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0004590Dwarf FortressCombat -- Generalpublic2011-04-28 20:552014-12-27 19:31
Toady One 
PCWindows VistaService Pack 2
0004590: Elephant killed by three hoary marmots - Issue with pain
Combat is fairly unbalanced in the current version, due to the way that unarmored targets take damage. I can semi-reliably get three hoary marmots (or any similarly tiny creature that is just barely large enough to have teeth that can pierce the skin) kill an elephant.

The size difference means the hoary marmots always hit, and will break the skin, while the elephant has a relatively very small chance of hitting the target. In six turns, the hoary marmots have bitten the elephant 18 times, which is enough to cause the elephant to faint from pain.

The elephant will subsequently never wake up because the hoary marmots will keep biting the elephant, keeping it in a coma.

It takes a LONG time to actually kill the elephant. The marmots can't even cause the slightest bit of bleeding most of the time, unless they get a lucky hit on the tail or maybe the trunk. The elephant only very slowly bleeds to death. It takes hours of the game running at 100 FPS for the elephant to slowly bleed out.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that ANY sort of tear in the skin inflicts the same number of "pain points", regardless of the actual size of the laceration - a pinprick is the same as flaying off all the skin on someone's body in a single stroke.
Simply set up a battle in the arena with a lone elephant on one team and marmots on the other.

This also works with creatures that are supposed to be very fierce predators, like giant tigers.

3 marmots-on-1 elephant has a slight chance of going the elephant's way if it gets lucky in the first round or two and manages to actually hit something before it faints, but 4-to-1 almost always results in an elephant's defeat.
Removing pain from the elephant makes it capable of winning battles against many more creatures. Simply removing pain receptors from the skin makes it more capable of winning battles. NO_PAIN elephants can win against about 10 marmots, but will eventually faint from exhaustion unless you play the elephant yourself, because it charges itself into exhaustion.

Deon specifically modded many creatures to have many fewer pain recepters because of this flaw, because it means that almost ANY set of 18 attacks will knock even huge creatures unconscious, and generally makes unarmored combat a matter of pure attrition.
animals, creature, faint, pain, PAIN_RECEPTORS, size, unconscious, wound, wounds
related to 0002115resolved Toady One Broken bones cause too much pain regardless of size 
Issue History
2011-04-28 20:55NW_KohakuNew Issue
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: animals
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: creature
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: faint
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: pain
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: PAIN_RECEPTORS
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: size
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: unconscious
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: wound
2011-04-28 20:57NW_KohakuTag Attached: wounds
2011-04-29 05:59BarnoxNote Added: 0017566
2011-04-29 05:59BarnoxNote Edited: 0017566bug_revision_view_page.php?bugnote_id=0017566#r6532
2011-04-29 07:33Logical2uRelationship addedparent of 0002115
2011-04-29 07:34Logical2uNote Added: 0017570
2012-03-23 05:01BuglistIssue Monitored: Buglist
2012-03-23 13:36KijiroNote Added: 0021681
2012-03-23 14:12FootkerchiefRelationship addedrelated to 0002114
2012-03-23 14:12FootkerchiefRelationship replacedrelated to 0002115
2012-03-23 14:12FootkerchiefRelationship deletedrelated to 0002114
2012-03-23 16:36NW_KohakuNote Added: 0021682
2014-12-27 11:14JayJayForceNote Added: 0031514
2014-12-27 19:31FootkerchiefNote Added: 0031527
2014-12-27 19:31FootkerchiefStatusnew => resolved
2014-12-27 19:31FootkerchiefFixed in Version => 0.40.01
2014-12-27 19:31FootkerchiefResolutionopen => fixed
2014-12-27 19:31FootkerchiefAssigned To => Toady One

2011-04-29 05:59   
I believe the issue is related, but I've a dog in Dwarf Fortress mode who has killed about 4 Rhinoceros by pain, taking no damage itself, then mercilessly biting and shaking the head until it bleeds out.
This is a Stray, unassigned and without any training.

I've no save, and the dog is long dead after taking a horn to the head.

2011-04-29 07:34   
I added this as a parent of 0002115, which lists the number of pain receptors as a factor in broken limbs being overly dangerous.
2012-03-23 13:36   
This is amazing. I'm going to test this myself with some Cavies.
2012-03-23 16:36   
I think cavies might be too small to even pierce the skin with a bite. (At least, for an elephant, a smaller creature might have its skin pierced.) Cavies are 800 size instead of a marmot's 10,000 size.

Keep in mind Elephants have 5,000,000 size, so this is still a creature of 0.2% your mass killing you. This is still roughly equivalent to a human being killed by three large worms.
2014-12-27 11:14   
I don't think this still happens, at least not in the way this bug report describes it.

3v1 of a lone elephant against hoary marmots/beakdogs/dogs results in an elephant victory.

8v1 elephant against hoary marmots has similar results as described in the original post, but it is due to the elephant passing out from exhaustion, not pain.

I can get similar results with tigers. They win or loose due to exhaustion, not pain. Higher enemy count is more likely to result in a tiger death.
2014-12-27 19:31   
Thanks for testing! That seems a lot more reasonable. I'll chalk this up to 0.40.01.