Damage types, or elements, are the distinct flavors that monster and player attacks have in Angband and its variants. All common damage types have their own side-effects and can be resisted through type-specific resistances, although many rare elements cannot be resisted at all.
The four most common damage types in Angband are acid, fire, cold and electricity, collectively termed the base elements; the fifth-commonest damage type, poison, is sometimes also considered a base element. Attacks based on these five elements can be extremely deadly, to the point of killing even strong characters from full health if not resisted.
All damage types are projectable, meaning that it is possible to have bolts, balls, breaths and line-of-sight effects based on them and that they have the potential to affect objects and terrain features in addition to monsters and the player. In practice, many elements have no effects on objects or terrain when projected.
All damage types have a damage cap, limiting the maximum amount of damage a breath based on that element can deal before accounting for resistances. Damage caps are applied only to breaths, not to any other attacks based on the element, although this is only rarely relevant since the deadliest attacks tend to be breaths. In Vanilla Angband, the four base elements have an extremely high damage cap of 1600, higher than the maximum hit points attainable by any character. Damage types also have a divisor, used for monster breath-attack damage calculations. In Angband, fire has a divisor of 3, meaning fire breath damage is calculated by dividing the breathing monster's remaining hit points by 3; if the result is higher than 1600, the cap is applied. Vanilla Angband uses the same divisors for all monsters, but some variants allow individual monsters to have their own divisors.
Many damage types have a corresponding resistance or immunity; resistances reduce damage and may block or mitigate side-effects, while immunities block both damage and side-effects completely. The exact effects of a resistance vary, both from variant to variant and from element to element. Not all elements can be resisted, and in Vanilla Angband only the four base elements have a corresponding player immunity, although monsters can have additional immunities.
Not all player or monster attacks have a damage type; melee attacks and projectiles often simply deal raw damage, although it is possible for them to be elemental as well. Projectable attacks such as bolts, balls and breaths always have a damage type or at least a projection type.
Common damage types
The five most common elements – acid, electricity, fire, cold and poison – date back to Angband's predecessors, Moria and UMoria. Many additional elements were added very early in the development of Angband; the list of damage types in today's Vanilla Angband remains almost unchanged from PCAngband 1.0 and Angband 2.5.0, although variants often add new damage types. The table of elements below is not comprehensive, and is limited to elements shared by most or many variants. Damage caps are not listed, as they vary between variants and versions; long-standing damage caps for a number of high elements were adjusted up in Angband 4.2.0, to compensate for making resistances more effective.
|Acid||One of the base elements. Destroys scrolls, staves, chests, ammunition and most wearable items not currently equipped. Reduces AC bonuses on equipped armour. Acid damage is halved by armour, making it the least deadly base element, but the item damage and AC loss make it highly annoying.|
|Electricity||One of the base elements. Also known as lightning. Destroys wands and rings, may also destroy rods depending on variant.|
|Fire||One of the base elements. Destroys scrolls, staves, chests, spellbooks, arrows and some types of unequipped equipment.|
|Cold||One of the base elements. Also known as frost. Destroys potions and flasks of oil.|
|Poison||Sometimes considered or treated as a base element. Causes poisoning in addition to immediate damage. In PosChengband and FrogComposband, causes extreme poisoning but no immediate damage at all.|
|Light||Causes blindness in addition to damage. A special form of light, weak light, only hurts monsters vulnerable to light.|
|Darkness||Causes blindness in addition to damage. May darken the surrounding area or have other side-effects, depending on variant.|
|Confusion||Causes confusion in addition to damage. Angband 3.3.0 removed direct damage from confusion, and 4.0.0 deprecated confusion as an element altogether; it remains a damaging element in most variants.|
|Nether||The element of the underworld, nether traditionally has a relatively high damage cap and so can be very deadly even when resisted. Causes variant-dependent side-effects, usually including experience drain.|
|Nexus||Infamous for its side-effects, which depend on the game but generally include teleportation, teleport-to, teleport level, and stat scrambling. Scrambling was changed in Angband 4.1.0, turning it into a temporary effect, but the much-feared old scrambling mechanics are still retained in many variants.|
|Sound||Causes stunning in addition to damage. Destroys potions and flasks of oil.|
|Shards||Causes cuts in addition to damage. Destroys potions and flasks of oil. A key resistance in late-game FrogComposband and PosChengband, less so in Vanilla Angband.|
|Chaos||Also known as logrus in ZAngband-derived variants. Causes confusion, hallucinations and experience drain in addition to damage, traditionally has a relatively high damage cap. May cause other, variant-specific side effects such as mutations.|
|Disenchantment||Can permanently reduce magical bonuses on equipment, in addition to damage; may also have variant-specific effects such as dispelling buffs. The only element capable of harming an artifact.|
|Time||Not resistable in Vanilla Angband, but can be resisted in some variants. Side-effects include stat drain, experience drain and variant-specific effects. Highly annoying but seldom deadly, except when the player is in an open area full of Time Hounds.|
|Plasma||Generally not resistable. Causes stunning as a side-effect; this can be resisted through either resistance to sound or direct resistance to stunning or both, depending on the variant.|
|Inertia||Generally not resistable. Causes slowness as a side-effect, which can be resisted in some variants but not in Vanilla Angband.|
|Gravity||Generally not resistable. Side-effects include slowness, stunning, blinking, and variant-specific effects such as item destruction; these may be resistable.|
|Water||Generally not resistable. Side-effects include confusion, stunning and variant-specific effects such as item destruction; these can be resisted. Unrelated to the element acid (despite their names, water hounds and water vortices are based on acid rather than water).|
|Mana||Raw magic, generally not resistable. Mana storms (balls of mana) are generally among the deadliest non-breath spell attacks. Destroys floor objects.|
|Disintegration||Generally not resistable. Destroys terrain features and floor objects in addition to damage. Not present in any versions of Vanilla Angband, but is a common addition in variants.|
The word element is generally synonymous with damage type, but was historically sometimes used in a more narrow sense to refer exclusively to the base elements. This narrower usage can still be seen in both Vanilla Angband and FrogComposband in such phrases as "allows you to breathe the elements" or "temporary resistance to the elements", where the reference is to the base elements only.
Projection types or GF-types are a larger category that includes other projectable effects such as lighting effects, nondamaging status effects and teleportation beams in addition to damage types proper. The underlying code generally treats these additional effects indistinguishably from damage types, and they may be considered highly exotic elements, although Vanilla Angband explicitly defines only damaging effects as elements. GF, a historical abbreviation of the get_flags() code function, is traditionally used in the code to indicate a projectable effect (fire, for example, is termed GF_FIRE); this abbreviation was gradually deprecated in Vanilla Angband during Nick McConnell's maintainership and completely removed in Angband 4.1.0, but it remains current in most variants.