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Elemental, Specter, etc... and damage


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Preparing a campaign in a high fantasy world akin to D&D (but not quite, obviously),

Anyway I always struggle with damage against Elemental and Specter and the like.... Particularly in a world with "common" magical weapon (of the +1~5 variety). What should happen here?

Particularly, creating my spell list I have Rank 5 spell (highest rank) which is somewhat like turn into an elemental.

Now, one strategy I sometimes used in the past is the weapon only does the magic bonus in damage. But then if one turns into an elemental shape and also wear an armor... I guess the armor should be ignored this both the benefit and blessing of being somewhat immaterial..

But what about attack spell hey? it feels strange that weapon does nothing but a (magical, or not?) fire attack does normal damage...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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This is a world building question.

An elemental is pulled into this world by a magic wielding of some kind. it is, fundamentally a spirit, made of the stuff of the spirit - magic. the fire is giving it structure and definition in this world, but the glue is really spirit. Why wouldn't magic rip at that?

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In RuneQuest Spirit Magic both solutions coexist.

-BladeSharp adds +X to damage (and +X x5% to attack) and only deals X damage to non corporeal beings.

-Fireblade replaces the weapon damage with 3d6, and deals the full 3d6 to non-corporeal bengs.

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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

In RuneQuest Spirit Magic both solutions coexist.

-BladeSharp adds +X to damage (and +X x5% to attack) and only deals X damage to non corporeal beings.

-Fireblade replaces the weapon damage with 3d6, and deals the full 3d6 to non-corporeal bengs.

It is really the same solution. Spells do the magical component of it's damage certain creatures. In the case of bladesharp that is only the add, but since fireblade replaces the the weapon's normal damage with 3d6 magical damage, it all applies.

But, in most version of RQ non-corporal creatures do not have hit points, and are not affected by physical  attacks (bladesharp or not) and must be attacked in spirit combat. 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Is good I came to the same solution than runequest 🙂

(IE. Minimal magic weapon bonus damage)

Other than that it feels somewhat unsettling to me to say no, the non magic torch does no damage, while the fire bolt does. I guess while I accept the "magical weapons" concept... I don't quite extend it to "magical fire" vs "normal fire"...

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Specifically with elementals, I usually permit non-magic damage from the relevant element.  Splash normal water onto a fire-elemental, or stab red-hot metal into a water elemental... those will do damage.

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10 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Other than that it feels somewhat unsettling to me to say no, the non magic torch does no damage, while the fire bolt does. I guess while I accept the "magical weapons" concept... I don't quite extend it to "magical fire" vs "normal fire"...

Why? I'm just curious about your reasoning here. Why would fire harm a non-corporal creature when steel, wood, etc. doesn't? Again just wondering what the in-game rational would be.

Oh, and just to be clear, magical fire doesn't damage non-corporal creatures in RQ at all, you need to go into spirit combat for that.

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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3 minutes ago, g33k said:

Specifically with elementals, I usually permit non-magic damage from the relevant element.  Splash normal water onto a fire-elemental, or stab red-hot metal into a water elemental... those will do damage.

In older version of RQ elemental were corporal and could be hurt. The guideline was where or not the creature had hit points, those that did not couldn't be harmed physically.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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16 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

In older version of RQ elemental were corporal and could be hurt. The guideline was where or not the creature had hit points, those that did not couldn't be harmed physically.

If an "elemental" spirit doesn't have a physical presence, it can only attack via spirit-combat; without a physical presence, it cannot be physically attacked.  There is -- as they say -- no there there.

Being an elemental, however... if it does take on physical form, that form (IMO/IMG) must be the relevant element.  And then it is subject to (at least some) forms of physical attack.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Why? I'm just curious about your reasoning here. Why would fire harm a non-corporal creature when steel, wood, etc. doesn't? Again just wondering what the in-game rational would be.

Oh, and just to be clear, magical fire doesn't damage non-corporal creatures in RQ at all, you need to go into spirit combat for that.

I am talking D&D like world. So not a runequest variety spirit which is 100% immaterial and do MP combat, at best (or worst?)

I am talking about spectres that can do "normal weapon damage" (with their "spectral sword or claws") against you and they have HP, it's only reasonable I reckon, that some "magical weapons" can strike it back. But what about spells? Which ones?

Also an earth elemental should reasonable damage by magic weapon and perhaps certain spell.. a fire elemental I guess should be vulnerable to cold damage.

I guess I will have to give a list for each monster. The aforementioned specter (and perhaps all similarly semi corporeal or ethereal creature like wizard under Archon spell - same kind of effect as in Diablo 3), would take only the magic bonus of weapon damage and immune to fire/cold/lightning/poison (and half damage from disintegrate)?

Perhaps elementals would take only weapon magic bonus, depending on the elemental they might take normal fire/cold damage. immune to light ning and poinson. normal disintegrate damage.

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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On 8/25/2023 at 12:42 PM, g33k said:

If an "elemental" spirit doesn't have a physical presence, it can only attack via spirit-combat; without a physical presence, it cannot be physically attacked.  There is -- as they say -- no there there.

Being an elemental, however... if it does take on physical form, that form (IMO/IMG) must be the relevant element.  And then it is subject to (at least some) forms of physical attack.

Exactly. By being a physical entity (actually the building blocks of physical relativity per Aristotle)it has to have a physical form and thus some vulnerability to physical attack. Just how vulnerable varies from one BRP game to the next. 

It basically ancient/medieval physics 101. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I am talking D&D like world. So not a runequest variety spirit which is 100% immaterial and do MP combat, at best (or worst?)

Okay.

14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I am talking about spectres that can do "normal weapon damage" (with their "spectral sword or claws") against you and they have HP, it's only reasonable I reckon, that some "magical weapons" can strike it back. But what about spells? Which ones?

I think that would depend on why specters can do "normal weapon damage". Do their claws become solid when they strike? Is it some form of telekensis? Is is really a psychic attack that causes people to manifest wounds? Is is really a form of magical attack  (Like a contact disrupt or magic missile)? I think once you know why the spectrees (or other creature- and the reason could vary from one type to the next) can hurt people the logic behind what can hurt them back will manifest.

 

Pesonally I'd say if they have hit points then they can be hurt by any magical attack that does hit point damage of some sort, unless that damage is a secondary effect that wouldn't apply to the creature due to it's nature. That is, a spectre probably can't drown or bleed the way a human could. But maybe a ghost could, or think that it could and be defeated that way.

 

14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Also an earth elemental should reasonable damage by magic weapon and perhaps certain spell.. a fire elemental I guess should be vulnerable to cold damage.

It kinda depends on how fast and loose you want to play with the physics of things. Realistically cold is not a force or substance, but mearly the lack of heat, so it probably wouldn't affect a fire elemental. That's why fires burn just fine in sub zero environments. But a fire can be smothered by covering it with dirt, or by removing any air to it, extinguished by pouring water on it and so forth. So a case could be made for just about any elemental attack being able to damage an elemental.  

 

Converely, in the D&D mold, cold drakes breath cold and cold is a elemental substance or force in which case you probably have cold elementals.

14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I guess I will have to give a list for each monster. The aforementioned specter (and perhaps all similarly semi corporeal or ethereal creature like wizard under Archon spell - same kind of effect as in Diablo 3), would take only the magic bonus of weapon damage and immune to fire/cold/lightning/poison (and half damage from disintegrate)?

You could but I think you'd be better served with some general categories and rules that apply to each type. For example you could have spirits (non-phyiscal life forms), ghosts (the sould or spirits of once living beings), otherworldly creatures (demons, angels. and extra dimensional beings) and elementals (not quite spirits from which the campaign reality is made of) each of which could have it's own set of rules. There could also be overlap too. Spirirts and Ghosts could be the same, as could disembodied elementals and otherworldy creatures, while creatured manifested in a phsyical form would obey the normal rules for physical creatures.

 

I'd suggest keeping it simple, with only a handful of cateogires rather than doing up each creture type separately or else you run the risk of needing pages of pages of interaction rules, and lots of complexity. Plus each new creture or spell would mean expanding the list of interactions.

14 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Perhaps elementals would take only weapon magic bonus, depending on the elemental they might take normal fire/cold damage. immune to light ning and poinson. normal disintegrate damage.

Personally I think that since they are real phsycial cretures they should take normal damage but they might have some inherent armor points (breaking up a elath elemental might be tough), defense (hitting a air elemental might be tricky), or maybe the only take half damage from most attacks, or maybe elementals can recover/regenerate fast (you can beat out a fire with a blanket but if you stop before it is completely out it might blaze right back up).

Elementals might have some inernient weaknessses as well. 

I'd consider letting elementals damage each other on a 1 hp per hp basis. That way the larger more powerful one will destroy the weaker one, but be damaged in the process.  THat way a huge 10m fire elemental with, say 100 hp, could be weaked or even destroyed  by a bunch of smaller, 1m water elementals (10 hp each).

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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On 8/25/2023 at 6:21 PM, Atgxtg said:

In older version of RQ elemental were corporal and could be hurt. The guideline was where or not the creature had hit points, those that did not couldn't be harmed physically.

In older versions of RQ... Actually, that's the case also in the current version of RQ (Glorantha Bestiary page 177).

Elementals (partially) immune to physical damage was a Stormbringer thing, originally. I did not remember that it was followed by BRP.

 

 

Edited by smiorgan
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On 8/30/2023 at 1:55 AM, smiorgan said:

In older versions of RQ... Actually, that's the case also in the current version of RQ (Glorantha Bestiary page 177).

Thanks, I don't keep up with RQG, so I wasn't sure.

On 8/30/2023 at 1:55 AM, smiorgan said:

Elementals (partially) immune to physical damage was a Stormbringer thing, originally.

Yup. Earth elementals were solid and thus could be dealt with phsically, while the rest were fluid, gasous, or not solid and so were immune to mundane weapons, but vulnerable to magic and natural elements.

On 8/30/2023 at 1:55 AM, smiorgan said:

I did not remember that it was followed by BRP.

Me neither. Probably becuase the BGB's magic systems were not as detailed as those from other BRP systems, so I would use one of the previous games for magic. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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On 8/30/2023 at 7:55 AM, smiorgan said:

In older versions of RQ... Actually, that's the case also in the current version of RQ (Glorantha Bestiary page 177).

Elementals (partially) immune to physical damage was a Stormbringer thing, originally. I did not remember that it was followed by BRP.

The BGB (p 355) says that Elementals are "traditionnally immune to normal attacks (...)". Which basically means Your BRP Will Vary. 😄

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