A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    I've been mildly wondering for a while... how would you describe the injuries from Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic damage. Such as being hit with a holy smite or chaos hammer spell. What would the wounds look like? Or at the same time, things like pure divine/arcane/psionic damage and various other baskin robins damages.

    This applies mostly to D&D but probably applies equally to other similar things.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Stigmata imo.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Holy damage is like being burned alive, except you have this creepy feeling of being cleaner because of it.

    Unholy is like rotting. but with your soul.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2021-08-09 at 09:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    IMO they are spiritual and shouldn't look like anything. Holy damage feels like you're forced to finally endure the suffering you've imposed on others, unholy damage feels like all hope is being destroyed, axiomatic feels like you're segmented and boxed in, anarchic feels like you're coming apart.
    None should present any wounds that could be seen without supernatural aid.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Back in 4e, my character could do both radiant and necrotic damage at the same time. I called those hits "gamma ray" damage.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    For Holy/Unholy/etc. the damage itself can just be burning or whatever aggravated form of physical injury. The actual relevant point is that the injury is only imposed on those of opposing alignment.

    "Pure divine" etc. nonsense damage types are undefinable without knowing exact cosmology of a setting. "Psionic" is only defineable if you know how minds (or souls) work in a setting. Common forms of psionic injury involve nosebleeds, headaches, memory loss and death due to brain malfunction.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Holy damage is like being burned alive, except you have this creepy feeling of being cleaner because of it.

    Unholy is like rotting. but with your soul.
    This is what I did for Positive/Negative energy and Radiant/Necrotic damage back in the day. No real damage on the outside, but instead your spiritual connection to life is being messed with.

    I rarely used kawful or chaotic damage sources, and these days I don't use holy/unholy either. If my games have heaven decide to cleansethe world they won't send a divineglow, they'll use a sea of fire.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Usually I describe them as burning. When things get cold enough people exclaim that it burns. Same with acid. Appearance wise holy is white, unholy is black and the other two get orange and blue as appropriate.

    Psionic damage isnít terribly visible but nose bleeds, bloodshot eyes and busted veins on the head are the norm.
    Last edited by Alcore; 2021-08-11 at 09:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Holy and Unholy damage description depends a bit on your perspective about morality.

    An old, frankly outdated, perspective on morality might focus on purity/impurity.
    Holy: Some kind of painful cleansing. Burning away the impurities.
    Unholy: Some kind of painful rotting / mutation. Twisting the body.

    A more modern one might focus on agency.
    Holy: Force you to face everything regretful you have ever done. Riddle you with guilt and sympathetic pains from the pain you inflicted.
    Unholy: Show you everything you sacrificed and remind you of rewards you could have had. Fill you with weariness and envy.


    Axiomatic: A mental barrage informing you, with perfect certainty, that you are wrong. Who you are? Wrong. What you did? Wrong. Etc Etc. You are imperfect. You are a failure.
    Anarchic: Never feels the same way twice, but generally involves the body attacking itself. Auto Immune Disorder for example.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-08-11 at 11:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Fire is the closest analogy, but I would essentially describe it as dying tissue in combination of flesh turning to smoke. Then again I favor disintegration as my favorite form of fictional death, and is often symbolically used as an expression of overwhelming power in much of my favorite fiction so I may be bias in that direction.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Holy - Plasmalike white fire, amorphous and magnesium-bright. Leaves clean, smooth, unburnt wounds.

    Unholy - Dirty dark grey and brown oozing miasma, decaying and devouring. Leaves dirty, mangled wounds.

    Axiomatic - Precise laserlike grids of energy, formed of pure colors. Causes things to fall apart into dust formed of miniscule, perfect platonic solids, perfectly cauterized wounds.

    Anarchic - Wildly flickering multicolored lightning, warping and twisting and shimmering between colors (Epileptics beware). Causes the flesh to boil, burn, mutate, and finally melt or explode.
    Last edited by Phhase; 2021-08-15 at 03:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Holy damage is like being burned alive, except you have this creepy feeling of being cleaner because of it.

    Unholy is like rotting, but with your soul.
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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    It could be very similar to fire and acid damage, except instead of redox or acid-base, karmically charged particles from the spell are reacting with karmically charged particles in the target's body, reacting to create new neutral particles that have different properties, can't perform the function of the previous particles, and may possibly be totally incorporeal and prone to escaping from the target's body entirely. Likely the brain, heart, and hands would be most strongly affected.

    EDIT:
    Morally neutral people and objects are slightly denser on average than their good and evil counterparts because their particles have different karma quantum numbers, allowing more of them to be packed together before the pauli exclusion principle kicks in
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-08-18 at 02:17 AM.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    In 3.5 at least, those enchantments don't do their own damage type; i.e. an axiomatic greatsword essentially does 4d6 slashing damage (the same as an ordinary 'huge' greatsword) instead of 2d6 against chaotic enemies. Thus I personally envision it as leaving disproportionately large wounds, as if they had been struck by that larger weapon.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    I'd probably try to tie it to the portfolio of the entity providing the damage. If you've upset a sea god, their Holy or Unholy damage might look like your lungs suddenly being full of water.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonexx View Post
    I've been mildly wondering for a while... how would you describe the injuries from Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchic damage. Such as being hit with a holy smite or chaos hammer spell. What would the wounds look like? Or at the same time, things like pure divine/arcane/psionic damage and various other baskin robins damages.

    This applies mostly to D&D but probably applies equally to other similar things.
    I interpret Radiant damage as radiation exposure, feeling like extremely intense heat without fire. Theres enough Con saves in radiant based effects, and its often associated with light and the sun, so I feel confident with Radiant damage being radiation exposure. It's color palette from effects is gold, white, and light blue.

    Necrotic I usually interpret as being disease/sickly and infliction of physical frailty of form, and feeling like a sickly chill the way you shiver when ill. Necrotic is associate with decay and death, so I feel good about an association with poor health. Its color palette for effects is black, violet, and green.

    Anarchic/Chaos is the subatomic destabilizing of the target matter, disintegrating the target or parts of it. Its bright, and has a very short very intense pain immediately replaced with emptiness. It has a color palette for effects of black, pink, and dark red.

    Axiomatic/Law is semi-pretification or fixation of the target matter. Its dark, and is characterized by total lack of feeling in affected areas, followed by a persistent pain as the area around it registers the damage. It has a color palette of white, dark blue, and sky blue.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2021-08-25 at 10:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Describing Holy/Unholy Damage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shalist View Post
    In 3.5 at least, those enchantments don't do their own damage type; i.e. an axiomatic greatsword essentially does 4d6 slashing damage (the same as an ordinary 'huge' greatsword) instead of 2d6 against chaotic enemies. Thus I personally envision it as leaving disproportionately large wounds, as if they had been struck by that larger weapon.
    Not just enchantments. There are individual spells like Holy Smite/Unholy Blight/Orders Wrath/Chaos Hammer that just do [Alignment] damage.
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