Runarcana RPG

True Damage

Welcome to another Hexcribe column, with the theme of "True Damage", let's talk about something very important for Runarcana but little worked so far by the "inheritance" of D&D 5th edition: The Types of Damage.

Classic Damage

Part of the combat mechanics of RPG systems is in the types of damage caused by the most varied types of attacks. In some systems this damage is simplified to the maximum by having only one type, while in other systems there are the most varied divisions of damage.

Runarcana originates from the union of League of Legends and Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. While in previous versions there were many variables that caused damage, in the fifth edition this was extremely simplified, as happened with much of the system.

In League of Legends, the damage is divided into three categories, magic damage, physical damage and true damage. While magic damage is reduced by items that provide magic resistance, physical damage is reduced by items that provide armor. True damage is not reduced by anything, but is applied directly to the target.

D&D itself, in its previous versions, has already applied the mechanics of damage reduction, usually in a complex way that involved categories of damage, sources of damage reduction and that was even more complicated with the types of materials and attacks that could break these resistance to damage.

In this simplification of the fifth edition, the damages were divided into two categories Physical and Magical: While the Physical are subdivided into piercing, slashing and bludgeoning, the Magical damages are subdivided into acid, electric, force, fire, ice, necrotic, radiant, thunder, poison and psychic.

This division mechanics helps to greatly accelerate the system, making the resistances and immunities more easily calculated and the time invested in it less. Many people may prefer it this way, but we have seen that in Runarcana, given the differences in the world (and even those brought by history) this formula has not been satisfactory.

Reviewing Damage

Then, the revision of the sources of damage that we are elaborating for the system for the future comes into play. Don't worry, it won't be applied yet in version 1.21 because besides being in an initial and rudimentary stage, other reforms still need to be done.

What I share with you here are some thoughts that have guided this review, some ideas that we have that will broaden the range of possibilities while increasing strategies and even dangers. 

Initially we want to separate the damage into two basic categories, simple damage and magic damage, referring not only to the type of damage caused, but to its source and its behavior.

While we currently have fire damage which is damage in its own category, it isn't defined as magical damage or "physical" damage, being only the damage caused by the fire. Fire damage resistance works with this type of damage regardless of its origin. 

What we have in mind is that fire damage remains one of the many damages within the category of "elemental damage" which is still simple damage but, at the same time, there is magic fire damage, which we will call here incinerating damage.

While previously a resistance or immunity to fire damage would work with fire from any source, be it from a bonfire or the blowing of a dragon, with this revision this immunity would work only with the bonfire damage, since the damage caused by the dragon would become " fire magic ", or in a simplified, incinerating.

Creating this differentiation is important and interesting in a scenario where magic is so present and creates elements that exist only through magic itself. In this case, immunity to fire damage would either have no effect with incinerating damage, or it would give maximum resistance to incinerating damage (reducing it) by half, this is part of what we are still deciding.

Damage Resistance

When we talk about resistance to damage, in a system derived from the 5th edition, we have the following scale "weakness, resistance, immunity and absorption". Creatures with weakness to a type of damage, receive double the damage when caused by that source; creatures with resistance receive only half the damage from a source that has resistance; creatures with immunity do not receive damage from a source that has immunity and, finally, creatures with absorption recover life points from damage caused by that source.

Besides these resistances, there is still the "common" where the damage is caused normally, this is the normal condition in which the damage does not act in any different way and is the standard condition that the characters of the players have in relation to all the damage.

Characteristics of Origins, Classes, Runessence, Magic or Magic Items can change this, giving the characters these varied resistances of interaction with sources of damage. Sometimes some bad condition can give vulnerability to one type of damage while a good one can give from resistance to absorption.

These scales are interesting for improving how players evolve as well as giving more properties to fought creatures. A fire elemental that feeds on fire damage and suffers greater damage from icy sources is more interesting and suited to this creature's fantasy.

Once the damage is divided into "simple" and "magical," the Fire Elemental could absorb fire damage but have no interaction with "incinerating" damage, receiving damage from that source as usual. The logical explanation for this would be that the incinerating damage, although it has the nature of fire, acts in a magical way, affecting the very magic that makes it exist. Perhaps instead of receiving this damage it normally had only resistance or even immunity, variations that could be explored by fire elementals of different levels of power.

Types of Damage

The aspect of resistance is just one of those we intend to address in this damage review, another very important aspect is the variety of these sources. While D&D 5th edition brings a total of 13 types of damage, the damage review we are working on may have around 30 different types of damage, with some being variations of simple damage made magical.

This would work as explained above, the fire damage would be the simple damage of the element itself, generated by normal and physical sources, while the incinerating damage would be the damage caused by fire of magical origin, such as spells, magical creatures, etc. The list below represents a bit of how this will be if we take this direction:

  • Acid Damage - Antimonic
  • Lightning Damage – Plasma Damage
  • Force Damage – Runic Damage
  • Fire Damage – Incinerating Damage
  • Cold Damage – Glacial Damage
  • Thunder Damage – Vibrational Damage
  • Radiant Damage – Luminary Damage
  • Poison Damage – Toxic Damage

In this list we see the magical equivalence of each of these types of damage, which would generate new interactions and would give the magic an extra importance that may be necessary in a review of the magic in Runarcana.

In addition to the damage mentioned above, D&D 5 has "physical" damage which is subdivided into " slashing, piercing, bludgeoning". These damages are part of the category of physical damages and the immunity to them normally addresses the 3 subdivisions, but how would they look in this damage review?

  • Slashing Damage – Lacerating Damage
  • Piercing Damage – Incisive Damage
  • Bludgeoning Damage – Crushing Damage

In this way, we would disconnect the physical damage as a synonym of "simple" damage and we would have magical physical damage. Magic that would cause these types of damage would go through resistances and immunities to non-magical physical damage. This makes it much easier to explain the damage of magic punches, magic swords among many other possibilities.


If you have added the damage presented above, you have noticed that they total 22 types of damage, which conflicts with my information that we think of more than 30 types of damage. What would these others be?

  • Dark
  • Psychicologic
  • Disruptive
  • Necrotic
  • Lunar
  • Solar
  • Magmatic

These are just some of the types of damage we're working on at the moment, still sizing up how they would work, what their sources would be and what their interactions would be.  Really, on a first look, it just seems that we are bringing more complications to a D&D based 5th edition system, but it's no secret to anyone, who has read the article"Past, Present and Future", that step by step we seek Runarcana to be an autonomous system.

These many new sources of damage would turn every skill choice into a potentially important one, immunities would be paradoxically more and less important because just as the possibilities of player damage would increase, so would their antagonists.

The other damages that are not listed above are still thoughts, ideas that we are evaluating not only as to their viability, but also whether they would not be redundant or even so rare and unique that they would lose importance. 

It may seem like bringing an unnecessary complication load in a system as lean as the 5th edition, but maybe this is a plague from someone who played 3.5 for so long (me, Arddhu) and from someone who likes to have crazy ideas (Luke). But the fact is, this excessive simplification in everything ends up bothering when we think about variety.

True Damage

In the midst of so many types of damage, perhaps there is a thought of bringing the "most important" League of Legends damage to Runarcana, the "True Damage", a damage that is neither physical nor magical, not even common, but a damage that precisely reaches the target by breaking any form of resistance to damage.

One of the sources that we cogitate on to bring about such true damage is called "Disruptive" damage, which would be something like "the damage caused by the forced disconnection of atoms in an area. Something a bit pseudo-scientific but that would find its validity within the universe of Runeter through sources like the ultimate of Vel'Koz. Another way of referring to this damage could be "nullifying".

Bringing this category to more damage would perhaps be very harmful for beginners, however when you think of high levels, or even Epic levels, where a lot of power has been gained, is perhaps one of the best ways to solve collisions.  Obviously, such an "absolute" type of damage would certainly be reserved for extremely powerful techniques, carried by true Legends or Epic creatures. 

Every thought we have in this reconstruction of the types of damage has to be thought on several levels and aspects: how this damage behaves, what sources cause it, what is the reason for it to exist, how unique it is, how powerful it can be, how destabilizing it can be?

With each answer obtained, we achieve a better understanding of both the "question" we want to solve and the "answer" we find to it. Doing something, just for doing it, often ends up generating great dissatisfaction (justified) of the people who use the system and this is something we do not want.


All the above steps, thoughts and ideas, are subject to modification. This idea is still in an early stage and will go through many filters, iterations and reflections before it can be made viable.

As I said above, we don't want to do this just for the sake of doing it, but we want to do it because until that moment we see that it is something important, functional and that it will respond to the needs that we have for future plans, giving all classes, abilities, powers and choices a meaning that is not empty.

Many of these choices can be made in a purely aesthetic way, but in other cases they end up fulfilling and meeting certain thematic demands. After all, who has never found strange the Brand being made of fire and Annie throwing flames on it and still cause damage? 

In search of making this system increasingly better, more fun and dynamic we develop these thoughts.

I hope you enjoyed this article and see you next week!

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