View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Armor as DR?

2014-10-26, 04:16 AM
I realize there might be rules for this in the DMG, but that's like ten years away.

Anyway I've always really liked armor as damage reduction. It removes the fiddlyness of touch AC without losing the simulationist advantage thereof, differentiates dodge tanks and soak tanks, lets defensive prowess be a factor of skill rather than money, and lets me scrap Dex penalties on armor that, in reality, you could do cartwheels in. Also it can make combat less swingy and dodge-or-die, which is always nice. It even helps make shields less utterly useless, since they're now the only easy source of AC.

The only real issue is, once you turn an armor's AC into damage reduction, everybody's getting hit way more often than the game expects, and they die too quick even with the effective HP increase you've given them. You need to bring AC back up to a nice balance point where everyone is getting hit only a little more often than the game expects. So in 3.path I set it up by basically giving everyone a +1 dodge bonus to defense for every 4 BAB, which kept the numbers roughly where they should be for martial classes without essentially giving wizards free heavy armor like a flat per level scale would have.

That obviously isn't going to work in 5e; all there is is proficiency and it's the same for everyone and also gets too high. I actually wonder if any extra AC bonus is even necessary in 5e, since bounded accuracy and no magic mart keeps the numbers so tight - would the DR alone be enough to compensate for getting hit more often? Except, given there's the way weapon finesse works in this edition, there'd be no incentive for heavy users to have lower dex than light users, and the incoming damage balance between dodgers and soakers would be lost, you'd just have dodgers and then dodgers with soak too. It's already hard enough to justify a non-polearm strength fighter with the dex cap on good armors. Take it away, and basically everyone will have a rapier, max AC and 8 DR.

I dunno, I don't see an elegant solution. Or even a functional one. I would love to hear suggestions or number crunching on how to make this work in a balanced way.

2014-10-26, 04:31 AM
I dunno, I don't see an elegant solution. Or even a functional one. I would love to hear suggestions or number crunching on how to make this work in a balanced way.

Leave the armor bonus' the way that they are.
Light armor offers 1 DR, medium offers 2, shields offer 1 (stacking, but no AC boost), heavy offers 3 which stacks with the feat
Magic armor doesn't increase AC, but rather DR. This combinied with no AC from a shield should provide the slight alteration in AC that you were looking for to raise hits by only a narrow margin.

Or possibly have armor offer less AC than on the table equivalent to the DR provided.
So leather doesn't change AC at all but gives DR 1.
Studded gives AC 11+D and DR 1.
Breastplate gives AC 12+D(2) and DR 2.
Plate gives AC 15+D(0) and DR 3. With a shield that becomes AC 15+D(0) and DR 4.

2014-10-26, 06:59 AM
This is what someone tried to do on another board, and how it was quickly shot down

Personally, I don't think it would work very well in DnD
It works in something like Iron Kingdoms relatively new rpg because the health is kept quite low and thus makes more sense, but just the way health is in DnD prevents it from really working.

2014-10-26, 07:36 AM
I always used armor as AC and DR in 3.5, but that's because 3.5 was a system that supported DR, I mean, a lot of monsters had DR and so could the players and npcs, and it stacked with the barbarian DR and such.

However unless there's a very elegant rule in the DMG I don't think I'll be using it in this system. The rules are much simples now, and unless you consider the weird exceptions (like heavy armor master, that I promptly changed), there's no "reduce x damage".

One of my players commented that maybe dr in this system could be something like the barbarian rage damage resistance. I thought about it and came with these notes:

-Simplify the armor bonus; light gives no armor bonus (dex), medium gives +2 (max dex 2) and heavy gives +4 (no dex).
-Unnarmored defense gives half the bonus.
-Anything AC related give half the value (mage armor 1, barskin set to 13).
-Anyone with armor (or mage armor, or barskin, or unnamored defense) gain resistance to nonmagical physical damage.
-Magic armor gives resistance to damage from magic weapons.
-Barbarian rage still grant resistance to all damage beside psychic.
-To do: Add half prof bonus to AC when using prof armor if numbers get too low maybe? Compare to monsters' AC at levels 1,5,10,15. Max ac is fighter fullplate shield armor style 17. 20 with half prof. Seems legit.
-Basic combat less lethal. Characters take more challenges. Not bad actually.

Everyone uses some kind of armor, so everyone has resistance to physical damage. Every little point in AC counts even more. Not wearing armor is bad because soft bits of flesh exposed. Can expect combat to be less lethal, and characters taking lot more enemies. Combat against magic weapons and other damage types has the same lethality but seems to be more lethal and people will worry more about the dragon breath than the dragon claws.

It may upset some balance and fights per day mechanics, but if you want to change the rules I don't expect you to be so afraid to mess a little with the vanilla perfect balance.

2014-11-18, 11:46 PM
What's wrong with warrior types adding their proficiency to ac?

2014-11-19, 01:31 AM
What's wrong with warrior types adding their proficiency to ac?

Well, a big part of my motivation for turning armor into DR is to differentiate people who get out of the way (rogues or swashbuckler types) with people who don't care if they get hit (tanky fighters or pallies). Both have advantages and disadvantages (DR is strong against lots of small hits, dodging lets you avoid single large hits when you need to) and need different things from healers (a regen spell is good for DR, a large one-time heal for a dodger) and just generally feel different.

If a fighter gets a full +6 dodging from his class level, he's either slightly better or (if he invests in Dex) substantially better than the rogue, and rather than playing different he's just much harder to kill generally. Not a terrible goal, actually, but not what I'm going for.

Had a new thought, though. If I go to a Wound/VP system I could do the Star Wars d20 thing and make armor into DR on your Wound Points, at like, a set 2/4/6 or so for light/med/heavy. Might have to give warriors more hit points in that case, though... I guess I'd have to keep track of how frequent crits are to see if protecting just wound points makes enough difference.

Maybe I will just wait for the DMG. :smallconfused: