Bludgeoning, slashing and piercing damage - strengths and weaknesses?

Objection

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As I was pondering about the different types of damage you can have, I was reminded of the three different forms of physical damage used in Dungeons & Dragons and in Pathfinder: bludgeoning (from blunt weapons such as hammers and fists), slashing (from certain bladed weapons like axes and most swords) and piercing (from other bladed weapons like spears and some swords, and probably arrows too). My thoughts then turned to the sorts of creatures that would be weak to these kinds of damage. Creatures made entirely of a hard material like stone, bone or crystal seem like the sorts of things that would resist or be outright immune to slashing and piercing damage, but vulnerable to bludgeoning damage. Something soft and squishy, on the other hand, would probably resist bludgeoning damage but not slashing damage and probably not piercing damage either.

I am wondering what the RPG Maker community's thoughts are on this. In particular, what sorts of creatures would you imagine being vulnerable to piercing damage but possibly resistant to slashing damage and vice versa (since my own thoughts kind of failed at this part)?
 

kerbonklin

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In my opinion, the whole slash/pierce/bludgeon Physical damage types are over-used and are pretty bland, especially if you already have magic-based attacks that also have elemental weakness/resist. Those three physicals end up being a Rock/Paper/Scissors and it's boring to many people as well as very outdated. If your game only has these three damage types that can be weakness/resist, then it can be excused.

The usual (and decent) way to go about these three physical damage types is to have each one as their own specialty that set them apart from one another, instead of just weakness/resist. For example, in Bravely Default, all spears and staves have a natural +25% damage boost when using attacks that hit all enemies. Swords have decent accuracy and attack but come in more variations/elements. Axes have high base attack but low accuracy, but benefit best from non-normal attacks or things that increase accuracy (like Archer's Precision passive).
 

Missile

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As I was pondering about the different types of damage you can have, I was reminded of the three different forms of physical damage used in Dungeons & Dragons and in Pathfinder: bludgeoning (from blunt weapons such as hammers and fists), slashing (from certain bladed weapons like axes and most swords) and piercing (from other bladed weapons like spears and some swords, and probably arrows too). My thoughts then turned to the sorts of creatures that would be weak to these kinds of damage. Creatures made entirely of a hard material like stone, bone or crystal seem like the sorts of things that would resist or be outright immune to slashing and piercing damage, but vulnerable to bludgeoning damage. Something soft and squishy, on the other hand, would probably resist bludgeoning damage but not slashing damage and probably not piercing damage either.

I am wondering what the RPG Maker community's thoughts are on this. In particular, what sorts of creatures would you imagine being vulnerable to piercing damage but possibly resistant to slashing damage and vice versa (since my own thoughts kind of failed at this part)?
I'm using a very similar setup (blunt, slash, pierce) for my game. Visually, monsters with armor on their sides (which would count as shoulder/arm guards and leg guards) or shields will block slash, armor or parry weapons on the front will block pierce, and blunt will either break through armor on the front and parries or knock a shield out of the way. I think it's a much easier way to understand weaknesses than the usual elemental ones which often don't telegraph well unless they're kept extremely basic (fire against tree monsters, etc.)
 

Tai_MT

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I use a set up like that for my own game, however, I didn't want it to be bland so I took it a few steps further.  Slashing, Piercing, Blunt damage.  Blunt damage basically destroys armored enemies (including those wearing chainmail) and does a significant amount of damage based upon the material of the weapon.  For example, if you have a Lead or Silver Warhammer, you will be doing something like 300% more blunt damage than if it was made of iron.  Denser materials do more Blunt Damage at the cost of speed.

I have very few "piercing" weapons, but they are also quite powerful as they bypass all defenses except something akin to Chainmail.  My piercing weapons tend to simply include things like arrows, halberds, and daggers.

Slashing weapons are fairly common in my game and are pretty good against most types of armor, save things like Plate Mail or Scale Mail.

Here's what I did differently for them...  A good chunk of my weapons combine "attributes" for attack damage.  Battle Axes often do Slashing as well as Blunt Damage.  Halberds can do Piercing as well as Slashing damage.  Daggers do Piercing and Slashing damage.  On top of which, the armors you wear have properties that can affect what types of damage you let through.  Animals that bite will do Piercing Damage to you...  Animals that hit you with their tail will do Blunt damage...  animals that rake their claws down your face do slashing damage...

I even dumped kind of special stats into enemies so that it makes sense which ones are weak to what (like undead are weak to being hit with maces and hammers).  When I decided to implement these "elements" for physical attacks, I decided that it should matter if the enemy uses them against you as well.  Otherwise, they're just crazy elements that only the player will care about (and thus won't matter so long as number values exist on weapons).  I turned it into a decision making process for how you to equip your characters.  Which physical attacks do you try to defend against?  Which physical attacks do you want your characters to be using?  Etcetera.

Well, my play testers seem to enjoy it anyhow, even if it doesn't sound that exciting.
 

Probotector 200X

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I like the Blunt/Slash/Pierce thing, especially when mixed with elementals. Like, Frost Slash is Ice and Slash type. While Thunder Kick is Thunder and Blunt type.

But if you use some less conventional weapons, what do you do? Like a whip? Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin actually has a Whip attribute, along with Blunt and Slash. Now, I tried the same thing myself but called it "Lash". Most weapons fit in those 3 main categories, but weird things like whips need their own thing I feel. Partially because I hate having some non-elemental stuff. I do that with magic as well. There is no non-elemental, I mean, c'mon, if it has no elemental then it's basically nothing! Nothingness can't hurt you! Really though I just hate the "safe element" that works just fine on everything.

Also, it shouldn't just be the weapons but how you use them. For example, with a sword you can slash, thrust, and slam. The slash would be most powerful, but a thrusting attack would do piercing damage, while you can hit them with the broad side of the sword or even with the hilt for a weaker blunt attack if the situation calls for it. Even a spear can slash, albeit less effectively, and of course it could be used as a bo staff for blunt attacks as well.

Based on what Tai_MT said, I like trying to give these to your characters too. Especially if some armor actually LOWERS your defense against some elements. I remember that SaGa Frontier does this but hits most of the information from you. Armor tells you only one defense, slash I believe. But it actually has different defense values for blunt, slash, and pierce. One such example is a breastplate made of bone, which says it has good defense, but it's just slashing. It has terrible blunt defense! Like the skeleton enemies in the game. Kinda interesting.
 

BadMinotaur

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I like the idea of physical elements. I think they need the right game set-up to avoid complexity issues, but done well they're a treat.

At one point, I actually took physical elements in a different direction. Instead of blunt/slash/pierce, I had something like Physical (of course), Thermal (for both hot and cold physical damage), and Shocking (for physical damage). There were two reasons for this -- one, to give my physical characters some of the choice their mage counterparts had in element selection, and two, so that I could make some cool armor or accessories (like an environment protection suit, which would protect from physical thermal changes but would be pretty useless against magical fire).

That game ended up being scrapped, and I'm not sure I'd do that system today, but it was a neat experiment at least.
 

omen613

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There was some table top game awhile back that did a Rock paper scissors deal... Slash Feint and Power Attack

Slash > Fient (Leap) > Power attack (Thrust) > Slash

So instead of weapon types beating other weapon types, could twist this to be fighting styles. If you use Slash against Feint you do bonus damage, against Slashing it does normal damage, and against Power attack it does half or no damage.

You could do this in 3 ways

A.  Certain foes always use one of the 3 fighting styles and you just have to pick its opposite.

B. Enemies have a random fighting style that changes  through out the battle and you have to keep track of it.

C. Enemies have a random fighting style each turn in battle and you have a 33% chance to miss because you have no way in knowing what style they are using.

The table top did it differently of course....because both sides attacked at the same time instead of one at a time like in most RPGs.
 
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