Combat Game Mechanics

Battle Arts

Battle Arts are expressed through Skills common to a variety of weapons. The Battle Arts feature allows players to use special attacks with weapons and boost the damage of spells.

Using a weapon's Skill will consume Focus Points, which is displayed through the blue gauge on the HUD. Skills can still be performed without the requisite Focus Points, but the skill will not yield any of the enhanced properties it provides.

A list of Battle Arts is available here

Hyper Mode

Attack power boosted when HP is low by equipping certain items. Red Tearstone ring and Morion Blade both activate hypermode and the effect stacks for both items including an additional Morion Blade (but not another Red Tearstone Ring).

Projectile Deflection

If timed right, one can, with the right weapon, deflect an incoming projectile like a Firebomb by swinging a melee weapon.

Types of Damage

Counter Damage

Counter attacks occur when you attack an enemy mid-attack animation. Thrusting damage has an innate bonus when dealing a counter hit. These attacks have their damage multiplied by your weapon's counter damage modifier (which is hidden). For example, a weapon with a Counter Damage modifier of 110 would deal 110% damage during a counter attack.


Supercounters are triggered by hitting an enemy during a few specific animations. A special "thunk" sound will play to indicate the difference from a normal counter hit.
Valid animations: within certain frames in normal attacks, parried, guard-broken, poise-broken (certain bosses and enemies), mid-dashing, during jumping attacks, recoiling after striking a solid object, changing direction suddenly when dashing, recovering after dropping from sufficiently high altitude (and more?).

Critical Damage

Critical damage can be dealt by riposting or backstabbing an enemy. A riposte can either be done through parrying, guard breaking, or attacking after poise-breaking an enemy. The latter is often called a "visceral" attack.
The weapon's Critical modifier will be applied to the weapon's damage during any of these attacks, increasing damage dealt.


If an enemy is shot in the head by an enemy projectile (i.e. with a bow/crossbow), its poise will be broken and will be temporarily stunned.
The damage applied is also increased by 50%. This also applies to many humanoid enemies with little or no protection on their head.
The scythe skill Neck Swipe also counts as a headshot.

Falling Damage

Falling is gravity calling your name for either a safe fall, a proportionate amount of damage, or death. What determines this, is based on an older Dark Souls falling system.

  • Determining Damage and Death

You will always take damage on a relatively moderate/far drop down, unless Spook or the Silvercat Ring is used. However, the falling system in Dark Souls works in a way that will automatically defy your falling damage protective items and kill you if you jump just a meter too far down than you should have. Even if there's landable ground under you.

Example: Fall down off the cliff next to Eygon Of Carim (Irina Of Carim's watcher in Undead Settlement) and you'll live with a sliver of health at max health. Fall down much farther than that with falling damage protection on, and you'll automatically die.


Spell Scaling

Details of Catalysts may be required. How spellbuff works (not spell types) and what is only affected by spellbuff i.e. weapon buffs.

These are the rules of spell damage scaling for spell types:

It's notable that Crystal Chime allows Sorceries and Miracles to scale with both Intelligence and Faith. However physical damage miracles (e.g. Emit Force) do not scale from Intelligence. [1]

Using battle art abilities like Steady Chant, Chant from the Depths and Awakening will benefit spells casted from another catalyst. e.g. Steady chant from the Sage's Crystal Staff and then casting spells with a Crystal Chime will increase the damage of Crystal Soul Spear.

Casting and Movement

Certain spells can be cast whilst moving. These are:

[*] Unique animation while walking including sprinting and rolling attacks.

Casting speed is improved by Dexterity (caps at 50) and some equipment may help boost this. These are:


Poise and Hyper Armor

When performing certain attacks with specific weapons, you will receive Hyper Armor during a portion of the attack animation that is protected by a hidden health meter (Poise Health) that can be increased with the Poise stat. If an opponent does enough Poise damage to you during Hyper Armor is active they may stagger you. [2] [3]


Resistance is a damage absorption modifier applied to the elemental damage types upon taking damage. This applies both to the player and to enemies.

As of App 1.10 there's 5 breakpoints for the defenses. The calculation for damage against defense formula are as follows:

  • If DEF >8x ATK, deal damage equal to 0.10 * ATK
  • If DEF >ATK, deal damage equal to (19.2/49 * (ATK/DEF-0.125)^ 2 +0.1) * ATK
  • If DEF >0.4x ATK, deal damage equal to (-0.4/3 * (ATK/DEF-2.5)^ 2 +0.7) * ATK
  • If DEF >0.125x ATK, deal damage equal to (-0.8/121 * (ATK/DEF-8)^ 2 +0.9) * ATK
  • If DEF <0.125x ATK, deal damage equal to 0.90 * ATK


Weakness is a damage absorption modifier applied to the type of physical damage taken. It can either be Standard, Slash, Strike or Thrust.


1. TobiaF, Nov 2, 2016. "Spell tools and spell buff explained". Dark Souls III Subreddit post.
2. SirHalvard, Nov 12, 2016. "Refined Poise Calculator [1.08]". Dark Souls III Subreddit post.
3. "Dark Souls 3 Regulation 1.08 Frame Data". Google Docs spreadsheet.


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