Corefinder Design Digest #29: Dawizard… I mean DAMAGE!

This material was posted on patreon by Legendary Games

But there was a little hitch. AD&D 2nd Edition had come out in 1989, and Wizard was introduced as a class category, with Mage and Illusionist as two subclasses within it. The 1st Ed. shorthand had been codified, but the use of terminology was inconsistent, and to make sure that all magic item references to magic-users or mages instead referred to wizards more generally, they had to go through and correct all the terminology. Which worked fine for most of the books, except for *one* section, where someone did a simple search-and-replace of “mage” for “wizard” while overlooking the fact that “-mage” showed up an awful lot of places as part of the “damage.” Yes, this really happened. TSR veteran Mike Selinker tells the inside story here in delicious detail.

The moral of the story is to be careful with your search and replace, but mostly it’s just a fun intro to start talking about damage in Corefinder! 

PS – You’ll notice a rather significant rule change we’re looking at in Corefinder Alpha, adding BAB to damage as well as attack rolls. In part the idea is to facilitate escalating weapon damage for martial characters similar to the escalation in damage that spellcasters get with their primary attack modes, as well as to give different levers to increase damage. The Attack, Dual Attack, and Full Attack actions allow you to gain extra damage dice, offering some reward for specializing in heavy weapons, especially with the single Attack action. Adding BAB to damage for each attack offers a different reward structure for Dual Attack and Full Attack actions, while also making BAB matter more as levels continue to increase. We’ll see how it plays out at the table. 



When your attack succeeds, you deal damage. The base damage is determined by the weapon you are using, and it may be a single die or multiple dice. Most weapons deal hit point damage, with the damage dealt reducing the target’s hit points.

Damage die + Base Attack Bonus + ability score modifier + gear modifier + Power Modifier + other modifiers

Bonuses to Damage: You always add your Base Attack Bonus to the damage dealt with a successful attack. Your gear may also modify your damage rolls if it is of exceptionally good or bad quality. In addition, most attacks add an ability score modifier to your damage roll, though the ability used depends on the weapon.

Melee Attacks: Add Strength modifier to damage.

Melee Attacks (finesse): When wielding a finesse weapon, you may choose to use your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier to damage.

Ranged Attacks: Projectile weapons do not add an ability score modifier to damage, unless specified in the weapon’s description. Thrown or propulsive weapons add your Strength modifier to damage.

Power Modifier: This modifier is based on your size, with creatures smaller than Medium taking a penalty on weapon damage rolls and those larger than Medium gaining a bonus on damage rolls.

Pathfinder RPG: Power Modifier as a direct bonus to damage is an idea we are experimenting with to replace the clunky dice-shifting mechanics of the Pathfinder RPG, substituting a flat bonus to damage in place of a dice progression modified up or down.

Penalties to Damage: Due to a low Strength score, shoddy equipment, a curse of bad luck, or other effects, you may take a penalty on your damage roll. If penalties reduce damage to 0 or less, you still deal 1 point of nonlethal damage with the attack.

Optional Rule: Damage on a Miss: A melee attack which “misses” is not completely wasted. It still represents your maneuvering and back-and-forth efforts against a foe that factor into the attrition of combat. A missed attack that is not a critical failure deals nonlethal damage equal to one-half your Base Attack Bonus plus your Power Modifier.

If you use this optional rule, using the Near Miss swift action on a melee attack allows you to deal nonlethal damage equal to your Base Attack Bonus plus your Power Modifier.


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