I don’t know about you, but feel like in combat, I’m constantly asking “what kind of damage is that?” or reminding my GM about the type of damage my character just did. In 3rd edition, there were a few spells and magic items that did some sort of typed damage, and a good number of bad guys had resistances but most damage, especially from weapons, was untyped. This was probably an improvement over 2nd edition’s +2 vs goblins swords. Then you could have a sword that does fire damage and its good against monsters vulnerable to fire, in a pretty standard way.
In 4e, it feels like almost every power has some kind of type keyword associated with it: acid, poison, necrotic, thunder, radiant, psychic, etc. My 6th level character doesn’t have a single attack that isn’t typed (other than basic weapon). In addition my character has several typed defenses. This means that damage type matters a lot more often than it used to. This is cool in the sense that it can really help develop a flavor of character. E.g. you’re a Paladin specialized in fire attacks or your some kind of thundering warlock, etc. It also makes some things like poison and necromancy fall into the same rules set as other types of attacks, simplifying the combat model.
This is all well and good, but I feel it takes away constantly having to remind everybody about the damage types. It certainly breaks me out of the moment. Maybe I do it way more than is necessary, but as a player I’m looking for any advantage I can get.
Unfortunately for this post, I don’t have a lot of advice on this matter. But, there is a purpose to my rant. Now that I have a good number of people following, I feel like I can ask the community: “how do you deal with typed damage?” Are there tricks to keep its relevancy but not have it be so interrupting in the moment?
The best suggestion I can think of is using some kind of color-coded marker on the miniatures indicating defenses or vulnerabilities. That way the attacking player can know at a glance whether or not the damage type will matter and only have to mention it when it makes sense, instead of mentioning it all the time. The color-coding can also go on initiative tracker or board, so otherwise be present at the table. I suppose too that we could come up with euphemisms for each damage type. For example, if I hit a ghoul with a radiant strike, I could say “the light of the heavens shines through the end of my staff, piercing the ghoul’s skin in 40 shimmering points around the bruise” instead of “I strike for 40 points of radiant damage.” But I feel silly doing that every attack.