Roleplaying combat and wounds

I recently spotted several interesting articles about roleplaying combat. Of course, I chipped in on the effects of various types of magic damage in World of Warcraft.

Here's what I wrote:
One thing about iron and steel is that they conduct heat quite well. While your plate mail may absorb the physical impact of a fireball, it does nothing against the heat. That particular piece of armor will warm up and burn your undergarments/flesh inside. If a warrior loses to a fire mage, his armor may be unharmed, but the person inside is quite crispy.

Frost works a bit differently, but the principle is the same. A frostbolt is basically a projectile of superchilled ice. The heat from the armor and the victim is transferred to the projectile, melting the frostbolt and chilling the victim.

One particular quirk about freezing objects is that they become quite brittle at low temperatures. Many of you have probably seen demonstrations where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and then shatter previously strong objects. If a frost mage uses Frost Nova or procs Frostbite, the next blow could be quite fatal.

Arcane damage is somewhat trickier. Instead of emulating natural forces, Arcane is pure energy. Combat applications of Arcane would probably shape it to become antimatter. Inside an Arcane Missile bolt, there's a tiny grain of antimatter. When it hits anything made of normal matter, the two cancel each other out and both are turned into pure energy. Thus, Arcane both annihilates a piece of the victim completely and releases energy around the impact point. This energy gets translated into heat and burns the surrounding flesh. If you want a sample of the effect, you can look at the ending cinematic of Warcraft 3. Wisps surround Archimonde and begin disinterating him. Finally, they all strike him at once, and the resulting burst of energy scorches the landscape around Nordrassil.

Most nature damage in this game is in the form of poisons and acid, but druids do have the Wrath spell. Personally, I would assume that a Wrath bolt ignores armor completely, moving through it like it was never there. When it hits flesh, the effect could be like a spread of a tumor. The cells' growth goes uncontrolled, and the results would resemble a benign tumor. The "cancer" cells would also require nutrients and oxygen. Eventually, the victim's body can no longer supply enough oxygen, causing the victim to pass out and die unless the tumors are cut out. Someone killed with Wrath would be a gruesome sight indeed.

Shadow damage is a special case. It has a both physical and a mental component. A priest's Mind Blast spell, for example, attacks the victim's mind directly. In mundane terms, I would assume that this attack is in the form of very disturbing images and thoughts, designed to agitate the victim and drive him into a shock. Doing an autopsy on a victim of Mind Blast would probably reveal that he died of bursted blood vessels in the brain and the heart, as well as lack of oxygen caused by hyperventilation. Also, his heart would have gone into "overdrive", pumping so rapidly that the thrusts lacked strength to push blood around his veins. Similarly, Shadow Word: Pain fools the body into thinking that it's in great pain, causing it to overreact.

The physical component of Shadow would be somewhat akin to acid. The victim's armor and flesh would be dissolved by an impact of a Shadowbolt, for example. The effects of Warlock curses would be akin to a malignant tumors, corrupting healthy cells and spreading all over the victim's body. Healing a cursed victim can not be done via surgery, it would require magic or letting the body's natural defenses work their course.

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