Ghosts and Physical Weapons

How do you implement ghosts in your game?

  • Physical attacks affect them the same as normal creatures.

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • Physical attacks do reduced damage against ghosts, but still hit.

    Votes: 6 24.0%
  • Physical attacks don't affect them. You must use magic, or use spirit weapons.

    Votes: 15 60.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 8.0%

  • Total voters
    25

LightBorneX

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So in some games using a sword against a ghost has no effect. Ghosts don't have a physical body, so physical attacks pass right through them. I'm looking at implementing ghosts/spirits/quantum creatures in my game, but I'm not sure how to do it well, so I'm making a poll. What role do you prefer the material/immaterial divide to play in your game? How would you implement it (if any changes are necessary)?

Right now, for how my game will be built, I think I might just make regular access to spirit/mind skills an option. This way the player doesn't have to keep switching weapons all the time. Perhaps I will make the spirit skills do less damage unless a spirit weapon is also equipped, so that players still have a reason to pursue spirit weapons also.
 

TheoAllen

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From the mechanic standpoint, it is not different from the elemental damages mechanic. Whether the ghost is resisting a certain attack element.

While "logically" your physical attack would just pass through, it depends on the design need. My design need is all kinds of attacks are viable (some attacks are more effective than others). There is no nullify attack or absorb element (except when there is a special mechanic to nullify the damage). Mainly because of these reasons (in my design)
  • You don't always have a chance to use the most efficient skill all time.
  • They don't feel like wasting their time attacking by using less effective skill.
Always prioritize engagement. But if your engagement mechanic becomes a frustration (for example, keep switching weapon for appropriate target all time), then design something else.
 

M.I.A.

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I've got several kinds of "Ghosts" in my project. Only a couple of them can't be affected by Physical Weapons or spells that do Physical Damage. There are several other kinds of Ghosts that take Physical Damage though. The ones that can't take Physical Damage have to be hit with Magic/Magical Weapons/Magically Enhanced Weapons/Tools (or weapons) that deal Elemental Damage. It may sounds a little complex, but it's actually really intuitive in gameplay.

-MIA
 

Milennin

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For my own games, I just play it simple and have everything work on everything, unless stated otherwise in the skill description. If it's not stated in the skill description, you can assume your skill or attack will work as normal on any enemy.
 

kirbwarrior

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The simplest options I've seen are just making it so ghostly enemies either resist physical damage (halving it) or high evasion (dodging flavored as going through them fruitlessly). But many games just don't bother. Even Pokemon only makes them immune to Normal and Fighting and even then if you aim well enough you can punch a ghost (or however that move actually works).

For me personally, I tend to be complicated. Elemental spirits usually have no special rules but generally seem to (by accident) have higher defense. Material ghosts that use claws, teeth, weapons, etc. on you are just as susceptible to them, but have often has the ability 'hide' or 'go ghost'. Enemies that are specifically supposed to be immaterial just are and are often gimmick enemies.

On the flipside, I've also had some enemies that are immune to not physical attacks.
 

RCXDan

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What I decided for this kind of thing is that physical attacks with no elemental charge go through ghosts altogether... but that's only one element out of nine, as well as having the bulk of the damage coming from special skills that are often different elements altogether.

Yeah it's pretty much the Pokemon thing @kirbwarrior mentioned - I just like the idea of "regular people can't fight ghosts with ordinary weapons" since that can help add stakes to whatever story I'm making. Consistency is key.
 

kirbwarrior

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since that can help add stakes to whatever story I'm making.
Not just stakes, but just telling the story you want to tell. Mechanics can be influenced by story; Are ghosts just more monsters? Are they scary things that go through walls and weapons can't touch? Are they even scarier and even magic can't touch them, only something like silver? Are they easy to defeat because they have so little mass and spook away from any hit?
 

Wavelength

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Eh. I voted "Physical attacks don't affect them", but I want to add a very big "IF" to that. If Ghosts are more of a "gimmick" class of monsters that you only fight rarely, or if all of the characters will always have access to either magic or a spirit weapon - and your mechanics allow for pretty liberal use of magic throughout dungeons (rather than needing to strictly conserve your MP), then I think the "immune to physical actions" would be relatively fun and add a bit of variety to combat tactics.

If some of your party members would have no way whatsoever to damage them with their "normal" builds, or if your game's mechanics encourage players to conserve their MP, the ghosts being completely immune to physical actions would get very annoying very quickly.
 

jonthefox

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I agree with Wavelength...if non-physical damage sources are abundant, then yeah, it makes more sense that physical actions would not damage an incorporeal creature. In a low-magic settings, I like the idea that a physical strike can "disperse" the energy of the incorporeal creature, causing it to dissipate / lose its grip on manifesting in the physical plane. So I'd just make them resistant in that case.
 

Ami

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sometime,Ghost cannot affected with weak materials,such Irons & Steels,only affected with Mythic materials,like Mithril & something can get the job done for Fighters & Blacksmith

as the example: in Elder Scrolls,Silver Weapons & Daedric Weapons able to attack the Ghost type enemy,even Silver Bows with Anything Arrow (and vice versa) also able to execute (that's what i learn from Oblivion)
 

Wavelength

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sometime,Ghost cannot affected with weak materials,such Irons & Steels,only affected with Mythic materials,like Mithril & something can get the job done for Fighters & Blacksmith
A game like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has more variety in the kinds of materials that early weapons might be made out of, and what order you get them in. But for a traditional RPG, more often than not the early-game materials are going to be things like Wood, Iron, etc.... stuff like Mythril only comes very late in the game. So how would you fight against the Ghost-type enemies earlier on?
 

Ami

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So how would you fight against the Ghost-type enemies earlier on?
not sure if i answer this is fitted for you,but…

if some characters or main character has Magics or Enchanted Weapons,it's not problem
 

kirbwarrior

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On the note of "immune to weapons", if your game is built around knowing enemies will always be immune to something, and that part of the game is learning and figuring it out, then ghosts go back to being a 'regular' type of enemy, and even make sense to the player who would think "Of course ghosts are immune to weapons".
 

User636

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Personally, I think ghost and other similar incorporeal foes should be impervious to physical weapons but have some sort of vulnerability the PCs can exploit to combat them. As to what that vulnerability should be depends entirely on the setting and general design of the game in question.
 

gstv87

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I'm partial to hand-waving the fact that all weapons can affect ghosts since most weapons and tools are made from iron (mainly to avoid the headache of having to balance it all)
just for the lolz, I'd say that all "normal" weapons would affect ghosts, and all "special" weapons (such as mithril, silver, gold, etc) wouldn't, where the case is usually the opposite.
if a special weapon would affect everything in superior measure compared to normal weapons, then what's the point of normal weapons? why not simply drop steel or iron and upgrade absolutely everything to silver? that's what happened with bronze replacing copper, replacing bone, replacing stone.
 

kirbwarrior

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I'd say that all "normal" weapons would affect ghosts, and all "special" weapons (such as mithril, silver, gold, etc) wouldn't, where the case is usually the opposite.
i actually really like this. It gives a reason to keep a hold of old weapons, especially in a game based around weapon cycling (I've seen some rpgs that do things like letting you cycle between 3 weapon in a fight or Octopath where you have between 1 and 6).
 

User636

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I'm partial to hand-waving the fact that all weapons can affect ghosts since most weapons and tools are made from iron (mainly to avoid the headache of having to balance it all)
just for the lolz, I'd say that all "normal" weapons would affect ghosts, and all "special" weapons (such as mithril, silver, gold, etc) wouldn't, where the case is usually the opposite.
I can see that making sense from the standpoint that iron is able to affect ghosts and the like by being so mundane and grounded in reality that it runs contrary to their fantastical nature.
 

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