In a combat game, with everything else considered such as basic attack damage, the attacker's strength, the victim's defense and resistance, and anything else that may modify the damage, a same attack will always do the same damage to the same enemy. Either that, or the game doesn't use a damage formula to begin with.
This, however, is when an attack doesn't always deal the same damage every time - it highly depends on your luck.
In some games (notably RPGs), even normal attacks have a range of values as their base damage. The idea is: No two strikes are ever the same. Maybe you hit a previous injury, or an armored part of the monster, something that's subject to the gameplay's conservation of detail. For games like these, only examples where an attack has a particularly wide range of damage values should be listed here.
Note that this doesn't just apply to attacks - it may be buff spell, defensive technique, even healing - so long as its effects vary depending on random chance.
class usually will have many attacks of this property as part of their gimmick.
Related tropes are Random Number God
, Random Effect Spell
, Critical Hit
and Critical Failure
. Subtrope of Unpredictable Results
Compare and contrast Fixed Damage Attack
, Percent Damage Attack
and Situational Damage Attack
- Nathan Drake and Good Cole MacGrath in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale both receive a 3-hit melee combo that always results in a randomized finisher, all gaining the same amount of AP, but with different hit-reactions. They are:
- Drake's Neutral Square combos comes with a potential right-hook or uppercut, which both result in lifting the victim a short height into the air, and a frontal kick which knocks them onto their backside for a moment. For the combo's sake, you'll probably want the kick.
- Good Cole's results in him either bashing the enemy with his amp in two different ways, both resulting in an eject roll, or jamming his palm into them for a crumple-state. Considering that Cole gets his major damage from combos, you'll probably want the crumple.
- In the Super Smash Bros. series, Mr Game & Watch's side special attack (called "Judgement") does random damage AND random effects ranging from Mr Game & Watch damaging himself through various Status Effects to smashing the opponent off the map for a One-Hit Kill.
Hack and Slash
- Team Fortress 2 has this applied to most weapons by default (10% more or less), with the exception of Critical Hits, which always do the same amount of damage, and mediguns, which heal at a fixed rate. This can be turned off by typing "tf_damage_disablespread 1" into the Developer's Console (only applied to your own server).
- Dofus has a gambling class in Ecaflips who have moves that deal damage randomly between a minimum and maximum base damage amount. The majority of their skills have random base damage, and are themed around gambling themes like card games, slot machines, and coin flipping. Some of their skills even heal the enemy back a small amount to add to the gambling theme.
- In Elsword, Trapping Ranger's Fatality skill can deal either massive, medium, low or Scratch Damage in one hit.
- Perhaps one of the biggest complaints about World of Tanks is the RNG involving nearly all aspects of a shot. Guns generally display their average damage when viewed in-game. Actual damage can vary by 25% in either direction and a string of low damage rolls can seriously hamper a player, especially at higher tiers as average damage and variance increase.
- Chaos Knight from Dota2 has Chaos Bolt, which inflicts a random but inversely-related amount of damage and stun. Upgrading the spell increases both the maximum and minimum values of both the damage and stun, but there's still a big difference between a 275 damage skill that stuns for 2 seconds, and one that does 100 and stuns for 4.
- The old DOS game Wizard's Castle deals consistent damage with physical weapons, but the magic spell Fireball deals between one and fifteen points of damage, fifteen being enough to One-Hit Kill any adversary. Similarly, the Web spell will render an adversary unable to strike for as few as one turn to many as five turns.
- In Mega Man Battle Network series, NumberMan.EXE's Dice Bomb deals damage based on the number on the top side of the dice.
- Chrono Trigger
- The move Magnitude has a power between 10 (Magnitude 4) and 150 (Magnitude 10).
- The move Psywave also does random damage; specifically it deals a random number between 0.5x and 1.5x the user's level.
- Present does variable damage, in particular with a chance to do negative damage (ie heal the opponent).
- Some moves, such as Fury Attack, Pin Missile, Bullet Seed and others, deal normal damage with each hit but hit a random number of times. This is negated if the user has the Skill Link ability, when they'll always hit the maximum amount of times (usually five) unless the opponent faints before all of them hit.
- In several Final Fantasy games there's a high-level spell called "Comet" or "Meteor" with a huge variability in its damage output — it could do 100 points damage one turn and 9999 the next, when other spells are more consistent from one use to the next.
- In Final Fantasy VI, Setzer's dice weapons do entirely random damage which is only affected by his level. The game rolls either two or three six-sided dice (depending on the weapon), then multiplies their face values together along with Setzer's level to get the final damage. Doubles and triples multiply the damage further. Since the enemy's defense isn't considered, these weapons are best used against enemies with exceptionally high physical defense such as Cactuars.
- Cait Sith's Dice Limit Break in Final Fantasy VII, which rolls several dice and then inflicts damage equal to the result multiplied by 20 to one enemy.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Quina's normal attack does random damage which is either pathetic or higher than any other physical attacker. This makes him/her a capable (if unreliable) Fighter-type character, but his/her specialty is Blue Magic anyway.
- In Final Fantasy X, Wakka's Attack Reels overdrive deals as many hits as the number you line up in a quick slot reels Mini-Game. This can add up to quite a bit or be barely anything at all depending on the player's reflexes.
- Axes and bombs in Final Fantasy XII vanilla did random damage (unless you scored a Critical Hit, in which case they were devastating.) That, and the fact that most of the better varieties of each weapon were hard to come by, made them unviable for anything beyond experimentation and Self Imposed Challenges.
- Weapons in the Fallout series generally have a damage range listed in their stats.
- In Super Mario RPG, enemy attacks have no random variation of damage, but the player's attacks do. The variation depends on the weapon; unarmed attacks have no randomness, whereas the Masher and Lazy Shell have a very large random factor.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Almost all attacks that do physical damage (melee combat, spells, psionics, etc.) inflict a variable number of Hit Points. In fact it would be quicker and easier to list the attacks that always do the same damage. This is true of most games inspired by Dungeons & Dragons as well.
- Warhammer 40,000
- This game has several weapons with random strength or random amount of hits, usually determined by D6 or D3 roll. Examples include Chaos daemon weapons (random amount of hits) and Ork zzapguns (random strength). The most extreme example is probably the Dark Eldar Casket of Flensing, which has random range, random amount of shots and random strength.
- Weapons with situational damage also exist, but are much rarer. The conversion beamer, a rare weapon available to certain Space Marine characters and Inquisitors, deals more damage the further away the target is, while the pulse submunition cannons of the Tau R'varna battlesuit increase in strength and amount of hits as the target's size increases.
- In Advance Wars, Flak's CO power randomly makes his units do a lot more more damage or a lot less.
- In X-COM, the weapon stats displayed in game show average damage. Guns roll from 0 to 200% of that, while explosives roll 50-150%. Lucky soldiers can survive point-blank heavy weapons fire while unlucky ones die to stray pistol rounds.