Types of Damage

Main Damage Types

Damage can be classified as:

Special Damage Mechanics

Hyper Mode

Attack power boosted when HP is low by equipping certain items. Red Tearstone ring and Morion Blade both activate hypermode and the effect stacks for both items including an additional Morion Blade (but not another Red Tearstone Ring).

Counter Damage

Counter hits occur when one is attacked mid-attack animation, dealing additional counter damage. This is due to the counter state, wherein one's physical absorption VS thrust is temporarily reduced during an offensive action such as attacking or kicking, making them more vulnerable against thrust attacks.

In Cinders, all damage types can deal Counter Damage, but only Physical attacks benefit from the Leo Ring.

Instability Damage

Instability damage is triggered when one is hit during a few specific animations. A special "thunk" sound will play to indicate the difference from a normal counter hit.
Valid animations: within certain frames in normal attacks, parried, guard-broken, poise-broken (certain bosses and enemies), during jumping attacks, recoiling after striking a solid object, changing direction suddenly when dashing, recovering after dropping from sufficiently high altitude.

Critical Damage

Critical damage can be dealt by either riposting or backstabbing an enemy. A riposte can be done through parrying; guard breaking; or attacking after having dealt a sufficient amount of damage to a few select, non-player enemies' heads (the last form of riposte often referred to as a "visceral attack").

The weapon's Critical modifier will be applied to the weapon's damage during any of these attacks, increasing damage dealt.

Daggers have a higher multiplier for backstabs.

Thrusting Swords have a higher multiplier for ripostes.

Critical attacks with Dark damage is reduced against other players (but still functions normally for mobs.)

Headshot

If an enemy is shot in the head by an enemy projectile (i.e. with a bow/crossbow), its poise will be broken and will be temporarily stunned.
The damage applied is also increased by 50%. This also applies to many humanoid enemies with little or no protection on their head.
The scythe skill Neck Swipe also counts as a headshot.

Falling Damage

Falling is gravity calling your name for either a safe fall, a proportionate amount of damage, or death.

Falling damage is calculated as a percentage with respect to your embered max HP and how long you have been falling, as well as other aspects such as your amount of Dexterity, Vitality and Equipment Load. This means that after a certain point, you will die regardless of anything.

Clandestine Coat, Spook or the Silvercat Ring will completely negate all fall damage as long as the fall is not otherwise lethal for you.

Example: Fall down off the cliff next to Eygon Of Carim (Irina Of Carim's watcher in Undead Settlement) and you'll live with a sliver of health at max health. Fall down much farther than that with falling damage protection on, and you'll automatically die.

Information here is accurate for version 1.69.

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