Combat in Cairn strives to be simple to understand and still offer the depth that's needed to make any combat system interesting.
A unit is considered In Combat as soon as they take damage or attempt an attack. Once they are In Combat, they must wait 4 seconds before being considered Out of Combat. A unit that is In Combat functions differently at times, such as not being able to regenerate HP.
Normal Damage is how most attacks that deal physical blows is handled. Any sword, spear, arrow, hammer, staff, or head butt that hits a unit is treated as Normal Damage. Normal Damage is affected by the Armor stat. The value of an enemies armor is directly subtracted from an attack. Normal Damage is divided into four types of damage: Stab, Cut, Bash, and Wreck. This is then compared against a unit's armor type: Light, Heavy, Construct. This is to determine if the type of weapon grants bonus damage against the unit.
The chart can be memorized very easily. Cut down anything in a dress, Bash in the heavy stuff, Stab living units, and Wreck buildings.
Elemental Damage, caused by various Arts, and it is handled very differently than Normal Damage. First of all it completely ignores a units armor value. Instead Elemental Damage uses a unit's Wards to determine the damage. If a unit posses a Ward that matches the Elemental Type of the incoming attack, the damage is cut in half. Some Ward types also grant immunity to certain Status Effects .
For example, if a fireball that normally deals 80 damage hit's a Banshee unit, it will only deal 40 damage because she has a Ward against Fire.
Each elemental attack and Ward is one of eight elemental types.