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Do an Elemental's attacks ignore armor?

posted Jan 15, 2013 02:38:55 by bluefenix42
It is not clearly to me how the attacks of an elemental interact with armor. For some things, like a Gnome throwing rocks or an Undine blasting you with water, it seems like mundane armor might protect you. On the other hand, a Salamander's fire attacks or a Shade that will "frostburn opponents with their glacial
touch or freeze them solid if they can engulf them" sound like they would bypass mundane armor.

What do you think? Is it a case-by-case basis?
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2 replies
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RangerDan said Jan 15, 2013 10:02:21
Personally, I would allow armour to protect against the 'strike'-type attacks, regardless of the elemental type. Even against a salamander that shoots out 'jets of flame', a fully armoured knight will fare much better than his naked squire, so I feel armour should have an effect.

The Engulf is trickier, and I probably would rule that armour does not protect against being dunked into living flame, or ground to dust by animate rocks. This makes elementals much scarier up close that from a distance, which can make for an interesting encounter given an elemental's (usually) excellent mobility.

On the topic of the 'strike' attack, it is clear from the description elementals can launch bits of themselves as ranged weapons, but no range is mentioned. I would probably go with 5/25/50 like a thrown rock.

Your post has reminded me of how awesome elementals are. A moderately devoted Initiate (Devotion 60%) of the appropriate cult can summon a 6 m3 elemental, a 40 HP terror immune to weapons that dishes out 2d6 damage size Enormous blows, for 6 hours. Of course you'd have to stand next to it during that time but still... take that heathens!
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bluefenix42 said Jan 15, 2013 19:21:02
Good points, RangerDan. I ended up running an encounter with elementals last night, and decided to allow armor to block their attacks. However, I also allowed an elemental who had already engulfed a target to attempt grappling checks to get under the target's armor in a single location and inflict damage there.

My players (a party of 5) were up against seven 3-cubic-meter shades. The elementals were only attacking for 1d6, but most of the players didn't have heavy armor, so they still got pretty beat up. The battle went for twelve epic rounds before the players won out, with one of them left on the floor nearly dying of frostbite and hypothermia.

Probably the best part of the fight was when the players realized that the shades were not trying to use their engulfing attack against the one guy wielding a flameblade (fire does double damage to them). This led to another player making successful checks to draw and light a torch *while engulfed by a shade*, which I ruled forced it off of him. Once the players realized they could protect themselves with fire that way, it became a really interesting fight, as the shades tried to disarm and trip the players with slam attacks, while the players scrambled to hold on to as many torches and flameblade weapons as they could. One even started commanding his trained pet monkey to go retrieve dropped torches and bring them back to the fight!
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