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Damage Over Time

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"Slowly. Gently. This is how a life is taken."
The Ancestor, Darkest Dungeon

Damage Over Time (or just DoT) is a common Video Game mechanic where, instead of sustaining one-time sums of damage from one attack at a time, a unit receives a negative status that inflicts a small amount of damage at regular intervals, independent of any other factors or further attacks against them. The definition of an 'interval' varies by game: In action-based genres these intervals may be measured in real time, while turn-based genres (including non-video games, like a Tabletop RPG) may measure intervals based on "turns" or "rounds".

Depending on how long the effect lasts, the accumulated damage can become significant, especially if combined with an Area of Effect to harm multiple targets simultaneously. On a mechanical level, this is the opposite of Gradual Regeneration (and the "Regenerate" Status Buff), and some varieties may officially neutralize or counteract each other.

Note that characters who prefer defeating opponents via this method are almost always evil due to the connotations of slow, painful deaths (as opposed to the more-heroic quick and clean kills).

Damage over time can manifest from a wide variety of in-game sources:

  • Any number of Status EffectsPoison is the obvious candidate here, but other status labels like "burn" or "bleeding" may cause it as well. If a game has more than one, expect there to be subtle differences to keep them from being redundant, such as being able to put out fire by jumping into water or healing items doubling as antidotes to poison. And if these are both affects the player can inflict, certain enemies may be immune to one but not the other. A character who needs food badly may also lose HP over time from starvation.
  • A nearby hostile Field Power Effect
  • Falling into any Hazardous Water
  • Falling into Videogame Lava (or in some cases, just being in the same room as it, partially averting Convection, Schmonvection)
  • Characters who are Allergic to Evil (or vice versa)

Similarly, and depending on how long the fight went on while the character is suffering from Damage Over Time, this could very well result in You Are Already Dead.


(For sake of expediency, only list examples that are not covered by existing sub-tropes.)

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    Tabletop Games 
  • Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting: The spells of the Blood Domain Cleric sub-class mainly inflict status effects like poison, sleep, enfeeblement, madness, slow, and paralysis that allow the Cleric to wear down enemies over time rather than focusing on healing allies or blasting groups of enemies. The Blood Cleric's final feature emphasizes this role even more by giving them a 30-foot radius Field Power Effect effect that slowly chips away at the health of hostile creatures.
  • From Dungeons & Dragons
    • Module T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil. A PC in one of the four Nodes of Elemental Evil took 1-4 Hit Points of environmental damage per turn.
    • According to the Manual of the Planes (1987), the same thing happened on some of the Inner Planes.
      • Characters in the Elemental Plane of Earth took 1-2 Hit Points of damage per turn (from the pressure of the surrounding rock).
      • PCs on the Paraelemental Plane of Ice took 1-6 Hit Points of cold damage per round.
    • Third edition has "bleed" and "on fire" effects, both of which deal damage each turn. The developers consider this an extremely powerful effect, which is why the damage is low and in the case of fire it doesn't stack with itself. The players consider this an extremely weak effect because the damage is low and doesn't stack with itself. Some monsters have bleed effects on their claw or bite attacks that do stack, and most of them are considered Demonic Spiders- the first round they hit you and cause you to bleed for four extra damage each round, the second round they hit you again and it's up to eight damage, and then it's up to sixteen additional damage per round on round four...
    • Fourth edition also features "Ongoing Damage", which is calculated at the start of each turn.
  • In Earthdawn, the nethermancer spell "Pain" inflicts minor damage to the target each round it's in effect.
  • GURPS poisons damage you in cycles of a defined length, and wear out after some number of cycles. However, while poisons normally deal the "toxic" damage type, there is nothing stopping them from dealing burning or crushing damage, and they can have other effects linked to them, frequently in the form of a temporary disadvantage.
  • The Sixth Edition Hero System has a "Damage Over Time" advantage that can be added to most powers and attacks.
  • Magic: The Gathering has several cards, most of which are black or red, that deal damage at the beginning of a player's turn or in response to a specific trigger, in contrast to a lot of cards that can only deal damage once. For example, Curse of the Pierced Heart enchants a player and deals 1 damage to them each turn, or Blood Artist causes someone to lose 1 life and its controller to gain 1 life whenever a creature dies.
  • Pathfinder:
    • In First Edition, bleeding typically does a fairly low amount of damage at the end of the victim's turn until stopped via a Heal check or any amount of magical healing. Poses very little immediate threat, but is a problem if the party has no healers. A few rare things can inflict 'ability bleed' which is the same thing but with ability damage, and is far more debilitating, particularly if the ability in question is Constitution.
    • In Second Edition, poisons and diseases progress through various stages, having increasingly severe effects as you fail more saves, and abating and eventually being cured as you succeed on them. Ability damage is out now, replaced by varying degrees of various subconditions, and most poisons also deal normal hp damage as well. Bleed (and any other form of continuous damage, like from being set on fire) has its values amped up enough to be a legitimate factor in combat; to compensate it has a fixed chance (usually 30%) of going away on its own each round, which can be increased with appropriate actions.
  • Pokémon TCG: Poisoned Pokémon get a poison counter. They lose 10 HP at the end of every turn. Some attacks that cause Poison will say that the Poisoned Pokémon will take more than 10 damage each turn (usually 20 instead of 10).
  • Shadow Era has several cards that poison enemy heroes or allies, doing one damage a turn.

    Video Games 
  • Spiritmasters in Aion get more Damage Over Time than any other class, compared to their counterpart class, the nuking Sorcerers. This is specifically to keep them from building up too much aggro too quickly, allowing their spirit pet to hold the monsters' attention.
  • Angband has "poisoned" and "cut" status effects that do this, with heavier wounds doing more damage per turn. Damage over time is also one of the effects of starvation.
  • Anti-Idle: The Game: Battle Arena has the Poison status effect which deals damage every half second.
  • Kebek from Silent Line: Armored Core is a lesser known Arena opponent, but all of its parts are geared towards whittling down your AP bit-by-bit. Insidiously, Kebek uses handguns (which deals Armored Core's version of status ailment via heat mechanics) that overheats your AC and slowly depletes your AP. His fighting skill is such that the description notes that his opponents (that might include the player) often fails to realize anything is wrong until it is too late. Kebek's AC's name? Chisel.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, poison make your unit lose 8 HP per turn. It can't kill an unit though.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, there are a handful of items that poison enemies or cause them to bleed, ticking away their health slowly. One item in particular causes a spreading virus that will eventually clear the room for you as long as enemies all die near each other.
  • Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled includes a standard Poison effect that drains your health a bit every so often.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night: poison is a rather crippling status ailment that inflicts gradual and significant damage over a long period of time.
  • In Borderlands, the elemental weapons/special attacks aside from the explosive one allow you to do this. While they usually do less damage than a normal gun, they can usually slowly electrocute, corrode, or burn an enemy away, and can sometimes be more effective when dealing with a lot of enemies, particularly armored ones. However, enemies using elemental weapons can also do the same thing to you, and specialized elemental enemies such as chemical troopers are immune to their elemental type. Not that it'll help them once you switch to your regular gun...
  • The Doomsday Infector from Bubble Tanks 2 sends a virus into the enemy that slowly saps their health until they die, whereupon they explode into more viruses.
  • In certain Castlevania games, such as Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, poison drains your HP over time, and sometimes lowers your stats as well. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is an exception, since poison only lowers your stats and doesn't do damage.
  • In Civilization II, helicopters received minor damage for every turn they spent in midair — this was intended to simulate their limited fuel reserves without requiring them to return to base every time. Later Civ games removed this.
  • Clockwords: Thermite letters set enemies on fire, doing 20 damage over 4 seconds, with the description of them even mentioning the trope name.
  • City of Heroes offers a good deal of "toxic" damage which applies additional damage over time for some time after the initial effect lands.
  • In the first Dark Cloud, if a character's "Thirst" meter runs dry during a crawl, their HP begins to drain. (In the sequel, Thirst was merely a Status Effect that blocked healing.)
  • Crying Suns has a few types of damage-over-time. The Decay status effect whittles down an afflicted squadron’s health until it wears off, and can kill. The Tesla Field Generator repeatedly damages any squadrons within the field it creates: to get the most out of it, you’ll need to prevent enemy squadrons from leaving the field before it expires. There’s also an officer ability, Defensive Tactics, which inflicts 2 damage per second to any enemy squadron that is adjacent to your battleship.
  • Darkest Dungeon features Bleed and Blight. Mechanics-wise, they're the same thing—a certain amount of damage grouped in stacks that tick down over 3 turns (5 if it lands during a crit attack); stacks overlap but tick down individually, and both types can be stacked together)—the difference being who or what is resistant or weak to either. Resistance to both can be buffed or debuffed. The damage also completely ignores the victim's armor, and is inflicted first at the start of their turn, making it good for neutralizing tough, heavily-armored enemies.
    Ancestor: Monstrous size has no intrinsic merit, unless inordinate exsanguination be considered a virtue.
  • Many of the diseases and wounds in Dead In Vinland work this way; they deal damage to the Sickness or Injury meters (or occasionally both) every night. Some Status Effects also do the same to Hunger, Fatigue, or Depression.
  • Demon's Souls has both Poison and Plague, which are essentially the exact same thing but it's possible to have both at the same time. (They also require separate antidotes and have separate counters.) Not only that, ways to contract either are almost entirely limited to a single world, the Valley of Defilement. Poison, at least, can also be inflicted on enemies in a variety of ways.
  • The Denpa Men not only has Poison and Fatal (stronger poison), but starting from the second game, it also introduces Muddy, Sniffles, Soaked, Burned, Zapped, and Cursed. Not only do they cause damage over time, but they also cause the afflicted monster or Denpa to become weak to the associated element (Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Electricity, and Darkness, respectively).
  • Diablo II:
    • A Paladin with a high-enough Defense aura could play Last Man Standing with large packs of monsters. A well-made Paladin has no business grinding away. Blessed Hammer, Smite, and Zeal are some of the highest DPS skills in the game, and none of their other active skills are at all grindy.
    • The Necromancer has a wide variety of options for keeping enemies crippled while gradually wearing them down, with no appreciable attrition. The other option was a Necromancer equipped with the spell Poison Dagger. Typically the higher the poison damage, the longer it would take to kill something. On the downside, since the Necromancer was something of a Squishy Wizard, it was entirely possible to get killed by a monster that didn't know it was dead yet. On the upside, it was also possible to run away just far enough that a poisoned monster would fall over just before it got the chance to hit you, in keeping with the Rule of Cool.Of course, some monsters' death animations would still make them collapse to the ground in the middle of a pillar of fire. After dying of poisoning. This can somewhat detract from the cool.
    • A summoning Druid could also let his minions do the heavy lifting while slowly poisoning all opponents.
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and Hacker's Memory, poison causes the afflicted Digimon to take increasingly severe damage on each of its next five turns, after which it wears off. The damage is proportional to the Digimon's HP.
  • Dino Crisis and Dino Crisis 2 use the bleeding-out variety of damage over time, this was remedied by the Hemostat item.
  • There are two varieties of poison in the Dragon Quest series: poisoned and envenomed. The difference between the two? Poisoned characters are only damaged when walking outside of battle. Envenomed characters take damage both in and out of battle.
  • Disgaea's version of poison is particularly nasty, as it chops off a set percentage of HP each turn. In the first game, it was somewhere in the ballpark of 10 to 15%, but later games ramped it up to 20%, which can be crippling without either treating it or defending. Some Evilities cause the damage to crank up even higher, warranting immediate use of Espoir.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Tactics for the PSP, has the spell Evard's Black Tentacle. Affecting a large area, anyone caught in it (barring a few exceptions) will be helpless and then squeezed each round for damage equal to getting hit by a great sword.
  • Dungeon Crawl has a few such effects. Poison gradually damages hit points, doing more damage as more levels of poison are stacked on. Rotting damages one's maximum hit points, leaving a far more enduring hit on one's character. There's also the curare poison, which is far more deadly because it has additional effects over the standard poisoning (like inflicting Slow and dealing additional asphyxiation damage as it locks up your character's lungs). Older versions had a bleeding condition inflicted by claws or certain acidic attacks that would deal a percentage of a creature's current HP in damage each turn, but it was removed as largely superfluous in version 0.17.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor includes a variety of effects that cause damage over time, including but not limited to Slimeburst Traps, Acid Burns, Curse of the Golden Ratio, Recursive Curse, and the special ability of the Golden Crossbow. There's also an even wider variety of Area of Effect spells that persist over several turns and deal constant damage to anything in range—these ones tend to be very effective for dispatching large groups of enemies.
  • EarthBound (1994):
    • Whenever a character receives damage or healing, their Life Meter rolls down or up to the new value over time (rather than instantly), the speed of which is governed by the character's individual "Guts" stat. Side effects like Critical Existence Failure do not trigger based on the raw damage a character has received, but the value that's currently shown on their meter instead. If the battle is won or the character is healed before the counter reaches zero, the damage stops. Even if the character's HP hits 0, if the battle is won, their HP will climb back up to 1.
    • Other than that, it also has several varieties of damage over time — apart from the normal variety poison, there's also sunstroke, and (ahem) a chest cold.
  • The Elder Scrolls: A Universal Poison has existed in the series dating back to Daggerfall. It tends to come in two forms - a spell effect (typically classed under the "Destruction" school) and as a liquid which can be applied to weapons for added effects. In most cases, the spell form causes low damage over a longer duration relative to similar spells. Certain races have an innate immunity to or resistance to poison.
  • Enter the Gungeon includes both fire and poison as status effects, both of which affect enemies in the exact same way (and stack), although some enemies are immune to one or the other. Players, meanwhile, have different ways of avoiding both: Fire can be put out by rolling, and poison has a Bloodborne-style meter that gives the player time to step out of the source before it affects them (and will only deal one-time damage).
  • Epic Battle Fantasy:
    • Poison, introduced in the first game, inflicts Poison/Bio-elemental damage every turn, with damage dealt being dependent on how many stacks the victim had. Poison didn't wear off with time in the first three games, making it effectively permanent on most foes.
    • Burn, introduced in Epic Battle Fantasy 4, deals fire-elemental damage each turn. The damage dealt is constant in EBF4, but became affected by number of stacks in EBF5.
    • Epic Battle Fantasy 5 introduces Virus and Scorch, which deal twice as much damage as Poison/Burn and come with special effects:
      • Virus has a chance to spread to other characters (player and enemy alike), and doesn't wear off.
      • Scorch debuffs maximum HP by 10% every turn.
  • Eternal Darkness uses ancient gods' powers to fuel the player characters' spellcasting. Using Mantorok to cast offensive spells will cause an initial burst of damage, followed by remaining enemy health sapping away like a slow poison.
  • Fallout 4:
    • Bleed, Burn, and Poison are all effects that inflict damage over time. Bleed is especially potent, as it's the one damage type that effects all enemies regardless of type (yes, even robots are vulnerable to it) and there are no resistances or immunities to the damage. A few melee weapons can be modded to inflict Bleed damage while flamethrowers and sometimes lasers can set targets on fire. There are also legendary weapon effects that can cause Bleed, Burn, and Poison damage over time: Poison is almost completely useless because of how many enemies are immune to it, but a Wounding shotgun is a Game-Breaker since each individual pellet that hits a target will cause the Bleeding damage.
    • In Survival Mode, Infection causes periodic damage and will eventually kill you if untreated.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark has Poison and Bleed, which inflict damage at the end of each of the unit’s turns until they wear off or are cured. Poison does more damage per turn than Bleed, but Bleed lasts longer. Neither status can outright kill a character.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II has two such status effects. The first, Venom, deals damage to the affected character on each turn, but wears off after battle or when removed with the Basuna spell. Poison lasts after battle, dealing damage as one moves in the overworld, and must be removed with either an antidote or the Esuna spell.
    • Final Fantasy IV introduced the smaller-but-faster HP drain in the form of Sap for the Final Fantasy series, which was used again in sequel games such as Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy XII. It acts in a similar manner to Poison, only instead of causing damage after actions or set intervals, it drains your HP constantly. Particularly deadly if you're inflicted with both Sap and Poison. The only saving grace of Sap is that it wears off after battle (except in XII, due to the way the battle system works).
    • Final Fantasy VI had a variation of Sap called Seizure. This is notable because, unlike Poison, a bug in the game caused Seizure to hurt the undead as well as the living, with some major unintended consequences like humorous battles with undead monsters who would slowly kill themselves.
    • Final Fantasy IX had not only the standard poison effect, but also a nastier version referred to as 'Venom'. It did proportionally more damage at a time than poison, reduced MP along with the HP damage, and even prevented the afflicted character from moving (as though afflicted with 'Stop')! And this in a game where you lose if every character in the party is rendered unable to act...
    • Took a Level in Badass in Final Fantasy X, now lopping off 1/4 of your max HP per turn. More often than not, your party's healing items/spells aren't strong enough to keep up with the damage without abandoning all other actions entirely, which means that if you don't have any Antidotes or Esuna at the ready, you're dead in four turns. Good thing you can switch out your party members on the fly... except when you can't.
    • Final Fantasy XII has three such effects. The first is Poison, which deals damage equal to 1/16th of the character's max HP at regular intervals. The second is the aforementioned sap, which deals a continuous 10 damage per second. The final effect isn't a status effect, but a constant Field Power Effect created by the optional boss Cúchulainn the Impure. It deals continual damage like Sap, but is much faster-acting and proportionate to the characters' HP. It's best not to use Bubble during his boss fight as the doubled HP will make the drain effect faster than your healing can keep up with.
    • Poison in Final Fantasy XIII deals continuous damage similar to Sap from previous games at a rate proportionate to the affected character's health.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has many status effects that whittle away a target’s health. Beyond the usual Poison and Bleed effects, there are also elemental versions like Dropsy and Sludge, and class-specific ones inflicted by abilities like the Paladin’s Goring Blade attack or the Black Mage’s Thunder spells. Some wear off on their own, others remain until cleansed, and all of them can kill.
    • In Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon, Poison always causes Chocobo to take 1 HP damage per turn, with enemies always taking 10. Therefore, Poison effects are at their most effective early in the game (or in dungeons with a low level cap). In the same game, if Chocobo drops to 0% food level, he loses HP at the same rate as Poison.
    • In the Dissidia Final Fantasy games, Shantotto can deal ongoing residual Bravery damage to opponents that are hit by her Bio spell.
    • The Dancer in Final Fantasy Tactics can inflict random status effects over the whole board. Over one turn it's not much, but it adds up. This works best with the Ninja Reaction Skill "Sunken State"- it turns you invisible when you get attacked. Invisible units can't be targeted, but the status goes away if you so much as enter the "act" menu. Which you never have to do after a Dancer (or a Bard, which is the symmetrical opposite of the Dancer) start her schtick.
  • Fire Emblem has Poison as a very common status effect. Usually, it reduces the unit's HP by 1 to 3 so it's uncommon for unit to die from it unless they are really at low HP. It's ironically helpful as it gives healers something to do.
  • In the original Gauntlet, the players' HP decreased at a constant rate throughout the game. The only means to replenish HP? Food items in various levels, or putting more coins in the machine.
  • The Golden Sun RPG series has two kinds of Poison status effects. One is called poison, which shows as cloud puffs that look like green skulls to appear as if it is leaking from your opponent's head, and inflicts about 10% of the victim's max HP in damage each time they act (which gets even more dangerous to bosses that move two or three times each round), as well as Venom Status, which acts pretty much the same as Poisoned, only it does twice the damage and instead of the skulls being green, they are a sickly-looking orange-red.
  • In Grim Dawn, almost all form of attacks have a damage over time variant: physical (internal trauma), fire (burn), cold (frostburn), lightning (electrocute), acid (poison), vitality (vitality decay) and bleeding.
  • Guild Wars:
    • Mesmers have quite a bit of skills of degeneration, and Rangers have preparations that leave the target burning or poisoned, inflicting plenty of damage over time. One little known PvE build would inflict as much as 10 arrows of degeneration and keep the degeneration spikes going.
    • Curse Necromancers have this as their hat, able to cripple opponents with multiple health-sapping hexes even over an area of effect.
    • In the sequel, many classes are capable of being a gradual grinder. Notably, the Mesmer, Necro, and especially the Ranger are once again considered top choices for this style of play.
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game: Several Effects deal small amounts of damage that pile up as the round goes on.
    • Northern Realms' Reinforced Trebuchet harms a random enemy unit on the ranged row for 1 damage every turn.
    • Yennefer: The Conjurer deals 1 damage to the strongest enemy unit every other turn. If the highest strength on the opponent's board is shared by multiple units, Yennefer hurts all of those units. While the one damage is negligible at first, given enough time Yennefer will prove to be a very oppressive presence on the board.
    • Weather effects chip off strength each time the opponent starts their turn.
    • The bleeding status deals damage each turn.
  • Hades has Dionysus' Poison/Sick/Blight/Hungover effect (it's been renamed multiple times), which deals damage each second for each stack an enemy carries, and slowly decay as they deal damage. Demeter also has the Decay effect, which deals damage to all enemies in a room over time as long as every one of them is currently suffering from her Chill debuff.
  • This is one of two status effects that appears in the Harry Potter Game Boy Color games and is inflicted by the Mucus Ad Nauseam spell. It deals a set amount of damage at the beginning of the affected character or enemy's turn and notably, there's no Contractual Boss Immunity to it in either game. In Philosopher's Stone, it can even be stacked, though with an MP cost of 80 that tends to be Awesome, but Impractical. In Chamber of Secrets, only the spell's third level has a stacking poison effect.
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery this effect comes under various names, like nausea, bleeding, etc., but they all function the same way, sapping the opponent's health, and different types can stack together.
  • Heroes of the Storm has a couple poison abilities, with Nazeebo and Lunara as poison specialists. Most of Nazeebo's abilities can only poison non-Heroes (until he gets a Lvl 20 Talent), while Lunara poisons everything.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 3 has a few Poison effects that inflict some damage to the affected unit on every turn it takes until it wears off.
  • In the Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja series, poisoned enemies take damage each turn. This only applies to enemies: for the player, poison instead has an Anti-Regeneration effect.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, during certain boss missions, you can place your secondary fleets on certain tiles to gain "fire support" from them, causing a small but reliable amount of damage to the boss per turn.
  • Inexistence Rebirth: Touching the purple Blob Monsters run the risks of Hald being poisoned, causing his health to start dropping.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, poison constantly deals around 1 HP of damage for some time.
  • Galaxy Angel: Mint's Emblem Frame, the Trick Master, trades mobility and burst damage (compared to the similarly-balanced Lucky Star) for a slower, yet steadier damage-over-time thanks to her multi-directional Fliers that has a constant damage output. Trick Master's Hyper Weapon, Flier Dance, gradually wears down HP of enemy units in a designated area over time, and when sufficiently leveled, she can clear out an entire area of weaker enemies by herself.
  • The Firebug class in Killing Floor has a variety of fire weapons, all of which deal fire damage over time.
  • Grim Dawn has the Occultist class, a type of witch. They can conjure and throw demonic eyeballs at enemies, which burst and cause poisoning. They also have a skill that inflicts Plague, which starts out as a self-replicating debuff status effect, but evolves into turning the enemy into Technically Living Zombies who take constant damage over time. Finally, they have a skill that allows them to temporarily cause poison as a Retaliation ability. Non-occultists can enchant their weapons (or find enchanted weapons) or take Devotion stars that turn them into a Poisonous Person. And generally, aside from Bleeding standing on its own, every damage type has a version that works over time with a different name: Internal Trauma for physical, Burning for fire, Frostburn for cold, Electrocution for electric, Poison for acid damage and Vitality Decay for vitality damage.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has Burning, which is caused by hitting a target with fire weapons. Horizon Forbidden West adds Acid, which not only deals damage but also weakens the target's armor and Drill Spikes, an ammo type used by some Spikethrowers. Once they hit a target, the Drill Spike starts burrowing into them, causing continuous damage. Unlike the other types, it's not a status effect so it can be used on an enemy that's already had a different status effect inflicted on them. And the effects are cumulative for each spike that hits them, so it can stack up to a lot of damage in a hurry.
  • Juicy Realm from SpaceCan Games and X.D. Network has poison and a few weapons that can inflict burning, they also have the unique Honeycomb weapon which shoots a swarm of bees at the enemy and they cling on to the enemy to inflict constant damage.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has various items, pieces of equipment and statuses that inflict "passive damage" over time.
  • League of Legends features a few poisonous abilities that deal tick damage. The Champions who make the most use out of it are Twitch, Teemo, Cassiopeia, Darius, and Singed.
    • Anivia's Glacial Storm deals a constant DoT effect, leaving you hurting if you stay in it too long, especially since it ramps up in size and power over time. Doubly so if she combines it with the HP-burning effects of Liandry's Anguish and Demonic Embrace to melt tanks.
    • Cassiopeia's abilities apply venom onto her enemies, whitling down their health and also empowering the base damage of her other abilities, making her especially good at melting down opponents one by one.
    • Singed's gameplan involves using his ability, "Poison Gas", to cover the battlefield in a massive are of chip damage. This makes chasing down Singed for kills risky, as he can take you down just by running away, something few other champs are designed to accomplish.
    • As far as tankier characters are concerned, Darius practically runs on this, as his passive Hemorrhage makes it such that whenever he damages an enemy with an attack or ability, he places a Hemorrhage stack on an enemy which deals damage overtime for five seconds, and stacks up to five times. Once he makes it to five stacks on a champion, his other passive Noxian Might takes into effect, which makes it such that he now automatically applies five Hemorrhage stacks on the next bit of damage he does, and it always refreshes whenever he hits a champion. Even before you get to use his ult, entering a prolonged fight with Darius is usually a very bad idea, especially considering you can still die even after you managed to escape.
  • In The Legend of Zelda game Hyrule Warriors, "Barrier" keeps will drain your hearts over time unless you have captured the fairy to that keep or defeated the keep boss. Interestingly, instead of dealing a quarter-heart worth of damage every few seconds, the barrier is actually rapidly depleting HP from the hearts, as there is 100 HP for every quarter-heart, which explains why the numbers in the "Damage Taken" ranking can be in the single digits.
  • MapleStory has the Fire/Poison archmage class. Its most signature skill is Poison Mist, which lets them generate a poison mist to such an extent that they can flood a room. That, combined with their other poison skills, a skill that paralyzes and sets enemies on fire, another skill that sets enemies on fire, and a skill that sets the mage themself on fire (so they burn nearby enemies), they are masters of wearing enemies down through attrition.note 
  • Mario:
    • The Mario & Luigi games all have poison among their status effects, which comes in weak and strong varieties and deals damage over time. In Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser can catch a cold, which has the same effects.
    • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, one of the paint colors Roy can spray at Mario is purple. This poisons him and he takes damage for each attack he uses that turn.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the Dark Channel power slowly damages enemies over time, with the added effect of spreading to a nearby enemy when the original target dies.
  • Magical Starsign has the "Thorn" status that works like your standard poison ailment and damages you over time.
  • Might and Magic VI has deep water/lava acting as these unless countered by spell (this applies to entire Ernothian trilogy). However, there is also a confusing example in radiation damage - in late dungeon you encounter a room which is drenched in radiation, and setting a foot in this room inflicts on you a hidden status ailment that periodically damages your party and can't be cured by usual spells. It can be absorbed by specific item, but only at a certain chance, whith having more of this items boosting this chance. Thankfully, there are pools of water nearby which remove this status should you enter them.
  • Might and Magic X has the Poisoned status that gradually decreases HP with each step taken until the person becomes Unconscious. The poison remains in effect even when you restore the HP or use Trauma Inn, and must be cured manually. In previous games, the effect was different, affecting stats and HP/MP recovery instead.
  • Minecraft has a poison status of three flavors. The first one is the standard Poison that reduces your health every second until a difficulty-dependent health value is reached or the timer runs out, but that leaves the player highly vulnerable to damage. It also turns the health bar greenish-yellow. The second variety of poison is Hunger or Food Poisoning, which may occur when you eat certain foods. The Hunger status rapidly increases exhaustion, draining a hunger point every 8 seconds, indicated by a green outline around the hunger bar and rotten shanks. The third variety is called Wither, caused by Wither Skeleton contact or Wither projectiles. It reduces health at the same rate as Poison. However, Wither is lethal; it will kill you if it doesn't wear out or get healed. It also turns your hearts black, making it difficult to keep track of your current health.
  • Monster Hunter
    • The series has Poison, which drains your health over time. Antidotes and Herbal Medicine are recommended if you are fighting any enemies who can utilize Poison. You can also inflict it on enemies yourself.
    • Monster Hunter 4:
      • Gore Magala and the adult form Shagaru Magala can both inflict the "Frenzy" status, which can apply both to monsters and hunters in different ways. If there's an outbreak of Frenzy (mentioned in the quest info), monsters will be Frenzied when you fight them, either at the start or in the middle of the fight. These monsters' eyes glow red, and their body becomes darker, and they hit harder but their speed becomes erratic — from slower than normal to ridiculously fast. If you get hit by a Frenzy-infused attack, a meter will appear next to your status bar. If you deal enough damage before it fills, you'll overcome the Frenzy and gain an attack and affinity boost, but if it fills before you do so, you'll get infected, negating red health regeneration and making Frenzy-infused attacks hurt more.
      • In 4 Ultimate, the flagship monster Seregios can inflict Bleeding, but instead of your standard damage over time, it'll hurt you if you do anything other than move normally. There are two ways of curing it: either crouching for a while or eating a meat product (Steak or Mosswine Jerky — preferably the latter, as it's faster and recovers your red HP). In Monster Hunter Generations, the Shogun Ceanataur can also inflict Bleeding.
  • The Defiler demon in Nexus Clash wields a powerful poison that deals more lingering damage the more powerful the target is and persists forever until it is directly healed, even if the target dies and respawns. There's also a less powerful and less persistent version that literally anyone with the right magic item can use.
  • Alfyn from Octopath Traveler can poison foes with the "Empoison" skill. It damages the victim after they perform an action, and the status actually works on bosses.
  • Odin Sphere, in addition to its set of Status Effects, has fire and ice levels which sap 1% of your character's HP at regular intervals unless you drink an appropriate curing potion beforehand (or have elemental protection equipped).
  • In Odium, characters/monsters who are poisoned receive damage for three turns, receiving 15, 10, and 5 damage each subsequent turn.
  • Being a snake Youkai, all of Kiyo-hime's attacks in Onmyōji deal this as well as lower the opponents' armor.
  • In Path of Exile damage over time comes from Status Effects like poison, bleed, and burning, as well as virulent magic and swirling vortices of ice. Because damage over time occurs as continuous HP loss rather than by ticks it is not considered to hit, which has both disadvantages note  and advantages note .
  • Phantasy Star series:
    • Phantasy Star IV finally gave its Poison ailment the traditional life-decreasing property of other role-playing games.
    • Phantasy Star Online 2's Poison is inflicted by the Dark element. Unlike Burning, the amount of damage you take from Poison scales with your level.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • Shadow-Shroom. If a zombie eats it, they will be poisoned, taking huge amounts of damage over time (bypassing headwear) until they die or if it wears off. If the Shadow-Shroom is charged by a Moonflower's aura when eaten, the poisoned zombie will spread the poison to other zombies it touches.
    • Once the Stunion reaches level 5 and above, it gains the ability to poison any zombies stunned by its stinky breath for the duration of the stun. Like Shadow-Shroom's poison, this also ignores armor.
  • The Pokémon series has many ways to inflict Damage Over Time beyond its standard "Poison" and "Burn" statuses, and many of these can even be combined:
    • If a Ghost-type uses Curse, the opponent receives significant damage (1/4 max HP) per turn, the largest amount of damage in the system.
    • Hazardous weather like Sandstorm or Hail inflicts 1/16th damage on most elemental types. Specifically, notwithstanding any other factors, Sandstorm damages any Pokémon that are not of the Rock, Ground, or Steel type, while only Ice types are immune to Hail damage.
    • Certain abilities can also cause damage (or, inversely, healing) over time during specific weather conditions: Dry Skin damages during intense sunlight, Rain Dish and Ice Body heal during heavy rain or hailstorms, respectively. Solar Power also causes damage during intense sunlight, but with the tradeoff of boosted attack power.
    • In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Shadow Pokémon who enter Reverse Mode in battle sustain damage per turn, as do non-Shadow Pokémon when subjected to Shadow Sky weather.
    • Sleeping Pokémon receive damage while subjected to Nightmare status, or similarly, the Bad Dreams ability of legendary Pokémon Darkrai.
    • The Grass-type move Leech Seed not only inflicts Damage Over Time on an opponent, it also restores the user's HP by the amount drained.
    • The Sticky Barb item inflicts damage-over-time on whichever Pokémon holds it, but can be passed from user to opponent by moves involving physical contact. Similarly, the Black Sludge item deals damage-over-time to any Pokémon holding it that isn't a Poison-type (those get healed instead).
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, poison periodically reduces your HP by 4 points. However, its most dangerous effect is how it disables your natural health regeneration.
  • In The Power Of The Spiral, the Spiral Master's Challenge requires you to avoid using any of the more blatant options like Psychic Powers or a Government Conspiracy. Instead, you need to wipe out humanity by slowly growing your power until humanity's gone.
  • In Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the player slowly loses health while playing as the Sand Wraith or the Dark Prince. The only way to restore health is collecting sand from fallen enemies.
  • In the Puzzle Quest games, poison does a certain amount of damage over time, the intensity and duration depending on the source. Multiple sources of poison can even be stacked.
  • Remnant: From the Ashes has a number of weapons like the Devastator and Spitfire that can inflict Bleed and Burning status respectively. There's also the unique ability of the Pride of the Iskal which shoots four beetles at the enemy. Once they latch on, they drain the enemy of 50 health over time before flying back to you and restoring your health.
  • Resident Evil has had poisoning since the very first entry, requiring blue herbs (or serum in special situations) in order to cure it. In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Jill is afflicted with "Virus" status after being infected by Nemesis. Some later entries, such as Resident Evil 5, also introduced bleeding out ("Dying" status), which requires the partner's assistance to prevent death.
  • Runes of Magic has several characters that use Damage Over Time. The Warrior's Slash skill, the Rogue's Shadowstab skill, and the Scout's Vampire Arrows skill all cause Bleed effects, and are usually chained with other skills for serious DPS. The Priest's Bone Chill skill also does Damage Over Time, and is often favored by those who prefer Player Versus Environment gameplay. The newly released elven Warden also has Damage Over Time in the form of Thorny Vines, which in combination with their pet handling skills make them quite the powerful class.
  • The Shadow Hearts series has Poison (does damage each turn), Deadly Poison (acquired when a poisoned character is poisoned again), Mental Break (poisoning of the mind that saps MP every turn), and Panic (saps your sanity points every turn).
  • Standard in Shin Megami Tensei games. Notable in that in most games, it's rather easy to poison enemies (as easy as it is for them to poison you), it deals very considerable damage, and that left untreated, you will die. Sometimes it comes paired with Pestilence, an attack designed specifically as a One-Hit Kill for poisoned characters.
  • In Sol Forge, poison deals some fixed number of damage per turn (based on the card that causes it).
  • Souls series:
    • Demon's Souls has poison, bleeding, and plague. Poison and bleeding are functionally interchangeable, giving the afflicted a rather slow trickle of damage over a long enough period that you'll need to treat them eventually, though they're surprisingly usable against most enemies. Plague, on the other hand, is a right nightmare to deal with, not only gnawing away at your HP at an alarming rate, but also halving both your stamina recovery rate and the effect of all healing items.
    • Dark Souls keeps poison roughly the way it was in Demon's Souls, but has replaced Plague with the less worrisome "Toxin" effect, which still impedes stamina recovery and drains life but doesn't halve healing. Bleed, on the other hand, was dramatically altered into a buildup status effect. Allow your bleed gauge to build up all the way, and you'll instantly lose 30% of your max health.
  • South Park:
    • South Park: The Stick of Truth has three variants: Burning, Bleeding, and Grossed Out, all three of which deal damage at the end of an afflicted character's turn. Burning makes a character vulnerable to magic attacks, Bleeding can stack up to 5 times and deal more damage per stack, while Grossed Out prevents a character from eating food and also reduces healing capabilities.
    • In ''South Park: The Fractured but Whole, there is no effective difference between the three above status effects. However, it also introduced Shocked, which damages both the target and nearby allies after each turn.
  • The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has radiation (which comes from radioactive artifacts or trekking through irradiated zones), hemorrhage (bleeding, caused by pretty much any injury) and hunger (self-explanatory). Pick your poison, and don't forget your bandages, rad purge drugs and bread on the way out to the Zone.
  • Star Trek Online features plasma weapons, which have a chance to set the molecules of a vehicle on fire.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic gives every class (and some Mooks) options for this. Troopers and Bounty Hunters set enemies on fire or shank them to cause bleeds, Agents use poison darts and grenades, some Smuggler and Sith Warrior attacks leave bleeding wounds, Jedi Knights overload their sabers to burn enemies, while Jedi Consulars and Sith Inquisitors use a wide variety of Force curses that attack the mind, body, connection to the force, or others...
  • Super Smash Bros. series:
    • there's an effect similar to poison in which a parasitic flower attached to someone's head will cause constant damage.
    • If Olimar throws one of his Pikmin at an opponent, they'll take constant damage until the Pikmin is knocked off. The exception is Purple Pikmin, which don't cling to opponents when thrown, so they deal one hit instead of constant damage. On the other hand, White Pikmin, which are described as being poisonous to eat, deal more constant damage this way than any other colors, though their other attacks are much weaker.
  • Team Fortress Classic has the Combat Medic's infection, when he uses his medkit on someone from the other team. It's worse than fire because 1: it will only stop if the player dies or a medic from the same team heals him and 2: IT'S CONTAGIOUS, as in if you touch a teammate while infected, he gets infected too.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The hallmark ability of the Pyro class is the ability to set opponents on fire with their flamethrower, draining their health until the fire is extinguished.
    • Some melee weapons can inflict a "bleeding" status that also causes damage over time.
  • Terraria has three variants: Poisoned, Venom, and Electrified. Venom does more damage than Poisoned, and can't be prevented by wearing a bezoar (as Poisoned can), and Electrified does more damage while moving than standing still.
  • Starting in Tomb Raider III, there are enemies that can poison Lara, causing her health to constantly drain unless a med kit is used.
  • In Undertale, this is part of what makes the battle with the Genocide Run final boss, Sans the Skeleton, so grueling. His attacks deal only 1 damage in theory, but they don't trigger Mercy Invincibility and thus hit for 1 damage every frame you are in contact with them... and on top of that, even when you're no longer in contact with them, they leave a slow damage over time effect (which turns part of your life bar purple, so you can see exactly how much health you will lose). The more you get hit, the longer the damage over time effect lasts, too. That's the feeling of your sins crawling on your back.
  • Valdis Story has bleed, poison, and fire, each of which deals damage over time. And they stack. You can make a build (particularly with main protagonist Wyatt) that specializes in DOT, dealing all three at the same time. Yes, this is as nasty as it sounds.
  • Warcraft III has two types of poison: Envenomed Weapons, which deal damage, and Slow Poison, which deals damage and slows the target.
  • Warframe has Toxin damage which slowly does health damage over time; not only does the damage-over-time ignore your shields, so does the attack that caused it. This makes enemies who do Toxin damage an immediate target for anyone who relies on shields to survive. Slash damage proc fills the Bleeding status effect, and not only it bypasses shields similar to Toxin damage, it also ignores armor.
  • Several classes in Warhammer Online, such as the Bright Wizard or Chaos Magus, have DoT-specialized talent lines, and fit with the "hexer mage" archetype. A variant Gradual Grinder would be the Witch Hunter, a fairly standard rogue-ish class that can also be tooled up to do this especially well. They have a counter that fills up for every weak direct attack they do which allows their big DoT attacks to do significantly more damage. So you stealth in, whack the enemy with a few quick stuns, hit them with a big DoT and then stealth off again until the DoT wears off. Rinse and repeat to your pleasure.
  • In Wizard101, this type of attack is what the Fire school specializes in, whose spells both damage the enemy as soon as they're cast and then continue to damage them as rounds pass by.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Priest's Shadow specialization relies heavily on damage over time spells such as Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, Vampiric Touch and the channelled Mind Flay, with Shadow Word: Death, Mind Blast and Mind Spike being complementary direct damage spells, however Shadow Word: Pain refreshes (through talents) its cooldown whenever Mind Flay is channelled. Depending on the spell haste of the player's character, additional damage can occur in the same length of time as the original spell, particularly observed while channelling Mind Flay.
    • The "Warlock" class is primarily built around skills that cause damage over time, especially if specialized in Affliction. In Mists Of Pandaria, when a warlock chooses an Affliction specialization, Shadow Bolt, previously their main direct damage spell, transforms into Malefic Grasp, a channeled damage over time spell that causes their other damage over time spells to hit additional times. Affliction Warlocks do still have Haunt for direct damage, but that spell requires a more limited resource and thus can't be used often.
    • Feral Cat Druids deal damage primarily through Rake and Rip, which make the target bleed in a similar way to a Warlock DoT. They're the hardest DPS spec to master, but deal insane damage when done right.
    • Balance Druids have Moonfire and Insect Swarm that use this mechanic to maintain and bolster their DPS. With Mists of Pandaria, Insect Swarm was removed; but Sunfire was changed to a unique spell instead of being the Solar aspect of Moonfire automatically during the respective Eclipse shift.
    • Starting in Cataclysm, Fire Mages rely much more on damage over time, utilizing Living Bomb, Pyroblast, Ignite, Combustion (which grows more powerful the more damage is about to be done by the previous three), a talent which allows Fire Blast to spread the previously mentioned effects to any other opponents in range, and Flamestrike.
    • While not relying entirely on damage over time effects, a good chunk of damage done by Assassination Rogues is dealt via Deadly Poison and Venomous Wounds, which has a chance to hit when the bleed Rupture deals damage to a poisoned target.
  • In World of Tanks, any vehicle that takes damage to its fuel tank or engine has a chance of catching fire. Unless they've got an equipped fire extinguisher, they're likely to take massive damage and have many other components on the tank damaged before the fire goes out.
  • In World of Warships, each ship can have up to 4 fires set on it at a time (on the bow, forward superstructure, aft superstructure and stern zones), each of which will inflict damage at a rate of 0.3% of the ship's maximum HP per second until either the damage control consumable is used or the fire timer runs out (the length of the timer varies based on ship type; battleships and certain large cruisers have a 60 second fire duration while for destroyers and most cruisers it's 30 seconds). A similar mechanic applies if flooding is inflicted by a torpedo hit or by being rammed by an enemy ship, with up to 2 floods being possible at a time (on the forward and aft halves of the ship). Floods inflict 0.5% of a ship's maximum HP in damage per second on battleships and 0.25% to other ships, and last 40 seconds if not repaired with the damage control consumable. There are several upgrades that can be equipped to reduce the likelihood of being set on fire or flooded or reduce the duration of fires and floods, but it's impossible to make any ship immune to these damage over time effects. The fact that both fires and floods hit battleships harder than other ship types is a balancing factor to their superior ability to both inflict and withstand direct damage with from main battery guns. In particular inflicting fire DOTs is often essential to a cruiser having a chance to defeat a battleship, since as a class their only other advantages over battleships (typically higher top speed and better stealth) are more oriented toward escaping the battleship than sinking it.
  • Wrestling video games of many various titles often feature hold attacks like a that can inflict constant damage until the opponent submits or breaks out. While the initial damage is often smaller than a strike, slam or throw - an opponent can quite quickly go from full health to 0 while the opponent is helpless or struggling.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, any arts of the fire, ice, or earth elements will leave behind a burn, chill, or poison debuff on the victim that causes gradual damage. Some physical arts also leave a bleeding effect. In all cases, the gradual damage dealt is based on how much the initial attack hit for, which can result in some crazy numbers once damage multipliers from gems, skills, and chain attacks come into play.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Burn (fire and energy magic), freeze (ice magic), and poison (nature magic) are status effects that cause the affected fairy to constantly lose HP. What's worse, unlike all other Status Effects, these persist even after the duel is over and you have to use a consumable item to remove them.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gradual Grinder


Glue Gunner

With Corrosive Glue, the shots do damage over time, though not forever.

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Example of:

Main / DamageOverTime

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