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Touch too Much

Physical Damage

You may apply physical damage to your enemies in two variants. Either you rely on combat attacks, which are done via punching or throwing stuff or shooting arrows, or you focus on some spells which deal physical damage. Spells are as always subject to equipment restrictions, say they are only enhanceable via skill boni, Faster Cast Rate, and, if you're lucky, with decreasing of enemy's physical resistance. This FAQtoid focusses on combat, but here's a list of spells anyway:

spells which deliver physical damage

Other kinds of damage are covered in FAQtoids of their own, even if tehy seem to be of physical nature. This applies to Crushing Blow and Open Wounds.

kinds of weaponry

Weapon types are subdivided in melee weapons for close combat, missile weapons for shooting and throwing weapons, which are combo weapons usable in close or ranged combat. A Druid in wereform may use a missile weapon in close combat, but he isn't allowed to do any ranged attack while being shape-shifted.

Different weapon classes are commonly subdivided with regards to Barbarian's Mastery skills. However, some technical aspects differentiate weapon classes also regarding class-specific base weapon speed, animation related business (Blocking, Hit Recovery, Spell Casting) or in consideration of damage modification via strength and dexterity. Some tables below should do the trick.

A very classical Role Playing Game convention is subdividing melee weapons in slashing, thrusting and blunt weapons. Traditionally blunt weapons are best choice when whacking undead, since those are considered painless to slashings or sticking pointy bits into them, so they must be smashed to pieces. Diablo II's little tribute to tradition is the commonly known '50% damage to undead' bonus all blunt weapons grant. Though this bonus doesn't modify weapon's base damage but is considered as 'off weapon Enhanced Damage' - offweapED. This is covered later on in this FAQtoid.

classical classification of weaponry
melee weaponsranged weapons
thrusting weaponsswinging weaponsthrowing weaponsmissile weapons
Fist 1pricking weaponsslashing weaponsotherblunt weapons 2
Barbarian: Mace Mastery
used as pricking or slashing weaponsused as throwing missile
Maces and HammersRods 3
1H: used one-handed; 2H: used two-handed
1 bare fist is no blunt weapon
2 all weapons granting 50%ED versus undead; important for weapon choice while crafting Hit Power Weapon
3 Beware, Orbs don't count as rods, important for weapon choice while crafting Caster Weapon
4 Sorceress' specific thingies
5 only Mace, Morning Star, Flail and their exceptional and elite versions respectively; important while socketing Runewords
bare fist
(Assassin only)
throwing knife
spearsword (1H)
axe (1H)
throwing axe
sword (2H)
axe (2H)
orb 4club
mace 5
hammer (1H)
hammer (2H)scepter
staff (2H)

throwing knife
throwing axe
fiery and toxic elixirsbowcrossbow

Another differentation is used during technical discussions about animations. This also covers why a weapons shows other base speed when rather equipped on a Paladin than a Necromancer. This classification is defined in Weapons.txt.

see also:
classification by animations
* not two-handed swing
hthhand to hand- fist
- claw
1htone handed thrust- thrusting weapon used one-handed
2httwo handed thrust- thrusting weapon used two-handed
1hsone handed swing- swinging weapon used one-handed
2hstwo handed sword *- sword used two-handed
stfstaves- hammer used two-handed
- axe used two-handed
- staff used two-handed
- pole
bowbows- bow
xbwcrossbow- crossbow

Furthermore a classification of weaponry considers damage bonus gained per status point investment in either dexterity or strength or both.
This is also defined in Weapons.txt.

classification by damage modification
weapon class%ED/str%ED/dexnote
* complex calculation is covered in linked FAQtoid
hammer1,10all two-handed used ones, also
War Hammer/Battle Hammer/Legendary Mallet
0,750,75regardless of
melee or ranged usage
claw0,750,75Assassin only
amazon specific
spear and javelin
0,80,5Amazon only; regardless of
melee or ranged usage
missile weapon01strength requirement must be met
shield10Paladin only *
shoes1,21Assassin only *

damage modification

Physical Damage done via attacks is calculated with many components.
As always, item links lead to Atair's german d2wissen.

  1. First component is weapon's base damage. This has a minimum to maximum range which can be averaged. Lots of people only calculate with maximum damage, which gives some weapons a non-existent advantage. Existing base weapons are in fact thoroughly balanced in terms of straying damage, average damage and speed.
  2. An ethereal weapon will gain its 50% base damage bonus.
    Shields and shoes won't gain a damage bonus to the respective attacks due to ethereality.
  3. Now weapon damage is modified with Enhanced Damage - ED as weapon's item property. Up to 15% bonus granted by 'superior' quality count in here, too. All this you may call 'onweaponED'.
    Special damage boni versus undead and/or demons are not figuring in here, even if the weapon itself has such a modifier!
  4. All boni to minimum and maximum damage granted by items will be added. It doesn't matter if boni are on weapon itself, on other equipment, or on Charms in inventory.
    Skill property '+ xx Damage' will add xx to minimum damage only.
    Item property + xxx Damage will add xxx here, despite it was claimed to figure in later.
  5. Percentage boni to Enhanced Damage not on the weapon are calculated, you may call it 'offweaponED'.
    This contains
    • - damage modification via status points in strength and/or dexterity
    • - all special boni versus undead and demons which will of course only work against those species,
      even those granted by the weapon itself, regardless of magical affix or blunt weapon bonus!
    • - all percentage boni from equipment omitting the weapon(s)
    • - all percentage boni granted by skills
    • - all percentage boni granted by friendly aurae and suchlike
    • - but also all penalties caused by enemy's Weaken or Decrepify curses as well as hostile Taunt and Battle Cry - those skills' diminishing effect to damage are calculated as negatives to offweaponED
  6. This is total physical damage, which may have a chance to become a critical hit then.

Some skills will convert all or parts of physical damage into another kind of damage. The conversion happens here. This applies to


Paladin's Vengeance gains its elemental damage from base weapon damage up to fourth list entry, but without ther buggy '+XXX' modificator granted by, say, the Redeemer. Later modifications only affect physical part.
Paladin's Smite also works differently. It uses offweaponED and + xxx Damage item property, but none of the others; base damage is shield's damage (only shown to Paladin), not weapon's damage.
Some of Assassin's combat kicks will deliver elemental damage based on enemy's suffered physical damage, so they won't do elemental damage to physical immune enemies. Refer to Tub's german Tips to Kick and his Kickdamage Calculator.

Guess, of course there are some bugs around ...

physical resistance

To diminish suffered damage there's always a resistance. Monsters indeed may have 'resistance to physical' assigned, whereas player characters and hirelings may rely on 'damage reduced' item properties.

Characters and hirelings will have 0% physical resistance in all difficulties. Some items grant a percentage bonus to damage reduction which is hard-limited to effective 50%.
Other items will grant a straight bonus to damage reduction. Similar to magic damage reduction - MDR it is often abbreviated PDR for physical damage reduction.
In damage order firstly straight reduction is calculated, then percentage reduction.
Necromancer's Bone Armor and Sorceress' Energy Shield also step in before physical resistance.

1.09 Marke In 1.09 Bone Armor stepped in after physical resistance.

Negative effect to physical resistance comes along with Amplify Damage or Decrepify curses, which are cast by a variety of monsters. Amplifiy will decrease resistance by 100%, Decrepify by 50%.
Keep in mind that Possessed Champions can't be cursed with anything, same for all stationaries and objects.

Monsters even may be immune to physical damage. Immunity can be broken via Amplify or Decrepify, but the curses will work only at a fifth of their regular effectiveness. Thus a monster with 109% physical resistance won't be affected by resistance-lowering effect of Decrepify (the other curse effects will still work), and if physical resistance is beyond 119% even Amplify is of no use anymore - the curse won't be applied in that case, since Amplify's only effect is resistance reduction.
Player characters and hirelings are only allowed to increase percentage damage reduction up to 50%. You may wear more stuff, but percentage damage reduce won't work beyond 50%. This works very similar to othere, elemental resistances, so if you're affected by aforesaid curses the surplus is counted in.
If you've achieved 100% or more percntage damage reduction you aren't treated as immune, so that curses will affect you without immunity penalty.

1.09 Marke In 1.09 the limit was 75%. A character with 100% or more damage reducedwas treated as immune, thus couldn't be cursed with Amplify anymore.

Paladin's Sanctuary aura ignores undead's physical resistance; ths will work for the Paladin (or the one with that aura active) himself only.

straight damage reduction

The item property 'xx damage reduced' (without percentage) is no subject to a hard limit. It is restricted by equipment slots only. A combination of percentage and straight reduction will make the character indeed nearly immune, since it may negate any average physical damage the character will suffer. Average physical damage is very rarely beyond 80. But critical hits are out of consideration here.

An interesting glitch affects the combination of MDR and PDR if small values of damage should be applied. If in damage order the elemental damage result up to the point where MDR and PDR step in is smaller than PDR's value, PDR will set this elemental part to zero. 'Elemental' is here Cold, Fire, Lightning and Magic Damage.

see also:

thorny effects

Reflected damage is a pain to all melee combatants, it doesn't work with ranged attacks. It is based on physical damage the opponent has received. If this was way enough to kill the opponent still the complete damage he would have suffered is taken into account, thus a high-damage character may kill himself on very weak opponents when a thorny effect is applied to him. To player characters and melee hirelings thorny effects are more deadly than to monsters, because monsters have usually lots of life compared to their punching damage, whereas characters and hirelings are designed the other way.

see also:

Paladin's Sacrifice will reflect 8% of delivered physical damage to the Paldin, who's called Martyr for some reason then. Sacrifice is also available via Charges on melee weapons.

namekindPvP Marke
PvP effect *
may be
gained from
* additively the PvP penalty of 17% is applied
** extra precision ThornsEffect = (Thorns% + 4) / 8
ThornsCalculation = 25600 * ThornsEffect / 100
ThornsDamage = ThornsCalculation * 17 / 100
Thornsarea-affecting aura1/10 **Paladin skill
hireling skill
Spirit of Barbsarea-affecting aura1/10 **Druid skill
Iron Maidencurse1/4Necromancer skill
Iron Golemaurastate ? Necromancer skill
Spike Fiend
Quill Rat
guest monster
item property - -
Sacrificeselfinflicting attackallPaladin skill

Another variation are item properties which will damage an attacker regardless of delivered punching damage. These exist with physical damage or lightning damage. Technically these are no thorn effects, since they don't reflect.
Same goes for Assassin's Blade Shield.

All listed effects don't need a CtH check and can't trigger events.
1.09 Marke In 1.09 Blade Shield could trigger events.

Any shape-shifted unit won't die instantly, but changes back to original shape before and is at one hitpoint then. This is no life assurance, but if in damage order some life gained via Life Leech or Life Tap is granted, it will be applied at this moment. So a shape-shifted unit has a minimal better chance of surviving thorny effects.
see also: Wereform and Iron Maiden


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