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This article was written by the god Shadowfax, and posted on July 25, 2011.
It was updated May 14, 2013.

Weapon Strategies

To be an effective hitter, you won't want to rely on single weapon. In order to deal maximum damage, you want to use different weapons depending on the situation.

You can see a weapon's damage type when you identify it.

Base damage types

Some skills perform better with certain weapon damage types, and some enemies are resistant or vulnerable to certain damage types. If you choose not to wield a weapon, your damage type will be type punch.

Damage types can be categorized into groups. The dtype groups are as follows:

  • Blunt group - punch, pound, crush

    Blunt weapons deal extra damage to skeletal and/or mechanical creatures and double damage to crystalline creature. Rather than use blunt weapons, some warriors prefer to fight unarmed.

  • Slash group - slice, slash

    Slashing weapons do extra damage to plant creatures but less damage to blobs, mechanical and/or skeletal creatures.

  • Pierce group - pierce, stab, sting

    Piercing weapons deal less damage to plant and/or skeletal creatures. Stab attacks deal extra damage to mechanical creatures. Those without a NO_BS flag can be used to backstab. Shadow strike works best with a stabbing weapon.

  • Whip group - whip, flail

    You cannot parry while using these weapons, but your attacks also cannot be parried. Plant and mechanical creatures are resistant to whip attacks.

  • Miscellaneous

    Other damage types typically only seen from mobs, not weapons. A few have special rules. For example, a type stomp attack deals more damage to an opponent that is smaller than the attacker. A type bite attack can invoke the baleful effects of a 'foulblood' spell.

Extended damage types

Players will sometimes face opponents that are vulnerable to a particular elemental or special damage type. A weapon can any number of extended damage types. Magic and nonorm function simultaneously, but in the case of fire, ice, zap, breath, poison and acid, only one will be used per attack, determined randomly each time (with one exception, see Acid below). You can determine which exclusive extended damage type is in effect for each melee attack by the adjective used to describe it in the damage send. For example, if you see this:

Your freezing slice *** DEMOLISHES *** a cityguard!

Your attack in this case would be type ice slice, or possibly magic ice slice or nonorm ice slice, depending on the weapon. Magic and nonorm do not invoke a special adjective.

'Flame blade' can add fire damage type to any slashing or stabbing weapon. Clerics using 'spirit hammer' can conjure a magical (or at higher levels, a nonorm) blunt weapon with any elemental damage type. Certain holy weapons can cover different damage type combinations, as well.

  • Elementals - fire, ice, zap

    Elemental weapons will strike ethereal creatures and are tested against their respective saving throw (saving fire, saving cold or saving zap). They also can heal enemies that are made of the same elemental. For example, a fire weapon can heal an fire elemental.

  • Magic

    A magical weapon will strike ethereal creatures and is tested against saving spell.

  • Breath

    A breath damage weapon is tested against saving breath. It can also damage an ethereal creature.

  • Poison

    A strike from a poisoned weapon is tested against poisonsave but has no effect on ethereal creatures. Furthermore, opponents are poisoned unless they are magical, undead or ethereal creatures, in which case they are only poisoned if the striking weapon is also magic or nonorm type.

  • Acid

    An acidic weapon attack is tested against saving normal, but it does not affect ethereal creatures. The acid damage type functions simultaneously with breath damage, so that a melee attack by an acid breath weapon will use both damage types.

  • Nonorm

    Saving normal is only half as effective against nonorm as it would be against a normal damage attack and affects ethereal creatures as if they were solid.

For more information about extended damage types and how they interact with saving throws, please see our Saving Throws and Resistances article.

Wielding Strategies

There are different wear/wield approaches with weapons one can use to be an effective hitter. Here we'll review the benefits and drawbacks to each one.

One-handed weapon, held item

A good one-handed weapon in your wielding hand and an item in your off-hand lets you combines the effects of your weapon with that of your held equipment. A held slot does not confer an AC bonus, making it best suited in a hitter situation for effects that help with offense, such as hitroll, damroll, attacks or class skill level. You can use skills that require a weapon, like pommel strike or cleave, to good effect. This is usually considered the most balanced option for hitting.

Since both hands are occupied, you cannot use certain skills or touch spells. You also cannot wield a weapon, hold an item and use a shield at the same time. Each option requires a hand to use, and you only have two hands!

One-handed weapon, free hand

This is the strategy usually employed that those who rely on throwing weapons or to use skills like jab or lunge to deliver touch spells with the off-hand, such as burning hands or sacred touch. One can use these attack strategies while retaining the ability to use skills that require a weapon.

The biggest drawback to this method is that one must do without whatever effects one would gain from a held item, meaning that you would have less hitroll, damroll or such overall that you otherwise would have.

Two-handed weapon

A two-handed weapon can have a much higher dieroll and more powerful effects than a single-wield weapon, allowing a player to deliver a high payload in melee combat. This also lets a player deal more damage with skills that rely on weapon dieroll.

Since both hands are using the weapon, you cannot hold an item or use a shield while wielding a two-handed weapon. Also, even though a two-handed weapon may have a higher dieroll than a one-handed weapon, you usually can get more equipment effects like hitroll or class skill level from using two items than from one.

Unarmed, held item

Fighting unarmed can be a viable option if you learn the 'multiple attacks' skill, which increases your base attack speed, and the 'unarmed combat' skill, which increases your character's natural dieroll. A high level warrior skilled in unarmed combat can obtain a natural dieroll much higher than any available weapon. Several skills don't require a weapon, such as kick or trip, or are just as effective with a weapon as without, such as lunge. Touch spells can be delivered via melee attacks. If you opt to fight unarmed, you should hold on item, as well, since there is no benefit to unarmed combat for having both hands free.

The drawbacks are that you cannot use many skills without a weapon, or certain skills are less effective without a weapon, such as in the case of leap attack. You also cannot parry without a weapon.


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