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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Oct 2011
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    Default Does basic armor need a fix? Well, it GOT one!

    Note about the edits: After some very helpful discussion, I've come up with some new stats for armor that I think I can live with; the original text of the post and a list of the changes along the way have been spoilered for easier browsing.

    Original Text
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    Recently I’ve read a few things on the homebrew forum that got me wondering if armor and its inherent bonuses and penalties might need some tweaking. (If you think I’ve heard wrong, you can stop reading right here and tell me so).

    Most troubling is the claim that at higher levels, armor can be detrimental to your AC because of its cap on a player's Dexterity bonus, which is the only stat to directly improve AC. Some guides even recommend certain classes forego armor entirely, and focus on other ways of avoiding damage. Frankly, it seems to me like armor was balanced for play when under level 10, and no real thought was given to how it would interact with everything else at higher levels (this is a complaint I feel applies more and more broadly the longer I read D&D forums.) We won’t even get in to what happens when we include extra sourcebooks for all the wacky stat-stacking they provide.

    Since I don’t have any experience wearing actual armor myself, I have to rely on other sources to be my guide, but armor seems like it might be suffering from a bad case of “realism” in which people’s (mis)conceptions about how armor actually functioned may be hindering its ability to do what it is intended to do in-game.

    Despite the Hollywood stereotype that shows armor as being exceedingly cumbersome, in real life it still needed to let their wearer have sufficient mobility to fight battles and everything that entails (including riding horses without injury, fighting unarmored opponents, and getting around the battlefield). The accuracy of modern tests is debatable of course, but some researchers have expressed the opinion that knights and soldiers could be nearly as agile while wearing heavy armor as when they where without it.

    Now, on to the actual point of this post, which is to get some feedback on what might be a good way to go about altering the armor mechanic. There are basically three things that I can see to do: increase the AC bonus to make armor more valuable, decrease or modify the max Dex-bonus so it comes into play less quickly, or change the Dex-cap into a penalty that players to overcome with Dex-stacking if necessary.

    Of these, I think I like the second one the best. I have a feeling that increasing the AC bonus would probably unbalance the game at lower levels where the cost-in-gold of mundane armor would probably be easy to overcome within just a few levels, and it doesn’t address the higher-end problems.

    Altering the Dex-cap into a straight Dex penalty might have adverse effects on any melee combatant without a sufficiently high Dex score, since getting better armor might mean greater penalties in many other areas, and the bonus would have to overcome the potential loss to AC from a negative Dex-modifier.

    The armor penalties don’t seem that bad, since most of what they apply to (jumping, swimming) seems more related to the potential weight of armor than a person’s agility while wearing it.
    Of course, if you have different perspective on it, please let me know.

    Where I need help is deciding on what might be some good levels to adjust the Dex-cap to. I think maybe that light armor should just not have a dex-cap at all, since for some one who was trained to use it most of the light armors are barely more than heavy-duty clothes, probably similar to padding for a football player.
    For Medium armors I think the cap could probably be safely pushed up to somewhere between 8 and 12. That means you probably won’t need to worry about it much at all before level 10 unless you are really stacking Dexterity
    I would like to push Heavy armor up to about 4-8. That means players wouldn’t have to worry about it during character creation or the first few levels, and it would let heavy-armor wearers’ use ranged weapons without shooting themselves in the foot every third shot.

    That’s just my opinion on what the easiest, simplest fix might be. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback and then I can make up a chart with any proposed changes we agree on.


    List of Changes
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    Edit: a table is up, with slightly adjusted values. AC bonuses got a boost, as did the max dex bonus. ACPs have been rearranged slightly.

    Edit 2: put the AC bonus back to regular levels, but added in damage reduction from Unearthed Arcana to compensate. This variation might be to powerful for low level campaigns; if you choose to use it starting at level 1, I suggest you restrict access to heavy armor until level 4+, at least.

    Edit 3: added in a second table for suggested changes to Masterwork armor, seeing as how the original version wasn't worth its weight in copper.

    Edit 4: after considering the effects of crafting armor from special materials and/or with enhancement bonuses, I have decided to reduce the DR in basic armor, and remove the AC bonus from Masterwork armor; the tables should now reflect this.
    Tomorrow I will try to draw up some tables for Mithril and Adamantine armor as well so we can compare everything laid out at once, but I'm just to damn tired tonight.
    Edit 4.5: I've started adding in tables for Mithral and Adamantine; these include the stacked bonuses for being of Masterwork quality, plus the bonuses-as-written for being of a special material.

    Edit 5: Working on a better system for upgraded armor, including altering how Mithril and Adamantine work.
    Edit 5.5: came up with a nice little table full of multipliers and whatnot. Decided it was to frelling complicated to recalculate every time I wanted to know what a stat was, and resorted to just typing out 3 entire sets of tables (aka the "brute-force" method). Your welcome.
    Edit 5.8: Now including armor enhancement tables.

    Edit 6: Increased the ASF chance and decreased that benefit of armor upgrades; it was to easy for casters to get armor with no penalties. This game needs wizards in full plate like I need cancer.
    Edit 6.5: Made up a new kind of armor just for casters though...and maybe bards.

    Edit 7: After some brief playtesting, I feel that this armor makes a suitable improvement and a definite difference for going into combat. I have decided that with it's other improvements, I will re-implement a speed reduction for heavier armors; you can find the table at the end of this post. You can of course choose to ignore this if you don't like it for your games.
    Edit 7.2: Increased cost slightly for upgraded regular armor, and more for Mithral or adamantine.


    NEW RULES START HERE
    -Base armor is decreased to 5, from 10. However, it now scales with level. Base armor is increased by one point for every 2 HD you have. (so for players: 6 at level 2, 15 at level 20, etc)
    -Add your shield's AC bonus to your AC against Touch attacks.
    -Armor Check Penalties (ACP) now apply to Iniative rolls as well, in order to help differentiate between armor users and everyone else.

    How this works- The first table lists the stats for basic amor, like the one the PHB. Upgraded armor now comes in 5 varieties, instead of just Masterwork. You add the stats from whatever level of upgraded armor you are making to the stats for the regular armor of that type to determine the total stat bonus. Mithral and Adamantine Armor still only come in better-than-regular qualities.

    Armor Speed Reduction (feet per round)
    {table=head]Normal Speed|Medium Armor|Heavy Armor

    15|10|10

    20|15|15

    30|25|20

    40|35|25

    50|40|35

    60|50|40

    70|60|45

    80|70|55

    90|75|60

    100|85|65

    120|100|80

    150|130|100

    200|170|135

    300|250|200[/table]


    Table: Basic Cloth, Leather, & Steel Armor
    {table=head]Armor|AC Bonus|Damage Reduction|Max Dex Bonus|ACP|ASF Chance|Cost

    Light Armor

    Padded|
    +1
    |
    none
    |
    none
    |
    0
    |
    10%
    |
    5 gp

    Leather|
    +1
    |
    1/-
    |
    none
    |
    -1
    |
    15%
    |
    10 gp

    Studded Leather|
    +2
    |
    1/-
    |
    none
    |
    -1
    |
    20%
    |
    25 gp

    Chain shirt|
    +3
    |
    1/-
    |
    none
    |
    -2
    |
    25%
    |
    100 gp

    Medium Armor

    Hide|
    +3
    |
    1/-
    |
    7
    |
    -3
    |
    25%
    |
    15 gp

    Scale Mail|
    +4
    |
    1/-
    |
    6
    |
    -4
    |
    30%
    |
    50 gp

    Chainmail|
    +4
    |
    2/-
    |
    6
    |
    -5
    |
    35%
    |
    150 gp

    Breastplate|
    +5
    |
    2/-
    |
    5
    |
    -4
    |
    30%
    |
    200 gp

    Heavy Armor

    Splint Mail|
    +6
    |
    2/-
    |
    1
    |
    -7
    |
    45%
    |
    200 gp

    Banded Mail|
    +6
    |
    2/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    40%
    |
    250 gp

    Half-Plate|
    +7
    |
    2/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    40%
    |
    600 gp

    Full Plate|
    +8
    |
    3/-
    |
    1
    |
    -7
    |
    45%
    |
    1,500 gp

    Shields

    Buckler|
    +1
    |
    --
    |
    --
    |
    0
    |
    5%
    |
    2 gp

    Shield, Light Wooden|
    +1
    |
    1/-
    |
    8
    |
    -1
    |
    10%
    |
    5 gp

    Shield, Light Steel|
    +1
    |
    1/-
    |
    10
    |
    -1
    |
    10%
    |
    15 gp

    Shield, Heavy Wooden|
    +2
    |
    1/-
    |
    5
    |
    -2
    |
    15%
    |
    10 gp

    Shield, Heavy Steel|
    +2
    |
    1/-
    |
    8
    |
    -2
    |
    20%
    |
    25 gp

    Shield, Tower|
    +3
    |
    2/-
    |
    4
    |
    -8
    |
    40%
    |
    100 gp
    [/table]

    Upgraded Basic Armor (these values as compared to regular armor)
    {table=head]Upgrade Level|Additional AC Bonus|Additional DR|Max Dex Bonus Change|ACP|Spell Failure Reduction|
    Additional Cost

    Superior|
    1
    |
    1/-
    |
    1 greater
    |
    1 less
    |
    --
    |
    1,800 gp

    Exceptional|
    2
    |
    1/-
    |
    2 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    --
    |
    7,200 gp

    Masterwork|
    3
    |
    2/-
    |
    3 greater
    |
    3 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    16,200 gp

    Perfected|
    4
    |
    2/-
    |
    4 greater
    |
    4 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    19,200 gp

    Legend-Wrought|
    6
    |
    3/-
    |
    5 greater
    |
    5 less
    |
    10% less
    |
    43,200 gp

    {colsp=7}

    Masterwork Shield|
    1
    |
    1/-
    |
    1 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    7,200 gp
    [/table]
    *Medium upgraded armor costs 10% less than the price listed. Light upgraded armor costs 20% less.
    **Padded armor cannot be upgraded past "Superior" via the normal process, nor can it recieve an enhancement bonus greater than+2. There simply is only so much you can do with cloth.


    Mithral Armor
    Spoiler
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    Table: Mithral Armor (this is theoretical regular-quality armor)
    {table=head]Armor|AC Bonus|Damage Reduction|Max Dex Bonus|ACP|ASF Chance|Cost

    Light Armor

    Studded Leather|
    +3
    |
    1/-
    |
    none
    |
    0
    |
    5%
    |
    --

    Chain shirt|
    +4
    |
    1/-
    |
    none
    |
    -1
    |
    10%
    |
    --

    Medium Armor

    Scale Mail|
    +4
    |
    2/-
    |
    7
    |
    -2
    |
    15%
    |
    --

    Chainmail|
    +4
    |
    3/-
    |
    7
    |
    -3
    |
    10%
    |
    --

    Breastplate|
    +5
    |
    3/-
    |
    6
    |
    -4
    |
    15%
    |
    --

    Heavy Armor

    Splint Mail|
    +7
    |
    5/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    30%
    |
    --

    Banded Mail|
    +7
    |
    5/-
    |
    3
    |
    -5
    |
    25%
    |
    --

    Half-Plate|
    +8
    |
    5/-
    |
    3
    |
    -5
    |
    25%
    |
    --

    Full Plate|
    +9
    |
    6/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    30%
    |
    --

    Shields

    Shield, Light Mithral|
    +2
    |
    --
    |
    --
    |
    0
    |
    10%
    |
    8,400 gp

    Shield, Heavy Mithral|
    +3
    |
    1/-
    |
    --
    |
    0
    |
    15%
    |
    16,800 gp

    Shield, Tower Mithral|
    +4
    |
    1/-
    |
    12
    |
    -4
    |
    30%
    |
    25,200 gp
    [/table]
    *Mithral armor weighs 25% less than the equivalent steel-based armor.

    Upgraded Mithral Armor (these values as compared to regular mithril armor)
    {table=head]Upgrade Level|Additional AC Bonus|Additional DR|Max Dex Bonus Change|ACP|Spell Failure Reduction|
    Total Cost

    Superior|
    2
    |
    none
    |
    2 greater
    |
    1 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    25,200 gp

    Exceptional|
    3
    |
    none
    |
    4 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    44,800 gp

    Masterwork|
    4
    |
    1/-
    |
    8 greater
    |
    4 less
    |
    10% less
    |
    70,000 gp

    Perfected|
    6
    |
    2/-
    |
    12 greater
    |
    6 less
    |
    10% less
    |
    100,800 gp

    Legend-Wrought|
    8
    |
    3/-
    |
    16 greater
    |
    8 less
    |
    15% less
    |
    179,200 gp

    {colsp=7}

    Masterwork Shield|
    3
    |
    none
    |
    2 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    10% less
    |
    44,800 gp
    [/table]
    *Medium mithral armor costs 10% less than the price listed. Light mithral armor costs 20% less.


    Adamantine Armor
    Spoiler
    Show
    Table: Adamantine Armor (this is theoretical regular-quality armor)
    {table=head]Armor|AC Bonus|Damage Reduction|Max Dex Bonus|ACP|ASF Chance|Cost

    Light Armor

    Studded Leather|
    +3
    |
    2/-
    |
    none
    |
    -1
    |
    25%
    |
    --

    Chain shirt|
    +4
    |
    2/-
    |
    none
    |
    -2
    |
    30%
    |
    --

    Medium Armor

    Scale Mail|
    +5
    |
    3/-
    |
    6
    |
    -4
    |
    35%
    |
    --

    Chainmail|
    +5
    |
    4/-
    |
    6
    |
    -5
    |
    40%
    |
    --

    Breastplate|
    +6
    |
    4/-
    |
    5
    |
    -4
    |
    35%
    |
    --

    Heavy Armor

    Splint Mail|
    +7
    |
    7/-
    |
    1
    |
    -7
    |
    50%
    |
    --

    Banded Mail|
    +7
    |
    6/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    45%
    |
    --

    Half-Plate|
    +8
    |
    6/-
    |
    2
    |
    -6
    |
    45%
    |
    --

    Full Plate|
    +10
    |
    7/-
    |
    1
    |
    -7
    |
    50%
    |
    --

    Shields

    Shield, Light Adamantine|
    +3
    |
    2/-
    |
    8
    |
    -4
    |
    20%
    |
    25,600 gp

    Shield, Heavy Adamantine|
    +4
    |
    2/-
    |
    6
    |
    -6
    |
    25%
    |
    51,200 gp

    Shield, Tower Adamantine|
    +6
    |
    3/-
    |
    2
    |
    -10
    |
    50%
    |
    76,800 gp
    [/table]
    *Adamantine armor weighs 50% more than the equivalent steel-based armor.

    Upgraded Adamantine Armor (these values as compared to regular armor)
    {table=head]Upgrade Level|Additional AC Bonus|Additional DR|Max Dex Bonus Change|ACP|Spell Failure Reduction|
    Total Cost

    Superior|
    3
    |
    1/-
    |
    no change
    |
    no change
    |
    no change
    |
    96,000 gp

    Exceptional|
    6
    |
    2/-
    |
    no change
    |
    no change
    |
    no change
    |
    150,000 gp

    Masterwork|
    9
    |
    3/-
    |
    1 greater
    |
    1 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    216,000 gp

    Perfected|
    12
    |
    4/-
    |
    2 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    294,000 gp

    Legend-Wrought|
    15
    |
    6/-
    |
    3 greater
    |
    3 less
    |
    10% less
    |
    411,600 gp

    {colsp=7}

    Masterwork Shield|
    3
    |
    1/-
    |
    2 greater
    |
    2 less
    |
    5% less
    |
    150,000 gp
    [/table]
    *Medium adamantine armor costs 10% less than the price listed. Light adamantine armor costs 20% less.


    Spellweave Armor
    Instead of buffing a character's AC against physical attacks, Spellweave armor is specially manufactured from cloth to enchance magical resistance. Just like special materials for metal armor, spellweave only comes in Superior or better quality.
    Higher quality spellweave frequently includes mithral threads, rare materials, or even tiny chips of stone or crystal woven into it. In any event, it never contains enough or any one material to interfere with a class' features that depend on a certain armor types (having no metal, for example).
    Spoiler
    Show
    Table: Spellweave Armor (this is theoretical regular quality armor)
    {table=head]Armor|AC Bonus|Damage Reduction|Spell Resistance|Max Dex Bonus|ACP|ASF Chance|Cost

    Light Armor

    Padded|
    +1
    |
    none
    |
    none
    |
    5
    |
    -1
    |
    none
    |
    --
    [/table]

    Upgraded Spellweave Armor (these values as compared to regular armor)
    {table=head]Upgrade Level|Additional AC Bonus|Additional DR|Additional SR|Max Dex Bonus Change|ACP|Spell Failure Reduction|
    Total Cost

    Superior|
    1
    |
    1/-
    |
    2
    |
    1 more
    |
    1 more
    |
    --
    |
    12,600 gp

    Exceptional|
    1
    |
    1/-
    |
    3
    |
    1 more
    |
    2 more
    |
    --
    |
    22,400 gp

    Masterwork|
    2
    |
    1/-
    |
    4
    |
    2 more
    |
    3 more
    |
    --
    |
    35,000 gp

    Perfected|
    2
    |
    2/-
    |
    6
    |
    2 more
    |
    3 more
    |
    --
    |
    50,400 gp

    Legend-Wrought|
    3
    |
    2/-
    |
    8
    |
    2 more
    |
    3 more
    |
    --
    |
    89,600 gp
    [/table]


    Augmentation Bonuses
    You can modify armor to improve it's AC; a +1 augmentation bonus increases an armor's AC bonus by 1, etc. Armor can be augmented at any time you have access to the materials and a crafter of sufficient skill, though if performed during armor creation you get a 15% discount on the listed price.
    Just as not all armor is created equal, augmenting fancier armor is more expensive. Any prior augmentation counts toward whatever level you are upgrading to. That means it costs less to go from a set of +2 armor to +3 armor than it does to go from +1 to +3.
    Augmentation bonuses are seperate from an armor's normal enhancement bonus.

    Table: Armor Augmentation Bonus
    {table=head]Cost|
    +1
    |
    +2
    |
    +3
    |
    +4
    |
    +5

    Regular|
    1,100 gp
    |
    2,400 gp
    |
    3,900 gp
    |
    5,600 gp
    |
    7,500 gp

    Superior|
    2,200 gp
    |
    4,800 gp
    |
    7,800 gp
    |
    11,200 gp
    |
    15,000 gp

    Exceptional|
    4,400 gp
    |
    9,600 gp
    |
    15,600 gp
    |
    22,400 gp
    |
    30,000 gp

    Masterwork|
    6,600 gp
    |
    14,400 gp
    |
    23,400 gp
    |
    33,600 gp
    |
    45,000 gp

    Perfected|
    8,800 gp
    |
    19,200 gp
    |
    31,200 gp
    |
    44,800 gp
    |
    60,000 gp

    Legend-Wrought|
    11,000 gp
    |
    24,000 gp
    |
    39,000 gp
    |
    56,000 gp
    |
    75,000 gp
    [/table]
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2013-03-28 at 10:16 AM. Reason: update
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Heavy Armor does need an upgrade. The problem with heavier armors is that all armors were balanced to allow the same total AC bonus (Armor Bonus + Max Dex adds up to about the same for all armor types), but heavy armor gets a bunch of penalties with no real benefit. Their primary advantage is not needing a decent dex score to get maximum armor benefit, but by mid-high levels, anyone who wants to wear lighter armor can get max benefit from it, so it doesn't really matter much.




    I also don't really agree with ACP/movement penalties. As you note, things like jump and swim penalties seem to represent the weight of the armor, but when you have someone who can carry a boulder and be considered a light load, wearing 100 lbs of armor shouldn't slow him down a bit. I can see the penalty to move silently/hide, but the penalty to other skills, and movement speed, should come via encumbrance. If someone can wear heavy armor without being encumbered, then they don't take penalties.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    If you go the route you are thinking about, I would just remove the restriction on light armor as you said. Light armor hardly has any benefit at all anyways. And maybe just increase the bonus from heavy armor by around 50%.

    The difficulty with armor is the maximum bonus it can provide is 9 or 10 (with or without dexterity).
    At level 15, the usual bab is around 11-15 (plus probably 2-6 from strength and feats), while the usual maximum armor (with the base 10) is 20. And by epic it becomes totally useless if it wasn't already.
    The issue with increasing any AC bonus however is the possibility of enhancement bonuses from magic that can make up for this. These bonuses don't scale well with armor and the wider differences in BaB and spells that grant ac bonuses exacerbate the problem even more.

    It might be better to create 'epic' armor though. What you seem to be doing is putting a band aid on the problem (which admittedly might be the only way to do it without re-hauling the whole armor system).
    Another idea is to convert ac from armor and natural armor (except shields) to some sort of DR. I believe, if I remember correctly, unearthed arcana does something like this (though I don't think it does it very well).
    And for other, slightly off topic ideas, what about adding a players constitution modifier as natural AC or granting deflection bonuses when wielding weapons (though the other problems might still persist)?

    It's also a little known and/or overlooked fact that clothing can be enchanted. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether enhancement bonuses would grant a bonus to AC or not. Even with this though it would probably only grant a maximum of a +9 bonus.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-27 at 04:53 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Spiryt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Armor system definitely needs some fix imo...

    There's little reason to wear anything other than full plate/mail shirt/breastplate as of now, and it's rather tedious.

    Full plate is expensive as hell compared to everything else, so it may be some difference at lower levels, but other than that there's really not much sensible choice.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    At lower levels, armor doesn't need a fix because DEX high enough to make it useless is uncommon. At higher levels, however, it definitely could use a fix; perhaps the best way is to allow a +1-equivalent enchantment that increases the max DEX by 2 and can be applied multiple times.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Sugested fix: make it a function of carry weight. Then boost the weight of armor.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Armor system definitely needs some fix imo...

    There's little reason to wear anything other than full plate/mail shirt/breastplate as of now, and it's rather tedious.

    Full plate is expensive as hell compared to everything else, so it may be some difference at lower levels, but other than that there's really not much sensible choice.
    I got around that by treating all medium and heavy armor the same (I though about treating all light armor the same, but there are reasons to wear different types, unlike with medium and heavy armor). Essentially, all heavy armor is statted like full plate, and medium like a breastplate, making the choice of armor cosmetic. You want splint mail or some sort of super heavy chainmail instead of full plate? Go ahead. You want chainmail instead of a breastplate? Go ahead. You want lamellar? Go ahead. It won't effect your stats

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Heavy Armor does need an upgrade. The problem with heavier armors is that all armors were balanced to allow the same total AC bonus (Armor Bonus + Max Dex adds up to about the same for all armor types), but heavy armor gets a bunch of penalties with no real benefit. Their primary advantage is not needing a decent dex score to get maximum armor benefit, but by mid-high levels, anyone who wants to wear lighter armor can get max benefit from it, so it doesn't really matter much.

    I also don't really agree with ACP/movement penalties. As you note, things like jump and swim penalties seem to represent the weight of the armor, but when you have someone who can carry a boulder and be considered a light load, wearing 100 lbs of armor shouldn't slow him down a bit. I can see the penalty to move silently/hide, but the penalty to other skills, and movement speed, should come via encumbrance. If someone can wear heavy armor without being encumbered, then they don't take penalties.
    Interesting; I didn't know that about the arrangement of the armor. It sounds like some one put more thought into that than I would have given them credit for.

    I can see reducing the ACP to normal (not twice) for everything besides Swim checks (though that's more of a skill-system change). I'm gonna lean hard on the realism button to justify this though.
    The double ACP for Swimming is because it's not just the weight you have to worry about; afterall, 100lbs of metal and 100lbs or styrofoam weigh the same but one will drag you to the bottom a lot quicker.
    Have you every actually tried swimming in a full set of clothes? Not even armor yet, just a long sleeved shirt, pants, and shoes. I have, or more than one occasion, and its like trying to swim with lead weights tied to every limb. Something like full plate armor, in addition to it's weight, also tends to have lots of padding, which will soak up even MORE water.
    Frankly, I'd give some sort of ACP to anyone who tries swimming while wearing any clothes at all, and the double penalty for armor.
    Without resorting to a ridiculous amount of calculations for density, I'd say anyone with a medium or heavy load can get a double ACP while swimming, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    If you go the route you are thinking about, I would just remove the restriction on light armor as you said. Light armor hardly has any benefit at all anyways. And maybe just increase the bonus from heavy armor by around 50%.

    ....

    It might be better to create 'epic' armor though. What you seem to be doing is putting a band aid on the problem (which admittedly might be the only way to do it without re-hauling the whole armor system).
    Another idea is to convert ac from armor and natural armor (except shields) to some sort of DR. I believe, if I remember correctly, unearthed arcana does something like this (though I don't think it does it very well).
    And for other, slightly off topic ideas, what about adding a players constitution modifier as natural AC or granting deflection bonuses when wielding weapons (though the other problems might still persist)?

    It's also a little known and/or overlooked fact that clothing can be enchanted. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether enhancement bonuses would grant a bonus to AC or not. Even with this though it would probably only grant a maximum of a +9 bonus.
    I'll have to look up what the master-work version of an armor does again; I think it just reduces the ACP, right? I think there should deffinitely be some way to increase an armors AC bonus.
    I know Seerow has a whole thread where he has reworked the set-up for customizing arms and armor; I'd love to take inspiration from that, but for now I'll try to keep it simple and just tweak the existing setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Full plate is expensive as hell compared to everything else, so it may be some difference at lower levels, but other than that there's really not much sensible choice.
    Full plate is sort-of expensive compared to other armors, but overall just about anyone who wants should be able to afford it by 3rd level. (when WBL is 2500+)
    Thats why I was reluctant to increase the base AC bonus to much; I was worried that it might make lower level characters impossible to beat.
    Personally, I think that the level of treasure awarded per level is to high needs to be decreased, but thats getting off-track and would probably step on alot of toes.




    Let me get to work on a table, and see what I can come up with. I'll post it in the first post when I'm done.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    I've actually always wondered why armour doesn't affect other things than it does [as a result of readng books where it does, heck in Three Hearts and Three Lions it has some effect on the following]:

    I never understood why it doesn't boost saves; it shields you from that fireball just as well, if not better than cover; surely there are metals that interfere with mind control magic and you'd think those would be standard as a lining to helmets; and heck, it gets in the way of those disintegrate rays so why doesn't it help with that?

    Anyone else ever wonder this, or is it just me?
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    I'll have to look up what the master-work version of an armor does again; I think it just reduces the ACP, right? I think there should deffinitely be some way to increase an armors AC bonus.
    I know Seerow has a whole thread where he has reworked the set-up for customizing arms and armor; I'd love to take inspiration from that, but for now I'll try to keep it simple and just tweak the existing setup.
    You're right that it just reduces ACP, masterwork armor is really pitiful by default.

    My thread does have some basic fixes, but unfortunately is more of a rebalance of armor against itself, as opposed to a rebalance of armor against anything else. AC in general is still relatively useless, and trying to boost the AC bonus from armor will result in heavy armor being too strong at low levels, or too weak at high levels, even with making masterwork better.


    I can see reducing the ACP to normal (not twice) for everything besides Swim checks (though that's more of a skill-system change). I'm gonna lean hard on the realism button to justify this though.
    ACP already applies normal (not twice) against everything not swimming as far as I can remember. And remember, in D&D at some point realism has to go out the window. Past level 6 human limitations shouldn't factor into what characters are capable of at all. This means somewhere between level 6 and level 10 that the penalties of heavy armor should vanish, because there is no way to give heavy armor enough of a benefit to make up for the penalties generally inflicted on it.


    It's worth noting I don't really have much along these lines incorporated into my weapon/armor thread. I've been contemplating how to implement it without disrupting too much outside of the gear itself, as systemic overhauls is something I've tried to avoid for the most part there. If I were going to go for a more dramatic shift, I'd go for something along the lines of what legend did, giving BAB to AC and making specific armor types matter less, or have them provide other defenses (DR, resistances, or for a more extreme system change DT)
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    ACP already applies normal (not twice) against everything not swimming as far as I can remember. And remember, in D&D at some point realism has to go out the window. Past level 6 human limitations shouldn't factor into what characters are capable of at all. This means somewhere between level 6 and level 10 that the penalties of heavy armor should vanish, because there is no way to give heavy armor enough of a benefit to make up for the penalties generally inflicted on it.
    Ok, I didn't bother looking up the rules of Swimming specifically; how often does it show up in non-aquatic campaigns after all? Also, I know its a personal thing, but I feel better about just bending the rules rather than breaking them outright.
    I'm willing to focus my fix for armor on lower levels, and propose alternate systems (such as yours) for higher level armor. But we need a solid base to work off of.
    For example, one thing might be to make it much harder to get Heavy armor at lower levels, either via cost in gold (see me comment about the WBL chart) or in feats, or just by level restrictions.

    We're starting to run into one of the classic problems of homebrewing though: everything in D&D is so interconnected that if you make one small tweak it's effects show up on 2/3rds of the PHB.
    I keep having to erase posts where I get wildy off topic; I'm trying to keep this fix limited to a single table and a few paragraphs of text.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    I've actually always wondered why armour doesn't affect other things than it does [as a result of readng books where it does, heck in Three Hearts and Three Lions it has some effect on the following]:

    I never understood why it doesn't boost saves; it shields you from that fireball just as well, if not better than cover; surely there are metals that interfere with mind control magic and you'd think those would be standard as a lining to helmets; and heck, it gets in the way of those disintegrate rays so why doesn't it help with that?

    Anyone else ever wonder this, or is it just me?
    Writing individual rules for how every spell interacted with various armor would be a herculean task, but maybe we can buff armor with Damage redction instead of just more AC. I think I remeber seeing something like that in Unearthed Arcana, let me go check and I'll get back to you in a few minutes.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Writing individual rules for how every spell interacted with various armor would be a herculean task, but maybe we can buff armor with Damage redction instead of just more AC. I think I remeber seeing something like that in Unearthed Arcana, let me go check and I'll get back to you in a few minutes.
    The Armor as DR in UA was terrible, and makes armor even worse than default fwiw.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    What if we applied DR as listed in UA to the armor without reducing the AC bonuses, and then removed the maximum dexterity cap from light armor.
    While armor still becomes less useful at higher levels it will still provide a benefit that is more difficult to duplicate.

    edit - The DR will stack with other DR remaining incredibly useful. Even adding a +4 boost to all armor would be reasonable enough to bring armor back into usefulness (so lets see, DR 4 and a possibility of 23 (with the plus 4) AC).
    Because of concern about lower levels, only adding the +4 bonus to masterwork armor might be your best bet.
    Any class without a full progression actually has a descent chance of missing now and DR4/- isn't bad when it doesn't cost any class features or feats.

    edit2 - You could even tag in an extra 2 DR/- for it being masterwork. An interesting variant might be to double the DR totals, but allow a single type of damage to overcome it.

    edit3- And as far as added resistances to spells a small amount of stack able energy resistance could be applied to armor, but a weakness would need to be added. This isn't too complicated if it is based off of the material and weight:
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    Heavy iron armor is resistant against different types of energy. Due to it's conductive nature someone wearing such armor takes an additional 10% damage from fire, cold, and electricity.
    It reduces damage from any other type of energy (including force and sonic), other than positive or negative energy, by 10%.
    Touch attacks ignore these bonuses and penalties.
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    Light leather armor is resistant against different types of energy. Anyone wearing such armor takes an additional 20% damage from acid as it adheres to the skin from the caustic attack.
    It reduces damage from any other type of energy (including force and sonic), other than positive or negative energy, by 10%.
    Touch attacks ignore these bonuses and penalties.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-27 at 09:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    What if we applied DR as listed in UA to the armor without reducing the AC bonuses, and then removed the maximum dexterity cap from light armor.
    While armor still becomes less useful at higher levels it will still provide a benefit that is more difficult to duplicate.

    edit - The DR will stack with other DR remaining incredibly useful. Even adding a +4 boost to all armor would be reasonable enough to bring armor back into usefulness (so lets see, DR 4 and a possibility of 23 (with the plus 4) AC).
    Because of concern about lower levels, only adding the +4 bonus to masterwork armor might be your best bet.
    Any class without a full progression actually has a descent chance of missing now and DR4/- isn't bad when it doesn't cost any class features or feats.

    edit2 - You could even tag in an extra 2 DR/- for it being masterwork. An interesting variant might be to double the DR totals, but allow a single type of damage to overcome it.
    I like the PHB AC plus UA DR idea; I'll go modify my table to reflect that, though with the caveat that this is probably too powerful for low-level campaigns. I wasn't thinking about Masterwork armor when I started this project, but it can't hurt to add something about it.

    On a slight tangent, what if I homebrewed a set of fixes that made Heavy armor only come into play around level 5, instead of just at level 1? That would help with some of the balance issues at the extreme low end.
    I'm thinking something like Warriors, Clerics, Paladins, etc start with medium armor, Rogues, Druids, Bards, etc start with light, and everyone else gets nothing. Around level 5 is when most classes either be getting upgrades or have enough feats to purchase access to the next level or armor.
    How many other mechanics would something like this cause trouble for?
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    I don't think allowing the DR and boost to armor (as long as it remains affixed to the masterwork clause) is too much for even low level campaigns. Think about how easy it is to die before level 3. The DM basically has to let you live to survive through those levels (or as I'm used to, just start everyone at level 3).
    By the time your HP rises, most characters are also dealing more damage. This evens out the damage dealt at lower levels (keeping combat at the same pace for at least the first 5 to 10 levels). I think it actually balances out the problems for being low level. Of course epic is still broken (going sort of e6 at level 20 might help).
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-27 at 09:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    Sugested fix: make it a function of carry weight. Then boost the weight of armor.
    ...No. Most suits of full plate shouldn't weigh much more than 50 lbs anyway, and the structure of armor and how it's worn means that it's easier to carry than 50 lbs of miscellaneous items.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Basically, if you follow the same formula armored AC will cap all the same, just at a higher number. What we used as a houserule was instead a Dex penalty imposed by armor.

    After all, does it make sense that if you had a max Dex 0 suit of armor and put in someone who could be a veritable acrobat and a simple commoner that they would both get the exact same benefit?

    No.

    So instead you reduce Dex by the armor number. An average commoner can barely waddle around but a dexterous fighter can still maneuver, though perhaps not as well as without his armor. Then just add another penalty to Dex if you do not have proficiency in the armor.

    Voila! Armor remains usable throughout all levels of the game. Though my group still likes to use armor as DR so heavy armor can make you a very easy to hit target but able to soak some incredible damage. Still, it works with normal armor rules.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    OP, the tables look interesting, though I'm not really qualified to judge balance levels. Might be good to clarifymake it painfully obvious how adamantine armor mixes with this, though (and I assume you'd follow the UA rules for adding e.g. barbarian DR in).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lert, A. View Post
    Basically, if you follow the same formula armored AC will cap all the same, just at a higher number. What we used as a houserule was instead a Dex penalty imposed by armor.

    After all, does it make sense that if you had a max Dex 0 suit of armor and put in someone who could be a veritable acrobat and a simple commoner that they would both get the exact same benefit?

    No.

    So instead you reduce Dex by the armor number. An average commoner can barely waddle around but a dexterous fighter can still maneuver, though perhaps not as well as without his armor. Then just add another penalty to Dex if you do not have proficiency in the armor.
    This turns armor into a no-op: reducing dex-to-AC by the amount of the armor bonus, and then adding the armor bonus back in to AC, means that the only effect of wearing armor is to reduce your touch AC. (And, of course, serve as a base for enchanting, but you can do that with cloth.)

    Or am I misunderstanding your system?
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Well, there are options.

    First of all, there are different materials you can craft it out of which will do multiple things. In the case of adamantine armors, heavy armor is much better than light armor because it confers a higher damage reduction bonus. In the case of mithril armors, it allows a higher max dex bonus.

    Second, I see this mistake all the time. The assumption that armor at later levels is supposed to protect you from every single hit. Big hint, it's not. However, the chances of them landing their 2nd-4th attacks and beyond is -greatly- diminished, and with the higher hit point total you have at these levels for the people that will be wearing armor anyway, landing 1 or 2 attacks won't do a whole lot.

    I mean, look at what +8 adamantine full plate gives you. +16 ac (potential 17) with 3 points of damage reduction. Add a natural armor item (+4), and a dodge bonus (+2), and a deflection modifier (+3) all reasonable if not likely at a high level. 36 AC may not seem like a lot, but the 20th level fighter you're against gets (let's assume) +30/+25/+20/+15. If he's power attacking at all (which he needs to be to realistically deal damage), he'll be down around +25 or lower on that first attack and hey, he has to roll a 12 to hit you already, then a 17, then only on a natural 20 for the last 2.

    I realize neither the attacker or defender are optimized in the slightest, but I'm going from a developer's standpoint. Without a total power DM with power players, armor is at least mostly balanced for play.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    This turns armor into a no-op: reducing dex-to-AC by the amount of the armor bonus, and then adding the armor bonus back in to AC, means that the only effect of wearing armor is to reduce your touch AC. (And, of course, serve as a base for enchanting, but you can do that with cloth.)

    Or am I misunderstanding your system?
    I had to create new tables that essentially reversed the max Dex mechanism. So if the armor had max Dex 6 you would maybe have a Dex penalty of -1 to your AC when wearing the armor.

    The biggest benefit is that your AC does not hit a maximum level. As it stands you can add the max Dex bonus, the armor bonus, enhancement bonus, maybe a feat or two to add another +1 or 2. But at some point your AC gets capped no matter how dexterous you are while an unarmored character can have the same high Dex as an armored character but not have their AC capped.

    If you put in enough effort to create a character with high Dex you should be allowed to benefit from your ability score, not end up getting punished for it. If you decide to create a character with only average Dex you should not get the same defensive benefits from your armor as someone who has build his character around being mobile and agile.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerglingOne View Post
    I realize neither the attacker or defender are optimized in the slightest, but I'm going from a developer's standpoint. Without a total power DM with power players, armor is at least mostly balanced for play.
    PCs aren't intended to just fight humanoids with class levels, there are also monsters to consider. If you believe the CR system your hypothetical AC 36 fighter should be able to stand against an ancient black dragon (CR 19, 40/38/38/38/38/38), a balor (CR 20, +31/+26/+21/+16 and 30/25), and the Tarrasque (CR 20, 57/52/52/52/52/52). These aren't even supposed to be hard fights, they are CR = ECL which should take 20% of resources. You can say that CR is broken, but then you concede that the developers were wrong in how they balanced the system.

    If you put in enough effort to create a character with high Dex you should be allowed to benefit from your ability score, not end up getting punished for it. If you decide to create a character with only average Dex you should not get the same defensive benefits from your armor as someone who has build his character around being mobile and agile.
    As it stands, if you have enough dex you are better off not wearing armor at all. Mechanically, one function of armor is it allows people like the paladin to have a better point buy: full plate means you can skimp on Dex and still get the sweet sweet, Str and Con and Cha that you want. Dex is already really good, because winning initiative is one important part of winning the encounter. Reflex saves reduce the damage you take, which means you die less. Ranged attacks are generally safer than melee attacks, and Dex makes you better at them too. You are over-fixing the problem.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Actually, a variant I've been playing around with in my threads after combining a lot of homebrew threads:

    Reduce kinds of armour. I'm not sure we really need four kinds per weight class in core alone. Probably just 2 light, 2 medium, 2 heavy.

    Reduce armour penalties, especially increase max dex.

    Armour grants damage reduction. However, as suggested by some other thread earlier: not points of DR, but percentage of DR.

    Light armour reduces damage by, let's say, 5%, medium armour by 10%, heavy armour by 20%.

    That's to make them relevant on higher levels, of course. Those numbers are just thrown out more or less randomly, they might have to be adapted.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2011-12-28 at 10:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    ...You are over-fixing the problem.
    I disagree, as do my players. Armor should permit greater survivability, not restrict it because of poorly written rules.

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    I sort of see what ZerglingOne is saying. There is the concern of fights between normal humanoids. Although I think his math is slightly off. I'm not sure where, but I know by level 15 most things (other than any humanoid who doesn't have the massive to hit bonuses a fighter gets) have hit my character regardless of how high his dexterity is or how good his armor is (I also have the tendency to be the only player in my group to get hit by criticals regularly so that doesn't help).

    [Edit]I don't think I've ever gotten adamantine armor either so... It could be partially my previous DM's fault.[/Edit]

    The issue at this point becomes, either the AC system or, as glimbur pointed out, the CR system is skewed. With the AC boost, players can't hit, while without it monster hit without fail.
    To make it fair, 20 BaB attackers should be able to make the first attack most of the time and miss with the next half of the time (otherwise fighting classes becomes useless, and the rogue becomes useless).

    I'm thinking we might need an even more out of the box approach than just improving armor. What if instead of actually having an AC, we have a deflection chance?
    Each armor provides a deflection chance of some sort.
    Base deflection would be 10 + 5 * (armor + dexterity modifier), with dexterity to deflection limited similar to AC now.
    So lets throw some numbers together:
    Bob has a chain shirt gaining a +4 to his deflection chance. He also has a dexterity of 6 but his armor limits him to +4.
    At 10 (base) + 5 * (4 (from armor) + 4 (from dexterity)), attacks have a miss chance of 50%. But his opponent makes an attack roll of 25 reducing this miss to 25%.
    And whala, working armor. Though how this would this stack with the other two types of miss chances (if at all). It would also have to be decided if this miss could exceed 50% (and whether or not, if it can't, if that limitation applies to before or after the attack is made to reduce the that total) unlike normal rules (which it probably should considering it can be partially ignored with an attack roll).

    [Edit]Even if not wholly realistic (though people are flinging fireballs around and stopping time so...) I think it adds an element of strategy as well as balance. To power attack or not to power attack?[/Edit]
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-28 at 06:16 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Viktyr Gehrig's Avatar

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    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Personally, I don't think armor should have a Max Dex bonus at all. Wearing heavy armor doesn't make you less capable of using your agility to defend yourself-- being agile makes you better capable of using your armor to defend yourself.

    This is another one of those things that AD&D had right, and that 3.X fixed until it broke.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    The problem with removing the dexterity limitation completely is that it leaves most builds unable to defend themselves as well as a speed build. It also steps on several character archetypes.
    I see it almost as a class feature of melee characters (such as the fighter with his 20 bab and proficiencies), to make up for the dexterity they probably won't have. The only way to remove the cap fairly is to give these classes something to make up for it, such as their con to AC.
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-28 at 06:29 PM.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    If you believe the CR system your hypothetical AC 36 fighter should be able to stand against an ancient black dragon (CR 19, 40/38/38/38/38/38), a balor (CR 20, +31/+26/+21/+16 and 30/25), and the Tarrasque (CR 20, 57/52/52/52/52/52). These aren't even supposed to be hard fights, they are CR = ECL which should take 20% of resources. You can say that CR is broken, but then you concede that the developers were wrong in how they balanced the system.
    His 36 AC Fighter was level 15. In addition, CR = ECL,for a party of four, should take up 20% of your resources, not 1v1.

    Actual examples include the Nalfeshnee (CR 14, 20/17/17), the Marut (CR 15, 22/22) and the Horned Devil (CR 16, 25/22/22/20/15).

    So, this seems much better to me, and more accurate. Granted, I still havent adjusted for the combat being 1v1, so we should be looking to lose still more then 20%, but these numbers seem a lot nicer than yours.
    "To play a fighter is to play the game.
    To play a wizard is to understand the rules.
    To understand the rules, and play a fighter, is to understand the game."
    -Lycar
    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    ...magical trumps mundane so often that mundane really needs to be able to give magic a good kick in the junk now and then.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Personally, I don't think armor should have a Max Dex bonus at all. Wearing heavy armor doesn't make you less capable of using your agility to defend yourself-- being agile makes you better capable of using your armor to defend yourself.

    This is another one of those things that AD&D had right, and that 3.X fixed until it broke.
    I would disagree with that. You can certainly move, but you move better out of armor than in it. That higher level of protection should come at some cost to your mobility, because it takes more effort and energy to move. Try typing in heavy gloves some time (padded winter gloves, or the heavy leather of a workman's glove), and see how different it is to do so.

    I would agree that some aspect of the penalty shouldn't be as high as it is, but it should have some effect. I would favor a combo, a dex penalty and a minimum reduction result. Let's say for full plate, we use the ACP for the bonus, and use the max dex as the minimum reduced dex after penalty, so the same -6 ACP and +1 max dex. So someone with a 30 dex (+10 mod) would have a resulting 22 for AC, while someone else with a 14 dex (+2 mod) would have a 19 AC. The high dex person gets more out of it, especially for stacking the distance, but the low-dex person gets a good benefit too. (Shields would stack the ACP onto the armor's ACP, with the padded and basic leather's max dexes being used only for those armors when used with a shield.)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by eftexar View Post
    The problem with removing the dexterity limitation completely is that it leaves most builds unable to defend themselves as well as a speed build. It also steps on several character archetypes.
    I see it almost as a class feature of melee characters (such as the fighter with his 20 bab and proficiencies), to make up for the dexterity they probably won't have. The only way to remove the cap fairly is to give these classes something to make up for it, such as their con to AC.
    Possibly Con to DR?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Does basic armor need a fix?

    That might work, but as I said, how do you know what classes to grant it to?
    Do you apply to all martial weapon wielding 20 BaB characters or just the fighter?
    Last edited by eftexar; 2011-12-28 at 08:24 PM.

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