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The 8th level Decaying rune deals 1d4 Void damage, even to constructs:

When you hit with the weapon, add 1d4 void damage [...] Unlike normal void damage, the void damage from a decaying rune damages objects, constructs, and the like by eroding them away.

I assume it does not ignore the hardness of constructs, because then the Greater rune would be pointless. However, why does it increase the damage only by 1d4, when the Corrosive, Frost, Shock etc runes on 8th level increase it by 1d6?

One fellow player suggested because it is "special" void damage, even damaging constructs. But fire, cold, etc also damages constructs, so I do not really understand.

Is there some obvious reason I am missing, or this is just a random decision by the designers?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any void resistance? \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 12 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish, not that I know of, but there are many things that are immune, that is why Decaying is the only rune where the Greater one ignores Immunities too \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Apr 12 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish The Remastered Bestiary isn't on Archive yet, but it's the new equivalent to negative damage, for which you can see the (pre-remaster) totals here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/179500/… \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Apr 12 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András there's an easy case to be made for the Greater Decaying rune, but I'm assuming you aren't referencing that one. Is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Apr 12 at 16:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE, good point, I added that I am talking about the 8th level version \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Apr 12 at 17:35

2 Answers 2

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Void is Hard to Exploit

The rules for designing creatures have some guidance around how immunities, resistances, and weaknesses to damage types should modify a creature's other health, which might be part of the design reasoning for the rune to deal less damage:

If a creature has a weakness, especially to something common, give it additional HP. The amount of additional HP might depend on how tough the creature should feel if the PCs don't exploit its weakness; a tough creature might have additional HP equal to quadruple the weakness value. A creature with a hard-to-exploit weakness might have additional HP equal to the weakness value or less.

Compared to something like a troll with a weakness to fire and more than the maximum recommended HP (despite regeneration normally recommending a reduced max HP), a creature with void weakness would likely have a smaller amount of HP because fire is a more common damage type.

Unfortunately there's few to no existing creatures with a void weakness, so despite any design intentions it's often just less powerful than alternatives like flaming for now. An even bigger weakness of void damage is the vast number of creatures that ignore it, including all constructs and undead.

Even the greater version of the rune that ignores void immunity might not work against undead, as possessing the Void Healing ability rather than an explicit immunity:

Void Healing A creature with void healing draws health from void energy rather than vitality energy. It is damaged by vitality damage and is not healed by healing vitality effects. It does not take void damage, and it is healed by void effects that heal undead.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If "void is hard to exploit", should it not have a higher damage die instead of smaller? \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Apr 16 at 9:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András Maybe you're considering, "it's hard to deal void damage", which is somewhat true and addressed as the bigger weakness of void damage compared to -1 expected damage at 1d4 vs. 1d6. As a weakness void is harder to exploit, so successfully doing so on every Strike would have a higher relative value following the creature creation guidelines. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Commented Apr 16 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @How many creatures do you konw about with Void weakness? \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Apr 17 at 9:31
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Resource Management

My guess is this choice was probably made to avoid a permanent (and fast) healstick for void healing PCs. The lowest (non-ammunition) damage die is a d4. If you put Decaying on such a weapon, the d4 void from Decaying will on average roll the same as the d4 weapon die. If that void damage were a d6 or higher, then the average void damage would beat out the average weapon base damage, and you could slap your dhampyr friend with a decaying scourge or whatever until they're full up, without spending any resources but the initial gold investment.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Per Negative Healing (which is the thing that makes most undead immune to Negative/Void damage) there isn't anything that says undead heal from taking Negative/Void damage. I don't have the remastered bestiary, but I'd be surprised if that changed (aside from the name). The rule states simply that they do not take Negative damage, not that they instead heal that amount. This is an understandable confusion coming from PF1e, fwiw, but that would make this rationale improbable (unless the designers themselves were confused). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Apr 15 at 21:29

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