This study presents the first step of a research project that aims at using a three-dimensional (3D) hybrid finite-discrete element method (FDEM) to investigate the development of an excavation damaged zone (EDZ) around tunnels in a clay shale formation known as Opalinus Clay. The 3D FDEM was first calibrated against standard laboratory experiments, including Brazilian disc test and uniaxial compression test. The effect of increasing confining pressure on the mechanical response and fracture propagation of the rock was quantified under triaxial compression tests. Polyaxial (or true triaxial) simulations highlighted the effect of the intermediate principal stress (σ2) on fracture directions in the model: as the intermediate principal stress increased, fractures tended to align in the direction parallel to the plane defined by the major and intermediate principal stresses. The peak strength was also shown to vary with changing σ2.