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(Inspired by this question)

The only mechanical difference (beside price) between Hide and Scale mail is that once you can use the specialization, the one provides resistance against piercing, the other bludgeoning.

So which is more common, monsters with piercing, bludgeoning or slashing damage?

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2 Answers 2

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Piercing is significantly more common

To find this, I utilized the data collected by someone on Reddit (as of Jan 15 2021). They combed Archive of Nethys with a script, and pulled out monster information into a Google Sheet. I took a copy of that information and did a count of all monsters that had at least one melee attack of that type, and another for ranged attacks. Here are my results:

Attack Type Piercing Bludgeoning Slashing
Melee 545 376 391
Ranged 122 71 11
Total 667 447 402

As you can see, Piercing damage is vastly more common in both melee and ranged attacks.

Limitations of the Data

Total is not a mutually exclusive total; a creature with a bludgeoning melee attack and a bludgeoning ranged attack will be counted twice for the bludgeoning total. However, I still think the numbers provide a good representation of the reality. Additionally, this data may change as more monsters are released: such is the way of things. However, I'd expect this trend to hold as a general principal.

This data also does not address in any way the relative strength of these attacks, nor does it address in anyway that several monsters will have multiple types of these attacks. Perhaps all the piercing attacks are not all that good and likely to be used! (Unlikely, considering Jaws attacks are usually piercing, and are often the strongest a creature has).

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They're pretty evenly distributed in the Bestiary

That being said, it isn't necessarily true that all the monsters out there are evenly distributed in your campaign. If, for instance, you're in the land of trolls, then bludgeoning is going to be more common, but if you're in a land where just about everyone has a sword, then slashing is probably your best option. It just really depends on what you expect to encounter. You can probably convince your roll some type of knowledge local or information gathering to help you in your decision for your character in your campaign, but a good DM will probably have a good variety between the 3 anyway, so you're probably better off just choosing one and having it come up only about 1/3 of the time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is a good frame challenge. That said, the opening line "They're pretty evenly distributed in the Monster Manual" does not have a source or reference backing itself up; it should either show data or be removed \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2021 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just wanting to double check; Monster Manual is, I believe, a DnD 5e book. This question is tagged as Pathfinder 2e, which calls its equivalents Bestiaries. That doesn't mean this answer is incorrect, but I want to make we get the system right. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Jan 15, 2021 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE Thanks, I have updated my answer to indicate the bestiary instead of the monster manual. Good catch. I also looked and there seems to be the same equal distribution there as exists in the 5e Material. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mathaddict
    Jan 15, 2021 at 22:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mathaddict I wouldn't trust my own (or someone else's) ability to look at something like a bestiary and just be able to tell there is an equal distribution, you have to count to really know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Jan 15, 2021 at 22:57

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