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IDProjectCategoryView StatusDate SubmittedLast Update
0002327Dwarf FortressCombat -- Generalpublic2010-06-14 13:172014-07-10 11:37
Assigned ToToady One 
PlatformAMDOSWindowsOS VersionXP
Product Version0.31.06 
Target VersionFixed in Version0.40.01 
Summary0002327: Blunt weapons extremely ineffective, extended single combat with groundhog
DescriptionAlright. I'm sure this has been commented on, but I couldn't find a reported issue, and this, as far as I can see, definitely rises above request or mere fine-tune balancing. So here it is in formal status.

Blunt weapon effectiveness is broken to the point of ridiculousness.

Situation A: My barely-skilled axedwarf (dabbling) approaches hapless groundhog with a copper battle axe, chops between one and three times, and the little fella is fit for the kitchen.

Situation B: Hunter shoots a bone crossbow bolt at groundhog. Killed in one shot. Groundhog Tallow Roast coming up.

Situation C: My barely-skilled (dabbling but "very strong and agile") hammerdwarf approaches groundhog with a Masterwork Steel Warhammer. Groundhog screws up its face, asks "What do you intend to do with *that* little thing? Fan me to death?" Dwarf answers, "Imma kill you with it, large rodent." Desperate combat for life and death begins, and ends... 7 pages later.

The groundhog is hit repeatedly, unconscious from page 3 on. Most of the hits merely "bruise the skin" or muscle or fat or spleen so forth. However, there are enough shatterings that it becomes like the old caricatures of D&D where a guy has 300 hit points and thus is still alive despite near-total body destruction.

A survey of the battle (not in chronological order):

Misses: None.
Glances away: 3 (1 from head, 1 from left front paw, 1 from tail)
Hits that *only* bruised an external: 34 (6 skin, 11 fat, 17 muscle)
Hits that bruised internal (usually along with an external): 5 (1 stomach, 2 spleen, 4 guts, 1 kidney, 2 lung, 1 pancreas)
Shattering: 10 (1 of them nail, it is to be admitted, but one of them a double-false-rib shattering + liver-bruising)
Tearing Apart: 1 (upper spin nervous tissue, p. 3)

The groundhog was giving in to pain and falling over by p. 2, had its upper spine nervous tissue torn apart on p. 3, and looked sick and was having trouble breathing on p. 4.

I had a number of hammerers (five to be precise) surrounding a goblin thief who was released from a cage in their midst. After a short period of combat in which they knocked him about ineffectively without seriously injuring him, and he slashed a few of them with his knife, he was able to get away (50 or so squares to the edge of the map) despite running slower than they.

It may be me, but this really does appear to be beyond mere balance. I am now dreading when my military dwarves pick a blunt weapon, because I know they'll be almost totally worthless in combat.
Steps To ReproduceSend a hammerer after a small and insignificant creature. Watch him flail at it for pages and pages of combat.

Or send hammerdwarves after a goblin thief. Watch them bat ineffectively at it.
TagsFixed in 0.40.01?
Attached Files

- Relationships
has duplicate 0004823resolvedKnight Otu Dwarves seems to be forever stuck in combat in some situations (particularly blunt weapons ) and does not kill the target. 
has duplicate 0003209resolvedFootkerchief Bludgeoning weapons and upright spikes still fail to kill anything except on a critical strike to the brain 
child of 0000033resolvedToady One Bronze colossus, skeletal creatures, fleshballs, and others are impossible to kill 

-  Notes
ChickenLips (reporter)
2010-06-14 13:20

Oops. Forgot to update total count on internal bruisings before posting. That should be amended to be 11.
AravinS (reporter)
2010-06-14 13:21

Maybe it's because of their dabbling skill? I mean i have a legendary hammerer and she kicks asses. Killed about 40 golbins with her iron war hammer.
ChickenLips (reporter)
2010-06-14 13:33
edited on: 2010-06-14 13:33

Um, yeah. Compare with dabbling axedwarf. Consider unconscious chaff rodent. Consider the shatterings, the lack of misses. Nah, I don't think it's that easily dismissable. Perhaps, as compared to your Leg. Hammerdwarf, it's not rising above the necessary threshold to be dangerous, but, come on.

Footkerchief (manager)
2010-06-14 13:56

See 0001534.
ChickenLips (reporter)
2010-06-14 14:16

Yep, saw that one. So not only is body functionality unimpaired by destruction, but blunt trauma doesn't really seem to... hurt the creature too much, really.
Although I love how Bronze Colossi and Groundhogs now stand in the same boat :D
dree12 (reporter)
2010-06-14 14:54

Well, try killing mice by hitting them. The point of blunt weapons is to incapitate, which it did quite nicely. For example, imagine someone slams the door into you. For quite a while, you are nearly incapable of doing anything. A hammer is really the same thing, except more severly. You aren't going to get killed too easily with a hammer. Pass out, sure, but not killed.

On a side note, the values of bone may have something to do with it. They are much too elastic. Try hitting rubber with a hammer. Try changing the elasticy to something more sane.
ChickenLips (reporter)
2010-06-14 16:09

Good points, but:

1) Er, a full-on swung hammer isn't in the same class as a door. I understand the limited extent of comparison you were making, but here we're talking a difference in degree that becomes a difference in kind. The point of a hammer is to apply a large amount of force to a small surface area. Not as small as that of a pointed or edged object, but small nonetheless. After all, at this level of comparison, a *knife* is the same thing as a door: both apply force to a certain area (force that, if large enough in comparison with body size, can disconcert and stun); one merely applies to a smaller surface area than the other.)

Point: I think you seriously underestimate the nature of a hammer blow. Blunt force trauma kills. Hammers kill. Rifle butts kill. Lead pipes kill. They are all considered "deadly weapons" when used as weapons in a court of law for a reason. They do it differently, and they are not as effective at slicing. They might even take more hits to do it (with the mentioned advantage of incapacitating the target). But if you're trying to rationalize the combat results I'm talking about as even passably realistic... nah. A hammer *can* lodge in the target, making for a gruesome mess.

(Also, this probably does not apply to you, but I know a lot of people have those images of big ol' hammers the size of an ogre's head from the fantasy pics. A real warhammer is a rather nasty, much smaller affair: [^] )

2) Bone elasticity may have something to do with the high amount of bruisings and so on, but with ten bone shatterings (er, and a nail) it's most certainly not the issue here.

Anyway, I think it's pretty fair to say blunt force trauma weapons are not quite functioning correctly here.
Cryten (reporter)
2010-06-14 20:15

I thinks its more to do with, as footkerchief pointed out damage recording then as a matter of balance. The hits are effective but they do very little to the subject. All bludgening attacks before shattering effectivly do 0 damage to the subject. As opposed to this cuts quickly add up in bladed combat for draining blood and contributing to severing.
ChickenLips (reporter)
2010-06-14 20:51

That makes sense. I know my guys earlier took down a Giant Eagle with one arrow (it died after running around like a Giant Eagle with its head cut off for about 40 tiles). In fact, arrows have been pretty deadly.
Footkerchief (manager)
2010-07-25 14:19

Reminder sent to: ChickenLips

What's the state of this problem in 31.12? 31.09 made a lot of changes to combat.
toybasher (reporter)
2010-08-01 11:37

in 31.09 blunt weapons are not as underpowered as they were before with damage that now adds up. (Now combat is starting to get weird, a chipmunk can somehow bite humans in half and tear limbs off or at least cause severe lacerations if given enough time)

But anyways blunt weapons seem OK now, then again my sense of balence is EXTREMELY distorted so I cant be sure.
qpingu (reporter)
2010-08-09 19:27

Playing on .12. About 8 dwarfs equipped with warhammers and crossbows (no bolts) just spent 2 minutes trying to kill a goblin lasher with no luck. I send in my sword squad and the goblin is instantly dead. I know blunt is meant to incapacitate enemies, but it seems like it is the only thing it can do.
knofbath (reporter)
2010-08-15 21:36

Ok, 31.12 combat arena, pick a blunt weapon like a slade maul, full adamantine armor, max armor and shield skill, because we can.

Then choose a dragon, let them fight. If the dwarf survives long enough for the dragon to get tired, then the fun starts.

Hammerdwarf can only make shots that bruise fat, for 125 or more pages. He finally gets hit on the arm dropping the maul, and his combat effectiveness doubles. Now he is bruising muscle and internal organs with his shield.

Note that this isn't enough to kill the dragon, it gets lucky with another shot causing the dwarf to bleed to death, 75 pages of combat later that is.

Now make a squad of 10 or 20 dwarfs, repeat, profit. Shield bashers do twice damage of maul users.

Now switch to a iron whip, opposite end of the blunt weapon scale, middle of the material chart. The whip user kills the dragon in 2 shots. First shot chips the bone, second shot hits the head killing the brain.

And for the final insult, throw a bronze colossus in there against the dwarf team. Slade mauls glance away, iron whips will fracture bones, even a slade whip will only fracture the bones of the colossus when added to the brawl, no killer headshots here. Protracted combat lead to all dwarfs eventually dying.
partyalias (reporter)
2010-08-15 22:45

Yea, i've seen that too, when iron whip shatters the bone (lower spine) through masterwork steel greaves with 1 strike... Personally for me - a squad of goblin lashers is the worse and deadliest foe.
knofbath (reporter)
2010-08-15 23:18
edited on: 2010-08-15 23:49

Playing around with my raws. I think the biggest factor governing blunt damage is weapon speed.

Reduce weapon speed on whips to 4000 and increase speed on mauls to 3500 and they almost seem to work right. Whips can still headshot, but they seem to do more normal types of damage and having a helmet gives a fighting chance. Mauls start busting bones through armor, like they should. A Silver Maul can kill a dragon through attrition, though an Iron Maul has to be pushed up closer to 4000 to kill a dragon.

Similar balancing should even out the rest of the blunt weapons, but I don't have the patience for it right now. Also it seems no matter how high you push the speed for whips they can't punch through a bronze colossus's skull. Probably a hard limit in there or something.

Hieronymous Alloy (reporter)
2010-09-15 09:04
edited on: 2010-09-15 09:07

I just had a crossbowdwarf incapacitate a giantess with a single bolt, then proceed to physically beat the giantess constantly with his bismuth bronze crossbow for over a month of game time.

He essentially did nothing that entire time (just lots of "bruising the fat"); in what may be a separate, linked bug, or may be linked to this, his Hammer skill remained "Rusty" the entire time and he made no hammer skill gains (I was watching using Therapist). So there may be some complicating factor where Hammer skill isn't being used appropriately and that's leading to some of these problems.

Version was latest, 3.12.

TomiTapio (reporter)
2010-09-16 08:09
edited on: 2010-09-16 08:11

In my slightly-altered Genesis mod worlds... I have set bones to bleed more, [VASCULAR:11], so that blunt-fractures-bone causes more bleeding.

And about whips: blunt with narrowness "1" is superlaser, ignoring armor. Just set it to 7 or 10 if you like playing with whips. Toady has no time to balance weapons, so join us on the Genesis mod.

PixelKnight (reporter)
2011-04-06 03:53

This is definitely an issue. I am playing Adventurer mode and have played three different macedwarf peasants tonight. They all had the same level of skill with the mace "Novice Macedwarve", and even though the first and second dwarves were doing fine, especially against small creatures, my third macedwarf can't do anything but bruise things now. I had a similar fight against a prone doe rabbit. It was unconscious, making every attack a "simple hit, direct hit," but every attack was just a bruise.
kwieland (reporter)
2011-05-02 07:49
edited on: 2011-05-02 07:59

v.25 I had a full squad of hammerdwarfs equipped with masterwork steel armor and hammers, middle of the line skill level (Talented) attacking a single goblin crossbow dwarf. They close without getting hit by a bolt, so the battle should be over, right? Nope. They bruise everything and somehow cut off fingers, but the goblin maims three of the ten. Goblin is completely yellow wounds. I get tired of my dwarfs getting injured and bring in a single sworddwarf. Two seconds later, battle's over.

etherflan (reporter)
2012-03-01 07:59
edited on: 2012-03-01 08:16

I did some arena tests with dwarves wielding iron warhammers (no skills) and the battles between them were over almost instantly. I also pitted duplicate dwarves against various creatures, again they were over quite quickly. I think they may have been resolved.
Can anyone confirm from fortress or adventure mode that hammers work as intended now?

(did not check maces)

EDIT: Two of the duplicated dwarves is enough to take down elephants (fracturing bones, skull and braining them)

thvaz (reporter)
2012-03-31 08:46

I confirm etherflan tests. War hammers fulfill their roles well.
AVK (reporter)
2012-08-16 14:45

Right now, bludgeoning weapons do their job only because the AI automatically targets the head when the target blacks out from fracture-induced pain.

Once you start hitting something large enough that a.) perfect hammerblows can no longer smash the skull in and rip apart the brain with a single hit or b.) suffocation from upper spinal injury takes ages, such as with giants and cyclopes, the pummeling takes so long the dwarves start dropping from exhaustion in mid-strike.

Maces are also pretty bad because the effective amount of exerted force per contact area is half that of the hammer's.
Teddy (reporter)
2012-08-16 16:41
edited on: 2012-08-16 16:42

The AI automatically targetting the head of unconscious enemies is a problem in itself, however, when your weapons aren't strong enough to penetrate your opponent's helmet. I hadn't yet managed to get my hands on any melee weapons or ammunition when the second goblin ambush happened. Most of them got caught by my cage traps, but a bowyer managed to break through. I quickly assembled my (under-supplied) squad of crossbowdwarves to deal with him with their fists, and they quickly manage to beat him into unconsciousness.

After a minute or so of nothing happening, I realise that something must be wrong. Upon studying the combat report, I notice that each and every punch is aimed toward the goblin's head, and thus is deflected by its iron helmet. I think it finally suffocated from a spinal injury recieved earlier in the battle, the maximum injury I managed to inflict on the head was just a mere bruising.

kwieland (reporter)
2012-08-16 18:01

In 40d, war hammers sent things flying. The opponent would crash into whatever and were somewhat dazed. I have to agree with Teddy.
Footkerchief (manager)
2014-07-10 11:37

We have pulping now, so I'm marking this fixed.

- Issue History
Date Modified Username Field Change
2010-06-14 13:17 ChickenLips New Issue
2010-06-14 13:20 ChickenLips Note Added: 0008422
2010-06-14 13:21 AravinS Note Added: 0008423
2010-06-14 13:33 ChickenLips Note Added: 0008425
2010-06-14 13:33 ChickenLips Note Edited: 0008425 View Revisions
2010-06-14 13:55 Footkerchief Relationship added child of 0000033
2010-06-14 13:56 Footkerchief Note Added: 0008426
2010-06-14 14:16 ChickenLips Note Added: 0008431
2010-06-14 14:54 dree12 Note Added: 0008432
2010-06-14 16:09 ChickenLips Note Added: 0008434
2010-06-14 20:15 Cryten Note Added: 0008452
2010-06-14 20:51 ChickenLips Note Added: 0008455
2010-07-25 14:19 Footkerchief Note Added: 0011011
2010-07-25 14:19 Footkerchief Tag Attached: AWAITING UPDATE
2010-08-01 11:37 toybasher Note Added: 0011358
2010-08-09 19:27 qpingu Note Added: 0011681
2010-08-15 21:36 knofbath Note Added: 0011823
2010-08-15 22:45 partyalias Note Added: 0011824
2010-08-15 23:18 knofbath Note Added: 0011825
2010-08-15 23:38 knofbath Note Edited: 0011825 View Revisions
2010-08-15 23:49 knofbath Note Edited: 0011825 View Revisions
2010-08-16 00:19 knofbath Issue Monitored: knofbath
2010-08-16 06:17 Threlicus Issue Monitored: Threlicus
2010-08-16 07:18 Hieronymous Alloy Issue Monitored: Hieronymous Alloy
2010-09-15 09:04 Hieronymous Alloy Note Added: 0012656
2010-09-15 09:07 Hieronymous Alloy Note Edited: 0012656 View Revisions
2010-09-16 08:09 TomiTapio Note Added: 0012707
2010-09-16 08:11 TomiTapio Note Edited: 0012707 View Revisions
2010-10-14 08:57 Khym Chanur Issue Monitored: Khym Chanur
2011-04-06 03:53 PixelKnight Note Added: 0017119
2011-05-02 07:49 kwieland Note Added: 0017599
2011-05-02 07:59 kwieland Note Edited: 0017599 View Revisions
2011-08-13 02:19 Knight Otu Relationship added has duplicate 0004823
2012-02-20 18:53 Footkerchief Relationship added has duplicate 0003209
2012-02-26 11:48 Buglist Issue Monitored: Buglist
2012-03-01 07:59 etherflan Note Added: 0020945
2012-03-01 08:01 etherflan Issue Monitored: etherflan
2012-03-01 08:11 etherflan Note Edited: 0020945 View Revisions
2012-03-01 08:16 etherflan Note Edited: 0020945 View Revisions
2012-03-31 08:46 thvaz Note Added: 0021946
2012-08-16 14:45 AVK Note Added: 0023466
2012-08-16 16:41 Teddy Note Added: 0023467
2012-08-16 16:42 Teddy Note Edited: 0023467 View Revisions
2012-08-16 18:01 kwieland Note Added: 0023468
2012-09-11 21:12 Footkerchief Tag Detached: AWAITING UPDATE
2014-07-09 15:16 Footkerchief Tag Attached: Fixed in 0.40.01?
2014-07-10 11:37 Footkerchief Note Added: 0025562
2014-07-10 11:37 Footkerchief Status new => resolved
2014-07-10 11:37 Footkerchief Fixed in Version => 0.40.01
2014-07-10 11:37 Footkerchief Resolution open => fixed
2014-07-10 11:37 Footkerchief Assigned To => Toady One

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