Physical Damage is the most common Damage Type in Master of Magic. It is the primary (and often only) damage component delivered by all Melee Attacks and Ranged Attacks, and it is used by a wide variety of spells in order to directly harm their targets. In all cases, Physical Damage behaves in a specific but rather complex way, significantly different from the various types of Special Damage.
Physical Damage is intended to cause actual Damage Points to the target - reducing its current Health and potentially killing off some or all of its figures. The "stronger" the Physical Damage attack, the more Damage Points it can potentially deliver.
The process involves two types of rolls - To Hit and Defense rolls - made respectively by the attacker and the target. These rolls help determine how much Damage is actually inflicted on the target, and thus give Physical Damage a great randomness that is not found in other types of damage.
The process is quite complex, and becomes even more complex whenever the attacker or the target (or both!) are Multi-Figure units. This article explains the entire process in as great a detail as possible.
Physical Damage sometimes receives different names depending on how it is delivered - such as "Melee Damage", "Ranged Damage" or "Magical Damage". All of these behave the same way, except they may sometimes trigger various immunities the target might possess.
Finally, it is important to note that while some other Damage Types, such as Doom Damage and Poison Damage, also cause Damage Points to the target, they are not considered Physical Damage since they involve no To Hit nor Defense rolls - a staple of all Physical Damage types.
Process Overview Edit
Whenever Physical Damage is being dealt, by any attack or method, the program runs through this generalized set of actions:
- Calculate the Total Attack Strength of the attacking unit.
- The attacker makes several randomized To Hit rolls to determine how many times it has managed to hit its target.
- The target makes several randomized Defense rolls to determine how many of these hits are blocked or deflected.
- Each unblocked hit inflicts 1 Damage Point on the target, injuring it and possibly killing some or all of its figures.
- Multi-Figure units that lose a figure due to this damage may get to make more defense rolls to reduce further damage.
- Steps #4 and #5 are repeated until all registered hits are either blocked or translated into Damage.
Each of these steps is explained in greater detail below.
Attack Type and Strength Edit
Before we start to deliver Physical Damage, we need to figure out the strength of the attack itself. This tells us the amount of Physical Damage being delivered at the target.
To tell how strong an attack is (and therefore how much damage it can deliver), we need to know what kind of attack we're dealing with. In other words, we'll know what factors to look at in order to determine the attack strength.
|Attack Type||Strength Calculated From...|
|Melee Attack||The attacker's Melee Attack strength.|
|Ranged Missile Attack||The attacker's Ranged Missile Attack strength.|
|Ranged Boulder Attack||The attacker's Ranged Boulder Attack strength.|
|Ranged Magical Attack||The attacker's Ranged Magical Attack strength.|
|Thrown Attack||The attacker's Thrown Attack strength.|
|Breath Attack||The attacker's Fire Breath or Lightning Breath ability score.|
|Direct-damage spells||Varies from spell to spell, as indicated in the spell's description tool-tip and on this wiki.|
The column on the right indicates which unit property we need to read to get the attack strength - which is also the amount of Physical Damage the attack delivers. Spells are the exception, as their strength is not indicated in any specific panel - but rather in the spell's description as found in-game or (often more accurately) in this wiki.
The attack's strength indicates the maximum potential amount of damage it can deliver. However, due to the many random rolls involved, as explained below, very few units in very few circumstances will actually deliver this many Damage Points to the target.
Further complicating things, for Multi-Figure units the attack strength represents the maximum potential damage that can be delivered by each individual figure in the unit. Only figures that are alive and visible on the battlefield can inflict damage - missing ones (i.e. casualties) cannot. The process of multi-figure attack and defense is explained in greater detail below and elsewhere, particularly in the Multi-Figure Unit article.
Registered Hits Edit
Calculating the strength of a Physical Damage attack is only the first step. Next up, the attacker (whether a unit on the battlefield or an independent spell effect) must make a number of To Hit rolls to determine how much of this damage potential it can actually manifest. Each successful To Hit roll will result in one "registered hit" on the target, which will potentially be translated into 1 point of Damage at the end of the process.
The number of To Hit rolls that are made is equal to the strength of the attack (see the previous section). Therefore, for example, a unit with 18 will make 18 separate To Hit rolls, representing 18 separate attempts to score Hits on the target.
Each To Hit roll results in a completely random number between 1 and 100. This is then directly compared to the attacker's To Hit score. The default To Hit score is 30% for all units and spells, while some units can enjoy a bonus (or suffer a penalty) which is measured in 10% increments, given by the unit's innate abilities and/or any Unit Enchantments currently affecting it.
Each roll that results in a number equal to or lower than the To Hit score is "successful", and thus one hit is registered on the target. Each rolls that comes up higher than the To Hit score is a "miss", and is not registered.
When all To Hit rolls are completed, the game tallies them up. This number of successful hit represents the maximum amount of Damage that will be done to the target. However, as we'll see in a moment, the process is not over: the target might still have a chance to deflect some of this damage.
- Units have a basic To Hit value of 30%, but this specific unit's abilities happen to modify its score to 40%.
- The game proceeds to roll 15 completely-random numbers, each between 1 and 100. Each of these rolls that comes up 40 or lower will register as a Hit on the target. All other rolls are ignored.
- The game tallies together all of these "registered Hits". If, for example, 10 rolls were successful, then 10 "hits" are registered, and the target will suffer anywhere up to 10 depending on how well it defends itself.
- If all fifteen rolls resulted in 40 or lower, it means that the attacker delivers its full damage potential of 15 damage points to the target. Conversely, if all rolls came up 41 or higher, the attacker has failed to score any hits and will deal no Damage at all! Most often though, thanks to the copious randomness involved, some rolls will succeed and some will fail, resulting in somewhere between 0 and 15 hits.
The Target's Defense Edit
Before damage is actually applied however, the target of this Physical Damage gets the chance to block or avert some or all hits registered upon it by rolling against its own Defense and To Block scores.
The unit's Defense score is visible in its details panel as a row of Shield icons. Each Shield represents a chance to block one of the registered hits, thus avoiding exactly 1. The more rolls are successful, the more Damage is avoided.
Secondly, the chance of success with each roll depends on the unit's To Block score. This score is rarely shown anywhere in the game, since it almost never changes; it is nearly always exactly 30% for any target. Only a few targets, primarily those possessing the Lucky ability, have more than 30% To Block (usu. 40% and no more).
Once again, each roll results in a random number between 1 and 100. The numbers are then compared to the target's To Block score. Each roll that comes up equal to or lower than that score has successfully managed to deflect 1 incoming hit, and thus reduces the resulting damage by 1. Failed rolls - resulting in a number higher than the unit's To Block score - do nothing.
Thus, the greater the number of successful Defense rolls made by the target, the less Physical Damage it suffers from the attack. A target can potentially block all incoming damage if it succeeds in a large enough number of rolls, which often happens when the incoming attack was weak to begin with.
- The target has a Defense score of 10, and an unmodified 30% To Block. It will therefore roll 10 random numbers, each between 1 and 100, and each roll that comes up 30 or lower will deflect one incoming hit.
- If three rolls are successful, the number of hits is reduced by 3. Therefore, the target will only suffer 7 hits (which will be translated to 7 points of damage, as explained below).
- If all 10 rolls are successful, the target unit suffers no damage - having averted all hits!
Applying Damage Edit
Damage Points are subtracted from the unit's current Hit Points. Each 1 will darken a single Heart as displayed in the unit's details panel. Only healing (whether over time or thanks to spell effects) will restore these lost Hit Points.
Once a unit loses all of its Hit Points, it is completely destroyed. Only magical spells and very special Unit Abilities can restore it to life - otherwise it is gone for good.
Implications of Damage Edit
Single-Figure units handle Damage in a very simple manner: as long as a Single-Figure unit has at least 1 Hit Point remaining, it remains alive and can fight just as effectively as when the unit is fully-healed. In other words, Damage itself has no noticeable effect on the unit's performance.
For example, a Sky Drake has a powerful and dangerous attack regardless of how injured it is -- so long as it is still alive. Obviously, it is much easier to kill a Sky Drake when it only has a few Hit Points left; but until it is killed, its offensive abilities are not affected by any amount of Damage from which it is currently suffering.
Only the "front" figure in a Multi-Figure unit suffers Damage. However, once that figure suffers a sufficient amount of Damage - enough to reduce its Health to 0 - that figure is killed off. When this happens, the next figure in the unit (if any remain at all) steps up to take any subsequent damage. The unit itself is only destroyed once all figures are killed in this way, but each lost figure reduces the unit's combat performance as well, as explained in the article on Multi-Figure Units.
Multiple-Figure Units Edit
- Main article: Multi-Figure Unit
Physical Damage, and the attacks that deliver it, behaves very differently when it is either inflicted by or upon a Multi-Figure unit than it does when inflicted by or upon a Single-Figure unit. The process becomes very complex in these cases, and is explained here in some detail. For a full explanation, it is best to read the article on Multi-Figure Units.
Multiple Figures Attacking Edit
When a Multi-Figure Unit makes an attack delivering any kind of Physical Damage, it will actually deliver one attack per each of its live figures. This is contrary to the game's manual and Strategy Guide, which erroneously explain that Multi-Figure units deliver only a single attack whose strength is based on the number of live figures.
In other words, each of the figures in the attacking unit makes a separate attack on the target. The strength of each of these "sub-attacks" is equal to the unit's Melee Attack strength, Ranged Missile Attack strength, or whatever other factor is appropriate (see table above).
- For example, imagine a unit with 4 Melee Attack Strength and 3 live Figures remaining. When making a Melee Attack, this unit will actually deliver 3 separate Physical Damage sub-attacks (one per figure). Each of these "sub-attacks" delivers 4 Physical Damage points (given the unit's Melee strength of 4).
This is one of the primary reasons why a Multi-Figure unit's combat performance relies so heavily on the maximum number of figures it can contain, and the number it has left at any given time. It also explains why Multi-Figure units can seem to punch well above their weight, though that is a topic to discuss separately (see Multi-Figure Unit for more details).
Again, since each of these sub-attacks is a separate attack of its own, each delivers Physical Damage as per the entire process described above in this article, from start to finish - including all To Hit and Defense rolls as appropriate, as well as applying Damage to the target - before moving on to process the next sub-attack. Thus, while the attacker's potential Damage output is greater, the defender's ability to protect itself is also greater, since it gets to defend separately against each and every attacking figure.
Multiple Figures Defending Edit
As explained earlier in this article, Multi-Figure units also behave differently when suffering Damage, and as explained in this section here, they Defend differently as well.
Each Multi-Figure unit has one figure designated as the "lead" figure. This is the only figure in the unit that will Defend itself, and the only figure that will suffer Damage. To hurt the other figures in the unit, it is first necessary to kill the "lead" figure.
When this figure is killed, something very important happens: the next figure in the defending unit steps up to take its place. Any unblocked incoming Damage in excess of what it took to kill the first "lead" figure is now redirected towards the new "lead" figure, and can potentially kill it too. If sufficient Damage has yet to be inflicted, it can potentially kill all of these figures one after the other.
However, each time a new "lead" figure steps up, it will make a completely new set of Defense rolls, just like the first lead figure did before it died! Therefore, each time a new figure steps up, the remaining incoming Damage can be reduced further and further. Each new "lead" figure's Defense rolls does not diminish - it is exactly as potent as the rolls made by the original lead figure.
The result in the game is that the more figures there are in a unit, the harder it is to kill in one attack. Killing the first "lead" figure is usually easy, but the remaining damage will likely be reduced more and more as it keeps killing figures.
- A High Men Cavalry unit - with all 4 of its figures present - is being attacked by some enemy unit. Each figure in this unit has 3 Hit Points. The unit's Defense score is 2, and it has a mundane To Block score of 30%.
- The attacker makes 7 successful To Hit rolls, scoring a total of 7 hits. Potentially, this should cause 7 to the target, killing two of the Cavalrymen and injuring another ( 7 / 3 = 2 dead figures and change). Of course, given what's explained above, that is actually very unlikely to happen, as we'll see in a moment.
- Once we're done with the hit rolls, the "lead" figure in the High Men Cavalry unit makes his Defense rolls. Since this cavalry unit has a Defense score of 2, the cavalryman may make 2 separate rolls. Each roll has a 30% chance to avert one hit, as per the unit's 30% To Block.
- The rolls are made, but the cavalryman succeeds with only one. This means that the number of inflicted hits is only reduced to 7-1 = 6. This is still enough to kill two cavalrymen, but we're not there just yet.
- First, we inflict as much damage as possible on the lead cavalryman. Since the he only has 3 Hit Points, 3 points of Damage are inflicted on him - just enough to kill this cavalryman on the spot.
- The next cavalryman then steps up to the "lead" position, ready to absorb the remaining 3 that's still pending. However instead of just taking the damage, this cavalryman gets to make another set of 2 Defense rolls! Lets imagine that he rolls well, blocking 2 of the remaining damage points, leaving him to suffer only 3 - 2 = 1 point of Damage. He suffers this damage, which isn't enough to kill him, and with no Damage left to be processed, the attack concludes.
- In total the unit made 4 Defense rolls. 2 were made by the first cavalryman, who failed to protect himself and died valiantly. The second cavalryman then got a fresh chance, making an additional 2 defense rolls and saving himself. Had this cavalryman also been killed, the next one in line would also have been able to make 2 defense rolls, and so would the very last figure if it came to that.
- This method of defense is so effective, that it would require an attack of strength 40 or higher to have any real chance of destroying the entire High Men Cavalry unit in one go! Thus, while seemingly a little fragile and defenseless, even High Men Cavalry display quite some resilience, and will rarely be killed in an instant - at least where Physical Damage attacks are involved.
As mentioned earlier, Physical Damage may be delivered by all sorts of different attacks. Generally speaking, Physical Damage behaves the same regardless of which Attack Type delivered it, at least in terms of the process of applying Damage to the target.
However, different methods of delivering Physical Damage will trigger different immunities possessed by the target (if any). For the most part, if Physical Damage triggers one of the target's immunities, the target's Defense score is temporarily boosted to 50 for purposes of blocking this Physical Damage. In other words, the target will make 50 Defense rolls, which can easily avert all Damage from any but the strongest Physical Damage attacks.
In most cases, the factor that determines whether one or more of target's immunities are triggered is either the delivery method of Physical Damage or its source. In others, specific sub-types of Physical Damage from the same type of attack will cause different types of immunities to trigger.
Weapon Immunity Edit
- Main article: Weapon Immunity
Weapon Immunity is the weakest type of immunity that works against Physical Damage. It is also triggered only in very specific circumstances.
When triggered, Weapon Immunity sets the target's Defense score to 10 while processing the Physical Damage component of the attack. Thus, the target makes 10 Defense Rolls instead of however many it normally would.
Missile Immunity Edit
- Main article: Missile Immunity
Missile Immunity works only when a target is struck by a Ranged Missile Attack, and will temporarily raise the target's Defense score to 50 for the purposes of blocking the Physical Damage component of that attack. This includes the Slingers' Ranged Attacks which are missile attacks.
Magic Immunity Edit
- Main article: Magic Immunity
The resulting effect of triggering a target's Magic Immunity differs based entirely on the method of delivery of this damage:
- When Magic Immunity is triggered by a spell, it basically negates the spell's effect entirely. Thus, spells causing Magical Damage, Fire Damage or Cold Damage will never harm a Magic-Immune unit.
- Against Ranged Magical Attacks, Magic Immunity raises the target's Defense score to 50 temporarily, allowing it to block a vast amount of Damage on average from the attack.
It is currently unknown which of these two effects occurs against Breath Attacks, but the working theory is that these are blocked entirely - similarly to spells.
Fire Immunity Edit
- Main article: Fire Immunity
Fire Immunity is triggered whenever a target is struck by Fire Damage - a specialized sub-type of Magical Damage. Fire Damage is only distinguished from Magical Damage by the fact that it triggers Magic Immunity or Fire Immunity, if either is present in the target.
Again, when Fire Immunity is triggered, the target's Defense score is raised to 50 for purposes of blocking this incoming damage. Therefore it is virtually impossible to hurt a Fire-Immune target using Fire Damage.
Note that if the target possesses both Magic Immunity and Fire Immunity, Fire Damage will only trigger one of these (doesn't matter which one) - causing the target's Defense score to be raised to 50, not 100.
Cold Immunity Edit
- Main article: Cold Immunity
Cold Immunity is triggered whenever a target is struck by Cold Damage - a specialized sub-type of Magical Damage. Cold Damage is only distinguished from Magical Damage by the fact that it can trigger Magic Immunity or Cold Immunity, if either is present in the target.
Again, when Cold Immunity is triggered, the target's Defense score is raised to 50 for purposes of blocking this incoming damage. Therefore it is virtually impossible to hurt a Cold-Immune target using Cold Damage.
Note that if the target possesses both Magic Immunity and Cold Immunity, Cold Damage will only trigger one of these (doesn't matter which one) - causing the target's Defense score to be raised to 50, not 100.
Tandem Damage Edit
While many Physical Damage attacks deliver only Physical Damage of one type or another, a few of them are or can be augmented with additional Damage Types that will make this Physical Damage more effective.
This is called "tandem damage delivery", because two or more damage types are delivered simultaneously by the same attack. The Physical Damage component of such an attack is the only component that's actually responsible for harming the target, while the tandem damage components make that task easier.
This also means that if the Physical Damage is blocked by any of the target's immunities (see previous chapter), the effect of the tandem damage component is meaningless, since it causes no harm on its own.
Tandem damage types include:
Illusion Damage Edit
- Main article: Illusion Damage
When Illusion Damage is dealt together with Physical Damage in the same attack, the target is not allowed to make any Defense Rolls during the process of dealing that Physical Damage. This means that the Physical Damage process, as described in this article, relies entirely on To Hit rolls, giving the target no chance to defend itself.
Armor Piercing Damage Edit
- Main article: Armor Piercing Damage
Armor Piercing Damage is an uncommon tandem component that's usually added to a unit's attacks via the Armor Piercing ability. Furthermore, the Lightning Breath attack and most lightning-based spells deliver this damage as well, resulting in it sometimes being referred to as "Lightning Damage". Heroes may also acquire Armor Piercing Damage through Magical Weapons.
When Armor Piercing Damage is dealt together with Physical Damage in the same attack, the target may only make half as many Defense Rolls as it normally would. This makes it much easier for the Physical Damage component to hurt the target, particularly if the target was heavily-armored to begin with.
There is no immunity that cancels the effect of Armor Piercing Damage, so it is quite reliable. Of course, if the Physical Damage component does trigger any of the target's immunities, then Armor Piercing Damage has no effect at all.
The Many Names of Physical Damage Edit
One of the purposes of the Master of Magic Wiki is to attempt to analyze and explain the inner workings of the game. This can be very difficult to do, since many of the rules are filled with exceptions and are very complex to begin with. Thus, many concepts have had to be invented in order to try and keep things simple. This isn't always an easy task.
Physical Damage was the name given to the entirety of Damage Types that involve To Hit and Defense rolls, as explained above in this article. Physical Damage was invented in order to refrain from re-explaining things over and over whenever discussing various attack types and damage types, but it doesn't solve all the complexity. There are still many different ways that Physical Damage is handled, as explained in the chapters on immunities and tandem damage above.
To make things a little easier to read, this Wiki often refers to different "sub-types" of Physical Damage by different names. Although they behave the same, they are often delivered differently or have slightly-different effects. This chapter explains the different names of Physical Damage used throughout the wiki, why they are used, and what they mean when used.
Melee Damage Edit
- Main article: Melee Damage
When the term Melee Damage is used, it will always refer to the damage delivered at the very end of the attack (or sometimes just before the end, such as when attacks employ First Strike to reorganize the combat sequence). The amount of Melee Damage an attack delivers is based on the unit's Melee Attack strength.
This is important because some Melee Attacks deliver several separate instances of Physical Damage. For example, an attacker possessing a Thrown Attack will deliver Physical Damage from this attack when melee combat begins, and then Melee Damage at the end of the attack. Similarly, units with a Breath Attack of any kind will also deliver Physical Damage as part of that attack, prior to delivering Melee Damage.
To summarize, whenever the term "Melee Damage" is mentioned, it refers only to that damage that a Melee Attack delivers near the very end of the attack process, and whose amount is based mostly or entirely on the unit's Melee Attack strength. A Melee Attack may deliver additional Physical Damage, which would then be referred to separately as appropriate.
Ranged Damage Edit
- Main article: Ranged Damage
All Ranged Attacks deliver Physical Damage, though it behaves a little differently based on which type of Ranged Attack a unit is using - whether it is a Missile, Boulder, or Magical attack. This makes things a lot harder to explain without using very very long sentences.
The term Ranged Damage was invented to describe any Physical Damage as coming from a Ranged Attack, without specifying the attack's type. In other words, Physical Damage from any of the three Ranged Attack types is often called Ranged Damage - for simplicity's sake.
This can get very confusing since, again, the damage from each attack is sometimes handled differently. For example, Physical Damage from a Ranged Missile Attack will trigger a target's Missile Immunity, while damage from a Ranged Boulder Attack will not.
Therefore, the term Ranged Damage should be used only when discussing damage coming from a Ranged Attack of any kind. If it is necessary to distinguish between them, extra explanations can be used, particularly denoting the type of attack.
Magical Damage Edit
- Main article: Magical Damage
Magical Damage is one of the most confusing terms used on this wiki, since it lumps together a whole bunch of Physical Damage instances delivered by all sorts of attacks and from all kinds of sources. The main thing that all Magical Damage has in common is that it will trigger a target's Magic Immunity (if it has this ability), in one way or another.
All Physical Damage spells are said to deliver Magical Damage - and they will all be completely blocked if the target has Magic Immunity, as explained earlier. None of this damage will ever hurt the target in any way!
The same thing goes for spell effects that deliver Physical Damage, such as the Wall of Fire spell, Magic Vortex, Meteor Storm, and a whole slew of others. Again, if a target possesses Magic Immunity, the spell effect will deal no damage to it whatsoever.
The term Magical Damage is also sometimes used to refer to the Physical Damage caused by a Magical Ranged Attack, since it also triggers the target's Magic Immunity. In this case, the target's Defense score is raised to 50, rather than just blocking all damage outright. Of course, things get a little complicated since, given what's explained in the previous section, a Magical Ranged Attack is also said to deliver Ranged Damage. Depending on the context, either term (and usually both) is appropriate.