Monster special damage


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Post Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:19 pm

Monster special damage

Just to get my head wrapped around this

Wherever special attack or damage capabilities are detailed they are applicable to heroic combat only. However, against normal-types, monsters throw one attack roll as a 1 hit die monster for each of their own hit die, with each successful attack roll causing 1-6 hit points of damage.


Bears are omnivorous but favor meat. They have rather poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell and can scent food from miles away. They can be aggressive hunters and are very powerful. They cause 3-8 hit points of damage or, if an attack roll exceeds the number required to hit by 4 or more or is a 20 in any case, 4-14 hit points of damage.


A 5+5 HD bear against 4 normal hirelings would attack 5 times with THAC0 of 19, and any hit does 1d6 damage
A 5+5 HD bear against a level 4 PC would attack 1 time with THAC0 of 15, and if it hits would do 3-8 damage (or more depending on roll)

This seems to break down with other things, though
A boar would fight a round at 0 hit points against a hero but not a normal man
Black pudding would dissolve a hero's armor but not a normal man's
Dragon breath would only affect heros
A spider's poison does not affect normal people, just heroes

So I am thinking I am missing something here. Maybe something that has a saving throw attached is magic and thus does affect normal people (poison, dragon breath)?
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Post Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:11 pm

Re: Monster special damage

Makofan wrote:A 5+5 HD bear against 4 normal hirelings would attack 5 times with THAC0 of 19, and any hit does 1d6 damage
A 5+5 HD bear against a level 4 PC would attack 1 time with THAC0 of 15, and if it hits would do 3-8 damage (or more depending on roll)

Yes, that is basically how it's intended excepting that:
1) Normal attacks apply against all normal-types, not just hirelings. Low level PCs can be normal-types too.
2) There isn't really any notion of AC 0 or THAC0 in DD (but I understand what you mean).

Makofan wrote:This seems to break down with other things, though
A boar would fight a round at 0 hit points against a hero but not a normal man
Black pudding would dissolve a hero's armor but not a normal man's
Dragon breath would only affect heros
A spider's poison does not affect normal people, just heroes


Normal combat is generally meant to be a "quick resolution" method for smashing through large numbers of normal-types without a lot of fuss. Multiple attack rolls as a normal-type are allowed instead of specific heroic melee attack modes. In these circumstances it can often be quicker to "gloss over" many of the special combat abilities, but common sense should always prevail.

For the cases quoted:

Yes, a boar's ability to throw one more attack roll after being reduced to 0 (or fewer) hit points could be used in heroic-combat only. In normal combat, this ability could be represented as part of its multiple attacks.

I figure a black pudding's special ability to dissolve metal is much like a fire's ability to burn paper; it needn't be an attack per se, it is simply the nature of the beast. That metal armor will be dissolved in one turn implies to me that first contact with a black pudding (whether initiated by the pudding or the player) will be ablated by any metal armor worn, destroying the armor but saving the wearer from damage. I'd use this effect in both normal- and heroic-combat (if normals were ever crazy enough to go near a black pudding).

A dragon's breath weapon is a special/ranged rather than a melee attack, so isn't intended to be covered by the normal combat rules (in Chainmail--where normal combat comes from-- a dragon's breath weapon is not part of normal combat resolution). That aside, I think it might be sensible for a powerful dragon not to "waste" his breath weapon on mere normal-types ;)

A spider's poison is an interesting one. In a busy normal combat scenario, it could be a useful abstraction to assume that a spider's attack/damage rolls and a target's saving throw rolls are all subsumed into the spider's multiple attack throws--especially where large numbers of nameless normals are concerned. But for named figures (including player characters) in a normal combat scenario I'd still allow a saving throw.



In light of all that it seems that the text of the normal combat rule could be clearer. The wording: special attack or damage capabilities is intended to refer specifically to melee attacks and damage, but not to other special abilities. So perhaps it could be better written as:

Wherever special melee damage is detailed it is applicable to heroic combat only. However, against normal-types, monsters throw one attack roll as a 1 hit die monster for each of their own hit die, with each successful attack roll causing 1-6 hit points of damage.


Does that make sense?
[f=32]Golgildir the Elf Medium (MV 12", AC 9, HD 1, hp 1/1, AL N) great cloak, lantern; spells: color spray; scrolls: sleep, sleep, charm person
Hirelings: Georges; torch[/f]
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Post Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:30 pm

Re: Monster special damage

Probably does make it clearer. In the past, I just made up my own rules. Trying to play a game as written is a weird exercise for me, but one I wish to try
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Post Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: Monster special damage

What about giants vs. normal-types? Do all giants do 1-6 damage when making multiple attacks agains normal types? Does a giant's bonus damage (2-12 for hill giants up through 6-21 for storm giants) apply to multiple attacks vs. man-types, or only to single attacks vs. heroic types?

I'm also wondering about magic weapons such as maces and flails, whose enchantment bonus is added to damage rolls only. Am I correct that a hero making multiple attacks vs. normal-types would receive no benefit from the magic mace; an ordinary mace would deal flat 1d6 just as effectively?

What about a potion of giant's strength? 2-12 damage with multiple attacks, or only vs. a single heroic foe?
[f=4]Boggs Dwarf Rat Catcher 1 (MV 9", AC 6, HD 1, HP 7/7, N) padded+helm, cudgel, sling. 6 footmen, 5 x spear + 1 x torch[/f]
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Post Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:57 am

Re: Monster special damage

mushgnome wrote:What about giants vs. normal-types? Do all giants do 1-6 damage when making multiple attacks agains normal types? Does a giant's bonus damage (2-12 for hill giants up through 6-21 for storm giants) apply to multiple attacks vs. man-types, or only to single attacks vs. heroic types?

Hey Mush, good to see you :)
Remember that combat is always either normal or fantastic. It is never both at the same time.

If either side is a normal-type, then combat is normal.
If both sides are heroic/fantastic types, then combat is fantastic.

An 8 HD Hill Giant, for example, has either eight attacks as a normal man in normal combat (versus normal types) or one attack as an 8 HD Hill Giant in fantastic combat (versus heroic/fantastic types).

Every "normal attack" always has THAC2 17 and does 1-6 hp damage if it hits, regardless of whether its made by a Goblin or Tiamat or anyone else.



mushgnome wrote:I'm also wondering about magic weapons such as maces and flails, whose enchantment bonus is added to damage rolls only. Am I correct that a hero making multiple attacks vs. normal-types would receive no benefit from the magic mace; an ordinary mace would deal flat 1d6 just as effectively?


A magical mace will have several effects when employed in normal combat, including:

1. A normal-type armed with the magical mace can hit monsters, or magically protected figures, that are otherwise impervious to normal attacks.
2. A normal-type armed with a magical weapon adds the Fighting Capability of one Man. I.e., throws one additional attack (CM2 p34/CM3 p38 re: Magical Swords "In normal combat there merely add one die"). Note that Elves will do even better against some foes.
3. If at least one hit is scored, a magical mace +2 would add 2 hp of damage to the total damage scored that period.

E.g., A 2nd level fighter has 2 HD and a Fighting Capability of 2 Men and is a normal-type himself. Let's suppose he were armed with magical mace +2. He might, at any time, get into melee vs goblins (normal-types) or vs ogres (heroic/fantastic-types). In either case the ref would resolve it as normal combat because at least one side--our 2nd level fighter--comprises normal-types.

In normal combat our 2nd-level fighter would usually throw two normal attacks per combat period (DD V4 glosses over the detail of rounds, but this will be addressed in the forthcoming V5). However, if armed with a magical weapon he would instead throw three normal attacks. Each hit would cause 1-6 hp damage. If at least one hit is scored he adds 2 hp to the overall damage caused because of his enchanted mace. I.e., regardless of whether he scores one, two, or three hits, it adds exactly 2 hp damage.


mushgnome wrote:What about a potion of giant's strength? 2-12 damage with multiple attacks, or only vs. a single heroic foe?

The original game isn't exactly crystal clear on this itself, but the gist of it can be discerned.

Potion of Giant Strength: "Gives the recipient full Giant prowess, including two dice of damage when he scores a hit". I believe "full Giant prowess" implies eight normal attacks for 1-6 damage in normal combat (as per a Hill Giant in normal combat), or one heroic attack as an 8 HD type for 2-12 damage in fantastic combat (as a Hill Giant in fantastic combat). The two dice of damage are employed in fantastic combat only.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power: "give the wearer the ability to strike as an Ogre ... . They do not necessarily increase hit probability however". I believe "strike as an Ogre" implies four normal attacks for 1-6 damage in normal combat (as an Ogre in normal combat), or one heroic attack as a 4 HD type for 3-8 damage in fantastic combat (as an Ogre in fantastic combat). Not necessarily increasing hit probability is exactly the case in normal combat.

Admittedly, DD V4 doesn't explain this as well as it might (but again, this is addressed in V5).


Hope that helps some :)
[f=32]Golgildir the Elf Medium (MV 12", AC 9, HD 1, hp 1/1, AL N) great cloak, lantern; spells: color spray; scrolls: sleep, sleep, charm person
Hirelings: Georges; torch[/f]
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Post Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Monster special damage

Thanks, that helps a lot! I am psyched to read v5 and switch over to the new rules. I've enjoyed the bits and pieces I've read so far!
[f=4]Boggs Dwarf Rat Catcher 1 (MV 9", AC 6, HD 1, HP 7/7, N) padded+helm, cudgel, sling. 6 footmen, 5 x spear + 1 x torch[/f]

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