Did anyone ever wondered how is that core (and skill) shots from DF Rusted Bow + Barbed Nails make a bigger impression on airborne Firedrake than multiple Holy F*** Bolts from Gold Rarefied Bane Archistaff with all Knockdown Augments?

Now, I have this hypothesis about stagger/knockdown (s/k) power application from weapons differing between Spells and [physical] Skills.

Spell vs Skill hypothesis

The difference would be that:

  1.  Skills don't lose their s/k power even when dealing 0 damage (one can easily test it with Rusted bow and 2xBarbed Nails, even core shots will knock dragons off the sky)
  2. While Spells in such situation bear no, or next to no, "weight" (Gold Rarefied Rusted Archistaff + 2xBarbed Nails and even Maelstrom feels like a breeze to Magick resistant foes like Goblin Shaman).

A large PS

Now, so far all my trials were conclusive and supporting my hypothesis. But then I tried Powder Blast on Firedrake and it's both damage and s/k power were ...none.

This inspired me to inspect the skill in mention a bit closer. I brought 3* Bastard sword to make sure I don't deal any damage (my basic Strength is 258), also Gold Rarefied Silver Rapier and Gold Rarefied Almace. Brought all this to a Firedrake ofc.

  • Almace, naturally, had a great s/k and damage output ...from other attacks but Powder Blast was lacking it's power in terms of s/k and damage. So the statement in the Powder Blast article, about element of enchantment not influencing damage is true.
  • Bastard did no damage, with any Skill, as expected but also Powder Blast was lacking its s/k power.

BTW Yes, I was still able to knockdown a Firedrake with 3* Bastard, with other skills.

  • And Silver Rapier did a bit of damage with other skills but again, both damage and s/k from Powder Blast were not present.

And since Fire damage makes a huge portion of said skill dmage it look consistent, right? The problem is, according to my hypothesis physical skills doesn't need to deal any damage to stagger/knockdown an enemy.

So I started second turn of testing, took strongest sword I got ti Gold Rerefied Cursed Bite, and weakest one, basic Rusted Sword. Coupled both with 2 x Barbed Nails and tried these on enemies only strong against Magick attacks.  I also brought a handsome stack of Conqueror's Periapts to push Firedrake to the limit ;)

Goblin shaman and Gorechimera

  • Powder Blast with Rusted Sword +2 x Barbed nails giving a total of 298 Stagger/Knockdown power and 268 total Strength was still enough to knockdown (and up ;) a Goblin shaman.

"You don't think it was the Fire part that had broke through"  one may think. And looking at Goblin shaman's stats: 1350 Magick defense and 50% Fire resistance, surely makes one doubt. But the Powder Blast damage calculation is

1x Main Explosion: 1115 base skill damage + 258 base Strength + 10 Weapon Strength = 1383


3x Subsequent Explosions: 452 +258 + 5 = 2145

so, yeah, 3528 mainly Fire damage, duh.

  • Then I tried the same setup on Gorechimera with similar result: one detonation under it and the creature is on the ground. Gorechimera has 70% Fire resistance and at least Magick Defense of 300. So it may be that the Fire part did break through.
  • Naturally there was no need for Cursed Bite testing ;)

Conclusion: Powder Blast used with non-enhaced Rusted Sword and 2x Barbed Nails has huge Stagger/Knockdown power with enemies NOT immune to Fire even when compared to Mighty Bend with a decent bow like GR Dragon's Ire +2x Barbed Nails (which requires two face shots on Gorechimera to work).

Then I tried Rusted setup on Hellhounds
As we know, these are immune to Fire (yet their article says "resistant" hmm) but their Physical Defenses aren't enormous like with Firedrakes. Still

  • Damage from Powder Blast was satisfying ...but no stagger/knockdown whatsoever (only flinch from explosion). Even after two subsequent detonations!
  • On the other hand Mighty Bend to the face from a Dragon Forged Rusted Bow (+ 2x Barbed Nails, total Stagger/Knockdown power 309) was enough to knockdown a Hellhound.
  • Now the fun part. I removed both Barbed Nails and a single Mighty Bend to the face (and even to the body) from Dragon Forged Rusted Bow (total s/k power 109) was still able to knockdown a Hellhound...
  • Again, who cares about Cursed Bite tests anymore?

This suggests that Fire damage is the stagger/knockdown vector here. And if no Fire damage can be dealt, no Stager/Knockdown occurs.

BTW For some reason wasn't able to knockdown a Hellhound even with Cursed Bite setup. Interesting?

Now to Firedrake

  • Not only single Mighty Bend faceshot from DF Rusted Bow +2x Barbed Nails easily knocks an airborne Firedrake down (two without Barbed Nails) but also [three] tho the heart knock it down during ground combat.

BTW Multiple core shots with a Rusted setup to the face aren't enough to bring an airborne Firedrake down (unless it's preparing a Fire breath) while attacks to the heart can.

  • In the same scenario Powder Blast naturally does nothing with Rusted setup.
  • With Gold Rarefied Cursed Bite + 2x Barbed Nails however

...well, definitely I was able to [finally] bring an airborne Firedrake down cause dragonkin are easily knocked down when airborne (with detonation near its tail).

BTW I tested Mighty Bend with Rusted setup on a tail of an airborne Firedrake too. Works just as wing shots so definitely explosion had to overcome a lot.

  • Once on the ground, explosion effected in knockdown when detonated by the heart. And I even saw why: I finally started dealing damage with Powder Blast (a small one ;).

"You don't think it was the fire portion of damage that broke through, do you?" 

Yeah, yeah, we have been going through this already ;)

But yes, Firedrake should NOT receive any damage from Fire part. Well, the damage was relatively small so, I think not. So maybe the Physical part takes over when Fire fails? But what abnout Hellhound results?

Also, core attacks were dealing similar damage in comparison to Powder Blast, and single jump Heavy attack to the heart (both hits) was even enough to knock it down too.

Additional testing
Since Cursed Bite setup turned out to be overkill, I boosted GR Silver Rapier (total Strength 1047) with a single Conqueror's Periapt to create an intermediate setup. And bingo! Powder Blast started to deal minuscule damage but still was wiping the floor with Firedrake.
... and then I recalled I had Impact equipped ;)

But it was just a comparison so who cares, right?
I repeated all tests without Impact anyway and results were the same:

  • enemies with fire immunities are easier knocked down with Mighty Bend and require an overkill Strength to be affected by Powder Blast's knockdown power
  • enemies without Fire immunity fall easier before Powder Blast.

It looks like Fire immunity plays part in knockdown effectiveness of Powder Blast - which deals mostly Fire damage. It also appears that the explosion/s though not considered magickal by the game, as they don't affect incorporeal beings, act like a Spell when it comes to knockdown calculation.

Anyway, if my Spell vs Skill hypothesis is correct (and all tests so far were showing it is) this would mean that knockdown for certain physical Skills like Powder Blast is calculated like that of Spells, and one has to breach enemy defenses to stagger/knock it down with these.

Your thoughts?