View Full Version : Realistic Combat Rules - Need Opinions!

2013-08-08, 11:28 AM
I'm trying to come up with some homebrew health rules that compliment other homebrew rules I have in place. My overall goal is to make combat feel more realistic.

First homebrew rule I have in place is that armor provides DR based on the armor bonus it provides. So Full Plate provides DR/9 etc. I also have that armor has a certain amount of hitpoints and when those hitpoints are depleted the armor degrades a tier. The hitpoints per armor tier is (armor bonus * 8) so fully repaired Full Plate would have 72 hit points. When the first tier is depleted it will go down to DR/8 and have 64 hit points and so on. The armor then has to be repaired by NPCS or the player pending on skills.

Second I have where the players health is divided into 4 categories, lets call them: Healthy, Grazed, Injured, Critical.
Heathy Status: No Penalties
Grazed: -1 attack and skill rolls that require str/dex
Injured: -2 attack and skill rolls that require str/dex and a concentration check by wizard (I haven't determined a DC check just yet)
Critical: -2 attack and skill rolls that require str/dex and concentration check, speed also cut in half

I have also been browsing the forums for a parry mechanic to go along with this. I'm trying to make combat feel more realistic and for my players to really feel their characters pain. Too many times I see characters just running into battle when their character probably wouldn't considering the amount of pain they'd be in. The problem I'm having is that with all these ways to avoid taking damage with the DR and the Parry mechanic combat will simply just take too long. I'm looking for a method to nerf my characters health but in a way where they aren't afraid of combat, just wary.

I've considered doing this in several different ways, one way was to provide the players a certain amount of increase depending on their base attack bonus. So high base attack bonus would have (3 + con mod) for health. Medium would have (2 + con mod) and low would have (1 + con mod). I've determined this isn't a good method and ditched the idea.

I've also toyed with the idea of giving players HD determined on their race.
Human = d6
Dwarf = d10
Elf = d4
Gnome = d4
Halfling = d3
Orc = d8
and so on depending on the race.

At this rate I'm really open to any ideas on any of my homebrew rules. I'm trying to tie all this together so that it works well without being too much for my players. My games are usually more roleplay intensive so when combat would come around it would be critical combat only. I don't like random encounters just for xp, I prefer to give xp in the form on Roleplay xp. Anyways, any advice or ideas would be great. I'm open to any!

2013-08-08, 11:47 AM
I have always liked the idea of armor providing damage reduction but I've been cautious about implementing it. Would you do the same with natural armor? Would it stack with other forms of DR or would you just use the higher one?

I'm very fond of the idea of your healthy, grazed, injured, critical chart. However, I feel as though it should only apply to the living and not constructs or undead.

For parry maybe you could make it a feat. The feat would let them give up an attack to ready an action. If you're attacked, you can make an opposed attack roll against an attack. If you beat the attack roll, you deflect the attack and get an AOO. This would only work against weapons of the same size category or smaller. I'm totally adding this to my campaign now...

I'm not fond of the idea of hit dice based on race for base races. That's what their con mod penalties/bonuses are for. Their class training makes more sense as a determiner for me.

2013-08-08, 11:54 AM
I would do the same for natural armor which is why its pertinent I make a health system that works not only for characters but for creatures. I can't have nerfed players going against a dragon who has no health nerf either. Death sentence and its something I didn't consider when making the post.

And that is something else to consider as far as adding DR with other forms of DR say from the Barbarians. Potentially using the greater bonus? Or would adding the two together really make a big difference? At that high of a level character are taking large amounts of damage already. I would just have to make sure the player knows that all of this is experimental so some things could be up to change.

For parry I believe I'm going to use this users ideas. I think hey work well and make sense.

I'm still really drawing a blank on a health re-work. The HD per race isn't going to work because that wouldn't work for creatures and I also prefer HD based on class. Not only is it a standard but it just makes sense.

2013-08-08, 12:49 PM
Racial HD isn't a bad idea. You could have the tough classes(Fighter, Barbarian...) roll three and take the best, middle classes(Ranger, Rogue...) roll two and low HD roll one.

Unearthed Arcana has an armor as DR rule variant. The problem with DR in general is that it doesn't scale. A character with full plate early on will be almost untouchable, but when people are throwing around 15d6 damage, DR 9 isn't much help.

I would recommend E6 if you want gritty combat.

You could also steal the Starwars Saga Edition condition track and parry mechanics. They work well. Hope any of this helps.

2013-08-08, 01:23 PM
My thoughts with racial HD is that, as people, our general fortitude is based off of how large we are (typically) there are certain instances where this doesn't apply. So potentially having a racial HD but also having it to where certain classes offer HP incentives as well.

I saw a thread that had a similar armor rework. Instead of DR based on ac bonus he did it based on armor type.

Light: DR 1- 2
Medium: DR 2-3
Heavy: DR 4-5

I found this much more appropriate, and since its so low the scaling problem isn't as large. I figure since the DR is lowered then I'll let it stack pending on what its stacking with. DM discresion in all. It helps that none of my players are really trying to break the game or create a broken character so I don't have too many worries there.

I'll look into those formats for their gritty combat because that is exactly what I desire. Thank you for that.

Still taking opinions! Please and thanks!