at, that's what makes radiation treatment of cancer possible as we create more and more focused means of directing radiation. Also the fact that cancerous cells are already unstable doesn't hurt the matter.

Hell there's a microwave gun which can kill one guy and leave the guy next to him completely unharmed. Serious.

Course it's much easier just to insert metal chunks and screw with those.
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Light is just radiation, last time i checked lasers were pretty damn precise.


Also, Star Pact Warlocks tend to use Cold + Radiant at the same time; this leads me to believe they attack their enemies with blue starlight that freezes their foes, as opposed to the usual lasery Radiant damage.
And remember, a wizard casting one of the prismatic spells has to use a disco ball for their orb implement.



Don't forget that those spells also must actually be chanted in a high-pitched voice by the Wizard, and should be accompanied by certain movements (rolling hips, pointing fingers and more) for best effect. The correct wording of the spell is:

"You can tell by the way I move my hips I'm a wondrous man, you understand."

And if the spell hits, the Wizard should continue with the damage-dealing part:

"Staying alive, staying alive. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Staying alive, staying alive."

Sorry. I just couldn't resist...
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"Staying alive, staying alive. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Staying alive, staying alive."

I don't think that's right.
I mean, if it's Fire Shroud or something, it should be..."Burning alive, burning alive. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Burning alive, burning alive." ;)
Disco Stu has come for you!


Omg. Persuit Avenger\Wizard multiclass focusing on Radiant and Prismatic spells, his Oath of Enmity is "Disco Stu has come for you!"

DU EET.
Radiant damage is light. Very bright light. So bright it causes cancer.
Radiant damage is light. Very bright light. So bright it causes cancer.

No that's Dr.Manhatten.