Damage Types (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play

Damage comes in many varieties; most of them work the same, but many special powers and defenses work differently against different types of damage.

Damage is divided into types and subtypes. Something that affects a type of damage also affects all subtypes of that damage type. For example, Blunt damage is a subtype of Physical damage; all rules that apply to Physical damage in general also applies to Blunt damage.

Physical damage is the most common type. If the type of damage is not specified, the default is Physical/Blunt.


Biological damage attacks body chemistry, and thus has no effect on objects or inorganic creatures such as robots. Biological damage and the defenses against it are often used as plot devices. Hazard suits, gas masks, anti venom, and various inoculations can increase resistance or even give complete immunity to certain poison attacks, especially environmental hazards such as poison gas or infection by disease. Only living creatures with a metabolism are subject to Biological damage, and in many cases a particular attack can only target certain living creatures—specific ones target one family of species (hominids), generic ones a whole subgroup (mammals). Use Poisoneer to design specific patogens.


This is biological damage that has little or no instant effect, instead killing the target days or weeks later. Often associated with Death. Examples include disease, metabolic poison, and parasitic infection. Do damage, as normal, soaked by Toughness. A target damaged by infection does not risk immediate death; no Damage Setback is inflicted as you lose your last Hit. But once infected, you do not heal normally—the infection lingers and the victim's metabolism must fight them off over time.

Each morning, make a Body roll against the number of Hits and read the outcome on the table below.

Body Roll Outcome Result
3 or lower Take another Hit from Infection
4-6 No effect
7-9 Reduce Infection Hits by one. If this removes all hits taken, you are cured.
10+ You are cured, remove all Infection Hits

A creature that has taken as many Hits as his role allows is bed-ridden with the Infection. A creature that has taken Hits matching his Body from Infection suffers a Damage Setback and NPCs generally die at this point.

  • Cure Ailment and similar effects turn Infection damage into regular damage.
  • Heal Wounds removes Hits taken, but the patient is still infected.
  • Certain infections might be more or less virulent, granting a bonus or penalty to the Body roll.
  • Most infections a character in Action is in danger from are fast-acting, but some kinds of infection can differ in detail, primarily in how fast-actin they are; some infections are rolled for hourly, weekly, monthly, or even yearly rather than each day.
  • Some infections turn their victims into an Infection Vector with an effective Know equal to their Body.
  • Medic can be a great boon when fighting infection.


Most poisons used as attacks are neurotoxins, fast-acting and deadly. It is soaked normally using Toughness, but also has an additional way of causing damage. If the attack roll of a Neurotoxin attack exceeds both the target's effective Dodge and his Toughness, he takes a minimum of one Hit, even if the damage of the attack was otherwise insufficient to cause damage. This can even cause a Damage Setback if the Outcome is 10 or more.


Wounds spontaneously open on the body of the target. Generally a supernatural effect. Non-living creatures and objects (such as robots and doors) are immune to this damage, but others soak this damage using Body—armor doesn't help.


Disruption, heat, and chemical reactions that seek to break down the structure of the target.


More properly named Caustic. Corrosive action. Action normally makes no distinction between acids and strong alkaloids; most attacks described as acid could just as well be alkaloids or other highly reactive chemicals, even destructive nanomachines or swarms of very small creatures.


The raw power of frost and the chill of the grave. Causes cells to rupture, objects to turn brittle, and the processes of life and machinery to slow down and fail. Does not include damage caused by frozen objects used as projectiles or weapons; icicles do Piercing damage.


Chi drain that destroys cohesion, reducing the essential energy and identity of flesh and objects alike, reducing everything to a fine ash. This is generally soaked with Body instead of Toughness.


Searing flame, including lasers, plasma, and explosions. In real life, explosions generally cause concussion damage very near-by and impact or piercing damage from shrapnel some way off, but in Action most explosions are fireballs.


An overdose of energy, causing the target to fuse internally and cease to work normally. Commonly caused by electricity, radiation, and light.


Electrical damage disrupts neural activity and leads to internal burns. Objects crack and shatter.


Overexposure to light or radiation causes burns and melts both objects and tissue. Extreme sources of chi can also cause radiation damage.


An earlier name for radiation damage.


Sonic attacks include loud noise, but are mainly vibrations outside the audible range. They cause vertigo and nausea; in extreme form they induce vibrations that cause blood vessels to burst and muscle tissue to collapse. Traditionally stone, crystal and pottery structures and creatures tend to be sensitive to sonic damage.


Also called normal damage, this is basic physical injury, caused by bullets, blades, and bludgeoning. This is without compare the most common type of damage, and is the standard against which the others are compared. Concussion is the odd bird here; still physical but soaked in an entirely different manner.


The most common damage in the game, crushing damage is caused by things like clubs, falling rocks, and fisticuffs. In real life, blunt damage causes internal hemorrhaging and is quite lethal; in Action it is often nonlethal.


Mainly caused by throws, falls, collisions with heavy obstacles, and by effects that work over the entire body. The force of the impact depends on your own body mass, meaning Body does not help to soak; concussion is more dangerous the heavier you are. Thus, it is soaked using Reflexes rather than Toughness.

If the object you collided with is significantly lighter than you are, damage you take turns Blunt. This happens when the difference in Body is 5 or more. This applies to the heavier creature involved in a collision. Few things are heavier than the ground.

It is hard to cause Concussion damage to heavy things. The target can use Body as Dodge if Body is higher.


Cutting and slashing damage, like scimitars and axes do.


Kinetic damage, caused by the impact of bullets and other high-speed projectiles. Melee weapons and even primitive missile weapons like bows, crossbows, and shotgun pellets do not have speed to cause impact damage and generally do Piercing damage instead. Impact damage is soaked by Body except in the case of worn armor of equal or higher Tech Level where it is soaked by Toughness.


Slow moving weapons that do damage by penetrating the body. Examples include arrows and spears. Firearms with slow-moving projectiles, such as dart guns and shotgun pellets, also do piercing damage.


This damage is mental; it inflicts fear and pain directly to the mind. Thus, it is soaked using Mind instead of Toughness. Most psychic damage is supernatural in some way. Objects, automatons, and creatures without a true mind are immune to psychic damage.


A variant of psychic damage, illusory damage is perceived as some other kind of damage. Each time you use illusory damage, you get to choose what the apparent type of damage is. You can choose any damage type except Psychic Damage. Objects and creatures immune to psychic damage are also immune to illusory damage.

The attack is treated as a combination of two damage types. The target can use the soak attribute of the apparent damage, or Mind, whichever is best. For example, an illusory broadsword causes illusory cutting damage. The target can use either Toughness or Mind to resist this damage, whichever is highest. If the target has a resistance or Vulnerability or otherwise reacts differently to the imitated type of damage, these special effects apply.

Mind Blast

This is the standard type of psychic damage, done by Mind Blast.


Spiritual damage is psychic damage that affects all kinds of supernatural creatures: Fairies, Epitomes, Gifted, and Strange