"Sure, lots of powers inflict specific kinds of damage. But why restrict yourself to fire or acid damage when you could inflict mold or emotional damage?"
-Infandous, Mage of the Red Manifold
Specific types of damage are normally limited to acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, and thunder.
Which is a crying shame, considering the wider world of harming your foes… and hurting people you just don’t like that much (especially the ones that go on and on about themselves without ever asking how you are)… and, really, sometimes even harming your friends (because, damn it, can’t they see you’re in a bad mood? If they keep pestering you, they deserve what they get, right?).
Chicken [keyword]: A damage type. When you want to leave your target lying stunned on the battlefield with the inexplicable taste of chicken in his mouth.
Dumbass [keyword]: A damage type. Really, the only thing dumbass damage is good for is showing your disdain for your target’s idiotic b.s., but sometimes that’s just the thing to soothe the soul.
Edition [keyword]: A damage type. Every time you leap to defend the version of something for which several versions exist, regardless of whether anyone was actually attacking your preferred version and despite that you’ve repeated your counter-attack a hundred previous times, you’re dealing edition damage.
Emotional [keyword]: A damage type. Deal emotional damage when you want to cut your target so precisely that he doesn’t even realize he’s been hurt . . . until he wakes up crying in the middle of the night, having finally realized he’s failed to attain every one of his life’s aspirations.
Hangover [keyword]: A damage type. Inflict this splitting headache on your target when you want to impose a creeping dread that he’s done something horrible the night before… even though he can’t recall what it was.
Holy/Unholy [keyword]: A damage type. The kind of damage that once made the angels cry and devils sing, but now doesn’t get too much traction . . . see Edition damage.
Mold [keyword]: A damage type. This putrid fluff loves to sprouts on your basement walls; imagine how effective it would be coating your target’s eyes. Eeww!
Nether [keyword]: A damage type. When you want to show up your friends who are dealing necrotic or radiant-thunder damage, who think they’re too cool for school, whip out attacks that deal nether damage. Nether damage. You heard it here first. That intangible interstitial planar flux that defies true definition other than the implication of how awesome it is. That’s right. Nether damage.
Newb [keyword]: A damage type. This is a great way to devolve your target’s skills, briefly, into that of a beginner; they suddenly won’t remember how to use their magic items, what a d20 is, or whose turn it is next.
Pwnage [keyword]: A damage type. Deal this kind of damage when you want to stress your superiority on all levels. No one’s going to mess with you after they’ve been pwned.
Paranoid [keyword]: A damage type. Do you wonder what they’re saying about you? Have they cooked up a plan to undermine you? Maybe you suspect they’re laughing at you, those bastards! If you wonder this, you might be the target of an attack that dealt paranoid damage. But remember, just because you’ve taken paranoid damage doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Vile [keyword]: A damage type. Vile damage is two steps beyond evil, with a helping of mental scarring thrown in just to make sure your foes never ever forget they’ve been touched by something utterly repulsive. Yes, it’s unbelievably gross—we’re talking twenty-three buckets of blood gross—but sometimes you’ve got to take off the kid gloves.
Bruce R Cordell
Bruce R. Cordell is an Origins and ENnie award-winning game designer whose long list of professional credits include the D&D Gamma World Roleplaying Game, Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Prince of Undeath, and Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. Bruce is also an author of Forgotten Realms novels, most recently the Sword of the Gods books. Find him online at www.brucecordell.com.